News from South Shore Health System

Four Reasons Your Child Needs the HPV Vaccine

As parents schedule their well-child visits, one vaccine that parents of older children have a lot of questions about is the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV causes more than 30,000 cases of cancer in the U.S. every year and is the primary cause of cervical cancer in women. It’s also a contributing cause to several other types of cancer in women and men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children receive the HPV vaccine around age 11 to ensure maximum effectiveness, but only around half of kids are actually getting the vaccine.

As a pediatrician, I talk to parents often about their concerns with the vaccine. It can make parents of preteens particularly uncomfortable to think about a vaccine that prevents against the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). But it’s critically important to your child’s health as he or she enters adulthood.

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Topics: Children's Health, Cancer

Sunscreen Tips for Children

Posted by Mairead Wilson, MD on Jul 31, 2017 7:54:00 AM

As we enter the dog days of summer, families across the South Shore are packing up the little ones and heading to the beaches, lakes and water parks. But there’s one item on the packing list that can cause confusion for parents of young children: Sunscreen.

Parents and grandparents know that keeping kids safe from the sun is important. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that even one blistering sunburn during childhood more than doubles a person’s risk for developing melanoma later in life. But with lots of conflicting information online about the best sunscreens for children, parents have a lot of questions. Here are a few we hear often.

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Topics: Children's Health

The Benefits of Cord Blood Banking and the Pros and Cons of Public and Private Banks

Being an expectant parent is a monumental experience, one that comes with a plethora of information and advice at your disposal. Like any new life-changing event, many first-time parents will add a host of parenting books to their home or tablet library and even participate in parenting education opportunities to prepare them for what lies ahead. While subjects such as birth outcomes and breastfeeding are common topics of interest, many parents go through pregnancy without ever learning information on the potential medical value of the stem cells in a baby’s umbilical cord blood.  

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Topics: Children's Health, Family Medicine, Women's Health, Pregnancy

Play it Safe: Four Ways to Prevent Facial Injuries

Posted by South Shore Health System on May 3, 2017 8:57:57 AM

Spring has certainly sprung and with the new season comes warmer weather, blooming flowers and spring sports. While youth sports like soccer and baseball are well-underway, spring training for fall sports like football are also in full bloom.

The CDC reports more than 2.6 million children are treated in emergency rooms each year for sports-related injuries, many of which are facial injuries.

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Topics: Children's Health, Exercise & Fitness

Should I Take My Child to the ED or Urgent Care?

What should you do and who should you call when when your child is sick or injured? This is a question faced every day by parents. Do I call the pediatrician? Do I bring my child to an urgent care facility? Should I go directly to the Emergency Department (ED) or call 911?

First of all, trust your instincts as a parent. If your child has what you think may be a life-threatening condition, then the ED is the place to be.

Examples include:

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Topics: Children's Health, Emergency Care

Ten Tips to Child-Proof Your Home for the Holidays

Posted by Gina Boutwell, MD, Pediatrician, South Shore Medical Center on Dec 14, 2016 10:37:09 AM


It’s that time of year again! The holidays have arrived and homes are decorated with Christmas trees, mistletoe, candles, menorahs and holiday mementos and ornaments. But it’s important to always think about how these items can turn into hazards for your children and young holiday guests.

Here are some ways in which you can balance a festive home with keeping everyone safe and happy this time of year:

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Topics: Children's Health, Family Medicine

Seven Tips to Prevent Ear Infections in Children

If you’re the parent of a baby or young child, you know the signs: fussiness, cold-like symptoms, fever, sleeplessness, poor feeding, and ear pain. Ear infections are one of the most common ailments in babies and young children. In fact, nearly 80 percent of children under the age of two will have at least one ear infection annually, and most will have repeated infections. Besides causing your child to feel miserable, ear infections lead to the use of repeated antibiotics and can affect hearing and balance.

What Causes Ear Infections?
Before we talk prevention, it’s important to understand what causes ear infections.

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Topics: Children's Health

The Hidden Impact of Concussions in Children

Posted by South Shore Health System on Oct 20, 2016 8:03:00 AM

Though concussions can happen at any age, it is estimated that more than three million children, aged 18 and younger, sustain a traumatic brain injury each year—80 to 90 percent of which are mild. The rise in high-impact youth sports has made our children more susceptible to head injuries and brain trauma than ever before. While it has been a hot topic of conversation in recent days with regard to professional athletes, concussions are a concern for players at both the professional and student athlete level. In fact, any head impact on or off the field that causes trauma to the brain can result in a concussion.

What is a Concussion?

The term concussion is used interchangeably with the term mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

A mild TBI or concussion is a disruption in the function of the brain as a result of a forceful blow to the head, either direct (such as hitting your head on or against something); or indirect (such as whiplash).

The impact causes the brain to shuffle back and forth within the skull.

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Topics: As One, Children's Health, Neurology

No More Flu Mist and Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of Shots

Posted by South Shore Health System on Oct 14, 2016 10:46:27 AM


So Long, FluMist®? The sigh of relief parents had in the past during flu season because of the nasal spray alternative to a shot has turned instead to a collective wince for the upcoming season. While the nasal spray (marketed under the name FluMist®) accounted for more than a third of all influenza vaccines given to children last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics has joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recommending against the nasal spray vaccine this flu season.

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Topics: As One, Children's Health, Family Medicine

Tips to Limit Added Sugar from Your Child’s Diet

It’s a fact of life for parents—kids love sweets! And it can be tough to say no—especially around special occasions (Birthday Cake!) and holidays (Trick or Treat!) when it seems sugar is everywhere. But the fact is that “added sugar” in everyday foods is the real problem.  Studies show excess sugar consumption can increase the risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and dental cavities for kids.

Food labels are evolving to more accurately reflect the sugar in foods, but it can still be confusing.

Here are a few tips on spotting the sugar, and ways in which you can reduce your kids’ sugar intake without trading those treats.

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Topics: Children's Health, Nutrition