Your Baby

Co-sleeping Infant Deaths on the Rise

2:00 to read

Some parents prefer the closeness of sleeping with their infant during naps and through the night; often called co-sleeping, bed sharing or family bed. However, the facts support that using a crib is much safer for baby.

Texas, like some other states, is seeing a dramatic rise in infant deaths related to co-sleeping. So far this year in Texas, there have been 164 cases reported, which is on pace to surpass the record of 174 co-sleeping deaths investigated by CPS in 2011.

The state has responded by launching a $100,000 ad campaign to discourage co-sleeping between parents and babies.

“The main message is we want parents to create a safe sleeping environment for their babies,” said Paul Zimmerman, media specialist with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

Children under one year old are at the most risk of dying during co-sleeping according to the DFPS. Of the 164 deaths reported so far in 2014, 160 were under one.

Babies aren’t strong enough to move themselves if they end up face down in a pillow, blanket, arm or chest.  The most common cause of death during co-sleeping is when the parent accidently rolls over on the child.

The DFPS website provides the “ABCs of Infant Sleep.”

  • A - Babies should sleep alone.
  • B - On their backs with no blankets or bedding.
  • C  - In a crib and cool (70 degrees).
  • S  - In a smoke-free environment.

“These are preventable tragedies, and risk can be minimized when parents/caregivers follow some common sense do’s and don’ts,” Zimmerman said.

Other suggestions to help avoid infant suffocation are on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) website. 

  • Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards. For more about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov.
  • Place the crib in an area that is always smoke - free.
  • Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.
  • Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby.
  • Loose bedding, such as sheets and blankets, should not be used as these items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they are close to his or her face. Sleep clothing, such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are better alternatives to blankets.

Co-sleeping advocates say that there are benefits to sharing the bed with an infant such as babies go to sleep quicker and sleep longer. Breastfeeding is easier and mothers are more rested. They often recommend the same safeguards such as a firm mattress and no toys or pillows.

Pediatricians and other childhood health experts, on the other hand, believe that co-sleeping is too risky and that these types of infant deaths are totally avoidable by placing a crib or a bassinette next to the bed instead.

Sources: Blake Ursch, http://lubbockonline.com/health/2014-07-04/texas-launches-campaign-curb-infant-sleeping-deaths#.U8ghVRZUMpE

http://www.healthychildren.org

http://www.dfps.state.tx.us

Your Baby

Recall: Baby Recliners Linked to 5 Infant Deaths

1.30 to read

Baby Matters LLC is voluntarily recalling its foam rubber Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners and their covers, in exchange for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) dropping an administrative complaint that it filed in December 2012.

From 2009 to the present, the Commission staff has received at least 92 incident reports involving the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill products, including five infant deaths. CPSC is aware of four infants who died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved in the Chill model. In the incident reports received by CPSC, there were 92 reports of infants hanging or falling over the side of the products, including some infants who were restrained in the product’s harness.

In December 2012, four major retailers—Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com, and Toys R Us/Babies R Us—announced a voluntary recall of Nap Nanny and Chill models sold in their stores. Consumers who purchased a Nap Nanny from one of these retailers should contact the retailer for instructions on how to obtain a refund for the product.

About 165,000 of the Nap Nanny and Chill products were sold between 2009 and 2012 for about $130. The recalled products were sold at toy and children's retail stores nationwide and online, including at www.napnanny.com.

Baby Matters LLC is no longer in business and is not accepting returns. CPSC urges consumers to immediately dispose of the products to ensure that they are not used again.

Consumer contact:

-       Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com

-       Buy Buy Baby: Toll-free at (877) 328-9222,
http://www.buybuybaby.com/productRecalls.asp

-       Diapers.com: (800) 342-7377, http://www.diapers.com

-       Toys R Us/Babies R Us: (800) 869-7787, 
http://www.toysrusinc.com/safety/recalls

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2013/Four-Retailers-Agree-to-Stop-Sale-and-Voluntarily-Recall-Nap-Nanny-Recliners-Due-to-Five-Infant-Deaths/

Baby Matters baby recliner

Your Baby

Protect Infants From The Sun

2.00 to read

Whether it’s vacation, shopping, hanging out at the pool or lake or simply in the backyard lots of families will be spending time outdoors. Because their skin is thinner and they lack the ability to sweat, experts want parents and guardians to know that babies need extra protection from the sun.

You might think that sunscreen is the solution - and many parents trying to do the right thing, do cover their little ones in it - but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics, does NOT recommend sunscreen for infants under 6 months old.

Dr. Hari Cheryl Sachs, a pediatrician with the FDA, said parents should avoid putting sunscreen on their infants. Sachs explained that young babies' skin is much thinner than that of adults and can absorb the active, chemical ingredients found in sunscreens more easily. She noted that because they have a relatively high surface-area to body-weight ratio, they are at greater risk for allergic reactions or inflammation from exposure to sunscreen.

"The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun, and to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense," Sachs said in an FDA news release.

Stroller canopies or an umbrella can offer shade if you have your infant outside. If there are no other options available, a small amount of sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of at least 15 can be applied to small areas of exposed skin, such as the cheeks and back of the hands. Applying a small amount of sunscreen to the baby's inner wrist first to test for sensitivity is a good idea, Sachs noted.

Sachs and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offered additional tips to ensure infants are protected from sun exposure, including:

  • To prevent sunburns, dress infants in lightweight pants and shirts with long sleeves, as well as hats with brims that shade the ears and neck, advised the AAP. Sheer fabrics should be avoided because they could still result in a sunburn.
  • Ensure babies are well hydrated. Offer them their usual feeding of breast milk or formula, said Sachs. Use a cooler to store the liquids if they will be out in the sun for more than a few minutes.
  •  Monitor babies for signs of sunburn or dehydration, including fussiness, redness, excessive crying and lack of urination.
  •  If sunscreen is applied to babies, steer clear of products containing the insect repellant DEET.
  •  Babies who become sunburned should be taken out of the sun immediately, and cold compresses should be applied to the affected areas.

The AAP has more sun safety tips for kids older than 6 months.

  • The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
  •  Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  •  On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
  •  Be sure to apply enough sunscreen -- about one ounce per sitting for a young adult (18-21 years old.)
  •  Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  •  Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

We all know how damaging and painful sunburn can be. If you have a baby, most likely he or she will be included in some of the family’s outdoor activities this summer, just make sure that your little one is protected from the sun.

If you have questions about your child and sunscreen, talk with your pediatrician about it. He or she can give you the best advice on when to begin using suncreen and the SPF that’s right for your particular child.

Sources: http://news.yahoo.com/keep-infants-sun-heat-experts-warn-130406184.html

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips-Sun-and-Water-Safety.aspx

Your Baby

Meningococcal Disease Vaccine Approved For Infants

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Meningococcal disease can cause death or severe brain damage in infants and young children. The U.S. Food and Drug Association has now approved a vaccine against the disease for children as young as 9 months old.

Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, says neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of meningitis in young children -- it progresses rapidly and can cause death within hours although early symptoms are often difficult to distinguish from influenza and other common illnesses. Even with appropriate antibiotics and intensive care, between 10 percent and 15 percent of people who develop the disease die and another 10 percent to 20 percent suffer complications such as brain damage or hearing loss, Midthun says. The safety of Menactra in children as young as 9 months was evaluated in four clinical studies in which more than 3,700 participants received the vaccine. Injection-site tenderness and irritability are the most  common adverse events reported in the youngest study participants. Occurrence of fever was comparable to other vaccines routinely recommended for young children, Midthun says. Menactra, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc., was originally approved January 2005 for use in those ages 11-55 years and was approved in October 2007 for children age 2 and older. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ depending on the cause. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and clears up without specific treatment. But bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 are high fever, headache, and stiff neck. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect. Infants with meningitis may appear slow or inactive, have vomiting, be irritable, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. If symptoms occur, the patient should see a doctor immediately. The diagnosis is usually made by growing bacteria from a sample of spinal fluid. The spinal fluid is obtained by performing a spinal tap, in which a needle is inserted into an area in the lower back where fluid in the spinal canal can be collected. Identification of the type of bacteria responsible is important for selection of correct antibiotics. The bacteria can mainly be spread from person to person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. This can occur through coughing, kissing, and sneezing. Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as things like the common cold or the flu. Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. However, sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis have spread to other people who have had close or prolonged contact with a patient with meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis (also called meningococcal meningitis) or Hib. People in the same household or daycare center, or anyone with direct contact with a patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend) would be considered at increased risk of getting the infection. People who qualify as close contacts of a person with meningitis caused by N. meningitidis should receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting the disease.

Your Baby

Breastfeeding Could Save 1.3 Million Lives

Teaching new mothers how to breastfeed could save 1.3 million children's lives every year, but many women get no help and give up trying.Teaching new mothers how to breastfeed could save 1.3 million children's lives every year, but many women get no help and give up trying, said the World Health Organization. Less than 40 percent of mothers worldwide breastfeed their infants exclusively in the first six months, as recommended by the WHO. But many abandon it because they don't know how to get their your-baby to latch on properly or suffer pain and discomfort.

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"When it comes to doing it practically, they don't have the practical support," said WHO expert Constanza Vallenas. This is a problem in both rich and poor countries, she said, calling for more assistance in hospitals, health clinics and communities for new mothers who need information and help. The WHO recommends that babies start breastfeeding within one hour of their birth, and ingest only breast milk for the first six months, avoiding water and other drinks and foods. This can give children vital nutrients and strengthen their immune system to fight diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Formula milk does not provide the same immunity and local water can be contaminated or unsafe in many parts of the world. Raising to 90 percent the global breastfeeding rate for infants to six months would save an estimated 13 percent of the 10 million under-age-five deaths a year, Vallenas said. In a statement released to mark World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said it was also important that mothers in disaster zones be given the support they need to continue or restart breastfeeding. "During emergencies, unsolicited or uncontrolled donations of breast milk substitutes may undermine breastfeeding and should be avoided," Chan said, arguing abandoning breastfeeding could put vulnerable child lives at extra risk. "The focus should be on active protection and support of breastfeeding."

Your Baby

Teething Toy Recalled Due to Choking Hazard

1.45 to read

Infantino, the maker of the Go Gaga Squeeze and Teethe Coco the Monkey teething toy, has issued a recall on the teething product.  It’s the tail of the toy that can pose a choking hazard to a small child.

The squeaking toy is made of soft orange rubber and is shaped like a monkey. The toy measures 4.5 inches tall by 5 inches long and is intended for ages newborn and up. “Infantino” is marked on the back toward the rear and model number 206-647 is marked on the inside of the rear left leg

The firm has received seven reports of infants choking or gagging on the monkey’s tail. No injuries have been reported.

The toy was sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide and online from December 2012 through January 2014 for about $13.

Consumers can contact Infantino toll-free at (888) 808-3111 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or online at www.infantino.com and click on Recall Information on the home page.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled products away from infants and may contact Infantino if they’d like to receive a free replacement toy.

Infantino teething toy recall

Infantino recall teething toy

Your Baby

New Moms Are Overspending on Baby Products.

2.00 to read

According to a new study, moms are feeling tremendous pressure to purchase expensive and soon –to –be outgrown brand name clothing for their infants. Moms are also overspending on formula because they tend to choose a name brand over a store brand.

Researchers found that mothers are cutting back in nearly every other area of their lives so they can buy brand names.

The “Brand” New Mom study of more than 1,900 moms, conducted by Kelton Research, found that today’s new mom often makes decisions based on guilt rather than practicality, even when it is clearly proven that a high-profile brand offers no clear benefits over other far less expensive options.

Why do they do it?

The study found one major reason is the confusing and anxiety-producing advertising and promotional messages that are everywhere.  New moms are particularly vulnerable. Their hormones are still adjusting, they are doing their best to take care of a newborn that wakes up all night, and many moms are scared of making a decision that might actually harm their baby. They are the perfect targets for creative advertising agencies. Who doesn’t want “the best” for their baby?

58 percent of expectant first-time moms admit they are consumed by thoughts about what products they need to buy their babies every day, and nearly 37 percent of moms express overall guilt about not being able to afford a specific baby product.

The economy is also adding to mom’s stress load.

- 59 % said they are worried about their personal financial situation.

- 53% confess that thoughts about their baby product budget plague them on a daily basis.

Moms may be stressing, but they are still overspending on name brand products. Three-quarters of moms surveyed have recently cut back on dining out, clothing for themselves, and entertainment. Only 13 percent have taken the same savings measures for their impending or new baby.

This study found that 85 percent of moms are far more tuned into ads related to babies or pregnancy than those with any other subject matter, and this increased attention to advertising can produce emotional stress. When it comes to this constant bombardment of baby-related advertising: 23% feel overwhelmed. 20 % feel anxious. 20% feel confused. And 35% of experienced moms admit that because of advertising they spent more than they had originally planned when their first child was a baby.

“This study sheds light on what moms are going through from both an emotional and economic standpoint,” said Sandra Gordon, national baby products expert and author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, 10th edition. “Moms are so intent on absorbing as much baby-related information as possible, and making the right purchasing decisions, that it can be easy to overlook inexpensive options that are just as safe and effective for their baby.”

More than half of moms are much more likely to buy store brands for household products, but don’t feel comfortable substituting store bands when it comes to their baby.

Less than 25% said they were open to buying store brand formula.

Baby formula is one of those products that some moms really struggle with. 43% say they feel guilty for using formula instead of breastfeeding their infant - which may be one of the reasons moms are willing to overspend on brand name formula. The other reason may be they just don’t trust that store brands are as good for their baby.

“These numbers are very consistent with what I see in my practice, and a clear indication of the challenges today’s mom faces with regard to the barrage of advertising messages she regularly sees,” said Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We know that when it comes to taking care of babies, breastfeeding is considered the gold standard. The reality, however, is that 80 percent of moms will use formula at some point, and it is not something they should feel guilty about. Also, they certainly don’t need to buy the most expensive formula just to alleviate that guilt.”

The study found that 68% of moms believed that the more expensive the formula the better the quality. 49% of new first-time moms believe name brand formulas offer more nutrition.

Is either one of these beliefs true? No.
The key, Dr. Trachtenberg said, is to educate moms with the facts on formula and provide them with all of their options, rather than making a decision based on which brand is the most heavily advertised and may be the highest priced.

“According to the Infant Formula Act, all infant formulas manufactured in the United States must contain the same key nutrients and adhere to the same quality and safety guidelines. This survey found that less than a quarter of the moms were willing to buy store brand formulas, which indicates that there is a significant knowledge gap. Far too many families are spending twice as much as they need to for infant formula, just to get a brand that is advertised,” said Dr. Trachtenberg. “Just like generic prescription medications have changed the healthcare landscape by proving more expensive does not mean better, store brand formulas can play a huge role in helping parents take the best possible care of their babies, as well as their budgets.”

New moms have a lot on their plate, as well as new dads.  Both are experiencing a life changing series of moments that revolve around a totally dependent infant. That’s actually the good news. Overspending on baby products is not going to ease the stress, and it’s not going to be better for baby. Don’t worry you’ll get the hang of parenting. For now you can spend less on clothing, diapers and formula and give yourself and your budget a break.

Source: http://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?resourceid=4966025&access=EH

Your Baby

Folic Acid Study and Healthy Newborns

Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains. Repeated studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect by up to 70%.Making sure that you get enough folic acid, during pregnancy, is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent birth defects.

Groundbreaking work by a team of UK scientists has identified, for the first time, a link between changes in the DNA of newborn babies, folic acid supplementation during pregnancy, and birth weight. This state-of-the-art 'epigenetic' study, from scientists funded by the World Cancer Research Fund, showed that the levels of a critical metabolite of folic acid, homocysteine, in the blood of newborn babies is linked to modifications of their DNA in key genes and that such modifications might be used to predict birth weight. Supplementation with the vitamin, folic acid during pregnancy is known to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord) such as spina bifida. It also protects against low birth weight, which has numerous short- and long-term consequences. It has been suggested that folic acid, though its metabolism to chemicals such as homocysteine, might secure these clinical effects via DNA methylation. The Fetal Epigenomics Group, led by Professor William Farrell, Professor of Human Genomics, Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine at the University of Keele,  examined the relationship between folic acid supplementation and its metabolites on DNA methylation in human blood from the umbilical cord, using a state-of-the-art 'microarray' techniques which simultaneously examines methylation at over 27,000 sites in the DNA. Professor Farrell said: "It has been known for many years that folic acid supplementation is essential for women during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight delivery. However, we had little idea as to how this worked. This study is the first to suggest that methylation of particular genes in the baby's DNA may be the key to unlocking the secret of the action of folic acid. " "Now we have identified which genes might be the link between folic acid and birth weight, we have opened the door to research that may allow doctors to predict the likelihood of low birth weight with greater certainty. Furthermore, it sheds light on the underlying causes of low birth weight and offers the potential to intervene earlier to prevent poor pregnancy outcomes such as premature delivery and pregnancy loss." Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains. Repeated studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect by up to 70%.

Your Baby

Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma

Exposure to traffic pollution in the womb may cause genetic changes that increase a child's risk of developing asthma say U.S. researchers. The researchers studied the umbilical cord blood from New York City children and found evidence of a possible biomarker, which is an alteration in the gene ACSL3 which is associated with prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAH is created as byproducts of incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels such as gasoline.

PAH levels are high in heavy-traffic areas and exposure to PAHs has been linked to such diseases as cancer and childhood asthma. The findings are published in the February 16, 2009 issue of PLoS One. They offer a potential clue for predicting environmentally-related asthma in children, particularly to those born to mothers who live in high-traffic areas said the researchers. "Understanding early predictors of asthma is an important area of investigation because they represent potential clinical targets for intervention," study co-author Dr. Rachel Miller, director of the asthma project at Mailman's Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, said in a news release.

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

Lots of discussion about using prebiotics and probiotics in your child's diet. What is the difference between the two?