Advancing Children's Health

Prescription for family fun: 20 minutes of daily playtime

Shot of two little boys pretending to be pirates in their bedroom
Dec 23 2016

Just 15-20 minutes of quality time together can build a child’s self-esteem, enhance family bonding and provide fun, stress-free time for everyone. There are many ways you can give the gift of “time together” to your child during the holiday season and throughout the new year. Below is a list of “family fun” ideas from our child life team. These ideas focus on family bonding, healthy fun and active play. You can use these activity ideas a starting point for daily playtime for your family or as a special way to give your child the “gift” of time together. A jar filled with family fun ideas to look forward to in the coming months, or a daily “fun calendar” (select one... View Article

Grocery shopping for a happy, healthy New Year!  

Dec 23 2016

Having a happy and healthy shopping trip to the grocery store might seem tough when kids are coming along! With a little advance planning, you can make sure your kitchen is stocked with ingredients that match the budget, time, health needs and preferences for your family. Thinking about what you can do before, during and after the grocery trip can be a helpful approach, according to Healthy Lifestyle Center dietitian Sonya Islam.   Before going to the grocery store Plan your meals for at least one week (longer if your trips to the grocery store are less frequent). Think about your household schedule. Will everyone in the house be at home every night for meals? Are there special considerations this... View Article

Skin, sweat and more: Navigating physical changes during puberty

Dec 22 2016

From changes in skin cells on the scalp to sweat glands in the feet, there’s a lot going on physically during puberty. The hormones produced during this stage of development trigger many changes, both physical and emotional. Understanding exactly what’s going on with their bodies can help adolescents navigate this challenging time. Read on to learn more from adolescent medicine specialist Dr. Stephanie Crewe about the biology behind some of the physical changes happening during puberty – and what can be helpful when these changes cause concerns. When does puberty start? Puberty is the time when the body matures from a child to an adult. It begins at an average age of 9-10 and related physical changes may start to... View Article

Safety spotlight: Fall prevention

Shot of an adorable baby girl at home
Dec 19 2016

In recent months, our emergency room has seen a noticeable increase  in the number of infants and toddlers coming in for injuries related to falling from elevated surfaces like couches, beds, tables and changing tables. Child safety expert Corri Miller-Hobbs compiled these important reminders to keep kids safe this busy holiday season and in the year ahead: The world is a great adventure for children and hazards are everywhere. Help your child explore, learn and grow, while also protecting them from dangerous falls. Constant supervision is always necessary and it’s never too early to begin using good safety techniques with children (and infants too).   Do not let children play on high surfaces like tables, couches, beds and other furniture; porches, decks, stairs and... View Article

What parents need to know: In-toeing in the early years

Cute female African American todder smiles as she holds her parents' hands while strolling in the park. She has brown eyes and black curly hair. She is wearing a purple tank top with a white t-shirt underneath. Her fther is wearing a plaid shirt with a white shirt underneath and khaki shorts.
Dec 2 2016

A child’s first attempts at walking aren’t always perfectly smooth, and there are some important things to be aware of as you watch your child’s shaky first steps develop into a steady walk. Dr. Victoria Kuester, orthopaedic surgeon and mom of two, highlights what can be helpful to know about in-toeing, a common condition that can become apparent with a child’s first steps and in the active years that follow.  What is in-toeing?  Many children walk with their toes pointed inward when they’re first learning and some continue to do this in the toddler years and beyond. The medical term for this is “in-toeing.” For some children, in-toeing (or walking “pigeon toed” as it is also sometimes called) can appear... View Article

Can I have ice cream for breakfast?
Kai’Ayshia’s story

Nov 22 2016

By Dr. Thomas Yeh Content originally published on It’s easy to lose your perspective in the rush of surgery. As a children’s heart surgeon, it has been my life’s greatest privilege to be part of many wonderful moments that changed lives for thousands of patients in Toronto, Louisville, Dallas, New Orleans, and now, in Richmond. Recently, a patient gave me pause to step back, savor the moment, and celebrate the wealth of talent here in Richmond that can be brought to bear when a child needs it. This is the story of Kai’Ayshia, a beautiful 4-year old girl, and her mother, whose concern grew with the growing stream of doctors checking on them and the echocardiography screen being used... View Article

Lessons from Dr. Darth Vader (aka Dr. Lee)

Nov 18 2016

By Lisa Crutchfield Photography by Allen Jones, VCU University Marketing Content originally published by VCU School of Medicine in 12th & Marshall.  On normal days, pediatric hospitalist Dr. Clifton Lee, dons his usual white coat and gathers the students and residents for the morning’s rounds. The associate professor is known in the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU for his compassionate and family-centered bedside manner when visiting patients. But one day a year, things get a little unconventional. On Halloween, it’s Dr. Darth Vader making those rounds, accompanied by residents and students also dressed as Star Wars characters. “You need a human aspect to medicine instead of talking about tests and medications,” Lee says. “Without that, it’s not a complete... View Article

Is it a vision problem?
Know what to watch for during the start of a new school year

Oct 28 2016

Is your child complaining that it’s too hard to read the board in class? Have you noticed your child having problems completing reading assignments or complaining of headaches when reading? It’s a great time to be aware of the signs of vision and eye problems, as these issues often become more apparent in the first months of the school year – especially during homework and study time. Our new pediatric ophthalmologist Dr. Evan Silverstein shares tips on what to watch for and how to help. Early treatment is important If treated early, many vision and eye problems can be minimized, or even reversed. In addition to making sure children receive childhood vision screens at the pediatrician, parents should be aware of the... View Article

Pavilion fun: Expert-recommended activities to keep ‘em occupied

Oct 26 2016

Keeping kids happy, calm and entertained during a doctor’s visit or an outpatient procedure can sometimes be a challenge. The following tips from child life specialist Katie Barber can help you pass the time in a fun way and help your children feel more calm and relaxed. Some of the ideas listed below are geared specifically to enhance your experience at our new Children’s Pavilion but all of these concepts can be used with your child at any medical visit to any facility.  Fun ways to pass the time – Pick a beep, buzz or other noise you hear often in a medical setting and give your child a hug or high five every time you hear it. – Make... View Article

From the Healthy Lifestyles Center recipe files… Fun & Fruity Banana Split

fresh fruits salad
Oct 20 2016

Presenting healthy food in a fun or familiar way makes it more likely children will eat it. Here’s a healthy twist on a fun, kid-friendly favorite that provides lots of options for adding to a child’s recommended daily fruit and dairy intake. Healthy Lifestyles Center dietitian Sonya Islam recommends this protein-packed twist on a banana split as breakfast treat, meal or light dessert. Happy (healthy!) eating. What makes this version so much better for you than an ordinary banana split? Greek yogurt is firm enough to stay rounded in scoops for the classic look of a banana split, but using it instead of ice cream adds more protein and calcium while dialing back calories! Also, instead of sugary sprinkles, toasted... View Article