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Your Child

Recess Is Important for Kids

1.45 to read

Add recess to reading, writing and arithmetic says a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP.)  The pediatricians believe that recess can be as important to a child’s overall development as standard classes and should never be denied, especially as a punishment.

"We consider it essentially the child's personal time and don't feel it should be taken away for academic or punitive reasons," said Dr. Robert Murray, who co-authored the new policy statement for the AAP.

According to the authors, recess is a “crucial and necessary component of a child’s development.”

Other reasons given for the importance of recess are that it helps students develop better communication skills, counteracts the time sitting in classrooms, and may foster skills such as cooperation and sharing - all good things.

The authors noted that previous research has found that children are able to pay closer attention and perform tasks better after a recess break.  A year ago, 14 studies were reviewed and researchers found that kids who get more exercise do better in school. Recess and sports related activities offer children the opportunity to exercise and burn off excess energy.  They also get a chance to recharge their brains and bodies.

Other organizations have recommended that children need recess as well. The American Heart Association and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CPSC) both call for schools to offer recess to kids.  You might think that recess in schools is a given, but in a 2011 survey of 1,800 elementary schools, researchers discovered that a third of the schools did not offer recess to their third-graders.  However, most schools do offer recess of between 15 and 30 minutes once or twice a day.

Is there a particular time of day that helps kids most?  Before lunch seems to be the consensus from government agencies, CPSC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Previous studies have found that children waste less food and behave better for the rest of the day when their recess is before their scheduled lunch, the pediatricians' statement notes.

They also agree that PE should not be substituted for recess. "Those are completely different things and they offer completely different outcomes," said Murray. "(Physical education teachers are) trying to teach motor skills and the ability of those children to use those skills in a bunch of different scenarios. Recess is a child's free time."

Free time means no structured activities by adults such as games. "I think it becomes structured to the point where you lose some of those developmental and social emotion benefits of free play," said Murray.

"This is a very important and overlooked time of day for the child and we should not lose sight of the fact that it has very important benefits," he added.

I remember recess fondly.  A group of friends would gather and run from one end of the schoolyard to the other at full gallop. The first one back would win the honor of becoming the “lead horse.” Yes, in our recess fantasy we were a heard of horses – whinnying and throwing our heads around (showing off our glorious manes.)

It was fun and exhilarating as we trotted around strutting our stuff.

Recess isn’t only important because it breaks up the monotony of sitting, studying and listening, it can also spark the imagination!


Your Child

How Much Pizza is Too Much?


Just about everyone loves pizza. These days, there are enough specialty toppings to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. So, it’s understandable that people don’t like to hear or read anything negative about America’s favorite fast food.

 But… and where pizza is concerned, there is always a but… kids that consume too much pizza – notice I said too much not any- are not only more likely to pack on the extra pounds, but consume more fat and sodium than is recommended for healthy diets.

Researchers behind a new study from the Health Policy Center at the Institute of Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), examined dietary recall data from children and adolescents aged 2-19 who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2010.

During those years, children between the ages of 2 and 11 took in fewer calories from pizza by 25 percent. Among teenagers, who actually ate more pizza than the younger group, there was also a decline in intake calories from pizza.  Good news so far.

However, looking at the calorie intake from pizza during 2009 to 2010, pizza made up 22% of the total calorie intake among children and 26% of adolescents' calorie intake on the days when it was eaten.

The younger children took in an additional 84 calories, 3 g of saturated fat and 134 mg of sodium on days that they ate pizza, compared with pizza-free days.

For adolescents the count was substantially higher. Pizza days meant an extra 230 calories, 5 g of saturated fat and 484 mg of sodium - 24% and 21% of their recommended daily intake. Not so good news.

Pizza as a snack between meals had the biggest impact on the children’s diet. Children took in an extra 202 calories and teens an extra 365 calories in addition to their regular meals. Ouch.

It’s really no surprise that kids (and adults) rarely eat less of other foods during pizza snack days to compensate for the extra calories, fat and sodium – we just usually don’t.

Researchers also noted that calorie intake from school cafeterias was about the same on pizza days as it was on non-pizza days. They believe the reason for that is that most school cafeteria food is similarly high in calories. In 2015, that may be changing with new school food policies. Let’s hope so anyway.

Pizza in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad food choice-depending on where it comes from. Homemade pizza can be lower in calories, fat and sodium. You get to decide what kind of crust is used and can substitute lower fat and sodium ingredients to build your own healthier meal. Plus, it taste good!

Because of its huge influence on the diet of American youths, the authors suggest that pizza should be specifically addressed as part of nutritional counseling.

"Curbing pizza consumption alone isn't enough to significantly reduce the adverse dietary effects of pizza. It's a very common and convenient food, so improving the nutritional content of pizza, in addition to reducing the amount of pizza eaten, could help lessen its negative nutritional impact." Said lead author Lisa Powell, who is professor of health policy and administration in the UIC School of Public Health.

Typical fast-food pizza is packed with sodium, fat and calories. This study simply points out that it’s easy to overload on it because it’s convenient and not very expensive. But, it can have a devastating affect on kid’s health when not eaten sensibly. The extra fat, salt and calories add up to more weight, higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure and diabetes. Not anything you really want for your kids or yourself.

The study was recently published in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: David McNamee,

Your Child

Diving Safety Tips


Diving into a pool or lake is one way to cool off during the hot summer months, but if you aren’t careful, fun can turn to tragedy in a few quick seconds.

Every year there are hundreds of people who are paralyzed from neck and spine injuries after diving head first into shallow lakes and pools according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the American Spine Injury Association and the Cervical Spine Research Society.

"Everyone needs to be trained to dive safely," AAOS spokesperson and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brett Taylor, said in a news release from the group. "Safe diving skills don't come naturally, they have to be learned. With neck and spine injuries being the most common diving injuries, a good rule of thumb for divers is to dive feet first in unknown water."

The biggest obstacle to safe diving is shallow water. Experts say that you should always check the depth of the water and make sure that it is deep enough for diving. If you're diving from a high point, make sure the bottom of the body of water is double the distance from which you're diving.

Murky water in lakes and oceans can also present a danger. With unclear water you can’t see sand bars or objects below the surface. The heavy rains during the spring have lifted some lake levels far above normal making it difficult to see what may be lurking just below the surface.

Experts also warn that kids and adults should never dive into an above ground pool. These pools tend to be shallower than in-ground pools.

Only one person at a time should stand on a diving board. Dive only off the end of the board and do not run on the board. Do not bounce more than once, because the rebound effect could knock you off your legs or throw you off balance.

After diving, immediately swim away from the area of the diving board to clear the way for the next diver. It’s easy to forget that another child may be right below the next eager diver. It’s particularly important for parents to keep an eye on who is in the pool or lake and where they are.

Don't body surf near the shore. Doing so puts you at risk for neck injuries, as well as shoulder dislocations and fractures. These waves can pack a heavier punch especially when a beach has been recently replenished.

Pools, lakes and oceans can be a refreshing retreat when the temperatures reach into the 90s and 100s, but make sure your kids are playing it safe when diving in.

Source: Robert Preidt,

Your Child

Antibiotics Used in Livestock Affects Children’s Health


The use of antibiotics in food-producing animals has led to a greater risk of life-threatening infections in young children and dramatically reduced medicine’s ability to treat those infections according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Dr. Jerome A. Paulson, FAAP, the lead author and the AAP’s immediate past chair of the executive committee of the Council on Environmental Health, wrote in the introduction: “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious threats to public health globally, and threatens our ability to treat infectious diseases.”

More than 2 million people in the United States become ill with antimicrobial-resistant infections each year, resulting in more than 23,000 deaths, Paulson told Healthline.

In 2013, there were more than 19,000 infections involving young children, according to the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, a system operated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that covers 15 percent of the U.S. population. Those infections caused 4,200 hospitalizations and 80 deaths.

The highest incidence rate in this group was for children younger than 5, Paulson said.

“Life-threatening infections are extremely unusual in otherwise healthy children,” he said. “Most life-threatening infections occur in children with other medical problems. That said, healthy children can get pneumonia, from the pneumococcal bacteria, which may be life-threatening. And they can get infections with E. coli 0157, which they may get from contaminated meat, and that can be life-threatening.” 

Consumer Reports notes that approximately 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used by the meat and poultry industry to make animals grow faster or to prevent disease in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

 “These non-therapeutic uses contribute to resistance and create new health dangers for people, and often render antibiotics ineffective when doctors need them to treat infections in humans,” said Paulson, who is also a professor emeritus of pediatrics and of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University’s School of Medicine.

"Children can be exposed to multiple-drug resistant bacteria, which are extremely difficult to treat if they cause an infection, through contact with animals given antibiotics and through consuming the meat of those animals," Paulson said.

"Like humans, farm animals should receive appropriate antibiotics for bacterial infections,” he added. “However, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics without a prescription or the input of a veterinarian puts the health of children at risk.”

Paulson suggests that parents purchase meat and poultry that has not been raised using antimicrobial agents.

The report authors note that many antimicrobial agents used in food animals are the same as or similar to those used in human medicine.

“Unlike in human medicine,” they wrote, “antibiotic agents in food animals may often be used without a prescription or any veterinary oversight.”

“This issue is a danger to adults and children,” Paulson said. “The American Academy of Pediatrics, of course, only has the expertise to weigh in on the situation as it relates to children. The AAP has published this technical report to bring attention to the problem.” 

Paulson also noted that physicians should be judicious in prescribing antibiotics.

“Antibiotics should never be prescribed for colds, for upper-respiratory tract infections unless they are known to be bacterial in nature, or for other ill-defined purposes. Veterinarians should control the use of antimicrobial agents in animals, and such agents should not be added to feed or water to promote growth.”

To avoid meats and poultry laced with antibiotics, parents can look for certain labels on the poultry or meats they buy. The website,, offers several lables consumers can check out.  

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) verifies that foods containing the certified USDA Organic label come from animals that have never been given antibiotics.

Food Alliance also verifies that their animals are not given sub-therapeutic antibiotics. Look for food products that have the FA label.

American Grassfed label also guarantees that the animal was never given antibiotics.

The report was published in the November 16, 2015 journal Pediatrics.

Sources: Patrick Keeffe,

Gretel H. Schueller,


Your Child

Childhood Obesity; It’s a Family Affair

2.00 to read

Although there seems to be non-stop discussion about the influence modern day society has on our children, one fact remains the same. Parents and caregivers have the biggest impact on a child’s life. When it comes to helping obese children lose weight and lead healthier lives, it’s parents who decide what food is purchased, and how much activity a child gets. If parents are not available, then a caregiver makes those importance decisions.

For an obese child to have a real chance at losing weight and living a healthier life, parents, caregivers and other family members should be involved in treatment programs designed to help their children.

The American Heart Association released a scientific statement today on the role of parents, families and caregivers in the treatment of obese kids.

"In many cases, the adults in a family may be the most effective change agents to help obese children attain and maintain a healthier weight," Myles Faith, an associate professor of nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in an American Heart Association (AHA) news release.

"To do so, the adults may need to modify their own behavior and try some research-based strategies," added Faith, who is the chair of the writing group that published an AHA scientific statement in the Jan. 23 issue of Circulation.

But let’s be honest…. old habits are hard to break. That’s why the more people you have working together the more likely you’ll be successful in making the changes you want.  Most families dealing with obesity really want to help family members lose weight  – they often just need a better game plan to help guide them.

One of the most important messages to parents is that they need to lead by example. It is entirely unrealistic for children to change their food and physical activity behaviors on their own. Too often, during the week, family meals consist of high calorie-high / high-fat fast foods. Then the weekend is an all-you-can-eat buffet style breakfast and dinner.

Lack of exercise only adds to the difficulty in dropping unhealthy pounds.

Technology has gotten a lot of the blame for keeping kids in chairs or on couches, but it can also be beneficial. Computers and smart phones may be beneficial in self-monitoring and goal setting for children and their parents. Games such as “Dance Dance Revolution” along with “Wii Fit” and a host of others get kids and even adults up and moving.  In lieu of blaming technology for being a culprit, perhaps viewing it as an opportunity to reach children and teens in the medium they understand may be the best way to communicate healthful behaviors.

Faith adds “Teaching families to identify how many calories they take in from food, and burn during exercise, is a core component to most family treatment programs that have been studied.  Parents and children become more ‘calorie-literate’ in a sense, so they better understand how many calories are in a burger vs. apple vs. water bottle. This knowledge sets the stage for behavior change, and can be an eye opener for many parents.”

Faith and his colleagues identified a number of strategies that have been linked to better outcomes, including:

  • Working together as a family to identify specific behaviors that need to be changed.
  •  Setting clearly defined goals -- such as limiting TV viewing to no more than two hours per day -- and monitoring progress.
  •  Creating a home environment that encourages healthier choices, such as having fruit in the house instead of high-calorie desserts or snacks.
  •  Making sure parents commend children when they make progress, and don't criticize them if they do backslide. Instead, helping children identify ways to make different decisions if they're faced with the same kind of situation again.
  •  Never using food as a punishment or reward.
  •  Keeping track of progress toward goals.

"While these strategies were implemented by health care professionals in a treatment program, the psychological principles on which they are based provide sound guidance for families of obese children as well," Faith said.

A healthy life starts in infancy. For too many years, people just didn’t know much about the nutritional aspect of eating. You’re hungry-you eat. But now, there is an abundance of information, millions of studies that have been conducted, and a food’s calorie, fat, carbohydrate and sodium count is on every label or at your fingertips on the computer. The result of not paying attention to what we put in our mouths is having a devastating impact on families’ lives.

There are many ways to get up-to-date on your child's health. Pediatricians can be critical in the education of parents and caregivers in the optimum feeding and physical activity behaviors for raising healthy children.  Daycare centers, WIC and even grandparents can play a positive role in influencing health outcomes in children.

Denial and ignorance will not make obesity go away. Overweight and obese children seldom outgrow it and they carry that weight-and all its health consequences-into adulthood. Make health a priority for the entire family, and with education, support and good planning everyone will benefit now and for generations to come.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about childhood obesity and treatment at


Your Child

Your Child’s First Day at School


While I may have forgotten a lot of things in my life, I remember my first day of school. I was so excited because I actually recognized someone. Her name was Donna. We’d met in a department store a week earlier. We had both picked out the same umbrella, but there was only one – she said I could have it. We’ve been friends for life.

When my daughter began school, she experienced all the same emotions I had those many years ago; scared, excited and uncertain where to go and what to do next. She found a friend also and they wandered the halls together.

Some school districts have already begun their new school year, but for many kids - the bell will ring in the next couple of weeks.

Children aren’t the only ones that are anxious as the first day rolls around – parents can get quite nervous and have that feeling that their little one is growing up so fast- trust me I know. It’s a normal “things are about to change” emotion.

One tip I’d like to suggest before your little one starts school is to share your own first day memories with your child as well as pictures. It’s amazing how comforting it is for a child to know that their parents did the same thing at their age and lived to tell about it!

To help make the first day of school a little less scary for your child, here are some other tips from

•       Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun. She will see old friends. She will meet new friends. Refresh her memory about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.

•       Remind your child that he is not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will be making an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.

•       Talk about the kinds of interesting things he will learn in the months ahead.

•       Buy him or her something (perhaps a pen or pencil) that will remind her you are thinking of them while they are at school, or put a note in their lunch-box.

•       Reassure your child that if any problems arise at school, you will help re­solve them. (If problems do occur, get involved as soon as possible.)

•       Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride with on the bus. If your child is not going to ride a school bus and you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up the first day.

•       Encourage him to look for new students in his classroom or in the play­ground, invite them to join the group for a game, and ask them about their interests.

•       After school, show your child some special attention and affection. Give him or her a hug and ask what happened at school. Did she have fun? Did he make any new friends? Does she need any additional school supplies (notebooks, rulers, erasers) that you can shop for together?

In addition to the suggestions listed above, your child may need some extra support if he or she is starting school in a new location. Here are some suggestions to make the transition easier.

•       Talk with your child about his or her feelings, both their excitement and their con­cerns, about the new school.

•       Visit the school with your child in advance of the first day. Teachers and staff are usually at school a few days before the children start. Peek into your child's classroom, and if possible, meet the teacher and principal. You might be able to address some of your child's concerns at that time. She may have no questions until she actually sees the building and can vi­sualize what it will be like. (When you formally register your child in the new school, bring her immunization record and birth certificate; usually school records can be sent directly from school to school once you sign a "release of information" form.)

•       Try to have your child meet a classmate before the first day so they can get acquainted and play together, and so your child will have a friendly face to look for when school begins.

•       Do not build up unrealistic expectations about how wonderful the new school will be, but convey a general sense of optimism about how things will go for your child at the new school. Remind him that teachers and other students will be making an extra effort to make him feel welcome.

•       If your child sees another student or a group engaged in an activity she is interested in, encourage her to ask if she can participate.

•       As soon as you can, find out what activities are available for your child in addition to those that occur during school itself. Is there a back-to-school picnic or party planned? Can he or she join a soccer team? (For community sports programs, sign-ups often begin weeks or even months before the start of the season.)

It’s been many years since my first day at school but I remember it well. Your child’s life is about to change forever, but that’s a good thing-another milestone in life’s progression. Give him or her a hug, wipe away the tears and smile a big smile. Let them know you trust them and are proud of them. Then go ahead and shed a few tears of your own when you’re back in the car. Yes, they are growing up fast. 

Story source:


Your Child

Kids and Caffeine

2.00 to read

While sipping on a coffee-laced Frappuccino, I’m reading about a current study on caffeine and kids. It made me think about my own dependence on caffeine and when it started. For as long as I can remember, my parents would drink several cups of coffee in the morning before going to work, and even as late as right before they retired for the night.  I suspect my mother had a cup while I was busy being born.

I can’t remember exactly when I joined the family coffee drinking ritual, but I know I was pretty young.  Fall and winter demanded hot steaming cups of coffee and iced coffee helped cool the torturous Texas summers. Spring was a combination of both. Sometimes I think that by now, there’s probably coffee bean residue percolating in my blood stream. 

I kind of wish that I’d never started drinking coffee, because it’s the caffeine I really crave- not necessarily the taste of the brew.  When I’ve tried to quit, my body and mind rebels with headaches and bad attitudes. Which brings me back to the study on kids and caffeine.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that children and teens are now getting less caffeine from soda, but more from caffeine-heavy energy drinks and coffee.

"You might expect that caffeine intake decreased, since so much of the caffeine kids drink comes from soda," said the study's lead author, Amy Branum, a statistician at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "But what we saw is that these decreases in soda were offset by increases in coffee and energy drinks."

Not too long ago, energy drinks were just a fad, something that was more likely to give you the shakes than boost your energy level. That was before they were tweaked and bottled or canned in fruity flavors, sugary beverages and clever advertising. Once kids (and adults) got a taste of the “new and improved” tasty stimulates, the caffeinated beverages began to become a part of every day life – at least Monday through Friday when school and work beckoned.

"In a very short time, they have gone from basically contributing nothing to 6 percent of total caffeine intake," Branum said.

“Energy drinks have more caffeine than soda,. That's their claim to fame," she said. "That's what they're marketed for."

So, what effect does excessive caffeine intake have on our kids? Scientists are not sure yet. There are concerns and a lot of questions about the possible adverse consequences for kids who are still developing.  Caffeine addiction, obesity from sugar heavy beverages, high blood pressure, rapid heart beats and anxiety are some of the side –effects researchers are exploring. 

Using data from the 1999 to 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Branum's team estimated that 73 percent of American children consume some level of caffeine each day.

Although much of their caffeine still comes from soda, the proportion has decreased from 62 percent to 38 percent. At the same time, the amount of caffeine kids get from coffee rose from 10 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2010, the researchers found.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that energy drinks are never appropriate for children or adolescents and in general, caffeine-containing beverages, including soda, should be avoided. The AAP suggests that children should drink water or moderate amounts of juice instead.

The genie is probably out of the preverbal bottle as far as some adolescents and college-aged kids are concerned.  Although, if they are more aware of the possible health risks associated with excessive caffeinated beverages, they may decide to look at healthier energy producing sources such as exercise, meditation and more rest.

Where parents can have the most influence is with their younger children.  Refraining from purchasing caffeinated products (there’s even “energy” gum) and keeping them out of the home is a good first step.

And by all means, avoid introducing your kids to coffee at a young age. It might seem kind of cute, but twenty years down the road, they may wish you hadn’t slid that first cup of java their way.

The report was published in the February edition of the online journal Pediatrics.

Sources: Steven Reinberg,

Your Child

New Guidelines for Tonsillectomies

Most children who get repeated throat infections probably don’t need surgery to remove their tonsils and would improve in time with careful monitoring, according to new clinical guidelines on tonsillectomies in children.

The new guidelines also suggest, however, that removal of the tonsils, or tonsillectomy, may improve problems tied to poor sleep, including bed-wetting, slow growth, hyperactive behavior, and poor school performance. In fact, sleep-disordered breathing -- a set or problems that range from snoring to obstructive sleep apnea - is now the most common reason for tonsil removal in kids younger than 15. “We used to think that only if you were an air traffic controller did it matter if you slept well or not, and now we know that’s not the case,” says Amelia F. Drake, MD, chief of the division of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. More than half a million tonsillectomies are performed each year on children in the U.S., making it the second most common surgery in this age group, just behind procedures to place tubes in the ears to relieve recurrent ear infections. Despite the fact that it is a mainstay of American medicine, experts have long disagreed about how useful or appropriate tonsillectomies may be. The new guidelines, published Monday by the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, are the first set of official recommendations on tonsillectomy published in the U.S. The guidelines aim to give doctors and parents more information about when tonsillectomy may be warranted and to help minimize the risks and pain of this procedure in young patients. “I thought they were very comprehensive,” says Drake, who reviewed the new recommendations but was not involved in drafting them. “This is an area where improvements and refinements can have a huge impact. This is medicine at its core.” New Criteria for Removing Tonsils The guidelines update a set of clinical indicators for tonsillectomies published in 2000 by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, which suggested that doctors could consider taking out the tonsils if a child had at least three cases of swollen and infected tonsils in a year. The new guideline, however, says that kids should have at least seven episodes of throat infection, such as tonsillitis or strep throat in a year, or at least five episodes each year for two years, or three episodes annually for three years, before they become candidates for surgery, and that those infections should be documented by a doctor, rather than just reported by parents. The idea, experts said, was to reserve surgery only for the most severely affected, because the surgery can rarely have serious complications including infections and serious bleeding. “Children who have fewer episodes really aren’t going to see a lot of benefit,” says Jack L. Paradise, MD, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “There aren’t many kids, overall, who meet those stringent criteria,” Paradise says. What’s more, Paradise, and other experts stress, that even children who satisfy the guidelines shouldn’t get an automatic green light for surgery. “I’m not sure, if I had a child that met all the criteria, that I’d automatically subject the child to the consequences of that,” Paradise says, “Post-operatively, it’s a very painful procedure.” The tonsils are cone-shaped lumps of tissue embedded in the throat, and they are believed to play a role in how the body responds to infections, though experts aren’t exactly sure how. But in the early part of the 20th century, the tonsils were blamed as the “focus of infection” in the body, and doctors began taking them out as a way to promote good health. The operation became so common for example, that entire classrooms of youngsters would get their tonsils taken out at school. But by the 1970s, many experts were questioning how effective and appropriate it was to subject kids to a painful operation that could have rare but serious complications; all for what new research suggested were minimal improvements in the risk of sore throats. At the same time, however, doctors were starting to become more aware of the myriad problems tied to sleep disordered breathing in children, a spectrum of problems that can range from snoring to obstructive sleep apnea. And more tonsils began to be taken out as a way to open up the airway and improve sleep. Improvement in Care for Kids Having Surgery Several of the guidelines suggest ways doctors and parents can improve the care of children having tonsillectomies. One of the strongest recommendations is against the use of antibiotics just before or just after surgery. “They are commonly given, and there’s no evidence that antibiotics offer any benefit,” says study researcher Reginald F. Baugh, MD, professor and chief of otolaryngology at the University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio. “You run the risk of allergic reactions and there are the harms of over-prescribing.” In drafting the statement that advises doctors to counsel parents about the importance of pain management in kids after surgery, Baugh says the panel that reviewed the evidence behind the guidelines was alarmed to learn that many parents don’t give medications to control pain after the procedure. “That was one thing we really learned, about the importance of telling parents about the need to give pain meds in these kids,” Baugh says.

Your Child

Family Dog Responsible for Most Bite Injuries


Is your child more likely to be bitten by the family dog or someone else’s dog? Many parents might assume that most dog attacks occur from either strays or another’s dog because they feel like know their own pet’s behavior.

A new study points out that even man’s best friend can turn on a child or adult under the right circumstances.

The recently published study, in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, demonstrated that more than 50 percent of the dog-bite injuries treated at Phoenix Children's Hospital came from dogs belonging to an immediate family member.

The study noted that many times, because a pet is almost considered a family member, parents of young children are too relaxed about the interactions between their children and the family dog, presenting a false sense of safety.

 "More than 60 percent of the injuries we studied required an operation," said lead author Dr. Erin Garvey, a surgical resident at Mayo Clinic "While the majority of patients were able to go home the next day, the psychological effects of being bitten by a dog also need to be taken into account."

The retrospective study looked at a 74-month period between 2007 and 2013 in which there were 670 dog-bite injuries treated at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Of those, 282 were severe enough to require evaluation by the trauma team or transportation by ambulance. Characteristics of the most common injuries included:

·      Both genders were affected (55 percent male)

·      The most common patient age was 5 years, but spanned from 2 months to 17 years

·      28 dog breeds were identified; the most common dog was pit bull

·      More than 50 percent of the dogs belonged to the patient's immediate family

·      The most common injuries were lacerations (often to the face), but there were also a number of fractures and critical injuries such as severe neck and genital trauma

 “The next step is to find out what type of education is needed and for whom - the parents, owners of the dogs and even the kids themselves," explains Dr. Garvey.

The Injury Prevention Center at Phoenix Children's Hospital recommends that families with a dog in the house follow the safety tips below:

·      Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog, including the family dog.

·      Make sure all dogs in the home are neutered or spayed.

·      Take time to train and socialize your dogs.

·      Keep dogs mentally stimulated by walking and exercising them.

·      Teach children appropriate ways to interact with animals.

A good rule of thumb is to learn how to read your dog’s body language. There are signs a dog will give when they are uncomfortable or are feeling threatened:

·      Tensed body

·      Stiff tail

·      Pulled back head and/or ears

·      Furrowed brow

·      Eyes rolled so the whites are visible

·      Yawning

·      Flicking tongue

·      Intense stare

·      Backing away

Many of the dog’s body signals listed above are the opposite of how humans display fear or irritation, and some are natural body occurrences that have nothing to do with how we react to being threatened – such as yawning, For canines, however, all of the above means -  back-off.

One more important note, when putting space between yourself and a dog that might bite, never turn your back on him and run away. A dog's natural instinct will be to chase you.

Sources: Jim McVeigh.




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