The Dirty Secret about Allergies

Dr. Bill Miller

When I was growing up, I never knew any child with a food allergy. Allergies of any kind seemed rare. Yet now, allergic concerns are frequently encountered. Just a few weeks ago, I was on a flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia. Shortly after the trip began, the flight attendant announced that no nut snacks would be passed out with in-flight beverage service since there was a passenger on the plane with a peanut allergy. After I got over my shock that there might have been any snack at all, I reflected with surprise on the notion that the allergy of this person was so severe that any peanuts anywhere in the cabin was a threat. I had come into contact with thousands of children while growing up both as classmates and friends and I had never ever seen any allergic reactions. We all ate the same foods and there were no dietary rules. What is happening? What is different? After all, just think of it; how many ever had a childhood friend with a gluten allergy? [... whole story]


Santa Sightings

Sightings at Special Sites

The B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore welcomes Civil War Santa and Mrs. Claus to the Magical Holiday Express when they arrive by locomotive on Fri., Nov. 28 at 10:30 a.m. to light the new 20 ft. tree in the middle of the Round House. The festival continues through the holiday season, with train rides and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus on weekends until Dec. 21. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation to Toys for Tots to receive half-priced admission. Nov., 29-Dec. 31, Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Dec. 24 & 25, tickets required, 410-752-2490, www.borail.org.

Santa will make appearances on Friday through Sunday, Nov. 28-30, at the B&O Museum at Ellicott City Station to kick-off its Holiday Festival of Trains, where visitors can celebrate model railroading and enjoy a miniature Thomas the Tank Engine, and a variety of other toy trains, including the newly built interactive LEGO model train layout. Nov. 28-Jan. 25, Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., tr., 410-461-1945, www.borail.org.

Celebrate the holiday season at the Historic Westminster’s Miracle on Main Street, featuring the town’s tree lighting ceremony and Holiday Electric Parade, which kicks off at 5 p.m. on Pennsylvania Ave. After the parade, enjoy the tree lighting and the seasonal sounds of the Westminster Municipal Band, sing carols, and await the arrival of Santa. [... whole story]

2014 Early Education and Child Care Directory

Our Annual Directory of Early Education and Child Care Programs has been updated. If you're looking for an early education program for the Fall of 2015, now is the time to visit schools and make reservations for the next school year. And if you're looking for child care, our directory is a great resource. Take a look! Need more information? Read this month's Educational Exchange Column with pointers on picking a preschool.

Find the Early Education and Child Care Directory Here. Find the Educational Exchange Column Here. [... whole story]


B'More Healthy - November 2014

Sharing Isn't Always Caring: The Spread of Enterovirus D68

By Joyce Heid
The kids are back at school, and, along with the occasional snack at lunch, they're also sharing something potentially more insidious: germs. That, of course, is nothing new, and while it's likewise not uncommon for illnesses such as the common cold or strep throat to make the rounds among schoolmates and friends, this year an uncommon strain of a common virus has made an unwelcome—and lethal—cameo appearance [... whole story]

Educational Exchange - November 2014

A Primer on Picking a Preschool

By Sandy Alexander
When families are searching for an early learning situation—i.e., a preschool program—location and price are often the most pressing factors, says Lindi Budd, branch chief for Maryland EXCELS, a new state program for evaluating early childhood programs. They often rely on recommendations from friends and neighbors to find out where other children have had successful experiences. And they need to determine the environment with which they're most comfortable, whether an in-home provider, a religious school, a child care center, or other. [... whole story]

Family Matters - November 2014

Dueling Perspectives on Discipline

By Molly Brown Koch
Dr. Murray Kappelman, a Baltimore pediatrician for more than 50 years and the former head of behavioral and developmental pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, published another parenting book late last November. I only recently got my hands on a copy of it and was eager to read and review it despite its presumptuous subtitle, “Taking Charge of Your Child: The ONE and ONLY Discipline Book,” as it appears on the book's cover, alongside a picture of a mother and her young son facing off. Though this grandfatherly doctor surely knows one-size-fits-all advice can’t be applied to the panoply of personalities that comprise the human family, he nevertheless proposes a single approach to discipline that he believes will instill good values and good conduct in children. [... whole story]

Game On! - November 2014

The Rise of Sports Injuries Among Children

By Patrick Gutierrez
According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, one of the nation’s leading pediatric care facilities, sports-related injuries are now the second-leading cause of children's visits to the emergency room in the United States, trailing only automobile accidents.

Does that surprise you as much as it did me? Considering all the advances in medicine and medical technology our society has made, I surely wouldn't have guessed that. In researching the topic, however, I realized I'd neglected to account for several factors. [... whole story]

Let's Eat - November 2014

Get Your Meal Plan On

By Kit Waskom Pollard

We all have great intentions when it comes to feeding our kids. Home-cooked, nutritious family dinners at the table seven days a week? That's an admirable goal. But between school, sports, dentist appointments, and everything else, for most of us, it can seem impossible to achieve.

And, hey, maybe dinner at the table every night really is impossible. But, according to local experts, with a little advance planning, approaching dinnertime doesn't have to be daunting.

Rodgers Forge mom Diana Sugiuchi, a registered dietitian nutritionist, works with families in person, over the phone, and via her online boot camp to help them develop smart, healthy approaches to eating. The first step, she says, is learning good meal-planning habits. “When you haven't planned what you're going to have for the week, you won't buy healthy ingredients at the store, so you'll be scrambling at the last minute,” she explains. [... whole story]

Your Special Child - November 2014

Friendship and Fun at Karina Art Café

By Amy Landsman
“I beat the bushes pretty hard to find things like this,” says Tuley Wright.

The rare gem that this Parkville resident has found is Karina Art Café, an expressive arts therapy program for young people with special needs, ages 12 through early 30s, held on Saturday afternoons at Mays Chapel United Methodist Church in Timonium.

Wright's 26-year-old son, Spencer, has a degenerative neurological disorder. He uses a power wheelchair and lives at home. “It’s important for Spencer, and it’s important for other people like him,” says Wright. “There’s not a whole lot for them to do like this.” [... whole story]