Dell Children’s, Seton hospitals in national program to improve emergency room care for kids

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and the 10 other Ascension hospitals in Central Texas are participating in a national collaborative program to improve the care of children in emergency departments, particular those emergency rooms that are not in a children’s hospital.

The Pediatric Readiness Quality Collaborative launched in January and will run through December 2019.

Dr. Nilda Garcia is the chief surgeon at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Area Ascension hospitals are participating in a collaboration to make more hospitals able to handle children in their emergency departments. Seton

The collaborative is a response to a national 2013 Emergency Medical Services for Children Program study that found that 80 percent of emergency departments were not prepared to treat children in a uniform way. That program found that 69.4 percent of the 30 million children who go to the emergency room every year are treated by emergency departments that treat fewer than 15 children a day.

That study found key areas in which emergency departments weren’t ready for children:

  1. Children were not weighed in kilograms, which can impact the proper dosing of medication.
  2. A full set of vital signs including blood pressure, temperature and mental illness assessment weren’t being done. Doctors were missing when children had abnormal vital signs.
  3. Hospital systems didn’t have guidelines for when and how to transfer pediatric patients to a higher level hospital.
  4. Disaster plans didn’t include children, who could come into an emergency department without a guardian, identification or the verbal ability to say what is wrong.

Dell Children’s already had been working on improving emergency department care at some of Ascension’s Central Texas Facilities. It added Dell Children’s-branded emergency rooms at Seton Northwest Hospital, Seton Southwest Hospital, Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock and Providence Healthcare Network in Waco.

Dr. Sujit Iyer

“The real goal for us is to prepare for all hospitals to handle children,” said Dr. Sujit Iyer, assistant medical director at Dell Children’s emergency department and director of pediatric emergency department outreach.

Dr. Katherine Remick is one of the executive leads for the national Emergency Medical Service for Children Innovation and Improvement Center and the director of this collaborative, which Dell Children’s applied to be a participant.

Dr. Katherine Remick

Remick, who is also a doctor at Dell Children’s, says if her child was child choking and she lived outside of Austin, she’s not going to drive 45 minutes to Dell Children’s. She’s going to go to whatever emergency department is close and hope they are ready for her child. “Without the presence of preparedness efforts, most emergency departments are not ready for that child,” she says.

People think of preparedness in terms of disasters, she says, but what this project is about an emergency room being able to treat one child.

“Children have unique risks,” she says. “These include differences in anatomy and physiology.”

Being prepared is about training and about having the right equipment and supplies that are child-sized, but it’s also about having someone who is looking at quality control for children, Remick says. “It’s about having someone who is putting children on their radar,” she says.

To be part of the study, Iyer says, all the management of the Ascension hospitals in Central Texas had to sign off on it and be interested in improving care. Each of them also now have someone trained to be a pediatric care coordinator.

Once all the data is collected from participating hospitals around the country, the hope is that they will share best practices and note that these efforts improve outcomes in the care of children, Remick says.


Fill your long Labor Day weekend with Austin family events, Aug. 31-Sept. 3

Hooray! We’ve got a long weekend! Eek! We’ve got a long weekend!

Have a plan for keeping the kids busy this Labor Day weekend to avoid the whines of “I’m bored!”

Here are some events on our calendar:

Make slime at the Thinkery this weekend. American-Statesman


Early Learner Playtime. 10:30 a.m. Friday, Central Library.


“Beauty and the Beast” at Zach Theatre. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $25-$150. Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd.

“The Legends of Robin Hood.” Directly from Sherwood Forest Faire, Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws are bringing mischief to Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 7 p.m. Friday, noon, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday. 10 a.m. and noon Sunday, $8-$12. Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 207 W. 18th St.

Shrine Circus. The big top comes to H-E-B Center. 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday. $19-$35. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park.

Sherwood Forest Faire comes to Scottish Rite Theater. 


Zach Theatre Open House. Try out some of the classes for children age toddler to fifth grade. 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. This week it’s at the North Austin location, 12129 RM 620 N. location. RSVP on a link on

BookPeople events. 10:30 a.m. story times. Brand new books, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about Color this month., 9 a.m. Saturday. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Daddy & Me Foam Playdate. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. $10. . Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Flix Jr. Flix offers $2 children’s movies. “Rio.” 11 a.m. Saturday. 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Pig the Fibber.” Saturday.

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays. Yarborough Branch.

DiversiTEENS Teen Art Showcase. 4 p.m. Saturday, Central Library.

Saturday Movie Matinee: “Avengers: Infinity War.” 1 p.m. Saturday, St. John Branch

Go on a scavenger hunt at the Science Mill all weekend.


Science Mill. Labor Day Weekend Scavenger Hunt. Create your own team and use your smartphone to find items throughout the museum. Free with admission. Saturday-Monday. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Thinkery. Slime Time workshop for ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Monday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

From top left, Jennifer and Kevin Miller react as their daughter, Laurel, 4, center, takes part in an inertia game at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Bullock Museum. Free First Sunday: Totally Texas. Fun hands-on events with a Texas theme. Noon-3 p.m. Sunday. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.


Thinkery. Little Builders. Create structures and sculptures. 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.










Plan your September of family fun in Austin with our calendar

Summer is over. The kids are back in school. But that doesn’t mean the family fun has ended. September is full of fun events, including two different museum days and the start of fall festivals and pumpkin patches.

Dive into fall (even if it’s still 100 degrees) with this calendar of family fun.


Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. Free. Discovery, 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 5. Reservations required.

Shrine Circus is in Cedar Park this weekend.

Shine Circus. The big top comes to H-E-B Center. 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 1. 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sept. 2. $35-$19. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park.

Third Annual Austin Skipathon. Skip around Mueller Lake Park while helping Foster Angels of Central Texas. $25 per person, $10 kids ages 4-10, free for children younger than 3. 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 22. Mueller Lake Park Browning Hangar, 4550 Mueller Blvd.

Starry Nights. See a star show in the mini-planetarium and see how the Ancient Greeks saw the universe. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 6. Free. Girlstart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane.



KUTX Rock the Park. The show “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child” currates this monthly free show. Hear Mobley and Groundwork Music Orchestra. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21 (Sept. 28 rain date). Mueller Lake Park.

Kidz Bop Live! You’ve heard them coming from your child’s room and in your car in the carpool lane. Now you can hear them live. 7 p.m. Sept. 21. $30.25-$50.25. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park.

Bring the Sing: Family Karaoke. 1-4 p.m. Sept. 30. Barrel O’ Fun, inside the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller, 1911 Aldrich St. Suite 120. Free.

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop will open again at the end of September.
Barton Hill Farms

Fall festivals

Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Wander through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 22-Nov. 4. Saturdays and Sundays. Free, but pay for each activities and pumpkins, or get a $10 wristband for everything. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple.

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-7 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 29-Nov. 4. $15.95, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop.

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, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22-Nov. 4. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls.

 From left, Briana So-Morris, 5, Alec Blondin, 13, and his sister, Ashley Randall, 5, uncover a Mastadon at the Dino Pit at the Austin Nature and Science Center during Austin Museum Day. American-Statesman 2004


Austin Museum Day. Tour some of Austin’s most well-known and little-known museums for free Sept. 23. Museums also host special events such as fossil, bones and more identification day at Texas Memorial Museum. Get the full list at

Smithsonian Museum Day. Explore one of the participating Austin museums by printing out a free ticket for Sept. 22. Some of the museums participating include South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, Neill-Cochran House Museum, Texas Military Forces Museum, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Find the museums by searching for your ZIP code at

Science Mill. Labor Day Weekend Scavenger Hunt. Create your own team and use your smartphone to find items throughout the museum. Free with admission. Sept. 1-3. Homeschool Day: Concoctions of Chemical Conundrums. Hands-on activities planned throughout the day. 10 a.m. Sept. 13. Girl Scout Badge Day. Do activities and earn a badge based on your program level. Sept. 29. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about Color this month., 9 a.m. Monday and Saturdays. $5. Art Start: Nature as our Canvas workshop. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Wednesdays, Sept. 5-Oct. 24. $20 per class. Namaste & Play: Get into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays, Sept. 7-Oct. 26. $20 per class. Little Builders. Create structures and sculptures. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds, Sept. 3. $20. Slime Time workshop for ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Sept. 1-3, Sept. 15-16, Sept. 29-30. $8. Spark Shop Sewn Circuits for ages 4 and up. Learn to sew with conductive thread and circuits. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 8 and Sept. 22. $6 for a kit. Community Night Spotlight: Hispanic Heritage. Celebrate food, performance and culture. 4-8 p.m. Sept. 12. Free. Parents’ Night Out, 5:30-10 p.m. Sept. 28. Kids must be 4 or older and potty-trained. $45 first child, $25 each additional sibling. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Bullock Museum. Free First Sunday: Totally Texas. Fun hands-on events with a Texas theme. Noon-3 p.m. Sept. 2. Little Texans. Hands-on program for children ages 2-5.10 a.m. Sept. 13. Story time: Giddy up. 10 a.m. Sept. 27. American Indian Heritage Day. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for school groups. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. for the public. Sept. 28. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Sink or Swim. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 8. Free, but reservations required. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: Making Folk Art. Make a whirligig and more. 4 p.m. Sept. 9. Free. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St.

The Williamson Museum. Hands on History. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 8. The Williamson Museum, 716 S. Austin Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Daddy & Me Foam Playdate. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 1. $10. Kids’ Cooking Classes. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. $15. Baby Play Date. 1 p.m. Tuesdays. Free. Music Class with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. $10. Scavenger Hunt. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 6. $10. Story time with Vanessa Roeder. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 7. $7. Magic with Silly Sparkles. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 12. $10. Art Class. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays beginning Sept. 12. $20. Trees & Leaves Playday. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 13. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Fortlandia Grand Opening Weekend. Step inside forts from University of Texas students and Austin architects in the Texas Arboretum. Sept. 29-30. Nature Creations: Bracelets. Make bracelets using things from nature. 10 a.m. Sept. 29. Free. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

“Tortoise and Hare” was at Summer Stock Austin but now is coming to Zach Theatre. 


“Beauty and the Beast” at Zach Theatre. The Disney story comes to life in musical form. 2:30 p.m. Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7. $25-$150. Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd.

“Tortoise and Hare” at Zach Theatre. The Aesop fable becomes a musical for ages 5 and up. 2 p.m. Sept. 8-9, Sept. 15-16, Sept. 22-23, Sept. 29. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28. $18-$24. Kleburg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive.

Zach Theatre Open House. Try out some of the classes for children age toddler to fifth-grade. 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. This week it’s at the North Austin location, 12129 RM 620 N. location. RSVP on a link on

“The Legends of Robin Hood.” Directly from Sherwood Forest Faire, Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws are bringing mischief to Austin Scottish Rite Theater. Noon, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 1 and 10 a.m. and noon Sept. 2. $8-$12. Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 207 W. 18th St.

Pollyanna Theatre presents “The Mystery of the Green Teeth Ghost.” 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sept. 28, Oct. 1, Oct. 4-5, 2 p.m. Sept. 29-30, Oct. 6-7. $10.50 and up. The Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Emily Ann Theatre presents “Little Red Riding Hood.” See this classic children’s tale on stage. $10-$8. 10 a.m. Saturdays starting Sept. 29; 2 p.m. Sundays. 1101 Ranch Rd 2325, Wimberley.

“Rio” is at Flix Brewhouse.  (AP Photo/20th Century Fox)


Austin Film Society’s Sunday School. Introduce kids to “Safety Last,” a 1923 movie with Harold Lloyd performing death-defying stunts. 1 p.m. Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10. $9. Austin Film Society Cinema, 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 3100.

Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids at the Alamo: “Odd Squad.” 10:30 a.m. Sept. 8-9, Mueller. 10 a.m. Sept. 15-16, Lakeline and Slaughter Lane.

Flix Jr. Flix offers $2 children’s movies. “Rio.” 11 a.m. Sept. 1. “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” 11 a.m. Sept. 8. “Sing.” 11 a.m. Sept. 15. “Annie Sing Along.” 11 a.m. Sept. 22. Flix Brewhouse, 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock.

Max Brallier will present his latest “Last Kids on Earth” book at BookPeople.


Texas Book Festival Books and Breakfast. Celebrate the Texas Book Festival and hear Cate Berry read “Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime!” at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. 8:30-10:30 a.m. Sept. 22. 25 percent of all breakfast sales will go to the fest. Hat Creek Burger Company, 5902 Bee Cave Road, West Lake Hills.

BookPeople events. Events: Alex Beard reads “The Lying King.” 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5. Kendra Fortmeyer reads “Hole in the Middle.” 7 p.m. Sept. 7. Sonia Sotomayor reads her new children’s book. (This event is sold out and at First Baptist Church.) 2 p.m. Sept. 8. Ngozi Ukazu reads “Check, Please!” 2 p.m. Sept. 23. Max Brallier reads “Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond.” 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26. Matthew Cordell reads “King Alice.” 3 p.m. Sept. 30. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday story times. Brand New story time. Sept. 1. Spectacular Superheroes. Sept. 4. Sens-Sational story time. Sept. 5. We Love our Grandparents. Sept. 8. Bold and Brave. Sept. 11. Ms. Staci Gray. Sept. 12. Lazy Morning. Sept. 15. Armstrong Community Music School. Sept. 18. Hello, Autum. Sept. 22. Hispanic Heritage. Sept. 25. Banned Books. Sept. 26. Let’s Get Moving. Sept. 29. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Pig the Fibber.” Sept. 1. “Corduroy Takes a Bow.” Sept. 8. Check out the website for future story times.

Alexander Saldana, 5, laughs out loud as Makayo Haywood-Guerrero and his twin brother Max Haywood-Guerrero, 6 plays with Lego’s during Lego Lab at the Carver Branch Library. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

At the library

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays. Yarborough Branch. With Roo the Dog. 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Little Walnut Creek Branch. Read to George. 3:45 p.m. Sept. 12. Pleasant Hill Branch. With Aussie. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 26, North Village Branch. With Daisy the Dog. 11:15 a.m. Sept. 27, Ruiz Branch.

DiversiTEENS Teen Art Showcase. 4 p.m. Sept. 1, Central Library.

Saturday Movie Matinee: “Avengers: Infinity War.” 1 p.m. Sept. 1, St. John Branch. “Despicable Me 3.” 2 p.m. Sept. 8, Yarborough Branch.

Minecraft Club. 4 p.m. Sept. 4. Little Walnut Creek Branch.

Pajama Storytime. 6 p.m. Sept. 4, Yarborough Branch. 6 p.m. Sept. 10, Sept. 17, Sept. 24, University Hills Branch. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10, Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Central Library. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12, Sept. 19, Sept. 26, St. John Branch. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 13 and Sept. 27, Manchaca Road Branch. 3 p.m. Sept. 17, Southeast Branch. 6 p.m. Sept. 25, Old Quarry Branch. 6 p.m. Sept. 26, Millwood Branch. 6 p.m. Sept. 27, Spicewood Springs Branch. 6 p.m. Sept. 27, North Village Branch. 10:15 a.m. Sept. 13, Sept. 20, Sept. 27, Carver Branch.

Tents and Tunnels. 10:15 a.m. Sept. 5. Howson Branch.

Thursday Night Teen Writers Room. 6 p.m. Thursdays, Central Library.

Early Learner Playtime. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 7. Central Library.

Music & Movement. 11 a.m. Sept. 7, Old Quarry Branch. 11 a.m. Sept. 10, Pleasant Hill Branch. 11 a.m. Sept. 11, Sept. 25, Ruiz Branch. 10:15 a.m. Sept. 13 and 20, Carver Branch. 11 a.m. Sept. 13, Sept. 20, Sept. 27, Howson Branch.

Friday Matinee: “A Wrinkle in Time.” 3:30 p.m. Sept. 7, Carver Branch. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” 3:30 p.m. Sept. 13, Old Quarry Branch.

Austin Ukestra Ukulele Group. 1 p.m. Sept. 9. Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Lego Lab. 4 p.m. Sept. 7. North Village Branch. 6 p.m. Sept. 10, Carver Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 11, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m Sept. 11, Milwood Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 12, Spicewood Springs Branch. 2:30 p.m. Sept. 18, Yarborough Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 18, Ruiz Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 18, Pleasant Hill Branch. 2 p.m. Sept. 25, St. John Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 26, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Literature Live “Tales from Graves.” 2 p.m. Sept. 8, Howson Branch. 6 p.m. Sept. 13, Spicewood Springs Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 19, Milwood Branch. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20 Manchaca Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 25, Twin Oaks Branch. 11 a.m. Sept. 26, Yarborough Branch. 10:15 a.m. Sept. 28, Cepeda Branch.

Weekend Builders Family Lego Lab. 2 p.m. Sept. 8, Twin Oaks Branch.

Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Sept. 10, Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Southeast Branch. 3 p.m Sept. 12, Sept. 19, Sept. 26, Ruiz Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 13, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 17, Carver Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 18, Howson Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6 p.m. Sept. 10. Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 7 p.m. Sept. 13, St. John Branch.

NBTween Graphic Novel Club “Secret Hero Society.” 4:30 p.m. Sept. 12, St. John Branch. “Brave.” 4:30 p.m. Sept. 12, St. John Branch. “Tumble & Blue.” 6 p.m. Sept. 20, Twin Oaks Branch. “The Blachorn Key,” Sept. 20, Spicewood Springs. “The Nameless City,” 4:30 p.m. Sept. 26, St. John Branch. “The Oceans of Secrets.” 4:30 p.m. Sept. 26, St. John Branch.

Homeschool Social. 11:15 a.m. Sept. 12. Carver Branch.

Early Literacy Playgroup. 11 a.m. Sept. 13, Southeast Branch. 11 a.m. Sept. 19, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 11 a.m. Sept. 25, Old Quarry Branch. 10:15 a.m. Sept. 28, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Song of Peace. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 13, Howson Branch.

Animanga Club. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 14, Carver Branch. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 14, Ruiz Branch. 3 p.m. Sept. 19, Southeast Branch.

Sewing after Dark for Teens. 5 p.m. Sept. 14, Central Library.

Batman Day. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 15, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

Platform Nine and Teen Quarters Teen Harry Potter Meetup. 2 p.m. Sept. 16, Central Library.

College Planning Workshop: College Admissions 101. 6 p.m. Sept. 17, Central Library. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27, Central Library.

Teen Book Club “Shadowshaper.” 6:30 p.m. Sept. 18. Howson Branch.

BluePrint 3-D Printing and Design Bootcamp. 3 p.m. Sept. 22, Central Library.

Perler Bead Saturdays. Noon-4 p.m. Sept. 22, University Hills Branch.

Mother Daughter Book Club. “Firegirl.” 6 p.m. Sept. 26, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Tween and Teen Anime Club. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 28, Twin Oaks Branch.

Read It, Sing it, Let Us Hear It Open Mic! 1 p.m. Sept. 29, Carver Branch.

Moms should not use marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, American Academy of Pediatrics says

Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that its doctors counsel women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to not use marijuana. In theory, marijuana could affect the neurodevelopment in fetuses. Not enough research has been done in marijuana use in pregnancy and breastfeeding, the recommendation points out.

The fear is that with legalization comes the idea that marijuana is safe to use and could even help women control nausea from morning sickness.

Partial silhouette profile of a beautiful young, Hispanic woman cradling her unborn baby in her belly with her hands.

The Academy made these recommendations to its members:

  • Inform adolescents and women of reproductive age about the lack of definitive research. Counsel about concerns regarding potential adverse effects of THC exposure, including passive smoke, on pregnant women and fetal, infant and child development. Include marijuana when discussing the need to abstain from tobacco, alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy.
  • Counsel pregnant women who are using marijuana or other cannabinoid-containing products to treat a medical condition, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy — or who are identified during screening as using marijuana — about the lack of safety data and the possible adverse effects of THC on the developing fetus.
  • Explain that even where marijuana is legal, pregnant women can be subject to child welfare investigations if they have a positive marijuana screen result.
  • Note that data are insufficient to assess the effects on infants who are exposed to maternal marijuana while breastfeeding. Inform women of the potential risk of exposure during lactation and encourage them to abstain from using any marijuana products while breastfeeding.
  • Encourage women who never have used marijuana to remain abstinent while pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • Work with state/local health departments if legalization of marijuana has occurred or is being considered to help with constructive, nonpunitive policy and education for families.

Do you and your teens know about a meningoccal vaccine they should be getting?

Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that will be in the September issue of “Pediatrics” that found that doctors aren’t talking to their teens and their parents or young adults about getting the serogroup B meningoccal vaccine.

That vaccine was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunication Practices in 2015 for people age 16 to 23.

Live Oak Health Partners Community Clinic LVN Donna Donica  vaccinates a student for back to school at the Live Oak clinic in San Marcos in 2017. Teens need vaccines, too.

What researchers found was that only 51 percent of pediatricians mentioned the vaccine to patients in this age range and only 31 percent of family practice doctors mentioned it. The good news was that when doctors talked about it, 91 percent of them recommended it to their patients. Doctors were more likely to recommend it when there was a disease outbreak or incident of the disease locally.

What other vaccines do kids need? Here is the current school vaccination schedule:

Kindergarten-Sixth Grade

Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis: four or five doses depending on which version your kid got.

Polio: four or three doses

Measles, Mumps and Rubella: two doses

Hepatitis B: three doses

Varicella: two doses

Hepatitus A: two doses

Seventh graders

All of the above, plus

Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis: three doses of the primary series plus a booster within the last five years

Meningococcal: one dose

Eighth- throught 12-graders

All of the above, but if the diptheria/tetanus/pertussis shot has not been given in the last 10 years, a booster is needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends these vaccines for the 11-year-old or 12-year-old check up:

  • HPV vaccine
    Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against HPV infections that cause cancer. For kids age 9-14, it’s two doses, one six months to a year after the first. For kids 15 or older, it’s three doses, the second one to two months after the first; the third, six months after the first.
  • Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine
    Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against some of the bacteria that can cause infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). These illnesses can be very serious, even fatal. It recommends one dose at 11.
  • Tdap vaccine
    Tdap vaccine provides a booster to continue protection from childhood against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough).
  • Flu vaccine
    Preteens and teens should get a flu vaccine every year, by the end of October if possible. It is very important for preteens and teens with chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes to get the flu shot, but the flu can be serious for even healthy kids.

RELATED: FluMist will be back this year

The CDC recommends this vaccine at the 16-year check up:

  • A second dose of meningococcal ACWY
  • meningococcal B vaccine.


Bring your young superheroes out to play this weekend in Austin, Aug. 24-26

We’re all adjusting to this back-to-school thing. Spend this weekend catching up on sleep, staying cool, and enjoying fun activities as a family.

Here are some of the family events we found:


Back-to-School Dance, 6-9 p.m. Friday, Givens Recreation Center, 3811 E. 12th St.


Austin. Unicorn Swimming. 10 a.m. Friday. 2001 Justin Lane.

“Rise of the Black Panther.” Meet author Evan Narcisse. 7 p.m. Friday, Carver Branch.

Spider-Man fights off the Green Goblin in a demonstration at the Erwin Center for “Marvel Universe Live.” RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Heroes in a Half Shell: A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Celebration. Mondo Gallery offers art of the cartoon. Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Mondo Gallery is located at 4115 Guadalupe St.


Marvel Universe Live! Now you can see your favorite action heroes live. 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday. $25-$90. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St.

“Beauty and the Beast” at Zach Theatre. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $25-$150. Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd.

Alamo Drafthouse Kids Club. Kids movies for a $1-$3 donation. “Kung Fu Panda.” 10:20 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Mueller. 11 a.m. Friday, 10:35 a.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Slaughter Lane. “Paddington 2.” 10 a.m. Friday-Sunday, Lakeline.


Zach Theatre Open House. Try out some of the classes for children age toddler to fifth-grade. 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. This week it’s at the Downtown Austin location, 1510 Toomey Road. RSVP on a link on

Thinkery. Splash Into Summer this August for Baby Bloomers, 9 a.m. Saturday. $5. Tinkering Take Home. For ages 4 and older. Make a sewn circuit. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond

BookPeople events. 10:30 a.m. story times. Coloring story time, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble. 11 a.m. Saturday story times. This week hear “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates.”

Minecraft Club. 1 p.m. Saturday, Ruiz Branch.

Sherwood Forest Faire brings stories of Robin Hood to Scottish Rite Theater.


“The Legends of Robin Hood.” Directly from Sherwood Forest Faire, Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws are bringing mischief to Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 12 and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8-$12. Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 207 W. 18th St.


Hideout Kids: “Mission Kid-Possible.” Enjoy a kid-centric improve. $5 11 a.m. Sunday. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.

Come Dance 2018. Ballet Austin’s annual free day of dance allows you to sample a variety of the organization’s community dance classes, including ballet, Bollywood, hip hop, Brazilian, African, Irish dance and more. No RSVP is necessary — just get yourself moving. 1 to 5:45 p.m. Sunday. Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, 501 W. Third St.

Austin Symphony Hartman Concerts in the Park. 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Free. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive.

BackYard at Waller Creek Sunday Funday. Games, face-painting, bounce house and more. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Free for kids younger than 12, $5 adults. 701 E. 11th St.

Save these dates: Trail of Lights will return

I know we just sent kids off to school, but Tuesday, The Trail of Lights announced the dates for the 54th running of the Christmas lights spectacular.

The official grand opening will be Monday, Dec. 10 and will be free that day.

The famous Trail of Lights tunnel of lights will shine again in December. American-Statesman

The lights will continue 7-10 p.m. Dec. 11-23 in Zilker Park. Children younger than 12 are always free. Seven out of the other 14 nights also will be free. The Trail will offer fast passes, and parking and shuttle passes for an extra fee and available in advance. Ticket availability will be released in October at

What will be new this year?

  • A 13-foot lighted carriage
  • 12 7-foot lighted guitars
  • A 25-foot spiral holiday tree

The Trail expects to feature 2 million lights, more than 65 displays, 30 food trucks and three stages. It also will host interactive experiences and  50 private holiday parties.

The Trail of Lights season begins on Nov. 25 with the lighting of the Zilker Holiday Tree. 

The Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run is planned for Dec. 1. It’s a way to see the lights before the trail officially opens. It’s a 2.1-mile run.

The fundraising preview night will be Dec. 8 and will include activities such as food tastings not available during the rest of the Trail’s nights.

Once again, the Trail of Lights Foundation Board is hosting STARS at the Trail, private viewing of the trail by local nonprofit organizations’ clients Dec. 2, 3 and 4, as well as during the public nights. Organizations can apply by Sept. 18 to be considered at

Heroes Night on Dec. 11 will honor first responders and current military and veterans and their family.

The Trail is also looking for entertainment for its stages. You can apply at by Sept. 28.


Do your kids need a prescription to play?

In an updated study about children and play from the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors are urging parents to have their children, especially young children, play more because of the lessons that play teaches them.

“We’re recommending that doctors write a prescription for play, because it’s so important,” said pediatrician Michael Yogman, the lead author of the report in a press release. “Play with parents and peers is fundamentally important for developing a suite of 21st century skills, including social, emotional, language and cognitive skills, all needed by the next generation in an economically competitive world that requires collaboration and innovation. The benefits of play cannot really be overstated in terms of mitigating stress, improving academic skills and helping to build the safe, stable and nurturing relationships that buffer against toxic stress and build social-emotional resilience.”

Kyle Scarbrough makes the sound of a firefighter using a firehose as he and his son Alden, 3, and Maggie McCreery, 7, play on the fire truck in the Zilker Playground. AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2017

What the study and others like it note is that children are playing less.

Here are some stats this study offers:

  • Children’s playtime has decreased by 25 percent from 1981 to 1997, and we bet that if someone did a current study, it would be even less.
  • About 30 percent of kindergarten children don’t have recess and instead have more academic lessons, says research from Advances in Life Course Research.
  • In a study of 8,950 preschool children and parents, only 51 percent of those children went outside to walk or play once a day with a parent.

RELATED: Kids stop playing by age 9

Part of what has happened is that academics have replaced play at a very young age, and parents don’t know how to play with their children or they are fearful about safety concerns to let their children play.

RELATED: How to play safely

What does play do for kids?

It enhances brain structure and function and promotes that executive function, the study says

When kids play, stress is reduced and kids learn to regulate their stress. One of the things the study found was that preschool children who were anxious about going to school were twice as relieved of their stress when they were able to play with their teacher of fellow students for 15 minutes instead of listening to a story. Kids with disruptive behaviors were also less stressed and disruptive when a teacher played with them one-on-one.

Children who played as preschoolers had a better advantage when it came to paying attention and behaving appropriately in the classroom.

RELATED: Reading, playing with your children could reduce hyperactivity

Preschoolers who were given lessons in early math skills didn’t do any better in math in elementary school.

Play helps kids do what’s called scaffolding: building one skill on top of another skill.

Early learning happens socially. Think about the baby who picks up cues from the mom to smile because the mom smiles.

RELATED: Kids want to play more, but they think video games count

Of course, the study also looked at play in rats and changes in the brain structure of the rats who played and the rats who weren’t allowed to play. “Rats that were raised in experimental toy-filled cages had bigger brains and thicker cerebral cortices and completed mazes more quickly.”

And in kids, the study notes that “Children who were in active play for 1 hour per day were better able to think creatively and multitask.”

Play also helps our children be physically active, be socially aware, learn self-regulation skills, language development, imagination and more.

RELATED: Where are the best playgrounds in Central Texas?

So, parents, get out there and play with your children. Yes, you can put the phone down and they can put down that tablet or gaming device. Also, make sure that your child’s school still has elements of play such as outdoor time or recess.

Zach Theatre is starting a new class for parents and young children to play together called Wee Play. It will be showcased at the open house on Saturday at it’s 1510 Toomey Road location and on Sept. 1 at its 12129 RM 620 N. location.


The open houses are 10 a.m. to noon. Here is the schedule for the day:

10:00 A.M. – Sign Ups for Sample Classes Main Campus begin/All Stations open

10:05 A.M. – Back to School Confidence-Building Activities

  • Want to get your student ready for new situations?  Come try some activities that over time will help your student’s confidence, resilience, and flexibility in a new place.

10:20 – 10:40 AM – 1st Set of Sample Classes

  • 1 yr – Wee Play
  • 3.5 – 5 – Story Drama
  • K – 1st – Broadway Kids
  • 2nd – 3rd – Create a Play
  • 4th – 5th – Improvisation

10:45 A.M. – Confidence-Building Back to School Activities

  • Want to get your student ready for new situations?  Come try some activities that over time will help your student’s confidence, resilience, and flexibility in a new place!

11:00 – 11:20 AM – 2nd Set of Sample Classes

  • 2 yr – Wee Play
  • 3 – 5 – Broadway Babies
  • K – 1st – Act the Story
  • 2nd – 3rd – Musical Theatre
  • 4th – 5th – Acting and Scene Study

11:25 A.M. – Back to School Activities

  • Want to get your student ready for new situations?  Come try some activities that over time will help your student’s confidence, resilience, and flexibility in a new place!

11:40 AM – 12:00 PM – 3rd Set of Sample Classes

  • 1 yr – Wee Play
  • 3 – 5 – Story Drama
  • K – 1st – Broadway Kids
  • 2nd – 3rd – Intro to Acting
  • 4th – 5th – Musical Theatre

Slow down, drivers. Kids are back in school

This morning, while the school bus was approaching to whisk my son off to his final year of high school, I watched as car after car tried to pass the slowing-down-with-its-lights-on school bus. Trying to game the system and get around my kid’s bus, makes you a jerk.

You’ll start to see kids like Travis Bradley and Julian Gonzalez running for the bus. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

All over Central Texas as kids go back to school, we have kids and parents who aren’t sure where they are going, who aren’t sure what the traffic pattern at school is yet, or are waiting for buses that are running late.

Let’s all practice our patience and be safe.

If you haven’t watched this 2016 video from Austin Independent School District of two students getting hit by cars after getting off the school bus, watch it. Also read Melissa Taboada and Katie Hall’s story about the 900 cars AISD caught that didn’t stop for school buses in the first week of school that year. 

Those big yellow school buses are a reminder that school is back in session and there are lots of kids and parents walking around, and not just in and around a school bus. Watch out for kids walking or riding bikes to school and from. Watch out for their parents walking to bus stops before or after the bus gets there.

RELATED: How to take a good first day of school photo 

Slow down. Stop. And Think.

If you did hit a kid or a parent and he or she was seriously injured or died, how would you live with yourself?

Kristen Hullum, MSN, RN, the trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, offers the following tips on how to keep your children safe between home and school.

Street Safety

Kids who walk, bike or take the bus to school must be familiar with street safety rules. Remind them to use crosswalks whenever available; always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard; and never assume that a car can see them. Help them understand how to take extra precautions when watching for vehicles and crossing streets safely. Use the sidewalk when available, and walk facing the flow of traffic.

Children should wear reflective strips on their backpacks, shoes or jackets if walking or riding to school in the dark.

Remind children to keep their “head up, phone down.” Many students can be seen walking to school while texting. It is easy for them to become distracted—and lose awareness of their surroundings and moving vehicles—while using their phone.

Lap and shoulder belts have been available on Texas school buses for many years. Insist your child always wears their seat belt on the school bus and sets an example for other children. Remind them to stay in their seat until the bus comes to a complete stop, to keep their arms and head inside the windows at all times, and never to assume that cars will stop for the bus or children crossing the street — they still must watch carefully for vehicles.

Playground Safety

More than 20,000 kids visit the emergency room every year with injuries sustained on the playground. The majority of these injuries are related to falls. Remind children to be aware of moving swings, broken equipment, platforms from which they could fall and activities that may not be appropriate for younger kids.

Children should always be closely supervised when playing on the playground, and injuries (even minor ones) should be reported to teachers and parents so they can be monitored.

Ask children to report safety hazards to an adult to prevent other children from getting hurt.


Sports Safety

Be sure your child wears the proper sports safety equipment for whichever sport they play.

Monitor your children for subtle signs of an injury—limping, grimacing, holding or rubbing a certain area. If your child ever hits his or her head, with or without a helmet, monitor the child carefully for signs of a concussion, and see a physician immediately if symptoms occur. Signs include confusion and forgetfulness, changes in mood or behavior, loss of consciousness, headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, blurry vision and complaints of “just not feeling right.” If you suspect a concussion, see a physician and have your child refrain from further physical activity. When in doubt, sit it out.

Keep kids well hydrated. Ensure they are drinking plenty of water or electrolyte replacement fluids before, during and after sports activities. Monitor for signs of heat exhaustion—confusion, lack of sweating (a sign they have already lost all fluids through the skin), nausea, headache, pale skin, rapid heartbeat and muscle cramping. Kids experiencing any of these symptoms need to be moved to a cooler place, drink lots of fluids, use a damp washcloth to cool their body and seek medical attention if symptoms do not resolve quickly.

Did you take first day of school photos?

We want to see your first day of school pictures! If you do remember to take a photo, send it to or tag us @statesman on Twitter or Instagram.

Is it better to start school on a Monday or in the middle of the week? Weigh in

Is it better to start school midweek or on a Monday? That is the question I’m currently pondering.

RELATED: Do you know when school starts?

This week, on Wednesday, a bunch of schools started back including Lake Travis, Bastrop, Liberty Hill, Wimberley and Lago Vista. The next wave came on Thursday with Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville and Georgetown joining them.

Parents and children stand in line at Deep Wood Elementary School on the first day of school to take photos. Round Rock ISD started classes on Thursday.  Henry Huey for Round Rock Leader.

On Monday, Austin ISD, Manor and Burnet return to class. Followed by Dripping Springs, Hutto and Smithville on Tuesday, and Eanes, Elgin and Marble Falls next Wednesday.

Bringing up the rear on Aug. 27, is Hays Consolidated, San Marcos Consolidated and Del Valle.

So, is it better to start mid-week or on a Monday?

That’s like asking: do you rip off the bandage in one jerky move or do you peel it away millimeter by millimeter?

A long time ago… like when my now senior in high school was in kindergarten … Austin ISD did start on a Thursday. At the time I thought, “That’s just crazy!” Why a Thursday?

Now I get it. There are pluses and minuses.

Pro mid-week:

You get a gradual ease in. For those anxious kids, it’s just a few days and then a weekend break. Whew!

RELATED: How to help a shy child get ready for school

You have two days to pick up school supplies before the next class, rather than one night. If you have a middle-schooler or high-schooler, you know what I’m talking about. The first time your kid goes to a class, they get a list of supplies they need. If you have a kid on an A-day/B-day schedule, it takes two days to see all of their teachers. If you start on a Monday, your kid doesn’t get their complete list until Tuesday.

Next Tuesday night, I and all the other frustrated parents of Austin ISD kids will be in the Walmart or Target scrounging for supplies that are no longer there.

RELATED: Dear Walmart and Target, kids still need school supplies

One year, I tried to out-guess the teachers and pre-buy supplies. I ended up with a bunch of stuff that neither one of my kids needed. Now I buy basics: notebook paper, pencils, composition books, pens. That’s it and wait until we get the list.

That means I’m with all of you desperate and irritated parents at the big box store. One year, my kid needed a certain kind of dry erase marker that I checked five different stores to find and finally located it in the CVS of all places. And then my kid transferred out of that class two weeks later. The time spent, the pressure around finding items, is crazy-making.

RELATED: Where’s the most popular places to buy school supplies?

Teachers get a weekend between the first few days of school and the first full week to get their classrooms back in order. (And yes, we know you’re not supposed to be working on the weekend, but we also realize that you do.)

Pro-Monday start date:

Teachers get a weekend between Meet the Teacher and the first day of school. They have time to touch base with parents who had questions at Meet the Teacher. They can put away all the supplies the kids brought to Meet the Teacher. They can follow up with the parents who weren’t able to make it.

Parents don’t have to find a half-week camp for their kids or take off a couple of days because they can’t find a camp for those two or three days.

High-schooler and middle-schoolers really get a sense of their whole schedule that first week. There’s no delay in figuring out if the course load is too crazy.

The transition could be easier if you have a kid who likes routine. Bedtime and wake-up time routines get established quickly. It feels like school has begun.

What do you think? Are you Pro Midweek Start or Pro Monday Start? Share your thoughts in the comments.

RELATED: How to take a good first day of school photo

RELATED: What to do the night before school starts