Claire McCarthy, MD

Claire McCarthy, MD, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition to being a faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. McCarthy writes about health and parenting for Boston Children's Hospital, Boston.com, and the Huffington Post.


Posts by Claire McCarthy, MD

AFM: The scary polio-like illness

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is an illness with symptoms that are somewhat similar to polio — weakness and loss of muscle tone in the arms and legs — but with an unknown cause. AFM is more common in children and emerges suddenly, but there is no known treatment or cure.

What parents need to know — and do — about e-cigarettes

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The rising use of e-cigarettes among adolescents is worrisome, because they still contain nicotine and because using them increases the likelihood of later tobacco use. Parents should educate themselves about these devices and the risks they pose.

How to have a safe Halloween

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As Halloween approaches, safety concerns should be on all parents’ minds. These tips and suggestions will help your kids and your trick-or-treating visitors have a safe and fun Halloween.

The real link between breastfeeding and preventing obesity

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Research into the connection between breastfeeding and obesity in children found that babies who got milk directly from the mother’s breast for the first three months of life had the lowest risk of becoming obese, because they are less likely to overfeed.

Concussion care for children and adolescents: New recommendations

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The ongoing concern about the effects of concussions has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to evaluate research and issue concussion recommendations intended to guide parents, coaches, and doctors in concussion care.

Could household disinfectants be making our children fat?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Not all bacteria are harmful; our digestive tracts contain bacteria that help keep us healthy. Researchers from Canada found that in homes where disinfectant household products were used, children were more likely to be overweight or obese at age 3.

Parents: Don’t use a baby walker

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

While it may be tempting to put a baby in a moving walker, the devices have led to thousands of injuries over the past three decades, plus they do not help babies learn to walk but in fact hinder that process.

Naps: Make the most of them and know when to stop them

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As babies become toddlers, when they need to nap and for how long evolves, so parents and caregivers need to know how to handle the changes, as well as how to know when naps are no longer needed.

Why pregnant and nursing mothers shouldn’t smoke marijuana

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The number of pregnant women who use marijuana has risen in recent years, but the effects of THC on a child’s developing brain make it much safer for women to avoid marijuana use entirely during pregnancy and while nursing.

Meningitis vaccines: What parents need to know

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Most people who get viral meningitis get better without treatment, but bacterial meningitis is much more serious, and can be fatal. Meningitis vaccines can help protect against the most common bacteria responsible; two are given in infancy, and the third should be given before adolescence.