Your Baby

Strangulations Prompt Recall of Baby Video Monitors

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The cords can present a strangulation hazard to infants and toddlers if placed too close to a crib. Summer Infant is recalling millions of it's baby video monitors because of infant strangulations with the monitor’s electrical cord.


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Summer Infant Inc., of Woonsocket, R.I., is announcing the voluntary recall to provide new on product label and instructions for about 1.7 million video baby monitors with electrical cords. Because of this serious strangulation risk, parents and caregivers should never place these and other corded cameras within three feet of a crib. Over the past year CPSC and the firm have received reports of two strangulation deaths of infants with the electrical cords of Summer Infant video baby monitors. In March 2010 a 10-month old girl from Washington, D.C. strangled in her crib in the electrical cord of a Summer Infant video monitor. The monitor camera had been placed on top of the crib rail. In November 2010 CPSC received a report of a six-month old boy from Conway, S.C., who strangled in the electrical cord of a baby monitor placed on the changing table attached to the crib. In January 2011 CPSC learned the product involved was a Summer Infant video baby monitor. CPSC and the firm are also aware of a near strangulation incident in which a 20-month old boy from Pittsburg, Pa. was found in his crib with the camera cord wrapped around his neck. The Summer Infant monitor camera was mounted on the wall, but the child was still able to reach the cord. He was freed from the cord without serious injury. Summer Infant has initiated a campaign to provide new on-product labels for electric cords and instructions to consumers with the recalled video monitors distributed between January 2003 and February 2011. The baby monitors were sold at major retailers, mass merchandisers, and juvenile products stores nationwide for between $60 and $300. They were sold in more than 40 different models, including handheld, digital, and color video monitors. All video monitors include both the camera (placed in the baby's room) and the hand held device (some models have two hand-held devices) that enable the caregiver to see and/or hear the baby from a specific distance. The brand "Summer" is found on the product. The product was manufactured in China. CPSC offers the following safety tips to prevent deaths and injuries associated with baby monitor cords:

  • Use a wireless baby monitor to avoid risk of strangulation.
  • If using a baby monitor with cords, make sure all cords are out of arms reach of your child.

Safety tips for other corded products: •            Examine all shades and blinds in your home. Make sure there are no accessible cords on the front, side, or back of the product. CPSC recommends the use of cordless window coverings in all homes where children live or visit. •            Do not place beds, cribs, play yards and other furniture close to windows because children can climb on them and gain access to window blind cords. •            Keep wall decorations with ribbons or streamers away from cribs and well out of reach of children. •            Remove all drawstrings from the neck and hood area of outerwear or jackets of young children, as they pose a strangulation hazard. CPSC and Summer Infant urge parents to immediately check the location of the video monitors, including cameras mounted on the wall, and all electric cords to make sure the cords are out of arm's reach of their child. Consumers should contact Summer Infant toll-free at (800) 426-8627 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at to receive a new permanent electric cord warning label about the strangulation risk and revised instructions about how to safely mount camera and keep cords out of child's reach. In October 2010 CPSC issued a safety alert warning consumers that there had been six reports of strangulation in baby monitor cords since 2004. Since that alert the number of death reports has risen to seven. CPSC has revised the safety alert: Infants Can Strangle in Baby Monitor Cords. To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the hazard and the new warning label, please go to: TSummer Infant video baby monitorSummer Infant Video Baby Monitors

Your Baby

Alert: Baby Sling Recall

Recall of popular baby sling carrierParents be advised:  over 1 million baby sling carriers have been recalled today less than 2 weeks after the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about these sling-style carriers.  

According to the CPSC, 14 infant deaths have been associated with these sling-style carriers.

sling2The models being recalled:  the "Slingrider" or "Wendy Bellissimo"  from Infantino. The CPSC says these type of slings can pose a suffocation risk.  The commission is advising parents and caregivers to stop using the recalled slings immediately and contact Infantinio to receive a free replacement product.
The report said that many of the babies who died in slings were low-birth-weight twin, were born prematurely or had a cold.
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

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,, or

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!


Your Baby

“Five S’s” Comfort Baby After Vaccinations

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Once an infant is given his or her vaccination, it’s up to mom or dad to find a way to comfort their crying baby. In a new study, researchers say the five “S’s” may help.

The five S’s are swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking.

Pediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp, in the book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, popularized the method.

Based on the new study, the result is less pain and a lot less crying, said Dr. John W. Harrington, of Eastern Virginia Medical School and Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, who led the study.

"It's probably working as a distraction technique," Harrington told Reuters Health in an interview.

Different infants will respond to different methods of comfort, whether it's swaddling, a pacifier or being rocked, Harrington said. "If you do all of the 5 S's, you're likely to hit upon the one that will help a child soothe himself."

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

After the vaccine is given, the baby is wrapped in a snuggly tight blanket. She or he is then placed on their side or stomach and gently “shushed” and rocked. If that fails, a pacifier is then given.

The study included 234 two- and four-month-old infants having routine vaccinations.

The researchers divided the babies into four groups. In the "control" group, infants were given a tiny bit of water right before their shots, and after the jab they were passed to their parents for comforting. A second group got sugar water instead of plain water.

The other two groups received either water or sugar water before their shots, and then the 5 S's afterward.

Overall, the researchers found, the 5-S groups showed fewer signs of pain -- less grimacing and frowning. And their crying faded sooner.

Only a few were still crying one minute after vaccination, versus about half of the babies in the control group and 30 percent of infants given sugar water only.

By offering physical comfort and a soothing voice, "I think we're just tapping into kids' natural ways of comforting themselves," Harrington said.

After the baby is vaccinated in a busy pediatrician’s office, are the 5 S’s really practical?

This study, Harrington said, was designed to test whether the measures work -- not how effectively they can be done in everyday practice. Harrington had pediatric residents on hand to do the 5 S's, which is a luxury not available in the real world.

But ideally, parents can be taught over the course of their routine "well-child" visits to perform at least some of the 5 S's, according to Harrington.

That way, parents will learn some extra tools for soothing their baby anytime, and not just after a needle stick. "Parents could do this instead of just giving them a bottle," Harrington said.

And unlike breastfeeding, he added, "dads can do this, too."

* Sucking is a natural calming reflex and helps baby’s level of relaxation rise.

* Swaddling is the cornerstone of claming. Swaddling also helps keep babies from accidentally flipping onto their stomach. Avoid overheating and loose blankets. I recommend wrapping babies with their arms straight at their sides. Wrapping with flexed arms usually fails because the arms soon wiggle free. Swaddling is the cornerstone of calming. Swaddling is the only "S" that does not directly turn on the calming reflex. In fact, many babies struggle even more for a minute or two when first swaddled with straight arms; that's probably because their biceps are hypertonic from their position in utero—we don't know with certainty.

* Shushing. The louder a baby cries, the louder the shushing has to be to calm him. The noise needs to be as loud as a baby is crying for it to trigger the calming reflex.

* Side or stomach position. This "S" can be activated by putting a baby on her side, on her stomach (again, not for sleeping), or over an adult's shoulder. Some babies are so sensitive to position that, even on their side, they won't calm down if they are rolled the least bit toward their back. All babies should be put on their back to sleep.

Unfortunately the calming reflex goes away after about three months, Karp says, and Harrington found the 5 S's didn't work as well with 4-month-olds as with 2-month-olds.

But it’s worth a try!


Your Baby

Baby's Sun Exposure Could Mean Cancer Later

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A new review says that skin changes due to sun exposure in babies may put them at risk of skin cancers such as melanoma in adulthood, noting that babies are more prone to the damaging effects of UV radiation to the skin cells.If too much sun is bad for adult's skin, can you imagine what it’s doing to a baby? According to a review in the July issue of Pediatrics, it could be setting a child up for melanoma or other skin cancers later in life.


Ultraviolet (UV)  rays are invisible rays produced by the sun.  UV radiation can suppress the immune system and damage skin cells - a process that may happen more quickly in babies than in adults, the authors note. Young skin is delicate and thinner. It produces less melanin, a skin protecting pigment. UV rays can reach the pigment producing melanin cells, called melanocytes, and damage them. Damage to those cells is a "precursor to melanoma," says Robin Gehris, M.D., the chief of pediatric dermatologic surgery at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "Infant skin may be even more prone to sun damage than we had thought, and that might be important later on for melanoma and other cancer risk," says Gehris, who was not involved in the new review. Sun exposure earlier in life, from infancy through adolescence, seems to be associated with different cell changes and an earlier diagnosis of melanoma than exposure in the adult years, the article points out. One study cited in the review has projected that 1 in 33 babies born today will develop melanoma during their lives, versus 1 in 1,500 babies born in 1935. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which publishes Pediatrics, advises parents to keep children 6 months or younger out of the sun completely. For older babies, the AAP recommends dressing infants in brimmed hats and sun-protective clothing, applying sunscreen to any small patches of exposed skin, and minimizing sun exposure during the midday hours, when the sun is at its hottest. What is melanoma? Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Treatment for melanoma depends on what stage the cancer is when diagnosed. The cancerous skin cells and some normal tissue that surrounds the cancer will need to be surgically removed. How much normal tissue is removed depends mostly on how deep the melanoma has grown. If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, these lymph nodes may also need to be removed. Treatment with interferon after surgery may be useful for these patients. For patients with melanoma that has spread beyond the skin and nearby lymph nodes to other organs, treatment is more difficult. At this point, melanoma is usually not curable. Treatment is usually directed at shrinking the tumor and improving symptoms. That’s why pediatricians, and other physicians, are so adamant about warning people of the dangers of too much sun.  Melanoma can cut short a promising life. For older babies, the AAP recommends dressing infants in brimmed hats and sun-protective clothing, applying sunscreen to any small patches of exposed skin, and minimizing sun exposure during the midday hours, when the sun is at its hottest. When out in the sun, use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays. 
Be sure to apply enough sunscreen. Use about one ounce per sitting for a young adult, and 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. To make sure that your child’s sunscreen hasn’t worn off, use one that is opaque. It won’t disappear into the skin. That way you can tell if your child’s skin is still protected. The next time either you or your child is going to be spending any time in the sun– don’t forget the sunscreen! It’s as important as anything else you take with you.

Your Baby

Frequent Feedings May Make Babies Fat

Mothers who fail to notice signs that their babies are full tend to overfeed them, resulting in excess weight gain when the infants are between six months and a year old a new study says. Researchers from Rutgers University looked at 96 low-income black and Hispanic mothers who formula-fed their babies. The mothers recorded information about their babies' feedings and researchers visited the mothers when the infants were three, six and 12 months old to observe feedings and to weigh the babies.

The study then looked at a number of possible variables linked to infant weight gain and found that the number of feedings a day at six months approached significance in predicting weight gain from six to 12 months. It also found that mothers who were less sensitive to signals that their babies were full had infants who gained more weight. "More frequent feedings, particularly with formula, are an easy culprit on which to assign blame," the researchers wrote. But a mother's "unwillingness to slow the pace of feedings or terminate the feeding when the infant shows satiation cues may be overriding the infant's ability to self-regulate its intake," they said. The researchers said that changing a mother's feeding habits could be extremely challenging. "Feeding an infant is a primal behavior, and to suggest to a new mother that she is feeding her infant too often, too much or, worse yet, is not very good at reading her infant's signals would require an extremely skilled nurse or social worker," they said. "Giving counsel after watching a mother feed her infant might be seen as threatening or, at the very least, meddling, and just pointing it out could be construed as an accusation of 'poor mothering.'"

Your Baby

Study: Fracking Linked to Babies Low Birth Weight

High volume fracturing, also known as fracking, has increased in production all through the United States. The process allows access to large amounts of natural gas trapped in shale deposits by utilizing natural gas wells.

These types of wells were once more likely to be found in rural settings but are now increasingly located in and near populated neighborhoods.

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania has found a link between mothers who live close to high volume fracking wells and an increased risk of having a lower birth weight baby.

Researchers analyzed the birth records of more than 15,400 babies born in Pennsylvania's Washington, Westmoreland and Butler counties between 2007 and 2010.

Women who lived close to a high number of natural gas fracking sites were 34 percent more likely to have babies who were "small for gestational age" than mothers who did not live close to a large number of such wells, the study found.

Small for gestational age means a baby is smaller than normal based on the number of weeks the baby has been in the womb, according to the March of Dimes.

The findings held true even after other factors were accounted for such as whether the mother smoked, her race, age, education and prenatal care. Also taken into account was whether she had previous children and the baby’s gender.

Like other cities around the country, the number of fracking sites in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale has increased substantially in the last few years. In 2007 there were 44 wells; by 2010, more than 2,800.

"Our work is a first for our region and supports previous research linking unconventional gas development and adverse health outcomes," study co-author Bruce Pitt, chair of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health's Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, said in a university news release.

"These findings cannot be ignored. There is a clear need for studies in larger populations with better estimates of exposure and more in-depth medical records," he added.

The main concerns around fracking sites are the air and noise pollution and waste fluids.

"Developing fetuses are particularly sensitive to the effects of environmental pollutants. We know that fine particulate air pollution, exposure to heavy metals and benzene, and maternal stress all are associated with lower birth weight," Pitt said.

While the study provides an association between fracking and lower weight babies, it does not prove that living close to a high concentration of natural gas fracking sites causes lower birth weights. Researchers said that they believe the study’s findings warrant further investigations.

The study was published online in the June edition of the journal PLOS One.

Source: Robert Preidt,

Your Baby

40% of Parents Start Baby on Solid Foods Too Early

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When should babies be introduced to solid foods? Many physician groups and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend waiting till your infant is at least 6 months old before solid foods are introduced into his or her diet.

But a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that 4 in 10 parents start feeding their babies solid foods before their four-month birthday.

Why should parents wait? According to the AAP, it’s partly because early solid foods have been linked to obesity and other chronic conditions. Public health experts also agree that a mother’s breast milk or nutritionally fortified formula is best fed exclusively till the baby is about 6 months old.

"Introducing solid foods early means that the baby gets less breast milk over the course of their infancy, and that decreases the ability to get optimal benefits, like protection against infection," said Dr. Alice Kuo, from the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.

Choking on solid foods is another concern experts have noted.

"Infants should be able to sit up (and) take food off the spoon," said the CDC's Kelley Scanlon, who worked on the research." Sometimes if they're not ready, if they get presented with the food, they might not open their mouth… or they might spit it back up."

The team’s research included 1,334 new moms who filled out questionnaires each month about what their baby had eaten in the past week. The surveys were conducted between 2005 and 2007, when AAP recommendations called for starting solid foods no earlier than four months of age. Just over 40 percent of parents reported their babies were eating solids, such as cereals and purees, before that point.

Why were the mothers feeding solid foods so early? They gave several answers. They thought their baby was old enough, their infant seemed hungry – even after being breastfed or given a bottle, and surprisingly many reported that their doctor or nurse had recommended they start introducing solid foods.

"There's not clear communication of the recommendations or the potential health impacts of early introduction," Scanlon told Reuters Health.

9% said they had actually introduced baby solid food before their child was one-month old according to findings published in the journal Pediatrics.

Women who reported exclusive breastfeeding during their baby's first couple of months were less likely to introduce solid foods earlier than recommended compared to formula-feeding mothers, the CDC researchers found. says that between 4 and 6 months old, babies begin to develop the coordination needed to close their lips around a spoon as well as move solid foods from the back of the their mouths for swallowing.

Starting solid food too early can:

- Pose a risk of aspiration — or sucking food into the airway — since most babies don't have the oral motor skills to safely swallow foods before age 4 months.

- Cause a baby to get too much or not enough calories or nutrients.

- Increase a baby's risk of obesity.

Kuo said the new findings are further evidence that pediatricians should tailor their messages about breastfeeding and solid foods to each particular parent and child - rather than always giving "the same spiel" about introducing solids at the four-month visit.

"The decision to start solid foods in babies has to be a compromise between what makes sense for the baby and what makes sense for the mom, who most likely is working," she said.

And what about the old wives tale of feeding a little solid food at night will help baby sleep better? Research has shown that it doesn't.

Genevra Pittman,

Your Baby

Babies’ Sleep Problems May Not Go Away

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Does your baby have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep? Unfortunately for exhausted parents, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, says that may not change anytime soon.

The U.S. study found that babies with sleep issues are several times more likely to still have difficulties when they are toddlers compared to babies who sleep well.

Many children have an occasional nightmare, or trouble falling asleep – that’s not considered a sleep problem. When nightmares, waking up during the night, trouble falling to sleep, or the inability to sleep in the child’s own bed happen on a continuous basis then parents and children are exhausted, and that’s a major problem.

Researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio found that 1in10 children under the age of 3 have sleep problems.

"Oftentimes the message is, 'Don't worry about Susie, this is typical and it will get better,'" said lead author Kelly Byars, a pediatric psychologist. But her team found, and other experts agreed, that frequently it doesn't.

Sleep problems "definitely start early, and (the researchers) showed that sleep problems persist over years," said Lisa Meltzer, a pediatric sleep specialist at National Jewish Health in Colorado, who was not involved in the study.

"Children don't outgrow sleep problems, and their data shows this quite clearly."

The news agency, Reuters, describes how the study was conducted.

During the study, researchers surveyed more than 250 mothers about their children's sleep behaviors when the children were six, 12, 24 and 36 months old.

If the children started out with no sleep problems, chances were good that none would develop, the study found.

But 21 to 35 out of every 100 children with a sleep problem continued to have issues later on.

The researchers also found that the types of sleep problems shifted as the children grew older.

When the children were under two years old, the most common issues reported included trouble falling and staying asleep. At age three, the children more frequently had nightmares and restlessness.

While formal sleep disorders are considered more medically serious, Byars said that sleep problems can have an impact on children's mood, attention, learning and development -- not to mention the sleep of parents.

"Sleep needs to be a priority for the entire family. Parents need to have consistent bedtimes, wake times and consistent bedtime routines. Research has shown that all those things are very important," Meltzer said.

So what is a parent to do?

Since most first time parents are learning as they go, they often overlook helping their baby establish a consistent sleep routine. offers this advice for parents or caregivers. 

Create a schedule and stick to it. A tried and true method for helping your baby learn to fall asleep is to work on your bedtime routine and teach your baby to fall asleep on his own. This usually means falling asleep without rocking, nursing, or drinking a bottle. You can still do all of those things, just move them to a little earlier in your bedtime routine and put your baby down in his crib while he is drowsy, but still awake.

Next, be consistent and try to do all of the same things, in the same way, at the same time each evening.

If your baby doesn't settle down after a few minutes, try to comfort him quickly and put him back down before he falls asleep. He should eventually learn to fall asleep on his own and comfort himself back to sleep if he wakes up at night.

Sleeping on a schedule is actually a new experience for babies. It’s something they have to learn how to do.

There are a couple of things that parents should NOT do when trying to get their infant to sleep comfortably.

These include:

  • Giving your baby solid foods at an early age in the belief that she is waking during the night because she is hungry. There's no research to support this, and you'll just condition her to want to eat during the night.
  • Eliminating naps during the daytime. Don't do it. This risks making your baby overtired, which will make it harder for her to fall and stay asleep.
  • Putting your baby to bed later. Like eliminating naps, this will likely make your baby overly tired, making it harder for her to fall asleep. In fact, for many babies, an earlier bedtime leads to a more restful night's sleep.
  • Never co-sleep with your infant. This arrangement can make breast-feeding easier and can help the mother rest. But there is controversy about whether bed sharing decreases or increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Other safety issues, such as accidental entrapment or suffocation, may be more likely to occur in an adult bed.
  • Do not lay your baby on its stomach to sleep. Laying your infant on his or her back reduces the risk of SIDS, which is more common among premature infants than full-term infants.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s sleep habits or problems, be sure and talk to your pediatrician.



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