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Claire McCarthy, M.D.
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Claire McCarthy, M.D., is a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital. An Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and a senior editor for Harvard Health Publications, she has been writing about health and parenting for magazines, newspapers, and the internet for more than 20 years. She and her husband are raising five children ranging in age from 23 to 8. She blogs for Thriving, the health and parenting blog of Children's Hospital Boston, and for Boston.com as MD Mama; you can follow her on Twitter at @drClaire.

Entries by Claire McCarthy, M.D.

Hillary Clinton and 'Too Small to Fail': Are We Too Big to Care?

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 1:01 PM

At the national conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) this past weekend, I got to hear Hillary Clinton talk about the AAP's partnership with her "Too Small to Fail" campaign. It made me happy -- and sad.

The partnership is a great idea. It's all about...

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Don't Panic About Enterovirus D68

(2) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 1:46 PM

With all the news about Enterovirus D68 sending hundreds of children to hospitals, it's easy to panic when you hear about a case in your neighborhood -- or, even worse, if your child starts coughing.

But please, don't panic.

This virus has certainly caused trouble and...

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6 Reasons Why Making Friends With Kids Is a Real Accomplishment

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 6:29 PM

The other day at a family party, a 6-year-old jumped out of her chair when she saw me and came over to give me a big hug.

I couldn't have been more honored. It made my day.

I firmly believe that the poem "Success" has it right by...

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You Can Say No

(6) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 10:51 AM

I see it again and again in my practice: parents who seem to have forgotten that they are in charge.

"You can say no," I find myself saying to family after family. Which is kind of an amazing thing to have to say, if you think about it. You'd...

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The Children at the Border Are... Children

(14) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 5:54 PM

As I listen to the news coverage about all the unaccompanied minors coming from Central America, what I mostly hear is worry about how to house them, how to handle the legal ramifications, how to pay for them and how to stop them from coming across the border.

What...

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The Actual Risks of Vaccines (It Turns Out There Aren't Many)

(45) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 2:02 PM

These days, we hear a lot about the risks of vaccines. As a pediatrician, I talk to many parents who are very frightened about those risks -- and some choose not to vaccinate because of their fear.

Some of the risks we hear about are real, but some of...

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Why Sick Kids Should Be Allowed at Daycare

(30) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 11:35 AM

I see it all the time at our practice. Parents come with kids who really don't need to go to the doctor; they are only mildly ill, or already getting better. When I ask them why they came, the answer is simple: daycare.

They need a note saying the...

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I Have No Plans for My Kids This Summer

(18) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 2:09 PM

I flunk as a parent. I have no plans for my youngest kids this summer.

The older ones are working. But the 13-year-old and 8-year-old, the ones at the formative stages of their academic and skill development (if you believe what everyone says), are doing squat. No camp. No enriching...

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How My Father Taught Me to Make Stuff Up (And How That Has Made All the Difference)

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 3:03 PM

When my sister and I were little, we had an almost daily ritual with my father: drawing stories.

He would sit us on his lap and get out his clipboard, a piece of paper and his black click pen. He'd divide the paper into four parts, and draw as he...

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The Top 7 Reasons Parents Tell Me They Don't Want to Vaccinate

(42) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 4:32 PM

Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that between January 1 and May 23 of this year, there were 288 cases of measles reported in the US. That's more than the total number of cases in any year since 2000, when measles was...

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The Ties That Bind My Kids

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 2:40 PM

On Mother's Day weekend, our whole family drove to Virginia for my older son's college graduation. We got stuck in horrific traffic south of DC, there was a reasonable amount of fighting over who got to use the iPad in the car and who was taking too long in the...

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Mi casa es un desastre... y no me importa

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 12:09 AM

Mi casa es un desastre... y no me importa

Al final, el otro día, decidí robar algo de mi tiempo y le estuve pasando la aspiradora a mi furgoneta. La verdad es que tenía miedo de que alguien me pidiese que le llevase a algún sitio.

No solo había...

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My House Is Messy -- and I Don't Care

(204) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 11:31 AM

The other day, I finally stole some time and vacuumed out my minivan. I was starting to live in fear of someone asking me for a ride.

Not only was there garbage, random hats, a broken umbrella and tracked-in leaves on the floor, there were bits of pretzels and popcorn...

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Should We Have Name Police?

(5) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 5:59 PM

There have been times in my career as a doctor when I wished we had Name Police.

There have been countless children I've met who had, well, unfortunate names. Often it was inadvertent -- parents honestly didn't realize that there might be a problem. Sometimes non-English speakers made up names...

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Six Tips for 'The Talk'

(10) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

When it comes to the parts of parenthood that people dread, well, there's so much to choose from. There are poopy diapers. Vomit. Tantrums. Nasty teenagers. But all of that pales in comparison with...The Talk.

The...

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I Was Completely Unsupervised As a Child - And I'm Grateful

(41) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

For many of my out-of-school hours as a child, no adult had any idea what I was doing.

This has everything to do with who I am today, in some remarkably good ways.

As a...

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A Year After the Sandy Hook Shootings, Our Children Aren't Any Safer From Guns

(20) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 3:55 PM

I still can't think about the Sandy Hook shooting without starting to cry.

It hit me really hard -- because when it happened, I had a first-grader whose classroom was right off the main lobby of his public elementary school. If a shooter like Adam Lanza ever stormed into his...

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Tech and Baby Monitoring: Not the Best Mix

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 4:39 PM

It's scary being a parent, especially a first-time parent. I mean, talk about the responsibility: An actual human being is relying on you for survival. And basically, you have no idea what you are doing. Sometimes, it seems amazing that our species has made it this far.

So... why not...

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The Real Reason Showing Up Matters

(2) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 3:40 PM

I spent my 50th birthday being the starter at a swim meet.

It was a really great way to celebrate.

Standing for hours and saying, "Take your mark" and hitting the buzzer wasn't exactly what I had planned for my Big Day, especially since I'd broken my toe the...

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The Internet Never Forgets: Parenting the Facebook Generation

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 12:10 PM

Everybody can think of something really stupid they did as a teenager, like taking your parent's car for a joy ride (without their permission, of course), getting drunk with friends, accepting a dangerous dare, or saying mean (or just dumb) things about somebody. Looking back on these moments, many of...

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