Your Baby

Newborn Safety Tips

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If you’re expecting, you may have already begun decorating your baby’s room with a crib, rocking chair, mobile and changing table. While it’s tempting to fill your newborn’s crib with stuffed animals, blankets, pillows or toys - bare is the safest route to go.

The Consumer Protection and Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends removing pillows, quilts, comforters or cushions from your baby’s crib, bassinet or play yard.

Many times cribs are handed down from friends and family members. It’s a good idea to give a second hand crib a thorough inspection. Always use a crib that meets current CPSC standards. Newer standards have stringent requirements for various parts of the crib, such as mattress supports, slats, and hardware.

CPSC offers a three minute video on their website outlining safe sleep tips for infants. You can watch the video at http://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/Multimedia/?vid=61784.

A few of the tips included in the video are:

  • Never place your crib up against a window with blinds. A window can create a fall hazard and blind cords can cause strangulation.
  • To prevent suffocation, remove pillows and thick quilts. A baby’s face can become pressed into these items and stop the flow of air into his or her lungs. 
  • Make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
  • Make sure your crib has a firm mattress and fits tightly into the crib on all four sides.
  • Do not use cribs older than 10 years or broken or modified cribs. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped.

Many new parents worry about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  There can be numerous contributors to the cause of SIDS, but in 1992 doctors discovered the key reason was stomach sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign to educate parents on the dangers of placing their baby on their stomach or side to sleep.  

  • Place your baby on his or her back to help prevent suffocation. Baby’s placed on their side tend to roll over onto their stomach – pressing their face into the mattress.
  • Never place your baby on top of pillows or comforters.
  • Never fall asleep with your baby in bed with you. A parent who is sleeping may unknowingly roll over on their infant and cause their baby to suffocate.
  • Overheating is a known cause of SIDS. Make sure your infant is not over-wrapped or dressed in clothing that is too heavy for the temperature in the room. Your baby may be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash or rapid breathing.
  • Place your baby’s crib in a cigarette smoke-free room.
  • Don’t place your baby on a chair, sofa, waterbed or an adult mattress to sleep alone.

A large number of cribs are recalled due to faulty parts. Often these cribs are imported. Make sure your crib hasn’t been recalled by checking the CPSC website. Parents and caregivers can sign up to receive emails on recalls pertaining to infants and children at cpsc.gov, keepingbabiessafe.org, or aap.org.

To keep your baby warm, dress him or her in footed pajamas. If your baby needs more warmth, use a baby “sleeping bag.” Infant sleeping bags remove the need for blankets and can help prevent baby from rolling onto his tummy during sleep. They can be used from birth for babies who don't like being wrapped. Or they can be used from the time when baby resists wrapping or becomes too old for it (usually around 4 months or as soon as he can roll onto his tummy).

Look for sleeping bags that have a fitted neck, armholes or sleeves and no hood.

In warmer months, a lightweight footed-sleeper is good or a “Onesie,” a one-piece shirt that snaps over a diaper.  

Talk to your pediatrician or family doctor if you have any questions about caring for your infant. It’s a new experience for parents and you don’t receive a baby manual when you leave the hospital. Doctors have heard any question you may have, so there are no silly or stupid questions when it comes to your baby’s safety!

Sources; http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx

http://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/cribs/

Your Baby

Autism & Vaccine Study Details

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The investigation published in the British Medical Journal by Brian Deer lays out in detail, how the paper published in 1998 by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism was a deliberate fraud.A 1998 study, that linked the MMR vaccine to autism, has been found to be false. 

The investigation published in the British Medical Journal by Brian Deer lays out in detail, how the paper published in 1998 by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism was a deliberate fraud. According to the investigation, a law firm that hoped to sue the vaccine manufacturers hired Wakefield. The law firm wanted Wakefield to provide scientific evidence that vaccines caused autism. Wakefield received roughly $750,000 for his efforts. The conclusions in the research paper by Wakefield and colleagues, were renounced by 10 of its 13 authors, and in February of 2010 were retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was originally published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered. The analysis found that despite the claim in Wakefield's paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR shot, that in fact, the children's medical records show that some clearly had symptoms of developmental problems long before getting their shots, BMJ says. Several had no autism diagnosis at all. This week, Wakefield continued to defend himself, calling the journalist "a hit man" during an interview with CNN. And some parents of autistic children and other advocates argue that the criticisms of Wakefield are actually attempts to close off research into the safety of vaccines. "A character assassination initiative against those who look for answers only serves to stunt medical progress for our children and perpetuate unnecessary public health risks," said Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, in a prepared statement. But health officials counter that the science is settled and prolonging the debate is dangerous. Few studies have had such far-reaching and harmful effects, especially after being so thoroughly discredited, says William Schaffner, an infectious-disease expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Vaccination rates in England plummeted after Wakefield's news conference to promote his study. Measles outbreaks in the United Kingdom and Ireland hospitalized hundreds of people and killed four children, says Paul Offit, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Nearly 40% of American parents also have declined or delayed a vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many parents now have a vague distrust of vaccines — with little to no memory of diseases that terrified their grandparents, Schaffner says. Offit says it may take years to rebuild trust in vaccines. "It's very hard to un-scare people. You can do study after study, but people are far more compelled by their fears than by their reason." For Pediatrician Sue Hubbard's insight into the autism and vaccine report, check out her Daily Dose post at http://www.kidsdr.com/daily-dose/vaccine-autism-study-a-fraud

Your Baby

Safer Baby Cribs

1.45 to read

New rules by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are established to keep your baby safer while sleeping in their crib.Babies spend most of their time sleeping, and the safest place to drift off into dreamland should be their crib.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to approve new mandatory standards for full-size and non-full-size baby cribs as mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The federal crib standards had not been updated in nearly 30 years and these new rules are expected to usher in a safer generation of cribs. Once they become effective, the mandatory crib standards will: (1) stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs; (2) make mattress supports stronger; (3) make crib hardware more durable; and (4) make safety testing more rigorous. CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007. Detaching drop-side rails were associated with at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000. Additional deaths have occurred due to faulty or defective hardware. These new standards aim to prevent these tragedies and keep children safe in their cribs. Effective June- 2011, cribs manufactured, sold, or leased in the United States must comply with the new federal standards. Effective 24 months after the rule is published, child care facilities, such as family child care homes and infant Head Start centers, and places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, must have compliant cribs in their facilities. The full-size and non-full-size crib standards adopted the current ASTM International voluntary standards with additional technical modifications. The rule will be among the toughest in the world, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenebaum said. Tenenbaum has made crib safety one of the biggest priorities at the CPSC in her 18-month tenure. Her “safe sleep” initiative is broader than the crib rule, encouraging parents to place sleeping infants on their backs and warning about the risk of suffocation from soft bedding. The regulations approved today will result in cribs with tighter fittings and more durable sides and mattress supports. Tougher tests will be used to simulate wear over time. A trio of child-care industry groups -- the National Head Start Association , the National Association for Family Child Care and the Early Care and Education Consortium -- puts the price tag for replacing cribs at $600 million. “Parents and caregivers should have peace of mind that when they leave their baby in a crib that their baby will be safe,” said Rachel Weintraub, product safety director for the Consumer Federation of America. “For too long, that has not been the case.” The need for the tougher testing was evident for years before Congress acted, said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Chicago-based “Kids in Danger”, an advocacy group. Aside from the drop-side design, other kinds of hardware failures have resulted in fatalities, she said. Cribs made under the new rule will be much safer than existing models, even ones that have been repaired through recalls, Cowles said. “There’s going to be a huge difference in how sturdy these cribs are,” she said.

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

Preventing Baby’s Whooping Cough Before Pregnancy

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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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