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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 24 to 9. She blogs for Thriving, the health and parenting blog of Children's Hospital Boston, and for as MD Mama; you can follow her on Twitter at @drClaire.

Entries by Claire McCarthy, M.D.

Why the Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Is Good for Children

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 2:25 PM

As a pediatrician, I am really happy about the Supreme Court's decision that same-sex couples have the right to marry -- because it's a decision that is good for children.

It's good for children for a simple reason: marriage is good for children.

As a Catholic, I was very...

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The Question That Could Save Your Child's Life

(6) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 11:12 AM

This Sunday, June 21st, isn't just Father's Day. It's National Ask Day -- a day to pledge to always ask a question that could save your child's life:

Is there an unlocked gun where my child plays?

Here are a few scary facts:

  • 1 in 3 homes...
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19 Signs I've Been at This Parenting Thing Too Long

(14) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 2:14 PM

I've been parenting for 24 years now... and I still have a kid in elementary school. In fact, we are in year 18 of 20 consecutive years at the local elementary school.

My husband and I managed to space out our children so that by the time our youngest...

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Why Don't We Treat Gun Safety Like Car Safety?

(232) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 12:31 PM

Here's a question for you: Which causes more deaths, motor vehicle traffic accidents or firearms?

I asked a bunch of people that question, including a bunch of doctors, and everyone said that motor vehicles did, by a lot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

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Think Your Kid Is Getting Exercise at Dance Class? Think Again

(13) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 1:14 PM

When you send your kid to dance class, it's reasonable to think that not only are they learning how to dance, but that they are getting exercise. Most parents think that way; dance class certainly gets mentioned when I ask parents in my practice what their children do for exercise.

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How Bruce Jenner Changes the Birds and the Bees Talk

(1) Comments | Posted May 11, 2015 | 2:25 PM

The other day, a teen patient of mine told me she is pansexual.

We were having the usual talk I have with teen patients, the one where I we talk about sex and sexuality and birth control and sexually transmitted infections. But over the past few years, that conversation...

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What Parents Need to Tell Their Kids About the Baltimore Riots

(1) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 4:34 PM

The riots in Baltimore are all over the news. As a parent, it would seem like the best thing to say to your kids is that riots are bad, that violence isn't the way to solve anything.

But that would be missing the point -- and missing an opportunity.


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I Give Up on Having It All

(1) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 4:43 PM

Recently, it hit me that I really can't have it all.

For the past few years, during Lent, what I "give up" is working on Sundays. I can do housework and errands, but no professional work -- no catching up on projects or patient charting, no writing blogs. The...

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Why We Need to Talk to Strangers

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 3:44 PM

I remember a warm September day at the playground 22 years ago. I was there with my 19-month-old daughter and newborn son. Zack was hungry, so I sat down on a bench to nurse him -- but every time I got him settled, Michaela ran away from me. Far away,...

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What I Tell Parents Who Ask Me About Alternate Vaccine Schedules

(6) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 3:23 PM

It happens every once in a while in my practice: Parents ask if we can delay or skip certain vaccines, or spread them out.

According to a study just published in the journal Pediatrics, I'm not alone -- in fact, 93 percent of pediatricians get asked the...

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Should Cupcakes Be Banned From School Parties?

(146) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 2:36 PM

When my older children were in elementary school, I sent in cupcakes for their birthdays or for class parties.

My youngest is in elementary school now, and for his birthday, I sent in pencils and temporary tattoos for classmates -- because the school doesn't allow us to send in sweets...

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4 Mistakes Parents Make at the Pediatrician's Office

(36) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 4:14 PM

I love being a pediatrician; there's nothing I would rather do. But sometimes I get frustrated by things that parents do -- or don't do.

I'm not talking about things like being late (hey, I run late, it would be unfair to complain), or getting upset with the staff...

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The Life Lessons I've Learned From My Valentine's Day Baby

(2) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 11:13 AM

Just before midnight on Valentine's Day of 1991, I got the best Valentine's Day present I've ever had: my daughter, Michaela. She was the best present not just because she was my first child, but because of what she has taught me -- mostly, by being different from me.


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The Good Thing About the Disney Measles Outbreak

(126) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 11:02 AM

Cases of measles linked to an exposure at Disneyland continue to spread, not just in California, but in several other states and in Mexico. The numbers of cases are climbing -- and so are the number of exposed people who might get sick -- and expose more people before they...

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Do Parents Squash the Kindness in Their Kids?

(4) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 11:57 AM

The other day, I read about some really cool research that suggests that little kids are naturally altruistic.

It got me thinking: What is it we do that stops them from being that way? Because, let's face it, not all big kids -- and definitely not all grownups...

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6 Ways to Stop Yelling At Your Kids (Or At Least Do It Less)

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 12:11 PM

Everyone yells at their kids. Oh, I'm sure there are some truly perfect parents out there who don't (and some who don't because they are physically unable to yell), but the rest of us do. Parents are human; we all get frustrated, angry, exhausted and scared and, well, yell.


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Does How You Dress Your Kids for Cold Weather Say Something About You As a Parent?

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 1:08 PM

For years, my husband and I have argued about how to dress the kids for cold weather (given that we have five kids ranging in age from 23 to 9, this argument truly has been going on for a while). He says I don't dress them warmly enough. I say...

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The 4 Resolutions I Hope Will Make Me a Better Parent (and Wife)

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2014 | 3:51 PM

It's New Year's resolution time -- the time when we all say we'll do all that stuff that we do for about a month and then quit (it always cracks me up how the gym and pool at the YMCA fill up briefly in January). I'm as guilty of it...

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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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