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Your Child

AAP: Talk to Your Nine-Year-Old About Alcohol

2:00

Many parents might think the right time to talk to their children about the dangers of alcohol abuse would be around 12 or 13 years of age. But a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says parents should begin having that conversation with their child by age nine to help prevent binge drinking and abuse as they move into adolescence.

Through television, movies and the Internet, children are exposed to alcohol at a much younger age then just a generation ago.  According to the AAP’s latest report, as many as 50 percent of high school students currently drink alcohol; within that group, up to 60 percent binge drink.

And it’s not only high-school children that are over-indulging. Among 12- to 14-year-olds who drink, approximately half binge drink, according to the report. And while the total number of binge drinkers at this age remains very low (the authors cite one survey which revealed 0.8 percent of 12- to 14-year-olds binge drink), parents should still be aware of the consequences.

Dr. Lorena Siqueira, study co-author and clinical professor of pediatrics at Florida International University, says that the reason to start talking to kids about alcohol before they reach middle school is that children are already beginning to develop an impression of alcohol by nine years old. In terms of prevention, it's better for parents to influence children's ideas about alcohol early, rather than trying to change their impressions later, from positive to negative, she said.

"[Alcohol] is the substance most frequently abused by children and adolescents," Siqueira told Live Science. But because it's a legal substance, the consequences are often downplayed. 

"When I have kids in the ICU [intensive care unit], and I tell the parents it’s alcohol, they're relieved," Siqueira said. But they shouldn't feel relief, she added. "Alcohol is a killer.”

Binge drinking in adults refers to five or more drinks for men and four or more for women over a 2-hour period. For teens, the amount of drinks can be lower because they weigh less, researchers said.

For some teens, having even three drinks is considered binge drinking and having fewer drinks than that should not be considered safe.

Part of the problem is how adolescents drink, Siqueira said. They often turn to vodka, and they drink very fast, often directly from the bottle, with the goal of getting drunk — and this can kill them, she noted.

According to the report, nearly a third of fatal car accidents among 15- to 20-year-olds involve alcohol.

Drinking at a younger age can also interrupt brain development and increase the risk of chronic alcohol disorder later.

To warn children about the dangers of alcohol abuse, Siqueira recommends parents use every available opportunity to talk about the issue.

"Alcohol is ubiquitous," she said. And kids see it everywhere - on the sides of buses, on billboards and in movies.

"If you're driving, and you see someone swerving, talk about that. If you see it in a movie, talk to your kids about it then," she said.

One of the best teaching methods is to lead by example. Eighty percent of teenagers say that their parents are the biggest influence on their decision to drink.

That doesn’t mean you should not have a drink in front of your child, but getting drunk or “needing a drink” to handle stress shouldn’t happen, Siqueira said.

The report was published in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: Sara Miller, http://www.livescience.com/52030-parents-talk-about-alcohol-kids-early.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Child

Positioning an Unconscious Child

1:45

Children that have lost consciousness and are placed on their sides have lower odds of needing to stay in the hospital, according to a new European study.

"This is just a simple part of the first aid and resuscitation techniques that anyone can be taught," said Dr. Elizabeth Murray, who was not involved with the new study but is an expert in pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Rochester Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in New York.

The “recovery” position has the patient on their side, with the mouth facing downward to allow any fluid to drain. The researchers say this position should be used on unconscious children who are breathing normally with already cleared airways.

The researchers looked at data on 553 infants and children up to age 18 who were brought to 11 pediatric emergency rooms across Europe for loss of consciousness in 2014.

As reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, the average age was about three years. The average time spent unconscious was about two minutes, although about a third of the group had lost consciousness for more than 20 minutes.

About one in five patients had an existing condition like epilepsy. And about half of the patients had previously lost consciousness.

About 26 percent of parents had put their children into the recovery position, with about 70 percent of those parents reporting they'd learned that technique from doctors or first aid classes.

Those who were put into the recovery position were ultimately 72 percent less likely to be admitted to the hospital than those who weren't put in the position.

More than half of the parents had tried other potentially dangerous techniques to bring their child out of an unconscious state, such as shaking or slapping them.

Those parents said they had learned those techniques from other family members or from media outlets such as TV shows or the movies.

"You can understand why a family member would do anything to make it stop," said Murray. "Just like fever or other medical conditions, there are remedies or potentially folklore that can be passed down."

Kids whose parents used a potentially dangerous technique to try to restore consciousness had twice the odds of being admitted to the hospital, according to the researchers, who were led by Dr. Sebastien Julliand of Paris Diderot University in France.

Murray told Reuters Health that parents who don’t know what to do in this kind of situation, should call 911 and speak to an emergency operator. "It’s really important to remember that the majority of dispatchers in our 911 system can give advice over the phone," she said.

Source: Andrew M. Seaman, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-pediatrics-recovery-idUSKCN0V32SY

 

Your Child

Is Cereal the Best Breakfast Choice?

1.45 to read

Experts have long said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. New research now suggests that it may help prevent obesity in children as well. Kids who eat breakfast every morning have more energy throughout the day, improved learning and behavior and maintain a healthy weight according to a report released by the journal Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Previous studies have linked eating breakfast with maintaining a lower body mass index (BMI) over time. The new study looked at the role that breakfast, specifically cereal, plays in both weight and nutrition among low-income kids.

One in every four American children lives in a food insecure household where breakfast isn't a sure thing, lead author Dr. Lana Frantzen told Reuters Health.

"(Cereal) is an excellent breakfast choice, it's simple, and gets those essential nutrients that children need, especially low income minority children," who tend to be hit hardest by childhood obesity and related health problems, said Frantzen, who is employed by Dairy MAX, a regional dairy council in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Frazen and her co-authors interviewed 625 schoolchildren over a two-year period in San Antonio, Texas. Once a year they asked the children to remember what they had had to eat over the previous three days and calculated their BMI, a measure of weight relative to height.

Researchers found that as the children got older, they tended to eat breakfast less often. As fourth graders, 64 percent of the kids said they'd eaten breakfast on each of the last three days, compared to 42 percent by the time they were sixth graders.

Kids who ate cereal four out of the nine days tended to be in the 95th percentile for BMI, which is considered overweight, compared to kids who ate cereal all nine days, whose measurements were in the 65th percentile, in the healthy weight range.

Thirty-two percent of fourth graders did not eat breakfast at all, 25 percent had something other than cereal and about 43 percent had cereal.

Children who ate cereal for breakfast had higher recordings of certain nutrients than children who ate something else for breakfast or nothing at all. Kids who ate more cereal got more vitamin D, B-3, B-12, riboflavin, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium in their diets than kids who ate less cereal or none at all. They also got slightly more calories, fat, fiber and sugar.

All breakfast cereals are not the same. Many pediatricians and family doctors recommend choosing a whole grain cereal that has a low fat and sugar content as well cooked cereals such as oatmeal.

Whether it’s cereal, eggs or oatmeal, the important take away is that breakfast provides your child more energy and nutrients while helping to lower his or her chance of obesity.  Just those three things can assist tremendously in helping your child have a healthier life.

Source: Reuters, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/kids-eat-breakfast-cereal-bmi-study-article-1.1312860

 

Your Child

Lice Is Going Around

How to treat lice.I keep hearing that there are lice out there! Lice are a part of childhood, albeit the gross part, but it really has nothing to do with where you live or go to school or how often your kids take their baths, its about hair.

Lice are obligate human parasites and require a human scalp to live, they can only live off the host for 6 -25 hours.  Lice most commonly infect children between the ages of 3 – 12 years and there estimated to be between 6 – 12 million cases of lice in children per year. So, if your child has lice, you are not alone!  Transmission of the louse is most commonly from close personal contact especially head to head.

Lice do not have wings so they are not flying around a classroom or on the playground.  The most recent issue with lice is that they are becoming resistant to the over the counter products like Rid and Ni, which have been the gold standard for years. These are still used for first line treatment, as well as removing the nits (egg casings) from the hair with a nit comb. It is often easiest to do this with a dark towel or sheet draped over your child’s shoulders so that you can see the nits as they are coming off of the hair shaft.  It is very hard to see nits in light hair.   Nix and Rid do not kill the eggs, so it is recommended that a second application be used in a week to 10 days. Once you have treated your child appropriately they may return to school, there are no longer “no nit policies”. If you notice that your child still has lice after a couple of days despite appropriate over the counter treatment, call your doctor. Don’t try to smother the lice with mayo, olive oil, Vaseline  or a shower cap, as lice don’t have lungs, so this does not work!  Never think about applying  kerosene to the child’s  hair or even shaving their heads. There are some newer treatments available. I have had success using Ovide, which is only available by prescription in the United States (but is an OTC product in the UK, in case you are traveling).  Another new product, Ulesfia, is also available. It is made of benzyl alcohol and inhibits the louse respiratory spiracles (no lungs remember) and thereby does result in asphyxiation of the louse. The only problem with this product is that it takes quite a few bottles to cover a child with a thick head of hair, and this may make it cost prohibitive. Another product that is being used in Canada (again if you are wanting to pick up some lice treatment while away) is Resultz which is isopropyl myristate, and it is in phase 3 trials in the US.  Other products such as Bactrim and Ivermectin have been used “of label” with some success. At time parent’s are willing to travel to Canada to find “the cure” as they become so frustrated with re-occuring lice problems. Remind your children not to share combs, bows, hats etc with their friends.  Lastly, some people advocate treating all household contacts (even without symptoms of itchy head) to eliminate an outbreak within a family. Now, stop scratching your head.  We'll chat again tomorrow!

Your Child

Doctors May Unknowingly Discourage HPV Vaccine for Preteens

2:00

The majority of physicians say that the HPV vaccine given to preteens, before they become sexually active, can help prevent infections with viruses that can cause cervical, penile and anal cancers as well as genital warts.

However, about 27 percent of doctors may inadvertently discourage parents from having their preteens vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a new study, because they don’t recommend the vaccine strongly enough.

Pediatricians and family physicians deliver the bulk of HPV vaccines. Some of these physicians do not offer the vaccines as strongly as they do when urging parents to vaccinate against meningococcal disease or to get tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis booster shots, the study reported.

The study, which is based on a national online survey of 776 doctors, found a quarter did not strongly endorse the need for HPV vaccination with the parents of the 11- and 12-year-olds under their care.

Nearly 60 percent were more likely to recommend the vaccine for adolescents they thought were at higher risk of becoming infected — perhaps because the doctors knew or suspected they were sexually active — than for all 11- and 12-year-olds.

“You kind of get the sense that some [health care] providers see this as a somewhat uncomfortable situation,” said lead author Melissa Gilkey, a behavioral scientist in the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Many parents don’t like to think about the possibility of their child having sex, particularly when they are only 11 or 12 years old. The vaccine is actually meant to provide protection for when they are older. That’s why it is recommended before a child typically begins engaging in sexual activity. Studies have also shown preteens get the best immune response to the vaccines.

Evidence generated by one of Gilkey’s earlier studies suggests it’s not necessarily parents that are squeamish about the vaccination, but physicians that overestimate a parent’s response when the vaccination is urged. 

 “It’s not necessarily that physicians always are negative about it. But it’s kind of that HPV vaccine may get damned with faint praise, if you will,” Gilkey said. “Compared to the way that they recommend these other vaccines, parents may suspect that there’s something wrong with it.”

The aim of the research is to help figure out why HPV vaccination rates remain disappointingly low. The CDC reported that in 2014, 40 percent of adolescent girls and 22 percent of adolescent boys had received the recommended three doses of HPV vaccine. The agency says girls and boys should have all three doses by their 13th birthday.

According to the study, how the information is presented has an impact on how well it is received. Doctors who started conversations about the HPV vaccination by telling parents the vaccines protect against cancers and genital warts gave stronger recommendations than those who opened saying HPV viruses are sexually transmitted.

The study was published Thursday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Although Gilkey declared no conflicts of interest, the senior author of the study, Noel Brewer of the University of North Carolina, has received research funding and speaker fees from companies that sell HPV vaccines.

Source: Helen Branswell, https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2015/10/21/study-says-doctors-inadvertently-discourage-hpv-vaccines/LuJaMFoEupeOeYrrUOlYRN/story.html

 

 

 

 

 

Your Child

Does a Full Moon Make Kids Hyper?

1:30

There are lots of strange things associated with a full moon such as werewolves come out, it causes lunacy, blue moons are actually colored blue and a full moon makes kids more hyper than usual.

A new study actually looked at whether a full moon has any impact on children’s behavior and found that they do sleep a little less, but only by a few minutes.

The study failed to find a link between the occurrence of the full moon and kids' activity levels, debunking the myth that kids are more hyper during a full moon.

The study "provides solid evidence … that the associations between moon phases and children's sleep duration/activity behaviors are not meaningful from a public health standpoint," the researchers, from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada, wrote in the March 24 issue of the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics.

The idea that the moon effects people’s behavior goes back to ancient times, but studies have found no evidence that that is true.

In the new study, researchers analyzed information from more than 5,800 children, ages 9 to 11, from 12 countries around the world (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, India, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States).

Unlike much of the previous research on children's sleep, the new study did not rely on parents or the kids themselves to report how much sleep the children got. Instead, the children wore accelerometers — which are devices similar to fitness trackers that record body movement and can be used to monitor sleep — 24 hours a day, for at least seven days.

Results showed that children's activity levels — including the amount of time they spent doing high- and low-intensity activity, and their sedentary time — were about the same during a full moon and new moon (the phase of the moon when it is not visible from Earth).

However, children's sleep time was about 5 minutes shorter on nights with a full moon, compared to nights with a new moon. This is about 1 percent of children's total sleep time, the study said. From a health standpoint, such a small effect "is unlikely to be important," the researchers said.

Why children got a bit less sleep on nights with a full moon wasn’t clear. One reason could be the brightness of the moon during that time.

The study was conducted over a short time and did not track the children for a full month. The finding does not prove that the full moon causes children to sleep for shorter periods, the researchers said.

Future studies are needed "to determine if the human biology is in any way synchronized with the lunar cycle," or if the full moon has a greater influence on certain groups of people, the researchers said. "Whether there is science behind the myth or not, the moon mystery will continue to fascinate civilizations in the years to come."

Story source: Rachel Rettner, http://www.livescience.com/54433-full-moon-children-sleep.html

Your Child

Make Your Backyard a Safe Haven

2.00 to read

Summertime means backyard time for kids. There’s forts, trampolines, swings, pools, trees –everything you need to spark the imagination and capture the energy of youth. While there is no sure-fire way to prevent all kids from getting injured, there are some strategies that are a good start to creating a safe haven for your kids.

Plants: Make sure there are no poisonous plants in your backyard. Little kids often put things in their mouth that they shouldn’t or crawl into spaces that could cause them to end up in the emergency room.

Keep an eye out for poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak around fence lines and on trees.

A short list of common posionous plants includes Oleander, the most common toxic plant with every bit of the plant being harmful. Lilly of the Valley can cause nausea, vomiting, pain and diarrhea. Hydrangea blooms will cause stomach pain if ingested and possibly itchy skin, weakness and sweating as well as a possible breakdown in the body’s blood circulation.

You can find photos and more toxic plants at http://www.safetyathome.com.

Home playgrounds. Just like public playgrounds, home playgrounds need to be monitored and checked for loose screws, cracked wood and rusty metal.

http://children.webmd.com has a great list of precautions parents can take to help prevent injuries.

- Cover areas under and around the playground equipment with shock-absorbing material, such as sand, rubber, or mulch, 9-12 inches deep.

- Make sure swing seats are made of soft rubber, not hard wood.

- Don't suspend more than two swing seats in the same section of the equipment's support structure. Most home playground injuries can be blamed on swings.

- The equipment should have ladders with steps rather than rungs for easier access, or rungs with more than nine inches or less than three and a half inches of space between them, to prevent children from getting stuck.

- Cover all protruding bolts.

- Do not attach ropes or cords to the play set, which could become strangulation hazards.

- Plastic play sets or climbing equipment should never be used indoors on wood or cement floors, even if they're carpeted. All climbing equipment should be outdoors on shock-absorbing surfaces to prevent children's head injuries.

- Slides and platforms should be no higher than six feet for school-age children, or four feet for pre-schoolers.

- Platforms, walkways, ramps, and ladders should have adequate guardrails.

- Protect against tripping hazards such as tree stumps, concrete footings, and rocks.

- During hot summer days, check the temperature of the slides and swings, because they can become hot enough to cause burns to the skin.

Treated wood. Treated wood is a common product found in backyard fences and decks. Many treated outdoor wooden structures contain arsenic. The wood industry phased out production of this type of wood in 2003, but there are plenty of wood products around that were manufactured before then. Arsenic in pressure treated wood used in play sets and picnic tables pose an increase risk of cancer according to the EPA.

Pools and spas. Pools and spas pose their own special kind of risks. Drowning is a leading cause of death to children under 5. And many drownings  occur at home. Take these simple precautions:

- Always supervise children who are in and around a pool or spa.

- Have fences or walls at least four feet high completely around the pool. Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, with latches out of reach of children.

- Keep rescue equipment by the pool.

- Steps and ladders for aboveground pools should be secured or removed when the pool is not in use.

- Use a cover for the pool when it is not in use.

- Make sure drain covers are properly fitted and paired or have vacuum suction releases to prevent being trapped under water.

- Consider installing a pool alarm that can alert if someone enters the pool.

- Spa water temperatures should be set to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid elevated body temperature, which could lead to drowsiness, unconsciousness, heatstroke, or death.

- Keep a cell phone with you when you’re at the pool with your kids. Seconds count and you don’t want to have leave your child to find the phone.

These are just a few suggestions for helping parents create a safe backyard where kids can have fun and hang out. Have a great Summer!

Sources: http://children.webmd.com/guide/make-backyard-safe

http://www.safetyathome.com/seasonal-safety/summer-safety-articles/dangerous-plants-in-your-backyard/

Your Child

Sleep: New Recommendations for Different Ages

2:00

We all know how important a good night’s sleep is to being able to function well the next day. But how much sleep is really enough? How much we prefer is a personal choice, but how much we really need is now more concrete. 

After web analytics showed the vast popularity of the category, How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? on the National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) website, a panel of experts set about to reassure that the information provided there was the most accurate and up to date.

"Sleep duration was basically one of the most visited pages on the NSF website, and it wasn't really clear how those recommendations for the ranges had been arrived at," Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., chair of the National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council, told The Huffington Post.

The National Sleep Foundation decided to look at its recommendations and see if they should make any adjustments. After analyzing more recent literature on the subject, they came to the conclusion that an updating was due.

The panel of six sleep-experts and 12 medical experts conducted a formal literature review. The panel focused on the body of research surrounding sleep duration in healthy human subjects that had been published in peer-reviewed journals between 2004 and 2014. From the 312 articles reviewed, the experts were able to fine-tune existing sleep duration recommendations as detailed below:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours (range narrowed from 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (range widened from 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (range widened from 12-14)
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours (range widened from 11-13)
  • School-Age Children (6-13): 9-11 hours (range widened from 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (range widened from 8.5-9.5)
  • Young Adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours (no change)
  • Older Adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category)

“This is the first time that any professional organization has developed age-specific recommended sleep durations based on a rigorous, systematic review of the world scientific literature relating sleep duration to health, performance and safety,” Charles A. Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, said in a statement.

During sleep, your brain and body recharge. Lack of sleep can have short-term and long-term effects. Studies have shown that children and teens that do not get enough sleep have trouble concentrating in school, are more prone to drinking and drug use and are more likely to have behavioral issues. They are also more likely to suffer from depression.

Too little sleep can also affect growth and your child’s immune system – making it harder to fight off an illness.

For adults, if you’re able to function well on the amount of sleep you typically get, then that’s probably the right amount for you. However, for children, the NSF’s recommendations are a good resource for making sure your kids are getting enough sleep. If you find that your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep but is still groggy or lacks energy or focus during the day, talk to your pediatrician or family doctor to see if there may be something else that is causing these symptoms.

Sources: Sarah Klein, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/02/how-much-sleep-durations-changes_n_6581628.html

Your Child

Does Birth Order Impact Children’s IQ or Personality?

2:00

In 1982, “The Birth Order Book” by psychologist, Dr. Kevin Leman, was published and quickly became a best seller. The premise was that there are four personality types based on a person’s birth order. Since then, other authors have written extensively about whether one’s birth order has a lasting effect on our personalities, IQ, successes or failures in life and other physical, emotional or psychological traits.

Now, a large study from the University of Illinois says there may be a slight benefit to being the first born in a family, but the difference is miniscule and offers no real advantage or disadvantage in how a person’s life plays out.

Psychology professor Brent Roberts, along with former postdoctoral researcher Rodica Damian, conducted an analysis of 377,000 high school-age students to test the assumption.

The researchers found that first-born children do tend to have a slightly higher IQ and often display differing personality traits than their siblings later, but the differences are so small between the first- born and the later-born that they really have no significant impact on their lives.

Their analysis determined first-borns had a one-point IQ advantage over their following siblings, statistically significant in scientific terms but meaningless in suggesting any practical effects on a person's life.

Previous studies have been conducted on the same topic, but most had a small sample size – that’s why Roberts believes this study is noteworthy.

"This is a conspicuously large sample size," he says.  "It's the biggest in history looking at birth order and personality."

Looking at personality differences, the study found first-borns tended to be slightly more extroverted, conscientious, agreeable and less anxious that later-borns, but that those differences were on a scale of 0.02, or "infinitesimally small," Roberts notes.

Statistical differences can be more or less valuable depending on what is being examined.

"In some cases, if a drug saves 10 out of 10,000 lives, for example, small [statistical] effects can be profound," Roberts said. However, he noted, when it comes to personality traits a 0.02 difference is so small as to be invisible, something that wouldn't be apparent to the naked eye.

"You're not going to be able to sit two people down next to each other and see the differences between them," he says. "It's not noticeable by anybody."

Damien, who is now a now a professor of psychology at the University of Houston, says she and Roberts controlled for factors that might skew results, including a family's economic level, the number of siblings and their relative ages.

Whether a child’s birth order has any effect on his or her personality or IQ is still somewhat controversial among child psychologists and psychiatrists.  Some believe it has its place in child rearing and others think it is simply pop culture. Most would probably agree however, that a child’s later personality and IQ are typically based on more complicated factors than whether they were the first, middle, last or only child in the family.

The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

Source: Jim Algar,  http://www.techtimes.com/articles/69519/20150716/birth-order-has-no-effect-on-iq-or-personality-massive-study-finds.htm

 

 

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

Why your kids need to play it safe!

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