Share the Love – Send a Heart eCard

Send a Heart eCard and make a donation to the CHOC Heart Institute!
Now, in honor of Heart Month, you can send someone a special CHOC Heart eCard and help kids at the same time. Proceeds from the sale of these ecards will go to benefit the CHOC Heart Institute. Your donation will help us provide state of the art diagnosis and treatment for an entire spectrum of cardiac conditions from the neonatal to the adolescent patient.

For more information about the CHOC Heart Institute, visit http://www.choc.org/heart.

Heart Problems – What Parents Should Know

Did you know that at least nine of every 1,000 infants born a year have a heart defect, according to the American Heart Association? While some heart diseases are congenital (existing at birth) others are acquired (which can develop during childhood).

In recognition of American Heart Month, CHOC Children’s encourages parents and caregivers to learn about the symptoms associated with some of these heart conditions. Certain symptoms can suggest that your child or teen has a heart problem that needs a doctor’s attention. This is especially true if symptoms occur during sports or other activities.

Talk with your doctor if your child experiences any of the mentioned symptoms. Keep in mind that these signs do not necessarily mean that your child has a heart problem. For example, a child who faints during sports may have low blood sugar or other temporary problems. A doctor can help find the cause.

Click here to learn more about the heart conditions, symptoms and treatment options, treated by experts at the CHOC Children’s Heart Institute.

January is Blood Donor Awareness Month

In recognition of Blood Donor Awareness Month, consider donating blood to the patients at CHOC Children’s.

Kids with cancer, aplastic anemia, blood disorders and those undergoing certain types of surgery benefit especially from these donations. Bone marrow transplant patients and newborns for instance, may need white blood cells to help fight off infections when their immune systems are weak. Your donation can have a direct impact on the recovery of a patient.

To become a blood donor, please contact CHOC Blood and Donor Services at 714-532-8339. To learn more, click here: http://www.choc.org/services/index.cfm?id=P00208.

Tips for a Happy, Healthy Child in 2011

After the holidays it’s hard to get back into the routine, especially for kids, which means going back to school. This time of year, however, can also be an opportunity to help your child – and you – start the new year right! Check out these helpful tips:

A Mental Jumpstart
Breakfast isn’t a meal you want to skip. Having a healthy meal to start your day seems to improve concentration and problem-solving skills. Eating a balanced breakfast can sharpen a child’s memory and improve school test scores.

Be a Positive Example
Remember that setting a good example by eating healthy foods and getting plenty of exercise is key to getting your kids to adopt healthy lifestyles. Try eating dinner together as a family more often.

Also, get involved in your child’s education and attend school functions. Children who have parents who are more involved with their education often perform better in school, are better adjusted and are less likely to drop out.

If You Want to See Better Grades, then you may want to reorganize your child’s room. Specifically, consider moving his or her TV to another location. Most pediatricians believe that too much time spent watching TV and playing video and computer games can harm a child’s academic performance. Below are some more tips to help your child develop good study habits:

  • Provide a work space that is specifically for their homework. It can be in their bedroom or another part of the home the key is that the space offers privacy.
  • Give your child the necessary tools to get the job done. Provide good lighting and any other supplies he or she may need.
  • Don’t rush – make sure your child has enough time to get his or her homework done at a reasonable hour.
  • Check in on their computer use to ensure it’s being used for their homework and not acting as a distraction.
  • Make yourself available to help them with questions. If your child is having a hard time with homework, consider a tutor. Talk it over with your child’s teacher.
  • Take steps to help alleviate eye, neck and brain fatigue while studying. Have your child close the books for a few minutes, stretch and take a break when it will not be too disruptive.

CHOC Leading the Way in Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Children

The sudden death of a child and/or athlete is a tragic yet rare occurrence that causes significant concern in both the general public and medical community.  Strategies to prevent these catastrophes have become a prominent public health debate. To address this critical topic affecting our young athletes, a symposium on the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in children and adolescents is being planned at Disney’s Grand California Hotel and Spa in Anaheim for January 14-15, 2011.

We spoke to Dr. Anjan Batra, medical director of electrophysiology at the CHOC Children’s Heart Institute, about the importance of this event:

Q: What will be presented at the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symposium?
A: Topics will include clinical syndromes associated with the risk of sudden death, arrhythmias in the young, use of automated external and implantable defibrillators in children, and screening, with an emphasis on defining levels of evidence and areas of controversy in management decisions. It will be open to pediatricians, pediatric cardiologists, electrophysiologists and affiliated professionals involved and interested in the care of young people, including the general public.

Q: What message do you have for Orange County families about this topic?
A:  Orange County has an estimated population of just over 3 million, making it the second most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County. It is also the county with the highest per capita of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Olympic athletes.  This may be one of the reasons for what appears to be a heightened awareness for the prevention of sudden cardiac death in young athletes in Orange County.

Q: What warning signs should parents look for that suggest their young athlete may have a heart problem?
A:  Certain symptoms can suggest that your child or teen has a heart problem that needs a doctor’s attention. This is especially true if symptoms occur during sports or other activities. It’s important to ask if your child has:
* Been dizzy or light-headed?
* Passed out, or nearly passed out?
* Had chest pain or pressure?
* Felt like his heart was racing or skipping beats?

Talk with your doctor if your child experiences any of these symptoms, which may put your child at risk. Keep in mind that these signs do not necessarily mean that your child has a heart problem. For example, a child who faints during sports may have low blood sugar or other temporary problems. A doctor can help find the cause. For more tips, check out this Kids Health article: http://www.choc.org/publications/articles.cfm?id=P00303&aid=512.

For details about the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symposium on January 14-15, please click here: http://www.choc.org/events/event_detail.cfm?eid=666

For information on the LEAPS Conference (Life Threatening Events Associated with Pediatric Sports) on January 13, please click here: http://www.choc.org/events/event_detail.cfm?eid=725

Remind Kids About the Spirit of Giving

The holiday season is in full swing at CHOC and all around us. This time of year is a great opportunity to instill the spirit of giving to your children. You can do fun, simple things with them that will remind them that it’s not all just about what Santa is going to bring them! Here’s a few tips to share with your family:

Recycle and Donate Toys
Have your children go through their toys and take out a few that they no longer use. Help your children pick out the toys that are still in good condition and put them in a box meant for giving. Locate an organization, church, or shelter that accepts toys and accompany them to take the toys themselves. Keep in mind that some organizations accept new toys only.

Make Holiday Cards or Gifts
Make holiday cards with your children. This can teach your children that the gift you’re giving doesn’t have to be expensive and that sometimes a simple, heartfelt greeting is what counts. Or, if you’re pressed for time, involve your kids in the selection process when you are purchasing pre-made cards.

Similarly, involve your kids in making homemade gifts or baked goods. Or, give them a budget and have them do a little shopping for family members, to teach them about budgeting.

Give to a Child
Here at CHOC, we see many remarkable stories every day of people giving to children in need. What better way to show your little ones the importance of giving, than to teach them to give to another child. Contact your organization of choice — some of them may be hosting toy or food drives, “giving trees,” or other fundraisers specifically for children or families in need. Check with the organization to see what’s the best way you and your kids can help.

There are many other ideas to help your kids get into the giving spirit. Some of these could even become family traditions that your kids will happily look back on. Explain to your kids that giving can also be something as simple as helping an elderly person load groceries into their car (with a parent nearby). Talk to your kids about people in need and ask them how their act of kindness made them feel. They are sure to come back with some touching answers!

Happy Holidays from the CHOC Children’s family to yours!

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