Busting Myths: Breastfeeding as a working mom

You’ve heard about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. You know breast milk is best for your baby (the antibodies!). But let’s face it, returning to work after weeks of cozy breastfeeding sessions creates a lot of anxiety and pressure (pun intended) for mom. There’s so much information out there online and from every woman you know that’s ever had a baby. We’re here to breakdown some of the most common concerns around returning to work and continuing to provide breastmilk for your baby. Read on to learn how some common myths around breastfeeding while working are, well, busted.

Myth: Nursing less often will create more milk when I do nurse.
Actually, the more you nurse (or pump), the more milk you will produce. Your body is creating your milk supply based on demand. Feed your baby when they ask (in their own way), and your body will produce the milk they need. If you are returning to work, this will help in ensuring you are producing what your baby needs while pumping.

Myth: My baby won’t breastfeed once they get used to bottles.
You will always be your baby’s favorite way to get their milk. When your baby is with you, they will expect to be breastfeed. If your baby has a predictable feeding schedule, when you return to work ask your caregiver to hold-off on giving them a bottle close to your arrival, so you can breastfeed your baby when you return home. Also, be sure you drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Staying hydrated is important in general, but especially while breastfeeding.

Myth: I need a freezer full of milk to return to work.
Just when a new mom or dad feels like they are adjusting to life as parents, it’s typically time to return to work. For a mother who is breastfeeding, this transition can be especially difficult. A few weeks before your re-entry into the working world, start mixing some pumping and bottle feeding into your baby’s routine. This will help in two ways; your baby will get some practice with and be more willing to take a bottle and you will have some milk stored for backup. We recommend a minimum supply of two days’ worth of breastmilk for a smooth transition. As you pump at work, you will get into a rhythm of producing what your little one needs. You don’t need a freezer stocked full of milk in order to return to work.

Myth: I can’t breastfeed and pump at the same time.
There’s a balance between pumping and breastfeeding. Once you find it, your body will respond and produce the milk required. To start working pumping into your feeding schedule, pump between breastfeeding your baby. Pump about an hour AFTER you feed, and at least an hour BEFORE your baby’s next feeding. If you are returning to work, take note of when your baby typically eats, and pump based on that schedule. Continue to demand milk consistently and your body will get the signal to produce enough breast milk for your little one.

Myth: I will have to stop breastfeeding when I return to work.
Every mother has a legal right to take breaks from work to pump. That said, many women may still be anxious about taking this time. While you are pregnant and before you go on maternity leave, chat with your boss about a pumping schedule. That way, your boss will know what to expect upon your return and you will have some peace of mind knowing there is a plan in place to ensure you can continue to provide breast milk for your baby. Also, be sure to understand the accommodations available to you in the work place for pumping. Where is the room? Where will you store the milk you pump throughout the day? To get your questions answered, chat with a human resources rep or a colleague that recently transitioned from maternity leave and pumped at your office, to get your questions answered.

Myth: I won’t be successful at work if I have to stop and pump.
For a mother that wants to continue providing breast milk for her baby, taking the time to pump will create peace of mind, and allow you to be more focused when at your desk. You may even want to use the time you spend pumping to catch up on some emails, or read through an article or report that you can’t seem to work into your day while sitting at your desk. Some of your colleagues will understand when you excuse yourself a few times a day to pump, and others may not. The fact is, it’s your right to take time to pump during the work day, so try to focus on your baby and not the opinions of those around you. If you have concerns, talk to a manager or supervisor.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to take care of your baby, but it can be a struggle too. If you are feeling stressed about producing milk for your baby, make an appointment to chat with a provider. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to breastfeeding, and they can provide the support you need as you work through challenges that come with being a new mom.

Originally Posted August 2019


Did you know Trinity Health IHA Medical Group offers Breastfeeding Medicine? While breast milk is felt to be nature’s first food, breastfeeding does not always come naturally. Breastfeeding is a physiological process that involves both the mother and baby. We provide specialized breastfeeding care for both mother and baby. Learn more below.

How to Meet Your Goals with Behavioral Activation

Elise McNulty, LMSW

For me, the month of May means two things:  1.  May is Mental Health Awareness month, and 2. it’s finally spring in Michigan.  The flowers are starting to bloom, the grass is growing, and the sun is finally starting to show more of itself.  For a lot of us, this is not only a reminder of how much we have missed the sun, but also how different we feel during the winter season here in Michigan.  It is not uncommon to feel tired, sluggish, de-motivated, and overall, down during the colder and darker months (if these symptoms feel overwhelming or severe or long lasting, you should reach out to your health care provider to start a conversation).  The nicer weather often brings with it a desire to get out and increase your activity or get back to things that you might normally enjoy doing.  But even with that desire, it can be hard to know where to begin and we often get overwhelmed or intimidated before we can start.  We know that exercise, activity and doing things we enjoy are helpful for our moods, and our overall health, so how do we get back to those things after a pause?

When we are low in mood, energy and or motivation, we might find it difficult to carry out everyday tasks and activities. We find ourselves withdrawing from and avoiding these activities.  The longer we avoid or withdraw from activity, the harder it becomes to find that routine again, and the worse we may feel about it. 

Behavioral Activation is an approach that involves using our behaviors to influence our emotional state. Often our brains think in a way that tells us “When I am feeling better or feeling ready, I will get back to doing those things”.  Behavioral Activation (BA) tells us “I will get back to the things that make me feel good, so that I can feel better”. Behavioral health clinicians often use this with clients who suffer from a mood disorder and are not able to do the things they would normally enjoy. The idea behind BA is to start with very tiny baby steps and work your way up.  We know that this works with not only getting back to things that we enjoy doing, but also stressful or unpleasant things that we need to do like getting caught up on laundry or paying the bills.  The reason BA works is because it helps us to tap into our emotional reward center and use that as a drive to continue.  

For example:

When I avoid doing anything with the baskets of laundry because I don’t have the energy or motivation to get it done, the baskets of laundry pile up, the task feels overwhelming, and I feel bad about myself for avoiding this task.  This creates a lower mood and negative feedback loop, and the task becomes more and more difficult to face. 

When I tackle the overflowing baskets of laundry by doing 5 minutes of folding laundry per day, not only am I working towards my goal in a more manageable way, but my brain sees it as completing something, which provides a positive feed back loop.  I want to keep doing it because it feels manageable and rewarding. 

How can you apply this to the things YOU want or need to do?

  1.  Identify the activity or task
  2. Find an accountability partner
    • This person could be your spouse, partner, coworker, friend, neighbor, anyone!
  3. Set a plan for baby steps
    • Start with something you feel overconfident about being able to complete/ This might mean doing laundry for 5 minutes a day, 1 minute of stretching in the morning, a walk at lunch one day a week, etc.  Goals do not have to be scary or overwhelming to be worthwhile!
  4. Write down the plan and be very specific. 
    • What day are you going to do it, how long will you do it for, what time will you start and stop?
  5. Get to work! 
    • Follow-through with your plan and be observant about how you feel during and after completing the activity.
  6. As you move through this and begin to feel you are making progress, you can increase the duration of the activity as tolerated.  If it gets overwhelming, or something gets in the way (and it’s okay if it does) go back a step or start over. 

Choose goals from both categories: Things I want to do that are good for me, things I need to do to maintain responsibilities.  When we are getting things done, and taking care of ourselves, it’s a win all around.


Did you know our Collaborative Care Behavioral Health Program is available through many primary care locations? Ask your primary care provider if a referral is right for you.

Resources:

Trinity Health Michigan Unites Under One Brand


Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Mercy Health, IHA and
Mercy Health Physician Partners Adopt Trinity Health Name and Logo

CANTON, Mich. (April 13, 2022) – Trinity Health Michigan will rebrand eight hospitals and hundreds of care sites in Michigan to build recognition, trust and pride under the shared identity of Trinity Health.

Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, along with their employed medical groups IHA and Mercy Health Physician Partners, will adopt the Trinity Health name and logo. Included in the rebrand are 22 senior living communities, three home health agencies, MercyElite Sports Performance and Probility Physical Therapy.

“As members of Trinity Health for 22 years, we are transforming our identity to assert our presence as one of Michigan’s largest health care systems, with a singular commitment to keeping our patients at the center of everything we do,” said Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan and Southeast Regions.  “We are peeling back the layers to reveal a unified organization with a shared legacy and mission of service to the communities we’re honored to serve.”

Trinity Health is one of the largest not-for-profit, Catholic health systems in the nation. It is a family of 115,000 colleagues and nearly 26,000 physicians and clinicians caring for diverse communities across 25 states. Nationally recognized for its care and experience, the consolidation of individual Michigan brands as part of the unified national brand identity will enable stronger care coordination, increased visibility, less costly duplication, more effective nurse and physician recruitment, enhanced advocacy efforts, and new growth and development.

Casalou revealed the new brand identity in a video message to the community.  In coordination with the announcement, a new “We are Trinity Health” multimedia campaign will launch this week with a 30-second commercial.

The unified brand ensures patients and communities that their local doctors and services are connected to an expansive network of clinical experts, research, clinical trials, specialty care centers and leading technologies.

“Patients will continue to see the same doctors and providers they know and trust, backed by our specialists across Trinity Health who are committed to compassionate and high-quality care personalized to individual needs,” said Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, PhD, MD, chief clinical officer of Trinity Health Michigan.

The first hospitals to unveil the new signage were Trinity Health Muskegon (formerly Mercy Health Muskegon) and Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.  Signage replacements for remaining hospital campuses will occur in phases over the next eight months, followed by interior signage and printed materials through 2023.

In most cases, legacy names will be featured on new signs to help patients and visitors become familiar with the new brand. Chelsea Hospital, a joint venture between Trinity Health and U of M Health, will feature the logos of both systems.

Current NameNew Name
Mercy Health Saint Mary’sTrinity Health Saint Mary’s, Grand Rapids
Mercy Health MuskegonTrinity Health Muskegon
Mercy Health LakeshoreTrinity Health Shelby
St. Joseph Mercy Ann ArborTrinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
St. Joseph Mercy LivingstonTrinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Livingston
St. Joseph Mercy OaklandTrinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
St. Mary Mercy LivoniaTrinity Health St. Mary Mercy Livonia
St. Joseph Mercy ChelseaChelsea Hospital
IHATrinity Health IHA Medical Group
Mercy Health Physician PartnersTrinity Health Medical Group
St. Joseph Mercy Home Care and HospiceTrinity Health At Home – Southeast Michigan
Mercy Health VNSTrinity Health At Home – Muskegon
Mercy Health Home CareTrinity Health At Home – Grand Rapids
MercyEliteTrinityElite Sports Performance
Probility Physical TherapyTrinity Health Probility Physical Therapy

During the transition, facilities will be good stewards of their resources by retrofitting campus signage and using existing printed materials.  This thoughtful approach will help reduce costs, preserve the environment, and prepare for the arrival of newly branded Trinity Health materials.  As a result, community members may see either legacy logosor the Trinity Health logo on billing statements, signs, and patient materials.  Once the process is complete, the legacy names of St. Joe’s and Mercy Health hospitals will be retired.

“We are excited to move forward into a new era as one organization while honoring our dynamic and inclusive care teams, Catholic healing ministry, and deep community roots,” Casalou said.

Learn more about the rebrand at www.trinityhealthmichigan.org.

###

Contact:
Bobby Maldonado
248-858-6662
Bobby.Maldonado@stjoeshealth.org

About Trinity Health Michigan

Trinity Health Michigan is a leading health care provider and one of the state’s largest employers. With more than 24,000 full-time employees serving 29 counties, Trinity Health Michigan is composed of eight hospitals located in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Grand Rapids, Howell, Livonia, Muskegon, Pontiac and Shelby. The health system has 2,233 beds and 5,290 physicians and advanced practice providers. With operating revenues of $4.1 billion, Trinity Health Michigan returns $175.6 million back to their local communities each year. Together with numerous ambulatory care locations, three home health and hospice agencies and 22 senior living communities owned and/or operated by Trinity Health, Trinity Health Michigan provides the full continuum of care for Michigan residents.

Spring Forward

Adjusting your mind and body to the time change

This weekend, we will all adjust our clocks and spring forward, but chances are, no one will be springing anywhere for a few days. Losing an hour of sleep can really throw off your sleep cycle leaving you groggy, tired and most likely running late. Plus, the darker morning tricks your body into thinking it’s not actually time to wake up. Luckily, it only takes a day or two to adjust your internal clock to the new schedule. Although short, those couple days can be rough, so we pulled together some quick tips to get through daylight savings.

Clear your mornings.

The Monday after springing forward can be brutal. Maybe Tuesday, too. It’s no small task to get up and going on an hour less sleep, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be running late. If possible, block your morning schedule, so you can ease into the day rather than rushing through the morning. If working from home is an option, this would be a great day to do it.

Eat to sleep.

Avoid foods and beverages that interfere with your sleep. About four to six hours before bedtime say no to sugar, alcohol and caffeine.

Go into the light!

Light suppresses the secretion of sleep-inducing melatonin. Exposing yourself to sunlight will help with the adjustment to the time change. Open the blinds and curtains! Let the natural light in!

Conversely, when it’s time for sleep, do not expose yourself to light. If you get up at night to go to the bathroom, use a nightlight rather than turning on the lights.

Turn-off when you turn-in.

Help your body adjust to the time change, by getting good sleep. Get your mind and body ready to snooze by turning your devices off. Laying in bed on your phone or tablet stimulates your body and brain. Read a book instead, take a warm bath, listen to calming music, pick-up an eye mask – whatever you find helpful in falling to sleep.

Take your hour back.

Allow yourself some extra time leading up to the time change and try to go to bed early to make up for the hour you are about to lose. Making-up for the lost time, ahead of time, can help your body transition into daylight savings.

Practice Safe Sleep

Safe sleep guidelines for parents of infants.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there has been a major reduction in the number of baby deaths during sleep since the recommendation to place babies on their back to sleep was introduced in the 1990s. Today, there are a number of additional safe sleep practices to keep sleeping babies safe and sound. Read on for the latest guidelines for infant safe sleep from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

SAFE SLEEP:

  • Put the baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib. Never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, or armchair. This is an extremely dangerous place for your baby to sleep.
  • Have your baby share your room, not your bed. Place your baby’s crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard in your bedroom, close to your bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing because it can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50% and is much safer than bed sharing. In addition, room sharing will make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby.
  • Put baby to sleep on their back. Some babies will roll onto their stomachs. You should always place your baby to sleep on the back, but if your baby is comfortable rolling both ways (back to tummy, tummy to back), then you do not have to return your baby to the back. However, be sure that there are no blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, or bumper pads around your baby, so that your baby does not roll into any of those items, which could cause blockage of air flow.
  • Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the baby’s sleep area. These include pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, blankets, toys, bumper pads or similar products that attach to crib slats or sides. If you are worried about your baby getting cold, you can use infant sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket. In general, your baby should be dressed with only one layer more than you are wearing. Do not overdress as the baby could overheat.
  • If your baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or sling, you should move him or her to a firm sleep surface on his or her back as soon as possible.

SAFE CRIB:

  • A firm, tight-fitting mattress
  • No loose, missing or broken hardware or slats
  • No more than 2 3/8” between slats (width of a soda can)
  • No corner posts over 1/16” high
  • No cutout designs in the headboard or foot board
  • If you are unsure of the safety of your crib, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at 1.800.638.2772
  • For more information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at healthychildren.org and the Consumer Product Safety Commission at cpsc.gov

If you have questions or concerns about safe sleep practices for your baby, get in touch with your pediatric provider. Rest assured, they will help you and your baby get some much needed ZZZ’s, safely.

Originally Posted July 2020

Jason Harris Promoted to IHA Chief Operating Officer

Jason Harris, Vice President of Planning and Development, on being named IHA’s new Chief Operating Officer, effective March 13. Jason’s track record of driving impactful changes in tandem with our physicians and administrative leadership made him a natural choice for the Chief Operating Officer position.

Jason Harris, Chief Operating Officer, IHA

Jason joined IHA in 2012 as a project manager and since this time, has advanced his career and made extraordinary contributions to our team and the services we offer to the more than 500,000 patients we serve.


He is strategic, open, engaging, and humble. He has a strong work ethic and the ability to apply wisdom from across disciplines and industries to help IHA achieve results, even in the most challenging of times.


In Jason’s current position as Vice President of Planning and Development, he partnered with physician and operational leaders in growing our medical group to serve more communities and care for more patients. He directed $100 million in ambulatory investments that brought exceptional physicians and staff, and needed services, to new communities across southeast Michigan.


Jason is passionate about living out our IHA CARES Values and is dedicated to ensuring our culture and traditions remain as we look ahead. He is immensely proud to serve our staff, providers, patients, and communities in this new role.
Jason received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and later returned to get his MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. He and his wife live in Brighton with their two children. When he’s not spending time with his family, Jason enjoys running, golfing, playing soccer and mountain biking (he’ll see you soon ortho).

Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s called SAD for a reason

As the sun sets on the summer months, days get shorter and the temperature drops, so does our mood. Snow, scarves and holidays are a novelty and enjoyable for a few weeks after the heat of summer, but the dark, cold days of January and February bring much less joy to many. If you find your mood changing (not for the better), at the same time every year, you may have seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This mood disorder typically comes and goes when the season changes. The most common form of SAD appears in the fall and resolves in the spring or summer.

The signs and symptoms of SAD are similar to those of non-seasonal depression, but typically improve or go away with warm, sunny weather. Here’s what to look for starting in the fall or early winter:

  • Low energy
  • Fatigue and hypersomnia
  • Increased appetite and overeating
  • Loss of interest, including withdrawal from social activities or people
  • Desire to be alone (may feel like hibernating)
  • Suicidal thoughts

Like non-seasonal forms of depression, there are treatments available to combat SAD. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and whether you have another type of depression, the treatment for SAD may include:

  • Medication
  • Bright light therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Vitamin D
  • Changes to sleep hygiene, outdoor walks and regular exercise

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are four-times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD than men. Other factors that may increase your risk of SAD include: living far from the equator with major shifts in seasons, and a personal or family history of depression or bipolar disorder. Age can also have an impact on whether you get SAD. Young adults seem to be affected more frequently than children, adolescents and older adults.


If you’re feeling any or all the symptoms of SAD, make an appointment to see your provider. They can help find the best treatment plan to get you feeling better.

Forming a Healthy Habit

The key to making and keeping new healthy habits

With the new year comes a fresh start and for many people an opportunity to make some positive changes in their lives. With great intentions, they head off into the new year determined to make a go of this year’s resolutions. Too often, busy lives take over and resolutions are abandoned after just a few weeks.  Forming new, positive daily habits is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Read on for some advice on how to incorporate a new habit into your daily routine and make your 2022 resolutions stick!

Pick one goal.

Don’t spread your willpower too thin. Focusing on one goal at a time will increase your chances of actually achieving it.

Look at the small picture.

Rather than setting a resolution for the whole year, start with one month or even one week. Your goal should feel attainable with as little pressure as possible.

Make a sub-habit.

There are things you do every single day without even thinking about it: brushing your teeth, feeding the dog, walking into the house after work, you get the idea. Try setting your goal as a sub-habit of one of your already established daily habits. For example, “after I feed the dog, I will take him for a ten-minute walk” or “when I walk in the door after work, I will put my workout clothes on and run one mile”.

Take it one (baby) step at a time.

When forming a new habit, a low-level commitment is much easier to work into your day. Start with simple tasks that make it almost impossible to fail. Once you get started, you may find yourself doing more. Here are some suggestions for daily micro-commitments:

  • Take a 5-minute walk
  • Write one paragraph in your journal
  • Eat one serving of vegetables

Plan for obstacles.

Weather, time, cost or illness will no doubt present a challenge in achieving your goal of forming a new healthy habit. Plan ahead for challenges and be ready to work through them. Come up with “if-then” statements to help make it over predictable stumbling blocks;

  • If I am not able to sustain the cost of a gym membership, I will walk in my neighborhood or local mall
  • If I am not able to walk outside due to weather, I will do floor exercises in the basement for 20 minutes
  • If I’m not feeling well enough to walk or do a full work out, I will lift weights for 10 minutes

Hold yourself accountable.

We all have the friend that checks in at the gym every day on social media. Well, maybe they have the right idea. When your progress is monitored or witnessed by others, you are more likely to follow-through with your commitment. Consider creating or joining a group with similar goals, and post or text each other when you complete your daily goal. You may also want to tell your primary care physician about your goals and expect to follow-up next year or at your next exam.

Reward yourself!

Take time to celebrate your success! Having something to look forward to will motivate you along the way. Choose rewards that support your new healthy habit – avoid rewarding yourself with sugary treats or days off from your new habit. Instead, download new music for your workout routine, see a movie, or grab lunch with a friend.


Have you scheduled your 2022 wellness exam? Make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss some health goals that may benefit your physical and psychological well-being.

Originally published January 2020

Toy Buying Tips

Pediatrician-approved gifts for every child.

The official kickoff to holiday shopping is just days away. Before you check-off your child’s wish list, check-out some pediatrician-approved gifts that every kid will love!

Pretend.

When a child is given the freedom to play without rules or guidelines, their imagination will take over. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said it best: “Pretending through toy characters (such as dolls, animals, and action figures) and toy objects (like food, utensils, cars, planes, and buildings) help children learn to use words and stories to imitate, describe, and cope with real life events and feelings. Imagination is the key here! Imaginary play is a large part of a child’s social and emotional development.”

Pretend Shopping List:

  • Play kitchen with accessories (food, utensils, plates, etc.)
  • Vehicles (diggers, cars, emergency vehicles, planes, etc.)
  • Dress-up clothing and accessories
  • Microphone
  • Chalk board

Assembly required.

A simple puzzle holds so many benefits for a young mind – problem-solving, fine motor, language and cognitive skills. Looks for age and developmentally appropriate building blocks, puzzles, train tracks.

Assembly Required Shopping List

  • Building Blocks
  • Puzzles
  • Train tracks
  • Magnet tiles

Art

It’s amazing to see what kids are capable of without restrictions. Consider give an art basket to build their creativity and fine motor skills.

Art Shopping List:

  • Crayons/Markers/Color Pencils
  • Age appropriate paints
  • For older children, encourage them to try new media like oil pastels, chalk pastels, ink, etc.
  • Blank sketch books (try different sizes, large and small)
  • Glue
  • Kid-friendly scissors
  • Clay
  • Art accessories: pipe cleaners, pom poms, tissue paper, stickers and anything else you can think of!

Skip the video games.

There are educational apps and video games that work to teach the ABCs, but what they are missing – creative thinking, emotional development and impulse control – are much more important factors in the healthy development of your child. According to the AMA, Research suggests tablet-based toys may actually delay social development for infants and young children, because they don’t include real life facial expressions, gestures, and vocalizations.

Skip the Video Games Shopping List:

  • Match games
  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Age and interest appropriate Books
  • Magazine subscription
  • Busy board with a variety of locks and latches

Play!

Especially in the winter months, getting physical activity is so important – for kids and grown-ups alike! Not only does it help to develop good habits for later in life, but being physically active also holds benefits for emotional health.

Play! Shopping List:

  • Hula hoop
  • Sports gear (football, baseball, basketball – choose based on what interests your child)
  • Twister
  • Indoor bowling set
  • Yoga mat paired with child appropriate exercise classes or DVDs
  • Roller blades (don’t forget the helmet and pads)
  • Gym shoes
  • Push and riding toys for little ones just walking

Many children look forward to playing with new toys carefully selected for them. To keep these experiences joy-filled, it’s important to carefully consider toy purchases and ways to avoid injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers its top 10 toy-safety buying tips for this holiday season:

  1. Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to correctly use a toy and for what ages the toy is safe. Be sure to show your child how to use the toy the right way.
  2. Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth, or can’t fit into a toilet paper roll, to prevent choking (especially for children less than 3 years).
  3. Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or can cause choking if swallowed.
  4. Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child’s hearing. See 10 Tips to Preserve Your Child’s Hearing during the Holidays.
  5. Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable. Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.
  6. Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily with sharp edges.
  7. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”
  8. Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years. They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.
  9. Electric toys should be “UL Approved.” Check the label to be sure.
  10. Be careful when buying crib toys. Soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation and should be kept out of the crib. Any hanging crib toy (mobiles, crib gyms) should be out of your baby’s reach and must be removed when your baby first begins to push up on their hands and knees or when the baby is 5 months old, whichever occurs first. These toys can strangle a baby.

“Make sure to check the age recommendations on toys, which not only helps prevent possible choking hazards but also tells you that these toys are best suited for your child’s needs and interests at this stage of development,” said Lois Lee, MD, MPH, FAAP, incoming chair of the Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

Important information about recalled toys

One of the goals of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is to protect consumers a​nd families from dangerous toys. It sets up rules and guidelines to ensure products are safe and issues recalls of products if a problem is found. Toys are recalled for various reasons including unsafe lead levels, choking or fire hazards, or other problems that make them dangerous. Toys that are recalled should be removed right away. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, ask your child’s doctor about testing for elevated blood lead levels.

This post was originally published November 2019.


IHA Urgent Care locations are open on holidays! Don’t spend your holiday waiting in a waiting room. Save your spot in line at an Urgent Care location near you and wait at home.

Talking to your child about school shootings

What do you say when you don’t know what to say? In the wake of the tragedy at Oxford High School, our Pediatric team created a list of resources to help parents talk to their child(ren) about school shootings. If you or your child need help, call your IHA Pediatric Practice. We’re here for you.