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Your Child

Getting Into the Swing of Summer Safety


As we wave goodbye to another school year, we say hello to summer.

Today marks the first official day of summer with a special event that hasn’t occurred for nearly 70 years. Tonight there will be a rare summer solstice full moon.

What a unique opportunity to round up the kids and do a little stargazing and moon watching this evening!

Getting into the swing of summer often includes fun activities like swimming, boating, biking, camping and other outdoor activities, but it also requires more attentiveness from parents and caregivers.

The more laissez-faire days give kids a chance to relax from school routines, but can also put them at a higher risk for accidents and injuries. It’s always a good idea to brush up on your summer safety tips.

Summer means high temperatures. In certain parts of the country, temperatures can be well over a hundred degrees. That’s not likely to keep kids indoors all day, and they really shouldn’t be if they are generally healthy.

Outdoor play is good for kids, but you may need to get them out in the mornings and later in the evening when temps aren’t quite so high. Before sending kids out to play, make sure they always wear shoes to protect feet from cuts, scrapes and splinters, and wear sunscreen to protect from sunburns and harmful ultra-violet rays.

While playing poolside may be a blast, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4 and it is the third leading cause of injury-related death among children 19 and under. Prevent accidents and injuries with these tips to ensure your family’s safety:

Pool Safety:

•       Teach children to never swim alone or go near water without an adult present.

•       Always jump in feet first to check the depth before diving into any body of water.

•       Never dive in the shallow end of the pool or into above ground pools.

•       Never leave a child unattended in or near water.

•       Make sure your child knows how to swim, starting at a young age.

•       Teach children to stay away from drains.

•       Make sure any pool or spa you’re child gets in has a safety compliant drain cover. Powerful suction from a pool or spa drain can even trap an adult.

•       Know how to perform CPR on a child and an adult. Often, bystanders are the first to aid a drowning victim, so learning CPR can help save a life.  CPR classes are available through many hospitals, community centers, or by contacting the American Red Cross.

•       Keep a cell phone nearby in case of an emergency, but don’t let it distract you from overseeing the children.

•       Know your child’s limits. Watch out for the "too's" — too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much hard activity.

•       Watch for kids diving above other kids. Make sure the area is clear when a child dives from a diving board.

•       Keep an eye on the weather. Make sure kids are out of the pool or lake if bad weather approaches. Take the fun inside till it’s clear.

•       Make sure that the water is clean – polluted water can make a child very sick.

Boating and water skiing safety:

Boating and water skiing can be great fun, but requires a lot of supervision.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, nearly 71 percent of all boating fatalities are caused from drowning, 85 percent of which are a result of not wearing a life jacket. Here is what you can do to enjoy the water safely:

•       Always have children wear a Coast Guard-approved, properly fitted life jacket while on a boat, around an open body of water or when participating in water sports.

•       Educate yourself. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 86 percent of boating accident deaths involve boaters who have not completed a safety course.

•       Always check water conditions and forecasts before going out on the water.

•       Never consume alcohol when out on the waters with your child. Impaired judgment is often the cause of the most critical accidents and injuries.

Lawn Mower safety:

While not considered a typical summer “fun” activity, many severe accidents occur to small children riding on lawn mowers with a parent or grandparent.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, lawn mower injuries account for a large percentage of accidental amputations. The Academy cautions that the speed of a typical lawn mower blade can send dirt and bacteria deep into a wound, creating a high risk for severe infection. To avoid accidents involving lawn mowers, keep these tips in mind:

•       Teach children to never play on or around a lawn mower, even when it is not in use. They should never be permitted to walk beside, in front of or behind a moving mower.

•       Children under 6 years of age should be kept inside the home while mowing.

•       Children should be at least 12 years of age before operating a push lawn mower and at least 16 years of age before operating a riding lawn mower.

Fire and fireworks safety:

Summer often involves grilling, campfires and fireworks. All of these activities are standard fair for a lot of families. A few simple safety tips can help prevent injuries.

•       Teach kids to never play with matches, gasoline, lighter fluid or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items up and away from young children.

•       Do not leave children unattended near grills, campfires, fire pits or bonfires. Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby whenever there is a burning fire.

•       Take your child to a doctor or hospital immediately if he or she is injured in a fire or by fireworks.

•       Never let children ignite fireworks or play alone with them. Fireworks that are often thought to be safe, such as sparklers, can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, and can burn users and bystanders.

•       Attend community fireworks displays run by professionals rather than using fireworks at home.

These tips cover a few of the most common summer activities. We’ll continue with more summer safety tips in future articles. Welcome to summer fun and don’t forget to catch that awesome full moon tonight!

Story sources:




Your Child

Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries


The school year is about to wind down and it won’t be long before many kids will be signing up for summer sports programs.

If you’re child loves sports, there’s not a season where he or she can’t find one to participate in. Sports often help children stay in better physical shape, feel good about them selves and with team sports, enjoy social interaction and competition.

However, all sports have a certain amount of risks associated with them - some more than others. The more contact the sport provides, the greater the risk for a traumatic injury. Fortunately, traumatic injuries are rare and most sport injuries to young athletes are due to overuse.

The most common sport-related injuries are sprains (ligament injuries) , stress fractures( bone injuries)  and strains (muscle injuries).Since children’s bodies are still developing, any tenderness over a bone should be evaluated further by a medical provider even if there is minimal swelling or limitation in motion.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips to help reduce serious injuries in younger athletes:

•       Time off. Plan to have at least 1 day off per week from a particular sport to allow the body to recover. 

•       Wear the right gear.  Players should wear appropriate and properly fit protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear. Young athletes should not assume that protective gear will always protect them when performing more dangerous or risky activities.

•       Strengthen muscles. Conditioning exercises during practice strengthens muscles used in play. 

•       Increase flexibility. Stretching exercises before and after games or practice can increase flexibility. Stretching should also be incorporated into a daily fitness plan.

•       Use the proper technique. This should be reinforced during the playing season. 

•       Take breaks. Rest periods during practice and games can reduce injuries and prevent heat illness.  

•       Play safe. Strict rules against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), and spearing (football) should be enforced. 

•       Stop the activity if there is pain.

•       Avoid heat injury by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or play; decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/humidity periods; wear light clothing. 

While physical injuries are easier to see, sports-related emotional stress can also cause problems for some children. The pressure to win at all costs can add a lot of emotional stress to children who are more interested in playing than always being first.

Not every team is going to win every game, and there will be times when kids involved in more singular sports won’t have a good day. It happens to everyone at some time or another; ask any pro athlete. Young athletes should be judged on effort, sportsmanship and hard work. They should be rewarded for trying hard and for improving their skills rather than punished or criticized for losing a game or competition.  The main goal should be to have fun and learn lifelong physical activity skills.

There are numerous sports that children can engage in and each one offers its own benefits. As parents, it’s important to encourage our children and keep them as healthy as possible.


Your Child

More PE in School Linked to Higher Math Scores


Students in the Washington D.C. school system who spent more time doing physical activity also increased their standardized math scores significantly, according to a new study American University study.

A law passed in 2010, requires D.C. students to adhere to certain requirements regarding nutrition and physical activity at school to receive federal funding. They are also obligated to report how they implement these programs.

“This finding demonstrates that students’ academic performance improves when there’s a balance between time spent on physical education and time spent on learning,” said Stacey Snelling, dean of American University’s School of Education.

The study divided the city’s elementary schools into four groups based on how much physical education they offered: the lower 25 percent, lower-middle 25 percent, upper-middle 25 percent and upper 25 percent.

The researchers then took the average DC CAS math proficiency score, from the 2012-2013 school year, for each of these four groups and found that schools offering more physical activity posted higher math scores.

The upper 25 percent had an average of 151 minutes of physical education and saw an average math proficiency rate of 56.66. The lower 25 percent had an average of 29 minutes of physical education per week and an average math proficiency rate of 47.53. Some of the findings also were published in the academic journal Appetite. 

Researchers graded each school on how it implemented various aspects of the legislation — including building school gardens, serving healthy lunches and offering ample physical education time — on a 33-point scale. They found that, despite socioeconomic differences, there were no significant variations in how schools performed on the 33-point-scale across the District’s eight wards.

There were certain limitations pointed out in the findings. Researchers said that the data is based on schools’ self-reporting – which can leave room for errors. Several schools have also closed and opened during the five –year study, yielding inconsistent data.

D. C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), who authored the original 2010 legislation, applauded the report’s findings, adding that although schools effectively provided more nutritious lunches, there is still more room for more physical ­activity.

“When children are fed and they are not hopping all around because their hungry, they’re better learners, and that’s translated throughout,” Cheh. “I was impressed with the findings.”

More schools across the country are taking a second look at adding back PE to students’ school week. Many schools have cancelled PE classes in order to use that time to prepare students for testing. As study after study comes in pointing out the benefits, including higher test scores, of children engaging in some sort of physical activity during the school day, school administrations are beginning take notice.

Source: Perry Stein,


Your Child

Importance of Breakfast

When your child was an infant, you were diligent about feeding them on schedule. So, why do so many parents let their children skip breakfast before heading out to school? A new study shows that 12 to 35 percent of adolescents skip breakfast and that number increases with age.

“Breakfast is another time to spend with your child,” says pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard. She says a healthy breakfast should have protein, fiber and calcium. “Try and stay away from sugar coated cereals” she advises. Dr. Hubbard also emphasizes that parents need to read cereal box labels and stay from breakfast bars because many of them contain large amounts of sugar. “A good thing as you’re running to the door and getting in carpool is a piece of peanut butter toast on whole wheat grain bread with some milk on the side,” she says. “Breakfast gives your child fuel for the day.”

Your Child

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!


It’s that time of year– goblins, ghouls, pirates and princesses will be making their way through neighborhoods with outstretched hands and shy giggles.  Yep, Halloween is here!

Along with the kid’s fun comes parental responsibility. While you can’t protect your little one from every danger, there are steps you can take to help make this holiday safer.

Preventing fires and burns.

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

Store bought costumes rarely fit properly, so you may need to make some adjustments.

  • Adjust costumes to ensure a good fit. Long skirts or capes can drag on the ground and cause falls.
  • Secure hats, scarves and masks to ensure that your child can see everything that is going on around them. Also, check to see that nothing is keeping your child from breathing properly. Masks and some super-hero helmets can fir too tightly, making it hard to breathe.
  • Make sure that swords, canes or sticks are not sharp.

Colored contacts have become popular with some older children. Often the packets these contacts come in have advertising on the package claiming that, “One size fits all.” They don’t.  These lenses are illegal in some states, but can be found online. They may cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye infections. Avoid these at all costs.

Making your home a safe place for trick or treaters

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

How old should children be before they can be unaccompanied by an adult? There is no correct answer to that question. An adult should always accompany young children. When your child is about ten, they may start asking to go with their friends. There are some questions to think about before you decide to let them.

  • What is your child’s maturity level? Do they normally act pretty responsible and make good choices?
  • Who are the friends they want to go with and what is their maturity level?
  • What area are they going to be trick-or-treating in?  Will it be local or in an area your child may not be familiar with?
  • What time to they plan to start and be back home? Give your child a definite time.

Whether your child is with you - or out with friends - make sure someone has a charged cell phone with them.  You want be prepared in case of an emergency.

Halloween has changed over the years and lots of parents now take their children to specific places that host Halloween parties and activities, but whether it’s in a controlled environment or out on the streets, it’s still smart to keep safety first.


 Dr. Karen Sherman,




Your Child

Nicotine Poisoning in Young Children Skyrockets 1,500% in 3 years


In the last 3 years, there has been an astonishing increase in calls to poison control centers from caregivers and parents of children who have or might have been exposed to liquid nicotine.

From 2012 -2014, accidental exposures to e-cigarettes by children under the age of 6 increased by about 1,500 % according to researchers analyzing nicotine and tobacco product poison control calls.

Children with accidental exposures to e-cigarette liquids were more than five times more likely to be admitted to a medical facility than those exposed to traditional cigarettes and more than twice as likely to have severe medical outcomes, wrote researcher Gary A. Smith, MD, of the Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues. Their study was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

"These are not trivial exposures. There were comas, seizures, and even one death in the 40-month period we studied, and these exposures were predictable and preventable," Smith told MedPage Today. "E-cigarettes and vaping liquids are products that should never have entered the market without adequate consideration of the harms they could cause to young children."

Not only are children becoming seriously ill because of accidental nicotine poisoning, but children have died from it.

"One death to a 1-year-old child occurred associated with nicotine liquid accessed from an open refill container," the researchers wrote. "Children exposed to e-cigarettes or other tobacco products had higher odds of having a severe outcome than children exposed to cigarettes."

Nicotine is a toxic substance that can cause convulsions, coma, vomiting, irregular heart rhythms, weakness and even death. Before the availability of e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine, acute nicotine poisoning usually occurred in young children who accidentally chewed on nicotine gum or patches.

The study comes right after two new initiatives have been established to put the brakes on nicotine poisoning in children.

The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act will take effect this summer and will require child-resistant packaging on liquid nicotine containers.

Also, the Food and Drug Administration released long-awaited rules last week, requiring e-cigarette companies to undergo federal review to stay on the market and add health warnings to their products. The new regulations, which take effect in August, also ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.

Many health officials are upset that the FDA has taken so long to address the dangers of nicotine poisoning in young children.

"Liquid nicotine is another example of a highly toxic product that was put into the marketplace without consideration for safety of children," Smith said. "It's as if we're treating our children as canaries in the coal mine. We wait until there's a dramatic event and then do something."

Smith also acknowledged that many parents might not know just how dangerous these products can be for children. "Even a relatively small dose, which may not cause many effects in adults, can cause major effects in kids."

If you suspect that your child has ingested nicotine, experts recommend that you NOT induce vomiting, but call poison control at 800-222-1222 or that you call 9-1-1.

Story sources: Naseem S. Miller,

Salynn Boyles,

Your Child

Three Popular Children Products Recalled

2.00 to read

Sippy cups and baby rattles are two of three children’s products being recalled by the manufacturers and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Gerber, Target Home and the Manhattan Group LLC are the three companies that have products being recalled.

1. Name of Product: Whoozit(r) Starry Time Rattle

Units: About 3,000 in the United States and 150 in Canada. Importer: Manhattan Group LLC, of Minneapolis, Minn.

Hazard: The clear spheres on each end of the rattle can break, releasing small parts, posing a choking hazard to small children. 

Injuries/Incidents: Manhattan Group has received two reports of rattles breaking. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Whoozit(r) Starry Time baby rattles. The plastic rattles feature three colored (orange, aqua blue and purple) stars stacked front to back between two clear spheres on a flexible stem. The rattle measures about 5-1/2-inches long. Each clear ball, located at the end of the rattle, measures 1-3/4 inches in diameter. The clear rattles contain small multi-colored beads and a white plastic disc featuring a blue smiling character face inside. The name of the product is printed on the hang tag.

Sold at: Specialty toy and baby stores nationwide, in Canada, and online at from September 2011 through March 2012 for about $15. Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take these rattles away from young children and return it to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Manhattan Group toll-free at (800) 541-1345 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at

Note: Health Canada's press release is available at

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including a picture of the recalled product, please go to:

2. Name of Product: Target Home Bunny Sippy Cup

Units: Approximately 264,000. Importer: Target Corporation; Minneapolis, Minn.

Hazard: The ear on the bunny sippy cup can poke a child in the eye area while using the cup for drinking, posing an injury hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: Target has received six reports of incidents where the plastic ear poked children during routine use of the product. Cuts and bruises were reported in three of these reports.

Description: The recall involves two styles of Target Home Bunny Sippy Cups. The cups come with handles on both sides in pink and blue, female and male. Each contains a corresponding white bunny head screw-on lid and one bent ear and one straight ear. The cups can be identified by imprints on the bottom: "TARGET 200020683" for pink and "TARGET 200020884" for the blue.

Sold exclusively at: Target stores nationwide from February 2012 through April 5, 2012 for $3. Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled sippy cups and return them to any Target store for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Target at (800) 440-0680 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to:

3. Name of Product: Gerber(r) Instant(tm) Knife

Units: About 3,000. Importer: Gerber Legendary Blades of Portland, Ore.

Hazard: The locking mechanism on the spring-assisted blade can fail to engage properly, causing the blade to fold during use, posing a laceration hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: None 

Description: The recalled knives are spring-assisted clip knives with a black retractable 3.18" blade which can be folded into the textured black handle when the knife is not in use. The black handle has four diagonal slots on both sides. When closed, the knife measures 4.57" in length and when open, it measures 7.75". The Gerber "sword and shield" trademark appears in silver, on one side of the blade, close to the handle. The name "Gerber(r)" is written in silver on the knife's pocket clip. This recall involves model numbers 30-000435 and 31-001101. The different model numbers refer to the same knife sold in a box (30-000435) and in a blister pack (31-001101). The model number is printed on the original packaging underneath the barcode. It is not printed on the knife.

Sold at: Sporting goods stores nationwide from February 2012 through March 2012 for about $50. Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Instant Knives and contact Gerber Legendary Blades to receive a free replacement.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, please contact Gerber Legendary Blades toll-free at (877) 314-9130 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled product, please go to:

Whoozit® Starry Time Rattle


Target Home Bunny Sippy Cup

 Gerber® Instant™ Knife

Your Child

Sweet Potatoes May Help Prevent Diarrhea in Children


Orange sweet potatoes get high approval ratings from many pediatricians and family doctors because they offer a lot of health benefits and they taste good, so kids are more likely to eat them.

Recent research suggests they may also be helpful in reducing the cases of diarrhea in some young children by more than 50 percent.

Erick Boy, head of nutrition at HarvestPlus, said that the body converts the beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes to vitamin A the same day the food is eaten. That vitamin A is then used in the outer lining of the human gut, forming a barrier against different types of bacteria. Boy further explained that the gut uses surplus vitamin A from time to time to replace worn-out cells with healthy ones.

The researchers claimed that if a child below age 5 has consumed orange sweet potatoes in the past week, then the chances were 42 percent less that child would suffer from diarrhea. In children below age 3, the likelihood of developing the condition reduced by 52 percent.

Regular consumption of orange sweet potatoes also helps decrease the duration of diarrhea, the researchers claimed. The team observed that the duration was reduced by 10 percent among 5-year-olds and 25 percent in 3-year-olds.

This could be extremely helpful in countries like Africa, where 40 percent of the children are vitamin A deficient. This increases their risk of diseases such as diarrhea, which is one of the leading causes of mortality in children, taking more than 350,000 lives of children under five in Africa every year.

Vitamin A deficiency is rare n America, however, diarrhea in U.S. children is fairly common; typically related to viral infections or tainted food sources.

Sweet potatoes are easy to prepare and can be baked as fries or tater-tots, veggie muffins, made into soup, and mashed like regular potatoes. Many kids like their orange color and sweet taste. Besides being high in vitamin A, they contain vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin and are high in carotenoids. They are lower in calories than white potatoes – but a little higher in sugar.

For as sweet as they are, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index (which means they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream).

The study was published in the journal World Development.

Sources: Guneet Bhatia,




Your Child

Kid’s Head Injury Linked to Long Term Attention Problems


Even mild brain injuries may cause children to have momentary gaps in attention long after an accident occurs, according to a new study.

The study of 6- to 13-year-olds found these attention lapses led to lower behavior and intelligence ratings by their parents and teachers.

"Parents, teachers and doctors should be aware that attention impairment after traumatic brain injury can manifest as very short lapses in focus, causing children to be slower," said study researcher Marsh Konigs, a doctoral candidate at VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

This loss of focus was apparent even when brain scans showed no obvious damage, the researchers said.

The study’s results are being released as schools gear up for a new academic year combined with some sports programs that can put children at risk for head injuries.

Traumatic brain injury can occur from a blow to the head caused by a fall, traffic accident, and assault or sports injury.

Concussion is one type of traumatic brain injury. In 2009, more than 248,000 teens and children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries or concussions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s how the study was conducted.  Researchers compared 113 children who had been hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury with 53 children who had a trauma injury not involving the head. The injuries, which ranged from mild to severe, occurred more than 18 months earlier on average.

The researchers tested mental functioning and evaluated questionnaires completed by parents and teachers at least two months after the injuries.

The head-injured group had slower processing speed, the researchers found. And their attention lapses were longer than those noted in the other children. But unlike other research, no differences were reported in other types of attention, such as executive attention -- the ability to resolve conflict between competing responses.

As is typical with most studies, the results do not prove a cause and effect relationship, but an association.

The take-home message from this study is that even mild head injury can lead to problems, said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park, N.Y. He was not involved with the research.

"This study provides further evidence of the importance of trying to minimize brain trauma, since even when there is no visible damage on CAT scans or MRIs, there can still be a significant adverse effect on attention span and behavior," Adesman said.

This research underscores the need to protect children from head injuries through proper supervision, consistent use of child car seats and seat belts, as well as headgear when bike riding and playing contact sports, he added.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

More information on brain injury in children can be found at the Brain Injury Association of America’s website,

Source: Kathleen Doheny,


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Struggling with feeding your kids healthy (er) meals. Rule of thumb: don't stress over it!


Struggling with feeding your kids healthy (er) meals. Rule of thumb: don't stress over it!

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