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Your Child

Kid’s Phones and Tablets Replacing TV Viewing

2:00

Believe it or not, there was a time when the radio provided people their main source of news and entertainment but then came television. Since the 1950s television has been king of the airwaves, but even that is changing thanks to a plethora of mobile options and kid’s viewing habits. Will TV sets eventually go the way of the radio? It’s possible.

The societal transference of TV viewing habits, from over-the-air to over-the-mobile screen, is most evidenced in how tots, tweens and teens consume content: using phones and tablets to access the Internet-based providers of their liking — no television necessary — with YouTube and Netflix consistently emerging as standouts.

“The shift away from traditional broadcast cable TV services, that’s been happening for years, but now we’ve hit critical mass,” said Terence Burke, the vice president of research for the kid-focused market research company KidSay. “Kids still watch TV. They still head to Disney and Nickelodeon, just in much smaller numbers and for much shorter durations.”

How are kids watching their programs? From tots to teens, many are using one or more mobile devices. The percentage of children that now own or use a smart phone or tablet is pretty amazing. According to the Pew Research Center, 88 percent of American teens ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a mobile phone, and 73 percent of teens have smartphones. Tweens, ages 10 to 13, are not far behind. And according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, almost all children (96.6%) used mobile devices, with most starting before age 1.

Smarty Pants, a market research firm that conducts an annual study on the digital behavior of kids’ ages 6 to 12, found that 81 percent of 6- to 8-year-olds and 76 percent of 9- to 12-year-olds use YouTube.

Netflix, meanwhile, is used by an identical percentage of the older set. A large chunk of the younger 6- to 8-year-olds, or 71 percent, are also Netflix users, according to the firm’s, “2015 Clicks, Taps & Swipes Report,” which was fielded between June and August with a nationally representative panel of kids and their parents.

With an endless selection of videos that are funny, irreverent and even educational, YouTube is not only the new stand-in for traditional cable TV when it comes to kids, but it’s also their go-to search engine. And, as kids get older, Netflix satisfies tweens’ emerging cravings for more serial material. Both video services win with kids because there is always something to watch, and all that’s required is a click of button on their favorite devices.

The three top producers of entertainment and streaming programming, YouTube, Netflix and Amazon, know that kids are changing the marketing landscape and have developed kid channels with competitive pricing.  Parents looking for a way to cut cable costs are taking notice, cutting the cord and paying less for kid specific programming.

While mom and dad may still enjoy the enormous 70 in wide television set in the living room, their children are most likely going to be in their own room with one or more mobile devices streaming program that’s more to their liking.

Many kids say they can identify with the enormous variety of YouTube personalities. They feel more of a connection to them than with Hollywood or television stars. There’s also the interaction on comment sites with other viewers and kids their age.

Which videos watchers choose to click on is often driven by how many views its’ had or from peer recommendation.

Of course, with YouTube, Netflix and Amazon there is not only kid’s programming but plenty of adult programming as well.

It’s definitely a different world from when many of us grew up. Once the “Wonderful World of Disney” or the “Ed Sullivan” show was family time in front of the TV set. Now, mobile devices have made it possible for everyone to go their own way and watch whatever they want. Not exactly a family bonding experience or a time when one can talk about what you’ve watched together.

Experts agree that for parents trying to keep an eye on their kid’s viewing habits, it’s getting harder and harder to monitor what they are seeing and learning over the Internet. That said, parents shouldn’t just throw up their hands and give in to allowing their children all the free time they want on their smart phone or tablet. Setting guidelines and sticking to them may not make you the most popular parent for a while, but your child may learn that there are benefits and rewards when someone loves you enough to lay down some common sense rules and expect that they be followed.

Sources: Jennifer Van Grove, http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/nov/30/kids-tv-youtube-netflix-smartphones/all/?print

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/10/28/peds.2015-2151

 

 

Your Child

Zip Lining Safety Tips

1:45

From the mountains of Costa Rica to over waterfalls in Hawaii, zip lining has become a vacation acivity destination. Zip lining operations can also be found in  summer camps, zoos, fields in the middle nowhere, people’s backyards and lots of other exotic and not-so- exotic locations.

Here’s how they work. A zip line consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, typically made of stainless steel and mounted on an incline. A rider sits in a harness attached to a pulley. At the top of the slope, the user propels forward and gravity does the rest. Depending on your location, it can be quite a thrilling ride to the base.

One of the keys to a safe zip lining experience is knowing something about the company and the operator of the ride. Before you harness your child into a zip line at camp or during a family vacation, ask the operator questions about the ride’s safety and look around. Not every company follows the same safety rules. Though there are currently no national standards for zip line construction and operation, many states have them, and any legitimate operator should also adhere to the standards set by the Association for Challenge Course Technology or the Professional Ropes Course Association.

Here are some questions you can ask:

·      If the operation is inspected, how often and by whom.

·      What is the company’s safety record?

·      What training the operators have.

·      Is a safety demonstration included?

Check the area out once you arrive. Do the operators look professional? Look at the equipment provided, including carabiners, ropes, harnesses and helmets. Are they well maintained? Look at the course itself. Do the lines look free from wear and tear? How about the platforms? Do they look sturdy? Do they have guardrails?

Once on the course, make sure you're strapped onto a safety line at all times — not just while you're zipping through space. (Some places require that you have two safety lines hooked on.) Many accidents occur by a simple step off a platform. So if you're on the course (which often means many feet off the ground), you should be safely attached to a line that will catch you if you fall. Also, watch out for other adventurers and the guides. Don't get in their way.

Make sure everyone in the family who is zip lining wears a helmet and has closed-toe shoes.

Nearly 17,000 zip line injuries were treated in emergency rooms from 1997-2012, and most of those injuries were in the last four years, according to a 2015 study by Gary A. Smith, M.D., Dr.P.H., FAAP, and colleagues at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. About half the injuries involved children under 10 years old. Another 33% involved children ages 10-19 years. The study noted that many zip lines are not regulated, and there are no uniform safety standards.

The increase in the number of zip line injuries in children is “an epidemic by any definition,” according to Dr. Smith, past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

“If kids are using them, you really need to make sure they’re using them in places where people are trained, they know what they’re doing and the zip lines have been constructed in a way that they’re not going to fail,” said Dr. Smith.

Backyard zip line kits sold online and in stores also have been linked to injuries. Earlier this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled a backyard zip line kit (http://1.usa.gov/1XoHrFs) because of a design flaw that made it easy for the cable to separate from the line, causing riders to fall. Riders suffered head injuries and bruises. Another recall was issued in 2014 for backyard zip line trolleys (http://1.usa.gov/1RT6uaY) that released unexpectedly. No injuries were reported. Authors of the 2015 study warned against buying and installing backyard zip lines.

The AAP does not have a policy on zip lines and children. However, Dr. Smith suggested the following safety precautions:

·      Requiring riders to wear a helmet, harness and gloves;

·      Training operators;

·      Inspecting and maintaining equipment regularly; and

·      Posting rules and requiring participants to follow them.

“If done correctly, these and other types of outdoor amusements that are there for the thrill … can be done in a safe enough way that it’s reasonable for children to use them,” Dr. Smith said.

Story sources: Trisha Korioth, http://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/07/07/ZipLines070716

John Donovan, http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/stories/6-things-do-you-go-zip-lining

Your Child

Tragedy & Children

1:45 to read

Thanks for all the wonderful comments about my recent interview on CNN with Vinnie Politan. If you missed it, the topic was talking to children who may have witnesses a traumatic event.  Unfortunately, as you are well aware, there are numerous tragic and traumatic events which occur across our country (and around the world) and at times, children may be witnesses to these events.  With that being said, how do you discuss these tragedies with a child?

As an example, the tragic death of an acrobatic airplane pilot at the Kansas City air shows last week. Many, including children of all ages, viewed this event.  I think the most important thing to remember when talking to a child about a trauma or tragedy is to use words that are appropriate for the child’s age and vocabulary and to acknowledge your own feelings as well.  They need to know that you too were scared, sad, upset or anxious about the event. Ask them how they felt and listen to the words that they use as you may use those words again when talking to your child.

While every child is different you can often follow their cues as to how much and how detailed a discussion to have, and when and how to bring the topic up again. Some children are talkers and want to discuss things at length, while others may be quieter and take some time to absorb the information. Don’t force the discussion.  A parent knows their children and the discussion may/will be different for each child and will be further impacted by their ages.

For young children, it is also important to let them know that “Mommy and Daddy” are there and will take care of them and protect them, but at the same time bad things sometimes happen. That is why parents take precautions and are responsible (like holding hands when crossing the street, or wearing a helmet etc).But, if something does happen it is so important to validate your child’s feelings while at the same time teaching your child coping skills and resilience.  

If your child does view a traumatic event it is not unusual for them go through a period when they are afraid of separation, or have nightmares etc. They sometimes develop somatic complaints like tummy aches, headaches, and non specific complaints of “I just don’t feel well”. This is normal, but you should watch for a child who seems to “be stuck” with symptoms long after the event. In some cases a professional therapist may be helpful.

Lastly, don’t let them revisit the event. By that I mean keep the TV off for awhile, and monitor the internet so they are not watching constant images of the same event (like the falling of the twin towers on 9/11). With so many amateur videos of traumatic events being shown “on screen” 24/7 if your child sees these images over and over, it is as if they are reliving the experience each time.  It sometimes may feel as if we become addicted to watching it.  It was nice “in the olden days” when there were not constant images on screen to remind us of a picture that often fades in our own minds.

That's your daily dose for today. We'll chat again tomorrow.

Tags: 
Your Child

Are Kids Too Wired?

2.00 to read

In an effort to keep up with my tech-savvy patients and their parents, I read a study from a well-known software maker that confirmed something we all know: are kids are extremely wired.

The company solicited 2,200 mothers to answer a survey looking at skills their children have; such as riding a bike or tying a shoe as well as those very important early childhood skills such as how to use an I-Pad or Smartphone.  21% of four-five year olds knew how to use a Smartphone or I-pad application, only 14% of those same kids could tie their shoes.

For children two–five years old, 69% could operate a computer mouse, 58% could play a computer game but only 52% knew how to ride a bike. Seems incredible to me that  more kids have computers than bicycles? 25% of two-five year olds could open a Web browser, only 20% knew how to swim.  Technology is definitely changing the world, but is it all beneficial?

The company's CEO commissioned the survey to show how young children are interacting with technology. He emphasized that parents need to be educating their young children about their online world and need to be promoting internet/online safety at very young ages. It used to be “when do I have the sex talk” now it is being replaced with ”how soon do I need to talk about online safety and technology?”. 

The most disturbing aspect of this study is that it suggests that our children are way too wired and may be missing out on simple, yet important life skills.

I myself have seen many a two year old open their parent’s iPad and turn on a movie while in the exam room.   They can recognize different icons and switch between applications but are not yet capable of talking in complete sentences. Some of these children are the same ones who at two years, are not yet putting themselves to sleep at night, cannot sleep through the night and still have a bottle or pacifier!

Some parents are convinced that their child may not be capable of mastering these normal developmental milestones, while at the same time are thrilled about their child’s computer skills. This seems a little mixed up to me. Priorities sometimes get confused.

Technology is important and will continue to be so, but what if the computer is “down” and you need to write a story with pencil and paper, or draw a picture without the benefit of a computer screen? There are certainly many life skills to be mastered; riding a bike, pumping a swing and playing catch.

The race to teach kids technology and to help them compete in our constantly “wired” world may be detrimental to a child’s physical and emotional health. All parents need to remember to “turn off the technology” and get back to basics. There is time for both.

Your Child

Laser Pointers and Vision Loss

1:45

Laser pointers were once found primarily in schools, certain industries, entertainment venues and scientific labs. Today they are easily available over the Internet and have garnered the attention of kids and teens that use them as toys. They’ve also become a social media phenomenon as videos of people using them to tease or play with cats rack up likes and shares.

Low powered laser pointers have been considered basically safe for children to play with as long as warnings to avoid pointing the laser at someone’s head or eyes were followed. When operated unsafely, or without certain controls, the highly concentrated light from lasers—even those in toys—can be dangerous, causing serious eye injuries and even blindness. And not just to the person using a laser, but to anyone within range of the laser beam.

Typically, laser light injuries are not painful. Eye injuries may go unnoticed for days and even weeks, but could be permanent.

Some examples of laser toys are:

•       Lasers mounted on toy guns that can be used for "aiming;"

•       Spinning tops that project laser beams while they spin;

•       Hand-held lasers used during play as "light-sabers;" and

•       Lasers intended for entertainment that create optical effects in an open room.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), laser pointers fall into 4 classifications. The classifications categorize lasers according to their ability to produce damage in exposed people, from class 1 (no hazard during normal use) to class 4 (severe hazard for eyes and skin). There are two classification systems, the "old system" used before 2002, and the "revised system" being phased in since 2002.

Researchers recently documented 4 boys who suffered severe eye damage from a laser pointer. The authors report described two 12-year-olds, one nine-year-old and one 16-year-old who came to a medical center with central vision loss and "blind spots" within hours to days after looking into or playing with a green or red laser pointer.

In one case, the boy looked at the reflection of a laser pointer in a mirror. Two others simply pointed the lasers at themselves, and the fourth was engaged in a "laser war" with a friend.

"Long-term outcomes for these patients will be pretty mild vision loss," said senior author Dr. David R. P. Almeida of VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"Males may horse around with things more, or we just happened to have boys in our series," Almeida told Reuters Health by phone. Injuries could be just as likely for girls.

He advises parents to be careful about where they buy laser pointers, as some retailers may not list the power rating or may list it incorrectly, and to limit use for kids under 14.

Retinal tissue in the back of the eye leads to the brain, and it has no ability to regenerate after tissue loss, Almeida said.

"One patient developed bleeding and needed an injection in the eye," which can be particularly unpleasant for children, he said.

Kids may use laser pointers as long as they avoid improper use, Almeida said.

"Unsupervised use of these laser pointer devices among children should be discouraged, and there is a need for legislation to limit these devices in the pediatric population," he and his coauthors write.

There's no doubt that these products can open up a world of imagination - dragon slayer, cosmic explorer, super pirate, the list goes on. Handled correctly they can provide hours of fun - mishandled, hours in the emergency room. If your child has a laser pointer or toy, make sure he or she knows the rules and understands why being careful about where it is pointed is so important. 

Story sources: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/09/06/laser-pointers-can-cause-irreversible-vision-loss-for-kids.html

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363908.htm

 

 

Your Child

What to Do If Your Child Is Choking

2.30 to read

It’s more common than you probably think. On average over 12,000 children a year, under the age of 14, are treated in hospital emergency rooms for food-related choking. That’s about 34 kids a day according to a new study.

The most common choking hazards appear to be hard candy, followed by other types of candy, then meat and bones. The study noted that most of the young patients were treated and released, but around 10 per cent were hospitalized.

"These numbers are high," said Dr. Gary Smith, who worked on the study at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

What's more, he added, "This is an underestimate. This doesn't include children who were treated in urgent care, by a primary care physician or who had a serious choking incident and were able to expel the food and never sought care."

The estimated 12,435 children ages 14 and younger that were treated for choking on food each year also doesn't include the average 57 pediatric food-choking deaths reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annually, the researchers noted.

Smith and his colleagues analyzed injury surveillance data covering 2001 through 2009.

They found that babies one year old and younger accounted for about 38 percent of all childhood ER visits for choking on food. Many of those infants choked on formula or breast milk.

Children who choked on hotdogs, nuts and seeds were the most likely to be hospitalized.

"We know that because hot dogs are the shape and size of a child's airway that they can completely block a child's airway," Smith told Reuters Health, noting that seeds and nuts are also difficult to swallow when children put a lot in their mouths at once.

Supervision is the most important choking prevention. Parents or guardians should make sure that a small child’s food is cut up into manageable bites that can be easily chewed and swallowed. An example might be grapes and raisins. A whole raisin is probably okay to be given to a toddler, but a grape should be sliced.

What should you do if your child is choking?

For children ages 1 to 12:

1. Assess the situation quickly.

If a child is suddenly unable to cry, cough, or speak, something is probably blocking her airway, and you'll need to help her get it out. She may make odd noises or no sound at all while opening her mouth. Her skin may turn bright red or blue.

If she's coughing or gagging, it means her airway is only partially blocked. If that's the case, encourage her to cough. Coughing is the most effective way to dislodge a blockage. If the child isn't able to cough up the object, ask someone to call 911 or the local emergency number as you begin back blows and chest thrusts. If you're alone with the child, give two minutes of care, then call 911.

On the other hand, if you suspect that the child's airway is closed because her throat has swollen shut, call 911 immediately. She may be having an allergic reaction to the food.

Call 911 immediately is your child is turning blue, unconscious or appears to be in severe distress.

2. Try to dislodge the object with back blows and abdominal thrusts.

If a child is conscious but can't cough, talk, or breathe, or is beginning to turn blue, stand or kneel slightly behind him. Provide support by placing one arm diagonally across his chest and lean him forward.
Firmly strike the child between the shoulder blades with the heel of your other hand. Each back blow should be a separate and distinct attempt to dislodge the obstruction.

Give five of these back blows.

Then do abdominal thrusts

Stand or kneel behind the child and wrap your arms around his waist.

Locate his belly button with one or two fingers. Make a fist with the other hand and place the thumb side against the middle of the child's abdomen, just above the navel and well below the lower tip of his breastbone.
Grab your fist with your other hand and give five quick, upward thrusts into the abdomen. Each abdominal thrust should be a separate and distinct attempt to dislodge the obstruction.

Repeat back blows and abdominal thrusts Continue alternating five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the object is forced out or the child starts to cough forcefully. If he's coughing, encourage him to cough up the object.

If the child becomes unconscious If a child who is choking on something becomes unconscious, you'll need to do what's called modified CPR. Here's how to do modified CPR on a child:

Place the child on his back on a firm, flat surface. Kneel beside his upper chest. Place the heel of one hand on his sternum (breastbone), at the center of his chest. Place your other hand directly on top of the first hand. Try to keep your fingers off the chest by interlacing them or holding them upward.

Perform 30 compressions by pushing the child's sternum down about 2 inches. Allow the chest to return to its normal position before starting the next compression.

Open the child's mouth and look for an object. If you see something, remove it with your fingers. Next, give him two rescue breaths. If the breaths don't go in (you don't see his chest rise), repeat the cycle of giving 30 compressions, checking for the object, and trying to give two rescue breaths until the object is removed, the child starts to breathe on his own, or help arrives.

A good rule of thumb for parents and guardians is to take a CPR class. Many hospitals and clinics also offer classes on what to do if your child is choking.

Sources: Genevra Pittman, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/29/us-choking-food-idUSBRE96S04K20130729

http://www.babycenter.com/0_first-aid-for-choking-and-cpr-an-illustrated-guide-for-child_11241.bc

 

Your Child

The Benefits of Being Bilingual

2.00 to read

Do children who speak more than one language score higher on cognitive tests? Yes, according to a new Canadian study. Researchers say that bilingual students develop a deeper understanding of the structure of language, an important skill in learning to read and write.

Cognitive tests study the mental processes that allow us to perform daily functions such as paying attention, solving problems, producing and understanding language appropriately and making decisions.

Does being bilingual make a child smarter? Not necessarily, but previous studies have shown that children who learn two languages from birth are able to concentrate on the meaning of words better than monolingual children and have an advantage in developing multi-tasking skills.

In the Canadian study, researchers compared 104 six-year olds to measure their cognitive development. Some children were English speaking only. Others were Chinese-English bilinguals, French-English bilinguals, and Spanish-English bilinguals.

The experiments investigated the effects of language similarity, cultural background and educational experience on verbal and non-verbal abilities.

The children did a battery of tests that measured verbal development and one non-verbal task that measured executive control, in this case, the ability to focus attention where necessary without being distracted and then shift attention when required. The bilingual children demonstrated a superior ability to switch tasks.

"The results endorse the conclusion that bilingualism itself is responsible for the increased levels of executive control previously reported," the study's authors wrote.

To acquire language, bilingualism where the languages are similar in origin may have slight advantages, the researchers found. For example, Spanish-English bilinguals outperformed Chinese-English bilinguals and monolinguals on a test of awareness of the sound structure of spoken English.

Dr. Ellen Bialystok, one of the world's foremost experts on bilingualism among children, led the group of researchers from York University in analyzing the effects of bilingualism. Summarizing the results, Dr. Bialystok commented, "Our research has shown that reading progress amongst all bilingual children is improved" over monolingual children. In a separate statement, she said, "I think there's a lot of worry out there about other languages conflicting with a child's ability to learn to read in English, but that's absolutely not the case. Parents should not hesitate to share their native tongue with their children—it's a gift."

Because bilingualism is often tied to other factors such as culture, socioeconomic status, immigration history and language, the researchers partly took those into account by enrolling participants who all attended public schools and came from similar socio-economic backgrounds.

During the study, the children learned to read in both languages at the same time. Dr. Bialystok and her team thought that the additional time spent learning two languages might give the children an advantage. But, results showed that the advantages garnered by the children were independent of the instruction time in the other language.

Researchers noted in the online issue of the journal Child Development that "People always ask if the languages themselves matter and now we can definitively say no," study co-author, Dr. Bialystok, said in a release.

Learning a second language teaches children more about their first language. They understand the intricacies of grammar and acquire an additional awareness of how language is used to express thoughts.

The Canadian study was published in the February 8th, online issue of the journal Child DevelopmentThe study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Sources: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/02/08/bilingual-children-brain....

http://www.early-advantage.com/articles/learningtoread.aspx

Your Child

Testing Your Child for Hearing Problems

1:30

Hearing well is critical to a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development.  When hearing problems are diagnosed early, most are treatable. So it’s important to have your little one’s hearing tested, ideally by the time your baby is 3 months old.

Hearing loss is more common that you’d probably expect. It affects about 1 to 3 babies out of every 1,000.

Although many things can lead to hearing loss, about half the time, no cause is found.

Hearing loss can occur if a child:

•       Was born prematurely

•       Stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)

•       Had newborn jaundice with bilirubin level high enough to require a blood transfusion

•       Was given medications that can lead to hearing loss

•       Has family members with childhood hearing loss

•       Had certain complications at birth

•       Had many ear infections

•       Had infections such as meningitis or cytomegalovirus

•       Was exposed to very loud sounds or noises, even briefly

When should your child be evaluated for hearing loss? Newborns should have a hearing screening before being discharged from the hospital. Every state and territory in the U.S. has a program called Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI). The program identifies every child with permanent hearing loss before 3 months of age, and provides intervention services before 6 months of age. If your baby doesn't have this screening, or was born at home or a birthing center, it's important to have a hearing screening within the first 3 weeks of life.

If your newborn doesn't pass the initial hearing screening, it's important to get a retest within 3 months so treatment can begin right away. Treatment for hearing loss can be the most effective if it's started before a child is 6 months old.

Children who seem to have normal hearing should continue to have their hearing evaluated at regular doctor’s appointments from ages 4 to 10 years of age.

If your child seems to have trouble hearing, if speech development seems abnormal, or if your child's speech is difficult to understand, talk with your doctor.

Even if your newborn passes the hearing screening, continue to watch for signs that hearing is normal. Some hearing milestones your child should reach in the first year of life:

•       Most newborn infants startle or "jump" to sudden loud noises.

•       By 3 months, a baby usually recognizes a parent's voice.

•       By 6 months, a baby can usually turn his or her eyes or head toward a sound.

•       By 12 months, a baby can usually imitate some sounds and produce a few words, such as "Mama" or "bye-bye."

As your baby grows into a toddler, signs of a hearing loss may include:

•       Limited, poor, or no speech

•       Frequently inattentive

•       Difficulty learning

•       Seems to need higher TV volume

•       Fails to respond to conversation-level speech or answers inappropriately to speech

•       Fails to respond to his or her name or easily frustrated when there's a lot of background noise 

There are several ways your child’s hearing can be tested depending on his or her age, development and health.

During behavioral tests, an audiologist carefully watches a child respond to sounds like calibrated speech (speech that is played with a particular volume and intensity) and pure tones. A pure tone is a sound with a very specific pitch (frequency), like a note on a keyboard.

An audiologist may know an infant or toddler is responding by his or her eye movements or head turns. A preschooler may move a game piece in response to a sound, and a grade-schooler may raise a hand. Children can respond to speech with activities like identifying a picture of a word or repeating words softly.

Doctors can also examine a child for hearing loss by looking at how well his or her ear, nerves and brain are functioning.

If a hearing problem is suspected, a pediatric audiologist specializing in testing and helping kids with hearing loss can be contacted. They work closely with doctors, teachers, and speech/language pathologists.

Audiologists have a lot of specialized training. They have a Masters or Doctorate degree in audiology, have performed internships, and are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CCC-A) or are Fellows of the American Academy of Audiology (F-AAA).

Children with certain types of hearing loss have several options for treatment. They may be helped with surgery or hearing aids. The most common type of hearing loss involves outer hair cells that do not work properly. Hearing aids can make sounds louder and overcome this problem.

A cochlear implant is a surgical treatment for hearing loss; this device doesn't cure hearing loss, but is a device that gets placed into the inner ear to send sound directly to the hearing nerve. It can help children with profound hearing loss who do not benefit from hearing aids.

Making sure that your child is hearing well is one of the first steps you can take to helping him or her do well socially, academically and developmentally.

Story source: Thierry Morlet, PhD, Rupal Christine Gupta, MD,

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/hear.html

 

Your Child

Can Dogs Help Kids Be Less Anxious?

1:45

Scientific studies have already linked fewer allergies and asthma in kids that own dogs, now a new study says you can also add less anxiety to the list of benefits from man’s best friend.

Researchers say a new study shows kids who live in a home with a pet dog score far lower on clinical measures of anxiety.

Although the study was small, the results were not surprising. Researchers focused on 643 kids between 6 and 7. But the team at Bassett Medical Center in New York found that just 12 percent of children with pet dogs tested positive for clinical anxiety, compared to 21 percent of children without a dog.

"It may be that less anxious children have pet dogs or pet dogs make children less anxious," Dr. Anne Gadomski and colleagues wrote in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Previous studies have also shown that adults benefit from owning a pet as well as kids. In fact, many health officials suggest that adults should consider getting a dog. Not only can they provide companionship but can encourage more exercise.

Gadomski acknowledged how special pets can be to a child by noting that, "Sometimes their first word is the name of their pet," she told NBC News. "There is a very strong bond between children and their pets."

What makes dogs such special pets for kids?  Godmski’s team said, "From a mental health standpoint, children aged 7 to 8 often ranked pets higher than humans as providers of comfort and self-esteem and as confidants," they wrote.

"Animal-assisted therapy with dogs affects children's mental health and developmental disorders by reducing anxiety and arousal or enhancing attachment," they added.

"Because dogs follow human communicative cues, they may be particularly effective agents for children's emotional development."

The researchers asked parents for specific details about what type of anxiety a child showed.

Pets seemed to help in several areas.

"Significant differences between groups were found for the separation anxiety component ('My child is afraid to be alone in the house') and social anxiety component ('My child is shy') favoring pet ownership," they wrote.

Most of the families in the study - 73 percent - had a pet of some kind. Most - 58 percent - had dogs. Families with pets may be more stable and may be more affluent, but the researchers suggest there's more to it than that.

"A pet dog can stimulate conversation, an ice-breaking effect that can alleviate social anxiety via a social catalyst effect," they wrote.

Other studies have also shown that playing or cuddling with a dog can release the bonding hormone oxytocin, and lower the stress hormone cortisol, they noted.

There’s already an abundance of research on dogs and families, which is one of the reasons Gadomski chose to look at the relationship between dogs and kids for this study.

However, she noted that cat lovers might also benefit from the same type of interaction.

If you’re interested in getting a dog as a pet for your family, there are several websites that offer a quiz to help families decide which breed may best be suited for them. Just search “best dog breeds for families.”

Shelters also have puppies and dogs that make wonderful pets.  Many of the older dogs are already house trained and socialized. Shelter staff can answer your questions about whether a particular dog that is up for adoption would be suitable for a family and small children.

Source: Maggie Fox, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/heres-reason-get-puppy-kids-pets-have-less-anxiety-n469591

Image:http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Benefits-Dogs-Kids-36052085#photo-36052085

 

 

 

 

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