Your Child

Concussions in Young Girl’s Soccer

2.00 to read

As a parent, you already know that soccer is one of the most popular sports of younger athletes. On any given weekend you’ll find teams of kids on the field kicking and heading soccer balls. If you have a young daughter that plays soccer, you may be surprised to learn that she is more likely to suffer a concussion than her high school counterpart.

Researchers found that pre-teen and early teen girls are very vulnerable to concussions and many play through their injury instead of seeking medical attention.

Although awareness has increased about sports related concussions, little research has been done on middle school athletes, especially girls, noted study co-author Dr. Melissa Schiff, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle.

In a new study, Schiff and her colleagues evaluated 351 soccer players from 2008 to 2012, between the ages of 11 and 14. Researchers found 59 concussions. A concussion is defined as a traumatic injury to the brain after a blow, shaking or spinning. In the study, the girls' symptoms included headache, dizziness, drowsiness and concentration problems.

High school or college women’s soccer reported fewer injuries than the middle school students.

Experts recommend those who have a concussion be evaluated by a doctor or other health care professional trained in the injury, but Schiff found that ''56 percent were never evaluated." Experts also advise that players not return to practice or games until symptoms disappear, but 58 percent of the players in the study continued to play even with symptoms persisting, she said.

In this study, the researchers randomly selected 33 of 72 elite teams from four youth soccer clubs in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Players reported injuries and symptoms.

Researchers noted that players colliding with each other caused half of the concussions and 30 percent were from heading the ball. Heading involves hitting the ball with the forehead to redirect the ball during play. While heading was a major contributor to concussions, Schiff thinks it’s unrealistic to think that it will be banned. "It's part of the soccer sport," she said.

However, it was found to result in concussion 23 times more often in a game than in practice. One suggestion, she said, is to teach middle school athletes heading in practice but tell them not to do it in games until they are older. The researchers speculate that younger players' less mature brains and weaker neck muscles, along with poorer heading technique, may contribute to the number of concussions.

In 2009, the Zackery Lystedt law was passed in Washington State requiring athletes under the age of 18 be removed from play when they are suspected of sustaining a concussion. Since the study began earlier than 2009, the law wouldn’t have affected some of the girls.

Concussions aren’t a surprise in the game of soccer. It can be a rough and tumble sport. Players, parents and coaches need to pay attention to the symptoms associated with concussions and make sure that athletes are removed from the game and diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Sources: Kathleen Doheny,

Your Child

When Are Kids Ready to Stay Home Alone?

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There will come a time when your child is going to want to stay home alone whether it’s after school (or during school breaks), on the weekend or when mom and dad need to run errands or go on a much deserved date night.

How do you know when your child is ready to stay home alone? A lot depends on your child and their ability to take home-alone responsibility seriously.

Child experts generally agree that children should be at least eleven or twelve years old before parents consider leaving them without supervision, but there are other factors to consider as well. Is the neighborhood mostly a safe one? Are there neighbors that are around that can lend a hand during an emergency? Does your child know what to do if a stranger comes to the door or calls? Is your child generally responsible with such tasks as homework, chores, and day-to-day decisions?

Kids who are allowed to stay by them selves should be able to handle the following routine tasks:

  • Knows how to properly answer the telephone. Kids should never disclose to an unfamiliar voice that they are alone. An appropriate response would be: “My mom’s not able to come to the phone right now; can I take your number and have her get back to you?”
  • Knows what to do and who to call in the event of a fire, a medical crisis, a suspicious stranger at the door or other emergency. Teach your child the correct way to respond to each of these situations. Make sure emergency phone numbers are placed in easy to find areas such as on the refrigerator and by the phone. If your child uses a cell phone, have emergency numbers ready in “favorites” or together in a group contact page titled emergency. Go over all exits (including windows- make sure they can be opened quickly) in the house and be sure they know at least two escape routes from the home.
  • Knows where to find the first-aid supplies and how to handle basic
first aid (or whom to call) for cuts, scrapes, nosebleeds, minor burns and so on.
  • Knows where the breaker box is in the house and how to switch on and off an electrical circuit breaker or replace a fuse.
  • Knows where to find the shutoff valves on all toilets and sinks, as
well as the main water valve, in the event of a leak or overflowing toilet.
  • Knows how to put out a cooking fire. Keep baking soda, flour or a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Kids should be taught to never to throw water on a grease fire.
  • Knows how to contact you in an emergency.
  • Knows the names of his or her pediatrician or family doctor and the preferred family hospital.

Some of these ideas may seem like overkill for kids who may be staying by them selves for only a couple of hours, but knowing any of the undertakings listed above is helpful even when the whole family is home.

Before your child is allowed to go-it-alone for a bit, make sure they understand the rules and what you expect of them. Create a “contract” so there is no confusion or misunderstandings and have them read it and sign it. Contracts also work well when kids are learning to drive or when they get their first cell phone. It’s simply rules set in writing that outline expectations – as well as consequences when the rules are broken.

A few things to consider covering when setting rules are:

  • Is he/she allowed to have friends over? How many? Same-sex friends only?
  • Under what circumstances is he/she to answer the door? Or are they not to open the door at all?
  • Which activities are off-limits? For example, if your home is wired for cable television, are there channels he/she is prohibited from watching? (Parents who are not home in the afternoon might want to investigate purchasing parental-control tools for TVs and for computers linked to the Internet. Though by no means infallible, the “V-chip” and Web filters do enable you to choose the types of programming that come into your home).
  • Is he/she expected to complete her homework and/or certain chores before you get home? Try your best to contact your child while you are away, even if it’s only a brief conversation to find out how his or her day went. Kids should always be able to reach you or another responsible adult, either by phone, e-mail, text or pager.

As for parents, turn about is fair play. If you’re not going to be home when you say you are, let your child know and give them a time when they can expect you. While they may act all grown up because they have the run of the house, studies have shown that kids who are by them selves, even for short periods of time, can become anxious and overwhelmed especially if anything out of the ordinary happens.

These days there are plenty of temptations from the Internet, television programs, peers and social media that can get even a “good” kid in trouble, but that doesn’t mean they should be kept in a bubble. Children need to experience greater doses of independence as they get older, but they need to know the rules.

Summertime is when a lot of kids are going to experience being unsupervised for one reason or another. If your child is itching to go it alone, consider the above outline and how he or she typically handles responsibilities. You may decide it’s time to give it a try, or you may feel that they’re just not ready yet. Either way, you’ve given it serious consideration and know the time when they will have that opportunity is probably drawing near.


Your Child

How Much Acetaminophen Is Your Child Getting?

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What do a lot of people do when they feel achy and are running a fever? They go straight to the medicine cabinet and swallow a couple of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief pills.  

With so many kids and parents sick with the flu, these drugs can be helpful. But it is also easy to overdose on one particular OTC drug, acetaminophen. It is often used in pain medications such as Tylenol, but is also an ingredient in many other types of OTC drugs such as Benadryl, Formula44, Nyquil, Robitussin and Theraflu.

The recommended amount of acetaminophen for 12 years and older is 650 mg to 1000 mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed, not to exceed 4000mg in 24 hours. The dosage for children under 12 years of age is 10 to 15mg/kg every 4 to 6 hours, not to exceed five doses (50-75 mg/kg in 24 hours. Your child’s weight is also important in determining what dose your child should be given. Talk to your pediatrician or family doctor about the correct dose for your child.

A recent Danish study found that parents are giving OTC medications, such as acetaminophen, to their young children, often without the advice of health care professionals. Which in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but the combination of OTC drugs or taking too much is where self-medicating can become dangerous.

Too much acetaminophen overloads the liver's ability to process the drug safely. An acetaminophen overdose can lead to life-threatening liver problems. How much acetaminophen is too much varies depending on the child's age and weight. Consider these guidelines from the American Association of Poison Control Centers:

  • Age 5 and younger. Seek emergency care if your child age 5 or younger swallows 91 mg of acetaminophen per pound of his or her weight (200 mg per kg) in eight hours.
  • Age 6 and older. Seek emergency care if your child age 6 or older swallows 91 mg of acetaminophen per pound of his or her weight (200 mg per kg) or at least 10 grams of acetaminophen — whichever is less — in 24 hours; or 68 mg of acetaminophen per pound of his or her weight (150 mg per kg) or at least 6 grams of acetaminophen — whichever is less — per 24-hour period for 48 hours or longer.


Left untreated, a serious acetaminophen overdose can be fatal within a few days.

Overdose prevention requires parents to be diligent in keeping track of the amount of the acetaminophen that is given to their child. Before you give your child acetaminophen, carefully consider whether he or she needs it. For example, a fever is a common sign of illness, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, fevers seem to play a key role in fighting infections. The main goal of treating a child who has a fever is to improve his or her comfort — not to normalize his or her body temperature. If you do give your child acetaminophen, keep in mind that it might take up to an hour to lower his or her fever.

In addition:

  • Follow the directions and weight-based dose recommendations printed on medication labels.
  • Use the measuring device that comes with your child's medication. Don't use household teaspoons — which can vary in size — to measure liquid acetaminophen.
  • Don't give your child acetaminophen when he or she is taking other medications containing acetaminophen.
  • Don't give your child adult formulations of acetaminophen.

Securely replace child-resistant caps after using medication and store all medication out of your child's reach.

Careful use of acetaminophen and prompt treatment in case of an overdose can help prevent a tragedy.

The flu is terribly uncomfortable and depending on how serious a case you or your child has, the temptation to take more OTC pain relief drugs than recommended is high. Don’t exceed the recommended dosage or you may end up dealing with a crisis that is much worse than a bad case of the flu. And one of the most important pieces of information I can pass on is, if you or your child’s fever continues to rise after medication, or breathing difficulty develops, don’t wait to see your doctor or go to the emergency room. Those are signs that the flu has progressed too far for you to handle. Seek professional medical help immediately.


Your Child

FDA Targets Artificial Trans Fats in Foods

2.00 to read

During the last decade, many manufacturers and fast food restaurants have voluntarily eliminated or reduced their use of trans fat in food preparation after an onslaught of publicity of scientific studies linking trans fats with heart disease. But there are still plenty of foods made with trans fats, mainly in “comfort” and pre-packaged foods. 

Trans fats are considered harmful because they increase risks for heart disease by both raising bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lowering good cholesterol (HDL). In 2006, the FDA began requiring food manufacturers to include trans fats on nutritional labels, and in 2007, New York City banned trans fats from restaurants. Food marketers have been gradually going trans-fat-free in recent years -- McDonald's switched to zero-trans fat cooking oil in its iconic french-fries in 2008.

So, what foods are you most likely to find trans fats? Some of the most popular foods that kids woof-down on a fairly regular basis are:

  • Cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, and breads such as hamburger buns
  • Some stick margarine and vegetable shortening
  • Pre-mixed cake mixes, pancake mixes, and chocolate drink mixes
  • Fried foods, including donuts, french fries, chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells
  • Snack foods, including chips, candy, and packaged or microwave popcorn
  • Frozen dinners

The FDA currently allows small amounts of trans fats to be included in products that are labeled “trans-fat-free.”  You could actually be getting more trans fats than you realize when eating more than a serving size. And we all know that serving sizes are notorious for not being indicative of what a person usually eats. An example would be one cookie. If you really like the cookies, you’ll probably have more than just one.

The independent Institute of Medicine has already concluded that trans fats provide no known health benefit and that there is no safe level of consumption of artificial trans fat, said Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner.

Additionally, the IOM has recommended that Americans keep their consumption of trans fats as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet. The FDA change could potentially prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths, said Hamburg.  

It’s important for parents to get into the habit of reading nutritional guides listed on food products. Keep in mind that saturated fat is also unhealthy. Products may claim to have 0 trans fats, but still contain partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). Due to the risks associated with consuming PHOs, FDA has issued a Federal Register notice with its preliminary determination that PHOs are no longer "generally recognized as safe," or GRAS, for short. If this preliminary determination is finalized, then PHOs would become food additives subject to premarket approval by FDA. Foods containing unapproved food additives are considered adulterated under U.S. law, meaning they cannot legally be sold.

Kids need a certain amount of healthy fat in their diet for good brain and nervous system development. Experts say kids older than 2 should get about 30% of their daily calories from fat. Some examples of healthier fats are:

-       Unsaturated fats, found in avocados and olive, peanut, and canola oils

-       Monounsaturated, found in avocados and olive, peanut, and canola oils

-       Polyunsaturated, found in most vegetable oils

-       Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat found in oily fish like tuna and salmon

SourSources: Linda Carroll,

Kimball Johnson, MD,






Your Child

Recall: 403,222 Additional Graco Child Car Seats

1.45 to read

Graco is adding more than 403,000 car seats to last month’s recall of 3.8 million car seats because of a potentially deadly problem with the harness buckles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says this recall doesn’t go far enough. The NHTSA wants 1.8 million rear-facing infants seats added to the recall because they have the same buckles. Graco said it didn’t include the infant seats because in an emergency parents can remove the entire car seat from the car.

In a written statement, The NHTSA advises parents to use "an alternative infant seat for transporting children until their Graco car seat is fixed."

The problem with the harness buckles is that they can be difficult to nearly impossible to unlatch in certain situations, including emergencies.

In at least one case, parents allege that the buckle caused the death of their child. The company was named the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in California, in which the plaintiff said that a Graco Nautilus car seat was extremely difficult to unlatch after a car accident, and that two-year-old Leiana Ramirez died in an ensuing car fire.

Graco says that the reason the buckles may not unlatch is that dried juices or food can stick in the buckles causing them to malfunction.

Last summer, the company began sending “enhanced” cleaning and operating instructions along with replacement buckles to consumers. It also offers an online video describing how to replace the buckles.

For a complete list of the recalled car seats and instructions on how to receive replacement buckles, you can go to, and click “Recall Notification”.

Source: Pete Bigelow,


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