Photos Cameron Flaisch
Harbin Clinic Pediatrics draws its healthcare expertise from near and far. Dr. Preston Leonard grew up in Floyd County, and Dr. Henaro Sabino hails from the Pacific Island of Saipan. Before attending medical school, Leonard spent a decade as a soldier in the army, stationed in Korea and Texas, and Sabino taught algebra, biology, chemistry, and physical science at a community college on Saipan. Despite their differences in background, these two gifted doctors share a passion to care for the health and wellness of the children of Northwest Georgia.
Does a doctor choose the specialty or does the specialty choose the doctor? For these two pediatricians, it seems to have been a decision that came naturally. “Simply put,” Sabino says, “I love children.” While in college, Sabino worked for a summer in a YMCA camp. “I had three jobs,” he says, “but regardless of how tired I was, I always found more energy when spending time with the kids. I knew I’d have to find a career working with children.”
As for Leonard, he found inspiration closer to home. He grew up in a large extended family, constantly surrounded by children. While working his way through medical school, those childhood experiences influenced his path. “I always enjoyed working with kids,” he says. “It just clicked.”
Leonard and Sabino offer a few commonsense tips for keeping children safe and healthy during the summer. Protection against the sun is paramount; use sunscreen, SPF 30-50 or higher. Reapply every 1 ½ – 2 hours, more often if the children are in the water. Sabino suggests umbrellas and sunhats for babies, who do not keep sunblock on well. Leonard says, “Parents should be extra diligent around water.
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children one to four years old.” Children should always be supervised by an adult around any body of water. Pools, bathtubs, and even toilets can be hazardous. Guarding against insects is vital as well. The doctors recommend a bug spray that contains 10%-30% DEET. Also, Leonard warns against letting children play on trampolines. “They’re a lot of fun,” he says, “but they’re not safe.”
STAYING ACTIVE, STAYING SHARP
The doctors suggest parents make physical activities fun. Sabino says, “If they like TikTok dancing, that’s just as good as jogging.” Leonard says, “Get outside. Take walks together, identify bugs, trees, and plants.”
To keep children mentally active during the summer, the doctors recommend parents limit their children’s screen time. More reading, less gaming. Sabino says, “Try to grab their interest so that they will read, read, read & do it for fun… even if it means reading “Halo”- stories expanded from the video game.”
Leonard agrees: “Get them to read at least 15-20 minutes per day. Most libraries offer excellent summer reading programs.” Also, as the return to school approaches, the doctors recommend children experience a gradual return to a school-year sleep schedule.