Your Baby

Is My Baby Teething?

How do you know when your baby is teething?A major milestone in a your-baby’s first year is the cutting of their first tooth. Babies typically get their first tooth, on the bottom, around four to seven months of age. But it is important for parents to realize that babies develop differently and it is not unheard of for your-baby to cut their first tooth closer to their first birthday.

The arrival of that first tooth can sometimes be painful. Babies typically experience pain with teething two to three days before and after a tooth erupts. That pain can be managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol. “I do not recommend giving a young infant a product with ibuprofen,” says pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard. Dr. Hubbard says one way to also manage the pain is to give your child something to chew one, like a large piece of frozen bagel, a frozen washcloth or frozen teething ring.Many parents attribute a sudden fever to teething. But Dr. Hubbard says “You don’t run high fever with teething. If your your-baby is running a high fever, pulling on ears, and is irritable, it could be a sign of a secondary infection and you should contact your pediatrician about it.”

Your Baby

Abusive Head Trauma in Babies, Toddlers Can Last a Lifetime

2:30

This is going to be a hard story to read, but don’t let that stop you. It’s difficult because it involves very young children who suffer head trauma because they are abused.   Sometimes, it’s an accident. Sometimes it’s because a parent or guardian loses control and angrily shakes an infant or toddler until brain damage occurs.  While you may never intentionally abuse your own child, you should know how to recognize the symptoms of an infant or toddler that has been shaken. That knowledge could save a child’s life or improve the quality of treatment they receive.

Half of children who experience a severe abusive head trauma before the age of 5 will die before they turn 21, according to a new study.

In addition, among those who survive severe injuries, quality of life will be cut in half, the study found.

What causes such terrible consequences? According to www.babycenter.com, when a caregiver shakes and injures a child, it's sometimes called shaken baby syndrome. Abusive head trauma (AHT) and shaken baby syndrome usually refer to the same thing.

When a child's head is shaken back and forth, his brain bumps against the skull, causing bruising, swelling, pressure, and bleeding in and around the brain. The impact often causes bleeding in the retina – the light-sensitive portion of the eye that transmits images to the brain.

A child with AHT may also have a damaged spinal cord or neck as well as bone fractures. The extent of the damage depends on how long and hard the child is shaken or how severe the blow to the head is. But in just seconds, a child can suffer severe, permanent damage or even death.

In the United States, "at least 4,500 children a year suffer preventable abusive head trauma," said lead researcher Ted Miller, of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in Calverton, Md.

Among children with any abusive head trauma, including minor cases, one in three "will not survive to adulthood, and even the survivors will lose significant quality of life," Miller said.

For the study, the researchers surveyed parents, caregivers or pediatricians of 170 youngsters who survived an abusive head trauma to determine the victims' quality of life. The head traumas all occurred before the children were 5 years old. But, most -- about eight in 10 -- experienced the head trauma before they were 1 year old.

The majority  (71%) of the cases fell into the severe impact category. Moderate impact cases accounted for 13.5 percent and there were 16 percent that were listed as minor cases. 

Injuries caused by shaking a baby or toddler can be shocking. Almost one-quarter of children required a feeding tube, and 57 percent were blind or legally blind. Among the severe cases, 86 percent of the children lost their sight or needed corrective eye surgery, the report indicated.

"This article is a devastating reminder of how serious shaken baby syndrome is and how fragile these little ones are," said Linda Spears, vice president of policy and programs at Child Welfare League of America. She said children under 5 are much more likely to die due to abuse and neglect for several reasons.

"One is fragility of their little bodies, and another is that they have less ability to protect themselves," she said. "They're also less visible in the community because they rely on the people who abuse them. They're not in school yet and not seen in the community as much as older children."

Frustration is often the cause for shaking a baby. Parents can feel overwhelmed when their infant or toddler doesn’t stop crying. Potty training time is another trigger for some parents or guardians the study notes.

Parents of small children need a support system to help them through the rough times. Without one, things can get out of hand quickly.

"Shaken baby is one of the more devastating things that happen when people don't have what they need in terms of knowledge, skills, emotional maturity, concrete services and emotional support." Spears said.

She explained that "people feel incredibly inadequate in those moments, and if you have little support and little mentoring, frustration levels can get pretty high pretty quickly because parents feel upset and angry and need to feel like they can manage the situation."

The most common signs of abusive head trauma in an infant or young child are:

•       The child is not eating or is having difficulty feeding 

•       The child’s body is rigid; stiff, not flexible or feels firmly fixed.

•       The child’s eyes are glassy looking. They show no expression.

•       The child is unable to lift their head.

•       The child’s eyes are unable to focus on an object.

•       Vomiting

•       The child is lethargic.

•       The child seems constantly irritated.

In a second study, researchers tested the accuracy of a new screening method to identify which children's injuries were most likely caused by abuse.

By assessing four specific types of injuries to almost 300 children under 3 years old, the researchers determined that the method was approximately 96 percent accurate at identifying cases that were definitely caused by abusive head trauma.

Spears said providing education and support to parents, especially younger parents, is effective at preventing abusive head trauma and other forms of abuse, but it is a matter of identifying those families and getting them the support they need.

What should you do if you suspect a baby has been shaken in this way? Miller said you should report it to law enforcement or child protective services. Parents of children who may have been shaken, he said, should take their children to the emergency room, where immediate treatment may improve their long-term outcomes.

Both studies have been published in the journal Pediatrics. The newest study is in the online November issue.

Sources: Tara Haelle, http://consumer.healthday.com/head-and-neck-information-17/head-injury-news-344/abusive-head-trauma-in-babies-toddlers-can-have-lifelong-impact-693746.html

Karen Miles, http://www.babycenter.com/0_abusive-head-trauma-shaken-baby-syndrome_1501729.bc

Your Baby

Graco Agrees to Infant Car Seat Recall

2.00 to read

Graco Children’s Products has been in a battle with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) over the recall of its infant seats. In February, the company recalled 4.2 million toddler seats because the harness buckles could stick and be difficult to unlock. The NTSHA also wanted Graco to recall its infants seats because its buckles could get gummed up. The stuck buckles could make it hard to remove infants quickly, particularly in an emergency situation such as a car fire or car wreck.

Graco argued that infant seats are used differently, and in an emergency, an adult can remove the whole seat rather than using the buckle. However, parents had filed complaints with the agency and the company about the stuck buckles.

When Graco announced the initial recall in February, NHTSA sent the company a sternly worded letter questioning why the infant seats weren't included.  The letter also accused the company of soft-pedaling the recall with "incomplete and misleading" documents that will be seen by consumers. The agency threatened civil penalties.

But Graco, a division of Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid Inc., told The Associated Press at the time that rear-facing infant seats weren't being recalled because infants don't get food or drinks on their seats.

So, the battle was on with Graco hoping to avoid the largest seat recall in history. 

All that changed this week. Graco has announced that it will comply with the NTSHA’s demands and is now recalling the additional 1.9 million infant car seats.

Graco has agreed to send replacement buckles to owners of infant seats upon request.

In a June 27 letter to NHTSA, however, Graco said that further investigation showed a "higher than typical level of difficulty" in unlatching the infant seat buckles.

The company says there have been no injuries reported because of the problem. Spokeswoman Ashley Mowrey said in a statement that Tuesday's move, which brings the recall to 6.1 million seats, comes after months of sharing data and research with NHTSA. The company said the recall "is in the best interest of consumers and underscores our shared commitment to child passenger safety."

The infant-seat models covered by the recall include:

  • SnugRide,
  • SnugRide Classic Connect (including Classic Connect 30 and 35)
  • SnugRide 30
  • SnugRide 35
  • SnugRide Click Connect 40
  • Aprica A30

Graco will replace the buckles for free. The company says owners can check to see if their seats are included by going to www.GracoBuckleRecall.com or by calling (877) 766-7470.

USA Today reports that only 10 percent of people respond to child products safety recalls.  "The return rate of recalls is really abysmal," says Nancy Cowles, Kids In Danger’s executive director. "The government makes announcements, but people don't hear about them or don't respond."

The Kid’s Dr. has been following and reporting on the recall of Graco products because of the possibly dangerous situations that are associated with these toddler and infant products.

If you own a Graco toddler car seat or infant seat, be sure and check the model numbers to see if it is one of the recalled products. You’ll be glad you did.

Sources: Tom Krishner, http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/graco-agrees-recall-infant-seats-24383544

Alicia McElhaney, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/02/18/child-safety-recall-effectiveness-report/5425555/

Your Baby

Preventing Baby’s Whooping Cough Before Pregnancy

2.00 to read

If you’re planning on adding another child to your family-or thinking about starting a family-you might want to consider getting the whooping cough vaccine before you get pregnant.

Why would you do that? According to a new study from Australia, babies who are born to women that are vaccinated with the whooping cough (also known as Pertussis) vaccine before they become pregnant have a 50% lower risk of developing the disease.

Whooping cough is an infection of the respiratory system. It mainly affects infants younger than 6 months old before they are immunized, and kids 11 to 18 years old whose immunity has started to decrease. Pertussis is characterized by severe coughing spells that may produce a whooping sound when the child breathes in.

It is highly contagious and before the Pertussis vaccine was available it killed 5,000 to 10,000 people in the U.S. each year. Now that there is a vaccine, the annual number of deaths is less than 30. But in recent years, the number of cases has started to rise. By 2004, the number of whooping cough cases spiked past 25,000, the highest level it's been since the 1950s.

The researchers looked at 217 babies ages 4 months and younger who had whooping cough. They compared them with 585 healthy infants born at the same time in the same area.

They discovered that a similar percentage of mothers - in both groups - received the whooping cough vaccine. However, 41 percent of the moms of healthy babies had been vaccinated at least four weeks before their infant became sick. However, of the mothers whose babies had whooping cough, only 27 percent of mothers had been vaccinated at least four weeks earlier.

Also in the healthy baby group, 26 percent of the mothers said they had been vaccinated before their baby was born, while only 14 percent of mothers whose babies had whooping cough said they had been vaccinated before delivery.

In this program, "there was no vaccination during pregnancy, so if a woman said they had it before birth, this meant before pregnancy," said Dr. Helen Quinn, a researcher at the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Disease in Australia.

Quinn told MyHealthNewsDaily.com that in the study, vaccination before pregnancy lowered a baby's risk of developing whooping cough by a whopping 52 percent.

Another study has shown that a woman’s body doesn’t typically start to produce the anti-bodies needed to fight whooping cough until about 2 weeks after she receives the vaccine.

Researchers noted in the new study that babies who were part of large families and those who were less well off were more likely to get whooping cough. They also pointed out that babies who were breastfed were less likely to get sick.

Quinn said the findings "suggests that vaccination as part of pre-pregnancy planning would have the greatest impact on whooping cough infection."

Last year, an advisory board for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that women receive the whooping cough vaccination each time they become pregnant.

This study suggest that getting vaccinated before you become pregnant may actually offer your newborn an even better chance of being protected against whooping cough.

Sources: Karen Rowan, http://news.yahoo.com/moms-whooping-cough-vaccine-pregnancy-cuts-babies-risk-120834863.html

http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/whooping_cough.html#

Your Baby

Does Folic Acid Help Prevent Autism?

2.00 to read

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that pregnant women who take at least 600 milligrams per day of folic acid- in the first month of pregnancy - have a 38 percent lower chance of having a child with autism or Asperger's.

Folic acid, the synthetic form of the B-vitamin folate, has been added to breakfast cereals and other grains in the United States since 1998 because of evidence showing deficiencies in pregnant women made it more likely their babies would have brain and spine birth defects.

Questions remain about whether a lack of the vitamin, or difficulty processing it, might increase the risk of mental retardation and certain developmental disorders as well.

Folate "becomes very critical in the early stages of life… as well as the first year of life, when basically the brain is establishing connections and functions," said Edward Quadros from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.

"If there is a folate deficiency, this disrupts a lot of functioning with the brain," Quadros, who has studied autism and folic acid but wasn't involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.

On the other side of the coin is the belief some scientists have that the children of women who take too much folic acid during pregnancy may be at a higher risk for autism.

"There were a lot of hypotheses on how perhaps the folic acid fortification in the U.S. was responsible for the increased prevalence of autism spectrum disorders, so that was also a concern," said Rebecca Schmidt, the lead author of the new study from the University of California, Davis.

"When we starting looking at this, I thought it could go either way," she said.

The study involved moms in California. They were asked about their folic acid intake during pregnancy.

Schmidt and her colleagues surveyed the mothers of 429 preschoolers with an autism spectrum disorder and 278 with normal development about their diet and supplement use before and during pregnancy. Using that information, they calculated how much daily folic acid women were getting each month.

Throughout their pregnancies, mothers of kids without autism got more folic acid through fortified foods and vitamins than those who ended up having an autistic child.

That difference was greatest in the first month of pregnancy, when mothers of normally-developing babies remembered getting an average 779 micrograms of folic acid daily and 69 percent of them at least met the daily guidelines.

That compared to an average 655 micrograms in moms of autistic kids, 54 percent of who got the recommended 600 micrograms or more per day.

One limitation is the women had to remember their month-to-month diets and supplement use from a few years ago by the time they were surveyed, which makes their reports less reliable. Even with the new findings, there's no proof that had some moms in the study gotten more folic acid in their pregnancy diets, their children wouldn't have developed an autism spectrum disorder.

The link between folic acid and autism remained in the new study when Schmidt's team took into account mothers' age and race as well as whether they smoked or drank alcohol during their pregnancy.

Not all researchers are convinced that there is a link between folic acid and autism.

"I would be very careful," said Dr. Fernando Scaglia, who has also studied autism and folate deficiency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

"I think that more studies need to be done to see if this can be replicated."

For now, when it comes to folic acid during pregnancy, Schmidt said, "The recommendations that are out there already are pretty good to follow."

Sources: http://news.yahoo.com/less-folic-acid-pregnancy-tied-autism-study-200532640.html

http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/recent

Your Baby

No More Infant Dose of Acetaminophen

2.00 to read

Drug manufacturers will no longer be producing OTC infant acetaminophen for safety reasons. Over the counter drug makers have announced they will stop producing acetaminophen in concentrated infant drop.  The reason? They hope this will help parents reduce the confusing surrounding just how much your child should be taking.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association which is the chief trade group for OTC drug manufacturers said the move was intended to reduce dosing errors. "CHPA member companies are voluntarily making this conversion to one concentration to help make it easier for parents and caregivers to appropriately use single-ingredient liquid acetaminophen,” said CHPA CEO Scott Melville. Earlier this week, the FDA released a final guideline document for OTC liquid manufacturers stating all such products should be packaged with calibrated dosing devices. Several studies have revealed that children receive improper doses of OTC liquid medicine because parents use household spoons or because the dosages devices included in packaging are not easy to read. Our advice? Always read medication labels and use proper devices that accurately measure dosage.

Your Baby

Chemical in Plastic Tied to Preemie Problems

chemical used in many plastic products and already under scrutiny for potential health risks is suspected of raising the risk of liver problems in premature babies.A chemical used in many plastic products and already under scrutiny for potential health risks is suspected of raising the risk of liver problems in premature babies, according to a new study. The small study conducted in a German hospital suggests a chemical known as a phthalate, which is used in some intravenous feeding bags and tubing, may raise preemies' chances for liver damage. Rigorous research on phthalates' effects in humans is lacking, and at least one expert found the German study unconvincing. There is no solid proof implicating the phthalate studied, DEHP.

However, the researchers said their results show that hospitals treating newborns or preemies should turn to IV feeding equipment that doesn't contain DEHP. Some hospitals in the U.S. already have switched. Premature babies' livers are immature so they are already at risk for liver complications. They also are often fed intravenously, a practice already known to increase liver problems. The new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, says one possible reason is DEHP. Animal studies suggest the phthalate chemical may cause various health risks including liver abnormalities and reproductive system damage. Phthalates are found in many products besides medical supplies

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Your Baby

Britax Strollers recalled Due to Amputation & Injuries

1.45 to read

About 216,000 Britax strollers have been recalled in the United States and 8,800 in Canada, due to injuries and a partial fingertip amputation. 

This recall involves Britax B-Agile, B-Agile Double and BOB Motion strollers. The single and double strollers were sold in various color schemes, including black, red, kiwi, sandstone, navy and orange.

They were manufactured between March 2011 and June 2013 and have the following model numbers:

-       U341763

-       U341764

-       U341782

-       U341783 for the B-Agile strollers;

-       U361818 or U361819 for the B-Agile Double strollers

-       U391820, U391821 and U391822 for the BOB Motion strollers.

The model number and the manufacture date in YYYY/MM/DD format can be found on label located on the inside of the stroller’s metal frame near the right rear wheel. 

Britax has received eight incident reports. Incidents include one partial fingertip amputation, one broken finger and severe finger lacerations. 

The hinge on the stroller’s folding mechanism can partially amputate consumers’ fingertips, break their fingers or cause severe lacerations, among other injuries, when they press the release button while pulling on the release strap.

Consumers should stop using the recalled strollers immediately and contact Britax to receive a free repair kit. Consumers can contact Britax: Toll-free at (866) 204-1665 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, visit the company’s websites at www.britaxusa.com  or www.bobgear.com and click on “Safety Notice” at the top right corner or on “Learn More” at the bottom center of the page, or e-mail strollerrecall@britax.com for more information.

The strollers were sold at major retailers and juvenile products stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com, albeebaby.com, buybuybaby.com, diapers.com, ToysRUs.com and other online retailers from May 2011 through June 2013 for between $250 and $450.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Strollers-Recalled-by-Britax

Your Baby

New Guidelines for Newborn Genetic Screenings

2.00 to read

Certain medical conditions can be present at birth but not easily identifiable. Metabolic or inherited disorders can impede a child’s normal physical and or mental development in lots of different ways. Without even knowing that they are carriers, parents can pass on the genes that produce these types of disorders. That’s where genetic screening of newborns comes in. With a simple blood test doctors can tell if the newborn has a condition that may eventually cause the child problems. Some of these disorders, if treated early, can be managed.

The federal government has not set any national standards, but many states have mandatory newborn screening programs. Parents can opt out of genetic testing if they want. Parents should discuss genetic screening with their pediatrician or child’s doctor so they can weigh the pros and cons.

Many states screen for more than 30 disorders and the screenings are often covered in the delivery and hospital charges. If a parent wants expanded testing on their newborn, they may have to pay an extra cost but it may be worth it to their baby.

To help guide states and parents determine what criteria should be used for genetic screening, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics just offered new guidelines.

The new guidelines say that all newborns should be tested for the genetic diseases that are included in their state's newborn screening panel, but anything beyond that is up to parents and the decision must be made in the child's best interest.

The recommendations distinguish between genetic testing for childhood onset conditions versus those for adult onset conditions.

"There is an important role for counseling before and after genetic screening," added policy author Dr. Lainie Friedman Ross, a pediatrician and ethicist at the University of Chicago. "The focus should be on education of families, counseling them and helping them make decisions that focus on the child's best interest."

Testing for disease in the presence of symptoms is another area addressed by the new recommendations. "Clearly, if a child has symptoms, we need a diagnosis to help the family make clinical decisions that are in the child's best interest. This is important even when the disease has no current therapies," Friedman Ross added.

She also said that the results should be explained to the child when they reach the appropriate age.

New technology offers direct-to-consumer genetic screening tests, but the authors caution parents about using these products because of a lack of oversight and results are open to interpretation.

Some experts agree that being forewarned is being forearmed, but are not fans of the direst-to-consumer genetic tests.

"We highly discourage these even on adults, and particularly on children, because there is nobody there to provide counseling and interpretation," says Dr. Joyce Fox, a medical genetics doctor at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. “These can also be very costly, and are likely not covered by insurance." Fox says.

Parents should educate themselves about genetic screening before the baby is born.  Most babies are born healthy and glide right through the genetic screening. But there are cases when the genetic testing panel reveals serious conditions such as PKU or Sickle Cell Anemia. 

If a baby’s screening results are negative, it means the tests did not show any signs of the conditions in the screening. On the other hand, if there are any positive results, it means there are signs of one or more of the conditions included in the screening,

A positive result does not always mean that the baby has the condition. It does mean though, that further testing is needed to make a final determination.

Early treatment for some of the conditions screened for can prevent serious future complications; so don’t delay if more tests are needed.

Pediatricians and geneticists say they approve of the new guidelines. The guidelines were published online in the journal Pediatrics.

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Sources: Denise Mann, http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=673692

http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/medical/newborn_screening_tests.html#cat150

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