An Apple a Day…

County pediatricians give their best advice to keep kids out of their offices.



“Get sleep! The health benefits of a good night’s sleep are clear. It’s amazing how many children—and parents!—are chronically sleep-deprived, so they’re tired, cranky, easily frustrated, and even more sickly.”
Mary Versfelt, MD, Rye Brook

■ “Besides a balanced diet, adequate sleep, exercise, a creative outlet, a passion, and strong interaction with a peer group, in Westchester today, I emphasize the importance of a nightly tick check, hand washing, and sun protection.” 
Marc D. Wager, MD
Pediatric Group of New Rochelle

■ “Adequate sleep is essential. Almost every physical and psychological problem is made worse by lack of sleep. It has been associated with decreased resistance to infection, increased eating and obesity, poor concentration and school performance, and depression. Older kids may also be more accident-prone. Sleep time is not optional. It must be scheduled into your child’s day first, and then other activities arranged around it. “
Jeffrey L. Brown, MD
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, New York Medical College
Pediatric Associates, PC, Rye Brook

■ “Wean your baby from the bottle by twelve to fifteen months of age. Prolonged milk bottle feeding has long been associated with iron-deficiency anemia, cavities, and poor nutrition. During my first few years of practice, I discovered that many parents had difficulty weaning their toddlers off the milk bottle. So this is the advice I give: at four months, do not give any juice—it has very little nutritional value; at eight months, start putting formula in a sippy or ‘training,’ cup. Almost always, infants at nine months are able to take formula both from a cup and from a bottle. Then it is easy for a parent to start the weaning process from the bottle to the cup with formula.”
Vito Sessa, MD
WESTMED Medical Group, White Plains

■ “Everyone in Westchester should be concerned about tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease. The best ways to avoid getting
bitten by a tick are to stay out of the woods, wear protective clothing during hikes, and sparingly apply a DEET-containing insect repellent to exposed skin areas, being careful to avoid the face and hands. However, the best way to prevent Lyme disease is to not allow a tick to remain on your child’s body for longer than twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Each night at bath time, check your child from head to toe—don’t forget the scalp—for ticks. A wet, soapy gauze or washcloth rubbed counter clockwise over the tick is a good trick for removal if you do find one.”
Lauren Adler, MD
Westchester Health Associates, an affiliate of The Mount Sinai Medical Center, Mount Kisco

 
■ “The most practical advice is thorough hand washing: not two seconds’ worth, but the time it takes you to sing—to yourself—the entire song ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ or ‘Happy Birthday.’ Wash your hands before eating, after blowing your nose, after going to the bathroom, after being out in crowds. Also, if anyone in the household is ill, ask them to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow.”
Deborah Scheinthal, DO
WESTMED Medical Group, White Plains

■ “Have your kids drink more water and watch their sodium intake. We’ve seen quite an increase in the number of kidney stones in the last decade among children and adolescents. Our treatment for kidney stones is to drink as much water as you can tolerate. The phrase that I’ve always used is, ‘The solution to pollution is dilution,’ pollution being too many unwanted chemicals in the urine and dilution meaning that your urine should be as clear as water. I tell kids, ‘If you see your pee starting to look yellow, you better drink more water.’ If you are drinking enough water, then you should be urinating every few hours, and your urine should be clear.”
Robert Weiss, MD
Chief, Pediatric Nephrology
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center