Signs of Bullying

This information is provided by University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, the Center for Infant and Child Loss and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

As a parent, there are many things you need to diligently watch for in your child. One of them is to look for signs of bullying.

There are health risks related to depression for the victim, bully, and those who witness bullying, which may include:

  • Irritability or angerdoctor-consoling-patient-126648704
  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Multiple joint and muscle pains
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Depression
  • Difficulties in falling and/or staying asleep
  • Self-injury (i.e., cutting)
  • Impulsivity
  • Suicide attempts
  • Homicidal thoughts

If your child is experiencing any of the above, talk with them, and contact their pediatrician or teacher. For more information call 800-808-7437.



8 Tips to Confront Bullying in School

This information is provided by University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, the Center for Infant and Child Loss and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

bullyingBullying is a behavior that is both repeated and intended to hurt someone either physically, emotionally, or both. It can take many forms like teasing, name calling, making threats, physical assaults, and cyber-bullying.

If your child is being bullied and is attending one of Maryland’s public schools, you and your child have the right to report your concerns. The school also has the responsibility to investigate those concerns. Here are eight tips to stop bullying and report the problem:

  • Ask your child’s teacher, counselor, or administrator if you can speak privately about a personal problem. Talk about what is happening or making you (or your child) uncomfortable, and how long it’s been going on.
  • Ask for a Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form; or download at Complete the form, return one copy to the administrator, and keep a copy for yourself.
  • Feel free to call the Maryland State Department of Education if you have additional questions regarding the completion of the Bullying Form. You can reach them at 410-767-0031.
  • If an incident occurs in an unstructured area, ask what the school will do to make you (or your child) feel safe.
  • Ask the administrator to investigate allegations, develop a plan of support and schedule a meeting.
  • If your child is being bullied on a social media site, take a screen shot and save the content to share with parents, police, and the school administration. Fill out a report as often as you need to.
  • Change your password, use privacy settings, and block people on social media who send negative messages, texts, tweets or photos.
  • Ask friends not to share negative social media or pass along to others.

For more information call 800-808-7437.

Protect Your Skin This Summer

By Kirsten Bannan, System Communications Intern

As the summer progresses the initial sunburn has faded and it’s time to think about protecting your skin. Everyone wants that bronze glow that comes with a summer tan, but most people are sun picnot aware of the damage the sun can cause to your skin and your health. Here are some facts and tips that will help you protect your skin this summer.

Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays. The sun emits these rays and you can get extra exposure from using tanning beds or sun lamps. “People who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. According to recent research, first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent” (Skin Cancer Foundation). There are two types of UV radiation that affect the skin: UVA and UVB. Both kinds of rays can cause skin cancer, weaken the immune system, contribute to premature aging of the skin, and cataracts (See our Cataract Awareness Article).

UVA Rays– they are not absorbed by the ozone layer and penetrate skin to contribute to premature aging. “They account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface” (Skin Cancer Foundation). UVA is the prevalent tanning ray; tanning itself is actually damage to the skin’s DNA. The Skin gets darker in an attempt to protect from further DNA damage.

UVB Rays– they are partially absorbed by the ozone layer and are the primary cause to sunburn. They play a very large role in the development of skin cancer. The most intensive UVB rays hit the Earth around 10am to 4pm from April to October.

There are protective measures that you can take to prevent against damage and skin cancer. Since the sun can damage your skin in as few as 15 minutes, it’s important to put sunscreen on when you know you will be outside for an extended period of time. Sunscreen works by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays.
Here are some other tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on sun safety:

A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors.

A regular T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.

Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.

o Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Cosmetics. Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same chemicals used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, don’t use them by themselves.

Sunscreen is one of the best ways of protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Make sure to get a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen labels that have “Broad Spectrum” means they protect against both kinds of rays. You also want to make sure to know the difference between “water resistant” and “waterproof”. The American Cancer Society says that “No sunscreens are waterproof or “sweat proof,” and manufacturers are no longer allowed to claim that they are. If a product’s front label makes claims of being water resistant, it must specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating”. They recommend reapplying every two hours and even sooner if you are sweating or swimming.

No matter what summer activities you have planned this summer, make sure you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. It takes 2 minutes to apply sunscreen and that can help save you from a lifetime of skin damage or even skin cancer.

Take a Sun Safety IQ Quiz from the American Cancer Society:’


Safe Firework Fun

FireworkSafetyBy Kirsten Bannan, System Communications Intern

Summer is in full swing and as the temperature increases, so does the amount of summer events happening. The 4th of July is right around the corner and everyone knows it is a popular holiday to spend time with family and friends and enjoy some summer traditions such as fireworks.

Sometimes holiday fun is not as harmless as you might think. Even though fireworks seem like a safe and fun way to spend the holiday, “230 people on average go to the emergency room with firework-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday” (US Consumer Product Safety Commission).

A sparkler, popular to most at-home firework displays, can heat up to about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause serious burns especially if in the hands of children. Kids aren’t the only ones who need to be careful; the age group most susceptible to injuries by fireworks is the 20-40 age groups which are usually the age group responsible for lighting fireworks at home. Sometimes the influence of alcohol can contribute to high numbers of injury during at- home firework displays.

Karen Hardingham RN, BSN, CPST Safe Kids Baltimore Coalition Coordinator has some helpful tips for those who still want to include fireworks in their 4th of July experience. She is most adamant about attending professional firework displays rather than at-home shows. She says, “leave it to the professionals, do be aware of labels and laws of the area, and look at alternatives.”

Some events in the Baltimore area to attend are as follows:

  • Baltimore’s Fourth of July Celebration presented by Ports America Chesapeake
    Location: Baltimore Inner Harbor, 561 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
  • Fullerton Park
    Location: 4304 Fullerton Avenue, Baltimore 21236
    Rain Date: July 5
  • Loch Raven Academy
    Location: 8101 Lasalle Road, Towson 21286
    Rain Date: July 5
  • Catonsville High School
    Location: 421 Bloomsbury Avenue, Catonsville 21228
    Rain Date: July 9

For a full list of public firework displays in Maryland click here.

If you are determined to have an at-home firework show, consider substituting hand-held sparklers with glow sticks, which decreases the chance of hands or clothes getting burned. Here are some other safety tips about fireworks to help get the best out of the holiday the safe way, courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide:

  •  If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
  •  Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
  •  Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  •  Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances
  •  Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to  investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  •  Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire  extinguisher properly.
  • If a person is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don’t allow the person to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.

Being aware of the local firework laws are especially important. The Baltimore City Fire Department confirms that all fireworks, even sparklers are against the law in Baltimore City unless a permit and approval is given from the office of the Fire Marshall. Depending on the area, it is important to know the firework laws before having a display of your own. Violators of these laws are subject to a misdemeanor fine of up to $250. The holidays are about spending time with friends and family, so before deciding to make your own firework display, consider the consequences and alternatives for a safe and fun 4th of July.

For a PDF with more statistics on Firework Injuries from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission click here.


UM Children’s Hospital Patient Gives Back in a Big Way

Michelle Kaminaris, a kindergarten teacher at Hampstead Hill Academy in East Baltimore, has seen kids miss school for all kinds of reasons. Like most of us, she never expected her own child to miss school due to a serious illness. But when her daughter Eva (an eighth grader at Hampstead Hill Academy) started showing flu-like symptoms, a trip to the doctor confirmed that Eva would be missing school due to pneumonia.

From there, Eva had more tests and doctors found a tumor on her ovaries. The tumor was removed after an emergency surgery, but she still had to spend time recovering at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH). While she endured a slew of poking and prodding and scary medical diagnoses, it was the Child Life team and other skilled nurses at UMCH who made her hospital stay a positive experience.

Group Photo

Eva (fourth from left) and Hampstead Hill Academy’s Kiwanis Builders Club pose with their donation to UMCH

“We had unbelievably phenomenal care. I never had to leave my daughter,” Michelle said. “One of the nurses even gave up his lunch hour to take Eva to play and walk around.”

Post-discharge and feeling better, Eva was determined to give back to the place that took such great care of her. She started looking online for ways to help and found UMCH’s toy wish list.

She sought help from her school’s Kiwanis Builders Club, and recruited some of her friends and classmates to help. The club, seven members strong, started planning fundraisers, bake sales, art supply and Band-Aid drives, and a paint night.

Shannon Joslin Builders Club

Shannon Joslin, Child Life Manager, describes the Child Life Program to the Hampstead Hill Academy Kiwanis Builders Club

The students stayed after school one day to stretch the canvases for the paint night by hand and helped cook food for the event. Thirty-five families came out after school to support the club and raise money for the cause.

The club went shopping for items on the UMCH wish list with the money from the fundraisers. They picked out high-demand items like DVDs, video games, building block sets and card games, all which they personally delivered to the hospital.

As Eva heads to high school, she wants to ensure that this is not a one-time donation. Even if she can’t start the club at her new high school, she plans to keep in touch and continue giving back to UMCH. Michelle’s youngest child, inspired by Eva’s involvement and by UMCH’s great care, plans continue the family tradition and join the Hampstead Hill Builders Club next year.

Many thanks to the Hampstead Hill Academy’s Kiwanis Builders Club! Your continued support of the Children’s Hospital ensures we have the resources available to make every patient’s stay comfortable and fun.

Learn more about the Child Life Program and meet the team.

Interested in giving to the Children’s Hospital? Here’s how you can help.


Brushing Twice a Day Keeps Decay Away – National Children’s Dental Health Month

By Zuryna Smith, System Communications Intern

Little boy teethNational Children’s Dental Health Month was introduced by the American Dental Association as a way to provide crucial information regarding oral health in children.

It started as a one-day event in Cleveland. As the importance of the issue of oral health became more prevalent, the one-day event spanned across a week and eventually became a month-long event that garnered global attention.

The ADA provides health fairs, free dental screenings, and other activities that promote the adoption of healthy oral health techniques.  This year’s campaign slogan is entitled “Sugar Wars,” a spin on the sci-fiction film Star Wars.

Tooth decay and loss is one of the main oral health issues that affect children. Preventative care is the only way to deter the loss of teeth. The rule of thumb is to brush two times a day for two minutes each time. In addition to proper brushing techniques, parents should be vigilant in their efforts to keep their children’s teeth shiny and healthy.

Here are a few tips that will encourage healthy dental habits:

  • Emphasize the importance of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural chemical that prevents decay and strengthens the enamel of teeth. It can be found in tap water and is also available as a supplement.
  • A healthy and balanced diet is a necessity in order to prevent tooth decay. While starches and fruits are essential to a child’s diet, certain foods need to be given in moderation. Starchy and sticky foods tend to stay on the child’s teeth and cause cavities as well as decay.
  • Daily cleaning should take place as soon as the child develops their first tooth. A small piece of gauze or a damp cloth can be used to clean the tooth. As the child gets older a toothbrush with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste should be used.

Dental sealants are another method of prevention for young children. Dental sealants are small, plastic coatings that cover the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It helps to prevent excess food and germs from getting caught in the crevices of the teeth.

Childrens teeth

University of Maryland School of Dentistry students participated in an outreach program where they provided free sealant treatments to children in need at the Perryville Clinic. The overall purpose of the event was to provide assistance and education to those who would not normally have access to proper dental care providers.

For more information about an upcoming Sealant Saturday event please contact the Perryville Clinic at 410-706-4900.

Pediatric Dental Appointments are available at the University of Maryland Pediatric Dental Clinic by calling 410-706-4213. You can also search for a Dental Health provider by using our website.

March of Dimes Thanks UMMC During Day of Gratitude

The March of Dimes recognized the University of Maryland Medical Center during their Day of Gratitude, Wednesday, Jan. 6. Staff at the UMMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) received a plaque to commemorate their efforts to support the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies.

UMMC is one of 33 Maryland hospitals to earn banner recognition from the March of Dimes as part of its “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” campaign, which aims to reduce the number of elective births before a full term of 39 weeks. The March of Dimes partners with the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Patient Safety Center to award banners.


Left to right: Katie Stover (MoD), Jennifer Tarr (MoD),  Treza James, Joan Treacy, Caroline McGinnis, Danielle Luers, Dr. El-Metwally, Jane Munoz, Dr. Bearer, Sara Bielecki (MoD), Penelope Shields

Thanks to our staff for all you do to keep babies healthy!

Learn more about the NICU at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital or visit the Maryland March of Dimes website.


A Season of Giving at UMCH

Slater Donation

Vicki Slater with Shannon Joslin and Kayleigh McQuaid of Child Life

For the past 10 years, Vicki and Earl Slater have decorated their house, put out drinks and desserts and invited their friends and family over for their annual holiday party. The catch? Each guest is asked to bring a toy to be donated to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH).

When the tradition started years ago, the Slaters had a simple goal in mind: to help the less fortunate. Years later, with a daughter-in-law working at UMMC as a respiratory therapist and a swath of their own young grandchildren, the donation has taken on a new meaning.

“When the kids were little, we thought about how important it was that the kids are healthy,” Vicki said.

The Slaters not only want to spread good will and joy, they also want to help families during difficult times. That’s why they donate to UMCH each year.

The Slaters dropped off the toys in time for the UMCH Snow Pile event, a toy workshop set up for parents and families of patients. Shoppers pick out toys for their sick loved ones for free, which often gives families at the hospital peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to scramble for gifts.

Ray Bachman on behalf of the Kamryn Lambert Foundation with Becky Halagarda, Shannon and Kayleigh

The same day the Slaters dropped off their donation, Ray Bachman of the Kamryn Lambert Foundation dropped off another generous donation—more than 100 Pillow Pets!

Bachman has been involved with giving for the past five years, and always seems to outdo the last year. Not only did he bring the Pillow Pets this year, he also brought enough batteries to power the electronic ones.

And that wasn’t all from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation. The very next week they dropped off another sizeable collection of toys, separated in large boxes by age appropriateness.

Local and state officials

District 25 officials visit a UMCH family

Even some members of the representatives from local and state government came out to support the Children’s Hospital. Members of the District 25 Team came for a visit, bringing a van full of toys and good cheer for all: Council Member Mel Franklin, District 9; State Delegate Darryl Barnes, District 25; Delegate Angela Angel, District 25; Delegate Dereck Davis, District 25; State Senator Ulysses Currie, District 25; and Phylicia Henry, Chief of Staff to Del Darryl Barnes.

Staff at the local Hampton Inn donated all sorts of toys, ranging from board games and coloring books to popular throwbacks like Slinkys. Daniel Thron, Sales Manager at the Hampton Inn, brought the toys over.

Thank you to all of the wonderful donors this holiday season. Thanks to you, the Children’s Hospital is able to keep Snow Pile going for another year.

Hampton Inn

Daniel Thron, Sales Manager of the Hampton Inn Baltimore, with Shannon and Maria Shaffer

The deadline for this year’s Snow Pile donations has passed; however, the Children’s Hospital collects in-kind donations year-round. Your generous support gives all of our patients something to smile about.

To learn more about how you can support the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital patients and programs, please visit and


More toys from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation

Our trusty wagon is full of toys for patients!


(L-R) Delegate Darryl Barnes, State Senator Ulysses Currie, Delegate Dereck Davis and Council Member Mel Franklin

Debi Katzenberger, in red, plus helpers from the Kamryn Lambert Foundation


A Day in the Life

Yesterday was an exceptionally exciting day at the Medical Center.

Shock Trauma patients welcomed two violinists to the wing. USNA Midshipmen 1st Class Michelle de Vente and Deborah Mullen played a selection of holiday music for patients. Patients even made requests and de Vente and Mullen happily obliged. Thanks for bringing the sounds of comfort and joy to our patients!



Paper Cranes Bring Hope to Children Fighting Cancer

Last week, as part of a global initiative to bring hope to children fighting the battle against cancer, Tina Allen of the Liddle Kidz Foundation presented 2,000 folded origami paper cranes from Japanese children fighting cancer to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Team and their patients.

In Japan, cranes symbolize hope, love, honor and peace. Tradition also says that if someone receives 1,000 cranes, they will be granted their wish, or eternal luck.

In return, staff from the Center for Integrative Medicine’s Inpatient Integrative Care Team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine created “links of love” with 4,000 hand-decorated paper strips to send back to Japan, with the intention of sending love and support around the world in conjunction with National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which is September.

Crane Ceremony 2Dr. Teresa York, Division Head of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Unit, and 15-year-old patient Madison Friz – whose cancer is now in remission – accepted thecranes from Allen on behalf of UMMC patients and their families.

“I am very honored and humbled by this gift of hope as we continue the fight against pediatric cancer,” said York, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“This gift means hope,” added Friz. “When you have cancer, that’s all you have. You don’t know what’s going to happen the next day, so you have to believe everything is going to turn out fine.”

Crane Ceremony 1