Advancing Children's Health

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

Think outside the gym for active fun

Oct 13 2016

The Surgeon General of the United States recommends children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day and adults get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.* This may sound like a lot of time, and busy schedules can sometimes get in the way, but the great thing about physical activity is that is doesn’t always have to take place in a gym. There are tons of other ways to meet the daily recommendation by doing other, enjoyable activities at home, in your neighborhood or during a fun family outing without realizing you are getting a workout. What counts as physical activity? Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires the body... View Article

Childhood headaches: What to watch for and when to be concerned

Sep 30 2016

In response to requests for more information about children’s headaches, members of our neurology team compiled answers to some of the questions they often hear related to how to help minimize childhood headaches and when to seek professional help.  Are headaches common during childhood? Headaches are a common problem in children, a frequent reason for doctor visits and the most common complaint for which people see a neurologist. They can begin at any age and often worsen during adolescence. What are common headache triggers for children? There are many common reasons for childhood headaches. Common “triggers” include: Poor water intake Skipping meals Poor sleep habits Allergies Weather changes Neck strain from excessive use of electronic devices (known as “text neck”) For... View Article

Meet Ariel, our September Calendar Kid

Sep 26 2016

Ariel Benjamin, our September 2016 “Calendar Kid,” enjoys Legos, video games and bike riding and hopes to be a computer programmer someday. Ariel is one of many children in Central Virginia who come to CHoR for gastroenterology and nutrition services. Ariel has Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition that attacks the digestive system and causes painful stomach issues. Approximately 700,000 people in the United States are affected by Crohn’s and in need of ongoing treatment and medication. Most also eventually need surgery to conserve the digestive track. Digestive problems are among the most common childhood ailments and CHoR provides the most comprehensive pediatric GI services in the region. Our GI team includes board-certified gastroenterologists, nurse practitioners, dietitians, nurses and a psychologist.... View Article

Pavilion fun: Exploring elements of nature

Sep 22 2016

Our new Children’s Pavilion was designed for better coordination of care and easy navigation for families, but creating a positive and comforting environment was also a major focus of the interior design. Elements of nature found in our community are incorporated in unique ways throughout the building, adding some kid-friendly fun to the overall design. “The overall design concept for the building is derived from nature to include water, forest and sky,” said Leslie Hanson, principal architect on the project designed by HKS Inc., in a Richmond-Times Dispatch article about the opening of the Pavilion. “The James River running through this region of Richmond plays an integral role to the concept being used in the building, blending the exterior and interior experience... View Article

Back to school: Addressing mental health concerns in a school setting

Sep 9 2016

NPR Ed’s recent series exploring mental health in schools found that in a classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with depression, anxiety or substance abuse, and yet nearly 80 percent of children who need mental health services won’t get them. According to the first article in the series, experts say that schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed, but it’s a role many schools aren’t prepared for. In the Q&A that follows, Dr. Aradhana “Bela” Sood, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at CHoR’s Virginia Treatment Center for Children, shares specifics on what teachers and other school professionals need to be aware of to be more prepared to help and why... View Article