Checking your child’s vision is an important part of a well child visit.  We always want to identify children who need glasses as early as possible.  However, did you know there is an eye disease that can cause permanent vision loss if not caught and treated as early as possible?  That disease is called amblyopia.

Amblyopia is a disease where the eye fails to work properly with the brain.  Treatment requires the brain to be trained to work effectively with the eye.  Once a child reaches the age of five it is more difficult to treat and can make the vision loss permanent. 

The challenge is working with younger kids to assess vision problems.  It can be tough and time consuming.  Children do not always follow instruction enough to tell us if they can see the pictures or not during a routine eye chart exam.  Therefore, identifying vision problems in very young children can be a hit or miss.

Our pediatric practice has always had a focus on reading.  Not only is it important to encourage your children to read age-appropriate books, but it is also very important to start reading to your children as soon as birth.  By listening to the stories you read, children hear a wide variety of words and this helps kids begin to formulate their own vocabularies.
I found this interesting study that was conducted by Dr. John Hutton, who is a  researcher and pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital with a special interest in "emergent literacy" — the process of learning to read.  This research is very exciting and it proves what we have known all along.  When it comes to activating a child’s imagination and learning centers in the brain,  there simply is no substitute for reading to children. 
Dr. Ellen Glotzbach

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From the National Fire Protection Association –

Fireworks are often used to mark special events and holidays. However, they are not safe in the hands of consumers. Fireworks cause thousands of burns and eye injuries each year. People can enjoy fireworks safely if they follow a few simple safety tips:

  • Be safe. If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show put on by experts.
  • Do not use consumer fireworks.
  • Keep a close eye on children at events where fireworks are used.

See the complete NFPA flyer here

Children’s Mercy – Cradle Thru College Care believes in and offers the Gardasil® vaccine for both boys and girls entering their teen years.  For those of you with concerns about efficacy or side effects, a new review shows there is no evidence found of any serious short or long term safety issues.  Please see article from Tara Haelle of Forbes magazine.

Bike safety is a very important topic at this time of year. As many as 25 injuries an hour are seen in ERs across the country due to bicycle injuries. Wearing a helmet can drastically decrease the risk of head injury.

How can you encourage your children to wear their helmets? Start requiring that they wear it from the very beginning, with tricycles. Also, let them pick it out at the store themselves. They will be more likely to wear it if they get to select it. Lastly, if they see other adults (especially their parents and family members) wearing their helmets, children will be more likely to wear their own.
Click here for more information regarding how to buy a helmet and make sure it fits properly.

Scholastic’s Parent & Child 100 Greatest Books for Kids counts down the 100 Greatest Books using an interactive bookshelf. Engage with your kids by reading the 100 Greatest Books together! Click here to start reading!

As we head into the summer solstice and enjoy our warm weather activities such as boating and swimming, I want to remind everyone the importance of skin and eye protection.  There is some excellent information on  I have summarized some tips below along with links for extra information.
Children under age 10 are at a high risk for skin and eye damage from UVR (ultraviolet radiation.) The skin on their eyelids and around their eyes is more delicate and vulnerable than adult skin. "And until about age 10, the lens of a child's eye is clear, allowing greater solar penetration and thus greater UVR-induced ocular changes," explains Adelaide A. Hebert, MD, professor and vice chair of dermatology, University of Houston. "After that, the lens starts to become more opaque, providing better protection." Please click here for a guide on purchasing sunglasses for your child.
Believe it or not, our first line of defense against the sun is our clothing!  It protects us by absorbing or blocking much the sun’s harmful rays. The more skin you cover, the better. A long-sleeved shirt covers more skin than a t-shirt, and likewise, long pants protect more skin than shorts.  UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It indicates what fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can penetrate the fabric. A shirt with a UPF of 50, for example, allows just 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin.  A wide brimmed hat, over 3 inch brim, is also a good way to protect your face.  Click here to read more on clothing for the sun.

Coloring.WS offers hundreds of free coloring pages to download. Click here to start coloring!

Children’s Mercy – Cradle Thru College Care
1004 Carondelet Drive, Suite 310  •  Kansas City, Missouri 64114  •  816-942-KIDS (5437)  •  Fax 816-942-4830