Our Pediatric Approved Gift Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…again! Don’t panic, at Fairhope Pediatrics we have you covered with our pediatric approved gift guide. Although high-ticket items are popular buys, it is important we remember your child’s specific developmental needs. Trust us, we got Santa’s approval!

Infants (0-1 Years):

In the first year, your baby will reach vital milestones in development, and the right toys can make all the difference. With every developmental stage comes new toys to carry your baby into the next stage. Sensory gifts are an excellent choice for babies in the early stages of development. Toys that encourage standing and crawling are perfect for your child during this stage. We recommend reflective toys, textured books, and interactive play mats.

Toddlers (2-3 Years):

Toddlers need a present that challenges their fine motor skills. Puzzles, blocks, and simple books make great gifts this holiday season. You may notice your child at this age beginning to step into the world of “pretend,” or some may begin to mimic your everyday tasks. A play kitchen and food or cars and trucks serve as an early lesson in how to “help” around the house!

Preschoolers (3-5 Years):

Your preschoolers will benefit from any gift that allows them to use their imagination! In this stage, your child can focus for longer periods of time, so magazine or box subscriptions are a fun and unique gift. Crayons, paint, and other art supplies encourage your preschooler’s creative side to run wild. Outdoor toys, dress-up clothes and classic board games are all things that will have your child’s mind thinking and body moving.

Elementary Schoolers (6-8 Years):

They are making a list and checking it twice! Although your child will have specific buys this holiday season, let’s not forget items that will engage mental, physical, and social skills. If your child has you stumped, hobbies and interests are always a great place to start. Art sets, bikes (accompanied by a helmet), and kits that can be completed independently or with friends are all great gifts for children in this age group.

Pre-Teens (9-12 Years):

Shopping for your pre-teen can be tough. Moving away from traditional toys, small gadgets are probably what your not-so-small but also not-quite-so-big kid has at the top of their list this holiday season. Give your pre-teen the gift of being unplugged with board games, sports equipment, or DIY kits. Reading is a key player at this stage, so we also suggest books, magazines, and journals, which stimulate your child’s imagination, improve communication skills, and grow their vocabulary.

Teenagers (13-17 Years):

Teenagers aren’t always forthcoming with exactly what they want. At this age, your child is truly growing into their own, so the best gift will be one that aligns with their interests and grows their confidence through self-expression. Catering to your teens’ tech and fashionable side will bring a much-needed smile to their faces. From portable speakers and projectors to sunglasses and sneakers, the perfect gift for your teen may be easier to find than you think.

Young Adults (18-21 Years):

Where did the years go? Your once little one is now graduating and onto the next steps in life. To help make this transition smoother we suggest items with more sentimental value. Trust us, your young adult will forever appreciate it.

As you race to your nearest department store or start an Amazon shopping cart, please remember to check each gift’s age specifications and warnings. Fairhope Pediatrics hopes you have a happy holiday!

How To Celebrate Thanksgiving With Food Allergies

Thanksgiving is almost here, and we could not be more thankful! Did you know 8% of children and 5% of adults have food allergies? Food allergies can be hard to avoid, especially during a food-filled holiday. At Fairhope Pediatrics, we are here to help you prepare and stay away from preventable food allergy accidents!

Plan ahead.

If you are planning to cook at home, reach out and ask guests and family members if they have food allergies or sensitivities. Planning early allows you to research safe recipes to properly accommodate guests. The most common food allergy groups include milk/dairy, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, and soy. Many traditional recipes can be made to accommodate these food allergies with just a few simple substitutions.

Avoid cross contamination.

If the holiday menu consists of dishes that are not safe for everyone, cook the “safe” meal first to avoid cross contamination. Residue from the first dish cooked can still be present on cooking utensils, causing the meal to be unsafe to others. Wash pans, utensils, and other cookware extensively in hot water. Wipe countertops, and anywhere else you have prepared or cooked food. This will prevent any bits of dried allergens from sticking to dishes or countertops.

Serve it separate.

Consider letting individuals with food allergies serve themselves first. This limits their risk of being exposed to any food allergens present in “unsafe” dishes. If you plan to serve the meal buffet-style, create ingredient labels to help guests distinguish allergen-free dishes. Isolate “safe” foods from the rest of the meal and use separate serving utensils for each dish.

Research.

If you are planning to eat out for Thanksgiving, view the restaurant’s menu ahead of time to make sure there is food accommodating to you. Many restaurants have allergen sheets available for people who struggle with food sensitivities. If you are making a reservation, inform restaurant staff of your food allergies when you call and let your server know upon arrival.

Pre-package food.

If you are not in charge of the menu this holiday season, bring pre-made food to ensure you do not go hungry and you are eating safely. Offer to cook a “safe” dish that you and the rest of the family can enjoy. Bring the food in a closed container and keep it away from other dishes until it’s time to eat.

No matter what your Thanksgiving looks like this year, a little planning and consideration will help you to successfully navigate a food-friendly meal and maybe create a new tradition in the process. We hope you have a safe and full holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Pediatrician’s Guide to Halloween: Trick-or-Treating Safety.

Mummies and monsters are the least of your worries on Halloween when cars, costumes, COVID-19, and stranger danger can give you a fright. To keep Halloween on a sweet note, a little preplanning and precaution can keep each family member safe and smiling. Before your big night out, review our pediatrician-approved list of Halloween safety tips.

Costume Safety

Plan eerie-sistible costumes that are bright and reflective. 

A bright-colored costume will make your child more visible at twilight. Decorate the outside of your child’s outfit and trick-or-treat bag with strips of reflective tape. Consider having your children wear glowsticks as bracelets or necklaces to keep it bright.

Check that costumes are easy to walk in and don’t restrict breathing or vision.

Test out costumes before the big night and ensure they are short enough to prevent tripping and entanglement. We recommend costumes having hems above the ground and allow for a full range of motion. Confirm hats and shoes fit properly so your little monster can see correctly and is comfortable on their Halloween journey.

Make certain accessories aren’t a safety hazard.

If your child is going as a superhero, warrior princess, or anything with a pointy accessory like a broom or sword, make sure to choose one made of soft foam instead of hard plastic.

Look for “flame resistant” on the costume labels. 

Wigs, costumes, and accessories should indicate that they are flame resistant. For homemade costumes, stay away from flammable fabrics such as nylon and polyester.

Look for nontoxic makeup and face paint. 

Nontoxic makeup and face paint are excellent substitutes to costume masks that are known to restrict vision. Test makeup ahead of time on a small patch of your child’s skin to guarantee there are no allergic reactions.

Prepare for the unexpected.

Put a nametag on your child’s costume along with your phone number and address. Make sure they know where the nametag is in case your child is separated from their group.

Street Safety

Watch out for your little pumpkin.

An adult should accompany children under 12 years old trick-or-treating. Before heading out, review how to call 911 in case of an emergency. While trick-or-treating, your child should know to look twice both ways before crossing the street and continue to look as they cross.

Set expectations with older children.

Teamwork makes the scream work! Make sure your child is in a group of at least three friendly ghosts and only travel to homes with a porch light on. Before sending them on their way, plan and review a trick-or-treating route that is acceptable to you. Agree on specific times when your child should check in throughout the night and return home. Don’t forget to send them with a fully charged cell phone for quick communication and flashlights!

“Witches know how to drive stick”– Pedestrian safety. 

Pedestrian injury is the most common injury to children on Halloween. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalks are available, remind your witches and warlocks to walk on the far edge of the roadway facing traffic and in a single file line.

 

Candy Safety

Keep an eye on what your trick-or-treater has in their mouth at all times.

Hard candies, popcorn, and gum can be choking hazards for small children. If your child has allergies that need an EpiPen, bring it with you. For those with older kids, teach your child’s friends how to use it in case of an emergency.

Beware before goblin.

It is always a good idea to inspect your child’s treats before letting them “bone appetite!” Throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items.

Treat yourself for the days and weeks following Halloween and try to ration candy. 

Set realistic, positive guidelines with your child so everyone knows what to expect after the holiday. It’s also an excellent opportunity to teach your goblins about moderation and healthy eating!

COVID-19 Safety

Squad ghouls, but keep them small!

Stick to outdoor Halloween events and trick-or-treating with small groups. Ensure your children know to avoid large clusters of kids at doorsteps. Encourage your kids to incorporate their face mask into their costume or dress up as something that uses one. Apply hand sanitizer when going from house to house, or when you are in contact with an individual that is not a part of your immediate family.

 

Fairhope Pediatrics wishes you and your family a fang-tastic Halloween! 

Let’s Talk: Potty Training

As your baby grows into a toddler and beyond, there are many ways they will become more independent. While reaching milestones can be exciting, potty training might require more of your patience and attention.

Every child is different, so it can be tricky to know which potty-training approach will work best for your child. In order to successfully teach your child good bathroom habits, they must first be able to sense the urge to go, understand what this feeling means, and verbalize it.

For help on beginning your child’s bathroom journey, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks to encourage your child to go.

  1. Make sure your child is ready. Try not to rush the process and start training too early, before your little one has the ability to achieve success.
  2. Buy “big kid” underwear as a sign of encouragement. Explain to your child that once they learn how to use the potty, they can wear the fun, big kid underwear.
  3. Get your child involved in choosing the potty. Shopping for a potty chair or seat together will allow your child to feel more included and create excitement when using their new potty.
  4. Create a potty-training song. If your child seems nervous about using the potty, musical encouragement can help them feel more relaxed and get into the groove.
  5. Don’t punish mistakes. Although potty training struggles can be frustrating at times, resist the urge to get angry or punish your toddler. Instead, let them know it is okay and they can try again later.

Keep in mind, the order and speed for each of these skills to be mastered may differ from child to child. It is impossible to compare one child to another when determining if their progress is “normal.”

Do not get discouraged throughout this process. Your child will make progress and use the potty when they are ready! For more tips and tricks on how to incite potty-training habits in your child, click here.

Vaccinations: What You Need to Know

While many parents spend this time of year focusing on school supplies and uniforms, they often forget to add vaccinations to their to-do list.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Alabama has seen a drastic decrease in pediatric well visits and routine immunization appointments being scheduled. We encourage parents to stay on top of their child’s vaccine schedule to ensure the upcoming year is as safe and healthy as possible. Below is a list of the recommended immunizations for all age groups.


At Fairhope Pediatrics, we suggest checking with your child’s school (if applicable) to see what immunizations are required. Additionally, insurance often covers overhead costs. It is important to confirm these details with your provider and schedule an appointment today!

Questions? Call our office at 251.928.5568 or read more at https://bit.ly/cdcimmunizations.

Water Fun and Safety in the Sun!

Is your child afraid of the water? We have solutions!

Summer is the best time to get your children acclimated to the water. For younger kids, water may seem scary due to its unknown touch and feel, and the thought of being submerged in liquid can be alarming.

Check out our tips below on how to help your child feel safe while being in and around the water this summer!

Start Young: Beginning aquatic survival lessons for your infant (as young as six months old) will help them become comfortable around the water at an early age. Infant swim lessons offer a great opportunity for your child to learn more about how their body moves and to be aware of the space around them. This awareness is important in developing their fine and gross motor skills. Swim lessons for babies can be instrumental to their growth and development, and the earlier they begin, the better results they will have.

Use Bath Time to Your Advantage: The bath is the best place to begin nurturing a love of being in the water, while building comfort and confidence. When taking baths, practice getting your child’s face wet and blowing bubbles under water. If your child is reluctant to get their face wet, start by squeezing a sponge or washcloth over their head and let water trickle down the face. Keep toys close by in the tub. This creates an atmosphere of fun while being in the water.

Start Lessons Early: When searching for swim lessons for your child, look for a program that provides a patient environment, skilled instructors, and quick and effective results. Remember, every child develops differently! Do not compare your child’s abilities to other children’s and instead focus on their growth and achievements along the way.

Join In on the Fun: Don’t be afraid to get in the water and help your child learn! Seeing a familiar face in the water will help build trust and confidence. Use this time to review what your child has learned in swim lessons through repetition and consistency. Provide your child with a routine of going under water to practice blowing bubbles. Depending on your child’s skill set, allow them to explore independently while being an arm’s length away.

It is important to keep in mind that all water environments are different. Never let your child swim without supervision, no matter how comfortable they may seem in the water. Accidents happen. To learn more about water safety and swimming tips, visit the links below:

For any questions or concerns, call our office at 251.928.5568. Happy swimming!

Keep Your Kids Active This Summer

Summertime is here! What family activities do you have planned?

Although taking a break from school is a good reset for your children, it is not the time to take a break from developmental and behavioral learning. In fact, it is quite the opposite!

Keeping your kids active builds a sense of confidence and self-worth, improves sleep quality, reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduces the risk of obesity, type two diabetes and heart disease, increases the child’s ability to focus when back in school, and helps with the consistent development of basic and fine motor skills.

Fairhope Pediatrics recommends taking advantage of time spent together as a family to help children continue to learn daily and stay healthy. Below is a list of fun-filled, kid-friendly ideas to help your children stay active during these summer months!

  1. Make reading a daily habit. Reading keeps a child’s brain active and improves learning capabilities.
  2. Enroll your child in a summer enrichment or recreational program. Schools and community programs often sponsor local events to help keep kids engaged.
  3. Purchase a pass to a local swimming pool. Kids lose track of time when playing with water toys! Plus, it’s great exercise – just don’t forget the SPF!
  4. Host a sprinkler party. Invite your neighbors!
  5. Sign up to do service work together as a family. Community service will keep your children active, while also teaching valuable lessons.
  6. Encourage your teen to get a part-time job. This will help form healthy work habits and give your child a sense of responsibility.
  7. Build forts out of furniture. Your child’s imagination will run wild!
  8. Go rollerblading or biking.
  9. Take your pet for a walk as a family.
  10. Encourage your kids to help with gardening and lawn work. They can be a bigger help than you think!

We suggest making a bucket list to help build excitement for your summer activities. Children will enjoy partaking in the fun of checking each item off the list! Whatever you decide to do this summer, make it a memorable and active experience for your family! These are the memories your children will always carry with them. For more information or ideas on family activities, visit https://bit.ly/3z26vIa.

Our Story: Meet the Practice

Fairhope Pediatrics has been caring for children in Baldwin County, Alabama, for more than 12 years and takes pride in providing personalized, whole-child pediatric care in a warm, welcoming environment. The team at Fairhope Pediatrics works closely with patients and families to make every visit a positive one.

Dr. Skinner, the founder of Fairhope Pediatrics, was raised in Fairhope, Alabama, and dreamed of one day starting a business in her hometown. Following her residency at Florida State University – Sacred Heart, Dr. Skinner moved back to Baldwin County and opened her independent practice in 2009.

Dr. Skinner’s practice began with setting the foundation to strive for excellence and commit to forming long-lasting relationships with all patients and families. At Fairhope Pediatrics, the foothold is set to personalized care, realizing each patient and family is unique and treatments don’t always take a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, each treatment plan is tailored to the specific patient and family.

“We treat your kids the way we would want our kids to be treated,” states Dr. Skinner. “Our team knows the importance of partnering with parents and families to give them the knowledge, care, and reassurance they need for their children and adolescents’ healthcare.”

As president of the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Dr. Skinner advocates for children and pediatricians at the local, state, and national level. She enjoys attending and speaking at events across the nation to other pediatricians about ways to provide high-quality care while streamlining office efficiency and improving work-life balance. She is also the founder of Women in Pediatrics, an organization focused on supporting the needs of female pediatricians.

As a heath care administrator, Fairhope Pediatrics has been recognized by the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA) for being a patient-centered medical home that puts patients at the forefront of care. By using this model, clinical care teams build better relationships with patients. The NCQA seal is a widely recognized symbol of quality and is a reliable indicator that a medical practice is well-managed and delivers high-quality services. As a pediatric office, Fairhope Pediatrics is honored to be recognized by the NCQA for values and care implemented each day.

When the office opened in 2009, the practice saw 12 patients in its first day. To date, the pediatrician’s office has grown to see an average of 80 patients per day, with two clinicians seeing about 30 patients each and nurses seeing about 10 – 20 patients of their own. Fairhope Pediatrics has grown from a practice of two employees, to now 18 made up of Dr. Skinner, two mid-level providers, a practice administrator, and fourteen support staff members who help care for thousands of patients. Fairhope Pediatrics offers the full spectrum of pediatric health care services to newborn babies, children, and adolescents through their college years.

Through close collaboration between staff, patients, and families, Fairhope Pediatrics strives to make every experience a safe and caring one. Looking to the future, the Fairhope Pediatrics team is working attentively to ensure all core values that originally built the infrastructure of the practice are aligned and flow together through all workspaces, employees, and patients.

Make Fairhope Pediatrics your child’s medical home! To learn more about the services Fairhope Pediatrics provides or to schedule an appointment for your child, call 251.928.5568.