Our Blog

Posts for: April, 2017

April 24, 2017
Tags: bugs   insects   mosquitos   DEET   bug bites   ticks   Lyme  

As the spring & summer seasons approach, let's review some recommendations about bug bite safety. Most bug bites are harmless; however, insects can expose children to disease and health risks. Ticks can spread Lyme Disease, and mosquitoes can spread certain viruses, such as West Nile and Zika.

Here are some simple recommendations that can help lower the risk of getting bug bites:

  • Avoid areas that bugs enjoy - For example: large gardens, areas with uncovered sitting food, and areas with standing water.

  • Limit the amount of standing water (ponds, buckets, birdbaths) in your own yard.

  • Avoid wearing scented lotions, perfumes, and hair products when you're outside.

  • If possible, wear long sleeves and pants when outside in the evening.

The American Academy of Pediatrics  also recommends the use of insect repellents containing DEET for children over the age of 2 months, when needed, to avoid exposure to insect related diseases.

  • Do not use repellent containing DEET on children younger than 2 months of age.

  • Read the label of a repellent before purchasing or using it. Different products contain different amounts of DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends products that contain between 10% and 30% DEET to be applied as directed on the package.

  • The amount of DEET varies in each product. Usually 10% DEET lasts for 2 hours, while 30% DEET lasts for 5-6 hours. Choose the lowest amount of DEET that will provide you the lasting coverage that you need.

  • Wash your child's skin once they come indoors.

  • Products that have bug repellent and sunscreen combined are not recommended. You will most likely need to reapply sunscreen more frequently than you can apply DEET to your child's skin.

  • Remember, bug repellents do not repel stinging insects, such as bees. If your child has a severe allergy to stinging insects, always carry your Epi-Pen.

Most bug bites are harmless. However, you should seek medical attention if:

  • your child develops a fever, rash, joint pain or headaches within 2 weeks of a bite

  • your child has bug bites that look infected (redness, swelling, drainage from the skin)

  • your child develops an immediate rash or reaction to bug repellent.

Let's help our kids enjoy summer without dealing with pesky bug bites!

By Amherst Pediatrics
April 18, 2017
Category: Child Care
Tags: Crib  

Buying a New CribA new baby needs a lot of things. From bottles and car seats to high chairs and baby monitors, an expectant parent has a lot of decisions and purchases to make before baby’s arrival. Considering your baby will spend a great deal of time here, a crib is one of the most important things a parent will buy.

Whether you’re shopping for a brand new crib or receiving a hand-me-down from a relative or friend, remember to evaluate your baby’s resting place carefully to ensure it meets all of the safety guidelines. You can visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website for information regarding all of these important safety standards.

There are many types of cribs available today, and parents will want to be educated about safety features and guidelines before choosing one for their baby. Here are a few helpful tips from the AAP:

  • Make sure the crib meets current safety standards before purchasing it. As of June 28, 2011, new federal safety standards prohibit the manufacture or sale of drop-side rail cribs. The standards also require stronger hardware and increased durability.  
  • If you have a crib that was manufactured before the new safety standards were enacted, contact the manufacturer to see if they offer hardware to keep the drop side from being raised or lowered. Consider buying a new crib that meets the stronger standards, if possible.
  • Read and follow the directions carefully for setting up, using and caring for the crib.
  • Regularly inspect your crib’s screws and hardware, and tighten them as necessary.
  • The mattress should fit snugly in the crib to prevent the baby from slipping between the mattress and the crib sides. As a general rule, no more than two of your fingers should fit between the mattress and the side of the crib.
  • Do not use the crib if there are any missing, damaged or broken parts, and never substitute original parts with pieces from a hardware store. Always contact the crib manufacturer for replacement materials.
  • Be sure to inspect every crib your child uses—from grandma’s house to the day care center—for safety.
  • Visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see if your crib has been recalled.
  • The slats of the crib should be no more than 2 3⁄8 inches apart, as widely spaced slats can trap the infant.
  • All surfaces of the crib should be covered with lead-free paint, and the wood should be smooth and free of splinters.

Remember, your baby will spend many hours in his or her crib. Take special care to ensure that your baby’s sleeping place offers very little opportunity for injuries and problems. You can learn more about crib safety standards, as well as safe bedding practices by visiting www.healthychildren.org and www.cpsc.gov, or by contacting your pediatrician for more information.

April 16, 2017
Category: Skin Care
Tags: sun   skin   sunburn  

Headaches and Children

As we welcome this unseasonably warm weather into the Pioneer Valley, our kids will be spending more and more time outside. While that's a good thing, it's important to remember to protect their skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers several recommendations for safe sun-related care.


Prevention of sunburn:

  • Keep infants younger than 6 months shielded from direct sunlight. An umbrella or stroller canopy are great forms of shade to protect your infant.

  • Cool, lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs help protect your child’s skin from direct sunlight.

  • Avoid exposure in the mid-afternoon, when sunlight rays are at their peak.

  • Sunglasses are important to protect the eyes from damaging UV rays. Your child’s sunglasses should fit well and have at least 99% UV protection.

Use sunscreen:

  • For infants younger than 6 months, only use sunscreen on small areas of the body when shade is unavailable. Protecting your infant from sunlight is prefered over the use of sunscreen.

  • For children and infants older than 6 months, apply sunscreen to cover all areas of the body that will be exposed to the sun at least 30 minutes before going outside.

  • Select a sunscreen with an SPF of 15-50. The AAP suggests avoiding sunscreens with Oxybenzone as an ingredient

  • Reapply sunscreen after the skin gets wet (swimming, sweating) and at least every 2 hours. There is no such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen.

If sunburn happens, keep your child well-hydrated. Burns to the skin cause the body to lose fluid. Do not allow your child’s skin to be re-exposed to direct sunlight until the sunburn has completely healed. Over-the-counter pain medicines may help alleviate your child’s discomfort.

Give us a call if:

  • Your baby’s (less than 1 year old) skin is sunburned

  • Your child’s skin is blistered or if they have pain/fever with their sunburn.

You can find more information here on the Healthy Children website.

Headaches and Children

Developing a sense of responsibility is a step-by-step process that will benefit your child throughout their lifetime. As children develop, it is important to teach them responsibility in ways that are appropriate for their age. From simple, one-step chores, to applying for their first summer job, kids can feel valued and proud when they accomplish a task. Below are some ideas for age-appropriate responsibilities that you can consider for your kids at home.


  • Preschooler: Your preschooler is the perfect age to begin learning the skill of responsibility.  Begin with giving your preschooler one simple expectation at a time such as cleaning up their toys, feeding a pet, or getting dressed in the morning independently. Avoid making the expectations complicated or several steps long. For example - if asking your preschooler to feed your pet, have the food and dish ready in advance.

  • School-Age: During the school-age years, more complex chores can be introduced. For example, you can expect your school-age child to be responsible for keeping their room clean or being responsible for daily assigned chores in the house or yard.

  • Teenager: In addition to their responsibilities at home, your teenager may want to consider a summer job. Summer jobs can teach responsibility in many ways like sticking to a schedule and managing money. Introduction of a curfew is another way to foster responsibility with your teen.

Regardless of age, your child may not always be excited to meet your expectations of managing responsibilities. Remember to always be clear with your child about what your expectations are. Be positive and encouraging during the process. Responsibility met with positivity can raise your child's self-esteem. Positive encouragement, such as praise or a reward, is always more effective than punishment. However some consequences may be necessary if expectations are not met, such as a time-out from a certain electronic device.


More helpful advice about fostering responsibility in your child can be found at www.healthychildren.org


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Our Address
31 Hall Dr.
Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: (413) 253-3773
Fax: (413) 256-0215
Email: [email protected]

Please note temporary office hours
during the COVID-19 pandemic

Patient Care Hours:

8:00 AM - 4:45 PM: In-office and MyChart Telehealth visits
4:45 PM - 7:00 PM: MyChart Telehealth visits only

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
: MyChart Telehealth visits only

Due to the pandemic, we ask that you please remain at home if you or your child is ill. If you have concerns about how your child is feeling, please contact us by sending a message through this patient portal. The clinicians will be able to respond to you during our regular hours. Calling the office may present a further delay in response times.

The COVID-19 situation is ever unfolding. We are dedicated to the safety of our patients and staff. Please refer to our website for updates on this changing situation.

* Please note: It is our policy that we do not approve referral requests for visits to outside urgent care centers during times that our office is open.

We are open for urgent visits only on most Holidays. Our office is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.