Happy Visiting this Holiday Season

The holiday season is a wonderful time for visiting loved ones.  Holiday parties or family gatherings make this time of year so special, but often require bringing young children to unfamiliar territory.  CHOC pediatricians encourage parents to follow these simple tips to help ensure holiday visits don’t land children in harm’s way.

• Whether you’re the hostess or the guest, clean up after a holiday party.  A curious toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.

• Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed.  Keep an eye out for danger spots.

• Keep guests’ purses out of the reach of children. 

• Keep a list of important phone numbers, including your child’s pediatrician, for you or a baby sitter in case of an emergency.  Include local police and fire authorities and the national Poison Help Line 1-800-222-1222.  Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged.

• Traveling, getting presents, visiting friends, etc. can increase your child’s stress levels.  Trying to stick to your child’s usual routine, especially sleep schedules and timing of napes, can help you and your little one enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.

Enjoy the Holidays, Skip the Cavities

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!’… especially for holiday treats and candy! While it’s quite nice to enjoy this season’s treats, keep these tips in mind to ensure your children enjoy the spirit of the season – without the toothache!

  • Make sure your child maintains a balanced diet. While sweets abound during this time of the year, try to limit the amount of sugary and starch-filled goodies given to your child. Try some sliced fruit, raw vegetables with dip, string cheese, and yogurt, instead.
  • Encourage good oral health habits with your children, including brushing at least twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. If sugar is not removed with brushing, it can remain in the crevices of your child’s teeth long after sweets have been consumed.
  • Have your children use an age-appropriate mouthwash in the evening to strengthen their teeth and rebuild the enamel, which helps prevent cavities.

Also, keep Christmas lights and electrical cords out of the reach of children – especially infants who may be crawling and can put items in their mouths, explains Richard Mungo, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist at CHOC Children’s and Medical Director of the Healthy Smiles for Children of Orange County Oral Health Care Center. He has treated children who have suffered burns to the side of their mouths due to chewing on these cords.

Remember, your children’s dental care is an important part of their overall health, during the holidays and year-round! “It’s really never too early for parents to take an active role in preventing tooth decay in their children—even before kids get their first tooth,” says Dr. Mungo.

For more tips to protect your little one’s teeth, check out the latest issue of CHOC’s Kids Health newsletter: http://www.choc.org/publications/articles.cfm?id=P00303&pub=KH&aid=537

For more information on CHOC Children’s Pediatric Specialties, visit http://www.choc.org/specialties/index.cfm?id=P00414

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Eat Healthy, Stay healthy – Quick Tips

The holiday season is in full swing and the CHOC Children’s Endocrine and Diabetes Center in Newport Beach reminds families to stay healthy!

The holidays expose families to:

  • more “treats”
  • more calories, carbs & fat
  • larger portions
  • less opportunity for exercise

Avoid excess weight gain by following these simple holiday tips:

  • Try to stay on your regular diet most of the time.
  • Limit portions of “high fat and high carbohydrate” holiday foods: try a small slice of pie, ½ cup of mashed potatoes and gravy, 1-2 Christmas cookies, or ½ cup of Egg Nog.
  • Eat more vegetables with meals and as snacks so you will eat less of the unhealthy” foods.
  • Take your own low fat & low carbohydrate dishes to family meals.
  • Avoid giving homemade goodies as holiday gifts to keep from excess sampling while baking.
  • Exercise more: try to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day during the holidays.

To learn more about the CHOC Children’s Endocrine & Diabetes Center or to schedule an appointment, please call (949) 631-2062.

Orange County Harley-Davidson Irvine Dealership Accepting Toys for CHOC Beginning this Weekend

Thanks to the Orange Coast Harley Owners Group and Orange County Harley-Davidson, who are organizing a community toy drive to benefit CHOC Children’s, patients will be sure to have a holiday season filled with cheer!

Anyone interested in donating new, unwrapped toys or gift cards to the patients at CHOC, can deliver them from December 11 to December 23, to the Orange County Harley-Davidson dealership, located at 8677 Research Dr., in Irvine.  On Saturday, December 12, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., the dealership will provide a pancake breakfast to anyone who drops off donations that day!

Individuals and 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.

For questions about the Harley Toy Drive, please email the Orange Coast Harley Owners Group at director@ochog.org. For the hospital’s “wish list,” please visit www.choc.org and click on “Give to CHOC,” followed by “Ways to Help.”

CHOC Children’s is Named a 2009 Leapfrog Top Hospital

CHOC Children’s Hospital is one of 45 hospitals – and one of only eight children’s hospitals across the nation- named to the “Leapfrog 2009 Top Hospitals” list, based on results from The Leapfrog Hospital Survey. CHOC’s survey score was 97.2 points out of 100 possible points, as compared to an average score of 72.4 for children’s hospitals across the country. The survey (found at www.leapfroggroup.org) is the only national, public comparison of hospitals on key issues including mortality rates for certain common procedures, infection rates, safety practices and measures of efficiency.

According to The Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder, “This year’s class of Top Hospitals not only hits the mark in areas such as medication error prevention and ICU deaths, but they also use their resources wisely, providing excellent and efficient outcomes for patients.  Regardless of what happens to healthcare reform, these hospitals are the future.”

For more details, please check out our press release at http://www.choc.org/pressroom/news.cfm?nid=542

Tips for a Safe and Fun Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to be jolly! To keep your holidays festive – and safe – this year, CHOC Children’s recommends these simple precautions to enjoy a magical season with your children:

Food Safety

  • Wash hands before, during and after food preparation.
  • Keep baking ingredients such as vanilla and almond extract out of your children’s reach.
  • Use soap, water and a paper towel to clean surfaces that have touched raw meat, fish or poultry.
  •  Keep alcoholic beverages and containers out of your children’s reach.
  •  Watch for holly and mistletoe berries that could fall into your child’s  path — they are poisonous.

Christmas Trees and Decorations

  • If your family purchases a real tree, make sure to check the tree’s freshness. Keep it away from fireplaces or other heating sources.
  • Turn off the tree lights before leaving the tree in an unattended room.
  • Keep small ornaments and tinsel out of reach. Avoid ornaments that look like food or candy.
  • Keep burning candles, matches and lighters out of your children’s reach.
  • Once gifts are opened, remove all bags, gift wraps and bows from tree and fireplace areas. These items can pose suffocation, a choking or fire hazard, to small children.
  • Inspect lights for exposed or frayed cords.


  • Select age-appropriate toys. Keep in mind the child’s abilities and developmental stage. Avoid those with small, removable parts that may pose a choking risk for young children.
  • When buying bicycles, scooters, skateboards or skates, remember to include helmets and appropriate protective equipment.
  • Be aware of recalls on toys, furniture and jewelry.

The holidays are an enjoyable time of the year for most families; hopefully, with these easy-to-follow tips, your family can enjoy a truly memorable season.

What Parents and Caregivers Should Know About the H1N1 Virus

CHOC Children’s encourages parents and caregivers to log onto www.choc.org for critical information about the H1N1 and seasonal flu, including symptoms, when to seek treatment, a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other valuable resources.


Be sure to check out “H1N1 Influenza – What the Public Should Know,” a must-see video, presented by Jasjit Singh, M.D., CHOC pediatric infectious disease subspecialist.
Also, don’t forget to talk to your children about practicing good respiratory etiquette and proper hand washing techniques to help avoid the spread of germs.  Remember, prevention is the key to fighting many infectious diseases.

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.