Holiday Safety Tips for the Family

With the holiday season right around the corner, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a few safety tips to remember.  



  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." 
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches, and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. 
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators, or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways. 
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly. 


  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted. 
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
  • Check all tree lights-even if you've just purchased them before hanging them on your tree. Ensure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets, or loose connections.
  • Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire. 


  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. 
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down. 
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them. 
  • Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons, and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame. 

Toy Safety

  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children. 
  • Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. 
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don't give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
  • Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children. 
  • Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies. 

Food Safety

  • Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
  • Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child's exploring hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
  • Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
  • Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separate, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
  • Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
  • Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours. 

Happy Visiting

  • Clean up immediately after a holiday party. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots.
  • Keep a laminated list with all of the important phone numbers you or a babysitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician, and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222.
  • Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child's stress levels. Trying to stick to your child's usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.


  • Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from the fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open. 
  • Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children. 
  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.



COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11

The CDC reports COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalizations, deaths, MIS-C (inflammatory syndromes), and long-term complications, such as "long COVID," in which symptoms can linger for months. The spread of the Delta variant resulted in a surge of COVID-19 cases in children throughout the summer. During a 6-week period in late June to mid-August, COVID-19 hospitalizations among children and adolescents increased fivefold. Vaccination, along with other preventative measures, can protect children from COVID-19 using the safe and effective vaccines already recommended for use in adolescents and adults in the United States. Similar to what was seen in adult vaccine trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5-11 years. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm. COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and therefore reducing their risk of severe disease, hospitalizations, or developing long-term COVID-19 complications. Getting your children vaccinated can help protect them against COVID-19 and reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping curb community transmission. 


A panel of experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics recently answered some of the most common questions parents ask about the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Please review the below Q&A to help decide if the COVID-19 vaccine is appropriate for your child. If you still have questions, we encourage you to schedule a telehealth or clinic visit with your child to discuss any questions you may have.  


Q: Why will younger children get a 10 microgram dose rather than the 30 microgram dose given to those ages 12 and older?

A: Dr. Campbell explained that the first trials compared 10, 20 and 30 microgram doses in children. The first few children who received 30 micrograms developed fevers and red, sore arms. So the trial continued with only 10 and 20 microgram doses. Results showed the same immune response in those who received 10 micrograms vs. those who got 20 micrograms, and minor side effects were lower in the 10 microgram group. "So if you have same immune responses but fewer side effects, then you go with that dose," Dr. Campbell said.


Q: What if a child is 11 years old when she gets the first dose but turns 12 before the second dose?

A: The child should get 10 micrograms for each dose.


Q: What dose should children ages 11 and under get if their weight is comparable to a teen's or adult's?

A: They should get 10 micrograms. The dose is not weight-based. It's based on immune maturity, Dr. Campbell said.


Q: Should children get the vaccine if they already had COVID?

A: Yes. "You do get protection from being infected, but you get better protection if you're infected and then vaccinated," Dr. Campbell said.


Q: Are there any other differences between the vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds and the one for those ages 12 and older?

A: The vaccine for the younger group has an orange cap rather than a purple cap. The injection volume, fill volume and amount of diluent used also are different. The vial also contains 10 doses compared to six doses in a vial of adult/adolescent vaccine.


To schedule your child’s COVID-19 vaccine visit,



Should I still get the flu vaccine in this pandemic?

Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health every year. Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but different viruses cause them. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), and seasonal flu is caused by infection with one of many influenza viruses that spread annually.  


Children play a pivotal role in transmitting the flu virus to households and other close contacts. Children consistently have the highest attack rates of flu in the community. Reducing the flu virus transmission among children decreases the burden of childhood flu and transmission of flu virus to household contacts and community members of all ages.  


The flu vaccination is crucial during this pandemic to reduce the burden of respiratory illnesses and hospitalizations and preserve the capacity of the health care infrastructure. The Coastal Pediatric Associates and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend the flu vaccine for all that are eligible. 


Flu vaccines are not designed to protect against COVID-19. Flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death in addition to other significant benefits.  Likewise, getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19, but those vaccines are not designed to protect against flu. 


Wearing a mask, regular handwashing and physical distancing can help protect you and others from respiratory viruses, like flu and the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the best way to reduce your risk of flu illness and its potentially serious complications is for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine each year. By getting a flu vaccine, you may also be protecting people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.


Source: CDC and AAP



Should I get the COVID vaccine for my child?

Vaccines are our best hope to end the COVID-19 pandemic.  Getting a COVID-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting COVID-19. Early information shows that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19 to others. They can also help keep your child from getting seriously sick even if they do get COVID-19. Help protect your whole family by getting yourself and your children 12 years and older vaccinated against COVID-19.


The American Academy of Pediatrics urges children and adults to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Research shows these new vaccines are remarkably effective and safe. The vaccines are crucial now with the rise in cases caused by the Delta variant of the virus. This strain is more contagious, spreading at alarming rates and infecting more children.


One thing is certain; COVID-19 vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death for hundreds of millions of U.S. adults and adolescents who've received them already. We look forward to the day when younger children can get the vaccines, too, so they can spend time with friends, travel with their families, and enjoy their communities safely.


Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can:

  • Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Get sick from COVID-19
  • Spread COVID-19 to others


CDC recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated can resume activities that they did before the pandemic. Children 12 years and older can get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.  If you have any questions about the Covid19 vaccine, please schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss.


To receive your COVID-19 vaccine please visit or call 843-573-2535 to schedule your time at one of our 4 convenient locations.


Source: CDC and AAP



Well-Child Visits and Recommended Vaccinations Are Essential

Well-Child Visits and Recommended Vaccinations Are Essential

August is National Immunization Month. Now more than ever, it is important to schedule your child’s well visit and vaccinations. The CDC’s data shows a 14% drop in 2020-2021 compared to 2019, and measles vaccine ordering is down by more than 20%. We encourage you to catch up on vaccinations by scheduling your well visit.

This past year, families did their part by staying at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19. An unfortunate result is that many children missed check-ups and recommended childhood vaccinations. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends every child continue to receive recommended vaccinations during COVID.

Well-child visits and recommended vaccinations are essential and help make sure children stay healthy and are protected. The CDC shares that children who are not protected by vaccines are more likely to get diseases like measles and whooping cough. “The diseases that we are protecting children against with vaccinations are extremely contagious and can be very serious, especially for babies and young children,” shares Kimberly Caristi, MD, Managing Partner for Coastal Pediatric Associates. “Well-child visits are also essential for many developmental reasons.”

Your Child’s Well Visit:

-Track growth and developmental milestones.

- Discuss any concerns about your child’s health.

- Receive scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and other serious communicable diseases.

As schools and day cares reopen to in-person learning and care, Coastal Pediatric Associates is open week-days, extended hours and week-end hours to provide a safe space for your child’s well visit. We also provide the COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 12 to young adulthood. 

Schedule now by calling your Coastal Pediatric Associates office, visiting the website at or by using the patient portal.




Tips for a Safe and Healthy Return to School


  • Prepare Ahead!  
    • Prior to school starting set sleep schedules back to “school” time.
    • Review with your child what to expect on the first day of school
      • Many children may be anxious about returning to school this year – please reach out to your pediatrician if you need advice or help with this!
  • Let your child help pick out back to school supplies – it is exciting! 
  • Make plans for healthy lunches and snacks.  Arranging an area in your refrigerator for these items will make packing them up quick and easy.
  • Organize an area for homework and studying at home.  This should be an area with minimal distractions and that has needed supplies close by.
  • Review bus pick up and drop off locations with your child.  If they are not riding the bus then ensure your child is aware of who is taking them and who is allowed to pick them up at school. 
  • The AAP and CDC both currently recommend universal masking in schools due to the delta variant of COVID 19.  Finding a comfortable mask style for your child and reviewing hand hygiene will help keep them healthy and safe!

-Submitted by Elizabeth J. Kirlis, MD, FAAP 



Summer Sun Protection Tips

Summertime brings thoughts of sandy days at the beach, nature hiking, long bike rides, and barbecues with family and friends. Although fun, these activities expose the skin to the sun's harmful UV rays. Proper use of sunscreen can protect your family from both short- and long-term negative consequences of UVA and UVB exposure. There are two types of sunscreens readily available for use:

1. Mineral sunscreens, which contain ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, provide a physical barrier by sitting on the surface of the skin and deflecting UV rays away from the skin.

2. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, or homosalate that sink into the skin's pores and absorb and react with UV rays.

Broad-spectrum sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB rays should be selected. Both the AAP and AAD recommend SPF of 15 to 30 or higher. When properly applied, SPF 50 sunscreen blocks 98 percent of UVB rays and SPF 100 blocks 99 percent. When applying sunscreen, aim for approximately 1 oz of sunscreen for the body and an additional amount for the face. 1-2 ounces can be visualized as a shot glass or 4 tablespoons. Babies under age 6 months have highly sensitive skin and should stay out of the sun. Heavy shading and sun-protective clothing are the best way to safeguard the youngest members of the family. A helpful hint for squirmy babies over 6 months and toddlers too are sunscreen sticks, which can be rubbed onto faces without drips. Whichever SPF you choose, reapplication is the key to avoiding sunburn and future damage to the skin. Sunscreen should be applied every 2 hours or after swimming or increased sweating. It is easy for time to slip by when playing outside. Set an alarm on your watch or phone as a reminder. Have fun and tie the reapplication to an activity like a snack or water break. Do a sunscreen dance. Get creative.   

Some helpful considerations: Sunscreens last approximately 2-3 years. Note on the bottles with a permanent marker so that the expiration date is clearly marked. If using a spray, spray on your hands first and then apply to your child. This minimizes the chances of missing areas and subsequent sunburn.  

UPF swimwear hit the markets several years ago and has become increasingly popular over the last few years, offering more selection and styles. Hats, shirts, and swimsuits are now all available at stores and online. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and indicates the UV protection of the fabric. A UPF 50 fabric blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays from penetrating the skin. Helpful tips for selecting UPF swimwear include purchasing fabric that has a tighter weave, choosing a looser rather than snug form-fitting style, and opting for a darker color. When purchasing UPF swimwear, look for the Skin Cancer Foundations Seal of Recommendation. Although UPF-rated clothes can be more expensive than regular clothes, they are more than worth your investment in the long run. Think of how much you save by not having to re-apply sunscreen many times a day to a body part covered by a good quality outfit with a high UPF rating.   

As August approaches and the summer heat in the Lowcountry rises, children will be spending more time than ever in the backyard and community pools and playing outdoors. Keep their precious skin safe by properly applying (and re-applying!) sunscreen, outfitting in UPF clothing, and enjoying a happy and sunburn-free summer.    

Submitted by- 

Catherine Snead, PNP, CRNP, PMHS 



Coastal Pediatric Associates Leads Child Abuse Prevention Month with Supportive Programs For Families

Coastal Pediatric Associates Leads Child Abuse Prevention Month with Supportive Programs For Families 

Support Families and Children, Charleston, SC – Coastal Pediatric Associates providers and staff collaborate to raise awareness and improve access to supportive programs for families and children in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Throughout South Carolina April’s Child Abuse Awareness Month encourages people to help positive childhood experiences take root. “Now more than ever, our Coastal Pediatric families need us – organizations, governmental agencies, businesses, communities, neighborhoods, faith-based groups and individuals – to join together,” explains Kimberly Caristi, MD, Managing Partner of Coastal Pediatric Associates. “When we support families, we become a stronger, more resilient community, and children grow up happy, healthy and safe.” 

What happens in childhood can last a lifetime. We know that childhood adversity can have long-lasting negative health effects into adulthood. “Science shows that healthy, happy and thriving children have better odds of becoming healthy and happy adults, which is what we all want. As a life-long caregiver for families, pediatricians can play an important role in identifying programs to help children and parents thrive. From diagnosing and treating physical ailments, opening doors to financial support, and growing our behavioral health programs, we can truly make a difference,” says Tricia Humphrey, MD. 

Coastal Pediatric Associates is joining prevention partners across the state to show their commitment to preventing child abuse and neglect. We are united with community advocates, like the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center Partners and MUSC Children’s Health Child Abuse Pediatrics, working toward a common goal of supporting families and children. 

The blue pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention, representing the happy, healthy childhoods all children should have. “Pinwheels plant a seed of hope for a better tomorrow for all children and families. We ask that everyone join with us to cultivate the relationships, connections and places that help every child thrive,” says Coastal Pediatrics’ Karlayne Dufault, MSN, RN, CPNP. 

“Together we grow a better tomorrow for South Carolina.” 

Coastal Pediatric Associates #CPAKids joins the Children’s Trust of South Carolina to focus on preventing child abuse and neglect. The organization leads and supports a network that shares our belief that all children should thrive, live in secure families and be surrounded by supportive communities. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to learn more.



Meningitis Vaccination for Teens Is Still Important

Meningitis Vaccination for Teens Is Still Important

Even if your college-aged children are not attending in-person classes due to COVID-19 precautions, they may still be at risk for diseases like MenB. Your teen or young adult may have received MenACWY vaccination when they were younger, but most have not yet received the MenB vaccination. Recent CDC data shows that only about 1 in 5 17-year-olds in the U.S. received at least one dose of MenB vaccination in 2019.

Spring break is a good time to schedule a wellness visit and talk to your child’s doctor about the two different types of vaccines to help prevent meningococcal disease – one for MenACWY and one for MenB.

While many colleges require MenACWY vaccination, MenB vaccination has only been available since 2014, and many colleges do not require it. 



  • Early symptoms of meningitis may be similar to those of the flu but can progress quickly and can be fatal quickly.
  • Up to 1 in 5 meningitis survivors suffer long-term consequences, such as brain damage, hearing loss and nervous system problems. 
  • Among those who contract meningitis, 1 in 10 will die.
  • Teens and young adults are at an increased risk for contracting meningitis because it can spread through certain common behaviors such as living in close quarters, like college dorms, kissing, and sharing drinks, utensils, or smoking devices.
  • From 2011 through March 2019, meningitis B (MenB) caused all US college meningococcal outbreaks, which involved 13 campuses, 50 cases and two deaths among an at-risk population of students.


*GSK, 2021



Antibody Infusion Clinic Makes Headlines

The Post & CourierPediatric practice opens antibody infusion clinic to treat high-risk children

"Coastal Pediatric Associates has opened an antibody infusion clinic for high-risk and medically complex children and young adults who test positive for COVID-19.

To receive treatment, patients must be 12 and older and must not need to be hospitalized..."

The GazetteAntibody infusion clinic opens to treat high risk children and young adults with COVID-19

"Coastal Pediatric Associates (CPA) has opened the Antibody Infusion Clinic for high risk, medically complex children and young adults ages 12 and older who test positive for COVID-19, but do not meet the criteria for hospitalization.

Parents can request that their CPA provider or an outside specialty provider refer them for treatment if they meet the below outlined criteria..."

Live 5 News



CPA Opens An Antibody Infusion Clinic For High Risk Patients

CPA Opens An Antibody Infusion Clinic For High Risk Patients

Coastal Pediatric Associates announces the opening of the Antibody Infusion Clinic for high risk, medically complex children and young adults ages 12 and older who test positive for COVID-19, but do not meet the criteria for hospitalization.  Patients can be referred from their pediatrician or other medical professional to be evaluated for treatment if they meet the below outlined criteria.  

Our Nurse Triage team will be managing questions about appropriateness for the treatment and assisting with the scheduling process. Please call the main CPA number and choose option 6.

Bamlanivimab Defined

*Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody, currently under EUA approval, that has shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization and emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression.  The infusion is designed to mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off the SARS CoV2 virus and block its ability to attach and enter human cells.

Bamlanivimab Eligibility Criteria

Required criteria:

  • Ages 12 and older
  • Minimum weight – 88lb (40kg)

Meets one of the following high risk criteria:

  • BMI >85%
  • Heart Disease
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Developmental Condition, like cerebral palsy
  • Asthma or other pulmonary disease requiring daily controller medication.
  • Requires ventilator or feeding tube.

Infusion must be given within 10 days of diagnosis.  


Elizabeth J. Kirlis, MD, FAAP

Partner, Coastal Pediatric Associates

Laboratory Director, Coastal Pediatric Associates


 * FDA website



Managing stress during the holidays.

By Dr. Johnston

Ah, the holidays. Time for fun, family, food, football, a break from school for the kiddos and maybe from work for some parents too. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the holidays can also bring with them stress, binging on too many unhealthy foods and disruptions in sleep routines. And let us not forget about the most unwelcomed holiday guest ever, the coronavirus or COVID19.   Yes, these holidays are something to look forward to after a very challenging year for all. But let’s talk about some ways to stay safe and healthy this holiday season.

Unfortunately, rates of COVID19 infection are skyrocketing across the country and as cases increase, so too do hospitalizations and the burden on our hospitals and the dedicated health care workers who care for the sick. This virus remains a very dangerous threat to all with no cure and no vaccine.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommends keeping holiday gatherings small this year to contain the spread of COVID19. Think immediate family/household members only. Consider inviting other family and friends to join you virtually. Zoom is lifting the 40-minute time limit on its platform this Thanksgiving to make it easier for people to gather virtually.  When possible, it is a wise idea to eat outdoors. If indoors, it is suggested to open windows to allow ventilation in the home. The CDC is advising against holiday travel this year, but if you decide to travel to visit with family and friends it is best to go by car when you can and avoid mass transit. And don’t forget your mask, frequent handwashing and staying 6 feet apart when possible. Yes, these things really DO help halt the spread of the virus! 

Let’s talk about eating. Who doesn’t love a nicely cooked turkey with all the fixings and the food-coma that follows?!   And don’t get me started on dessert! Pumpkin pie anyone? Maybe some Christmas cookies? Yummy eggnog? Oh, and the leftovers seem to last for days so one day of exceptional eating can turn into an entire week.   Unfortunately, it can also turn into a need to wear stretchy-waisted pants only or buy new pants! The holidays are synonymous with lots of tasty food but it is helpful to stay mindful while eating over the holidays. I always find it quite discouraging to read the infographics that show how long you must exercise to the burn off the calories in some common holiday foods. Just like you have to play Flag Football for 20 minutes just to burn off the calories in one buttered roll!

Ugh! I love a good Turkey Trot but unless you are planning to run three of them back-to-back then maybe skip the second helping of apple pie.  Outside of the day of the holiday itself, try to stick to your normal eating patterns. Listen to your body and stop eating when full. Choose water over sugar-sweetened beverages and don’t forget to stay active! Take a walk with your loved ones, engage in throwing the football with the kids or have a TikTok dance party and make some room for that turkey!!!

Most importantly, manage your stress during the holidays. This is oftentimes easier said than done. It can feel like so much is out of our control. But there are many things within our control that we can do to help alleviate stress during the holidays. 

Sleep is essential. Even an extra 30 minutes of sleep per night can improve focus, mood and energy levels. Prioritize sleep and try to keep to a schedule the roughly resembles your non-holiday schedule. This is especially important for kids, who have a more difficult time with changes in sleep schedules and take longer to acclimate. 

Practice gratitude. Despite the craziness that defines 2020, there is much to be grateful for.  Acknowledging the things that you are thankful for daily has been shown to improve your relationships, self-esteem, sleep, mental and physical health and can reduce aggression. Help your kids practice gratitude by sharing with them the things you are thankful for and asking them to do the same.  Make it part of your daily routine before bed or around the dinner table or when riding in the car. 

And let us not forget those who are less fortunate than you and I. Many are in need of food, shelter, clothing and companionship during the holidays and all year round. Reach out to others in your community directly with cards, letters, food baskets, needed essential items or contribute to one of the many organizations that helps those in need. Get your kids involved with this so they can experience the joy of helping others and learn about the importance of community and giving of what we have received. 

Stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy this holiday season!



Halloween Safety Tips

By Dr. Katy Ronin

CPA Halloween Safety Tips


Halloween may look a little different this year, but there are many ways to keep your family safe while having fun! Protect yourself and your family from influenza. We recommend yearly flu vaccines for children 6 months and older.  


Safe ways to celebrate:


  • It is recommended to avoid large gatherings or indoor events. Outdoor events are possible if masks are worn, and social distancing of at least 6 feet is possible. 
  • Use hand sanitizer frequently with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Wash hand thoroughly before eating any treats.


Family Activities

  • Have a virtual Halloween costume contest. Use video chat to show off costumes to family members and friends.
  • Have a spooky movie night. Visit for movie ratings based on age-appropriateness. 
  • Decorate pumpkins using non-toxic paint or markers.  
  • Bake holiday themed treats together.
  • Have a back-yard Halloween scavenger hunt. 
  • Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard. 


Costume safety:

  • Remember that a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering. Instead, decorate your cloth face covering with markers. Make sure it snugly covers the mouth and nose and is made of several layers of breathable fabric. Do not put costume masks over face coverings. 
  • Wear well-fitting costumes and shoes to prevent trips and falls. Avoid any sharp or long objects as accessories 
  • Test any face-makeup on a small area of skin before applying broadly. 
  • Look for the words “flame resistant” on labels of costumes. 
  • Use a flashlight or glowstick to light pumpkins instead of candles.



Tips courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and 



Don't Forget Your Well Checks

By: Keaton Mims MSN, APRN, CPNP

Has your child had their well check this season? It's easy to forget a well check if your child is generally healthy, is not due for vaccines, and does not have any forms that a physician's office needs to complete. But these are only a few of the many things we check and discuss at a well check!

  • Growth (weight and height on a trending curve from the AAP)

  • Development (physical, cognitive, and emotional)

  • Screenings

    ? EPDS for post-partum depression
    ? MCHAT autism screening
    ? PSC-17 Youth screening for depression, anxiety, or inattention ? Vision
    ? Hearing
    ? Lipid panel (9 years or over)
    ? HgA1c (BMI 96th% or above)
    ? Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening offered for 15+

  • Physical Exam
    ? Head to toe evaluation
    ? Scoliosis screening
    ? Pubertal development assessment

  • Anticipatory Guidance – we review things to expect for you child physically, developmentally, and emotionally to help you as a parent prepare for what is to come

  • Answer Questions – whether it is to provide information or give reassurance, that is what we are here for!

    Nervous to bring your child in for a healthy visit while Covid-19 is still an impending concern? Coastal Pediatric Associates is doing everything they can to ensure you and your child are protected when you come in for a well check. Here are some of the measures we are taking to provide the safest environment for your visit:

  • Virtual Check In (you won't be sitting in a waiting room)

  • Morning well check visits completely separate from sick visits

  • Staff all in DHEC approved personal protective equipment

  • Deep cleanings each evening to prepare for morning well visits

    Well checks exist to provide preventative care. We want early detection for any issues that your child may have to help prepare a plan with you to address it. Please call us with any additional questions!



Keeping your kids healthy as they go back to school.

By: Dr. Mohammed Al Gadban

A big question parents have right now is how students can go back to school safely during COVID-19?

The latest American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advice says children learn best when they are in school. However, returning to school in person needs careful steps in place to keep students and staff safe.


Why students should go back to school-safely:

The AAP guidance is based on what pediatricians and infectious disease specialists know about COVID-19 and kids. Evidence so far suggests that children and adolescents are less likely to have symptoms or severe disease from infection. They also appear less likely to become infected or spread the virus.

Schools provide more than just academics to children and adolescents. In addition to reading, writing and math, children learn social and emotional skills, get exercise and access to mental health support and other things that cannot be provided with online learning. For many families, school is where kids get healthy meals, access to the internet, and other vital services.

Information about COVID-19: 

COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as handwashing, staying home when sick and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important. 

Schools and in collaboration with CDC implemented strategies and plans to reduce the risk of getting sick and spreading the virus.


Parents roles:

Parents should promote behaviors and standards to reduce the spread of the disease.  

1. Staying Home when Appropriate 

2. Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

  1. Teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

i.     If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used (for older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).

b.    Encourage the students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

             i.     If soap and water are not readily available, hand                         sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used (for older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).

3. Cloth Face Coverings

Teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings. Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school. Face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) as feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently. Information should be provided to staff, students, and students’ families on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.

a.    Note: Cloth face coverings should not be placed on:

 i.     Children younger than 2 years old

  ii.     Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious

  iii.     Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.


4.  Wear your Mask Correctly

  • wash your hands before putting on your mask
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  • Make sure you can breathe easily


5. Shared Object:

  • Discourage sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect.
  • Keep each child’s belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas.


6. Hydration System:

  • Encourage students to bring their own water to minimize use and touching of water fountains.


7. Food in school

  • Have children bring their own meals as feasible.
  • Allow students to eat lunches at their desks or in small groups outdoors instead of in crowded lunchrooms or follow the school rules. 


8. Immunization:

  • It is important as students return to school that they are up to date on their immunization. It will be critical that students and staff get their flu shot this year to reduce the spread of influenza this fall and winter.


9. Students at higher risk:

  • While COVID-19 school policies can reduce risk, they will not prevent it entirely. Even with safety steps in place, some students with high-risk medical condition may need to continue distance learning or other accommodations. Talk with your pediatrician and school staff (including school nurses) to determine if your child can safely return to school.


How to keep schools safe when reopening?

  1. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
  2. Wash hands!
  3. Desk 3-6 feet apart
  4. Fewer students and staff in classroom
  5. Teachers move classrooms, not students
  6. Lunches at desk
  7. Use outdoor spaces when possible
  8. Masks for all adults and older students
  9. Flexibility to go virtual if virus surges



Water Safety

By Dr. Lauren Lucas 

-Children should always be supervised by a responsible adult when around a pool or other body of water, even when it is not time to swim. 

-The responsible adult should not be distracted and should not be under the influence. It is important for swimmers to take scheduled breaks from the pool so that the responsible adult can also get breaks or switch with another adult. Discuss the plan for breaks before swim time starts.

-Responsible adults and caregivers who monitor children swimming should be trained in CPR. 

-Set the rule early and remind children often that they should never get in the water without getting an adult’s permission immediately prior to stepping into the water. It is never too early to start discussing this rule! 

-Teach children to yell for help immediately if they see another child struggling or staying under the water for too long. 

-Ensure pools are surrounded by 4-sided fences and keep doors that access pool areas locked. The recommended height for these fences is at least 4 feet tall. Consider installing alarms on the doors so that adults are easily alerted when they open.

-Children should always have a life jacket on at all times on while on a boat, including while docked or on a dock. These life jackets should be Coast Guard Approved. 



Check out the following websites for more tips!



Insect Repellant Tips:

-The AAP recommends using bug sprays with DEET as the repellant.

-For infants and children older than 2 months, DEET with concentrations between 10-30% should be used.

-The percentage of DEET is related to duration and not strength - 10% provides protection for 2 hours while 30% can provide protection for 5-8 hours.

-Children should not use DEET with higher concentrations than 30%.

-Avoid using combo sunscreens and insect repellants - sunscreens will need to be reapplied much more frequently than insect repellant.

-Insect repellant should ideally only be applied once a day to children.

-Skin should be washed when outdoor time is over to remove the repellant.

-For babies, use netting or mesh screens over strollers for extra protection, especially for infants less than 2 months who should not have insect repellant applied on their skin.

-Avoid applying anything with strong scents – perfumes, body washes, etc. that may attract bugs before going outside.

-Insect repellants with alternate repellants like picardin or IR3535 are less effective than DEET.

Check out the following websites for more tips!





By Dr. Lauren Lucas

Sun Safety Tips:

-Stay in the shade and have kids wear sunshirts, hats and sunglasses as much as possible when outdoors.

-Plan outdoor activities for early morning and late afternoon/evening when you are able (before 10am and after 4pm).

-Apply mineral-based (titanium oxide, zinc oxide) sunscreen to babies and toddlers. These are safe to apply to babies less than 6 months if outside for extended periods, but these infants should really be kept out of the sun and in shade completely. 

-For older kids, use sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 and includes both UVA and UVB protection.

-Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.

-Make sure kids have a water bottle readily available throughout the day and encourage them to stay hydrated.

-Never leave infants or kids in the car, even with the windows cracked for short periods. 

Check out the following websites for more tips!






By: Lauren Lucas. MD

In early April, the CDC released the first data set describing children who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States. This included about 2500 children less than 18 years old. Strikingly, kids only made up 1.7% of known cases (where age was reported) though they comprise 22% of our population.

The authors only had information on about 300 of those children’s symptoms, which demonstrated that 73% of these kids had the classic symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath versus 93% of adults. Breaking down each individual symptom, 56% had fever, 54% had cough, and 13% reported shortness of breath.

The hospitalization rate was estimated at 5.7-20% of pediatrics cases where hospitalization status was known, and the ICU admission rate was between 0.58-2% where status was known. Both of these numbers are lower than those for adults, out of whom up to 10-33% require hospitalization and 1.4-4.5% require ICU admission. These are all very rough estimates given the limitations in testing and the smaller portion of COVID patients whose hospitalization status was known.

Out of the children included, 345 cases reported presence or absence of underlying conditions. These cases demonstrated that a quarter of kids who tested positive for COVID had at least one underlying health problem, with the most common being asthma, cardiovascular disease and immunosuppression. This is actually lower than I expected, as I would anticipate these kids to be tested more frequently than kids with no medical problems.

Overall, these numbers coincide with those out of China last month. Kids are less likely than adults to have the classic symptoms, especially the triad of fever, cough and shortness of breath all together. About a quarter of children may have atypical or no symptoms. Kids are still at risk for hospitalization and ICU admission from COVID-19 complications, but they do seem to be at lower risk than adults.

We still have so much to learn about COVID-19 and kids, especially as we have the ability to test many more people. However, I hope this sheds a little bit more light on how our kids could be and have been affected.





By Dr. Lauren Lucas

We still have a lot to learn about COVID19, but the trends in children so far have put many of our minds at ease. Initial reports from China were encouraging, and now we actually have some early numbers to give us a better feel for how kids fare with this scary virus. If you have been in for a well check with me recently, you’ve probably heard me ramble off many of these numbers.

A few weeks ago, Pediatricians in China released an observational study before finalization to share their findings with other countries, and it was published in Pediatrics, one of our main sources of evidence-based medicine.  This study included 2,143 children up to age 18 with a mean age of 7. One of the downfalls of the study is that 1/3 of the children included had positive testing and the other 2/3 were suspected due to exposure but not confirmed cases.

This study found that the vast majority of these kids (94%) had none, mild symptoms (though mild symptoms were flu-like with fever, runny nose, cough, muscle soreness, and in some cases nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) or moderate symptoms (including pneumonia but not requiring oxygen therapy or hospitalization). About half of patients in each age group were classified as mild. One third of kids between ages 6-15 were asymptomatic.

As Pediatricians, some of the early data from China did give us pause about our littlest patients. Infants and toddlers may be more susceptible to COVID19 than initially suspected.  They may be more at risk for difficulty breathing, drops in their oxygen levels, and therefore hospitalization. 10% of the infant age group and 7% of the toddler age group had severe (difficulty breathing and changes in oxygen requiring hospitalization) to critical cases (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome requiring intensive interventions).  We still have a lot to learn about infants born to pregnant mothers infected with COVID19 as well, and whether transmission occurs across the placenta (studies are inconclusive so far).

One child in the 10-20 year old age range passed away in this group of Chinese children, and thankfully none less than 10 passed away. In the preliminary data from Italy (according to article in JAMA March 23, 2020), no children less than age 20 had died in Italy at that time.  Unfortunately in the US we have lost one infant who tested positive for COVID, but the cause of death has not been released.

What does this all mean? Thankfully, children are most likely to have no symptoms to mild symptoms. While this is very reassuring as a parent, this data reinforces the need for kids to social distance. Do not let children play with other children outside your home, even in the neighborhood or nearby park. Children can be shedding the virus with little to no symptoms. There is still risk to children, especially younger infants and children with co-morbidities, and even “mild” symptoms can be as severe as flu.  

Dong Y, et al. Epidemiological Characteristics of 2143 Pediatric Patients with 2019 Coronavirus in China. Pediatrics. 2020; doi: 10.1542/peds.




Go for walks and bike rides as a family. Trips outside are safe as long as you maintain social distance from neighbors. It is best at this time to avoid playdates and neighborhood parks. Teenagers are especially having a difficult time with social distancing from friends. This is a great opportunity to go for a walk with them and check in.

Cook a new recipe together as a family.

Have a picnic outside for a meal.

Write letters and draw pictures to mail to family members.

Schedule a virtual family reunion on platforms like Zoom or Google Hangout. 

Check artist websites for fun ideas – many are offering coloring pages and even art classes. South Carolinian Dorothy Shain is hosting weekly art classes for kids with a different featured artist each week.

Take virtual tours or lessons of museums or zoos. Our own South Carolina Aquarium has regular updates on their Facebook page. Many Zoos and Aquariums are offering virtual tours and live streams.

Check out the many educational Podcasts for kids.

For preschoolers, check out PBS Kids (, which is sending out a daily newsletter with show and activity ideas.    

Overall, maintaining some routine and structure will be helpful for children, but allow for some flexibility and grace. Create a schedule together distinguishing work hours and play hours. Kids might need more breaks than normal from their school work as well. Allow for frequent 5-10 minute breaks during their school time as able. For school time, try to have a quiet work area with minimal distractions.    
More Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:



Best of MP

Mount Pleasant parents have spoken and the votes are in! Coastal Pediatric Associates has been named the Best of Mt. Pleasant from the readers of Mount Pleasant Magazine. Says the magazine, "Parents desire nothing but the most exceptional treatment when it comes to the health and well-being of their children and Coastal Pediatric Associates pride themselves on being compassionate, relentless advocates for all patients and their families.”

There are several reasons parents choose Coastal Pediatric Associates. The team has been caring for Charleston children for more than 20 years, and provides the most current, compassionate, and comprehensive care in the Charleston area. Coastal Pediatric Associates' team of skilled physicians, nurse practitioners, and staff are committed to delivering clinical excellence in an environment that is fun, kid-friendly, and sensitive to the unique needs of each child.

Our #CPAkid families benefit from:

Coastal Pediatric Associates is a designated Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home with five convenient locations across the area. In addition, they provide research opportunities through Coastal Pediatric Research and newborn and breastfeeding care through the Breastfeeding Center of Charleston. To learn more about our team,




It is a common myth that cold weather causes colds, but it does not.  Colds are caused mainly by viruses that we are exposed to more often in the winter months.  These viruses are spread even more easily when children are in school and in close contact with each other, usually through respiratory droplets in the air and on hands.  Coach your kiddos to cover their mouths and noses when they cough and sneeze, and to also wash their hands often with soap and water.  These are the best ways to help reduce spread of infection. 

If you have a cold here are a few tips:

  • Fever – Fever is a common feature of colds.  A fever is any temperature greater than 100.4 F, and will usually be present along with other viral symptoms.  If a child has only fever, and no other symptoms for more than 3 days, the child should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. Likewise, fever longer than 5 days is a concern that warrants further evaluation.
  • Medication - Make sure that any medication you give your child is just for children.  Cold remedies are not a cure, and only sometimes help with symptom control.  Generally, suppressing a cough can do more harm than good, so most cold remedies are not recommended in young children.  Be sure to check with your doctor for dosage information for your child's age and weight. 
  • Staying Home - You should always keep your child home from activities (school, camp, daycare, etc.) when they are running a fever. That is when they are most contagious and likely to spread the illness to other children.
  • Keep Hydrated - Make sure your child has plenty of fluids to drink, but not soda or too much juice.
  • Rest – Perhaps the most important thing you can do, make sure your child gets plenty of rest.
  • Call the doctor when necessary – You can always call with concerns or questions, but here are a few red flags:  Your child likely needs to be seen by a healthcare provider if he/ she has fever more than 5 days, fewer than 3 wet diapers/ urination in 24 hours, cough more than 2 weeks, vomiting more than 2 days, diarrhea more than 2 weeks or bloody stools.

As for outdoor time, children should dress in layers for the school day.  We have wide variations in daily temperatures in this area, so having the ability to put on, or take off, extra layers can help.  Dress babies and young children in one more layer of clothing than an adult would be wearing in the same conditions.  If your child suffers from minor winter nosebleeds, use a cold-air humidifier in their room. Saline nose drops can help keep their nose moist.  Don’t forget to use sunscreen. Children and adults can still get sunburned, even in the winter.




Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.  It can cause mild to severe illness, and in some serious cases, can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. A recent study by the CDC found that children 0-18 years old are the most likely target to get sick from flu.

Flu can be very dangerous for children. CDC estimates that between 6,000 and 26,000 children younger than 5 years of age have been hospitalized each year in the United States because of influenza. The flu vaccine is safe and helps protect children from the flu.

Coastal Pediatric Associates’ (CPA) recently announced that they will host flu clinics at all five locations starting in September, and it could not come at a better time! School is back in session, and the germs are spreading. A flu vaccine can help to keep your child healthy and flu free this school year.

Coastal Pediatric Associates' team of skilled physicians, nurse practitioners, and staff are committed to delivering clinical excellence in an environment that is fun, kid-friendly, and sensitive to the unique needs of each child. Dr. Steven Stripling highlights some important flu tips for parents.

CPA’s Top 10 Flu Tips:
1. Schedule your child’s vaccine! Flu shot clinics will be held at all CPA locations.
2. Look for symptoms: High fever, sore throat, headache and body aches. Dr. Stripling says, “The younger child should be seen quickly with a high fever.”
3. Avoid touching the face as hands often hold the germs!
4. There are several flu strains. It’s possible to get more than one strain in a season. Dr. Stripling explains, “Over the years there are several strains each season. It is possible to get two different strains. Vaccinate even if the child has had the active flu at the beginning of the season.”
5. See a physician when flu symptoms begin so that they can establish a treatment protocol for the patient.
6. Rest and fluids if diagnosed.
7. Ibuprofen helps with body aches.
8. Take care of the cough. Older children can take cough syrup as prescribed by physician.
9. Keep an eye out for complications: Fever after day six warrants another trip to the doctor. “If you have been in and diagnosed, doing supportive care, and still do not feel better after a week, we need to look out for secondary bacterial diseases,” Dr. Stripling explains.
10. Remember CPA is here to help! We offer 5 convenient locations as well as extended hours and availability seven days week.

CPA provides the most current, compassionate, and comprehensive medical care. CPA is a designated Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home, recognized for providing the highest level of care in the three-tiered quality grading system. To schedule a flu vaccine appointment, please call the location closest to you. For more information:

View Flu Guide


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