Weight Gain for Preemies

“…Because the number of regular checkups declines after the first year of life, problems with weight gain might not be evident, especially when charting infants who were extremely premature. The height and weight of children are related to parental genetics, but the closeness in weight of your children may indicate a problem with weight gain.”


Is your Preemie Gaining Enough Weight?

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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Pros and cons of eating fish while pregnant

Pregnant woman holding fish

Should pregnant women eat fish?

When a woman becomes pregnant, her diet becomes even more important because she has to consider the nutrition of her developing fetus. The pros and cons of eating fish while pregnant have been widely reported by media in recent years. One recent research finding appears to support both sides.

A study published in 2012 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine by Sharon Sagiv, a Boston University School of Public Health assistant professor of environmental health, and Susan Korrick, an internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston appears to support both sides. The study found links between a pregnant women’s exposure to low-level mercury, primarily from eating fish, and an increased risk of their children exhibiting behaviors related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Yet, the study also found that eating fish during pregnancy had a protective effect, reducing the risk of ADHD-related behaviors in children.

What does this seemingly conflicting advice mean for pregnant women?

“To eat fish—absolutely—as long as it’s not fish containing high levels of mercury. There are certain fish that fall into the high-mercury category, such as swordfish, shark, fresh tuna, or king mackerel. Fish that are low in mercury include flounder, haddock, and salmon. It’s important to think about what kind of fish you are eating,” study researcher Sharon Sagiv said.

Mayo Clinic obstetrician Roger Harris, M.D. concurs. He says eating fish can be beneficial.

“Seafood can be a great source of protein and iron — crucial nutrients for your baby’s growth and development. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids in many fish can promote your baby’s brain development.”

But, he also says you should avoid eating large fish that are high in mercury, like mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish.

What do you make of this information? Are the developmental benefits of eating fish greater than the mercury exposure downsides? Let us know what you think.


Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Tips to avoid the flu

Smiling child getting flu shot.

Have you and your child gotten your flu shot yet?

Flu season is hitting hard and fast in 2013. No matter where you live in Mercer County, your risk for catching the flu increases based on the number of people you come into contact with every day. Those with the highest risk of getting the sickness are the elderly population, pregnant woman and young children.

In an article in the Times of Trenton, Dr. Joel Maslow, head of the division of infectious diseases at Morristown Memorial Hospital, said this year’s strain of flu, H3N2, is a new one and not many people have the built up immunity to it.

In the same article, Capital Health epidemiologist, Dr. Marc Whitman said this strain is spreading through the high-risk groups quickly and is getting more people sick.

Children’s Futures wants to keep you and your children as safe and healthy as possible, so here are a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to avoid this year’s flu bug.

– Get the flu shot
The flu vaccine is the most important and most obvious step. Starting at the age of six-months your child should be getting a flu shot as soon as flu season hits. Don’t think that the flu shot will cost too much money. Lots of clinics give the vaccine for free. And, drug stores offer them for a low price.

– Avoid people with the flu
This may sound like another obvious thing, but it’s a thing that lots of people don’t do. This means if your child has the flu, you shouldn’t send him or her to school. This will increase the likelihood of classmates getting sick and continue the spread of the virus. And, when the fever goes down, spend one more day at home because you still might have the germ.

– Cover your mouth
Don’t just cover your mouth with your hand. Cover it with a tissue or paper towel whenever you sneeze or cough and immediately throw the tissue away.

– Wash your hands
Wash your hands often! If you sneeze or cough directly into your hand, wash your hands in hot water with soap. If you can’t get to a sink, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Another great source of information is available online at:

Please share your family’s flu experiences with us and any ideas that have worked for you in minimizing the impact of the current flu outbreak.

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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Behind the scenes of the Children’s Futures toy and book drive

BlackRock, Trenton, book drive, toy drive, Children's Futures. charity, holidays, christmas

Thousands of area children received toys and books at schools and churches like this young girl who received one of the hundreds of new books donated by the BlackRock company.

Children’s Futures’ 12th Annual Holiday Toy and Book Drive collected and distributed thousands of holiday gifts for local children and families thanks to the generosity of community-minded sponsors including ARAMARK and Roma Bank and participation from the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce,the Junior League of Greater Princeton, the NJ Tigers Baseball Team and the Never Give Up organization.

NJ Tigers, Princeton, volunteers, book drive, toy drive, Children's Futures

Children’s Futures’ 12th Annual Holiday Toy and Book Drive collected and distributed thousands of holiday gifts for local children and families thanks to the generosity of community-minded sponsors including ARAMARK and Roma Bank and participation from the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce,the Junior League of Greater Princeton, the NJ Tigers Baseball Team and the Never Give Up organization.

In addition, many local companies and organizations served as toy and book collection sites including Scholastic Book Fairs, Mrs. G.  TV  and Appliances, BlackRock, HealthFirst New Jersey, Union Baptist Church, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals,  Classics Books, Princeton Computer Support, Rose Hill Assisted Living, Triumph Brewery, Shaffer’s Men’s Store, Paychex, the Mercer Insurance Group, Retro Fitness of Bordentown, Rainbow Town Restaurant  Mercer County Community College Kerney Campus, and the human resources office of the New Jersey State Attorney General.


Children's Futures, president, Princeton Chamber, book drive, toy drive, donations

Children’s Futures’ President Floyd K. Morris, Jr. thanks Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce members for their toy and book donations during the Chamber’s Holiday reception at the Morven Museum in Princeton

“Through our toy and book drive, we focus on helping children who may otherwise go without during the holidays,” explained Children’s Futures’ president Floyd K. Morris, Jr.   “We always are humbled by the outpouring of gracious donations and support by our neighbors and friends.”


Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Trenton public school restructuring plan

Trenton public schools seal
The future of our children is heavily based in education. Last night, the Trenton public school system just approved a restructuring plan that makes different schools for elementary, middle and high school. This proposal was passed by a unanimous vote and will go into effect in the 2013-14 school year.

The purpose was to help eliminate over-population in the classrooms. It helps get the right resources to the right kids. It also, tries to give more consistency to special education student that have been known to bounce around the school system.

Here is what Children’s Futures board member, Rev. Toby Sanders, said about the plan in a Trenton Times article:

In 2004, under then-Superintendent James Lytle, the district shifted to a K-eight model, under the theory that students benefited from staying in the same school from kindergarten through eighth grade, but more importantly, to save the district money, board president the Rev. Toby Sanders said.

“We shifted to that for fiscal reasons and management reasons primarily and we have had six straight years of the nadir in our achievement being six through eight,” he said.

Here is how the new proposal breaks down:

Pre K- 5th grade:
Columbus Elementary School
Gregory Elementary School
Mott Elementary School
P.J. Hill Elementary School

Kindergarten – 3rd grade
Robbins Elementary School
Washington Elementary School

Kindergarten – 5th grade
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
Franklin Elementary School
Grant Elementary School
Robeson Elementary School
Jefferson Elementary School
Monument Elementary School
Parker Elementary School
Wilson Elementary School

6th grade – 8th grade
Alternative School/Cadwalader School
Grace A. Dunn Middle School
Joyce Kilmer Middle School
Rivera Middle School

9th grade – 12th grade
Daylight/Twilight High School
Trenton Central High School – Main
Trenton Central High School – West


Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Hydrate for your baby’s health

Happy 2013, folks!

A new year means new beginnings, but we are still facing the same old issues in our communities. In Mercer County, N.J., 41 of the 4,657 births last year resulted in infant death. There are many reasons for this alarming statistic, but the Nurse-Family Partnership, a staff of nurses that make free home visits to first-time pregnant mothers in Mercer County, all harp on one factor as the biggest preventative measure: prenatal nutrition.

If you get hit with a craving, Doris Greiner, R.N., says try to avoid fast food places like McDonald’s. It might be a quick fix, but it has lots of long term effects on the body.

“It’s better to have fruits and veggies because. Those give your body more of the good stuff that it really needs.”

Dehydration is something every pregnant woman should be aware of. Cynthia Hampton, R.N. says dehydration in a pregnant woman is extremely dangerous.
“Avoid eating foods that are high in salt. That can drain a lot of the water from your system,” she said. “Dehydration in late-term woman could possibly lead to premature labor.”

Here are some signs that you might be approaching dehydration:
Dark yellow urine, infrequent or lack of urination, dry mouth, weakness, dizziness and lightheadedness, excessive thirst, headaches, chapped lips, nausea and vomiting.

If you are interested in contacting the Nurse-Family Partnership, or just want more prenatal nutrition advice, please call 609-695-1977 ext. 115.
Prenatal health care services and education are extremely important to young parents. That can be the difference between a healthy birth and a complicated one. The numbers show that our communities still have some work to do.

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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Protect your child against eczema

Old Man Winter is upon us, which means we have to take extra steps to stay dry and warm. A new parent might not think consider how dry skin can affect a child. Our resident expert, Dr. Kendall Sprott, says this season puts young children at high risk for eczema.

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition frequently seen in babies. It often is associated with asthma and allergies. Food allergy also may be an aggravating factor in eczema, and care should be taken when introducing new foods to babies with the dry skin condition.

Dry patches can occur on different parts of the body, but skin creases (behind the knees and ears, the buttocks and at the elbows) and the scalp (in babies) are commonly affected. The itch is due to histamine, which causes blood vessels to dilate, resulting in skin redness and swelling. The severity of eczema can vary and tends to worsen with very cold or very hot temperatures.

It’s important to try to keep the skin as close to normal as possible. It’s much easier to reverse mild skin symptoms (redness and superficial dryness). It takes a much longer time to heal skin that is cracked, oozing or roughened to the point of becoming leathery. Since our skin surface is covered with bacteria, cracks or scratches allow entry below the surface, resulting in infection. Primary treatment is keeping the skin moist and avoiding infection.

Use moisturizing soaps to help preserve the oils. Not using soap or using oatmeal baths also has been effective. The next step is to keep the skin moist with lotions and creams. Be aware that some children may be sensitive to ingredients or scents in moisturizing products. It’s important to moisturize as soon as possible after bathing to minimize skin water evaporation.

Lotions will have a larger water content than creams and will be less effective when the eczema is moderate. Ointments or butters (cocoa, shea) act as barriers to lock in moisture and may be necessary for the more severe forms.

Antibiotics, either topical or oral, may be necessary when the damaged, inflamed skin is infected. Topical steroids are used to reduce inflammation and itch. Chronic steroid use on the skin can reduce the amount of skin pigment. Because of the close association of food allergy and eczema, an evaluation by a pediatric allergist may be helpful. Common food allergies in young children include cow’s milk, egg, wheat, soy, corn and some types of berries. Eliminating and/or careful introduction or reintroduction of foods to look for an effect on the skin may be useful.

This blog post is not to be used in replacement of a doctor visit. Please consult a physician for all health care needs.

Tell us what you think of the advice or ask a question of your own in our comment section. We hoped this helped.

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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in Ask the Expert


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