Your Toddler

Is Your Child a Biter?

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At some time or another your sweet child is going to bite or wallop someone, most likely another kid. And yes, it's embarrassing to have to pull your child off another or to apologize to grandma because her grandchild just took a chunk out of her arm. 

Know that you’re not alone - all kids bite and /or hit. The key to stopping aggression in children is teaching them that there are alternative ways to handle frustration and biting is not acceptable behavior.

Not all biting stems from anger. The younger the child, the less chance that biting is an aggressive behavior. It can also be a simple case of exploration. Young children bite for many reasons, from painful gums because they are teething to seeing what kind of reaction they get. Children between the ages of one and three typically go through a biting phase they eventually outgrow.

While biting may be a normal phase kids go through, it’s something you want to discourage.

Let’s look at some of the reasons kids bite.

  • They're in pain. When babies bite, typically it's because they're teething. They're just doing it to relieve the pain of their swollen, tender gums.
  • They're exploring their world. Very young children use their mouths to explore, just as they use their hands. Just about everything infants or toddlers pick up eventually winds up in their mouths. Kids this age aren't yet able to prevent themselves from biting the object of their interest.
  • They're looking for a reaction. Part of exploration is curiosity. Toddlers experiment to see what kind of reaction their actions will provoke. They'll bite down on a friend or sibling to hear the surprised exclamation, not realizing how painful the experience is for that person.
  • They're craving attention. In older kids, biting is just one of several bad behaviors used to get attention. When a child feels ignored, discipline is at least one way of getting noticed -- even if the attention is negative rather than positive.
  • They're frustrated. Biting, like hitting, is a way for some children to assert themselves when they're still too young to express feelings effectively through words. To your child, biting is a way to get back a favorite toy, tell you that he or she is unhappy, or let another child know that he or she wants to be left alone.

So, how do you prevent or teach your child that they can’t go through life biting others?

You start with consistent prevention and move on to discipline if they are older.

  • If your baby is teething, make sure to always have a cool teething ring or washcloth on hand so he or she will be less likely to sink teeth into someone's arm.
  • Avoid situations in which your child can get irritable enough to bite. Make sure that all of your child's needs -- including eating and naptime -- are taken care of before you go out to play. Bring along a snack to soothe your child if he or she gets cranky from being hungry.
  • As soon as your child is old enough, encourage your child to use words such as “I'm angry with you" or "That's my toy" instead of biting. Other ways to express frustration or anger include hugging (not hitting) a stuffed animal or punching a pillow. Sometimes redirection is helpful; shortening activities or giving your child a break can help prevent the rising frustration that can lead to biting and other bad behaviors.
  • Give your child enough of your time throughout the day (for example, by reading or playing together), so he or she doesn't bite just to get attention. Extra attention is especially important when your child is going through a major life change, such as a move or welcoming a baby sibling. If your child is prone to biting, keep an eye on any playmates and step in when an altercation appears to be brewing.

You’ve done all that is possible to prevent another biting situation, and low and behold your child is biting another. What do you do then?

When your child bites, firmly let your child know that this behavior is not acceptable by saying, "No. We don't bite!" Explain that biting hurts the other person. Then remove your child from the situation and give the child time to calm down. It’s important that you remain calm.

Seeing your child bite another is naturally going to create an unpleasant reaction in you. As soon as you witness a biting episode, your body tenses, your heart races, and even if you don't actually scream, you really want to. The angrier you are, the tenser the situation becomes. You are much more likely to strike your child when you let your anger get the best of you. Take a deep breath, assess the situation and intervene calmly. Remove your child, let him or her calm down and explain (yes, once again) that biting is not going to be tolerated. If your child is old enough to understand time-out, this is a good time to use it. If not, remove the child from the temptation. Playtime is over.

One way some parents handle biting is to bite their own child to show them how painful it can be. Doing what you are telling your child not to do sends a mixed message. It’s similar to hitting your child and then saying “don’t hit others.” Most likely your child will experience how painful it is because another child will bite them someday.

The point is not so much that biting is painful, the action itself is unkind, unproductive and wrong.

When biting becomes a habit or continues past the age 4 or 5, it may stem from a more serious emotional problem. This is the time to ask for help from your pediatrician, family doctor or a child psychologist.

If your child is bitten, wash the area with soap and water. If the bite is bleeding and the wound appears to be deep, call your child’s doctor. The bite may need medical treatment, which could include antibiotics or a tetanus shot or both.

Biting is a horrible habit to get into and a difficult one to stop. Start teaching your child early that momma and daddy are not putting up with it and that there are better ways to explore the world and handle frustration.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/stop-children-from-biting

Your Toddler

Would You Choose the Chubby Toddler?

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Once upon a time having a chubby toddler was a sign of prosperity. Parents, grandparents and friends loved to pinch the little one’s plump cheeks and say something along the lines of “look at those fat little legs and cheeks… how adorable!”

Little fat legs and cheeks are no longer a sign of wealth or health. They’re more likely to be an indicator of obesity or morbid obesity in a baby or toddler. Amazingly, many moms still believe that chubby equals cute and that their roly-poly child will eventually grow out of the “baby fat.”

According to a new study, parents of overweight toddlers mistakenly think their children are normal weight, and mothers of normal weight or underweight children wish their little ones were plumper. 

The findings were based on a study that involved 281 mothers from low-income households who had children between ages 12 and 32 months. Mothers were shown seven silhouettes of toddlers of various sizes, and asked to choose the silhouette that best matched their child.

About 30 percent of children were considered overweight by the researchers, based on a ratio of the child's weight and length.

About 70 percent of all mothers in the study were inaccurate in their assessments of their child's size, meaning they chose a silhouette that was at least two sizes larger or smaller than their child's true size.

Mothers of underweight children often knew their child was not healthy—they were 9.5 times more likely to choose the silhouette that matched their child's body size compared with mothers of healthy-weight children.

About 70 percent of mothers of healthy-weight children, and 80 percent of mothers of overweight children said they were satisfied with their child's body size. Four percent of mothers of overweight children even wished their child were even larger, the researchers said.

"That suggests we may have a lot of parents who are trying to fatten up their babies," said Dr. Eliana Perrin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, who wrote a commentary on the research in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Because mothers in the study were primarily from low-income households, and most were overweight or obese themselves, the findings may not be an indication of the population as a whole, the researchers said.

"There's this misperception that a chubby infant or toddler is a healthy infant or toddler," said study researcher Erin R. Hager, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, Growth and Nutrition. In addition, with so many overweight and obese kids in the United States, the view of what is a normal may be shifting, and now larger is the new norm, Hager said.

Researchers also noted that doctors should also help parents be more aware of what constitutes a healthy weight for toddlers.

The only real way for parents to know if their child is overweight is to plot their weight and length on a growth chart for their age, Hager said. Children are considered overweight if they fall in the 85th to 94th percentiles of the growth charts, and obese if they are in the 95th percentile or higher.

The child’s pediatrician or family doctor could be adding to the parent’s confusion.

When doctors use the charts, they tend to plot weight and height separately, and without both pieces of information, parents end up not knowing that their child is above normal size for his age, Hager said.

A recent study found more than 75 percent of parents of overweight children said that their doctors never told them that their child was overweight.

The concern among scientists is that children's eating habits are shaped when they are very young, said Dr. Stephen Cook, a member of the Executive Committee of the Section on Obesity for the American Academy of Pediatrics and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"Kids who gain weight as toddlers tend to hold onto weight longer and tend to be overweight and obese in adolescence and adulthood," said Cook, who conducted a similar study in older children.

Some researchers feel that with the epidemic of obesity in this country, people are losing the ability to discern what is a healthy weight and what is overweight or obese. That’s not good news for adults or children. But as more information becomes available for parents to research and read, awareness is slowly improving. If you’re concerned your child is carrying too many pounds for his or her height and weight, check with your pediatrician or family doctor and ask for an evaluation.

Sources: http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/2557-toddler-body-size-overweight.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47329655/ns/health-childrens_health/#.T6lnse0zJnZ

Your Toddler

Recall: Kid’s Sunglasses Due to Heavy Lead Content

2.00 to read

Kid’s sunglasses; they’re cute, practical and occasionally end up in the mouths of little ones that are teething or just playing around. That’s not necessarily a bad thing unless the sunglasses are coated in lead.

That’s the reason that FGX International is recalling about 250,000 sunglasses marketed to and sold for children. The surface paint on the sunglasses contains excessive levels of lead, which is prohibited under federal law and dangerous for children’s health.

This recall includes 20 styles of Disney, Marvel and Sears/Kmart brand children’s sunglasses. They come in a variety of colors and with printed images of characters on the frames.

The following recalled style numbers are located inside the sunglasses’ left temple arm:

Style#

Brand 

S00014SVS999

Marvel Spider-Man

S00014SVSBLU

Marvel Spider-Man

S00014SVSRED

Marvel Spider-Man

S00021LKC999

SK2 Sears /Kmart Private Label 

S00021SVS999                                     

Marvel Spider-Man 

S01551SDB999

Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 

S02964SJN440

Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates          

S02964SJN999

Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates          

S03683SDC999

Disney Cars 

S04611SDC001          

Disney Cars 

S04611SDC080          

Disney Cars 

S04611SDC400         

Disney Cars 

S04611SDC999

Disney Cars 

S07786SMS500

Disney Doc McStuffins 

S07786SMS650

Disney Doc McStuffins 

S07786SMS999

Disney Doc McStuffins 

S07840SDC999          

Disney Cars 

S07841SDC001         

Disney Cars 

S07841SDC440          

Disney Cars 

S07841SDC999          

Disney Cars

The sunglasses were sold at Bon Ton, CVS, K-mart, Rite-Aid, Walgreens and other retail stores nationwide from December 2013 to March 2014 for between $7 and $13.

When the body is exposed to lead — by being inhaled, swallowed, or in a small number of cases, absorbed through the skin — it can act as a poison. Exposure to high lead levels in a short period of time is called acute toxicity. Exposure to small amounts of lead over a long period of time is called chronic toxicity.

Lead poisoning can lead to a variety of health problems in kids, including:

  • Decreased bone and muscle growth
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
  • Speech and language problems
  • Developmental delay
  • Seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)

If you’ve purchased or been given a pair of these sunglasses, they should immediately be removed from your child’s possession. You can return them to FGX International for a free replacement or refund, including free shipping and handling.

Consumers can contact FGX International toll-free at (877) 277- 0104 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.fgxi.com and click on “Recall” for more information.

Sources: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/FGX-International-Recalls-Childrens-Sunglasses/#remedy

http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/lead_poisoning.html#

Kid's Sunglasses recall

Your Toddler

Brain Growth Outpaces Physical Growth in Kids

1:30 to read

Ever wonder why the human body matures much slower than other mammals? Me neither. Even though this isn’t anything I’ve ever even thought about, the reason is fascinating.

According to a new study, young children grow much more slowly than other mammals because their developing brains require so much energy to prepare for challenges they will face later in life.

Researchers analyzed data from PET and MRI brain scans and found that the human brain uses enormous amounts of energy during the first few years of life, which means physical growth has to take a back seat during that time.

The brain’s energy use peaks at about age 4 causing the body’s growth to slow down. At about this age the brain is burning on all four cylinders at a rate equaling two-thirds of what the entire body uses at rest.

"Our findings suggest that our bodies can't afford to grow faster during the toddler and childhood years because a huge quantity of resources is required to fuel the developing human brain," first author Christopher Kuzawa, a professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, said in a university news release.

"As humans we have so much to learn, and that learning requires a complex and energy-hungry brain," he added.

That could explains why it’s difficult to tell a young child’s age simply by looking at them. 

"After a certain age it becomes difficult to guess a toddler or young child's age by their size," Kuzawa said. "Instead you have to listen to their speech and watch their behavior. Our study suggests that this is no accident. Body growth grinds nearly to a halt at the ages when brain development is happening at a lightning pace, because the brain is sapping up the available resources."

Earlier clinical thought on the topic suggested that the brain’s demand for energy was highest at birth, when the brain size is more relative to the body.

The study's finding that the brain's energy needs peak at age 4 "has to do with the fact that synapses, connections in the brain, max out at this age, when we learn so many of the things we need to know to be successful humans," Kuzawa said.

Other studies have looked at the functions of the 3 to 4 years-old age group and brain development. Experts say that this is the first stage of enlightenment. It’s during this time that preschoolers begin to use problem-solving skills during activities. They are interested in learning about their bodies and other living things. They begin to understand the order of events during the day and start figuring out how to take things apart and put them back together again.

It’s a pretty amazing time for brain development and identity processing. Good nutrition and exercise at this critical time can also help the brain maximize its potential, along with a nurturing environment.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sources: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/misc-kid-s-health-news-435/when-it-comes-to-childhood-growth-the-brain-comes-first-691088.html

http://www.kidcentraltn.com/article/brain-development-preschool-3-5-years

Your Toddler

Messy Eaters May Be Better Learners!

1.45 to read

Does your toddler like to toss, smear and play with his or her food?  Those typical baby actions could indicate that your little one is not only making a mess, but absorbing knowledge as well. According to a new research, the messier a child gets while eating the more they are learning.

In a study from the University of Iowa, researchers examined how well 16-month-old children learned the names of nonsolid foods and other objects while they are in a high chair as opposed to how they learned sitting at a table.  Nonsolid objects are more difficult to comprehend because they don’t have a consistent shape.

 "This study shows the cascading influence that the context of everyday activities – such as mealtimes – has on children's exploration, attention, and word learning," the study says. "When young children messily eat and explore food at each meal, they are learning both about individual foods and also about nonsolid substances more generally."

The researchers, led by Larissa Samuelson, an associate professor of psychology at the university, gave the children different nonsolid substances such as applesauce, pudding, juice and soup. They then made up names for the foods like “dax” or “kiv.”

When the researchers put the same objects out in different sizes or shapes and asked the children to identify them, the ones who more enthusiastically explored the materials by poking, throwing and picking them up, were more likely to correctly identify them.

Additionally, the children seated in a highchair were more likely to correctly identify objects than those seated at a table.

Why does a high chair versus a table make any difference?

"It turns out that being in a high chair makes it more likely you'll get messy, because kids know they can get messy there," Samuelson said in a statement.

The environment a child is in turns out to play a pivotal role in how they learn. Just as a high chair may provide babies and toddlers more familiarity and stimulus for learning about nonsolid objects, a desk may work better for learning math and a stool for painting art.

Children who have trouble directing their attention may need the contextual support of a certain environment to help them do so appropriately, the researchers contend.

"Children may be doing more than just making a mess in the moment: they are forever changing their attentional biases and the way they learn over development," the study says.

"It may look like your child is playing in the high chair, throwing things on the ground, and they may be doing that, but they are getting information out of (those actions)," Samuelson said in the statement. "And, it turns out, they can use that information later. That's what the high chair did. Playing with these foods there actually helped these children in the lab, and they learned the names better."

So the next time your little one throws his or her food in your face, or smears it in their hair- remember, it’s just a learning process.

The study was published in the journal Developmental Science.

Source: Allie Bidwell, http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/12/02/study-playing-with-food-can-help-your-kids-learn?s_cid=rss:study-playing-with-food-can-help-your-kids-learn

Your Toddler

Baby Gates Responsible for Almost 2000 ER Visits

2.00 to read

You install baby gates to keep your little one from falling down stairs or away from areas in the house that are not baby-proofed.  But baby gates do not always prove to be safe. In fact, the number of children treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to baby gates has quadrupled since 1990.

A new study, conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, has found gates can lead to injury if used incorrectly.

From 1990 through 2010, ERs treated an estimated 37,673 children under the age of seven for baby gate –related injuries.

The study used data obtained from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The researchers found that more than 60 percent of the children injured were younger than two years old, and they were most often injured by falls down stairs after a gate collapsed or when it was left open. Injuries caused by these accidents lead to soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, and traumatic brain injuries, said the researchers.

Cuts were the main injury for 2 to 6 years-olds from climbing on the gate.

The most common injuries were bumps, bruises, cuts and lacerations. However, over 16 percent were traumatic brain injuries, Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., the senior and corresponding author and associate professor of Pediatrics, Center for Injury Research and Policy at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, told Healthline.

McKenzie offered this advice to parents, “Gates are a common, if not essential, safety device in homes to prevent young children from potentially hazardous stairways, and to limit access to restricted areas — for example, the kitchen when you are cooking. Current recommendations suggest that gates be installed in stairways and between rooms in homes with children between six months and two years of age, or until the child has learned how to open the gate or when the child is able to climb over the gate.”

Parents are not the only ones that need to be aware of these guidelines. Grandparents and caregivers should also know about the recommendations.

“When your grandkids come to visit, it is essential to have the correct types of gates in place to keep your grandkids safe in your home. You can be strategic in limiting children’s access to dangerous areas by installing gates at the top and bottom of stairs and between rooms. Also, do not use the old accordion-style gates. The sale of these gates was banned because of the risk of strangulation. Make sure any gates you use meet current safety guidelines,” said McKenzie.

The researchers offered these baby gate safety tips:

-      Use hardware-mounted baby gates at the top of stairways.

-      Gates that only press against walls, called pressure-mounted gates, are not secure enough to prevent falls.

-      Install gates in homes with children between six months and two years of age.

-      If possible, remove the gates when the child turns two, or when the child has learned to open the gate or climb over it.

-      If you can’t remove a gate because of other children in the home, use a gate without notches or gaps that could be used for climbing.

The study was published in Academic Pediatrics.

Source: Sandra Levy, http://www.healthline.com/health-news/baby-gates-injuries-emergency-room-050514

Your Toddler

Toddler’s “Body Clock” May Be Causing Sleep Problems

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Does your toddler have a difficult time getting to sleep most nights? It could be that his or her body clock isn’t in sync with bedtime. The body has a natural sleep and wake cycle called a circadian rhythm. It’s like a master biological clock that lets us know when to be alert and when to sleep. When our body clock gets out of sync with our real time sleep and alertness needs, we have trouble falling asleep or staying awake when we need to.

But how does that clock work in preschoolers, who need more sleep than older kids or adults? A first-of-its-kind study tracked 14 healthy youngsters for six days to begin finding out.

The children, ages 2½ to 3, wore activity monitors on their wrists to detect when they slept and the parents kept diaries of their children’s bedtime routines.

Then on the last afternoon, researchers visited each home, dimming lights and covering windows. Then every 30 minutes for six hours leading up to the child’s appointed bedtime, they also coaxed each tot to chew on some dental cotton to provide a sample of saliva.

The saliva was used to test for the hormone, melatonin. Melatonin helps control our sleep and wake cycles. It’s made by the pineal gland in the brain. Light affects how much melatonin the body produces.  During the evening hours melatonin levels start to increase causing you to get sleepy.

‘‘Just like nutrition and exercise, sleep is critical for good health,’’ said sleep scientist Monique LeBourgeois of the University of Colorado, Boulder, who is leading the research.

For preschoolers, the new study found that on average, the melatonin surge occurred around 7:40 p.m. The children tended to be tucked in around 8:10 p.m., and most were asleep 30 minutes later, LeBourgeois reported in the journal Mind, Brain and Education.

When melatonin rose earlier in the evening, tots who hit the sack around 8 fell asleep a bit faster. But when the melatonin surge was closer to bedtime, the youngsters were more likely to fuss or make curtain calls after lights-out.

Two children in the study actually were tucked in before their rise in melatonin ever occurred, and it took them up to an hour past bedtime to fall asleep, she said.

Other factors can also have an impact on children’s ability to fall asleep such as loud noises, stress or anxiety or disrupted home routines.

The National Institutes of Health says preschoolers need 11 to 12 hours of sleep each day; some typically comes from an afternoon nap.

About 25 percent of young children experience some type of sleep difficulty, including trouble settling down at bedtime, LeBourgeois said. Harried parents aside, there’s concern that early-in-life bedtime frustration might lead to more persistent sleep trouble.

‘‘Listen to your child’s physiology,’’ she advised.  She offers these steps to help your child fall asleep faster.

- Too much light in the evening delays the melatonin surge and subsequent sleepiness.  While there’s no data in young children yet, LeBourgeois says dimming the lights about an hour before bedtime makes sense.

—Avoid electronics near bedtime, because they generate a specific type of light that triggers wakefulness. LeBourgeois was horrified to hear that one parent offer a sleepless youngster an iPad to play with as long as the child stayed in the bedroom.

—And make sure blackout shades aren’t keeping your children from getting enough morning sunlight, she said. Light in the morning also is key to keeping the biological sleep clock on schedule. If your child’s bedroom needs blackout shades to make it dark enough at night, go in early and open the shades before your child needs to wake up.

More studies are planned to help track sleep patterns in toddlers. There’s no exact “sweet spot” that’s been found to guide parents on when to put their little one to bed…yet.

But, by watching your toddlers physical behavior as the evening progresses and offering a quite and calm environment with less light, you should be able to see what works best.

Source: Lauran Neergaard, http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/2013/12/30/body-clock-may-blame-when-tots-fight-sleep/bz3TahyhXz10qHuIPXtpCK/story.html

Your Toddler

PBDE Tied to Hyperactivity, Lower IQ

2.00 to read

If you have a couch, easy chair, foam pillow (including those used for breastfeeding), mattress, mattress pad, futon, car seat, carpet padding or any other product made with PBDEs before 2005 in your house, you could be exposing your child to chemicals that may possibly lower his or her intelligence and / or lead to hyperactivity.

PBDEs are polybrominated diphenyl ethers used for decades as fire retardants in common products such as carpeting, baby strollers and electronics.

In a recent study, PBDEs have been associated with hyperactivity and lower intelligence in children. PBDEs were mostly withdrawn from the U.S. market in 2004, but remain present in many consumer products bought before then.

"In animal studies, PBDEs can disrupt thyroid hormone and cause hyperactivity and learning problems. Our study adds to several other human studies to highlight the need to reduce exposure to PBDEs in pregnant women," study author Dr. Aimin Chen, an assistant professor in the department of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.

For their study, researchers examined the PBDE levels in blood samples from 309 pregnant women and followed up with intelligence and behavior tests on the women’s children each year until they were 5 years old.

Researchers found that PBDE exposure in the womb was associated with hyperactivity at ages 2 to 5, and with lower intelligence at age 5. A tenfold increase in PBDE exposure during pregnancy was related to about a four-point IQ deficit in 5-year-old children.

The results of the research did not prove a cause and effect relationship with hyperactivity and lower intelligence scores in the children, but did show a possible association.

Many households contain items that were purchased before the PBDE ban in 2004. Oftentimes these products are handed down from one family member to another (especially children’s products), or can be picked up at a garage sale.

"Because PBDEs exist in the home and office environment as they are contained in old furniture, carpet pads, foams and electronics, the study raises further concern about their toxicity in developing children," Chen concluded.

In a study published in 2008 by the Environmental Working Group, young children were found to have 3 times the blood levels of fire-retardant chemicals as their mothers.

What can you do to reduce your family’s exposure to PBDEs?

1. Inspect foam items. Replace anything with a ripped cover or foam that is misshapen and breaking down. If you cannot replace these items try to keep the covers intact. Beware of older items like car seats and mattress pads where the foam is not completely encased in a protective fabric.

2. Use a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter. These vacuums are more efficient at trapping small particles and will likely remove more contaminants and other allergens from your home. HEPA-filter air cleaners may also reduce particle-bound contaminants in your house.

3. Do not reupholster foam furniture. Even those items without PBDEs might contain poorly studied fire retardants with potentially harmful effects.

4. Be careful when removing old carpet. The padding may contain PBDEs. Keep your work area isolated from the rest of your home. Clean up with a HEPA-filter vacuum and mop to pick up as many of the small particles as possible.

5. When purchasing new products ask the manufacturers what type of fire retardants they use. Avoid products with brominated fire retardants, and opt for less flammable fabrics and materials, like leather, wool and cotton. Be aware that "natural" or latex foam and natural cotton are flammable and require a fire retardant method that may contain toxic fire retardants.

The study is to be presented Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Until it is peer-reviewed in a medical journal it should be considered a preliminary finding.

As a nation of consumers we are exposed to chemicals, many of which we’ve never heard of, in products we use daily. Most of us are not scientists, just people trying to find the right products that are safe for our families. More information on product safety can be found at www.ewg.org and www.epa.gov.

Sources: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/05/06/flame-retardant-chemicals-could-be-toxic-to-kids

http://www.ewg.org/pbdefree

Your Toddler

Many Kids Still Exposed to Lead Poisoning

2.00 to read

This is one of those health concerns you heard a lot about in the 70s and 80s when the government began to take an active role in reducing the amount of lead in our everyday environment.

As long ago as 1904, child lead poisoning was linked to lead-based paints, but it wasn’t until 1971 that the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act was passed. Finally in 1978, lead-based paint was banned.  The inside and outside of homes built before then most likely were painted with a lead based paint. Since lead is slightly sweet to the taste children are tempted to put fallen paint chips, or peeled chips, into their mouths.

Lead was also an additive used in gasoline till 1986 when it was phased out of production. Tons of lead was released into the atmosphere and eventually found its way into the dirt of playgrounds, and yards.

The banning of lead in these two areas alone has dramatically reduced the number of American children with elevated blood lead levels. That’s extremely good news because lead poisoning can have terrible consequences for children and adults.

But, despite the progress that has been made in the last four decades, about 2.6% of U.S. children aged 1 to 5 years old still have too much lead in their systems, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Surveys conducted between 2007 and 2010 show that more than half a million children had blood lead levels equal to or above the recommended 5 micrograms per deciliter (mg/dl). A level at, or higher than 5 mcg/dl, is considered a “level of concern” by the CDC.

Children can be exposed to lead by inhaling it, swallowing it or in rare cases absorbing it through the skin. In the bloodstream it can damage red blood cells, limiting their ability to carry oxygen to the organs and tissues that need it. Lead can end up in the bones and interfere with calcium absorption. It can severely affect mental and physical development and at very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

The report also noted that there are persistent differences in the blood lead levels of children in different racial/ethnic and income groups that are linked to disparities in housing quality, environmental conditions, nutrition and other factors.

Lead can be found in drinking water particularly in homes built before 1986. These homes are more likely to have lead pipes. Tap water can be contaminated through the corrosion of plumbing materials. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures that can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.

Another source where children can be exposed to lead is by chewing or sucking on toys. Toys that have been made in other countries and then imported to the U.S. may contain lead. The CDC has issued hundreds, if not thousands, of recalls for toys and jewelry with moderate to high levels of lead. China appears to be the biggest offender when it comes to adding lead in its children’s toy and jewelry products. Antique toys can also contain lead paint.

Eliminating lead from house paints, gasoline and plumbing has had a profound affect on reducing lead levels in our children. But lead continues to be around and parents should be aware that it is not like a virus or bacteria that has been eradicated from our daily lives.

Except when a child swallows something that has a very high lead content, lead poisoning usually occurs over a period of time with the repeated ingestion of low levels of lead. Children may not show signs of lead poisoning until symptoms appear and even those can mimic other health problems. It’s really a good idea to have your child tested for lead blood levels to make sure.

Signs of lead poisoning usually appear as:

  • Irritability or behavioral problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness or fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Constipation
  • Pallor (pale skin) from anemia
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Muscle and joint weakness or pain
  • Seizures

As you can see, all these symptoms can look like something else is going on. Testing is for lead is the only way to know for sure.

Sources: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=675127

http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/brain/lead_poisoning.html#

 

 

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