There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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As a pediatrician I was the lady with the needle. Even if the nurse actually gave the shot it didn’t take long before the kiddies figured out I was the decider: a shot today or no shot.

We did all we could to make it easy for the child. Everything was ready so the process was quick. We asked the mother to hold the child with a nurse to help with a squirmer. We never said this is not going to hurt, rather this will only hurt for a second. When I started out we always had a lollipop ready but when the dental lobby got stronger we switched to stickers.

Some children don’t want to go to the doctor because they fear they will get a shot but most of them protest for a bit, scream loudly when they are invaded by the needle, and get over it quick


Today it is parents who fear vaccinations. I applaud parents who keep themselves informed about health and environmental matters that could affect their children. It’s the responsible thing to do.

But with zillions of new information bytes appearing on the internet every day, and because anyone can say virtually anything on line, it’s hard to sort fact from fiction, science from opinion, cause from correlation, truth from lies.

There have been several areas of parental concerns. The biggest and most vocal opposition to vaccination comes from parents of autistic children. The fear that vaccinations can cause autism arose from the apparent increase in the number of autistic spectrum disorder cases coupled with concern that exposure to thimerosal used as a preservative explains the increase. In addition, parents question the need for the number of immunizations, wonder why immunizations are given to babies when they are so young and why they are not spread out over a longer period of time.

There has been no scientific evidence to support a causal relationship between autism and administration of vaccines with or without thimerosal. You can read about this for yourself on the CDC website.

The reason the current recommended number of immunizations is recommended for babies starting at a young age is to prevent infection from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. that

can make babies very sick or even kill them. I have never seen a case of diphtheria but my grandfather told me he became a pharmacist because he watched his young brother die, choking from the diphtheritic membrane in his throat, and resolved to grow up to make medicines available to children.

Young babies need to be immunized before they can be exposed to the germs that cause these 14 diseases. Especially important today because child care and travel mean more possible exposure.

The H1N1 epidemic which especially affects children has brought the vaccine question to a new head. Many parents say they will not vaccinate their child against H1N1 because they have concerns about the safety of a “new” vaccine. But the H1N1 vaccine is made the way seasonal flu vaccines have been made all along, using new strains as they appear. This year H1N1 is a new strain.


Yes, doctors worry about their children. Believe it or not, we probably worry more than you do because we know about all the things that can go wrong between conception and adulthood.

How do we decide about immunizing our own children? The same way you do. We get the best information we can from the child’s pediatrician and the medical literature and we make an INFORMED DECISION. We, along with the child’s doctor, weigh the risks against the benefits of every preventive or therapeutic process and use the best science interpreted by the best medical and scientific minds to help us make up our minds. We do not make the decision ourselves. We ask the child’s doctor.

What doctors do is what I advise you to do. It’s a simple three-part plan. Find a doctor you respect and trust. Ask this doctor about any possibly controversial issue like a new vaccine. Ask this doctor what he or she would do in the case of his or her own child.

My twin grandchildren stood in line with their mother, also a physician, as soon as the H1N1 vaccine became available in their community so they have been vaccinated against H1N1. Their pediatrician, Mom, and Grandmother all agreed the risk of catching this novel flu far outweighed any possible vaccine risk..