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Your Child

Bullying: Kids Helping Kids to Stop


Being bullied in school can be at the least annoying and at the worse, enough to make someone try to take their own life.

While adults have searched for ways to get the message across that bullying is not acceptable, certain kids who have a high amount of social influence over their peers may be the best resource for reducing the hateful interaction, according to a new study.

Schools with the largest numbers of these "social influencers" had the largest declines in student conflict, the findings showed.

The study included students from 56 New Jersey middle schools who had strong social influence within their peer groups. These kids weren't always the most popular kids in a particular grade, but had influence in their peer group.

The investigators selected the teens using a tool called social network mapping that allowed them to identify the kids who had the most connections, both online and off.

The researchers came up with their own plan and asked the kids to spread messages about the dangers of bullying and more positive ways of handling conflict. These anti-bullying messages were promoted through Instagram, print posters and colorful wristbands.

"We designed our own curriculum because current programs address problems as defined by adults, and they aren't necessarily fitted to each individual school environment," lead author Elizabeth Levy Paluck, an associate professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University, said in a university news release.

"We think the best way to change social norms is to have these student influencers speak in their own voices. Encouraging their own messages to bubble up from the bottom using a grassroots approach can be very powerful," she added.

Kids were more likely to choose not to bully or to find other ways of handing stress or anger when their peers made it known that they did not approve.

"When adults choose student leaders, they typically pick the 'good' kids. But the leaders we find through social network mapping are influential among students and are not all the ones who would be selected by adults. Some of the students we find are right smack in the center of student conflicts. But the point is, these are the students whose behavior gets noticed more," she explained.

Source: Robert Preidt,

Your Child

Lung Ultrasounds as Effective as Chest X-Rays for Detecting Pneumonia


Traditionally, when a child shows up at the ER or physician’s office with suspected pneumonia, a chest x-ray is ordered to verify a diagnosis.

A new report says that lung ultrasounds may offer a safer and equally effective alternative for diagnosing pneumonia in children.

"Ultrasound is portable, cost-saving and safer for children than an X-ray because it does not expose them to radiation," explained study leader Dr. James Tsung. He is an associate professor in the departments of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Ultrasound, also called sonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images that lead to diagnosis and treatment of many diseases and medical conditions. Radiation is not used in ultrasound testing, but is used in x-rays and CT scans.

The study looked at 191 emergency department patients, aged 21 and younger, who were randomly assigned to either an investigational group or a control group.

Patients in the investigational group had lung ultrasound and, if additional verification was needed, a follow-up chest X-ray. Those in the control group had a chest X-ray followed by lung ultrasound.

The patients in the investigational group had nearly 39 percent fewer chest X-rays, with no missed cases of pneumonia and no increase in complications. The reduction in chest X-rays led to overall cost savings of $9,200 and an average decrease in time spent in the emergency department of 26 minutes, according to the study published April 12 in the journal Chest.

"Our study could have a profound impact in the developing world where access to radiography is limited," Tsung said in an Icahn news release.

Pneumonia is a leading cause of death among children worldwide. Chest X-ray is considered the best way to diagnose pneumonia in children, but about three-quarters of the world's population does not have access to X-rays, according to the World Health Organization.

Parents in the U.S. may want to request a lung ultrasound instead of a chest x-ray when that option is available, to avoid their child’s exposure to radiation.

Story source: Robert Preidt,

Your Child

Positioning an Unconscious Child


Children that have lost consciousness and are placed on their sides have lower odds of needing to stay in the hospital, according to a new European study.

"This is just a simple part of the first aid and resuscitation techniques that anyone can be taught," said Dr. Elizabeth Murray, who was not involved with the new study but is an expert in pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Rochester Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in New York.

The “recovery” position has the patient on their side, with the mouth facing downward to allow any fluid to drain. The researchers say this position should be used on unconscious children who are breathing normally with already cleared airways.

The researchers looked at data on 553 infants and children up to age 18 who were brought to 11 pediatric emergency rooms across Europe for loss of consciousness in 2014.

As reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, the average age was about three years. The average time spent unconscious was about two minutes, although about a third of the group had lost consciousness for more than 20 minutes.

About one in five patients had an existing condition like epilepsy. And about half of the patients had previously lost consciousness.

About 26 percent of parents had put their children into the recovery position, with about 70 percent of those parents reporting they'd learned that technique from doctors or first aid classes.

Those who were put into the recovery position were ultimately 72 percent less likely to be admitted to the hospital than those who weren't put in the position.

More than half of the parents had tried other potentially dangerous techniques to bring their child out of an unconscious state, such as shaking or slapping them.

Those parents said they had learned those techniques from other family members or from media outlets such as TV shows or the movies.

"You can understand why a family member would do anything to make it stop," said Murray. "Just like fever or other medical conditions, there are remedies or potentially folklore that can be passed down."

Kids whose parents used a potentially dangerous technique to try to restore consciousness had twice the odds of being admitted to the hospital, according to the researchers, who were led by Dr. Sebastien Julliand of Paris Diderot University in France.

Murray told Reuters Health that parents who don’t know what to do in this kind of situation, should call 911 and speak to an emergency operator. "It’s really important to remember that the majority of dispatchers in our 911 system can give advice over the phone," she said.

Source: Andrew M. Seaman,


Your Child

Safest Sports? Baseball & Softball

1.45 to read

Good news for parents whose kids who are engaged in America’s favorite pastime, baseball and softball. They are some of the safest sports for children to play. With all the warnings about sport’s injuries – it’s refreshing to hear that one of the country’s original sports ranks high in safe play.

Of course, like any other sport, kids should be properly trained and parents shouldn’t push them too hard.

Under new guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in the journal Pediatrics, the biggest risks are that kids are stressing their arms too often and learning new skills before their bodies are ready for them.

"Moderation is key here. Don't push that kid too hard, too young," said Timothy Hewett, head of the Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and a consultant to the AAP's guidelines committee. "There are so many young Roger Clemenses out there that don't make it into high school or college ball, because their arms are shot by the time they get there."

Youth baseball and softball have fewer injured players compared to other sports. Those that do occur, however, tend to be more severe such as broken bones and concussions. They just don’t happen as often. Catastrophic and life-threatening injuries are very uncommon.

The new guidelines emphasize preventive measures through proper equipment and education, as well as moderation when it comes to growing athletes.

Little Leaguers and T-ball players should use lower-impact balls and wear face guards on their batting helmets or use other protective eyewear. Batting gloves and rubber spikes, instead of metal ones, are recommended, as are cups for boys.

The guidelines suggest that all children should learn how to avoid fastballs while at bat, or line drives straight at the pitcher. And as in other sports, any children showing signs of a concussion after getting hit in the head need to be checked by a doctor.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) should be kept nearby in case heart rhythm is thrown off after a ball hits the chest, the guidelines added.

Experts agree that some of the most common injuries are from children who overdo it on the field. These are some of the more worrisome injuries and the most preventable.

Pitchers especially shouldn't pitch if their arms are still tired from the last game, shouldn't learn new pitches like sliders and curveballs too soon, and should do exercises to strengthen their core muscles.

Children 14 and under shouldn't be throwing more than 65 pitches a day, and should be pitching no more than three days a week, said Hewitt, at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Orthopedic surgeons are treating younger children with the same kinds of injuries they used to see only in older and more experienced players. Some players are pitching in multiple leagues as well as in showcase events on weekends, and experts agree that that is too much strain on younger children.

"Sometimes, for their own good, you have to hold them back, and that's what gets lost on people," said Stephen Rice at the Jersey Shore Sports Medicine Center, a lead author of the guidelines.

"Every child grows and moves forward at different rates. You don't want to hurry and push your kid to do things they aren't ready for."

If your child plays softball or baseball you already know that tournaments and special events can fill an entire weekend and a few weeknights.

The AAP hopes these new guidelines will help parents and coaches remember that these are still growing boys and girls. Moderation and pacing can keep them playing safer and longer. Batter Up!


Your Child

Preschoolers and Depression

2.00 to read

Should preschoolers be screened for depression? A new study says that children ages 3 to 5 years old can definitely suffer from depression, but screening may not help because there is no recognized treatment for kids that age.

The research team from Washington University in St. Louis, found that not only are some preschoolers experiencing depression, but those that do are two and a half times more likely to continue to have bouts of the disorder in elementary and middle school.

They also added that recognizing depression in young children could help make treatment more effective later. 

"It's the same old bad news about depression; it is a chronic and recurrent disorder," child psychiatrist Dr. Joan Luby, who directs the university's Early Emotional Development Program, said in a university news release.

"But the good news is that if we can identify depression early, perhaps we have a window of opportunity to treat it more effectively," Luby said. That could "potentially change the trajectory of the illness so that it is less likely to be chronic and recurring," she added.

The study involved 246 preschool children, ranging from ages 3 to 5 years old. The team evaluated the children for depression and other psychiatric conditions over time.

The children and their caregivers participated in six yearly assessments as well as four semiannual assessments. Specifically, the caregivers were asked about their child's sadness, irritability, guilt, sleep and appetite, as well as reduced enjoyment in activities or playtime.

The researchers also evaluated interactions between the caregivers and their children through a two-way mirror. This was done to determine if part of the reason why children had ongoing symptoms of depression was because they lacked nurturing by their parents.

When the study began, 74 children were diagnosed with depression. Six years later, 79 of the children met the criteria for clinical depression, including about half of the 74 kids originally diagnosed.

On the other hand, just 24 percent of the remaining 172 children that were not diagnosed with depression, went on to develop depression later.

The study also noted that the children at highest risk for depression were school-age youngsters whose mothers had suffered from depression.

Mothers appeared to play a very important role in the child’s development. Being diagnosed with a conduct disorder while in preschool also boosted a child's risk for depression later on in elementary or middle school. However, this risk was reduced if children had a lot of support from their mother, the researchers noted.

The big-take-away from the study was that the risk for depression was greatest for the kids who were diagnosed with the condition while they were in preschool, Luby’s team reported.

"Preschool depression predicted school-age depression over and above any of the other well-established risk factors," Luby said. "Those children appear to be on a trajectory for depression that's independent of other psychosocial variables."

The researchers believe that preschoolers as young as 3 years old should be regularly screened for depression. But they also understand why that can be a problem since there are no effective treatments for young children, they noted.

"The reason it hasn't yet become a huge call to action is because we don't yet have any proven, effective treatments for depressed preschoolers," Luby explained. "Pediatricians don't usually want to screen for a condition if they can't then refer patients to someone who can help."

If you suspect your preschooler may be depressed, or would like to know the symptoms of child depression, talk with your pediatrician or family doctor to learn more about it. If you have a family history of depression, mention this to your pediatrician or family doctor so they can help you keep an eye on any symptoms that may begin to pop-up with your little one.

Source: Mary Elizabeth Dallas,

Your Child

Lakes, Kids and Safety

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Summer, kids and water-play are a powerful threesome. This Fourth of July weekend will see lakes, pools and water parks filled with families. They all require diligent parental oversight when kids are there, but lakes pose unique dangers that need particular attention.

Lakes, unlike pools and water-parks are typically not clear. You’re never quite sure what is just beneath the surface. With the prolonged drought much of the country has seen for the past few years, water levels are way down. Where there was once plenty of water between tree stumps and lake junk, there’s much less now.

While having fun is the task at hand, safety should always be the number one priority.

Make sure that the family stays together in supervised areas that are marked safe for swimming. Here are a few tips that can help keep your day at the lake a safe one for you and the kids.

Look before you leap. Parents and children should only dive head first into areas that are clearly marked for diving. Even if you're familiar with a lake or river, the conditions underwater tend to change, so go for a swim before your kids to make sure it's safe. When you dive in, make sure you're extending your arms over your head to protect your head just in case.

Keep an eye on the temperature. Your children might be fine in cold water depending on other factors, such as the wind, or whether it's sunny or cloudy out. But watch them for signs that the water temperature is too low. Look for shivering, a bluish tinge to the skin or an apathetic mood - at the extreme, swimming in too-cold water can lead to hypothermia. If you're swimming in the ocean, consider outfitting the kids in wet suits, which help retain body heat.

Be mindful of your surroundings. Most times, aquatic life isn't going to pose a danger to your children, but you should keep an eye out for potentially dangerous conditions, such as large patches of vegetation on the water surface, just in case. Kids could potentially get tangled in these patches and attract the interest of animal predators. Also avoid areas where birds are on the water eating fish; predatory animals often hover around areas where food is nearby.

Beware of the undertow. Talk to your children about how to react if they get caught in an undertow or rip current. The key is to stay calm, and since currents are strong but not very wide, swimming parallel to the shore, across the current, is the best way to come out of it. Teaching them to tread water while they call for help is another good safety measure.

Keep a watchful eye. As tempting as it may be to relax on the beach while your little ones swim, don't rely on floatation devices like water wings or rafts to keep your children safe. You should be swimming with them until they are strong enough to go it alone.

Enjoying a day at the lake is one of those summer treasures that can build lifetime memories. It’s very important to stay alert so that they are fond memories of good times together and not a day that turned into tragedy.

One last note, make sure that the kids have plenty of sunscreen on, with an SPF of at least 30, and that it is applied whenever they get out of the water. Enjoy your time together and have a great holiday weekend!

Source: Rhea Seymour,

Your Child

Cranberry Juice May Help Prevent UTI

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My grandmother, mother and sister all swore that cranberry juice helped prevent bladder infections. Looks like my maternal side of the family may have been right about the preventative powers of the mighty little cranberry.

Researchers have found that cranberry juice made with high concentrations of proanthocyanidins (PACs) cut kids' risk of repeat urinary tract infections by two-thirds, versus a comparison juice.

Before you run out to the grocery store and buy a bottle of cranberry juice, the ones that were used in the study were not of the supermarket garden variety. The juice used for the study contained high levels of the key ingredient, proanthocyanidins. PACs are believed to be the compound that gives cranberries their bacteria fighting preventative punch.

Many of the juices found on grocery shelves are packed with sugar and mixed with other juices. The PACs levels are more likely to be lower.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, enlisted 40 children who’d had least 2 urinary tract infections (UTI) in the past year. They randomly assigned the kids to drink one of two juices made for the study: a cranberry juice rich in PACs or a juice free of all "cranberry products."

Over the next year, kids who drank the cranberry juice with high PACs had UTIs at a rate of 0.4 per child, compared with 1.15 in the comparison group.

The power of cranberries against UTIs "was initially regarded as an old wives' tale," said Dr. Hiep Nguyen of Boston Children's Hospital, who was not involved in the study.

But Nguyen said he now often recommends cranberry - either juice or supplements - when kids have recurrent UTIs.

"It can be a great alternative to prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics," Nguyen said.

UTIs are very common in children. By the time the child is 5 years old, about 8% of girls and about 1-2% of boys will have had at least one episode.

UTIs are caused when bacteria infects the urinary tract which consists of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. The E-coli bacteria is the most frequent cause of urinary tract infections. Sometimes an abnormality, urinary reflux (abnormal backward flow) or bubble baths or soaps can cause a UTI.

Treatment for UTIs is typically a prescription for an antibiotic. If a child has frequent UTIs, Nguyen said, antibiotics may be necessary to "break the cycle." On top of that, many children's UTIs are related to less-than-ideal bathroom habits - like "holding it in," rather than going when they need to. But recurrent antibiotic prescriptions can have long-term effects such as developing drug-resistant bacteria.

UTIs can be extremely painful and if they happen over and over, some children can suffer kidney damage. While cranberries don’t appear to have any curative properties, they may be a preventative resource. Other preventative measures include frequent diaper changes to stop the bacteria from spreading. When a child is old enough to self-care, it’s important to teach them good hygiene – such as hand washing after they go to the bathroom. Girls in particular should be taught to wipe from front to rear to prevent germs from spreading from the rectum to the urethra. It’s also a good idea for young girls to avoid bubble baths and strong soaps that can irritate the urethra. Cotton underwear, instead of nylon, should be worn because it’s less likely to encourage bacteria growth.

Children should also be drinking sufficient amounts of water and never told to "hold it" if they need to urinate. 

Nguyen agreed that cranberry juice can be tricky. "Pure cranberry juice often doesn't taste so good," he noted. Natural artificial sweeteners may help. Many people simply add a lot of sugar to 100% cranberry juice, but too much sugar isn’t healthy and a lot of sugary juice could give your child diarrhea, so it’s important not to over-do cranberry or any other juice. In this study, the daily dose prescribed to each child was based on body weight.

Cranberry tablets are the other option. But no one knows the exact dose needed to prevent any one child's UTIs. Right now, it's basically a matter of following the product's labeling, according to Nguyen.

Ocean Spray supplied both juices used in the study, although the researchers made it known that "The findings of this study should not be construed as an endorsement of any commercially available cranberry products."

The study was published in the Journal of Urology.

Urinary tract infections can be a serious problem for children. Symptoms in young children and infants may be very general. The child may seem irritable, begin to feed poorly, or vomit. Sometimes the only symptom is a fever that seems to appear for no reason and doesn't go away.

In older kids and adults, symptoms can reveal which part of the urinary tract is infected. In a bladder infection, the child may have:

  • Pain, burning, or a stinging sensation when peeing
  • An increased urge to urinate or frequent urination (though only a very small amount of urine may be produced)
  • Fever (though this is not always present)
  • Frequent night waking to go to the bathroom
  • Wetting problems, even though the child is toilet taught
  • Low back pain or abdominal pain in the area of the bladder (generally below the navel)
  • Foul-smelling urine that may look cloudy or contain blood

Many of these symptoms are also seen in a kidney infection, but the child often appears more ill and is more likely to have a fever with shaking chills, pain in the side or back, severe fatigue, or vomiting.

If your child exhibits any of the above symptoms be sure and notify your pediatrician or family doctor. If you cannot reach them, then take your child to a local emergency room.



Your Child

Bipolar Kids Focus Less on Eyes

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A new study suggests that bipolar children spend less time looking at someone’s eyes when trying to judge emotional expressions such as happy, sad, fearful and angry.

This new study finding may help explain why children with bipolar disorder and severe mood dysregulation have difficulty determining other people's emotional expressions, said the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health investigators.

The researchers tracked the eye movements of children with and without psychiatric disorders as they viewed faces with different emotional expressions. Most of the children spent more time looking at the eyes, the facial feature that conveys the most information about emotion.

Children with bipolar disorder and severe mood dysregulation paid less attention to the eyes and more attention to the noses and mouths of the faces.

"In combination with other studies, our findings indicate the potential value of treatment programs that teach children how to identify emotions by looking at others' eyes," study author Pilyoung Kim said in a society news release.

"If such training helps children to process the emotional information in their world more accurately, that may in turn increase their ability to regulate their emotional reactions to social situations," Kim added.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar is a serious brain disorder, and is sometimes referred to as manic-depressive illness.

Children with bipolar disorder go through unusual mood changes. Sometimes they feel very happy or "up," and are much more active than usual. This is called mania. Sometimes children with bipolar disorder feel very sad and "down."  They are much less active than usual. This is called depression.

Bipolar disorder is not the same as the normal ups and downs every kid goes through. Bipolar symptoms are much more powerful than that.

Bipolar youth may have more normal moods between these episodes, while the periods of depression or mania can last for days, weeks or even months. What many parents don't know is that these symptoms often mimic those attributed to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF), 15% of U.S. children diagnosed with ADHD may actually be suffering early-onset bipolar disorder instead.

What are the symptoms of bipolar or manic /depressive illness? offers these bipolar symptoms.
Manic Symptoms:

- Severe changes in mood compared to others of the same age and background - either unusually happy or silly, or very irritable, angry, agitated or aggressive

- Unrealistic highs in self-esteem - your child feels all powerful or like a superhero with special powersSignificant increase in energy and the ability to go with little or no sleep for days without feeling tired

- Increase in talking - your child talks too much, too fast, changes topics too quickly and cannot be interrupted

- Distractibility - your child's attention moves constantly from one subject to the next

- Repeated high risk-taking behavior, such as abusing alcohol and drugs, reckless driving or sexual promiscuity

Depressive Symptoms:

- Irritability, depressed mood, persistent sadness or frequent crying

- Thoughts of death or suicide

- Loss of enjoyment in favorite activities

- Frequent complaints of physical illnesses, such as headaches or stomach aches

- Low energy level, fatigue, poor concentration, complaints of boredom, etc.

- Major change in eating or sleeping patterns, such as oversleeping or overeating

Some of these signs are similar to those that occur in teens with other problems, such as drug abuse, delinquency, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or even schizophrenia. A child and adolescent psychiatrist can only make the diagnosis with careful observation over an extended period of time.

The study was presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Your Child

Your Child's Eyes

Good vision is key to a child’s physical development, success in school and overall well-being. From birth through the teen years, a child’s eyesight can change remarkably. Your Pediatrician can keep you informed on signs of normal or abnormal visual development.

The vision system is not fully formed in babies and young children, and equal input from both eyes is necessary for the brain’s vision centers to develop normally. If a young child’s eyes cannot send clear images to the brain, his or her vision may be limited in ways that can never be reversed. But if problems are detected early, it is usually possible to treat them effectively. At one month your baby still can’t see very clearly beyond 12 inches (30.4 cm) or so, but he or she will closely study anything within this range: the corner of the crib, toys attached to the side rail, or the shapes of mobile dangling above the crib. The human face is a baby’s favorite image however. Your baby’s distance vision also is developing at this time. You may notice at three months that your baby is smiling at you halfway across the room, or studying a toy several feet away. By four months, you’ll catch your baby staring at the distant wall hanging or looking out the window. These are clues that the baby’s distance vision is developing properly. Newborn. All infants before discharge from the hospital should have their eyes checked in the newborn nursery for infections, defects, cataracts, or glaucoma. This is especially true for premature infants, infants who were given oxygen, and infants with multiple medical problems. 6 months of age. Pediatricians should screen infants at their well-baby visits to check for proper eye health, vision development, and alignment of the eyes. 3 to 4 years of age. All children should have their eyes and vision checked for any abnormalities that may cause problems with later development. 5 years of age and older. Your pediatrician should check your child's vision in each eye separately every year. If a problem is found during routine eye exams, your pediatrician may have your child see a pediatric ophthalmologist, an eye doctor trained and experienced in the care of children's eye problems. Your pediatrician can advise you on eye doctors in your area. Middle childhood is a common time for the recognition of vision problems, especially when children first have assigned seats in classrooms. Your child may tell you that he cannot read the blackboard unless he squints or moves to a front-row seat. Or you may notice that when she watches television, she sits close to the set. Less commonly, your child may complain that the words on the pages of books are blurry. All of these suggest a focusing prob­lem and call for an examination by an eye doctor. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is the most common vision problem among school-age children, often developing between age six and adolescence. As a result the child cannot clearly see distant objects. Children with Hyperopia, or farsighted­ness, have the opposite problem. Because of the shorter shape of their eyeballs, im­ages are focused behind the retina, causing them to be blurry. These children cannot clearly see objects that are close to them without making an effort to focus. No matter how old your child is, if you spot any one of the following, let your pediatrician know: •                Eyes that look crossed, turn out, or don't focus together •                White, grayish-white, or yellow-colored material in the pupil •                Eyes that flutter quickly from side-to-side or up-and-down •                Bulging eye(s) •                Persistent eye pain, itching, or discomfort •                Redness in either eye that doesn't go away in a few days •                Pus or crust in either eye •                Eyes that are always watery •                Drooping eyelid(s) •                Excessive rubbing or squinting of the eyes •                Eyes that are always sensitive to light


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