Easing toddlers' fear of shots

Some toddlers are so terrified of shots that they cry as soon as they step into the pediatrician's office.

It's typical for toddlers to be frightened of doctor's visits, said Dr. Ronald Marino, associate chairman of pediatrics at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

"By the time they reach 18 months, they have a good recollection of what goes on," he said. They typically outgrow the anxiety by 3 or 4 years old, he said.

In the meantime, here are some approaches that Marino suggests:

• Between visits, read picture books with the child about visiting the doctor and how the doctor keeps you well. "Try to frame the doctor visits in a happy light," Marino said.

• Never threaten the child with a shot. Marino said he has heard parents say, "You be good or you're going to get a shot."

• In fact, avoid the word "shot" altogether. "I use the word immunization," Marino said. Even toddlers may associate "shot" with actors being "shot" on TV, he said.

• Also avoid "hurt" or "pain," even to say, "This won't hurt." Instead, Marino frames it this way: "You're going to get an immunization. You might be surprised; you'll feel it, but it doesn't need to bother you."

• Kids are open to suggestion and magical thinking. Putting ice or "magic cream" where the immunization will be may help diminish discomfort, Marino said.

• If it doesn't go well, still leave with a positive message such as, "You did your best; it will be easier next time."


Benefits of organic milk

Although organic food can reduce your exposure to pesticides, the jury remains out on whether organically grown food is inherently more nutritious than food produced using the full chemical armory of conventional agriculture.

But new research from Washington State University concludes that when it comes to milk, the organic variety really does have at least one nutritional advantage: significantly higher levels of heart-healthy fatty acids.

Drinking any whole milk — whether conventional or organic — can help balance the levels of fatty acids, with the new results suggesting organic milk as the better choice.