Parenting

Teen drug use is down: Better parenting, or more smartphones?

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Data from an annual survey show that use of illicit drugs among teenagers is in decline, and has been for some time. It’s possible that this can be partially attributed to the popularity of smartphones.

Is ADHD overdiagnosed and overtreated?

Updates in Slow Medicine
Updates in Slow Medicine, Contributing Editors

As the percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased in recent years, a new book delves into the connections between pharmaceutical companies and medical experts, and how these relate to rates of diagnosis.

Parents: Call the doctor right away for these 4 symptoms

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Most parents know when their child needs to be seen by a medical professional, but certain symptoms should be considered warning signs that require immediate attention. If your child perks up, or stops crying, or otherwise looks completely fine once you see a doctor, don’t feel silly. These symptoms terrify doctors, so it’s always better to be safe than very, very sorry.

Parents: As more states legalize marijuana, here’s what you need to know and do

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

As marijuana becomes legal or is decriminalized in more states, teens are less likely to view its use as risky, so parents need to talk with their children about safety, especially if they use it themselves.

2017 update to the immunization schedule for kids

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

The CDC and the AAP update their vaccine recommendations every year, and here are the latest changes. These updates show just how important it is to stay on top of research and help increase the effectiveness of each vaccine. The schedule for routine immunizations and catching up kids who get behind can be found on the CDC and AAP websites if you’d like more information.

Postpartum depression: The worst kept secret

Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor

Postpartum depression carries an unfortunate stigma, as symptoms of depression affect nearly 20% of new mothers. Early detection is key to ensure the best health for not just women, but for their new infants and family members as well. Once diagnosed, there are several treatment options that can support new mothers during a time that can be both joyous and challenging.

The 4 symptoms that mean your child must stay home from school or daycare

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Children get sick, and when it happens parents have to decide whether or not to keep their kid home from school or daycare. Certain symptoms are signs that a child should definitely stay home. If you’re really not sure, your doctor can help guide your decision. To help your child recover, and prevent spreading illness to others, better safe than sorry.

What parents need to know about baby monitoring apps

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Smartphone apps claim to help parents monitor their babies, but there is no evidence that using any app will help keep babies safer. More importantly, it’s vital for new parents need to spend time observing their babies in person, in order to learn their range of behaviors. Technology can definitely help make life safer and better. But it’s important to be really thoughtful and careful in how we choose and use technology when it comes to the health and safety of our children.

Why medical experts say that teens should be allowed to make the abortion decision without telling their parents

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

The belief that teens should have the right to an abortion without parental knowledge or consent is supported by a group of medical associations, and is based primarily on concerns about safety and the medical consequences of requiring that parents be informed.

New guidelines for preventing peanut allergy in babies

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

New guidelines to prevent peanut allergies in children involve careful exposure to peanut products. Experts identify three levels of “allergy risk.” The safest approach to exposure depends on which category a baby is in. It is always important to discuss this with your doctor before introducing peanut products. Some babies may need allergy testing before trying this. No matter the strategy, parents need to remember that peanuts are a choking hazard for young children and many babies have trouble managing peanut butter, so it needs to be used carefully.