Our family has plans to visit my parents this Christmas and we've already purchased our tickets. The airline just declared bankruptcy. Is it still safe to fly with them?

I've certainly been getting a lot of flying questions this holiday season, and with American Airlines declaring bankruptcy the week after Thanksgiving, this one couldn't be more timely.

A company can file for something called Chapter 11 when it can't pay its creditors and needs protection while it tries to get its finances in order. That's why flights still take off as planned, with no real change as far as customers can tell.

But an airline's bankruptcy can have a psychological effect on fliers. People worry that overworked staff and budget cuts might compromise their safety. Rest assured — that's not the case. In fact, many airlines have filed for bankruptcy over the years with absolutely no change in their safety record. As a precaution, after a carrier files for bankruptcy, the FAA usually steps up its safety measures and conducts random inspections at gates and on overnight maintenance work done in hangars.

You should feel perfectly comfortable taking your kids to your parents for the holidays. Feliz Navidad!


Legal Pro, Jacoba Urist

Jacoba Urist, Esq. is a health and business journalist in New York City. She's currently working on a book, The Happiest Parent, about estate planning and personal finance, specifically for parents. Over the past year, she's interviewed hundreds of mothers and researched (almost) every aspect of protecting your family's long-term well-being, and she came to one overwhelming conclusion: The Happiest Parent is the one who plans for the future no matter how hard it may seem today.

Jacoba earned her Juris Doctorate from New York University in 2002 as well as her Masters in Taxation in 2004. She also has a Masters from The Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies where she studied economic and regulatory issues.


My 4-year-old has a fever. What can I give her to make it go down?

I get this question all the time. Parents worry about fever. Fever means our child is sick and we inevitably want to "do" something to make them better. However, I often counsel parents to think about fever differently. Fever is actually your friend. When your child suddenly spikes a fever, this means her immune system is working and doing its job of fighting an infection, whether that infection is viral or bacterial.

In fact, by not treating your child's fever, you are actually doing something. You're allowing your child's body to get rid of that infection sooner than if you were giving her acetaminophen or ibuprofen around the clock.

My advice is always to watch your child, not the number on the thermometer. If your child is eating, drinking, and tolerating her fever; let the fever run its course. If the fever starts climbing to 102 or higher and she is clearly wiped out, then yes, by all means give her a fever reducer to make her comfortable.

For more detailed information about your child and fever, see my post about it on my blog, Confessions of a Dr.Mom.


Medical Pro, Melissa Arca

Melissa Arca, M.D. is a board certified pediatrician, mom of two, writer, and blogger who has found her passion in writing and speaking about parenting and children's health. She realizes that parenting is not an exact science and offers her practical tips on handling common parenting dilemmas. In addition, she loves educating parents and children about their health and ways to improve it.

She authors a weekly Dr.Mom column in The Sacramento Bee and appears weekly on KCRA with Dr.Mom tips on a variety of pediatric health topics. Her blog, Confessions of a Dr.Mom, is truly the place where doctor and mom collide.

Dr.Arca received her undergraduate degree from UC Irvine and went on to obtain her medical degree from USC Keck School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency in 2003 from Children's Hospital Los Angeles and is a member of the AAP Council on Communication and Media.

She lives in Northern California with her husband and children, ages 4 and 6. They visit the ocean any free chance they get.


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