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Parenting

Energy Drinks and Hyperactivity in Kids

2:00

A new study suggests that energy drinks may contribute to hyperactivity and inattention in middle-school students.

Researchers looked at 1,600 students in an urban school district in Connecticut where the average age was 12 years old. They found that children who drank energy drinks were 66 percent more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms, according to the study in the current issue of the journal Academic Pediatrics.

Not only did the drinks contain caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, but were also packed with sugar. The study also took into account other sugar-sweetened drinks consumed by the students.

"As the total number of sugar-sweetened beverages increased, so too did risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms among our middle-school students. Importantly, it appears that energy drinks are driving this association," study leader Jeannette Ickovics, a professor in the School of Public Health, said in a Yale news release.

"Our results support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that parents should limit consumption of sweetened beverages and that children should not consume any energy drinks," she added.

The students in this study drank an average of two sugary drinks a day. The number of daily sugary drinks ranged from none to as many as seven or more such drinks. Some sugar-sweetened beverages and energy drinks contain up to 40 grams of sugar each. Depending on how old they are, children should only have about 21 to 33 grams of sugar a day, according to the researchers.

On an average, boys tended to drink more energy drinks than girls.

Along with the hyperactivity and inattention in school, researchers were concerned about the risk of obesity for children that consume these types of drinks.

Lots of kids and even some parents confuse sports drinks and energy drinks – thinking that they are the same thing. They are not.

Energy drinks contain substances not found in sports drinks that act as stimulants, such as caffeine, guarana and taurine. Caffeine – by far the most popular stimulant – has been linked to a number of harmful health effects in children, including effects on the developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems.

As soda sales slip, energy drinks have increased nearly 7 percent creating a $9.7 billion dollar industry according to Bloomberg. Concerns have been raised that some energy drink manufacturers are marketing energy drinks directly at kids.

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) that deals specifically with children’s health issues, has emphatically stated that energy drinks are never appropriate for children or adolescents.

Sources: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/energy-drinks-tied-to-low-attention-and-hyper-behavior-in-middle-schoolers-study-696275.html

http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Kids-Should-Not-Consume-Energy-Drinks,-and-Rarely-Need-Sports-Drinks,-Says-AAP.aspx

Parenting

175,000 Target Dressers Recalled Due to Tip-Over Hazards

2:00

On the heals of several other recent dresser drawer recalls, Target has announced that they are recalling 175,000 dressers because they present a serious danger to young children.

The retailer is pulling their popular Room Essentials 4-drawer dresser line and says consumers should immediately stop using the product if it is not securely anchored to a wall.

Unanchored, the dressers can pose serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children.

No injuries have been reported to the company, but it has received 12 notifications of dressers tipping or collapsing, including an incident where one fell on two three-year-old children. 

Consumers can ask for a refund by contacting Target at 800-440-0680 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT daily or online at www.Target.com and click on “Recalls” at the bottom of the page, then “Furniture” for more information, or the “Product Recalls” tab on www.Facebook.com/Target.

This recall involves Room Essentials 4-drawer dressers sold in three colors. The dressers measure 41 7/8 - inches tall by 31 ½ inches wide by 15 11/16 - inches deep. Model number 249-05-0103 (black), 249-05-0106 (espresso), or 249-05-0109 (maple) is printed on the product’s packaging.

Story source: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Target-Recalls-Room-Essentials-4-Drawer-Dressers

Parenting

New Year Resolutions for the Family

2:00

As 2015 closes its tired eyes, 2016 is ready for full steam ahead! The beginning of a new year is often the time when people take stock of where they’ve been and where they want to go. It’s a great time for families to set new goals and discuss what is important to them.

Resolutions do not need to be difficult or overwhelming. In fact, the simpler the resolution, the better.

One small step at a time and before you know it 2017 will be here and your family will have accomplished more than they thought they would!

If you’re searching for ideas, here’s a list of suggestions.

1.     Spend one day out of the week unplugged from any unnecessary electronics or social media. Cell phones and computers have become a necessity these days, but too often they are overused for texting, social media and mindless Internet searches. Set a goal of spending at least one day a month (if not per week) without your gadgets, and instead, enjoy the outdoors or have a board or card game marathon.

2.     Commit to better eating schedules and choices. Healthy eating habits provide benefits for the whole family. Ask for your kids input when planning meals and discuss ways to make everyone’s choices healthier. Positive discussions about health and food can have a big impact on a child’s lifetime eating habits.

3.     Plan family outings that involve exercise. Make it fun and easy. Daily walks, bicycling, swimming even an indoor dance party can get everyone moving without a lot of expense.

4.     Read with and to your kids. Libraries are great places for young children to experience new books and reading programs. A whole new genre of books have peaked an interest in reading for many teens. Summer is a great time to start a family book club, when the kids don’t have homework competing for their time.

5.     Spread the household responsibilities. Having a system for household responsibilities spreads out the work instead of having it all fall on one person. Try keeping a chore jar with slips of paper for kids to pick which chore they'll do that week, such as taking out the trash. Print out this chore chart and put it on the refrigerator or a clipboard to help your family stay on task.

6.     Teach and reflect kindness. Kids learn how to be kind by their parent’s example. Bring unkind or rude comments to your child’s attention. Discuss how to handle frustration or angry feelings. Most of all, exhibit kindness towards your mate and others. Teach compassion through community service when an organization needs volunteers. Children who volunteer to help others in need have a broader view of the world.

7.     Get more sleep! The fact is, you all need at least eight hours of sleep to stay healthy and productive. Some children need more than that. Make sure bedtime is quiet and computers and cell phones are shut down at least an hour before bed.

8.     Teach your children how to manage money. Have them create a budget with their allowance or gift money and help them stick to it. Again, being a good example not only helps the whole family’s budget, but also teaches children the difference between want and need.

Also don’t forget to take a little time out for just you and your spouse. The occasional date night can help you reconnect and have fun together. Being a parent is hard work – one of life’s most demanding and rewarding. Don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually to be the example you want to be.

Have a Happy New Year!

Source: Erin Dower, http://life.familyeducation.com/slideshow/new-years/67775.html

Image: http://colongan.xyz/happy-new-years-eve-2016/happy-new-years-eve-happy-holidays/

Parenting

Tips for a Fun and Safe Easter!

2:00

Easter is right around the corner and many parents and grandparents will be hosting or attending the traditional egg hunt. Little ones will scramble to fill their baskets and sacks with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks and decorated Easter eggs.

If you’re one of the lucky hosts, here are 7 tips to help create not only make great memories, but also a safer and healthier day!

1. Egg Safety: Always cook eggs thoroughly and refrigerate them before and after dying. If you’re blowing out the raw eggs and dying the shells, use a straw or choose pasteurized eggs to avoid salmonella exposure. Wait to hide your eggs until just before the hunt is scheduled to start: you should consume boiled eggs within two hours of removing them from the refrigerator. If you’re worried about using hard-boiled eggs, consider replacing them with plastic eggs and hiding toys and treats inside instead.

One tip to avoid cracked egg shells while cooking comes from L.A. Times Test Kitchen and Food Editor, Russ Parson. "Place the eggs in a pan just big enough to hold them in a single layer," Parsons said. "Cover them with cold water and bring them to a rolling boil. Cook for one minute, and then remove them from the heat. When the water has cooled enough that you can put your hand in (about 20 minutes), the eggs will be perfectly cooked."

2. Coloring Easter Eggs: A favorite Easter tradition is creating unique egg designs. To dye Easter eggs safely, make sure everyone washes their hands before and after handling the eggs. Eggs that have cracked during cooking are an easy target for bacteria, so avoid coloring or eating those. Use only food-grade dyes, or make your own from grape juice, tea, beets, blueberries, turmeric, or other natural products.

Instructions for making naturally dyed Easter eggs can be found here.

3. Avoid Choking Hazards: Many families hide plastic Easter eggs, typically filled with a small toy.  For toddlers and crawlers (who will put everything in their mouths), it’s best to use larger plastic eggs that have nothing in them. Small toys are easy for little throats to choke on. If you’re giving your toddler candy, avoid jellybeans and hard candies. Hotdogs are the number one choking hazard for children!

4. Food Allergies: Ask parents if any kids with food allergies will be attending your Easter egg hunt. If so, it’s easier than ever to accommodate them. Peanut-, dairy-, and gluten-free candies are readily available

5. Outdoor Dangers: Take a walk through your lawn or pasture to make sure that all tools and chemicals are removed. Check to see that poison ivy or oak is not present. And don’t forget about anthills – these stinging pests can pop up overnight, particularly after a rain. Any pets that can get over-excited by running and yelling children should be kept inside or in a pen.

6. Speaking of Pets: If your four-legged friends are allowed to join in on the fun, be sure to keep chocolate, Easter grass, and plastic off the ground and out of their reach. Remind the kids (and parents!) not to feed any candy to the dog.

Baby bunnies and chicks are often given to kids at Easter. Many experts agree that these pets do not do well in the hands of small children. They also require consistent care and the proper environment to thrive. Stuffed animals are a much better choice for most children. 

7. Easter Hunt Alternatives: If you’re concerned about certain Easter hunt safety issues; consider an alternative plan. Games can be a huge hit with kids as well as a petting zoo or children’s entertainer. Some Easter game suggestions are: Guessing the number of jelly beans in jar, playing hide and seek, competing in an Easter egg spoon race, playing pin the tail on the Easter Bunny, or you may even want to make up your own games!

Easter celebrations are a favorite family event. Make this Easter a memorable and safe one for your family!

Story sources: Alyssa Baker, http://www.safewise.com/blog/7-tips-for-hosting-safe-easter-egg-hunt/

Maria Vultaggio, http://www.ibtimes.com/how-boil-easter-eggs-without-cracking-them-tips-perfect-hard-boiled-egg-1571632

Photo: http://www.govtedu.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/colorful-eggs-basket-e...

 

 

Parenting

Samsung Recalls I Million Galaxy Note 7 Smartphones

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According to the Pew Research Center, 9 out of 10 Americans own a cell phone. That includes adults, teens and children. If you or a family member owns a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, you need to stop using it and contact your wireless carrier or a Samsung retail outlet.

Samsung issued a warning about a week ago warning U.S. consumers to stop using the new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of about 1 million of the smart-phones because the lithium-ion battery in the Galaxy Note7 smartphones can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers.

Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 of property damage from fires in cars and a garage, the agency said.

This is “such a serious fire hazard I urge all consumers to take advantage of this recall right away,” Elliot Kaye, chairman of the CPSC told a news conference late Thursday. 

This recall involves the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone sold before September 15, 2016.  The recalled devices have a 5.7 inch screen and were sold in the following colors:  black onyx, blue coral, gold platinum and silver titanium with a matching stylus. Samsung is printed on the top front of the phone and Galaxy Note7 is printed on the back of the phone. 

To determine if your phone has been recalled, locate the IMEI number on the back of the phone or the packaging, and enter the IMEI number into the online registration site www.samsung.com or call Samsung toll-free at 844-365-6197.

The smartphones were sold at wireless carriers and electronic stores nationwide, including AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon stores and online at www.samsung.com and other websites from August 2016 through September 2016 for between $850 and $890.

You can find a list of the wireless and retailer phone numbers and websites at http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2016/Samsung-Recalls-Galaxy-Note7-Smartphones/

 

 

 

Parenting

Bedwetting Causes and Coping Tips

2:00

Most children will go through a bedwetting stage and though some kids get through it rather quickly, others take longer before they have consistently dry nights.

Bedwetting can also be a symptom of an underlying disease, but not typically. In fact, an underlying condition is identified in only about 1% of children who routinely wet the bed.

Bedwetting is not only difficult for the child, but it can strain a parent’s patience as well. It’s important to remember that a child that wets the bed doesn’t do it intentionally. Children who wet are not lazy, willful, or disobedient. Bedwetting is most often a developmental issue.

Did you know that there are 2 types of bedwetting? They are called primary and secondary. A child with primary bedwetting has episodes of bedwetting on a consistent basis. Secondary bedwetting is bedwetting that starts up after the child has been dry at night for a significant period of time, at least 6 months.

So, what causes primary bedwetting? It’s usually a combination of factors:

  • The child cannot yet hold urine for the entire night.
  • The child does not waken when his or her bladder is full.
  • The child produces a large amount of urine during the evening and night hours.
  • The child habitually ignores the urge to urinate and put off urinating as long as they possibly can. Parents usually are familiar with the leg crossing, face straining, squirming, squatting, and groin holding that children use to hold back urine.

Secondary bedwetting may occur because of an underlying or known medical condition or emotional problems. The child with secondary bedwetting is much more likely to have other symptoms, such as daytime wetting.  Reasons for secondary bedwetting can include:

  • Urinary tract infection: The resulting bladder irritation can cause severe pain or irritation with urination, a stronger urge to urinate, and frequent urination. Urinary tract infections in children may indicate another problem, such as an anatomical abnormality.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes have a high level of sugar in their blood. The body increases urine output to try to get rid of the sugar. Having to urinate frequently is a common symptom of diabetes.
  • Structural or anatomical abnormality: An abnormality in the organs, muscles, or nerves involved in urination can cause incontinence or other urinary problems that could show up as bedwetting.
  • Neurological problems: Abnormalities in the nervous system, or injury or disease of the nervous system, can upset the delicate neurological balance that controls urination.
  • Emotional problems: A stressful home life, as in a home where the parents are in conflict, sometimes causes children to wet the bed. Major changes, such as starting school, a new baby, or moving to a new home, are other stresses that can also cause bedwetting. Children who are being physically or sexually abused sometimes begin bedwetting.

If your child suddenly begins to wet the bed after months or years of dry nights, talk to your child about it and your pediatrician. Your doctor may want to do an examination and bloodwork to rule out any health conditions. 

Most children do not stay dry at night until about the age of three.  And it's usually not a concern for parents until around age 6.

Bedwetting can be embarrassing for children. Be supportive and reassure your child that they won’t always wet the bed. Bedwetting often runs in families. If you want to share your own personal story, your child may see that people do outgrow it.

To help your child make it through the night dry, make sure he or she isn’t drinking a lot of liquids before bedtime. Make using the bathroom just before they get in bed part of a bedtime routine. Also remind them that it's OK to get up during the night to use the bathroom. Nightlights can help your child find his or her own way when they need to go.

Some parents wonder if they should wake their child up during the night to go. That’s a personal choice, however, keep in mind that if you deprive your child of rest and sleep, you may increase his or her level of stress. Stress can be a bedwetting trigger. Some children may also have a difficult time getting back to sleep once woken.

If your child wets the bed, you might consider getting a plastic bed cover to help protect the mattress.

If accidents do happen, try these tips to remove the smell and stains from linens, clothes and the mattress.

  • Try adding a half-cup to a cup of white vinegar to your wash to remove the smell from their sheets and clothes.
  • If you need to clean urine from a mattress, first use towels to blot up as much as you can.
  • Once you've blotted up as much of the urine as you can, saturate the entire area of urine stain with hydrogen peroxide. Let it stand for 5 minutes, and then use towels again to blot the area dry.
  • Once the mattress is dry, sprinkle baking soda over the entire area and let it stand for 24 hours. The next day, vacuum the baking soda away. It should be clean and odor free.

Bedwetting is one of those stages that kids go through that some day will just be a memory. Until then, reassure your little one that this too shall pass. Praise your child when they make it through the night without wetting the bed and let them know that if an accident happens, it’s OK – we’ll try again tonight.

Story sources: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/bedwetting-causes#2

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/ss/slideshow-bedwetting

 

Parenting

Flour with Added Folic Acid Is Reducing Birth Defects

2:00

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is known to help prevent certain types of birth defects in newborns. In January 1998, the FDA added a requirement that folic acid be added to breads, cereals, and other products that use enriched flour. These fortified foods include most enriched breads, flours, corn meals, rice, noodles, macaroni, and other grain products.

Since then, a new report shows that serious birth defects have fallen 35 percent. While that is certainly wonderful news, a 2014 study found that as many as 25 percent of American women are still not receiving even the minimum amount of recommended folic acid from either their diet or through supplements.

Women who don't get enough folic acid have an elevated risk of giving birth to a child with conditions called neural tube defects, the best known of which is spina bifida, which often causes paralysis.

Health experts began recommending that women of childbearing age take folic acid in 1992 because studies showed that taking 400 micrograms a day could reduce spina bifida and related birth defects by up to 70%.

Doctors now recommend that women who are considering having children start taking folic acid before trying to get pregnant. Since some pregnancies are not necessarily planned, many doctors recommend that women of childbearing age take a daily multivitamin that contains folic acid.

The benefits of folic acid have been researched for quite some time and since food producers began adding folic acid to grains, that simple step has prevented more than 1,300 babies a year from being born with spina bifida or related conditions, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Authors of the new study found that Hispanic women are more likely to have a baby with spina bifida or a similar birth defect.

That's partly because the "masa harina" corn flour used in tortillas and other Hispanic foods isn't fortified with folic acid, the study says. The March of Dimes has petitioned the FDA to require that folic acid be added to corn flour. Adding folic acid to corn flour would prevent another 40 cases of spina bifida or related conditions each year, the report says.

"Even with fortification, there will be some women that do not get the recommended amount of folic acid every day," says Candice Burns Hoffmann, of the CDC's National Centers for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. "We still have more work to do."

If you’re considering having a baby, talk to your doctor before becoming pregnant about the benefits of folic acid and how much you may need.

Sources: Liz Szabo, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/01/15/folic-acid-birth-defects/21784019/

http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org

Parenting

Pregnancy May Actually Modify a Mom’s Brain

Baby, motherhood, health

Moms often feel like they have a “sixth sense” when it comes to their newborn’s needs and survival. What they may really be experiencing are the physical changes that pregnancy can have on the brain.

Researchers in Spain wanted to know if pregnancy could actually change the structure of a woman’s brain, impacting how she reacts to her newborn. What they found was that long-term changes to the brain do occur and that they may have evolved over time to improve a mother’s ability to protect and nurture her child.

The researchers used information gathered from MRI scans that compared the brain structures of 25 women before and after their first pregnancies.

After giving birth, the women had significant reductions of gray matter in areas of the brain associated with social interactions, the findings showed. Those brain regions overlapped with ones that activated when mothers watched images of their own babies.

“The changes concern brain areas associated with functions necessary to manage the challenges of motherhood," study co-lead author Erika Barba said in a news release from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Some women feel like they have trouble remembering things during and after their pregnancy, sometimes referred to as having “baby brain.” The good news is that researchers reported the participants had no changes in memory or other thinking functions during pregnancy. That means the loss of gray matter does not lead to problems in those areas. The brain changes, which lasted for at least two years after the women gave birth, probably help them adapt to motherhood, the study authors suggested.

According to study co-director Oscar Vilarroya: "The findings point to an adaptive process related to the benefits of better detecting the needs of the child, such as identifying the newborn's emotional state. Moreover, they provide primary clues regarding the neural basis of motherhood, perinatal mental health and brain plasticity in general."

Researchers also found that they were able to use the brain changes to predict a mother’s attachment to her baby. The changes were similar whether women got pregnant naturally or through fertility treatments.

This is the first research to show that pregnancy involves long-lasting changes -- at least for two years postpartum.

The term “mama bear” has often been used to describe the fierceness that some mothers’ exhibit when they feel their child is in danger or has been wronged. Now science may have found out why that is.

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Story source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20161219/pregnancy-may-spur-mothering-changes-in-a-womans-brain

Parenting

Have a Family Plan for Disasters

2:00

Would your family members know what to do if faced with a disaster?  Thousands of families learned the answer to that question with the recent hurricane catastrophes. 

"The biggest issue that we as first responders run into is that people fail to plan. Then things that could have been simple issues become big problems," said Scott Buchle, program manager for Penn State Health Life Lion EMS. The emergency service operates throughout south central Pennsylvania.

While hurricanes may be somewhat limited in their geographical impact, other types of disasters are far more common. Countless Americans live in areas prone to blizzards, wildfires, tornadoes or earthquakes. Even severe thunderstorms or ice storms can bring flash floods or widespread power outages. 

Having a plan on what to do if faced with any of these disasters can save lives, as well as lower the amount of anxiety and unpreparedness that comes with a natural or man-made calamity.

If you live in an area where the weather can challenge your safety, you should have enough water, non-perishable food, medications and a medication list, battery backups, a generator and other supplies to get through 48 to 72 hours, Buchle said in a Penn State news release.

Research your neighborhood and find out how close fire and police stations are.  Do you know in what direction you would need to go to find higher ground, where a tornado shelter is located or an emergency room? Is there a municipal building with a generator nearby?

Discuss and come up with a plan with your family the best way to respond during an emergency. Have a contact list of state and federal emergency agencies, and decide where you will meet up if separated.

You should also understand how your house is built and where you can go to be safe in case of flooding or a tornado. Many homes these days are “open concept” and don’t have sheltered inner rooms. Consider purchasing a tornado shelter if you live in areas prone to tornados.

"You also need to know who your emergency contacts are and the numbers," says Russell Knapp, supervisor of fire safety for the Penn State Health Medical Center campus.

What if you lose your cell phone – would you know the numbers off the top of your head? A laminated contact list that is in your wallet or purse is helpful to have when faced with an emergency.

It's also important to keep a current list of medications you take, the dosage, and how often you take each one, in case you have to seek safety in a shelter.

"You can give that [information] to people who can help you get the medicine you need," Buchle said.

People who use home medical equipment that requires electricity should consider what they would do if the power is out for several days. Plan ahead and if necessary have a generator and fuel on standby.

If you require medications that must be refrigerated, keep a cooler and ice packs on hand in case of power outages, these experts suggested.

Families with young children can also have a stash of diapers, formula, bottles, clean water and wipes ready to grab and run.

And don’t forget the pets. For many people, these animals are part of the family. Keep an adequate supply of pet food on hand and extra kitty litter.

In the middle of an emergency is not the time to try and find all these things. Have a separate location where your emergency supplies are located and in bags, ready to grab and leave with. Most of these supplies can be packed; medicines will need to be easily accessible.

Having an emergency plan that everyone is aware of in case of a disaster can help immensely when time is of the essence.

Story source: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/safety-and-public-health-news-585/how-would-your-family-weather-a-disaster-726589.html

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