Author: Claire McCarthy

Ten reasons to call the pediatrician about a cough

coughs-children

Every child gets a cough from time to time; there’s really no escaping them. It’s completely normal for children to catch several colds a year, especially if they are in daycare or go to school, and common allergies can cause a cough too.

Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. Most of the time, some rest, plenty of fluids, honey (for children over a year old) and some patience and TLC do the trick. But sometimes, it’s important to call the doctor. Here’s when you should worry about a cough:

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The only kids who need vitamins (spoiler alert: there aren’t many)

Gummy vitamins for children.

As a pediatrician, I get a lot of questions whether their children should take a multivitamin or other vitamin supplement. Parents think they will make their children healthier — and some think they will make them eat more (they don’t, sorry). Since our bodies need different vitamins to be healthy, they ask,

Should I give my child a multivitamin?

Not necessarily, actually. It turns out that most children don’t need them, making them an expensive waste of money. They can also be dangerous if children take too many, something that is very possible given that most chewable multivitamins for children taste like candy. And giving a vitamin can give families a false sense of security that their child is getting everything they need — when they aren’t.

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Four things you might not know about fever

4 things to know about fever in children.

Of everything we pediatricians get called about, I think that fever is the most common. Which isn’t surprising, given that fever can be a sign of illness. But despite the fact that it is so common, fever is often misunderstood — and often frightens people more than it should. Here are four things all parents should know about fever.

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Parenting in the age of fake news: 5 things you can start doing today

Fake or real news?

When I was in 7th grade, we did a unit in English class about how to read the newspaper. We learned where the most important stories were placed (to the right) and about how the stories were written so that the most important points were covered first (before the reader lost interest).

They didn’t teach us how to figure out if the stories were true, because back then it just didn’t occur to us that anyone would publish fake news. Now, it happens all the time.

It’s not that there have never been untrue stories published. But with the rise of the Internet, where anybody can post anything — and in an age when, in the race to present new content on a 24/7 news cycle, fact-checking doesn’t always happen — the number of fake stories has skyrocketed.

As if parenting weren’t hard enough these days, parents now have a new task: to teach their children to be savvy consumers of news. This is very important; if the next generation can’t tell fact from fiction when it comes to news, the future of our country and world could be in real jeopardy.

Here are five suggestions for giving children the skills they need to navigate the new reality of news:

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