10 YEARS, Insect Bites, Parenting Books – PediaCast 349

Show Notes


  • PediaCast celebrates TEN YEARS of podcasts for parents! We mark the anniversary by answering more of your questions. Topics include insect bites, home wound care, and the best parenting books on the market today. We hope you can join us!


  • 10 Years of PediaCast
  • Insect Bites
  • Insect Repellant
  • Home Wound Care
  • Parenting Books




Announcer 1: This is PediaCast.


Announcer 2: Welcome to PediaCast, a pediatric podcast for parents. And now, direct from the campus of Nationwide Children’s, here is your host, Dr. Mike.

Dr. Mike Patrick: Hello everyone, and welcome once again to PediaCast. It’s a pediatric podcast for moms and dads. This is Dr. Mike, coming to you from the campus of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. We’re on Columbus, Ohio.

It is Episode 349 for July 20th, 2016. We’re calling this one “Ten Years, Insect Bites, and Parenting Books”. I want to welcome everyone to the program.

So, it is our ten-year anniversary on PediaCast. We are officially a decade old. Our first podcast pediacast number uno was July 18th, 2016. And we’re now, I’m sorry that’s not right. It is July 18th, 2016 just rolls off my tongue so easily. July 18th, 2006 and now we’re July 20th, 2016.

So ten years, and at the time I was practicing, I was as a general pediatrician in a private practice. We were in a rather underserved area with a very busy office practice, and podcast were just becoming a thing. In fact, a couple of other things just started in 2006 along with PediaCast, a couple names you probably would recognize, Facebook and the other is Twitter. Both started in 2006, the same year that we did. So really just, you know, innovative digital means of communicating and interacting and socializing with one another were just getting started and podcast were part of the birth of that.


I have been a DJ at the skating rink from the age of ten when I did the Kids Fun Skate at a United Skates of America, our roller skating rink. And then I worked in a couple of radio stations during high school and college. I almost forgot about broadcasting after I went to medical school, but then podcast came out. And I’m in this busy practice, and I’m thinking this may be a cool way to supply information on seasonal topics — things I’m seeing in the office over and over again like a hand-foot-mouth disease in the summer, ear infections in the winter — talk more about them from an educational perspective. Not offering medical advice for specific person, I would do that in the X-Ray room, but just the opportunity to educate parents in the way that they could understand. And podcast seem like a good idea to get the word out there and here we are ten years later still doing it.

We began in the basement of my home in a really makeshift basement studio. If you listen to those first episodes, the sound quality’s probably not that great. We’ve certainly advanced, and we were in that basement studio for about five years that we ran. Maybe not even that long — say six, seven — no, it would’ve been about two to three years. And then we moved to Florida and were coming to you from sunny Orlando, Florida for a couple of years. And then we moved to production back up to Ohio and on to the campus of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. And that’s what we are now.

So I thought what better way to celebrate ten years of podcasts for moms and dads. There’s no better way than just answering your questions. So that’s what we’re going to do today.

No interviews, no pediatric news. This is your show and I want to continue that tradition by celebrating our ten-year anniversary by making it all about you and taking the focus off of us.


So, you know, we could wax on about all the things we’ve accomplished, all the awards we’ve won, the millions of downloads, the fact that we have listeners in all 50 states and over 100 countries, which I guess I just sort did mention, didn’t I? But I didn’t want this to be a celebration about us as much as a celebration about you.

So I do have a trio of listener questions for you this week and a fourth listener comment that I’d like to share. Actually, we’ll start with that one. And then, the first actual question relates to insect bites which is a great summertime topic. And actually that one comes from Poland. So that means we’re everywhere. I never thought when I started this in 2006 that would be answering a question from Poland. Just didn’t even cross my mind.

We also have a listener who would like some clarification on home wound care from our “Cuts and Scrapes” episode a few weeks back, also appropriate for summer.

And then, our last listener question, this one is great any time of the year. And I have to tell you, I’m really excited about this particular question. I’m always excited about all of your questions but this one I did spend a considerable amount of time thinking about and researching. Our listener wants to know what parenting books that I recommend. So I’ve assembled a library for you regardless of the age of your child or your child or your family’s specific need. Whatever it is, wherever you find yourself, whatever situation, whatever stage of life, I think a have the perfect book for you.

Now, I know it’s a little odd coming from podcast guy and a digital media expert. But I love books, too. And there really are many, many evidence-based trustworthy parenting books out there on the market today — ones dealing with generalized parenting information. Others tackling symptoms and diseases. Others on injuries. There’s a specialty book about potty training and bedwetting and sleeping and ADHD, autism, nutrition, discipline.


So we’ll covered lots of categories of parenting books. So I give you my thoughts on the best one out there right now. And we’ll also supply links to all of those books in the Show Notes, so you can find them easily.

By the way, no kickbacks for me. This is not paid advertising. I don’t get a cent if you pick up any of these books. I just want to be helpful. After all, that’s what PediaCast is all about.

And the links will go to Amazon, but certainly if you find a better bargain somewhere else, you know, go for it. Again, just want to be helpful for you, because helping parents, that’s what we do. That’s what we’re all about. So we’ll answer that question on parenting books. That’s coming your way a little bit later in the program.

Don’t forget, if you have a question for me, it’s really easy to get in touch. Just head over to pediacast.org, click on the Contact link. You could also call the voice line, 347-404-KIDS, 347-404-K-I-D-S.

Also, I want to remind you, the information presented in every episode of our program is for general educational purposes only. We have never and do not diagnose medical conditions or formulate treatment plans for specific individuals. So, if you have a concern about your child’s health, be sure to call your doctor and arrange a face-to-face interview and hands-on physical examination.

Also, your use of this audio program is subject to the PediaCast Terms of Use Agreement which you can find at PediaCast.org.

All right, let’s take a quick break and I will be back with answers to your questions for our tenth year anniversary. That’s coming up right after this.



Dr. Mike Patrick: All right, we are back. Andrea in Providence, Rhode Island writes, “Dr. Mike I missed you during your break and I’m glad you are back on the air. I wanted to thank you very much for your entire first show back. I did the Ferber method also known as the graduation extinction plan to get my then six-month old child to sleep on his own. It worked like a dream, and yes, the pun is intended. I am so glad to hear there is no scientific evidence that this method does not scar the baby or the family.

“I also appreciated the information about childhood scars. My son is now two-and-a-half years old. Three months ago, he got nine stitches, two internal and seven external on a laceration above his left eye. The staff at Hasbro Children’s Hospital did an amazing job on his eye and with calming our anxieties. The scar is still pretty bad, but I was thankful to hear it should get better over the next few years. Thanks again. All the best, Andy.”

Well, thanks for the nice comments on the show, Andy. We really appreciate them. And thanks, too, for sharing your experience with the Ferber method, also known as graduated extinction.

For those parents out there leery of trying sort of what’s become known as the cry-it-out method — although there’s some nuance to that, it’s not just like leave them alone to cry forever — but if you do it the Ferber way, it’s nice to hear from a family who has given it a try and benefited from it. And we actually, with my daughter — she’s now 22 years old — so this is quite a while ago, but we used the Ferber method back then and like you, Andy, it did really work like a charm.

By the way, an upcoming listener question revolves around parenting books and Dr. Ferber’s book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problem is definitely one we’ll be covering. So stay tuned for that.

Then, we have Julia in Poland — yes, Poland, the country — says, “Hello, Dr. Mike. First of all, thank you for a great informative and balanced podcast. I listen to it every week while driving the town. As an added bonus, my son falls asleep every time I turned on your podcast in the car.”


By the way, I’ve heard that before. What can I say? You know, I guess I have a soothing voice. I guess, that must be the reason, since their babies not really understanding what we’re talking about. Anyway, back to Julia’s question. Not the first time I’ve heard that.
“Lately, my son has been getting bad reactions to insect bites. It doesn’t seem to be allergies. Last time, we went to an emergency department with half his arm swollen and were given antibiotics for cellulitis and told to watch for the inflammation spreading. Just days later, he got bitten again while playing in the yard with more painful warm swelling around his ankles. I can’t keep him indoors all the time but he gets bitten even if we just pop out for a few minutes to get to the letter box or pick a strawberry.

“We have lots of mosquitoes, sandflies, and blackflies in our area. I’m not sure what is biting him. I never get bitten. Please help us with some advice on how to prevent the bouts of cellulitis caused by this insect bites.”

Well, thanks for the question Julia from Poland. I don’t think we have what you’re calling sandflies or blackflies here in Ohio, but when I practiced in Florida for awhile, we did have fire ants. And, for such tiny creatures, let me tell you, their bites could cause an amazing amount of redness, warmth and swelling.

Here in Ohio, we’d see a bite like that and we probably would call it a cellulitis. But most of the time with these fire ants, they really were just localized allergic reaction, just localized on the tissue where the bite occurred.
So, I wouldn’t necessarily count out allergic reaction as a cause because allergic reaction can be localized and very impressive. Plus an allergic component would also explain why others don’t seem to get bit. Maybe everyone gets exposed to whatever is biting your son, but he has an intense localized reaction and really more of an allergy base rather than there being infection with it. And that’s why his skin looks impressive following the bite by whatever the insect that’s doing it, while everyone else doesn’t even realize they’re getting bitten because they’re not having a reaction to it. So, that’s a possibility.


Of course, as I always say, if a doctor sees your child and says it’s infected, you know my policy on that. Trust the providers seeing your child in the flesh. If you don’t trust that provider, find a different provider who you do trust, because medicine practiced in real life is what counts, not information in the digital space. We can’t even see what these reactions look like and can’t feel them, touch them, ask you lots of questions about the history, that sort of thing, and knowledge of what’s in your area.

I also want to say, it’s possible that they’re not even insect bites. So when you’re picking strawberries or you go to the letter box, maybe you’re exposed to the plant that has an oil that causes an allergic reaction and that can cause swelling and redness. And so, sometimes what you think is an insect bite or a collection of insect bites could actually be coming into contact with a plant oil that causing the swelling every time you go out. So that’s something to think about, too.

And again, some people are allergic and other’s aren’t to specific plant oils. Here in Ohio, we think most about poison ivy. In Poland, I have no idea what plants could cause skin reactions. But I’m sure that your doctor has thought about that.

But let’s say they are insect bites and you’re dealing with some combination of a localized allergic reaction. Let’s say cellulitis or infections. So, antihistamines like Benadryl here in the United States at an appropriate dose for your child’s age and weight can make a big difference in the swelling and itching.


If it does, if it makes a big difference, antihistamines, and there’s no fever, and giving antihistamines really did make a big difference — now, it may be coming back as soon as the antihistamine is wearing off — but I would say then, infection is not really likely if the antihistamine by itself really makes a difference pretty quickly and there’s no fever.

On the other hand, if the antihistamine doesn’t make a difference or if there’s oozing, or drainage or crusting at the site of the skin or fever, then skin infection is very likely. If the antihistamines do help, keep in mind, as I mentioned, as they’re wearing off, often the swelling and itching will return until it’s time for the next dose. In fact, it may even start to return before it’s time for the next dose. And then that waxing and waning of symptoms as you take the antihistamine may occur for several days.

Topical steroids like 1% hydrocortisone cream a couple of times a day, those may be somewhat helpful for localized skin reactions and oral steroids maybe indicated if there’s swelling on the face or multiple locations against something you and your child’s doctor can talk about together. If there is infection, then a topical antibiotics would be in order if the infection is mild, oral antibiotics if the infection is deeper or progressing, or even IV antibiotics through an IV, and hospitalized if the infection is severe would be warranted.

And infection can occur easily with insect bites and sometimes even with the poison plants like poison ivy because kids, if they’re scratching at the site with finger nails, they’re disrupting the skin’s natural protective layers and they allow tissue normal surface bacteria (which we all have) into the wound and into the deeper layers, which then can cause cellulitis or skin infection.

So, localized allergic reactions with or without accompanying infection, these are common things with some types of insects. I’ve seen personally it with fire ants, in particular. Mosquito bites can do it. Stinging insects can cause quite the localized tissue reactions.


And then, with those, you also have to worry about the possibility of whole body sort of anaphylactic, is what we call it, anaphylactic reaction which is can lead into shock and can be very dangerous. But that’s different than the localized reactions that we’re talking about. And maybe, you can see that with sand flies or black flies that are in Poland. I haven’t obviously had personal experience with those. But again the doctors and your neck on the woods, Julia, in Poland, they could give you a better idea on that.

But I think the heart of your question, Julia, is how do we prevent this from happening in the first place, right? I mean if you have a reaction or an infection, you treat it and we’ve talked about some strategies for doing so. But how do we protect ourselves from insect bites in the first place? And this becomes an important question not only in preventing the localized reactions and possible skin infection, but also the possibility of anaphylaxis again, or allergic shock, in some cases from the stinging insects. Also, prevention of poison plants oil or poison ivy.

And then, there’s also diseases that some insects carry that we would want to avoid like malaria, encephalitis and Zika Virus and others from mosquitoes, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and others from tick bites.

So avoiding insect bites and arachnid bites, because ticks aren’t really insects — like the spiders, they’re arachnids — avoiding these bites is important for many people. So how do you do that? Well, first, you want to avoid the insect that’s causing the reaction or avoid the plant, if it is the plant oil that causing the reaction, if you can, if you know which ones are causing the problem and where they’re located and when they’re active. And then, do your best to avoid exposure by not being in the same place at the same time as the offending insect or plant.


Now, granted that’s not always practical or even possible. I mean, like you said Julia, “I want my kid to be able to go outside to the letter box or to pick a strawberry.” I get that. So if exposure is still likely, consider wearing long sleeves and long pants and a hat to create a clothing barrier between you and the insects. If it’s hot outside, you want lightweight layers and you want to drink plenty of water and watch for signs of dehydration, but it’s a strategy that can work.

Ultimately, what most people really need is just to rely on insect repellents. So, you put the products, spray it on skin and clothes to protect yourself from insects that are out there. Especially if you’re having lots of reactions to them and you can’t really avoid them and long clothing is either just not practical or not possible.

Products with DEET, so D-E-E-T, DEET work best. And the higher the concentration of DEET, the longer the products last. So higher concentration does not mean it’s stronger or works better. Higher concentration just means it lasts longer. So products with 10% DEET last two hours. You get up to about 24% DEET, that’s going to last about five hours, 30% maybe around six hours. But beyond that, it’s not going to really last much longer or give you any added benefit. So stick with 10 to 30% DEET depending on how long of a time period that you need protection. Above 30%, no added benefit, you’re just getting too much of the chemical.

You want to spray the clothing and the skin. Don’t spray the face directly. Instead, spray your hands and then rub that on the face avoiding the eyes. And then, when you’re done outdoors, wash the clothes with soap and water in the washing machine. Wash your skin with soap and water and get the DEET off there.


You don’t want to use DEET absolutely for babies less than two months. Definitely not. Between two months and six months, you’d like to avoid using it if you can. But if you can’t avoid it, then between two and six months, it is OK to use, but don’t use it on broken skin like cuts and scrape. And also, don’t use combination products with DEET and sunscreen because you want to reapply sunscreen often but you don’t want to keep reapplying DEET. Just put it on, you got your several hours outdoors, wash it off and stay indoors if the insects are still out there.

And the reason to be so careful with DEET in those two- to six-month-olds — and even older kids if you’re using too much of it, you don’t want to go above that 30% concentration of DEET — is it can be toxic if you don’t use it correctly or if use it too much or too often. But, on the other hand, the effects of insect bites can also be very problematic like severe reaction and infections and the diseases we’ve talked about. And depending on what allergic reaction the person has, certainly, anaphylaxis is an issue in the insects in question.

So, really lots to consider if you think about risks and benefits. And as always, talk to your doctors who walked down that path of thinking about risks and benefits in deciding what to do and what to use.

There are other possibilities for insect repellents that don’t involve DEET. But for the most part, they don’t work as well as DEET, including some essential oils like citronella. They just don’t work as well. Then, other strategies don’t work at all, like wristbands soaked with insect repellent. Now, they’re still going to bite your legs. They’re still going to bite your face. That’s not going to be helpful. Garlic, some people use or various vitamins like Vitamin B1, those are not going to work. Ultrasonic devices that make a little noises, bird or bat houses around the yard, even bug zappers.


I mean, some of those, the ultrasonic devices, the bird and bat houses, the bug zappers, they may decrease the number of insects in your area. But they’re not going to get rid of all of them. It only takes one to bite. So you don’t want to rely on those to prevent bites completely. Just not really a good method.

For more information on insect repellents, and this is a great resource, check out the article “Choosing an Insect Repellent For Your Child”. It’s from the American Academy of Pediatrics and on their HealthyChildren.org website. And I’ll put a link to it on the Show Notes for this episode, 349, over at PediaCast.org.

As always, thanks for the question, Julia from Poland. Hope it helped. Hope the answer helped. Really do appreciate you writing in.

I have a question from Jocelyn in Soberly, Missouri. Jocelyn says, “Dr. Mike, I just recently listened to your episode regarding cuts and scrapes. Your co-host mentioned using bacitracin or Neosporin. My husband prefers hydrogen peroxide. However, I thought I’ve heard it is no longer recommended. Could you comment on this? Thanks, Jocelyn.”

Well, thanks for the question, Jocelyn. She is referring, for those of you who would like more information on cuts and scrapes and wound care, to PediaCast episode number 345 where we talked with Dr. Michael Dunn, who’s an emergency medicine physician here at Nationwide Children’s about caring for cuts and scrapes at home. Basically, we said, see a medical provider if the wound is deep or gaping, if there’s concern for damage to underlying structures like blood vessels, nerves, tendons or if there is persistent bleeding or significant debris and contamination, or if you’re worried it’s getting infected. Any other concern, really, if you have a concern, call your doctor, go to an urgent care or emergency room. Or call 911 if it’s gaping and bleeding and can’t get the bleeding to stop.


So, depending on the situation, you want to get help. How urgently and what timeline sort of depends on the criteria of the wound in question. And we’ve talked more specifically about that in Episode 345. So if you’d like more details, we also talked about how to close wounds, not how to close it at home, but what you can expect from providers, medical providers who are closing your wounds, glue versus stitches, how long is too to wait, tetanus shots. All of those considerations, we talked about in Episode 345 over PediaCast.org.
For superficial wounds, so ones that you can simply take care of yourself at home, we said clean the wounded area gently with mild soap and water. Do that a couple of times a day, pat it dry, apply a small amount of topical antibiotic ointment which you can get over the counter like bacitracin or Neosporin. And then, cover with a Band-Aid or dressing and then let the wound heal while you watch for signs of infection like increasing redness, tenderness, swelling, drainage, and of course, fever. If any of those happen, you want someone to look at right away. Easy enough.

We did not mention hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. As it turns out, these items should be avoided in open wounds because they damage cells and delay wound healing. Yes, they kill bacteria, but they damage your cells, too. So, you want to avoid alcohol or hydrogen peroxide in open wounds. With otherwise due respect to your husband, Jocelyn, I would disagree with him on this point. Avoid alcohol and hydrogen peroxide in open wounds.

They’re fine on intact skin has an antiseptic, no problem there, but not inside or near open wounds. Stick with general cleansing with mild soap and water, pat it to dry. Apply antibiotic ointment such as bacitracin or Neosporin, keeping in mind some people are little more allergic — it’s a small number — but compared to bacitracin, Neosporin, there are some folks were allergic to it which can cause delayed wound healing, redness and swelling at the site, that sort of thing.

Keep the wound covered especially if you have a kid whose prone to getting it dirty or messing with it or picking at it. Clean a couple of times a day, let it heal as you watch for signs of infection. And if those occur, see your medical provider right away.

Hope that helps your debate with your husband, Jocelyn. And of course, thanks for the question.



Next stop, we have Michael in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada this time. Michael says, “We just had our daughter in May and I became a subscriber. Since she is a preemie, I read a few books about premature babies. This helps me understand the process and development. I wanted to ask if you can recommend some books on pediatric care? There are too many to choose from at the bookstores. I believe there are other parents who love to read and would want to know. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m still listening to your podcast but books could be another resource in addition to the Internet.”

All right, well, thanks for writing in, Michael in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. As it turns out I love books, too. You know there’s just something about holding a book, the smell of the pages, physically flipping through and exploring the content. And the tactile sense is missing from digital content. And this is coming from someone who makes a living producing digital content. Maybe it’s my age because unlike most parents today, I do remember a day when books were the only option. So, I suppose there’s some nostalgia there too, you know, simpler times, right? Yes, right.


They weren’t really any simpler. We had the same issues that parents have today. We just couldn’t commiserate online. We had to do it over coffee, or playgroups which are still a fine way to connect with one another. But books, we definitely use books, and there are still some great ones out there.

Now, one downfall of books, however, is they can’t be updated as easily as digital content. So discoveries are made, recommendations change, and then they change again. But books remain the same until they go through revision and publication of the new edition which takes time. That also means that you do have to pay attention to what edition of the book you’re reading, to look at the copyright dates and how old it is and just want to make sure it’s really the latest, most up-to-date evidence-based advice. So you want to make sure that it’s a recent parenting book.

So you want to be careful if you’re bargain shopping. I love to explore those half-priced bookstores as much as the next guy. Those are really great places. But when it comes to medical advice, old editions aren’t nearly as helpful and it could, in the rare case, actually be harmful or dangerous. So, discover a way but pay attention to publication dates and do your research to see if revised editions are available.

And like I always say, if you have a concern specifically about your child, you’re not just looking for general educational information, always check with your child’s doctor. Not a podcast, not a book, talk to your child’s doctor. That’s really important.

I know great educational opportunities exist in the worlds of books and podcasting. But again, when it comes to real-life healthcare, you need more interactions — someone who can obtain a detailed history, perform a physical exam. I know I am saying this like three times because I think it’s so important. Maybe I’m showing my age. I know telemedicine is becoming more of a thing. But really being there with someone, there’s no great substitution for that in my mind.


OK, let’s move on. So, with that sort of groundwork in place, let’s talk books. Because there many parenting books out there that I like, ones that can be quite useful and informative. And I actually compiled a list for you, Michael, of over 40 books that I like. Now, I know, you already said that there’s too many books out there. It’s sort of information overload. But here’s the thing, parents have different needs and different learning styles. So what you need, Michael, may be quite different from what other listeners need, depending on the age of the various children we’re talking about, their specific health problems, kind of what your reading, learning style is.

So, I didn’t just come up with 40-plus books that are all just general parenting books. I really want to think about, “OK, of the books that are more encyclopedic, which are the best ones? The ones that are more conversational, which are the best ones? The ones that deal with ADHD, what one should you look at?”

So, as I research this topic, I wanted to create a library that would satisfy just about every listener out there depending on where each of you find yourself in relation to caring for kids. Now, don’t worry about memorizing the list. I have all the links for you in the Show Notes of your PediaCast.org for this Episode 349. And for ease and convenience, I’ve linked all of them to Amazon. But again, by all means, shop around, find the best deal. But as you do so, make sure that you’re finding the latest editions.

I did my best to link to the latest editions but double check that, OK? Because you may be listening to this two years from now. I don’t know, podcast stick around for a very long time. So double check that you are getting the latest edition of the particular book, so that you’ll have the most up-to-date evidence-based information.


All right, let’s get started. I think a fantastic place to start is the “What to Expect” series. You’ve probably heard of this one. It all began with What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which is for pregnant moms. And then, it followed that up with What to Expect the First Year, What to Expect the Second Year, What to Expect the Toddler Years. That one has lots of overlap with the second year book and mean not be quite as helpful. Sort of repeats a lot of the second year stuff. And then kind of summarizes a little into the third year but it’s not quite as detailed for that. So, really the good ones here What to Expect When Your Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, and What to Expect the Second Year.

These are written by Heidi Murkoff, and she’s not a pediatrician, but she’s a great communicator. And she’s done her research. She’s talked with doctors who are very well-versed with evidence-based medicine. And she’s done a very good job. She’s had a lots of editions of these. She keeps them up-to-date. They’re very readable, which I think is important, and practical. So you can’t go wrong with these. I think they’re great.

Now, if you prefer that your parenting book is written by a pediatrician rather than a good communicator. And I get that. I mean, I think Heidi’s books are fantastic especially if this is your first baby. But if you prefer your book written by a pediatrician, then I would suggest the 411 series — Baby 411 and Toddler 411. These are books written by Dr. Ari Brown and she’s practicing pediatrician in Austin, Texas. Very readable and practical, so you can’t go wrong with these either.

And then, if you’re, again, interested in books written by pediatricians, there’s some that I would call “The Mommy, Daddy, Doc” books. And so these are not only written from a pediatrician’s point of view but also really kind of heavy on “I’m not only pediatrician, I’m also a mom,” or “I’m also a dad.” And very conversational.


So, in this category, I would include Mama Doc Medicine by Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson. She also goes by Seattle Mama Doc on her blog. She’s affiliated with Seattle Children’s. Another one, Mommy Calls: Top 101 Questions Answered. This one by Dr. Tanya Altmann. She’s a pediatrician in Los Angeles and also very active in media and local television in the area.

And then Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro, Dr. David Hill. He’s a pediatrician in North Carolina.

These are the mommy/daddy talk books. I personally know all three of these doctors. Their books have a conversational tone, very enjoyable to read. And again with the lens of “I’m not only a doctor, I’m also a mom or a dad.” Ari Brown by the way, with Baby 411 and Toddler 411, she could also be included in these groupings because she’s also a mom and writes from that perspective as well.

Now, if you’re looking for something more encyclopedic, so, not quite as conversational, but still comprehensive nonetheless — well, even more comprehensive than the conversational books can bencyclopediae — the classic series from the American Academy of Pediatrics is Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Caring for Your School Age Child, and Caring for Your Teenager. So, those three books really form an encyclopedia of comprehensive child health issues.

So Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Caring for Your School Age Child, and Caring for Your Teenager — they’re a bit old school. You know, they’re more instructive than partnering, if you know what I mean. But some folks like that, and the information is solid.

However, I do think the American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes their heavy instructive nature. So, they’ve answered with what I like to call their post-modern series. And really, these next set of books are really aimed at today’s on-the-go, text savvy moms and dads. So they’re more conversational and practical. It often means that there’s a little bit less detail but they certainly get the job done and they’re extremely useful.


So, in that category the post-modern AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, series — number one, Understanding the NICU.

Heading Home With Your New Born: From Birth to Reality, this one’s written Dr. Laura Jana. She’s a pediatrician in Omaha, Nebraska and Dr. Jennifer Shu in Atlanta, Georgia. Both are outstanding and entertaining communicators. I know Dr. Shu in particular, and she does a lot of media work, too. I think she’s been on CNN quite a bit. And really I think the entertaining value is really evident in the title “Heading Home With Your New Born: From Birth to Reality”. So very practical book there. I highly recommend.

The New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding is another one. Your Baby’s First Year, another fantastic option written by Dr. Steven Shelov.
Baby Care Anywhere: A Quick Guide to Parenting On The Go, this one is a practical pocket-sized book but you can just throw on the diaper bag. It’s just the essentials but it’s great for first-time moms and dads in the first few months of their baby’s life. That one was written by Dr. Ben Spitalnick.

And then, another good one in this series would be Raising Twins, especially if you have twins or more. If you have multiples, triplets, higher up, you do have some particular issues concerning your children. So Raising Twins is another good one.

Then, this one is a real winner. If I had to pick one book to put on everyone’s shelf as a reference, it would probably be this one. It’s called The Big Book of Symptoms. This is also written by Dr. Steven Shelov. He’s the author of Your Baby’s First Year.


This is great to have on the shelf in the middle of the night. You know, “Can these symptoms wait till morning. If so, what do we now? Shall I call my doctor? Do I call now or in the morning? Do we need to go on an urgent care or an emergency department? Do we call 911?” This one really sort of takes the focus off routine care and development and shines a light on the illness with really good trustworthy stuffs. So, The Big Book of Symptoms is one that’s highly recommended.

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics also has a topical series called What Every Parent Needs To Know, and these are fantastic books that cover particular topics. So, there’s one on autism, one for ADHD, one for nutrition. Another covers allergies and asthma, and then another one covering sleep. So basically, it’s the topic, and then the title has what every parent needs to know in it. So, Autism: What Every Parents Need To Know, Sleep: What Every Parent Needs To Know. And again, also ADHD, nutrition, allergies and asthma.

Speaking of sleep as a topic, one of my all-time favorite parenting books is by Dr. Richard Ferber. And that is Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems. It’s been around for a very long time. It’s gone through multiple editions. You can find an up-to-date one but we use this one 22 years ago when my daughter was having sleep problems, and it worked like a charm.

So, if your baby or young toddler won’t go to sleep or they’re crying in the night, every night. You’re losing sleep yourself. You’re slowly going mad. You know, who you are. Get this book, it really is a life and family saver. Again, solve your child’s sleep problems. Highly recommended.

If you remember our listener, Andy, a couple of questions back. She used the Ferber method to get her six-month-old son sleeping through the night. She recommends it, too. So, it’s not just me who loves the book and the plan but actual parents who’ve used it. Which I did, like it’s been 22 years ago, but there are parents who’ve used them more recently and really, really enjoyed that one.


Potty training books are always helpful. The American Academy of Pediatrics has one called Guide to Toilet Training. The title says it all. You know, you want a guide to toilet training, there it is, from the AAP.

If bedwetting is a concern, Waking Up Dry: A Guide to Help Children Bedwetting by Dr. Howard Bennett, that’s a really good one.

With regard to eating and nutrition, I would also recommend The Picky Eater Project by Dr. Natalie Digate Muth. The Picky Eater Project, very good. And The Parents Guide to Childhood Obesity by Dr. Sandra Hassink.

Now, you’ll notice that many of these titles we’ve talked about so far focus on raising babies and toddlers and young children. If you have older kids at home, I would really recommend a couple of books by Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg. One is called Building Resilience in Children and Teens, and the other one, Raising Kids to Thrive. Both of these again by Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg — Building Resilience in Children and Teens, Raising Kids to Thrive. Two different books.

Dr. Ginsburg is an adolescent medicine specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. And these are wonderful books. I can’t recommend them more highly. Again, especially if you have a middle-school or a high-school aged child at home. Or, if you think your younger kids are going to turn in to middle-schoolers and high-schoolers, these would be a couple of great books to read as well. So, for everybody, in other words.

Another great one is by Dr. Daniel Siegel, The Whole-Brain Child. And Dr. Siegel is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at UCLA. Another excellent read for parents interested in the emotional well-being of their kids. Shouldn’t we all be interested in that? Kids today deal with all sort of mental health issues that parents should be aware of and helping them through those might just help yourself and ourselves, right, in the process. So, the Whole-Brain Child, lots of great insight in the mental health for you and your kids.


And then, there’s behavior and discipline, I love the book Raising Your Spirited Child, by Dr. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. She’s a doctor of Education. So this sort of comes at behavior and discipline from a little bit of a different angle than pediatricians. It’s from sort of world of education. And this is another book that we read 22 years ago. Maybe, I guess it’s been 20 years ago now, when my daughter was two, three and four. It offers terrific strategies for engaging spirited children and I love how she puts that. There’s also workbook to supplement your reading, the Raising Your Spirited Child workbook.

And then, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. And like Raising Your Spirited Child, this one approaches behavior from the educational angle rather than the medical field. So again, different insights but they’re important insights and extremely practical and a very easy read. So, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk and Raising Your Spirited Child, great behavior type of books.

Now, in terms of discipline, these are brand new out. And, so I have not looked at them as closely as some of these others. In fact, they were just released last week. I kid you not. And they’re near like hat off the presses. But I’m excited to check them out and you should be, too. One is called No-Drama Discipline, and the other is the companion, No-Drama Discipline Workbook.

It’s by the author of The Whole-Brain Child, Dr. Daniel Siegel. Again, he’s a child and adolescent psychiatrist at UCLA. And just knowing his work and his past writings, I really think this is going to be fantastic. Again, hat off the presses, just published last week. So they’re out there and be sure to check them out, especially if you’re struggling with discipline at home, and you need to extinguish the drama, which is always an important consideration as we talk about discipline.


And then, we have first aid and emergencies. So these are urgent topics, always good to have a book available so you can have sort of a reference for emergent situation. Things that pop up when you least expect them. And I have a trio of good books that address these issues.

The first is called First Aid for Families, and that’s from the American Academy of Pediatrics. And then, another one from the AAP called Pediatric First Aid for Caregivers and Teachers. So these are great reference books to have on the show. It’s like the old Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared,” and these will help you do that.

And then, there’s this one, If Your Kid Eats this Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay. And yes, that’s the title — If Your Kid Eats this Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay. And this one is by Dr. Lara Zibners. And, I love this one. It’s written by a pediatric emergency medicine doctor who practices in New York City and London, England. So instead of snowboarding, she pond hops.

And a little disclaimer, I know Lara well. We actually trained alongside one another back in the day. But I did not include this book because I know the author. It’s really humorous and very practical treatment of childhood injuries and emergencies. So be sure to check it out. Again, the title If Your Kid Eats this Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay. You got to love it. And knowing Dr. Zibners, the title is quite perfect.

I also wanted to include a couple of resources for those interested in babysitting. One is a complete babysitting training course from the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s called BLAST! with an exclamation point. And BLAST! stands for Babysitting Lessons And Safety Training. And if you combine that resource with a CPR class in the American Red Cross, you’ll be all set to babysit.

In an addition to the book, I’ll also include a link to the American Red Cross so you can find the CPR class in your area in the Show Notes for this episode, 349, over PediaCast.org.


Another great babysitting resource comes from Heidi Murkoff. So we’re back to where we begin with the “What To Expect” series. She has one called the What to Expect Babysitter’s Handbook. So, that’s another one that would be highly recommended to have on hand if you’re interested in babysitting.

So, there you have it, 42 titles in all. Which I know, Michael, you said there’s too many book out there, but really, it just depends on what you’re after, what style — encyclopedic, conversational, what particular topics. So I really wanted to give you a veritable library of great parenting books, all of them evidence-based from trustworthy sources.

Probably lot more than you thought that I’d share but again, just wanted to include a little something for everyone. For the individual listener out there. Yes you, I’m talking to you. Whichever of those books sort set off your radar, as we’re going through that, you thought, “Well, that would be a good one,” head over to PediaCast.org. Click on the Show and Notes tab. Find Episode 349, look for the Show Notes for Episode 349 and we’ll have links to all 42 books, so you can easily find the mentioned titles.

But again, make sure that you are finding the latest edition. I tried to make sure. I can’t guarantee that I did it with everyone. I’m pretty sure I did. But just double check especially if, you know, now it’s 2017 or 2018 or longer out and you’re coming across this podcast, just make sure you got the latest edition of whatever book that you’re looking at.


And Michael from Canada, thanks so much for the question. Hopefully, it benefited not only you, but lots and lots of other parents out there.

Speaking of questions, it’s really easy to get in touch with me. Just head over to PediaCast.org, click on the contact link and ask away. You can also call the voice line, 347-404-KIDS. That’s 347-404-K-I-D-S.


Dr. Mike Patrick: All right, we are back with just enough time to thank all of you for taking time out of your day to make PediaCast a part of it. Really do appreciate that.

Also, just want to thank you for ten years of pediatric podcast. Really, we couldn’t do it without you if we didn’t have your support, your listenership, you sharing the show, getting the word out there and participating by asking questions and suggesting topics all these ten years. Really, right from the get-go, we’ve had listener participation and I just really, really appreciate that.

So, here’s to another ten years.

Now, I don’t know, I may not be the host ten years from now. Who knows? But hopefully, PediaCast will keep going. There’s going to be someone waiting in the wings. And this is no suggestion that I’m going to be leaving anytime soon. Please, don’t get that idea. But, you know, you don’t know what the future holds, and I think PediaCast hopefully will go on longer even when I continue to do it. But I’m here, I love it. I’m not going anywhere soon. Don’t take that for anything other than to say I hope it continues beyond even my involvement. But again, no plans on leaving anytime soon.


That is all the time we have today. PediaCast is a production of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Don’t forget, you can find us in all sorts of places. We’re in iTunes, in the Kids and Family Section of their podcast directory. We’re also in most podcast apps for iOS and Android. If you can’t find us in your favorite podcasting app, let me know. Just go to the contact page of PediaCast.org and say, “Hey, we’re not in…whatever.” And I’ll do my best to get the show added to their line-up.

We’re also on iHeart Radio, where we not only have this program but also PediaBytes, B-Y-T-E-S. Those are shorter clips from this show that can be weaved together with other content providers to make your own custom talk radio station.

And then, there’s the landing site, PediaCast.org. You’ll find hundreds of past episodes, Show Notes, transcripts, our terms of use and a handy contact page to ask questions and suggest show topics.

We also have a voice line if you’d rather phone in your question or comment. That number is 347-404-KIDS. 347-404-K-I-D-S.

We’re also on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Lots of great content there you can share with your own online audience and helps spread the word. We always appreciate that.

And of course, we also like it when you talk us up with your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, anyone with kids or those who take care of children. And that will include your child’s healthcare provider. In fact, next time you visit your doctor, or nurse practitioner, or physician assistant for maybe sick office visit or a well check-up, a sports physical or a medicine recheck, really, whatever the occasion, let them know you found an evidence-based — they’ll know what that means — pediatric podcast for moms and dads. Again, we’ve been around for over a decade now, so tons of content, deep enough to be helpful but in language parents can understand.

And while you have your providers’ ear, let them know we have a podcast for them as well — PediaCast CME. Similar to this program, we turn up the science a couple of notches and provide free Category 1 Continuing Medical Education Credit. Yes, you heard me, it’s free for listeners. Shows and details are available at PediaCastCME.org.


We also have posters if you like to share the show the old-fashioned way. Certainly that works, and those are available under the Resources tab at PediaCast.org.

Thanks again for stopping by, and until next time, this is Dr. Mike, saying stay safe, stay healthy, and stay involved with your kids. So long, everybody.


Announcer 2: This program is a production of Nationwide Children’s. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time on PediaCast.

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