Your Child

Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later

A new report shows that preteens who were bullied persistently when they were younger are more to have hallucinations, delusions or other psychotic symptoms.A new report out on bullying shows that preteens who were bullied persistently when they were younger are more likely than others their age to have hallucinations, delusions or other psychotic symptoms. The study conducted by British researchers involved over 6,000 children who averaged just less than 13 years of age. Their parents had provided regular updates about the youngsters' health and development since birth and the children had undergone yearly physical and psychological assessments since age seven.

Almost half (46 percent) had experienced bullying at ages eight or 10. As they neared 13, about 14 percent of the children had broad psychosis-like symptoms, with one or more symptoms suspected or confirmed. 11 percent had intermediate symptoms (one or more symptoms suspected or present at times other than when going to sleep, waking from sleep during a fever or after substance use) and 6 percent had narrow symptoms (one or more symptoms confirmed). Children who were bullied at either ages eight or 10 were about twice as likely as other children to have psychotic symptoms. The risk was highest in preteens who had suffered chronic or severe bullying. The study appears in the May 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. "Whether repeated victimization experiences alter cognitive and affective processing or re-program stress response, or whether psychotic symptoms are more likely due to genetic predisposition still needs to be determined in further research," wrote the researchers. "A major implication is that chronic or severe peer victimization has non-trivial, adverse, long-term consequences," they wrote. "Reduction of peer victimization and the resulting stress caused to victims could be a worthwhile target for prevention and early intervention efforts for common mental health problems and psychosis."

Your Child

Sleep: New Recommendations for Different Ages

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We all know how important a good night’s sleep is to being able to function well the next day. But how much sleep is really enough? How much we prefer is a personal choice, but how much we really need is now more concrete. 

After web analytics showed the vast popularity of the category, How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? on the National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) website, a panel of experts set about to reassure that the information provided there was the most accurate and up to date.

"Sleep duration was basically one of the most visited pages on the NSF website, and it wasn't really clear how those recommendations for the ranges had been arrived at," Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., chair of the National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council, told The Huffington Post.

The National Sleep Foundation decided to look at its recommendations and see if they should make any adjustments. After analyzing more recent literature on the subject, they came to the conclusion that an updating was due.

The panel of six sleep-experts and 12 medical experts conducted a formal literature review. The panel focused on the body of research surrounding sleep duration in healthy human subjects that had been published in peer-reviewed journals between 2004 and 2014. From the 312 articles reviewed, the experts were able to fine-tune existing sleep duration recommendations as detailed below:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours (range narrowed from 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (range widened from 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (range widened from 12-14)
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours (range widened from 11-13)
  • School-Age Children (6-13): 9-11 hours (range widened from 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (range widened from 8.5-9.5)
  • Young Adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours (no change)
  • Older Adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category)

“This is the first time that any professional organization has developed age-specific recommended sleep durations based on a rigorous, systematic review of the world scientific literature relating sleep duration to health, performance and safety,” Charles A. Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, said in a statement.

During sleep, your brain and body recharge. Lack of sleep can have short-term and long-term effects. Studies have shown that children and teens that do not get enough sleep have trouble concentrating in school, are more prone to drinking and drug use and are more likely to have behavioral issues. They are also more likely to suffer from depression.

Too little sleep can also affect growth and your child’s immune system – making it harder to fight off an illness.

For adults, if you’re able to function well on the amount of sleep you typically get, then that’s probably the right amount for you. However, for children, the NSF’s recommendations are a good resource for making sure your kids are getting enough sleep. If you find that your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep but is still groggy or lacks energy or focus during the day, talk to your pediatrician or family doctor to see if there may be something else that is causing these symptoms.

Sources: Sarah Klein, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/02/how-much-sleep-durations-changes_n_6581628.html

Your Child

The Virus That Is Making Lots of Kids Sick

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You may have heard about a fast-spreading virus that is sending children to emergency rooms around the country. It’s called enterovirus D68 or EV-D68 and was first discovered in 1962 in California.

Until now, the virus has been typically contained to small clusters around the U.S. But that is changing rapidly. Currently, most of the cases have been diagnosed in the Midwest and parts of the South. Because the virus is spreading quickly from area to area, it has gained the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This is the first time it’s caused such widespread misery, and it seems to be particularly hard on the lungs.

What are the symptoms of EV-D68? Most viral infections start out with a fever, cough and runny nose, but D68 doesn’t seem to follow that classic pattern, says Mary Anne Jackson, MD She's the division director of infectious disease at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, the hospital where the first cases were identified.

“Only 25% to 30% of our kids have fever, so the vast majority don’t,” Jackson says. Instead, kids with D68 infections have cough and trouble breathing, sometimes with wheezing.

They act like they have asthma, even if they don’t have a history of it, she says. “They’re just not moving air.”

Who is at the greatest risk? Recent cases have been in children ages 6 months to 16 years, with most hovering around ages 4 and 5, the CDC says.

Usually the enterovirus strikes between July through October, so we are still in the virus season.

Many kids will experience milder symptoms, but children with a history of breathing problems can be hit particularly hard.

Two-thirds of those hospitalized at Children’s Mercy had a history of asthma or wheezing, Jackson says.

“We made sure that primary care providers are in touch with their patients with asthma, so those have an active asthma plan and know what to do if they get into trouble,” she says.

What treatments are available for EV-D68? Antibiotics don’t work because it is a virus and not bacteria. There is no vaccine available at this time or antiviral medication for treatment. It is treated with supportive care.

“The main thing is giving supplemental oxygen to the children who need it,” says Andi Shane, MD. medical director of hospital epidemiology and associate director of pediatric infectious disease at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. 

Children may also get medications, such as albuterol, which help relax and open the air passages of the lungs.

Those with the most critical cases have needed ventilators to help them breathe.

Most children who get EV-D68 will have a milder course of disease that tender loving care; rest and plenty of fluids will work as treatment.

However, it’s time to head to the doctor’s office or emergency room “if there’s any rapid breathing, and that means breathing more than once per second consistently over the span of an hour. Or if there’s any labored breathing,” says Roya Samuels, MD. She's a pediatrician at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Labored breathing, says Samuels, means kids are using smaller muscles around the chest wall to help move air in and out of their lungs.

“If you see the skin pulling in between the ribs or above the collarbone, or if there’s any wheezing, those are clear signs that a child needs to be evaluated,” she says.

You catch it basically like to catch any other virus. The enterovirus is pretty hardy and can live on surfaces for hours and as long as a day, depending on temperature and humidity.

The virus can be found in saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum, according to the CDC.

Touching a contaminated surface and then rubbing your nose or eyes is the usual way someone catches it. You can also get it from close person-to-person contact.

Protect yourself with good hand-washing habits. Tell kids to cover their mouth with a tissue when they cough. If no tissue is handy, teach them to cough into the crook of their elbow or upper sleeve instead of their hand.

The good news is that common disinfectants and detergents will kill enteroviruses. Cleaning surfaces that are frequently touched by everyone in the household is important to help keep the virus from spreading. For children, be sure to include toys, cups and doorknobs. While sick children are gaining most of the media attention, adults can also catch EV-D68. 

The virus may be spreading farther than currently known because it is not always tested for when a child enters the hospital or clinic for help.

Again, many children will only experience milder symptoms and will not need to be hospitalized, but if your child exhibits symptoms that include trouble breathing; take them to a doctor immediately.

Source: Brenda Goodman, MA and Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20140909/enterovirus-d68-parents

Your Child

Returning to School After a Concussion

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Football legend, Brett Favre, recently talked about being concerned over memory lapses he’s been experiencing. He believes the lapses may be a result of the numerous concussions he suffered as a professional football player. He joins an ever-expanding group of ex-NFL players that report serious memory issues as well as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and devastating diseases. Many of the ex-players believe that the frequent concussions they received are at the root of their mental health problems.

As more and more adult sports figures talk about their concussion related medical problems, the spotlight shifts to concern for young student athletes and protecting them from experiencing concussions.  From grade school through college, experts have been creating and implementing programs to prevent concussions as well as guidelines for when a student can return to participate in sports after receiving a concussion.

Researchers are now beginning to explore another side to student concussions – when should a student resume classwork?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued recommendations for “return to learn”, a checklist to alert doctors, school administrators and parents to potential cognitive and academic challenges to students who have suffered concussions.

“They’re student athletes, and we have to worry about the student part first,” said Dr. Mark E. Halstead, the lead author of “Returning to Learning Following a Concussions,  a clinical report in this week’s Pediatrics.

People tend to associate children’s concussion only with sports related activities, but that leaves out a whole other group of kids that get concussions for a variety of reasons. From skateboarding to car-accidents, from tree climbing to slipping off a curb while texting and not watching where you’re walking – there are lots of ways you can sustain a brain injury.

The brain needs time to heal and requires rest after an injury. Experts have come up with a game plan for when to return to physical activities, but what about “cognitive rest” for tasks such as studying, taking tests and reading? Researchers aren’t sure how long the brain needs to rest before returning to schoolwork.

Experts have not identified at what point mental exertion impedes healing, when it actually helps, and when too much rest prolongs recovery. Although many doctors are concerned that a hasty return to a full school day could be harmful, this theory has not yet been confirmed by research.

The student’s pediatrician, parents and teachers should communicate about the incident, the recommendations said, and be watchful for when academic tasks aggravate symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and difficulty concentrating. The academy acknowledged that case management must be highly individualized: “Each concussion is unique and may encompass a different constellation and severity of symptoms.”

Most students have a full recovery within three weeks, the article said. But if the recovery seems protracted, specialists should be consulted.

Schools can have a positive impact on a child’s recovery by helping students ease back into the regular curriculum.  To alleviate a student’s headaches, for example, schedule rests in the school nurse’s office; for dizziness, allow extra time to get to class through crowded hallways; for light sensitivity, permit sunglasses to be worn indoors. Students accustomed to 45-minute classes might only be able to sit through 30 minutes at the outset, or attend school for a half-day.

“Parents need to follow up with schools and make sure plans are being followed,” Dr. Halstead said.

It may take a month before a child is ready to resume full school involvement.

Dr. Matthew F. Grady, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who may see 50 patients with concussions a week during the fall sports season, often suggests that before students return to class, they should first try modest amounts of school work at home, to identify if and when symptoms recur.

“But that ramping-up period will depend on the severity of the concussion and the cognitive demands on the student,” he said.

If your child has suffered a concussion, talk to your pediatrician or family doctor about a medical plan to help your child return to his or her studies. Notify your child’s school and let the proper authorities know about the concussion and your physician’s recommendations when your child is ready to return.

Source: Jan Hoffman, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/concussions-and-the-classroom/?_r=1&

Your Child

Bullying Tied to Suicide Thoughts and Attempts

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The emotional pain of being bullied can lead some kids to think about killing themselves and others to follow through with actually attempting suicide. Sadly, far too many young kids and adolescents have succeeded in ending their lives because of the hurtful actions, mean words and cyber aggression of others.

Some people may assume that bullying is just a part of growing up and relatively harmless, but a new analysis of previously published studies on bullying, found that school children who are bullied are more than twice as likely to think about killing themselves and to attempt suicide as children who are not bullied.

Researchers also found that cyber-bullying, such as harassment over the Internet, was more closely linked to suicidal thoughts than in-person bullying.

"We found that suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides are significantly related to bullying, a highly prevalent behavior among adolescents," Mitch van Geel told Reuters Health in an email.

Van Geel is the study's lead author from the Institute of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

He said it's estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of children and teens are involved in bullying as the perpetrator, victim or both.

Studies have discovered links between bullying and suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, but there are still a lot of questions left that need answering.

Cyber-bullying is a relatively new phenomenon, in research and analysis time, so fewer studies have been completed. 

For this latest analysis, published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found 34 studies that examined bullying and suicidal thoughts among 284,375 participants between nine and 21 years old.

They also found nine studies that examined the relationship between bullying and suicide attempts among 70,102 participants of the same age.

Overall, participants who were bullied were more than twice as likely to think about killing themselves. They were also about two and a half times more likely to attempt killing themselves.

In one study included in the analysis, researchers found that about 3 percent of students from New York State who were not bullied thought about or attempted suicide. That compared to 11 percent of students who were frequently bullied.

The extra risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts tied to bullying was similar among participants of different age groups and among boys and girls.

In the handful of studies on cyber-bullying, researchers found that those victims were more likely to have suicidal thoughts than kids who experienced traditional face-to-face bullying.

"At this point, this is speculative and more research is definitely needed on cyber-bullying," van Geel wrote.

It could be, however, that cyber-bullying victims feel belittled in front of a wider audience and may relive the attacks because they are stored on the Internet, he added.

Some experts have cautioned that the studies included in the analysis don’t prove a causal connection between being bullied and suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts among the participants. As one noted researcher explained, it could be, for example, that kids who attempt or think about suicide are more likely to be bullied.

Many schools have implemented no-bullying policies and programs to help children who are targets of bullying have a voice and a safe place to talk and receive counseling.

Those steps have helped bring attention to the problem of bullying in some schools. However, it may take a change in adolescent attitude and societal pressure to make bullying lose its power.

"There are now meta-analyses that demonstrate that bullying is related to depression, psychosomatic problems and even suicide attempts, and thus we should conclude that bullying is definitely not harmless," said van Geel.  

Source: Andrew M. Seaman,  http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/10/us-bullying-among-kids-idUSBREA291JS20140310

Your Child

Common Chemicals Linked to Lower IQ in Kids

 Phthalates are chemicals used in thousands of every day products. They make plastics more flexible and difficult to break. They are also used in personal-care products such  as soaps, shampoos, hairsprays and nail polishers. There are several different types of phthalates.

 A new study suggests that two phthalate chemicals in particular, may be damaging to fetal development and could even lower children's IQs.

 The chemicals, Di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP), are found in a wide range of products including vinyl upholstery, shower curtains, plastic food  containers, raincoats, dryer sheets, lipstick, hairspray, nail polish, certain soaps and chemical air fresheners. They can be absorbed into a person's body, and exposure in- utero was linked in the study to lower IQs later in a child's life.

 Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City headed the study.

 Three hundred and twenty eight New York City low-income women and their children participated in the study. The researchers followed the expectant mothers to assess  the impact of exposure to four phthalates in the third trimester of pregnancy: DnBP and DiBP, as well as 2 other phthalates. The chemical amounts were measured in each woman's urine, and the children took IQ tests at age 7.

 After controlling for factors such as the mother's IQ, education level and family home environment, the researchers found the children of mothers with the highest concentrations of DnBP and DiBP in their systems had IQ levels of 6.6 and 7.6 points lower than children in the lowest exposure group.

 The two other phthalates did not appear to have an impact on the children's intellectual development.

 "Because phthalate exposures are ubiquitous and concentrations seen here within the range previously observed among general populations, results are of public health significance," the researchers write in their study.

 The authors point out that the mothers with a higher volume of chemicals in their system were still within the national average of a larger sample measured by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicates Americans are being exposed to too high a dose of these common chemicals.

 Six phthalates have been banned in children’s products since 2009, but health officials have yet take to take steps to alert pregnant women of the risk that comes with using certain products that contain phthalates. Moreover, companies are not required to label the use of phthalates in products.

 Because so many products contain phthalates, it’s almost impossible to eliminate the chemicals entirely from your system.

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies phthalates as endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with a person's hormone system. They have been associated with a number of physical developmental abnormalities such as cleft palate and skeletal malformations.

 Other studies have linked increased fetal deaths and preterm births in animals to phthalate exposure. They’ve also associated the chemicals to health problems in teens such as insulin resistance.

 The researchers recommend pregnant women take a number of measures to at least minimize risks. They suggest avoiding products with recyclable plastic that's labeled with the numbers 3, 6 or 7.

 The Environmental Working Group also recommends against using cleaning and cosmetic products that include "fragrance" on the list of ingredients, since that indicates the product may contain some hidden phthalates. Many companies are now labeling which of their products are “phthalate free.”

 The study was published in the journal PLOS One.

 Source: Jessica Firger, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/prenatal-exposure-to-common-chemicals-linked-to-lower-iq-in-children/

 http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/phthalates_factsheet.html

Your Child

It’s Official; CDC Says Flu is Epidemic

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The flu has reached epidemic levels in the United States, with 15 children dead so far this season, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported at the end of December 2014.

Every year, the U.S. reaches a point where the number of flu cases enters the epidemic stage.  There’s no way to tell right now if this year’s flu season will end up being more or less severe than previous ones. Those statistics won’t be available till later in the year.

No state will be spared this season with more flu cases and deaths’ increasing in the next few weeks says Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer in CDC's influenza division. "We are in the middle of flu season," Jhung said. "It's a safe bet that we are going to see flu activity continue to increase for a few more weeks. We are going to see every state in the country affected by flu."

The number of children’s deaths from flu changes every year. The latest victim may be a 17 year-old-girl in Minnesota. She was diagnosed with the flu and sent home to recover. Shanna Zwanziger had the flu for about a week before she died says her family. Her mother said Shanna was given the choice of whether to get the vaccine or not, and she chose not to.

The South, Midwest and Western states have been especially hard hit this flu season. At least six children have died in Tennessee and four in Minnesota, according to published reports.

The predominant flu strain this season is the H3N2 virus, the CDC says. This virus is not well matched to this year's flu vaccine, but what part this mismatch is playing in flu deaths isn't known, Jhung said.

The CDC acknowledges that that this year’s flu vaccine is not a good match for the most dominant strain of the virus. That’s because there’s not just one type of flu and the virus can mutate. This year’s vaccine was created before one of the viruses mutated. However, experts say that getting this year’s vaccine can still help protect you and can help make symptoms less severe if you get the flu.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot. It's not too late to get vaccinated, Jhung said. More than one type of flu is circulating, and the vaccine protects against at least three strains of circulating virus, he added.

"If you encounter one of those viruses where there is a very good match, then you will be well-protected," he said. "Even if there isn't a great match, the vaccine still provides protection against the virus that's circulating."

Many people get the flu and recover at home. They spend anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks feeling very bad and then start to feel better. But others face life-threatening complications – such as pneumonia- according to the CDC.

Jhung says parents should always take the flu seriously, and get medical help if their child is very sick.

Warning signs might include a cough that disrupts sleep, a fever that doesn't come down with treatment, or increased shortness of breath, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There are treatments for the flu such as Tamiflu and Relenza. "Those work best when they are given very quickly. So if you do have signs and symptoms of flu, reach out to a health care provider and get evaluated," Jhung said.

The flu season moves into its later stage in January and February, with different flu types taking the lead. It’s not too late to get your family the flu shot. They are still available at physician’s offices as well as at many pharmacies and health care centers.

Sources: Steven Reinberg, http://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/flu-now-epidemic-in-u-s-with-15-child-deaths-reported-695066.html

Liz Neporent, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/years-subpar-flu-shot-save-life/story?id=27898830

Your Child

More “Little League Shoulder and Elbow” Injuries Showing Up

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Professional pitchers and catchers aren't the only ones that end up on the sidelines due to injuries during baseball season. Young players across the country are just as susceptible to shoulder and elbow injuries, in fact it’s known as Little League Shoulder.

Little League shoulder happens when an athlete throws too often or repeatedly throws the wrong way and hurts his shoulder. In younger athletes, growth plates—soft places toward the end of the bone that cause it to grow—are prone to injury, and can get irritated with too much use. Usually, the arm may be tender and sore, and it will hurt to throw. 

A new study out of Boston, Massachusetts, says Little League Shoulder is on the rise. 

"It's certainly being seen with more frequency," said study author Dr. Benton Heyworth, an instructor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, and a practitioner in the division of sports medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. "And that's likely due to trends in youth sports in general.

"In the case of baseball, that means more year-round pitching without the appropriate period of rest between, and more pitching at higher velocities. Which means that although 'USA Baseball' and 'Little League Baseball' outline clear pitch-count limits, what we're seeing are very straightforward overuse injuries that come from kids simply pitching too much," Heyworth added.

Little League Shoulder is usually found in young baseball players, but can show up in other sports such as gymnastics and tennis.

To gain more insight into Little League shoulder, the investigators analyzed the experience of 95 patients with the condition aged 8 to 17 (the average age was 13).

All were treated at a single pediatric care facility between 1999 and 2013, and nearly all (97 percent) were baseball players. Of those, 86 percent were pitchers, 8 percent were catchers, and 7 percent played other positions.

Three percent of the group were tennis players. Just two out of the 95 were female, according to the study.

In addition to the main issue of shoulder pain, 13 percent of the patients also complained of elbow pain, while 10 percent said they suffered from shoulder weakness and/or fatigue. Nearly as many (8 percent) said they experienced mechanical difficulties with shoulder movement.

Children that developed reduced range of motion issues had a three-times greater risk of re-injury within six to 12 months following their return to sports, the findings showed.

The best treatment for Little League Shoulder is rest – the hardest thing for an athlete to do. Physical therapy is also recommended before a young athlete gets back to his or her sport. Also, when it comes to baseball, many physical therapists suggest the player play different positions to help continue the healing process.

Coaches and parents can help kids recognize they may have an injury by checking to see if players are exhibiting abnormal movements while fielding, throwing or batting. Athletes are more likely to try and play through a flare-up, especially when they feel better after a little rest. But, repeated injury can cause a more serious condition to develop leading to a season ending diagnosis or worse.

The Little League Organization has specific protocols that are supposed to be followed by all leagues and coaches.

Regular season rules state that “the manager must remove the pitcher when said pitcher reaches the limit for his/her age group as noted below, but the pitcher may remain in the game at another position.”

League Age and pitches rules are:

  • 1 7-18 years-old - 105 pitches per day
  • 13 -16 years-old - 95 pitches per day
  • 11 -12 years-old - 85 pitches per day
  • 9-10 years-old - 75 pitches per day
  • 7-8 years-old - 50 pitches per day

Playing baseball is about as American as (insert your favorite pie here) and as a team sport it’s one of the best. Just keep an eye on your star athlete to make sure he or she doesn’t overdue it. Little League shoulder and elbow pain can take the fun out of  “Let’s Play Ball!”

The study’s findings were recently presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Seattle.

Sources: Alan Moses, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/kids-ailments-health-news-434/new-study-gains-insight-on-little-league-shoulder-689833.html

http://www.childrenshospital.org/health-topics/conditions/little-league-shoulder

Your Child

Some Parents Still Not Buckling Up Their Children

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Is it okay to not buckle up your child if you’re only going on a short trip?  The answer is no. You should buckle up your kids no matter if you’re driving around the block or half way around the country. A new survey reveals a surprising number of parents ( one fifth) think if you’re making a short trip you don’t need to buckle-up yourself or your kids.

That kind of thinking can have tragic consequences.

Ask Ed Beaudette if leaving your child unbuckled while riding in a car is worth it. 0n July 20, 2003, he was returning from vacation with his 9-month-old daughter, Nora. She was irritable, and seemed hot and uncomfortable. Her mother, Heidi Obenosky, unbuckled Nora to remove some of her clothes.

Before Nora was buckled back in, Beaudette nodded off and crashed. Nora was killed.

Since then Beaudette and Obenosky became child safety seat advocates. "I saw a poster that said, 'A crying baby is an alive baby,'" Beaudette says. "That really hit me. Had I just ignored my parental compassion and used common sense and let Nora cry a few more miles, right now I'd be making plans for Nora's 11th birthday instead of talking to you."

The child advocacy groups “Safe Kids Worldwide” and “General Motors Foundation” conducted the survey. They foud that one-fifth of parents – 21% -- think it's acceptable to drive with their child unrestrained if they are not driving far.

But the reality of things is quite different.  Sixty percent of crashes involving children occur within 10 minutes of home. That’s according to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention.

Who is more likely to drive unbuckled or not buckle up their children during these short trips? According to researchers, its people who are higher educated and making the most money.

More affluent parents, more educated parents, fathers and younger parents were more likely to say it was OK to ride unrestrained. For example, 34% of parents with an annual household income of $100,000 or more said it was sometimes acceptable to do that compared with just 15% of parents making less than $35,000. Parents with graduate degrees were twice as likely as parents with a high school education – 20% to 10% -- to do it.      

Researchers don't yet have an explanation for those trends, says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations working to prevent childhood injuries. "We haven't done a focus group yet that would ask, do they think their car is safer? Do they think they're a safer driver?"

No matter your education or occupation, it’s a no-brainer to buckle up your child (and yourself) every time you get in the car. "Historically, we've encountered that attitude before with adults (and seat belts)," says Julie Kleinert, a child safety specialist at General Motors. "People think that if they're not going very far, they don't need to wear their seat belt. I think we need to get the message out to people that they're at risk whether going a short distance or a long distance."

The June national online survey of 1,002 parents and caregivers of children ages 10 and under has a 3.1% margin of error, Safe Kids say.

So parents buckle up for safety! It only takes a few minutes for a simple trip to the store to turn into a life ending tragedy. No matter the distance make sure your child is securely buckled-up. 

Source: Larry Copeland, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/16/child-passenger-restraints-car-safety/2798725/

 

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