Your Child

Study Links Pesticide to Childhood Leukemia

A new study shows that patients with childhood leukemia have elevated levels of household pesticides in their urine. "In our study, we compared urine samples from children with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) and their mothers with healthy children and their moms," said study researcher Offie Soldin from the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. "We found elevated levels of common household pesticides more often in the mother-child pairs affected by cancer," said Soldin, an epidemiologist at the center, who led the research published in August's issue of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring.

"We shouldn't assume that pesticides caused these cancers, but our findings certainly support the need for more robust research in this area," she said. Between January 2005 and January 2008, the study tested 41 pairs of children with ALL and their mothers, and 41 pairs of healthy children and their mothers. Pesticides were found in the urine of more than half of the study's participants, but levels of two OP metabolites -- diethylthiophosphate (DETP) and diethlydithiophosphate (DEDTP) "were higher in the children with ALL." Pesticides are prevalent in the environment and can easily be absorbed through the skin or through respiration. The participants were asked to provide a family history and details about their home and neighborhood, diet, smoke exposure and use of pesticides in the home. Some 33 percent of women whose children had ALL said they used pesticides at home, as compared with 14 percent among women whose children were healthy. "We know pesticides -- sprays, strips, or 'bombs,' are found in at least 85 percent of households, but obviously not all the children in these homes develop cancer," Soldin said. Previous studies, including in agricultural areas where such chemicals are used frequently, have indicated a link between pesticides and cancer in children, but this study is the first to examine the link between household pesticides and the disease, according to the research's authors. ALL usually affects children between the ages of three and seven years old.

Your Child

Work May Not Be Best for Young Children

A new study found fifth-graders who worked the most at jobs such as your-babysitting and newspaper routes were the most likely to smoke, drink and get into fights.A new study suggests that too much work might turn a child into a juvenile delinquent. Researchers with Rand Corp. found that fifth-graders who worked the most at jobs such as your-babysitting and newspaper routes were the most likely to smoke, drink and get into fights.

Study author Rajeev Ramchand, an associate behavioral scientist at the Rand Corp. said the findings don't prove that overwork directly leads to trouble, but they raise questions about the value of work. "We know working can be positive, but the time they spend working is associated with worse outcomes," he said. Ramchand said that it's possible that parents may stop monitoring their children as much when they're working. "Parents need to keep track of what their kids are doing, ask questions about what they do at work, just stay involved," he said. The results of the study are published in the April 2009 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine. A professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies children says the study shouldn't make parents fret. "Millions of parents and their school-age children find informal work to be a healthy and productive part of growing up," said Frederick Zimmerman. "Nothing in this study should cause parents any concern about having Billy your-babysit or Susie mow a neighbor's lawn." Still, the study does provide helpful new information professor Zimmerman said. "We know very little about kids and work, especially this kind of informal work. So in that sense, this study may be useful in launching an academic dialogue, though it should not and will not be the last word."

Your Child

Measles Vaccine May Help Prevent Other Diseases


The measles vaccine may provide additional benefits beyond protecting children from the highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease.

According to a new study, by blocking the measles infection the vaccine may also prevent measles-induced immune system damage that makes children much more vulnerable to other infectious diseases for two to three years after immunization.

The immune system has the advantage of having “cellular memory” for previous infections to help fight invading microbes.

The study focused on a phenomenon called "immune amnesia" in which the measles infection destroys cells in the immune system that remembers previously encountered pathogens.

Prior research had suggested that “immune amnesia” typically lasted a month or two. The new study, based on decades of childhood health data from the United States, Denmark, England and Wales, showed the measles-induced immune damage persisted on average for 28 months.

Because of the long-term damage to the immune system by the measles infection, children that were not vaccinated and got the measles were more likely to die from other infections.

"The work demonstrates that measles may have long-term insidious immunologic effects on the immune system that place children at risk for years following infection," said Princeton University infectious disease immunologist and epidemiologist Michael Mina, whose study appears in the journal Science.

"The work also demonstrates that, in these highly developed countries prior to the introduction of measles vaccine, measles may have been implicated in over 50 percent of all childhood infectious disease deaths."

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but increasing numbers of cases have been reported in recent years, as more people remain unvaccinated. Last year's 668 U.S. measles cases were the most since 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"Our work reiterates the true importance of preserving high levels of measles vaccine coverage as the consequences of measles infections may be much more devastating than is readily observable," Mina said.

The study provided data showing that measles prevention through vaccination lowered childhood deaths from the pathogens that cause conditions such as pneumonia, sepsis, bronchitis, bronchiolitis and diarrheal diseases.

The study comes as many parents opt out of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine for their children based on discredited claims about the vaccine's safety or for religious and other reasons.

The MMR vaccine has been thoroughly studied by scientists around the world and has been found safe for children. This new study shows that its benefits may last much longer than previously thought.

Source: Will Dunham,

Your Child

Shortage of Liquid Tamiflu for Kids

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With the flu season in full swing, it’s a bad time for a shortage of liquid Tamiflu for kids. The maker of Tamiflu, Genentech, says that manufacturing problems are putting them behind in production. Liquid Tamiflu is often given to children who have a difficult time swallowing capsules.

Fortunately, the shortage doesn't include the capsule form of Tamiflu, which remains in good supply, said Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Division.

Flu vaccines also remain widely available and unaffected by shortages, FDA spokesman Eric Pahon said. The CDC recommends vaccination for everyone older than 6 months of age as the best way to try to ward off the flu.

Tamiflu is an anti-viral drug. It works by attacking the flu virus to keep it from multiplying in the body and by reducing the symptoms of the flu. A shortage of the drug can cause some children to be sick with the flu for a longer period of time. The good news is that some pharmacies are able to take the Tamiflu capsule and convert it into a liquid form for children who are very ill.

"For those patients who cannot swallow capsules, the capsules can be opened and the contents may be mixed with chocolate syrup or some other thick, sweet liquid, as directed by a health-care professional," according to the FDA announcement on the shortage.

Jhung added that this is a "spot" shortage that should only affect some parts of the country.

The anti-viral drug can only work to reduce flu symptoms; it’s not a cure. But, if you’ve had the flu, you know any relief from the symptoms is welcomed.

Dr. Robert Wergin, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, has noted that Tamiflu is the only option for treating flu in young children. The other flu antiviral drug, Relenza, is not recommended for children younger than 7 as a flu treatment, and not younger than 5 as a preventive therapy to protect against flu. On the other hand, Tamiflu is approved down to 2 weeks of age, he said.

The FDA says that the shortage is expected to be resolved within a week.

Texas, along with 24 other states is seeing widespread flu activity. Several deaths, including children and adolescents have been linked to the flu already. The dangerous H1N1 strain is responsible for the majority of the cases this year. The current trivalent flu vaccine covers the H1N1 strain as well as the A and B virus.

Flu symptoms can mimic a cold until the virus really takes hold of you. Serious flu symptoms that warrant a trip to the hospital or doctor are shortness of breath, if someone is exhibiting confusion, if a fever is not responding to medication and for infants- a dry diaper for longer than 6 hours.

The best way to avoid the flu or diminish its’ severity is for everyone in the family to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Source: Dennis Thompson,

Your Child

Music May Help Children Feel Less Pain

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The modified saying “Music soothes the savage beast” may have new applications in the modern world of medicine. New research suggests that music may help some children experience less discomfort when dealing with low level or moderate pain.

Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have found additional evidence that suggest music decreases people’s perceived sense of pain.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher, Lisa Hartling, led the research team that involved her colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics, as well as fellow researchers from the University of Manitoba and the United States. Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Pediatrics.

During the research phase, some of the children listened to music while getting an IV, while others did not. The team noted that the children in the music group had less pain than the children in the other group after certain procedures.

Researchers measured the children's distress, perceived pain levels, and heart rates.

They also measured the satisfaction levels of parents, and the satisfaction levels of the healthcare providers who administered the IVs.

"We did find a difference in the children's reported pain -- the children in the music group had less pain immediately after the procedure," says Hartling. "The finding is clinically important and it's a simple intervention that can make a big difference. Playing music for kids during painful medical procedures would be an inexpensive and easy-to-use intervention in clinical settings."

Researchers noted that the children who listened to music reported significantly less pain, some demonstrated significantly less distress, and the children's parents were more satisfied with care.

In the music listening group, 76 per cent of health-care providers said the IVs were very easy to administer -- a markedly higher number than the non-music group where only 38 per cent of health-care providers said the procedure was very easy. Researchers also noticed that the children who had been born premature experienced more distress overall.

The mood of the music, whether it contained lyrics and whether it was familiar to the child also played an important role in how helpful the music intervention was.

"There is growing scientific evidence showing that the brain responds to music and different types of music in very specific ways," said Hartling. "So additional research into how and why music may be a better distraction from pain could help advance this field."

Hartling and her team hope to continue their research in this area, to see if music or other distractions can make a big difference for kids undergoing other painful medical procedures. The pain and distress from medical procedures can have "long-lasting negative effects" for children, the researchers said.

On a more practical daily basis, next time your little one needs a shot or has to undergo something uncomfortable, it might be worth a try to crank up his or her favorite song to see of it relieve some of the pain and anxiety.

You never know, it may just help.


Your Child

Increased Injuries in Bounce Houses

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They look safe. Unlike trampolines, you can’t fall off of a big bouncy inflatable bubble house. They’re a hit with kids and parents; showing up at private homes for birthday parties and family get-togethers. They’ve also become a staple at amusement parks and fairs.

According to a new study, they may not be quite as safe as they appear.

Kids often pack themselves into bounce houses, jumping high and hard. That can send smaller children flying through the air causing them to land outside the house or to collide with another child.

Looking at the data, the numbers suggest 30 kids a day are treated in emergency rooms for broken bones, sprains, cuts and concussions from bounce house accidents. As the popularity of bounce houses has increased, the number of injuries has also climbed. In 1995 there were fewer than 1,000 injuries reported. In 2010 the number is closer to 11,000. That's a 15-fold increase, and a doubling just since 2008.

"I was surprised by the number, especially by the rapid increase in the number of injuries," said lead author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Smith and his colleagues analyzed data on ER treatments for nonfatal injuries linked with bounce houses. The records are kept by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC.)

About 3% of children were hospitalized, mainly with broken bones. More than a third of the injuries occurred in children under the age of 5. The CPSC already recommends that children under the age of 6 not be allowed to use full size trampolines. Smith believes that barring children 6 and under from entering bounce houses is a good idea that should be considered. If the CPSC is unwilling to bar them for young children, he thinks parents should consider making that a house rule. No small children in the bounce house. Bounce houses come in a variety of sizes – but smaller or larger isn’t necessarily a factor in accidents. "There is no evidence that the size or location of an inflatable bouncer affects the injury risk," Smith said.

Other recommendations, often listed in manufacturers' instruction pamphlets, include not overloading bounce houses with too many kids and not allowing young children to bounce with much older, heavier kids or adults, said Laura Woodburn, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials.

The study only looked at nonfatal accidents, but there have been recorded instances of fatalities. Separate data from the product safety commission show four bounce house deaths from 2003 to 2007, all involving children striking their heads on a hard surface.

A group that issues voluntary standards says that bounce houses should always be supervised by a trained operator, and that children should be prohibited from doing flips and purposely bouncing into other children.

Bounce house injuries can be similar to those linked with trampolines, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended against using trampolines at home. The author notes that policymakers should offer the same special consideration to bounce houses.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.


Your Child

Preventable Sports Injury Knowledge Lacking

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Do you know how much sports safety training your child’s coach has? According to a national survey by Safe Kids, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, only 2 in 5 parents knows how much safety training their kid’s coach has received.

One in 3 American children, who plays team sports suffers injuries severe enough to require medical treatment, according to the survey.

Results also show how little parents understand about sports injuries and the recovery time needed to properly heal. Nine of 10 parents underestimate how long children should refrain from playing any one sport in order to protect them from overuse, overtraining and burnout.

Children need to take two to three months (or a season) away from a specific sport every year in order to avoid those problems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

Most parents rely on coaches to keep their child safe while playing sports. But nearly half of all coaches said they have felt pressure to play an injured child in a game. Kids also believe that being injured is not a good reason to stop playing. 3 of 10 children think a good player should keep playing even when they're hurt, unless a coach or other adult makes them stop. 


Even the well-trained coaches said they would like to receive more training. Costs, lack of time and local resources were the main factors given for not extending their training. 

Other troubling results from the survey revealed that more than half of all coaches believe there is an acceptable amount of head contact during play without potentially causing a serious brain injury. It's difficult to tell the degree of head impact, however, and every precaution should be taken to protect children from head injuries, according to Coaching Our Kids to Fewer Injuries: A Report on Youth Sports Safety.

"The research findings are particularly alarming because experts tell us more than half of these injuries are preventable," Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, said in an organization news release. "There is a gap between what we as coaches and parents can do to keep our kids safe and what we're actually doing. With some simple precautions, we can change these troubling statistics and keep our kids healthy and enjoying the benefits of sports."

"Culturally, there's an attitude that injuries are a natural consequence of sports and that good athletes tough it out when they suffer an injury. But that attitude is hurting our kids," Carr noted.

The survey showed that about four of 10 parents underestimate the amount of fluids a typical youth athlete needs for each hour they play. In order to prevent dehydration, children require fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity.

So, how can parents educate themselves about preventable sports related injuries and safe practices? outlines sports injury prevention and safety tips for parents and coaches on their website.

Being involved in various sports is a great way for kids to learn how to work together as a team, build stamina, learn leadership skills and have fun. You can’t guarantee a child won’t get injured, and most of the time injuries are not life threatening, but being better educated on preventable injuries can help parents, coaches and kids enjoy the games more.


Your Child

Details: AAP Warns Against Sports & Energy Drinks

What is your children drinking these days? They may be reaching for popular sports and energy drinks. Not so fat say the nation's pediatricians. Pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard often has asked parents: what are kids are drinking? Sports and Energy drinks have replaced old-fashioned sodas in many schools. There is no doubt that they are a hit with kids, but not with Dr. Sue and her fellow pediatricians.

A new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that energy drinks, or any other drink with caffeine, should be off limits to children and teenagers. That includes colas and coffee drinks. "There's great concern about what caffeine does over time or in high doses to a young, growing body that's not fully mature," says Dr. Holly Benjamin, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at the University of Chicago, and coauthor of the new report, which was published in Pediatrics. "It's almost like a stress to your body." She notes. Energy drinks are packed with caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine not only interferes with much needed sleep, but can lead to anxiety and rapid heart beats. “Rigorous review and analysis of the literature reveal that caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents,” co-wroter Marcie Schneider of American Academy of Pediatrics, in a review of energy drinks. Some of the more popular brands include Red Bull and Monster. Sports drinks do not contain caffeine but are loaded with sugar. That can cause other problems, such as obesity and tooth decay. "Kids will drink a Gatorade after school," Benjamin says. "They'll drink a Gatorade at lunch. They'll drink a Gatorade with dinner." While the AAP statement recommended against children consuming any energy drinks, the authors noted that only certain athletic children who burn off the calories they consume should occasionally drink sports drinks. Benjamin explained that athletes who exercise regularly at high intensity have a need to replenish electrolytes. “Sports drinks do have a place, but it’s in a small population. Parents need to understand that, and so do doctors.” “Basically, the biggest problem with obesity is kids are taking too many calories in their diet and they’re not able to burn off all of those calories every day, and so they gain weight,” Benjamin said. “Kids are not just overeating, but they are drinking high-calorie beverages.” What should kids be drinking to keep hydrated? Good old-fashioned  water. If your child is exercising at a moderate intensity for an hour or less, water is the best choice for hydration before and during a workout. You’ll save money if you choose tap water instead of bottled water (25% of bottled water is repackaged tap water) or sports drinks. Drinking water rather than sports drinks also saves calories – water is calorie free, while sports drinks typically pack 50 to 60 calories (and sometimes more) into a serving, and a 16-ounce bottle is 2 to 3 servings. The authors conclude that energy drinks have no place in a most student-athlete's diet. The report continually stresses the importance of teaching children and parents the substantial difference between sports and energy drinks, as both are often targeted toward the same audience. The authors also note that since beverage-makers agreed to phase out carbonated beverages in schools by the 2009-10 school year, they've upped their promotion of sports drinks as a healthier alternative. A 2007 study by the Institute of Medicine cited in the report recommended that schools prohibit energy-drink use (even for athletes), ban the sale of carbonated beverages in school, and restrict the use of sports drinks to only student-athletes engaged in intense, prolonged physical activities. While commercials promoting energy and sports drinks are designed to attract younger consumers, parents also play and important role by modeling good hydrating choices. Instead of grabbing that energy or sports drink for a little boost in the afternoon, reach for a glass or bottle of water instead.

Your Child

Fisher Price Toy Recall

The toy giant has recalled toys -- including tricycles and play places -- citing potential dangers from falling onto certain protruding parts and choking hazards from small parts.More than 10 million children's toys have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the toys' manufacturer Fisher Price, the CPSC announced today.

The toy giant has recalled toys -- including tricycles and play places -- citing potential dangers from falling onto certain protruding parts and choking hazards from small parts. "Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed," the CPSC said in a statement. Here's the list of products being recalled in the U.S.: About 7 million Fisher Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles About 950,000 Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs About 100,000 Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway About 2.8 million Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise Playground, Baby Playzone Crawl & Slide Arcade, Baby Gymnastics Play Wall, Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball, Bat & Score Goal. "Pegs stick out and children have fallen on these pegs," Inez Tanenbaum, chairwoman of the CSPC told "Good Morning America" of the high chairs. "Several have been injured, and seven required stitches." For the various play place products, including Playzone and Playground, the CPSC and Fisher Price reported they were aware of 46 instances when a small piece came free from the product. In 14 of those cases, the piece was found in the child's mouth. In three of those cases, the piece had caused the child to begin choking. Wheels from other small toy cars can come off and also prevent a choking hazard. Massive Fisher Price Toy Recall "Manufacturers need to build safety into the product from the very beginning so we don't have to recall on the back end," Tanenbaum said. For a complete list of the Fisher Price toy recall products go to


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