Care Philosophy

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MENDAKOTA PEDIATRICS is an award winning practice that provides personalized pediatric care for infants, children, and adolescents in an intimate, family-focused practice setting. Our families want a “medical home” where they can see their doctor and the staff knows them well. At Mendakota Pediatrics parents can be assured that each child has their own personal pediatrician.

We know health care is expensive and our families deserve to see a pediatrician. We believe that sick children should be seen the same day. We believe that impersonal, monolithic health care systems do not deliver the care families pay for.

We believe that pediatrician and patient families, not health care systems should make decisions regarding your child. Because we are independent, we have control over the sub specialty physician referral process. We are extremely particular about which physicians we partner with to provide the highest quality subspecialty care for each individual child. For example, we may choose to use a specialist at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, or at Gillette Children’s Specialty Care. We also refer patients to private subspecialty groups that are not necessarily associated with only one hospital. We work with our families to choose the specialist who can best serve your child.

Just because we have an “old fashioned” personalized approach to Pediatrics does not mean we are old fashioned in any other respect. Mendakota Pediatrics implemented its Electronic Health Record (EHR) System in 2004. Our EHR eliminates paper charts (go environment!) and allows our physicians to access your child’s chart 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The EHR is also integrated with our Lab Service Provider (which does complex testing) insuring fast turnaround times for lab information.

Our Clinic Lab is nationally certified (COLA/CLIA) for all routine blood work, urinalysis, strep tests, cultures, lead and other tests. For more complex tests, we utilize the HealthEast lab at St. Joseph’s hospitals and the Mayo Clinic laboratory.

In 2010 we implemented the Diopsys Visual Evoked Potential test (see their information on our Welcome page) to examine all children for visual disturbances that cannot be detected by routine physical examination alone (including amblyopia, which can lead to blindness).

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The Basics of Sun Safety for Kids

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB?

Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays make the skin tan; ultraviolet B (UVB) rays cause skin to burn. But don’t be fooled: A tan isn’t healthier. “Both suntans and sunburns are signs that skin cells have been damaged by radiation from the sun,” says Kavita Mariwalla, M.D., director of Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery at Continuum Health Partners in New York City. UVB used to get all of the blame for causing skin cancer, but new research shows UVA is equally damaging. This is particularly worrisome since UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent, and they penetrate deeper into skin cells.

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What does SPF stand for? Is a higher number more effective?

An SPF, or sun protection factor, indicates a sunscreen’s effectiveness at preventing sunburn. “If your child’s skin reddens in 10 minutes without sunscreen, SPF 15 multiplies that time (10 minutes) by 15, meaning she’d be protected from sunburn for approximately 150 minutes or 2 1/2 hours,” says Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. Of course, this depends on an adequate application of sunscreen and is based on SPF calculations with artificial instead of natural sunlight. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using sunscreens with at least an SPF of 15, which blocks 93 percent of UVB rays. Higher SPFs provide even greater protection, but only to a certain point: SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB and SPF 50+ (the maximum SPF you’ll find on sunscreen labels due to new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules) blocks 98 percent.

What should I look for in a sunscreen? Are sunscreen sticks and sprays as effective as lotions?

As long as you’re using a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher that’s broad-spectrum (meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays), it doesn’t matter whether you use a lotion, cream, gel, stick, or spray. “The problem with some of the easiest and most cosmetically acceptable products is that they often do not adequately block both UVA and UVB. You must look at the ingredients, but the best sunscreen is the one your child agrees to wear,” Dr. Leachman says. That said, sprays that contain the “right stuff” are great for on-the-go toddlers and preschoolers. Some young children are sensitive to certain sunscreen ingredients. To test for reactions, apply a small dab on the inside of your child’s upper arm and check the area in 24 hours for signs of redness or rash. Sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are often less irritating because the ingredients aren’t absorbed into skin. If your child is going to be in the water or getting sweaty, look for water-resistant sunscreens (the FDA has done away with waterproof and sweatproof claims). The new water-resistant labels state how long — either 40 minutes or 80 minutes — the sunscreen provides protection before you need to reapply it.

At what age is it safe to put sunscreen on a baby?

Your baby’s skin is sensitive and can easily absorb too many chemicals, so avoid sunscreens before the baby is 6 months of age, except those with zinc oxide as the only active ingredient,

and use on small areas of her body. Use clothing plus shade as the primary method of protection. Provide additional protection by keeping her out of the sun as much as pos

sible: take walks before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when UVB rays aren’t as intense; use a stroller canopy; dress her in lightweight clothing that covers her arms and legs; and choose a wide-brimmed hat or bonnet that covers her face, ears, and neck.

How much sunscreen should I use on my child? How often should I reapply it?

The Skin Cancer Foundation (skincancer.org) recommends that adults use at least an ounce (that’s a shot glass) of sunscreen, but there’s no set amount for growing children. The important thing is to cover all exposed areas (especially easily overlooked places like ears, tops of feet, backs of knees, and hands) 30 minutes before your child heads outside so her skin has time to absorb it. Reapply at least every two hours, more frequently if she’s swimming, playing in water, or sweating.

Do certain products work better on certain body parts?

Sunscreen lotions, gels, creams, and sprays all provide good protection from the neck down. “It’s really a matter of which one is easiest to put on your child,” Dr. Leachman says. There’s less chance of sunscreen sticks getting into a child’s eyes, so they’re great for foreheads, noses, cheeks, chins, and even ears, but use only sunscreen sticks with components that include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. A lip balm with an SPF is also recommended. Ultimately, though, Dr. Leachman says “the best sunscreen,” is clothing (especially with SPF protection), followed by the lotions, gels, creams, and sticks.

Vision Test

The Enfant® Pediatric VEP Vision Testing System is an easy-to-operate, child-friendly,

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non-invasive medical device used to test for visual deficits in children six months of age and older. TheEnfant® is the only objective visual testing device for the pediatrician available today that is capable of evaluating the entire visual pathway to detect visual deficits such as optic nerve disorders, severe refractive errors, and other problems that could lead to amblyopia. How it works: After positioning three sensory pads on the child’s head, an operator initiates the test. Fun pictures appear and music plays while a series of six black and white stimuli alternate on a video display. Using Visual Evoked Potential technology (VEP), TheEnfant® recognizes the vision system’s neurological responses and processes the VEP data.
At the completion of each Enfant® vision test, simple “pass/fail” results are immediately presented on the menu-driven operator screen in both graphic and numeric formats. The results are then printed out for the patient’s medical record.

The Enfant® System is available in both a portable cart point-of-use design, and a number of counter/table and wall mount configurations that can be customized to fit offices or exam rooms.

Office Location:
Mendakota Pediatrics
1880 Livingston Avenue Suite 102
West St. Paul, Minnesota 55118

Location Phone: 651-552-7999
Location Fax: 651-552-0777

Darling Deer

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  • Cover a cardboard tube with patterned paper.
  • Cut a triangle head and two large and two small oval ears out of paper.
  • Glue the smaller ears inside the larger ones and fold in half. Glue to top of triangle.
  • Cut felt circles for eyes. Glue googly eyes to felt. Add pom-pom nose.
  • Glue the triangle to the top center of the tube.
  • Use straws and pipe cleaners to make antlers.