Baby Entertainment

happy-babyWondering if you are doing enough to keep your baby–newborn or otherwise–entertained? Check out the interview I did with the Bump on this topic here.



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Play and Explore with Babies and Toddlers

Rules of Poop What to do with baby? Explore the world! Find great ideas from the Bananas Childcare Bunch here.



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The Drink Pyramid

Almond Milk

The Drink Pyramid is a nice way to think about what you drink. Check it out here



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Best Squirrel Nutrition


This ad on the shuttle buses in Zion National Park made me smile.



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What’s the Difference Between a Sports Physical and a Yearly Physical?

First Aid Neon

As more schools and quick care outlets offer Sports Physicals, we felt that we should explain the difference between a Sports Physical and a Yearly Physical. Many adolescents and their parents believe that a Sports Physical is equivalent to a Yearly Physical, but this is not true. The Sports Physical is designed to clear an athlete for participation in sports while the yearly physical is more comprehensive.

A Sports Physical usually includes a physical examination and a brief discussion of the child’s medical history. Developmental and immunization histories, long-term health concerns and risk factors, and advice for developing a healthy lifestyle are not reviewed during a Sports Physical.

The Yearly Physical usually includes a complete physical examination (including vision and hearing screening), a discussion of the child’s medical history, weight, height and body mass index, childhood nutrition, sleep habits, physical development and activity, social development and activity, cognitive development and academics, risks to health and safety, status of chronic conditions, immunization update, preventive health recommendations, cholesterol and anemia check, and adolescent issues. It is also our opportunity to discuss important topics such as peer pressure, avoiding drugs, tobacco and steroids. It helps us to develop an open, trusting relationship with you and your child so you can turn to us with questions or concerns regarding puberty, normal development or any medical concerns.

To summarize the difference, there is no such thing as a quickie physical or just a simple Sports Physical. Eliminating recommended components of the Yearly Physical is poor quality care. We follow the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Future recommendations for well care. The people doing the Sports Physicals do not follow these guidelines.

Pricing Differences

With the insurance regulations now in effect, most insurance companies will pay for the Yearly Physical examinations without a co-pay. This, of course, depends on your individual policy and we suggest you contact your insurance company if you aren’t sure what your policy covers. Some insurance companies allow these once a calendar year; others allow them once every 365 days. Schools may charge a fee to perform the Sports Physical stating that it is “cheaper” than going to see your regular doctor. They also may say that a percentage of the fee will be donated back to the sports program at the school. The reason they charge this fee is because most insurance companies will not pay for a Sports Physical because it simply doesn’t exist and is not recognized as good care for the patient. If this was good care, then the insurance companies would not hesitate to pay because it would be cheaper for them than a full Yearly Physical. Honestly, if you want to donate to your child’s sports program at school, we recommend doing this in some other way that doesn’t potentially compromise your child’s health.

Filling out School Forms

If you need to have a participation form filled out, and your child has had a Yearly Physical examination in the past 12 months, we can complete this form for you without your child needing to have any other type of physical done. We will complete the form based on the most recent yearly physical examination. If you drop off the form, please fill out any sections that are “parent” sections. We cannot fill out our part unless your section is completed first. Please allow 7 business days (Monday-Friday) for your form to be completed. If you require the form sooner than the 7 business days, please call our office to ask about that the charges for urgent requests. If you do not have a Yearly Physical done in our office, we will not be able to complete any forms you might need at any other times during the year, including camp forms.


What we require

Casa Verde Pediatrics wants your child to be as healthy as possible. We feel that regularly scheduled Yealry Physicals help to ensure that your child is growing and developing well. These visits allow us a chance to find and treat any concerns early. In order to remain an active patient with Casa Verde Pediatrics, we ask that you bring your child in for a Yearly Physical examination. These visits help your child learn how to take responsibility for their own healthcare.


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This Fall It’s a Shot in the Arm

Shot Time The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending flu shots for the 2016-2017 winter season and not the intranasal flu vaccine after studying the different products. Our office ordered flu vaccines in February of 2016 and will update families and patients as our flu vaccine supplies arrive. Read more about the decision from the American Council on Immunization Practices here and the CDC’s information here.

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Button Batteries

Button_Battery.jpgButton Batteries: they’re in everything from toys to hearing aids to thermometers and key fobs to remote controls. Don’t let them get inside your baby or child.

Always secure the screw to draws that hold button batteries. Keep them away from the kids at your house and grandmom and grandpop’s.

If you think your child may have ingested a button battery, call your pediatrician. If your child is drooling or having difficulty breathing or swallowing, call 911. Button batteries can cause serious burns to the intestines and bleeding.

Teach your child never to put anything in their ear or nose. That includes cotton swabs and fingers. Button batteries in the ears and nose can cause severe damage.

Get rid of used batteries at recycling spots in your community. Find out how and where here.

Read more about safe use and disposal of button batteries from the American Academy of Pediatrics here.

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John J. Asta, DDS 1941-2016

If your family has been well and missed my absences from the office this winter and spring, I am glad. If you needed to be seen—sick or well—and I wasn’t available or you had to wait, my apologies. My father has been on dialysis for the last two years and he was hospitalized with an infection in March, had surgery, and then had a stroke. My siblings and I have been back and forth to the east coast, and I was with him when he died May 31.

One of my dad’s favorite movies was The Blues Brothers. Jake and his brother Elwood put together their old band to save the Catholic orphanage where they were raised.

“We’re on a mission from God,” says Elwood.

My dad was on a mission. As a dentist, he preached the gospel of dental prevention: stay away from sweets. Brush, floss and see your dentist twice yearly for an exam and cleaning. The teeth he saved are as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sands on Vero Beach where he retired all too briefly.

And on his dental mission, dad answered the call. These came at all hours for lost fillings, chipped teeth, broken crowns, and abscesses. Dad took care of his patients recommending oil of cloves to ease the pain of a toothache, calling in a prescription for an infected tooth or making the 60 minute round trip into the office. If there was 18 inches of snow on the ground, it didn’t matter. We shoveled because dad had to get to the office. He had people to take care of, and in winter he’d save a Hail Mary for the drive down an ice-slicked Mt. Eyre Road.

Inspired by the family dentist working on his mother’s dentures, dad enrolled at Temple Dental School in Philadelphia where he met my mother, Rita. His other lifetime mission began when I came along. He was a father, and being a father meant trading in your 1957 Thunderbird for a Chevelle. My brother and sister followed. After completing his Army service at Fort Polk, Louisiana in 1969, dad opened his dental office in the Indian Creek section of Levittown, Pennsylvania. He would retire 42 years later in 2011.

As a father, dad showed us the way: I can’t tell you how many glasses of milk we drank because it was good for our teeth and bones—and it was the only way we could have a Cramer’s donut after church on Sunday. He put us through college, calling at regular intervals about the status of our grades and whether we’d checked the oil in the car.

No fancy cosmetic dentist, dad treated people who often weighed saving a tooth versus having it extracted because they lacked insurance or cash. He made things work for others in ways that often precluded taking care of himself. These choices caught up with him bit by bit, and a lot faster when he developed kidney failure as a complication of diabetes.

The last few months dad kept telling us, “What are you doing? I gotta go.” He still had to get to the office. There were teeth to save.

Just like Jake and Elwood Blues fulfilled their mission and saved the orphanage for Sister Mary Stigmata, dad fulfilled his.

After all dad’s hard work, I hope he’s tooling around in a sweet ride like Jake Blues and his brother Elwood tore through the shopping mall in the movie’s epic chase scene exclaiming, “This place has everything!”

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Water Safety

beachball.jpgSun, heat, summer!

Stay safe in the water with tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Video about swimming and water safety is here.

Print information about sunscreen, heat stress in children, pool, open water, and boating safety is here.


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Dog Bites

DogTeach all kids how to be safe around dogs.

Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics are here.

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