Your Child

It’s Time to Register Your Child for Summer Camp!

1.45 to read

I know, you just got through the holidays and things are beginning to settle down and feel normal again. Guess what? If you’re planning on sending your child to summer camp- you better get busy.

Summer camp registration seems to starts earlier every year.  While the population growth of youngsters has remained pretty steady, the number of children wanting to attend either day camps or overnight camps is increasing. Summer camps fill up quickly and to meet the demand, camps are opening registration much sooner than in years gone by.

Early registration can also save you money. Many camps give a discount for parents who are willing to prepay early.  February looks to be a common open registration month, but some camps are offering online registration now. The most popular camps fill up quickly, so get your checkbook or credit card ready.

Many parents depend on day camps to help cover childcare during the summer months. The range of camps that are available is truly astonishing. I wish I had the choices kids have today when I was little. There are sports camps, science camps, special needs camps, cheerleader camps, arts camps, religious camps, health camps, adventure camps, academic camps – you get the point. If your child has a particular interest, there’s probably a camp that’s just right for him or her.

Not only do camps offer young children a variety of activities during the summer months, they can also offer your teen employment. With over 11 million children heading off to camp this summer, camps need employees. According to the American Camp Association, there are more than 12,000 day and resident camps in the U.S.  Those camps need temporary staff to help run them. If your teen is over 16 years of age, he or she may qualify.

The great thing about your teen working at a summer camp is they can apply at camp that suits their interests. Like music? Apply at a music camp! Summer camp jobs offer wonderful insight into others and while the work may be hard, it’s often very rewarding. Oh, and I forgot, they make their own money too.

Even though the temperatures are still dipping to freezing at night, if you’re planning on letting your child attend summer camp, you might want to start the research and registration now!

 

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

Bullying Leading to PTSD in Some Kids

2.00 to read

Most people probably associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with men and women who have been in battle during war or experienced a traumatic life-changing event such as 9-11.

A new study says that children who are victims of bullying can also suffer from PTSD and the effects can last into adulthood. The study, published by Thormod Idsoe, Atle Dyregrov, and Ella Cosmovici Idsoe, found that about 33 % of bullying victims suffer from PTSD. In addition, 40 to 60 % of adults who have been bullying victims suffer from high levels of the signs of PTSD as well.

PTSD can have a very disruptive effect on one’s daily living. PTSD is a mental health disorder defined by nightmares, severe anxiety, flashbacks, uncontrollable thoughts about the event, and avoidance behavior.

"Pupils who are constantly plagued by thoughts about or images of painful experiences, and who use much energy to suppress them, will clearly have less capacity to concentrate on schoolwork," Idsoe said in a statement. "Nor is this usually easy to observe - they often suffer in silence."

Researchers at the University of Stavanger, in Norway, analyzed data from 963 students who were 14-15 years old. While boys were more likely to report they were being bullied, they found that girls were more likely to display PTSD symptoms. 

Of the students who reported being bullied, 27.6% of boys and 40.5 % of girls had symptoms of PTSD.  Researchers were not sure why some bullied children suffered from PTSD and some did not. "We...found that those with the worst symptoms were a small group of pupils who, in addition to being victims of bullying, frequently bullied fellow pupils themselves," Idsoe said. "One explanation, for example, could be that difficult earlier experiences make the sufferers more vulnerable, and they thereby develop symptoms and mental health problems more easily."

What are some of the symptoms of PTSD?

-       Reliving the event over and over.

-       Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.

-       Feeling numb or unable to express feelings.

-       Not interested in activities or able to enjoy them.

-       Feeling keyed-up or jittery. Always on the look out for dangerous situations.

Children can experience all the above symptoms or have other symptoms depending on their age.

-       Children age birth to 5 may get upset if their parents are not close by, have trouble sleeping, or suddenly have trouble with toilet training or going to the bathroom.

-        Children age 6 to 11 may act out the trauma through play, drawings, or stories. Some have nightmares or become more irritable or aggressive. They may also want to avoid school or have trouble with schoolwork or friends.

-        Children age 12 to 18 have symptoms more similar to adults: depression, anxiety, withdrawal, or reckless behavior like substance abuse or running away. 

Many schools are finally beginning to take bullying seriously. They have instituted anti-bullying programs and sometimes provide counseling - although allotted counseling time is often too short.

There are two types of treatments for PTSD, psychotherapy and medications. If your child is experiencing PTSD make sure that you find a therapist trained in pediatric PTSD therapy. PTSD can persist for years in some children and follow-up care is necessary to help your child heal and move forward.  

There are also many excellent online resources for how to deal with bullies and suggestions for what to do if your child is being bullied.

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Psychology.

Sources: http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/13284/20121127/bullying-lead-ptsd-victims.htm#atskrsqZmiFdMBtR.99

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/what-is-ptsd.asp

Your Child

Kids’ Type 2 Diabetes Difficult to Treat

2.30 to read

Type 2 diabetes was once considered an adult disease. Not so anymore. Kids are being diagnosed at an alarming rate, and now a new study says that these children are going to have a tougher time getting the disease under control.

Obesity and lack of physical activity are two of the most common reasons someone gets type 2 diabetes. During the past three decades, the tripling of obesity in children has gone hand in hand with an increase of type 2 diabetes in children.

What is type 2 diabetes? It begins when the body develops a resistance to insulin and cannot use insulin properly. The pancreas is no longer able to produce sufficient amounts of insulin to control blood sugar. Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar levels. The reason it is so bad is that hyperglycemia can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.

In a large new trial looking at ways to slow the progression of type 2 diabetes in children and teens, the addition of a second drug to the mainstay treatment metformin was only marginally more effective at controlling blood sugar than metformin alone.

Within a year, on average, half of kids on metformin and some 40 percent taking both metformin and rosiglitazone (Avandia) ended up having to resort to insulin injections to control their blood sugar, researchers reported Sunday at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Boston and in the New England Journal of Medicine online.

"The results of the study were discouraging," said Dr. David Allen from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in an NEJM editorial. "These data imply that most youth with type 2 diabetes will require multiple oral agents or insulin therapy within a very few years after diagnosis."

All 699 children included in the study had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years or less before enrollment, so the rapid advance of about half to needing insulin marks an early start to a potential lifetime of complications and side effects -- from the diabetes itself and the medications used to treat the disease.

Type 2 diabetes "progresses more rapidly" in youth, according to Dr. Phil Zeitler from the University of Colorado, Denver, who worked on the new study.

He and his colleagues were surprised at how quickly many of the youngsters needed to switch from oral medications to taking daily insulin shots, Zeitler told Reuters Health.

Also, Zeitler said, the teens in the study appeared to have complications, including infections and hospitalization, more often than adults do.

All the children in the study were overweight or obese, and ranged in age from 10 to 17 years old.

Children also may have a more difficult time taking their medications as instructed and are not usually in control of what is given to them to eat. Fast food dining has become a staple for many American families. School lunches are not much better in some regions, and kids are simply not as active as in past generations. Zeitler noted "the toxicity of your lifestyle must be pretty severe," for young children and teens to get type 2 diabetes before adulthood.

That's why all of the kids in the study got at least "basic lifestyle counseling," he emphasized -- for example, advice to stop drinking sugared sodas, eat less fast food, watch their diet in other healthy ways, take stairs instead of elevators and generally get more exercise.

Study enrollment began in July 2004 and follow-up continued through February 2011. All the kids in the study were taking metformin, a well-established diabetes drug, and a third were assigned to take the newer drug Avandia as well.

Another third of the kids were assigned a very intensive "lifestyle intervention," that involved more assignments for kids to complete, more interaction with counselors, and close involvement of at least one parent, in addition to taking metformin.

The kids' treatments were deemed failures if blood sugar and other signs pointed to their diabetes not being under control for a period of six months or more.

In the end, 52 percent of kids on metformin alone "failed" treatment, along with 39 percent of kids on metformin and Avandia and 47 percent of kids on metformin and lifestyle changes.

The median time it took for blood sugar control to be lost was just under a year.

The added benefit of Avandia was limited to girls, for reasons that are unclear, the researchers reported.

Also for unknown reasons, they noted, metformin alone was less effective for non-Hispanic black participants than other kids.

Overall, 19 percent of the participants developed serious adverse effects such as severe hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis and lactic acidosis.

The rate in the treatment groups was 18 percent in the metformin-only group, 15 percent in the double-drug group and 25 percent in the group that received the very intensive lifestyle intervention. The rate of specific problems such as hyperglycemia, were not significantly higher between the groups.

Fifty years ago," the editorial continues, "children did not avoid obesity by making healthy choices; they simply lived in an environment that provided fewer calories and included more physical activity for all. Until a healthier 'eat less, move more' environment is created for today's children, lifestyle interventions like that in the ...study will fail."

Type 2 diabetes can be difficult to diagnose in children because they may go without symptoms for a long time. A blood test to measure glucose metabolism is needed for an accurate diagnosis.

Mayoclinic.com gives these symptoms to be aware of. 

- Increased thirst and urination. As excess sugar builds up in your child's bloodstream, fluid is pulled from the tissues. This may leave your child thirsty. As a result, your child may drink — and urinate — more than usual.

- Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your child's cells, your child's muscles and organs become depleted of energy. This triggers hunger.

- Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, your child may lose weight. Without the energy sugar supplies to your cells, muscle tissues and fat stores simply shrink.

- Fatigue. If your child's cells are deprived of sugar, he or she may become tired and irritable.

- Blurred vision. If your child's blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your child's eyes. This may affect your child's ability to focus clearly.

- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. Type 2 diabetes affects your child's ability to heal and resist infections.

- Areas of darkened skin. Areas of darkened skin (acanthosis nigricans) may be a sign of insulin resistance. These dark patches often occur in the armpits or neck.

Treating type 2 diabetes is much more difficult than preventing it. Long-term diabetes can have devastating results on your health. That’s why it’s so important for families to be aware of the disease and what it takes to help prevent it.

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/type-2-diabetes-in-children/DS00946/DSECTION=symptoms

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/30/us-diabetes-kids-idUSBRE83T17K20120430

Your Child

Summer Fun Safety!

No one wants summer fun to turn into summer tragedy. These helpful safety tips are a good way to let fun and safety go hand in hand. Summer is the time of year that kids and parents dream about, especially when everyone’s pretty much housebound during the winter! With plenty of sunshine, outdoor events and activities are in full swing. Having fun and being safe go hand in hand.  The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) offers these safety tips on heat stress, sunburn, pool and boat safety.

Sunburn Protection First of all, as we mentioned in a previous post, avoid sunburn. Sunburns in childhood have been linked to skin cancer later in life. Here are some simple tips on sunburn prevention. - For Infants: The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cold compresses to the affected area. - For All Other Children: The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave. - Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. - On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays. - Be sure to apply enough sunscreen - about one ounce per sitting for a young adult. - Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. - Use extra caution near water and sand as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly. Heat Stroke and Stress Protection Running, playing, biking and sports present the possibility of heat stress or stroke. Kids want to be kids, so it’s the parent’s responsibility to keep an eye on how hot they get. Heat stroke can be deadly, and heat stress can make your child very ill. - The intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels. - At the beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, the intensity and duration of exercise should be limited initially and then gradually increased during a period of 7 to 14 days to acclimatize to the heat, particularly if it is very humid. - Before prolonged physical activity, children should be well hydrated and should not feel thirsty. For the first hour of exercise, water alone can be used. Kids should have water or a sports drink always available and drink every 20 minutes while exercising in the heat. Excessively hot and humid environments, more prolonged and strenuous exercise, and copious sweating should be reasons for children to substantially increase their fluid intake. After an hour of exercise, children need to drink a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage to replace electrolytes lost in sweat and provide carbohydrates for energy. - Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat. Sweat-saturated shirts should be replaced by dry clothing. - Practices and games played in the heat should be shortened and more frequent water/hydration breaks should be instituted. Children should seek cooler environments if they feel excessively hot or fatigued. Pool Safety Most children love to play and swim during the summer. Whether it’s a pool or the beach, you’ll find kids jumping, diving and running at full speed into the water. That’s just what kids do. It’s also a time when an adult should be nearby and keeping a close watch. While no one wants to put a damper on the fun of swimming, it’s important for parents to know that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. So, you can’t really be too careful when your little one is in the water. For pool safety, the AAP recommends: - Never leave children alone in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment. - Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through. - Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can't reach. - If the house serves as the fourth side of a fence surrounding a pool, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and the pool. - Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd's hook - a long pole with a hook on the end - and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool. Choose a shepherd’s hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity. - Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “Floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children, and parents a false sense of security. - Children ages 1 to 4 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age. - The decision to enroll a 1- to 4-year-old child in swimming lessons should be made by the parent and based on the child’s developmental readiness, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age. - Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.” - Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.  Ask your pool operator if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act.  If you have a swimming pool or spa, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fitting with anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. See PoolSafely.gov for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. - Large inflatable above ground pools, have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that an appropriate fence surrounds them just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access. Open Water Swimming Finally, a chance to vacation at the beach or lake! Open water swimming can be loads of fun and there’s nothing quite like looking out over the ocean or a beautiful lake to rev up a child. Here are some safety tips to remember when your child is in open water. - Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies! - A lifeguard (or another adult who knows about water rescue) needs to be watching children whenever they are in or near the water. Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water – use “touch supervision,” keeping no more than an arm’s length away. - Make sure your child knows never to dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects. - Never let your child swim in canals or any fast moving water. - Ocean swimming should only be allowed when a lifeguard is on duty. Boating Safety If you’re lucky enough to have a boat, or better yet, know someone who has a boat, there’s a good chance that your family could be enjoying the roar of the motor, sunny skies and wide-open water. Here are a few important details to be aware of while boating. - Children and adults should wear life jackets at all times when on boats or near bodies of water. - Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child, and your self. The jacket should not be loose. It should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted. - Blow-up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal flotation devices. Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection, and to set a good example. - Adolescents and adults should be warned of the dangers of boating when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and even some prescription medications. It sounds like a lot to remember this summer, but really most of the tips are just common sense. Some may even be ones you didn’t know, or hadn’t thought of.  Most of all this summer, have a great time with the kids, and stay safe!

Your Child

Gender Identity Confusion

If your middle-years child seems to have distortions and confusions in gender identity, discuss boy and girl, male and female behavior directly with him or her. For instance, talk with your child about the specific gestures or behavior that may provoke reactions from others, and identify together some that might be more appropriate.On Wednesday,we talked about gender identity, and at what age children begin to understand the difference between being a boy or a girl. We also covered children who may not fit the stereotypical gender role.

An example would be little girls who love to play with trucks and climb trees, or young boys who might prefer reading instead of playing sports. These children may not feel comfortable with traditional gender role-playing activities, but that in itself, does not mean they are confused about their sexual identity. Gender confusion is more complicated. More than just lacking an interest in sports, for instance, some boys actually tend to identify with females. Likewise, some girls identify more with masculine traits. Conflicted about their gender, they may deny their sexuality. Rather than learn to accept themselves, they may come to dislike that part of themselves that is a boy or a girl. At the extreme, a boy may seem more effeminate and have one or more of the following characteristics: •   He wants to be a girl. •   He desires to grow up to be a woman. •   He has a marked interest in female activities, including playing with dolls or playing the roles of girls or women. •   He has an intense interest in cosmetics, jewelry, or girls' clothes and en­joys dressing up in girls' apparel. •   His favorite friends are girls. •   On rare occasions, he may cross-dress and actually consider himself to be a girl. An effeminate boy is sometimes ridiculed, teased as being "gay," and shunned by his peer group. This rejection may intensify, as the boy gets older. As a result, he may become anxious, insecure, or depressed and strug­gle with self-esteem and social relationships. On the other hand, girls who identify with boys are thought of as "tomboys." They usually encounter less social ridicule and peer difficulties than effeminate boys do. For many girls, some tomboy-ness seems to be a very natural course toward healthy adolescent gender identity. Yet there are rare girls who exhibit one or more of the following traits: •  They express a wish to be a boy. •  Their preferred peer group is male. •  When playing make-believe games, they prefer male roles over female ones. These traits suggest a conflict or confusion about gender and relationship with peers of the same sex. The possible causes of these variations are speculative and controversial. Research demonstrates a role for both biological factors and social learning in gender-identity confusion. What Should You Do? If you notice the above traits in your child, it’s normal to worry about your child’s happiness and their ability to fit in with society’s rules and roles. That’s what parents do. But, over-reacting or trying to force your child to change who they are, often brings about only more confusion and sadness. If your middle-years child seems to have distortions and confusions in gender identity, discuss boy and girl, male and female behavior directly with him or her. For instance, talk with your child about the specific gestures or behavior that may provoke reactions from others, and identify together some that might be more appropriate. Through a sensitive dialogue, you might be able to help your child better understand his or her behavior and why it gets the responses it does from peers. Providing a lot of support for your child can bolster his or her self-esteem and counteract the social and peer pressures he or she might be facing. In addition to your own efforts, talk with your pediatrician, who may suggest that you consult a child psychiatrist or child psychologist to help overcome the youngster's confusion and conflict. Sexual orientation cannot be changed. A child's heterosexuality or homosexuality is deeply ingrained as part of them. As a parent, your most important role is to offer understanding, respect, and support to your child. A non-judge-mental approach will gain your child's trust and put you in a better position to help him or her through difficult times.

Your Child

Heavy Children at Risk for Asthma Symptoms

Children who are overweight at age six to seven are at higher risk for having symptoms of asthma.Children who are overweight at age six to seven are at higher risk for having symptoms of asthma like shortness of breath and "twitchy" airways when they are eight years old a new study out of the Netherlands shows. However, children who are overweight at a younger age but reach a normal weight by age six or seven do not appear to have an increased risk for asthma symptoms.

"These findings suggest that being overweight may affect a child's development of asthma symptoms," Dr. Salome Scholtens from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven told Reuters Health. "However, if a previously overweight child develops a normal weight, then the asthma symptoms are less likely to persist. We propose that development of a normal weight might positively affect asthma symptoms in overweight children," Scholtens added. Each year until the age of 8, researchers had the parents of 3756 children report their children's weight and any episodes of wheezing or other breathing difficulties as well as the use of inhaled steroids. The researchers tested the children to see how sensitive their airways were to various inhaled allergens. When the children were eight years old, 7.3 percent wheezed, 9.6 percent had difficulty breathing and 7.1 percent had a prescription for an inhaled steroid in the preceding year. According to the investigators, children who were persistently heavy from a very young age and between ages six and seven were 68 percent more likely to have breathing difficulties and 66 percent more likely to have twitchy airways at age 8 than children who were leaner in childhood.

Your Child

Are Kid’s Sack Lunches Healthier?

2:00

For some kids who bring their lunch to school, a new study suggests that as far as nutrition goes, they’d be better off buying their meal at the school cafeteria.

Researchers found that student’s bag lunches typically contained foods that were higher in sodium and sugar with fewer vegetables and whole grains compared with standards set for school cafeterias.

The findings are not necessarily surprising, said the study's senior researcher, Karen Cullen, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"Parents often pack lunches based on their children's preferences," she noted. Plus, she added, some other recent studies have found a similar pattern.

The study involved 12 elementary and middle schools in one Houston-area school district. Over two months, the researchers observed more than 300 students who brought their lunch from home -- noting what they ate and what they threw away.

On average, bag lunches were low on fruits and whole grains, and especially vegetables and milk.

School guidelines say kids should have three-quarters of a cup of vegetables (which really isn’t much) with every lunch. The average elementary school bag lunch had about one-tenth of that amount, according to the study.

Lunches brought from home also contained way too much sodium. The average bag lunch averaged 1,000 to 1,110 mg, versus a limit of 640 mg in elementary school lunches.

About 90 percent of the home lunches contained a dessert, sugary drink or snack chip. Guess what? Kids ate those items whereas between 20 and 30 percent of vegetables ended up in the garbage, according to the study.

Packing milk and palatable vegetables is tricky, noted Dr. Virginia Stallings, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who specializes in nutrition.

Giving your kids money to buy it at school can help solve the milk dilemma, said Stallings, who wrote an editorial published with the study. With vegetables, though, it can be challenging to go beyond carrot sticks, she added.

"I think that's one of the advantages of the school lunch," Stallings said. "Kids can have a hot meal, with cooked vegetables." She added that schools are working on making meals that are tasty without relying on salt, and expanding to include culturally diverse choices.

I don’t really think that kid’s attitudes have changed much about school lunches in the last few decades. As long as I can remember, kids eat what they want, trade foods with others and throw out the rest. They often gripe about their lunch food whether it comes from home or the school cafeteria.. That’s just what kids do.

So, if they are going to complain anyway you might as well fix them a lunch that will help them develop strong bones and hearts. The school systems have finally started paying attention to nutrition after all these years. They’re working on creative recipes that just might temp kids to eat better.

You already know that there are way too many American children that are eating poorly, not exercising and developing diabetes at a young age. It’s important what our children eat. Sometimes a school lunch is best and sometimes a lunch brought from home is best. Many times parents split the difference and do both.

Source: Amy Norton, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/education-news-745/kids-bag-lunches-not-meeting-nutrition-guidelines-694048.html

Your Child

Bounce House Safety

2.00 to read

For many young kids, bounce houses are magical places where you can vault through the air, land on a pillow and take flight again.  They’ve become a very hot item for kid’s parties and backyard play areas. Many clubs, schools and organizations use them for fundraising.

While they can be great fun under the right circumstances, the rise in injuries to young children has increased an astonishing 1500 percent from 1995 to 2010.  In 2012, a team led by the Center for Injury Research and Policy published the first comprehensive study of such injuries in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers found that 31 children per day were seen in emergency departments for “an inflatable bouncer-related injury.”

On average, they found that the patient was about seven years old, and most commonly sustained some kind of fracture or sprain to a leg or an arm. Almost 20% of the cases involved head and neck injuries. Kids usually got hurt while falling inside the bouncer—rather than out of it—often into another kid of a different size.

Bounce houses and moonwalks have grown in popularity over the last two decades and can now be purchased at stores like Costco and Sam’s. These DYI items are typically not as well made as commercial houses and do not come with anchors that are long and strong enough to withstand robust winds.

Because bounce houses have become so popular, there are a lot more amusement rental companies sprouting up. Drew Tewksbury, a senior vice president at insurance broker Britton Gallagher, developed an insurance program for amusement rentals like bounce houses. He says that trying to set up such playthings without professional operators and attendants is a “recipe for disaster.” He also says that the question of liability is always determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on where the bouncy house is, who set it up, whether waivers were signed and whether instructions were followed.

Currently there are voluntary guidelines for how to set up and operate a bounce house set out by ASTM International. Nearly 20 states, Tewksbury says, have passed legislation making those guidelines mandatory, rules that cover everything from the number of attendants one must have present to how deeply stakes must be pounded into the ground and how strong winds can be before all children are forced to get out.

If you’re considering renting or purchasing a bounce house for your child, there are safety guidelines set by the Child Injury Prevention Alliance that should be applied.

Injury prevention tips:

  • Limit bouncer use to children 6 years of age and older.
  • Only allow a bouncer to be used when an adult trained on safe bouncer use is present.
  • The safest way to use a bouncer is to have only one child on it at a time.
  • If more than one child will be on the bouncer at the same time, make sure that the children are about the same age and size (weight).

Proper use:

  • Take off shoes, eyeglasses and jewelry and remove all sharp objects from your pockets before entering the bouncer.
  • No rough play, tumbling, wrestling or flips. Stay away from the entrance or exit and the sides or walls of the bouncer while you are inside of it.
  • If the bouncer begins to lose air, stop play and carefully exit the bouncer.

Two recent bounce house events have brought home how quickly fun can turn into tragedy.  In mid-May, New York kindergartners playing inside a bounce house, were suddenly tossed 15 feet into the air when the bounce house was picked up by a strong gust of wind. Three children were injured, two seriously. A similar incident occurred in Colorado where two children were also injured.

Despite what may seem like a new rash of freak accidents, children with bounce-house injuries have been regular customers in the nation’s emergency rooms for years—and they’re only getting more frequent. Safety experts have been arguing for years that tougher safety guidelines need to be in place.

When the weather turns warm and school is out, bounce houses and moonwalk rentals and purchases increase.  If you’re thinking about one of these for your kids this summer, make sure that there is a well trained attendant on site and follow the Child Injury Prevention Alliance’s guidelines. If the wind picks while your child is in a bounce house, have them get out. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Sources: Kate Steinmetz, http://time.com/2811240/bounce-house-injuries-become-an-epidemic/

http://www.childinjurypreventionalliance.org/inflatablebouncers.aspx

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