What are you Thankful for this Thanksgiving?

ThanksgivingNot a day goes by that I am not grateful for CHOC Children’s, its doctors and nurses, and all my friends I’ve met there in the last 50 years.

But, as Thanksgiving approaches this week, I am feeling especially thankful that Orange County and neighboring areas have a premier children’s hospital right in their backyard. With two hospital campuses, the region’s only pediatric-dedicated emergency room, and a handful of specialty and primary clinics, CHOC Children’s is ready when you need them.

But, I am also thankful for other things. Like honey. Who’s with me? Tell me what else you’re thankful for this week. Post it in the comments section, or let me know on social media with the hashtag #thxCHOC.

And, of course, on behalf of all of my friends at CHOC, I wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving.

Traveling this Thanksgiving?

If so, you won’t be alone on the road — more than 43 million Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) projections.  It’s also estimated that most people drive rather than fly to their holiday destinations. While traveling can be a fun experience for the whole family, it can also pose some challenges if you don’t plan in advance, especially if you are traveling with little ones. Before you hit the road, make sure you check out these easy tips recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), to help ensure a smooth ride for everyone:

• Always use a car safety seat for infants and young children. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the car safety seat manufacturer. Once your child has outgrown the rear-facing height or weight limit, she should ride in a forward-facing car safety seat. Updated recommendations on safe travel can be found on the AAP parenting web site .

• Most rental car companies can arrange for a car safety seat if you are unable to bring yours along.
• A child who has outgrown her car safety seat with a harness (she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of the seat) should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age).
• All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles.
• Never place a rear-facing car safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an airbag.
• Set a good example by always wearing a seat belt, even in a taxi.
• Children often become restless or irritable when on a long road trip. Keep them occupied by pointing out interesting sights along the way and by bringing soft, lightweight toys and favorite music for a sing-along.
• Plan to stop driving and give yourself and your child a break about every two hours.
• Never leave your child alone in a car, even for a minute. Temperatures inside the car can reach deadly levels in minutes, and the child can die of heat stroke.
• Remember to bring water and snacks, child-safe hand wipes, diaper rash ointment, and a water- and insect-proof ground sheet for safe play outside.

For more information, including airplane safety tips, visit the AAP website and AAA website

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Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

Well, the holiday season is officially here! As you and your family get ready for Thanksgiving, keep in mind these helpful tips to get your kids involved, and to ensure you have a fun and healthy holiday.

Involve Kids In Preparing Dinner – They can…

• Help find items on the grocery list

• Help set the table

• Wash vegetables and fruits

• Help measure and mix ingredients

• Help make fun Thanksgiving decorations

• Help come up with games or activities for the other kids that may be visiting

Holiday Healthy Habits – To help keep you on track…

• Don’t forget breakfast!

• Don’t starve. Avoid trying to save your appetite for dinner or you will tend to overeat.

• Cook with natural ingredients.

• Cook healthier, low calorie seasonal vegetables such as squash, carrots, turnips, and pumpkins, for a nutrient packed dinner.

• Serve in smaller serving dishes to encourage smaller portions.

• Plan for leftovers to reduce the chance of over-eating.

• Drink plenty of water.

• Enjoy desserts however, slice them into thin slices if possible and use nonfat whipped cream.

• Most importantly, enjoy!

From our CHOC Family to yours, have a wonderful, healthy Thanksgiving holiday!

Related articles:

  • What we’re thankful for this year: 2020
    Despite the countless challenges brought on by 2020, the physicians, nurses, staff, patients and donors that make CHOC a world-class pediatric healthcare system have retained a sense of gratitude. Several ...
  • How to safely celebrate Thanksgiving during COVID-19
    As the holiday season approaches, and the community makes plans to observe traditions in a way that may look different from years past, CHOC experts provide the following recommendations for how ...
  • Planning for a smaller Thanksgiving this year
    By Stephanie Chang, clinical dietitian at CHOC  Thanksgiving is just around the corner and many of us are thinking about what we’re going to do for Thanksgiving 2020. You might be ...


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.