Make the Most of your Thanksgiving Meal

The most important part of the holiday meal is not the turkey, stuffing and pie; it’s spending time with your family.  Sitting down together at the dinner table this holiday season is a wonderful way to strengthen the family bond and create lasting memories.

In addition to building a stronger family, studies show that time spent around the dinner table has significant benefits for children and teens’ health.  It can:

• Improve their self-esteem
• Increase their intake of fruits and vegetables so they get the nutrients their growing bodies need
• Teach them to enjoy a variety of foods
• Reduce the risk for eating disorders, especially among adolescent girls
• Lead to better grades
• Make them less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs

Think that your kids might not appreciate time at the table?  Think again.  In a survey of more than 900 adolescents, 63 percent said that eating together as a family is important and 64 percent agreed that sharing meals brings their family closer together.

Holiday Safety Tips for your Baby Sitter

Holiday parties.  Shopping.  Even just an hour away to de-stress.  All are reasons you may need a baby sitter this season. Here are a few, easy tips for your baby sitter to ensure a safe holiday season: 

  • Leave emergency phone numbers by the phone.  Write down your cell phone number, as well as the contact information of a nearby neighbor.
  • Show the baby sitter where your first-aid kit is located.
  • Discuss how to handle common emergencies.
  • If you are going to be gone for the evening, include your child’s schedule, including dinner and bedtimes.

The holiday season is a fun, yet busy time of the year for most families. Hopefully, by planning in advance with these easy tips, you can rest assured your little ones will be safe at home, while you take some time for yourself to enjoy the holiday spirit.

Add Fun, Active Gifts to your Holiday List

Get the teens in your life moving this holiday season and in the New Year by giving them fun, active gifts.  CHOC pediatricians remind parents – and teen patients – that physical activity is good for the body and mind!  Here are a few gift ideas to encourage the adolescents in your life to avoid too much time on the couch:

• Introduce a new activity, like tennis, with a gift certificate for a one-on-one lesson.
• Outfit your teens with athletic wear to provide additional inspiration.   If your tastes for style differ, how about a gift card to a local athletic store?
• Consider giving sports equipment, like racquets, balls or bikes, versus a video game about the sport.
• If your teen is hooked on video games, look for active ones, like Wii Sports for the Nintendo Wii and EyeToy: Kinetic for PlayStation 2.
• Give the adolescents on your holiday shopping list gift certificates to a local bowling alley, ice skating ring or yoga studio.

Getting teens to be active can be a challenge at times; hopefully, selecting the right gift this holiday season can encourage them to “get moving.”

CHOC’s NICU Provides Life-Saving Care to Fragile Newborns

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, calling attention to the half a million babies born prematurely in this country each year.  These fragile newborns require specialized care in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). 

CHOC Children’s NICU is staffed by a team of neonatologists and other experts with the skill and the cutting-edge technology needed to save babies as tiny as one pound.  The unit – the largest in Orange County – is also focused on family-centered care, encouraging parents to partner with the clinical staff in treating and caring for these smallest of patients.  To learn more about CHOC’s NICU, watch some vidoes, featuring CHOC neonatologist Tony Soliman, MD., on our Facebook page at

New CHOC Program Provides Comprehensive Care for Children with Down Syndrome

CHOC Children’s is excited to announce the recent launch of the CHOC Children’s Down Syndrome Program—An Alliance with the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County. The new program will focus on diagnosing and treating the complex medical aspects of Down syndrome, and provide patients with comprehensive, coordinated specialty care.

The program was created to help fill an unmet need for coordinated medical care in this high-risk population. According to Lanny Hardy, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County, until now, there hasn’t been a medical program in Orange County that focuses entirely on the serious medical conditions in children with Down syndrome.

The clinic is located at CHOC Children’s Neurology Center at 1120 W. La Veta, Suite 125, located across the street from CHOC’s main hospital building. For more information, please call 714-512-3609 or email

CHOC Specialty Care Clinics Open at Hoag Health Center-Newport Beach

Children from Orange County’s coastal communities no longer need to travel to the CHOC Children’s campus in Orange for quality pediatric subspecialty care. CHOC has collaborated with Hoag Hospital to provide these specialized services much closer to home — at the new Hoag Health Center-Newport Beach!

By bringing these outpatient services to the brand-new, state-of-the-art Hoag Health Center, CHOC is expanding county-wide access to “highest-need” specialty care, including cardiology, diabetes and endocrine services, neurology and more.
CHOC Children’s Specialty Center, located at Hoag Health Center-Newport Beach, is now offering the following services in a convenient, family-centered care environment: Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Genetics, Hematology, Neurology, and Pulmonology. Radiology and laboratory services are also conveniently located onsite.

CHOC Children’s Endocrine and Diabetes Center is located inside the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Health Center-Newport Beach. The CHOC Endocrine and Diabetes Center provides leading-edge care for diabetes and endocrine disorders. The comprehensive program includes education and support services for children and their families. The Allen Diabetes Center is also working with CHOC and several local community agencies to support pediatric obesity prevention and sponsor diabetes prevention activities.

Additionally, the UrgiKids pediatric urgent care center will relocate to the CHOC Children’s Specialty Center at Hoag Health Center-Newport Beach later this year.  Currently, services are provided at Hoag Health Center-Costa Mesa.

Fore more information, please visit and go to Programs & Services.

CHOC Doc Named One of OC’s Hot 25

CHOC Children’s critical care physician Jason Knight, MD, the medical director of CHOC Emergency Services Transport Team, was named one of Orange County’s hottest personalities by OC Metro.

Dr. Knight is responsible for the sickest, most fragile of patients. He constantly works to improve the critical endeavor of bringing newborns, children and teens via ambulance or helicopter from more than 90 hospitals across multiple counties to CHOC, and even helped to develop a new code 3 triage tool, which he presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2007 National Conference and Exhibition to affect change beyond Orange County.

Part of a new generation of medical professionals, Dr. Knight helps advance technologies that will transform traditional patient care and increase access to pediatric specialty services that are in scare supply. He is an advocate for robotic telemedicine and has a personal laptop that allows him to provide consults via a remote robot wherever he is. It’s not uncommon, for example, for young patients and parents in the emergency department at Hoag Hospital to see his face on a robot at that facility, which he maneuvers from his own laptop or a laptop in the CHOC ICU.  He’s able to quickly evaluate the patient and, when required, get the child access to the pediatric specialty care available only at a children’s hospital like CHOC.

Advancing pediatric medicine and enhancing the delivery of care through traditional and non-traditional vehicles (like a futuristic robot) are just a couple of reasons Dr. Jason Knight is one of OC’s hottest personalities.

Help Spread Holiday Cheer to CHOC Children’s Patients

The spirit of the holiday season has been ignited with help from the Orange Coast Harley Owners Group and Orange County Harley-Davidson, who are organizing a community toy drive to benefit CHOC Children’s. 

Anyone interested in donating new, unwrapped toys or gift cards can deliver them, from December 11 – December 23, to the Orange County Harley-Davidson dealership, located at 8677 Research Dr., in Irvine.  The dealership will provide a pancake breakfast to anyone who drops off donations on Saturday, December 12, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.  For the hospital’s “wish list,” please visit and click on “Give to CHOC,” followed by “Ways to Help.”

Individuals and other groups who have donated to CHOC during the holiday season are encouraged to join efforts with the Harley Owners Group and drop off their toys at the Orange County Harley-Davidson dealership instead of the hospital, due to campus construction.  Anyone with questions about the Harley Toy Drive can email the Orange Coast Harley Owners Group at

Safety Tips to “Spook” Halloween Hazards Away

Protect your little ghosts and goblins this Halloween by following these safety tips offered by the injury prevention experts at CHOC Children’s.

  • Purchase costumes that are flame-resistant and fit securely on your child; make sure they can be seen and avoid any masks that obstruct your child’s view.
  • Never allow your young child to trick-or-treat without adult supervision.
  • While trick-or-treating, obey all traffic signs and signals, and never cross the street between cars or mid-block.  Be sure to carry a flashlight.
  • Carefully inspect your child’s stash of goodies.  Discard homemade treats and fruit, unless you know the person they came from.
  • Keep your home safe for trick-or-treaters by removing all obstacles from the entryway.

With these tips, CHOC hopes you and your little ones enjoy a safe Halloween this Saturday!

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