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

Parents Beware! Ads for Concussion Supplements

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Dietary supplement companies are tuned into the concerns parents have about their children and sports related concussions. They often promise that their supplements provide faster brain healing and less time spent away from sport activities.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that dietary supplements that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions are untested, unproven and possibly dangerous.

The agency said in a news release that companies attempting to exploit parents’ increasing concerns about concussions often sell their products on the Internet and in stores.

The products are also being marketed on social media sites.

One common misleading claim is that these dietary supplements promote faster brain healing after a concussion. Even if some of these products don't contain harmful ingredients, the claim itself can be dangerous, explained Gary Coody, National Health Fraud Coordinator at the FDA.

"We're very concerned that false assurances of faster recovery will convince athletes of all ages, coaches and even parents that someone suffering from a concussion is ready to resume activities before they are really ready," he said in the news release.

"Also, watch for claims that these products can prevent or lessen the severity of concussions or [traumatic brain injuries]," he added.

Many concussions occur during the time that kids are playing fall sports. Right now is the prime marketing time for these types of products and the FDA wants parents to be aware that replacing medical advice with supplements could lead to serious health problems for their children.

Head injuries require proper diagnosis, treatment and monitoring by a medical professional, the FDA stressed. There is mounting evidence that if concussion patients resume playing sports too soon, they're at increased risk for another concussion.

If a child is on the field and playing too soon after a concussion, repeat concussions are more likely to occur. Repeat concussions can lead to severe problems such as brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disability and death.

"There is simply no scientific evidence to support the use of any dietary supplement for the prevention of concussions or the reduction of post-concussion symptoms that would allow athletes to return to play sooner," Charlotte Christin, acting director of the FDA's division of dietary supplement programs, said in the news release.

Many of the dietary supplements boast omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils and spices, such as turmeric, as their “secret weapon”. While these products may be beneficial for some heath concerns, the FDA wants parents to know that they are not helpful as far as concussions are concerned.

Two companies making false claims about their products changed their websites and labeling after the FDA sent them warning letters in 2012. The FDA issued a warning letter in 2013 to a third company that was doing the same.

"As we continue to work on this problem, we can't guarantee you won't see a claim about [traumatic brain injuries]," Coody said. "But we can promise you this: There is no dietary supplement that has been shown to prevent or treat them. If someone tells you otherwise, walk away."


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

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

Your Child

Home Computers a Growing Source of Injuries

The rate of injuries from computer mishaps has grown as the number of homes with computers has grown a new study shows. Between 1994 and 2006, researchers found there was a seven-fold increase in the number of Americans who visited the ER for a computer-related injury, particularly among children. The most common types of injuries were lacerations, abrasions and bruises.

Of all the age groups, children younger than five had the highest injury rate with many being hurt when they tripped over computer wires. According to findings published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, home computers were most often to blame, regardless of the victim’s age. More than 90 percent of injuries happened at home, which is notable, researchers say, considering how common computers are in schools and the workplace. According to Dr. Lara B. McKenzie of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, families should take steps to protect themselves. She recommends that parents keep all computer equipment on a stable piece of furniture, away from the edges of the surface and out of the reach of young children. She also suggests that parent’s keep the child’s play area separated from the computer workstation. Keeping the workstation out of walkways and against a wall can minimize the risk of people hitting sharp edges of the equipment or knocking any computer parts off the desk. Families should also make sure the computer wires and cords are organized and secure. McKenzie and her colleagues found that about 43 percent of injuries to children younger than five happened when the child tripped over computer wires.

Your Child

Building Strong Bones in Boys and Girls

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Children that get plenty of physical activity when they are young, tend to develop strong healthy bones. The benefits can last well into young adulthood.

A new study found that as children age into adolescence their physical activity levels drop, but the advantages of early exercise remain.

“What parents do to make sure kids are active today matters down the road,” said Kathleen Janz, the study’s lead author from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

“When you accumulate physical activity as a child, you end up with what looks like better bone as an adolescent,” she told Reuters Health.

Participants in the research were part of the Iowa Bone Development Study, an ongoing study of bone health during childhood and young adulthood. The children had been recruited for that study between 1998 and 2002 when they were about five years old.

At ages five, eight, 11, 13, 15 and 17 years old, the 530 participants wore a device called an accelerometer for four or five consecutive days, including one weekend day, to measure their physical activity whenever they were awake.

When the participants were 17 years old, researchers used bone scans to measure the density, strength and brittleness of their bones. They also used pictures from the scans to estimate the precise geometry of the teenagers’ bone shape, a crucial factor in bone strength.

Researchers found what has sadly become the norm for many kids these days:

-       During childhood, less than 6 percent of the girls were highly active and by their late teens, almost all had become inactive.

-       Boys were more active than girls, but also became much less active as teens.

On average, girls went from being active for 46 to 48 minutes a day in early childhood to being active for just 24 minutes a day as 17-year-olds.

Among boys, activity levels fell from 60 to 65 minutes a day at the beginning of the study to an average of 36 minutes a day by the end.

At age 17, both boys and girls who had been the most active throughout their lives had denser bones and better bone shape than other participants their age that had been less active.

Janz acknowledges that it can be difficult to get teens up and moving.

“In an ideal world, children are active and maintain their activity into retirement, but this activity declines dramatically during adolescence, which is ironically a time when bone is most responsive to activity,” she said.

“It is not all that difficult for kids to be active, whereas sometimes getting adolescents to be active can be more difficult. They have different ideas as to how to spend their leisure time,” Janz said.

What kinds of exercise work best for kids to build strong bones? Janz says that running and jumping are great for building strong bones, but any activity is better than none.

The National Osteoporosis Society UK, also offers these five tips for kid’s bone building activities:

-       Team sports such as football or netball are good for getting children involved in fitness at a young age.

-       Skipping works well because it adds some impact to bones. Aim for 50 jumps a day or skipping for five minutes each day.

-       Jogging builds bone in both the hip and spine in younger people.

-       Tennis or badminton are more high-impact and enjoyable sports that build bone density.

-       Dancing and exercising to music are fun ways to boost bone health as well.

Parents hold the key to helping their children develop good exercise habits. These habits can offer benefits throughout their lives. Study after study reveals that kids are more likely to want to participate in and learn about fitness when they see their parents setting a good example.

Sources: Allison Bond MD,

Your Child

Are Artsy Kids Our Future Inventors?

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Does your child love to participate in the visual arts or tinker with metal or electronics? If so, you may be raising a future inventor or entrepreneur according to a new study.

Researchers at Michigan State University looked at the university’s Honors College graduates from 1990 to 1995 and paid particular attention to students who majored in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. They discovered that those who owned businesses or patents received up to eight times more exposure to the arts during childhood than the general public.

"The most interesting finding was the importance of sustained participation in those activities," Rex LaMore, director of MSU's Center for Community and Economic Development, said in a university news release. "If you started as a young child and continued in your adult years, you're more likely to be an inventor as measured by the number of patents generated, businesses formed or articles published. And that was something we were surprised to discover."

Musical training appeared to play a major role in the honor graduates’ lives. Researchers found that 93 percent of the alumni reported musical training at some point in their lives compared to 34 percent in the general population. Students also had a higher-than-average involvement in other arts such as acting, dance and creative writing.

A look into current patent owners revealed that 42 percent of the students were more likely to have been exposed to metal work and electronics during childhood and 30 percent to photography. Those exposed to architecture during childhood were 87.5 percent more likely to form a company.

What’s the connection between being involved in the visual arts as children and adults who are entrepreneurs and patent owners?  Researchers believe that participation as a child and young adult in arts and crafts stimulates creative thinking and multifaceted problem solving; two very important skills needed for success. They said they hope their findings will boost support for the continuation of arts programs in schools and noted that these platforms might even contribute to a healthier economy.

"Inventors are more likely to create high-growth, high-paying jobs in our state, and that's the kind of target we think we should be looking for," LaMore said. "So we better think about how we support artistic capacity, as well as science and math activity, so that we have these outcomes."

The study was recently published in the Economic Development Quarterly.

Resource: Robert Preidt,



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