Welcome! Well, this is an unorthodox first post.
But timing is everything. We happen to be days away from a huge election in the United States. I’m going to ask you to vote in the 2020 United States election, if you’re able. There, I said it. I’m requesting this, and we don’t even know each other yet.
And I’ll come back to it in juuuuuust a second.
The Future of this Blog
With most future posts on this site, I hope to address specific issues in pediatric medicine — information that parents can use today.
I’ll cover stuff that I’m passionate about, both as a pediatrician and as a parent of young kids. I hope to include information and research that can be applied at home. I can also answer reader questions. Any topic in pediatric medicine that is useful to parents? We’ll discuss it!
(Please feel free to leave comments on topics of interest).
But Today, We Vote
This week, though? Let’s get less specific. If we care about children’s health, we must vote. It’s that simple. We are voting to elect people that will have huge influence on issues that directly affect our kids.
- Climate change
- Healthcare access
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has an excellent summary on these topics (and more), as well as things to consider when voting for kids.
In addition to these broader topics, voters in many states will also be having their say directly on a variety of topics. A few that apply to pediatrics include:
- a referendum on sex education in Washington
- parental and family leave in Colorado
- marijuana in Arizona
How do these apply to kids? Well, we know that the information adolescents receive regarding sexual health directly affects their risks for specific infections and teen pregnancy (1).
Parental and family leave profoundly influences the health of newborns (and new mothers) ( 2).
Marijuana access to adults is connected to marijuana access in minors (3). Decriminalization of drug offenses can directly affect a child’s caregivers . . . and therefore the kids themselves.
These issues are vital to our children. In the future, I’d love to go into more detail on each. For today? They are an example of how voting is just another way we can take care of our kids.
Does your vote matter?
It’s so easy to be cynical this year. It takes great effort (for me, at least) not to sort of . . . wallow . . . in the headlines.
It’s hard to say how much one specific vote matters in the grand scheme of things. But together? All the votes together in a wave of support or opposition? Life-changing power. A wave is composed of so very many droplets.
If you have children of your own, voting is the perfect opportunity to display optimism. It may have been a difficult year to do so.
It is also a chance to show our children that we grown-ups can be responsible. We can talk about voting for policies that support our neighbors and our country. It’s the perfect reminder that we’re all in this together. Each voice matters.
For children everywhere: please vote.
- Breuner CC, Mattson S. COMMITTEE ON ADOLESCENCE, COMMITTEE ON PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH. Sexuality Education for Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics Aug 2016, 138 (2) e20161348; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-1348
- Montez K, Thompson S, Shabo V. An Opportunity to Promote Health Equity: National Paid Family and Medical Leave. Pediatrics Sep 2020, 146 (3) e20201122; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2020-1122
- Wang GS, Davies SD, Halmo LS, Sass A, Mistry RD. Impact of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado on Adolescent Emergency and Urgent Care Visits. J Adolesc Health. 2018 Aug;63(2):239-241. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.12.010. Epub 2018 Mar 30. PMID: 29609916.