Easy Tips for Grooming Your Newborn

Grooming a newborn can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for first-time parents.  From caring for the umbilical cord to trimming tiny nails, parents have a lot to learn when it comes to keeping their little ones “baby fresh.”  Liz Drake, a clinical nurse specialist in the neonatal intensive care unit at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital, offers these simple tips to help parents master the basics:

1. Bathe your baby no more than three times a week.  More than that can dry out your infant’s skin.

2. Give your baby sponge baths until the umbilical cord stump falls off, which can take up to three weeks. Gather all of your supplies—washcloths, basin of water, mild soap and towel—ahead of time, before placing your infant on a flat surface in a warm place.  Keep your hand on your baby at all times and keep your baby wrapped in a towel. Expose only the parts of the body you’re washing. Gently clean the eyes first. Using only a damp cloth, work from the inside to the outside corners.  Use separate ends of the wash cloth for each eye.  Next, wipe your baby’s face, followed by the head.  When it comes to cleaning the body, pay special attention to the skin behind the ears and around the neck, creases under the arms and legs, and, of course, the diaper area.  Don’t forget to wash between the toes and fingers.

3. After the umbilical area is healed, you can try bathing your infant in a newborn tub or plastic basin.  Lined with a towel or rubber mat, a kitchen or bathroom sink may also be an option.  Don’t fill the tub with more than two to three inches of warm water.  Always test the water before placing your baby in it.

4. To wash your newborn’s hair, cup your hand under warm water and gently pour it over your infant’s head.  Gently rub in a circular motion a small amount of mild soap or baby shampoo.  Use a small cup or your hand to rinse it off.

5. Don’t use clippers or scissors to trim your little one’s nails.  Use a buffer or nail file to gently file them down.

6. Baby acne can be normal.  Don’t pick or squeeze.  If the acne worsens on the face and turns into red pustules, call the pediatrician.

To learn more about caring for your infant, child or teen, visit choc.org/health.

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CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital Opens State-of-the-Art Sleep Center

IMG_4614Families in South Orange County now have access to a state-of-the-art Sleep Center for children who need overnight monitoring to diagnose problems related to sleep.

The new three-room unit at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital offers private, comfortable accommodations and the latest technology for routine polysomnograms (sleep studies). CHOC already performs more than 750 sleep studies a year at its three-bed Sleep Disorder Center in Orange.

A sleep study is used to diagnose sleep disorders such as apnea and narcolepsy, as well as sleep problems that may be caused by other health conditions, including enlarged tonsils, obesity, muscular dystrophy and Down syndrome. Most sleep studies are prescribed by a child’s pediatrician or referring physician and are done on an outpatient basis.

Each Sleep Center room includes custom light control, a flat-screen TV, a fold-out bed for mom or dad, and unique artwork that showcases Southern California beaches to promote a soothing, calm environment. Families are encouraged to bring familiar toys, books and blankets to help a child feel at home.

The Sleep Center is equipped with live video monitoring and electroencephalogram (EEG), electrocardiogram (EKG), electrooculogram (EOG), electromyogram (EMG), thermistor, pulse oximeter and piezo crystal monitoring systems, allowing technologists to track every child’s breath, brainwave and movement during sleep. Patients are hooked up to the equipment with small, painless electrode stickers and a lightweight belt around the chest. A child’s dedicated technologist is always in the next room to monitor the data through the night, and they are available to provide assistance to families when needed.

In addition to registered sleep technologists, CHOC’s multidisciplinary sleep team includes a board-certified pediatric neurologist fellowship trained in sleep medicine, board-certified pediatric pulmonologists and psychologists. Depending on the results of a study sleep, a child will have a follow-up appointment with his or her doctor, or be referred to a CHOC specialist.

Click here to learn more about the sleep conditions that affect children.

More articles about sleep and children:

  • 7 Tips to Help your Child Sleep Better
    All parents know the struggle― it’s late at night, you’ve had a long day, and you’re struggling to get your child to go to sleep. Check out these tips from ...
  • Meet Dr. Anjalee Warrier Galion
    CHOC wants its patients and families to get to know its specialists. Today, meet Dr. Anjalee Warrier Galion, a pediatric neurologist and sleep specialist. Q: What is your education and training? A: ...
  • Does My Child Have a Sleep Disorder?
    Healthy sleep is critical for children and teens. Sleep disorders, such as problems falling asleep and sleep apnea, affect your child’s ability to get the sleep needed for good growth, ...

CHOC Campus: Then and Now

CHOC in its earliest days

It’s been fascinating to watch how medicine and technology have changed at CHOC since I first visited 50 years ago. But just as amazing is how much the hospital’s campus has evolved since 1964.

As you know now, CHOC opened its doors in Orange on Oct. 5, 1964. At the time, the four-story, 62-bed facility was situated on the campus of St. Joseph Hospital. The building cost $2.5 million to build, and took about five years of planning.

Expansion began almost immediately, and hasn’t stopped since: In 1965, outpatient clinics opened on campus. By 1968, CHOC’s bed count increased to 104.

The CHOC Tower

In 1975, a nearby five-story building was purchased to house the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). This building, known as the CHOC Tower, increased the hospital’s bed count to 202 by 1978.

A nearby 93,000-square-foot building was purchased from Pacific Telephone Co. in 1983 to make room for administration, education and a new clinic and ambulatory care space. This facility is now known as CHOC West.

The North Tower
The North Tower

In 1992, CHOC completed construction on a six-story acute care hospital, requiring the demolition of the CHOC Tower.

That space is known today as the North Tower, the sister of the Bill Holmes Tower that opened in 2013. The 425,000-square-foot space tripled CHOC’s size and brought all services under one roof for the first time after nearly 50 years of sharing services with St. Joseph Hospital.

And CHOC will continue to grow: The Holmes Tower includes empty space that can be built out as new needs arise.

The Bill Holmes Tower
The Bill Holmes Tower

CHOC has continued to grow outside of Orange as well: Nearly a dozen clinics dot the county, as well as Riverside County. Also, we have a mobile clinic that moves all over the place.

And don’t forget that CHOC’s health system includes a separate hospital located in Mission Viejo:  CHOC at Mission Hospital opened in 1993, and occupies the fifth floor of Mission Hospital. The hospital provides excellent care to the families of south Orange County and beyond.

Isn’t it comforting to know that CHOC stands ready to help children wherever they may be? What do you remember about CHOC’s campus through the years? Share your memory on social media with the hashtag #thxCHOC.


Keeping A Close Watch

annual-report-2013-close-watch-2By age 4, Grace Rogers was riding a bicycle without training wheels. She was roller-blading and skateboarding—an active, spunky kid growing up in Buena Park with an older sister and little brother.

But her mother, Debbie Rogers, would notice that at times, Grace would appear to be off balance. And she thought it odd that ever since Grace was 2, she slept excessively—12 hours a night, plus an afternoon nap.

“She was so coordinated, but then she would trip or fall,” Debbie says. “And all that sleeping. It didn’t make any sense.”

It wasn’t until she was 6, when Grace’s kindergarten teacher noticed the same things—as well as Grace appearing inattentive for brief spells—that Debbie and her daughter began a journey at CHOC that continues to this day.

That journey has brought Grace and her mother to a new unit at CHOC at Mission Hospital that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of the disorder afflicting Grace: epilepsy.

A program like no other

Opened in late 2012, the four-bed inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) at CHOC at Mission Hospital augments the eight-bed inpatient EMU in Orange.

Developed and run by world-renowned pediatric epileptologist Mary Zupanc, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program and CHOC Specialists division chief of neurology, the epilepsy program at CHOC has been designated as Level 4 by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, making it the only Level 4 program in the state run by a free-standing children’s hospital.

The new EMU at CHOC at Mission Hospital offers quiet, private rooms for patients like Grace to undergo intensive neuro-diagnostics monitoring that includes long-term video EEG (electroencephalogram) recording to help CHOC specialists monitor patients around the clock to pinpoint exactly where and why the child is having seizures. CT scans and MRIs also are used.

According to Dr. Zupanc, the EMU at CHOC at Mission Hospital is for patients with lower-acuity epilepsy whose disorders generally are under control. Patients with more intractable epilepsy are treated at CHOC’s main campus in Orange, where they also undergo surgery if medication fails to control their seizures.

The EMUs provide the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy, says Dr. Zupanc.

Finding an answer

CHOC’s epilepsy program team consists of clinical and support staff, including epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, social workers, physical therapists, dietitians, nurses and nurse practitioners, child life specialists and case managers.

“Epilepsy provides multiple challenges for families,” says Dr. Zupanc. “And nobody wants to talk about epilepsy, because unfortunately there’s still a lot of stigma attached to the disorder.”

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person, over time, has repeated seizures, or episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention or behavior.  Although much more common than a disorder like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement, epilepsy has yet to be a primary focus of extensive attention and research, says Dr. Zupanc.

The epilepsy specialists at CHOC are determined to help change that.

Grace was diagnosed with so-called absence seizures, which usually last less than 30 seconds and start and end quickly. She was unaware of her seizures—which is common. Sometimes episodes of absence seizures are mistaken for inattentiveness, as was the case with Grace.  Sensing something wasn’t right, her kindergarten teacher called Grace’s mom.

“That’s when I knew I wasn’t imagining things—that I wasn’t crazy,” Debbie says.

Grace ended up in the care of the Neuroscience Institute in June 2011. An EEG detected abnormal activity in Grace’s brain, and she was put on medication.

The medication controlled her seizures, but Grace still was sleeping an abnormal amount, which is common for people with epilepsy. CHOC neurologist, Anjalee Galion, M.D., conducted a sleep study in Orange.

A positive place

Grace was among the first patients to stay in the new EMU at CHOC at Mission Hospital when admitted in January 2013.

Hospital volunteers kept Grace busy with crafts and activities. She even made a banana split. Therapy dogs also regularly visited her. A television and various electronic devices helped Grace pass the time.

“She would love to order food,” Debbie says. “with the room service and all the fun activities, it was almost like a hotel for kids”

CHOC epilepsy specialists still are working to determine what’s happening inside Grace’s brain. Recent tests have detected abnormal brain activity but no seizures, though Grace continues to sleep as much as 16 hours a day. Another sleep study at the EMU at CHOC at Mission Hospital is planned.

Says Debbie: “We’re going to keep digging. The doctors say that Grace is a unique patient. She doesn’t fit into a pretty box.”

But it sure is a gift, Debbie adds, that Grace, now 7, is being treated at CHOC.

“It’s been wonderful.”

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CHOC Mission: World Class Children’s Care

This article was featured in the Orange County Register on August 5, 2013 and was written by Shaleek Wilson. View the full feature article and more at choc.org/health.


A Special Place

“CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital is a unique little hospital,” says Dr. Goodman. Small in size, but big on comprehensive services for newborns to teenagers, it’s the only dedicated pediatric hospital in South Orange County. Housed on the fifth floor of Mission Hospital, CHOC’s world-class team treats everything from asthma attacks to injuries resulting from serious accidents.

Family First

CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital takes care of the whole family. Through its family-centered care approach to treatment and recovery, CHOC tends to the emotional and practical needs of caregivers so they can focus on their child feeling better. “We want to make them as comfortable as they can be for as long as they want to stay,” explains Dr. Goodman. Several amenities are offered to the families including the Ronald McDonald House Family room which includes computers, areas for resting and kitchenette.

Units of Care

In addition to its medical/surgical “unit,” the hospital has Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units. CHOC’s neonatal team treats Orange County’s littlest residents. The Pediatric ICU offers high-level care for children who suffer from critical illness or injuries such as an auto accident or near drowning.

How does CHOC Children’s at Mission help kids feel better?

“Hospitals can be a scary place for children,” says Dr. Goodman. From the colors on the walls to its commitment to respecting cultural backgrounds, CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital’s child life specialists help children cope by providing:

  • Books and video games
  • Dolls to explain medical treatments
  • Activities to help distract kids from painful procedures

Fast Facts

  • Population served by hospital: 1 Million
  • Total beds at CCMH: 54
  • Patients treated yearly: 2,400


Dr. Gary Goodman  Medical Director, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Dr. Gary Goodman
Medical Director, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit


Dr. Goodman specializes in pediatric critical care with expertise in the treatment of shock, RSV and traumatic brain injury. He served his fellowship at CHOC and completed both his residency and internship at UC Davis Medical Center.

Dr. Goodman’s philosophy of care: “I take great interest in making sure my patients and their families understand what we’re going to do [to make them better] and why.”

University of California, Irvine Medical School

Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

More about Dr. Goodman


Learn more about CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital.