Susanna Block MD

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Laundry detergent pods still making kids sick

August 24, 2016

Laundry detergent pods have been on the market in the U.S. for the past four years, but they continue to pose a danger to children, this despite repeated warnings about how sick kids can get if they swallow or chew on pods.

New recommendations for children's screen time and media usage

November 05, 2014
Screen time is a hot topic for parents, especially in our tech-savvy part of the world. In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics addressed the subject of screen time and recommended no more than 2 hours of screen time per day and none for children under 2 years of age . The world has changed considerably since 2001 and screens are more prevalent than ever. Recent surveys suggest that the average child in the US actually spends about 5 hours per day in front of a screen. Recent data (2013) suggest that the average 8 year old spends up to 8 hours per day in front of a screen. Some teens spend up to 11 hours per day in front of a screen. This is not a surprise since 75% of teens have their own phones and most teens text. The average teen sends 3,364 texts per month.

The changing world of media has prompted new recommendations with the hope of fostering a healthy approach to media. New ...

Putting the science into action: helping children benefit from reading

October 29, 2014
It is astonishing to me how important it is to read to children from an early age. Research tells us there are short term and long lasting benefits from exposing children to books and language from the beginning. In an exciting progression, the idea of early literacy has moved from academia to policy. Supporting parent engagement and early literacy programs is a core part of Washington’s Early Learning System.

Early literacy does not mean early reading. Early literacy emphasizes positive exposure to a literacy-rich environment. Many important reading concepts begin before kindergarten. Studies show us that a child’s early literacy environment (age 0-3) plays a crucial role in school success and reading ability. Children enter kindergarten with different knowledge levels. Those who enter with the least knowledge of beginning reading skills are at academic risk.

The benefits of early literacy do not stop at kindergarten; it continues throughout the school years. Frequen...

What you should know about influenza or flu vaccines

November 04, 2013

Influenza or the “flu” is a contagious viral disease that occurs every winter in the US from October to May.  While anyone can get a “flu” infection, some people are especially vulnerable and at risk for severe disease.  Each year thousands of people die from influenza infections and many more are hospitalized.  Getting your annual flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu and its complications.

The influenza virus is spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact.  The symptoms can occur quite suddenly. Typical symptoms are high fevers and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny nose.  Although anyone can get the flu, children, people over 65 years old, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions are at risk for severe disease and complication. 

The flu virus is always changing. Each year the flu vaccine is made to protect from the virus strains most likely to cause disease. ...