Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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August 31, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Autumn allergies are around the corner

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

August will soon turn into September, and not only are your children back at school, but they might also start dealing with fall allergies. What causes them and how should you have your children treated?GirlAllergiesFallWeb

Charlotte’s pollen
Fall allergy season is generally from mid-August to mid- to late September. Late August and early September are peak pollen time. The most common causes of allergies are ragweed and pigweed, although grass counts are still high from the summer.

Allergies in southeast America are strong this time of year. The mild climate means the area has a long grass season – March to September – and mold stays for most of the year because the region does not have hard freezes. Read More →

August 21, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Preparing for the first day of Kindergarten

By Smarty Guest Blogger Holly G. Smith, MD FAAP, Signature Pediatrics

Ready or not – here it comes, the first day of school! No need to worry about what your kindergartener knows or doesn’t know. Kindergarten is the great equalizer for bringing children with different backgrounds up to speed and ready for first grade. But let’s talk about getting your child ready for the first few days of kindergarten.Kindergarten ready

Some simple preparation can help smooth the transition to school. First of all, discuss kindergarten with your child. Talk positively about what will happen at school, the fun things she will do, and about meeting new friends. If you can, explain briefly what the daily schedule will be like. Don’t overdo it – if your child seems uninterested or anxious when talking about school back off a bit and do not force the conversation. The goal is for kindergarten to sound like something to look forward to rather than fear. If possible, visit the school and meet the teacher prior to the start of school so your child will be a little bit familiar with the surroundings on the first day.

Self-reliance for daily tasks is important. For instance, a child should be able to manage his or her own clothing when using the bathroom. If you are packing lunch, make sure your child can open food containers and packages. Prepare your child for transportation to and from school. Let them know who will be picking them up or meeting them at the bus.
One of the biggest concerns for parents is handling drop-off. In general, it is best to make drop-off a brief, positive, reassuring experience. A quick hug and a light “see you later” often works best. Children may cry, and prolonging drop-off by staying with your child often only makes this worse. Do follow the teacher’s lead however, and be prepared to stay for a few minutes if the teacher feels this will be helpful. Some children like to have a token from home to help them feel secure, such as a familiar small toy, sticker or other item. We used a small glass heart that my daughter could keep in her pocket and hold if she needed reassurance. Read More →

August 20, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

It’s August now and school is around the corner. August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and now is the perfect time to review all the things you can do to help keep your children’s eyes safe and healthy.

A brief guide to pediatric eye exams

During a pediatric eye exam, an ophthalmic technician will ask you and your child questions about their vision, their medical background, and, if applicable, if they are wearing their glasses regularly. The technician will then perform vision, depth perception, and color vision tests. They will then use a small light to make sure you child’s pupils react normally, and then they’ll check your child’s eye pressure. Additional testing may be necessary if your child has strabismus – misaligned or “crossed” eyes – in order to measure the misalignment.Eye exam girl

After these tests, the technician will put eye drops in your child’s eyes to dilate them. These give the doctor the best opportunity to examine the interior parts of your child’s eye and determine the focusing power of their eyes.

Pediatric ophthalmologists are medical doctors that have completed an ophthalmology residency and a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship. They treat all eye conditions found in children including, but not limited to, blocked tear ducts, strabismus, cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity, and uveitis. Read More →

August 17, 2017

Etiquette for Visiting a New Mother

By Smarty Guest Blogger, Laura N Sinai MD MSCE FAAP, Signature Pediatrics

I hear congratulations are in order! Your friend, sister, co-worker, or even an acquaintance just had a baby. Beautiful pictures are already making the rounds on Facebook, Instagram, and maybe even in an old-fashioned paper announcement. The whole family is smiling and fresh faced in those professional images. They look well rested and happy.

No matter how great those photos look, I can promise you the family is experiencing stress and significant sleep deprivation. It may be a fine time to visit, but here are some rules to make the visit a positive one for everybody, especially for the new mom.

1) First, do not visit a newborn if you are sick.Newborn 2016

2) Wash your hands when you arrive. Please.

3) Leave your children home. As wonderful as your children are, new moms do not benefit from added toddler whining, teenage attitude, or more infants crying. There is plenty of time for playdates in the future. Make this visit about her.

4) Don’t ask to hold the baby. Especially if he/she is sleeping. Many moms feel very protective and uncomfortable with others holding her newborn. Wait for her to offer. Read More →

August 15, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Safely see the solar eclipse

CSP Note: This article was originally posted on CEENTA’s blog. A big thank you to CEENTA for letting us share with our Smarty readers! Happy eclipse day on August 21!

A total solar eclipse is a rare and exciting event, and on August 21, 2017, this part of the country will be lucky enough to experience one. However, even the smallest view of the sun’s rays can cause irreversible damage to your eyes. So before you go out to watch it, make sure you follow a few important steps to keep your eyes safe and healthy.

What happens to the sun?

A solar eclipse is when the moon comes between the sun and the Earth, creating a shadow and blocking light from the sun. A solar eclipse happens every 18 months. A total solar eclipse – when the center of the moon’s shadow hits the Earth when the sun, moon, and Earth are directly in line – is much rarer. Read More →

August 5, 2017

Smarty Mom: Ekta Shah

I am SO excited to introduce you to this week’s ultra-Smarty Mom, Ekta Shah! Ekta and I met lift-tone-burning at Pure Barre Ballantyne a few years ago. I didn’t even know she was an allergy doctor until CSP posted a couple of articles from our friends at Levine Children’s Hospital featuring Ekta (love it when my two worlds collide!). I immediately stopped her at Pure Barre after the second article posted and peppered her with questions about her life and upbringing. She was nice enough to meet me for coffee one morning so I could get more in-depth. :-)

She’s originally from India, but was raised in the US. She’s a busy mama to beautiful twin girls, has such great perspective, and embodies everything I love about our melting-pot city. A big thank you to Ekta for not only being a Smarty Mom, but for being willing to be interrogated at Starbucks by this Charlotte native (Ekta – next time let’s make our interview at one of your fave Indian restaurants in town! Yum!!) ;-).

Smarties, meet Etka Shah! I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I did!

Smarty Mom: Ekta Shah

Married to: Ameesh Shah; married 11 years
Children: Anya and Sahana; age 7 1/2
Hometown: Germantown, TN
Years in Charlotte: 7
Occupation: Allergist
‘Hood: Marvin/Waxhaw

You’re a mom of twins! What’s surprised you the most about having twins?

Finding out that we were having twins was a BIG surprise. We went out for dinner after but were in such a state of shock that we sat there in silence. I think we were in disbelief for several weeks after finding out the news.

Has it gotten easier or harder as they’ve gotten older?

Definitely has gotten easier as they have gotten older. The first 2 years were very exhausting, but now it’s easier as they have gotten older and become more independent. They share many of the same activities and always have someone to play with.

You are originally from India. Tell us what brought you to the US.

My dad came to the US in the 1970s to get his masters in engineering and ended up staying for a job opportunity. My mom and I immigrated a few years later when I was three years. Read More →

August 1, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: Meet Ella Kate – full of laughter after rare heart transplant.

Consistently named a Best Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report, Levine Children’s Hospital pays tribute to the incredible patients who helped us earn that title. Meet Ella Kate.View More:

Rare Heart Transplant Surgery Gives Newborn a Second Chance at Life

As a parent, your child’s laughter can make all of your worries vanish in an instant.

So when 8-month-old Ella Kate broke out into tender giggles just days after a rare heart transplant surgery, it was a welcomed sign of hope for her family and all the doctors and nurses who helped save her life.

Rough Start, Happy Ending

When Ella Kate was born, she didn’t breathe for eight minutes and was quickly airlifted to Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital.

Hours later, her parents learned their newborn daughter might not survive because of tumors found throughout her tiny, walnut-sized heart. Read More →

July 24, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Keep your family’s eyes UV-safe

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

With summer well underway, many people are going to be spending time outside. Our children are going to be playing at the pool or in the yard with their friends, and our parents might be spending their time gardening or playing with their grandchildren. But every time we go outside into the sun, our eyes are exposed to ultraviolet rays. July is UV Safety Month, and is the perfect time to learn why you should encourage your family to protect their eyes from the sun’s rays.GrandmotherGrandchildrenSunglassesBeachWeb

It is estimated that up to 80 percent of UV damage done to our eyes in our lifetime occurs by the time we’re 18. The damage done by UV rays accumulates over the years, leading to an increased risk of permanent eye damage or disease. UV light is absorbed by the lens of the eye and over time can cause damage that may contribute to the progression of cataract development, macular degeneration, and abnormal growths on the surface of the eye.

However, not enough children wear sunglasses. While 1 in 3 children above the age of 14 wear sunglasses regularly, less than 1 in 8 below the age of 10 do. Read More →

July 14, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Signature Pediatrics: Staying Safe in the Heat

By Smarty Guest Blogger Holly G. Smith, MD FAAP, Signature Pediatrics

The heat and humidity of summer are finally upon us! For most of us, that means we will spend our days in air-conditioned offices and houses, or go to the pool to cool off with the kids. Here in Charlotte, we are used to finding ways to beat the heat. Still, every year some people suffer from heat-related illness, so in these “Dog Days” of summer it is important to review how to keep your children safe in the heat. 1095628.largethree forms of heat-related illness:

1. Heat Cramps

One of the first signs of heat-related illness may be heat cramps. These are generally brief, intense muscle cramps in the legs, arms, or abdomen that may occur during or after vigorous exercise in extreme heat. The sweating that occurs with intense physical activity causes the body to lose salts and fluids. This low level of salts causes the muscles to cramp. Any child with heat cramps should stop physical activity, move to a cool place, and drink plenty of water or a sports drink. They should not resume activity for several hours after the cramps have gone away. Read More →

June 20, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and Levine Children’s Hospital: Potty Training 101

Summer is a great time to start potty training, so we recently interviewed Dr. Corinne Watson, a pediatrician at Cotswold Pediatrics, to get her insight and tips.  If you’re just starting the process, we hope this article serves as both inspiration and education for you.  A big thanks to Dr. Watson and Levine Children’s Hospital!

What age should parents expect to start potty training their child?

Many children are ready to start potty training at 2 years old, and almost all are ready by 3. However, parents can start introducing the concept before children are developmentally and physically ready. As early as 18 months, parents can start teaching the vocabulary of going “pee” or “poop” and going in the potty.



What are some signs that a child is ready to be potty training?

– Child expresses interest in going to the bathroom
– Child can imitate parents and put things where they belong
– Child can express that favorite word “no” indicating a sense of independence
– Child can indicate when he or she needs to “poop” or pee”
– Child is able to take clothes on and off

How often should you ask a child to go to the potty?

There is no perfect science for how often kids need to go potty. Look for potential signs, such as grimacing or pulling at the diaper when wet, a signal he or she may need to use the bathroom. If your child goes two or more hours without urinating, you may want to ask. Other good times to try include immediately after naps or about 20 minutes after meal time. Read More →

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