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Bear Essentials - December 2009

Save the Date - 2010 NBC4 Health Fitness Expo
Toy Safety for the Holidays
Do You Know How to Wash Your Hands?
Holidays at the Hospital
Recipe of the Month - Delicious Oven French Fries

Save the Date- 2010 NBC4 Health Fitness Expo
Saturday, January 16
Sunday, January 17
Join Children’s National Medical Center at the annual NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo at the Washington Convention Center.
Visit our booth to:

Learn about asthma, bone health, celiac disease, concussions, food allergies, injury prevention, sickle cell disease, and other children’s health topics.
Participate in children’s activities, such as taking milk mustache photos, touring the Junior OR, having a finger casted, and completing a fitness course.
Enroll children ages 5 to 12 in Dr. Bear’s Club.
Give blood on Children’s Bloodmobile.
Learn how to become a volunteer.

Toy Safety for the Holidays
Billions of toys are sold each year in the United States, with the holidays being a ripe time for toy injuries to occur. Injuries can range from falling, choking, burning, drowning, and even poisoning. Injuries often result when a toy is misused or used by children who are too young for that particular toy. An example is a toy with small parts, which can cause choking when those small parts are ingested by a curious toddler.
Know what dangers are associated with certain toys and age groups. When selecting toys for your child, consider the following recommendations:

Choose toys that are age-appropriate and meet your child’s skill level and interest. Read the toy’s label for guidance.
Avoid using latex balloons and use mylar balloons instead. Choking on latex balloons is a leading cause of toy-related death.
Make sure toys are used in safe environments, such as keeping a riding toy away from stairs. 
Be involved in your child’s play. 
Use a small parts tester to determine what small toys or parts are choking hazards to children under age 3. A small parts tester allows for small objects to be inserted. If the object fits, it is a choking hazard. 
Check toys regularly for damage and other hazards. 
Stay up-to-date on toy recalls through the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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Do You Know How to Wash Your Hands?
December 6 through 12 was National Hand Washing Awareness Week. As the seasonal flu and H1N1 (swine) flu continue to make people ill, take matters into your family’s hands. At home or work, wash your hands often and properly. Teach your children to do the same at home, school, and daycare.

How to wash your hands:
Use warm water. 
Wet your hands before applying soap. 
Rub soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds. Explain to your child that 20 seconds is the length of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song two times.
Rinse your hands thoroughly to remove all soap. 
Turn off water with paper towel. 
Dry your hands with an air-dryer or a clean paper towel.

How often should I wash my hands?
Hands should be washed often. Because bacteria and other germs cannot be seen, they can be anywhere. Always wash your hands:

Before preparing food;
Before meals;
After using the restroom;
After touching animals or animal waste;
When hands are dirty; and
When someone around you is ill.

Visit our online flu resource center for more tips on keeping your family healthy during the holidays.
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Holidays at the Hospital

At Children’s National, staff and volunteers do whatever they can to make the holidays a little better for patients, with the help of toys, games, and books donated by individuals and organizations.
One mother who spent two different Christmas seasons at the hospital with her two children said, “The carolers were a lot of fun, as was the visit from Santa, who was bearing a teddy bear, toy car, and a coloring book with crayons. They also let us sneak in a miniature tree in the middle of night with his other gifts. The smile on his face in the morning was priceless!”
Creating memories like that requires a commitment by doctors, nurses, staff, and volunteers to support families, not just the child who’s being treated. “When a child is sick, the entire family is affected,” said Terry Orzechowski, executive director, Consumer Affairs/Ombudsman. Orzechowski’s team oversees Concierge Services, the hospital’s 450 volunteers, and Dr. Bear’s Closet, which provides games, toys, and toiletries to families while they are in the hospital.
Creating a home away from home is particularly important for families who have traveled to seek care at Children’s National, she says. “We see children from Washington, Maryland, and Virginia, but also from across the country and around the world.” This past year, Children’s National treated 350 kids from 18 countries outside of the United States. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a child get a toy and hear a parent say, ‘That’s the first time my child has smiled in weeks!’”

There are many ways you can help children who are in the hospital this holiday season

Help Fill Dr. Bear’s Closet. You can donate new toys to Dr. Bear’s Closet, or make a cash donation to help keep the closet stocked with games and toys year round. Dr. Bear’s Closet accepts non-medical items for patients and families such as toys, games books, clothing, toiletries, and art supplies. Please call 202-476-2062 to arrange a drop-off of toys. View wishlist.
Support our Holiday Campaign. Support our holiday campaign by making a gift online. For every donation of $25 made through this campaign, we will give one child a deck of Uno® cards, which is one of the most requested games at the hospital. Gifts will be used to support all areas of the hospital, including research and care.
Give Blood. The holidays are a particularly important time to donate blood for our young patients, since many surgeries are scheduled over the school break and many of our regular donors are out of town. Learn about giving blood and make an appointment.

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Recipe of the Month - Delicious Oven French Fries
4 large potatoes
8 cups ice water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Scrub potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch strips. 
Place potato strips into ice water, cover, and chill for 1 hour or longer. 
Remove potatoes and dry strips thoroughly. 
Place garlic powder, onion powder, salt, white pepper, allspice, and pepper flakes in plastic bag. 
Toss potatoes in spice mixture. 
Lightly brush potatoes with oil. 
Place potatoes in nonstick shallow baking pan. 
Cover with aluminum foil and place in 475°F oven for 15 minutes. 
Remove foil and continue baking uncovered for additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn fries occasionally to brown on all sides.

Yield: 5 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup
Source: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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