New moms get one-on-one support with Nurse-Family Partnership program

Seraiah Johnson-Joiner is so close to walking her mother Serenah Johnson can’t stand it. In their home in Northwest Austin, Johnson watches Seraiah closely, just weeks before her first birthday.

Nurse Renee Damron also watches after measuring Seraiah’s vitals including her height and head size and listening to her heartbeat.

On this day last month, Damron is visiting Seraiah and her family as part of the Nurse-Family Partnership, a national program administered locally by Any Baby Can that helps first-time mothers through their pregnancies and the first two years of their babies’ lives.

Seraiah Johnson-Joiner, 1, gets visited every two weeks by a nurse from Any Baby Can to make sure she’s growing well. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Any Baby Can, which started administering the program in 2008, now hopes to double the number of families it can serve in 2018 by adding a second team of eight nurses, one supervisor and an administrator. Each team handles 200 families a year. The expansion will allow Any Baby Can to serve moms outside of Travis County, with an emphasis on expanding first to Williamson County and later to Hays and Bastrop counties. Currently more than 80 mothers are on the waiting list in Travis County.

To do this expansion, Any Baby Can has received a new grant of $432,000 from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and an $80,000 grant from Impact Austin.

Mothers served by this program enter it when they are 16 to 28 weeks gestation. They have to be below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. Any Baby Can has had moms from age 11 to age 43 in its program.

Any Baby Can nurse Renee Damron meets with Serenah Johnson, 18, and her daughter Seraiah Johnson-Joiner, 1, as part of the Nurse-Family Partnership. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Each nurse stays with the same mothers until they graduate from the program when her child turns 2. She meets with the family every two weeks and sets goals for the family that can be about their baby’s health or milestones or about the mom’s life.

Since Nurse-Family Partnership began, studies have shown that it helps both mom and baby.

Some reported study findings:

  • In Elmira, N.Y., researchers found a 48 percent reduction in child abuse cases among families enrolled in NFP, and 56 percent less emergency room visits because of injuries or ingesting something.
  • In a Memphis study, mothers who were in the NFP program made $12,300 more a year than the control group by the time their child turned 12.
  • In that same study, the NFP mothers were twice as likely to be employed by the time their child turned 2.
  • These mothers also delayed a second pregnancy. In a study in Elmira, N.Y., the NFP moms had a second child 12 1/2 months later than the control group.
  • A Denver study found the children who had been in NFP were less likely to have emotional or behavioral problems or attention disorders at ages 6 and 9.

Johnson has seen it in her own life. When she became pregnant at age 17, she hid it from many people, including her high school softball team and coach, but finally confessed to her school nurse, who was able to connect her with Any Baby Can.

“At first, I was kind of skeptical about would she answer the phone,” she says of the first time she talked to Damron.

“She was really reassuring,” Johnson says.

Johnson says she learns things from Damron that she never really would have known even though she helped raise her little sister.

Damron has helped Johnson figure out how to finish high school, and find a program to start Austin Community College to become a dental hygienist. She’s also helped coach Johnson through how to make breast-feeding work for her. She’s working with Johnson on adding more solid foods into Seraiah’s diet and how to add reading books to her and playing with educational toys.

“She inspires me,” Damron says of Johnson. “She’s a really good mom.”

Any Baby Can typically hires nurses who have worked in pediatrics or neonatal care to be in the program. What Damron likes is that she gets to stay with a patient for more than two years.

“I’m your nurse, but also your mentor,” Damron tells Johnson.

Renee Damron measures the head of Seraiah Johnson-Joiner, 1, while she’s held by her mother Serenah Johnson, 18. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Even though Damron takes measurements on Seraiah, she isn’t meant to replace well-check appointments, but if Damron saw something that raised a red flag she would tell Johnson to ask the pediatrician about that or could refer her to other early childhood programs, some of which are also administered by Any Baby Can.

Often, NFP nurses can catch something before a pediatrician might find it because they see the children every two weeks instead of ever two to three months that first year.

Nurse-Family Partnership involves the whole family, so Damron also includes Johnson’s mom and step-father, her sister, and even her grandparents in supporting Johnson. Johnson’s boyfriend and Seraiah’s father, Jaylon Joiner, is also involved in the program.

“It’s helped me learn more about what I didn’t know,” he says. He likes to bet with Damron how big Seraiah has grown. “Overall, it’s been a great program,” he says.

As Damron goes over the goals from last time and helps Johnson and Joiner set the goals for this time, she tells them, “I’m super proud of you; I’m super proud of you both.”

Nurse-Family Partnership

Find out more about this program through Any Baby Can, anybabycan.org, 512-454-3743.

Keep those energy drinks away from children

A study that analyzed calls to the National Poison Data System  (that’s the database for poison control) tracked the number of calls of a toxic exposure from dietary supplements. From 2000-2012, the study found almost 275,000 exposure to these supplements; the most common and some of the most toxic came from energy products. About half of those dietary supplement exposures were to kids younger than age 6.

Children exposed to these supplements reported having tachycardia, vomiting, nausea, irritability, drowsiness and dizziness.

Pilot Andrew Over takes a mock drink of a Red Bull can before taking off at the Red Bull Flugtag 2007. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2007

The American Academy of Pediatrics wants the FDA to do more to regulate these supplements, including energy products.

In 2004, the FDA banned the use of ma huang (ephedra) in supplements. That was the year five kids died from exposure. Since that ban, the number of ma huang exposures have decreased.

“Our results demonstrate the need for FDA regulation of yohimbe and energy products in the U.S. as was done successfully with ma huang products in 2004,” the study authors wrote in the press release with the study.

Join the Teal Pumpkin Project to give kids with food allergies Halloween treats

This orange plastic pumpkin filled with candy presents a problem for kids with food allergies. Thinkstock

All kids love Halloween candy right? Well, not really. Some kids cannot have it because of medical conditions or food allergies.

Austinite Marty Barnes started a program with Mommies of Miracles, a support/advocacy group for families with children with complex medical issues, to create awareness that homes could treat more kids if they offered non-candy treats.

Barnes and her husband Tim later founded Casey’s Circle, a local nonprofit organization named after their daughter Casey, who had a brain injury at birth. She had cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness, among other diagnoses. The organization provides typical childhood experiences like birthday parties, Christmas parties to children who are medically fragile.

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to have non-food treats on hand to give out on Halloween, an accommodation for kids with food allergies or who otherwise can’t eat candy. Photo from Michelle Fandrich.

The idea of providing nonfood treats has caught on. Teal Pumpkin Project from the Food Allergy Research & Education has gone nationwide. Paint a teal pumpkin or put out a teal pumpkin sign and people will know that your house has non-food treats, too. Then add your house to the map of homes that are offering non-free treats.  One of the homes on the site this year is Fairview Bed and Breakfast, which is a gluten-free bed-and-breakfast in Travis Heights. Owners Vivian and Jimi Ballard will hand out small toys as well as gluten-free candy.

Barnes recommends offering items such as

  • glow bracelets
  • stickers
  • tattoos
  • noise makers
  • bouncy balls

You can also put a sticker on your child that says “non-food items only.” That way you don’t have to explain at every door why you can’t take the candy.

If you do need to take the candy and don’t want to be impolite, your child could still benefit from the candy. Many orthodontists participates in the Halloween Candy Buy Back program. I searched my ZIP code and found multiple locations within 10 miles of my house. You also can ask your own orthodontist if his or her office is participating.

There are a lot of great things happening in the world of food allergies. ‘Specially for Children, which is affiliated with Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, became a FARE site last year.  This means that kids who are at ‘Specially for Children can participate in research studies, like a peanut allergy study.

I’ve also written about how to handle school issues when you have a child with a gluten intolerance or Celiac’s disease. A lot of the same principles would apply to any food allergy or intolerance. Some of the suggestions:

  1. Have approved snacks at school for the teacher to give out if there is a cupcake day.
  2.  Educate the teacher and the classes’ parents about why your child can’t have the cupcake and offer parents solutions of what they could bring for your child.
  3. Empower kids to be their own advocate and understand what they can and cannot have.

FARE is holding its Heroes Walk at O’Henry Middle School at 3 p.m.Sunday, Oct. 29. It’s free to walk, but donations are appreciated. The goal is to raise $45,000 for food allergy awareness and research.

What are you doing the long weekend with the kids, Oct. 6-9

The long three-day Columbus Day weekend, and hey, the day before, too, are filled with many things to do with the kids.

Just keep in mind it’s Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend. Give yourself a little extra time if you’re going anywhere near downtown.

The weather every day will be the standard 90, 91 degrees, sunny with a 10 percent chance of rain. Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray if you’re going outside.

Enjoy these and other family-friendly activities:

Zoe wiebusch, 5 of Austin paints on an mural at Austin Kiddie Limits on the final day of weekend two of the 2016 Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park in 2016.
Erika Rich for American-Statesman

 

Friday

Wildflower Center. Movies in the Wild: “Flight of the Butterflies.” See the movie outside. $12, free for kids younger than 4. 6-9 p.m. Friday. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m.  Fridays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Thinkery. Little Thinkers Club. Get Into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays through Oct. 27. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Friday-Saturday

Boo at the Zoo. Dress up and enjoy the zoo with Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $17.50. Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail. austinzoo.org

Pollyanna Theatre Company presents “A Moon of my Own.”

Friday-Sunday

Pollyanna Theatre Company presents “A Moon of My Own.” A young girl goes on an adventure with the moon. For kids kindergarten through second grade. 9:30 a.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $10.50-$13.50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Austin Kiddie Limits. Hear kids music, plus build things, make art and dance. Free for kids 10 and younger with parent with a wristband. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Zilker Park. aclfestival.com/kids

Friday-Monday

Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Monday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 8. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm Fall Farm Fun. Explore a corn maze, hay bale maze and a crazy maze, plus go on a hay ride, visit animals and get a mini pumpkin to decorate. Big pumpkins to purchase. $7. Beginning Friday. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com

The Texas Teen Book Festival is happening on Saturday at St. Edward’s University. Texas Teen Book Festival

Saturday

Texas Teen Book Festival. See some of your favorite young adult authors. Free. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. St. Edward’s University. texasteenbookfestival.org

Fall Family Fun Days. Enjoy raptor shows, snake shows, sheep shearing, corn shucking, apple cider making, live music, and lots of local vendors selling everything from fresh organic produce, eggs, honey, jam, and bread and more. $9-$3. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays in October. Crowe’s Nest Farm, 10300 Taylor Lane. crowesnestfarm.org

First Saturdays at the Carver Museum. Enjoy family events. Free. Noon Saturday. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Baby Bloomers. Learn about fall on the farm. For infant to 3. 9 a.m. Saturday. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Barnes & Noble Events: Lego Make and Take Ninjago. 4 p.m. Saturday, all locations; 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “The Poky Little Puppy,” Oct. 7.

BookPeople Story time:  Monsters are our Friends, 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: Lego Make and Take Ninjago. 4 p.m. Saturday, all locations; 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “The Poky Little Puppy,” Saturday.

Literature Live Presents: “Strega Nona.” 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Windsor Park Branch.

Monthly Book Sale. 10 a.m. Saturday, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Boo the Flu. Learn about community health resources, get free flu shots and more. 11 a.m. Saturday, Travis High School.

Austin Children’s Choir. 1 p.m. Saturday. Cepeda Branch.

Saturday Family Movie: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” 2 p.m.Saturday, Windsor Park Branch.

Toybrary Austin. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. Daddy & Me Story Time. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 7. $7. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Wildflower Center. Tracks, Scats & Signs. See how animals have been busy in the garden$15 adults, $10 children. Noon-2 p.m. Saturday.  Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop is open for pumpkin finding and more. Photos: Barton Hill Farms

Saturday-Sunday

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Hunt. Go hunting pumpkins, launch pumpkins, train ride, maze, mini golf, fishing pond pony rides and bounce house. $2.50 for each activity. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays in October. 242 Monkey Road. evergreen-farms.com

Emily Ann Theatre presents “Thumbelina.” See this classic children’s tale on stage. $8-$10. 10 a.m. Saturday, 21; 2 p.m. Sunday. 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley.

Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Go through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. Free, but pay for activities and pumpkins. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple. therobinsonfamilyfarm.com

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-8 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 5. $14, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com

Saturday-Monday

Whisks and Wizards. Make Halloween-themed food. For ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Monday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

 

 

 

 

“Rosita y Conchita” is a bilingual Día de los Muertos play at Scottish Rite Theater.

 

 

Sunday

“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. 11 a.m. Sunday. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org

BookPeople events. Tara Dairman, Jeannie Mobley and Christina Soontornvat read “The Great Hibernation,” Bobby Lee Claremont and the Criminal Element” and “In a Dark Land.” 2 p.m. Sunday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Austin Ukestra ukulele group. 1 p.m. Sunday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Monday

Thinkery. The museum is open, but there will not be Baby Bloomers. The museum does have two special workshops: Monster Masterpieces. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds. Monday. $20. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Crafternoon. 3:30 p.m. Monday, Manchaca Road Branch.

Child safety car seat check.  9 a.m. Monday, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St. Register at 512-972-7233. austintexas.gov

Think ahead to summer camp this Columbus Day when kids are out of school

Many kids have Monday off for Columbus Day or parent-teacher conferences. Think of Monday and other school holidays as a dry-run for future summer camps. Many places that offer summer camps also have one-day camps on these days. Also check with your regular after-school care to see if they will be offering a full-day camp on Monday, how to register and what the activities will be.

RELATED: SUMMER CAMP GUIDE

Louis Montanez, 9, plays on an mammoth rib cage cast in bronze at the Austin Nature and Science Center. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
2014

Here are some of the ones we found. If you have another camp you’d like listed, let us know, nvillalpando@statesman.com.

Austin Science and Nature Center. Wilderness Wise School Holiday Camp. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Ages 5-8. $50 per child. austintexas.gov/ansc

Zach Theatre.  Activities around the theme Dragons, Wizards and Fairies. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For grades kindergarten-second. $80. zachtheatre.org

Austin Sports Center. Various sports-themed camps for ages kindergarten-ninth grade at both locations. $49-$95 depending on camp length. austinsportscenter.com

Snapology. Build Lego and robotics at morning and afternoon workshops. $40-$45. Circle C Community Center and West Austin Youth Association. austin.snapology.com

Other activities on Monday

If you’re able to be home with the kids, many museums like the Thinkery that are typically closed on Mondays are open on this day. Check out these activities:

Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm Fall Farm Fun. Explore a corn maze, hay bale maze and a crazy maze, plus go on a hay ride, visit animals and get a mini pumpkin to decorate. Big pumpkins to purchase. $7.  10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com

Thinkery. The museum is open, but there will not be Baby Bloomers. The museum does have two special workshops: Monster Masterpieces. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds. Monday. $20. Whisks and Wizards. Make Halloween-themed food. For ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

 

Dell Children’s names new president, chief nurse

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas has named two new people to key positions. Christopher Born has been named the president of the hospital and will take over on Monday. Born comes to Dell Children’s from Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. He was president of Texas Children’s Health Plan, which has more than 430,000 children enrolled. He also established a network of women’s healthcare under that plan. He also created Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates, a pediatric primary care group with more than 250 physicians. Texas Children’s has been moving into Austin with 18 primary care pediatric practices, four pediatric urgent care centers, three pediatric specialty clinics and two maternal-fetal practices coming to Central Texas in the next five years.

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas at 4900 Mueller Blvd. Daulton Venglar/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Born is a certified public accountant and has a masters in business. He’s originally from New York and went to  State University of New York, Oswego. His MBA is from Rice University.

Chistopher Born, president of Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
Elizabeth Fredeboelling is the new chief nursing officer at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas

Elizabeth Fredeboelling will become Dell Children’s chief nursing officer beginning Nov. 5. She comes to Dell Children’s from Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, where she was the vice president and chief nursing officer. Before that she was at Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center campus as the administrative director of specialty surgery.  She also spent seven years at Texas Children’s.

 

Fredeboelling has a master of science degree in nursing and health system administration at Seton Hall University, and her bachelor of science degree in nursing at Elmhurst College.

Federal grant will give more University of Texas students mental health care training

An almost $1.8 million federal grant awarded to the University of Texas at Austin will help train more people how to provide mental health care in Travis County.

The grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration will give UT $440,000 a year for four years to the Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars program, which is a collaboration of Dell Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, School of Nursing, and College of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology.

Dell Medical School inaugural student, David Woerner checks out a new classroom at the newly opened Dell Medical Health Learning Center in 2016. More UT students will get hands-on training in mental health work because of an almost $1.8 million federal grant. Jessalyn Tamez / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The grant will fund the training of 84 students and residents in social work, nursing, psychology, psychiatry and other mental health professions. The students will get training at Integral Care clinical sites. Integral Care, which handles mental health care in Travis County, will supervise and guide the students and residents.

“The people of Travis County deserve the best mental health care in the world,” said Dr. Steve Strakowski, chair of the psychiatry department at Dell Medical School, in a press release. “Providing that care requires that the university train the best psychiatrists and therapists in the world and assure that they can take care of people regardless of their culture or the language they speak. With this grant, we can create unique programs that give world-class training to local providers.”

The psychiatry department also received a  grant from the Hogg Foundation to help the university explore training models across disciplines.

 

Take in these Halloween family events around Austin

We love Halloween! How are you going to celebrate it with your family?

Here are some local events to take in this month before the big day:

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop has a corn maze and other activities for kids to enjoy. Photos: Barton Hill Farms

 

Fall festivals

Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Go through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. Free, but pay for each activities and pumpkins. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple. therobinsonfamilyfarm.com

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-8 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 5. $14, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com

Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 8. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm Fall Farm Fun. Explore a corn maze, hay bale maze and a crazy maze, plus go on a hay ride, visit animals and get a mini pumpkin to decorate. Big pumpkins to purchase. $7. Beginning Oct. 6. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 14-15, with special activities. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Hunt. Go hunting pumpkins, launch pumpkins, train ride, maze, mini golf, fishing pond pony rides and bounce house. $2.50 for each activity. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays in October. 242 Monkey Road. evergreen-farms.com

Fall Family Fun Days. Enjoy raptor shows, snake shows, sheep shearing, corn shucking, apple cider making, live music, and lots of local vendors selling everything from fresh organic produce, eggs, honey, jam, and bread and more. $9-$3. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays in October. Crowe’s Nest Farm, 10300 Taylor Lane. crowesnestfarm.org

Halloween Carnival and Haunted House. 75 cent games, $1 haunted house. 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 12. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St. austintexasgov

Pumpkin Carving. Free pumpkins based on household size, plus games, face painting and more. 11 a.m. Oct. 28. Saturday, Carver Center, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov

Boo at the Zoo. Dress up and enjoy the zoo with Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $17.50. Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail. austinzoo.org

The Austin Zoo puts on Boo at the Zoo next month. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Events

Dress up for Littles. Kids ages 1-5 can play dress up in different costumes. 10 a.m. Oct. 2. Brentwood Social House, 1601 W Koenig Lane.

Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month’s theme: Spooked. Free. 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 4. Reservations required. domainnorthside.com

Museums

Bullock MuseumSpooktacular. Come dress for Halloween activities. 5 p.m. Oct. 27. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Thinkery.  Monster Masterpieces. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds. Oct. 9. $20. Family Night: Halloween Hootenanny. Come in costume and ready for fun. $15 adults, $13 children. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 27. Whisks and Wizards. Make Halloween-themed food. For ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7-9, Oct. 21-22. $8. Costume Design. Make your own costume. For ages 4 and up. $8. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14-15, Oct. 28-29.Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Science Saturday: HalloweenSTEAM. Noon-4 p.m Oct. 28. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Toybrary Austin. Halloween Party with Slime! 10: 30 a.m. Oct. 26. $10 per child. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Movies

Alamo Drafthouse events. “Ghostbusters” Party. 7 p.m. Oct. 1, Mueller. “The Addams Family” Party. 4 p.m. Oct. 15, Mueller. “Goosebumps” with introduction by R.L. Stine. 4 p.m. Oct. 21, Mueller.  drafthouse.com

“Rosita y Conchita” is a bilingual Día de los Muertos play at Scottish Rite Theater.

Theater

“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. 11 a.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 8, 14-15, 22 and 28-29; 1 p.m. Oct. 14-15, Oct. 22, Oct. 28-29. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org

Ballet Austin’s “Not Afraid of the Dark.” See glowing ballet in the dark. $15. 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21-22, Oct. 28-29. Ballet Austin Studio Theater, 501 W. Third St. balletaustin.org

 

Austin Symphony’s Halloween concert brings spooky music to audiences. Credit: 2011 Austin Symphony Orchestra

Music

Halloween Concert. Hear Halloween-themed music from the Austin Symphony. $14-$19. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 29. Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1925 E. 51st St. austinsymphony.org

 

Books

BookPeople Halloween-themed story times: Monsters are our Friends, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 7; Halloween Trick-or-Treat for Books, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 31. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations:  “Mary McScary,” Oct. 28.

“Coraline” is at the library this month. Focus Features

At the library

 

 

 

Family Movie Night: “Coraline.” 6 p.m. Oct. 10, Twin Oaks Branch; “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 13, Old Quarry Branch.

Día de los Muertos. 4 p.m. Oct. 12, Twin Oaks Branch; 5 p.m. Oct. 23, Windsor Park Branch; 3:30 p.m. Oct. 27, Recycled Reads Bookstore; 4 p.m. Ruiz Branch, Oct. 31; 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Dove Springs Recreation Center.

 

 

How do you explain Las Vegas shooting to kids?

Parents, we might be glued to watching the news coverage of what happened late Sunday night in Las Vegas, but we need to be careful about who is watching with us and how we explain it.

People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival early Monday morning in Las Vegas. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

“It really depends on the developmental level of the kids,” says Dr. Jane Ripperger-Suhler, a child psychiatrist at Seton’s Texas Child Study Center. Consider how you think your child will take what they see on TV, she says. “I wouldn’t watch a lot with preschooler.”

For kids already in school, you can watch some with them, but be prepared to talk about it and answer their questions. You can ask things like: “What do you think about this?” “What questions do you have?” Gage if they want to talk about it, but, she says, “I wouldn’t force them to talk about this.”

Dr. Jane Ripperger-Suhler is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Texas Child Study Center.

Explain things in the simplest yet factual way you can. You could say “A man shot some people at a concert. I guess he was upset about something,” she says.

You can focus on how you are feeling, that you’re upset and that you also don’t understand why this happened, but be careful about how you are reacting. “If a parent swoons or becomes frantic, a child is going to do likewise.”

Most importantly, remind kids that they are safe; that you will keep them safe, and when they are at school, their teachers will keep them safe.

If your child seems to be fixated on what happened in Las Vegas, you could encourage them to draw, build something or act something out, if they don’t want to talk about it.

If they don’t seem to be able to move on after a few days, are afraid to go to school, are too scared to go to bed, are having physical symptoms of stress or behavior problems, get them help sooner rather than later, Ripperger-Suhler says.

Be especially aware if a child has experience a trauma before. Watching this scene on TV will not cause post-traumatic stress disorder, she says, but it can be more traumatic and disturbing to some kids.

If you and your children are thinking about going to Austin City Limits Festival this weekend or next weekend, they might be thinking about the shooting in Las Vegas and wondering if they should go. Ripperger-Suhler says it’s important to go about normal life.

If your child expresses some fear about it, reassure them that you will keep them safe, that these events have security measures to keep you safe.

Like at any event, make sure you have a plan such as a fixed meeting spot for reuniting if you get separated.

For those kids who are still worried about going, don’t try to force it. “If they don’t want to go, don’t make them go,” she says.

CDC study: Pregnant moms who get vaccine protect babies against whooping cough

Moms-to-be add one more vaccine to your list. The CDC published a study in the “Clinical Infectious Diseases” journal last week. Women in their third trimester of pregnancy who got a Tdap vaccine were able to give their babies immunization against whooping cough during the first two months of life before their babies can be immunized themselves.

The study looked at data from 2011 through 2014 on babies younger than two months in six states. The data showed that the vaccine given to their mothers in the third trimester prevented 78 percent of potential whooping cough cases in these babies.

Before your baby can get the Tdap vaccine, you should get one yourself in the third trimester of pregnancy. LVN Tanya Roland vaccinates Fatima Wolfe, the 1-year-old daughter of Jordan Wolfe, at the Shots for Tots vaccination clinic at St. John’s Community Center.  JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The CDC also estimates that only about 49 percent of women who had a baby between fall of 2015 and spring of 2016 got the vaccine during their third trimester.

Since 2012, the CDC has recommended that women in their third trimester, specifically in weeks 27 to 36, get the vaccine even if they have already had the vaccine previously and they do it with each pregnancy.

Whooping cough is a serious illness before age 1 with 65 percent of cases requiring hospitalization. Between five and 15 babies die each year in the U.S. from the illness. It’s also recommended that anyone who is going to come in contact with that infant (dad, grandma, grandpa, siblings) also be vaccinated.

The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (whooping cough).