Here's What The Science Actually Says About Kids and COVID-19

Stanford Pediatrics Infectious Disease Physician and Epidemiologist Dr. Bonnie Maldonado said, "There are ways to help reduce risk: precautions like social distancing, having teachers wear masks and face shields, and splitting children into smaller groups and staggering their school days can all help." (Some of those measures, especially social distancing, will be tougher in jam-packed schools or in schools with fewer resources.) “We have not seen transmission when you take the proper precautions,” Maldonado says. “So what I would want to know as a parent is, what is my school doing to make sure those precautions are in place. And that’s the key. If the school can do it, then I would feel comfortable. If the school seems like they really don’t have their act together, or they don’t have the resources, then I might be worried about that.”

Sleeping Well During the COVID-19 Pandemic

For many families, a lack of routine and typical activities like school and sports has made it difficult to maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

Although many school schedules are still uncertain heading into fall and beyond, now is the time for kids—and their parents—to get back on track.

Stanford Children’s Health sleep specialists Dr. Sumit Bhargava and Dr. Caroline Okorie weigh in with five practical sleep tips for kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic edits protects against transplanted cells that go rogue 

Stanford researcher Matthew Porteus and his colleagues invented a genetic safety mechanism for cells that will be transplanted. If any of the transplanted cells change in a problematic way, they—and all of their progeny—can be deactivated.

Seeking a less-burdensome treatment for Diamond Blackfan anemia

Stanford pediatric hematology experts Mark Wilkes, PhD, and Kathleen Sakamoto, MD, PhD, recently identified a protein that they believe is an excellent drug target for a rare genetic disease. The disease, called Diamond Blackfan anemia, is an inherited condition that interferes with how red blood cells form.

The Dangers of Skipping Routine Vaccinations during COVID-19

Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting a decline in vaccination rates as some families are choosing to forgo or delay their children’s routine pediatric well-visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, in some states, the rate of immunization in children 5 months and younger fell to less than 50 percent between March and May.

Yvonne Maldonado, MD, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, recently spoke with NPR’s Here & Now about the dangerous public health implications of this trend:

“We really want to make sure that children are continuing to receive the required immunizations, because we already have one pandemic, and we would not want to see more infectious disease outbreaks on top of this one. With flu and respiratory virus seasons coming, we do not want to see more children getting sick with other organisms in addition to COVID-19.”

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford Named as a Top 10 Children's Hospital in the Nation by US News & World Report

STANFORD, Calif.—Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has been named among the top 10 children’s hospitals in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2020–2021 Best Children’s Hospitals survey, published today.

The rankings show Packard Children’s Hospital as the top children’s hospital in Northern California and placed on the Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll, a designation awarded to pediatric centers that deliver exceptionally high-quality care across multiple specialties.

“The Honor Roll distinction is a direct result of the enduring pursuit of excellence and commitment to children’s health by our health care workers, staff, and providers, who make this level of care achievable,” said Paul King, president and chief executive officer of Stanford Children’s Health. “Thanks to them, our patients—children, expectant mothers, and their families—can have the confidence that they and their loved ones are receiving the finest care available anywhere.”

Complications of premature births decline in California

California’s most vulnerable premature babies are now healthier on average when they go home from the hospital, according to a new study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative.

Between 2008 and 2017, the proportion of the smallest and most premature California infants who survived until hospital discharge without major complications of their early birth increased from roughly 62% to 67%, and those with major complications had fewer of them.

The study was published online June 18  in Pediatrics.

"When a family takes their baby home from the hospital, we want them to have an infant that's as healthy as possible," said the study's lead author Henry Lee, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford. "Survival without major complications is one way we take into account that survival alone isn't our only goal."

Self-swabbing tests for COVID-19 accurate and safe, study says

Allowing people who suspect they may have COVID-19 to collect their own sample has many advantages. Sample-collection kits could be widely distributed, allowing more people to be tested. Those using the kit wouldn’t have to travel to a testing site, negating the risk of transmission to health care workers and others with whom they interact in transit. Self-collection would also conserve supplies of personal protective equipment used by health care workers.

“There is an urgent need to increase our testing capacity to slow the overall spread of the virus,” said Yvonne Maldonado, MD, professor of pediatric infectious diseases and of health research and policy. “A sample collection procedure that can safely and easily be performed by the patient in their own car or at home could reduce the exposure of health care workers and also allow many more people to submit samples for testing.”

Maldonado is the senior author of the study, which was conducted in collaboration with Andra L. Blomkalns, MD, the Redlich Family Professor and professor and chair of emergency medicine, and Prasanthi Govindarajan, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine; senior research data analyst Jonathan Altamirano is the lead author.

Stanford Medicine Community Calls for Action Against Racial Injustice, Inequities

More than 800 members of the Stanford Medicine community gathered on campus shortly after noon Thursday to add their voices to a nationwide outcry against racism and violence against African Americans.

Health care workers and students in blue scrubs and white coats held up signs proclaiming messages of sorrow and determination, condemning police brutality and systemic violence, and expressing solidarity with black Americans. They all wore surgical masks or other face coverings to mitigate transmission of the novel coronavirus.

“We find ourselves at an all too familiar and horrible crossroads once again,” pediatrics resident Kamaal Jones, MD, told the crowd. “And the question that we have to ask ourselves is what are we going to do differently in this moment to ensure that future generations are not having the exact same conversation that we’re having right now.”