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Your Toddler

Toddler Dies From Liquid Nicotine Poisoning

2:00

The Fort Plain, New york police called the death a “tragic accident” after investigating the case of a 1-year-old who was rushed to the hospital after being found unresponsive in his home. The toddler died from ingesting liquid nicotine, also known as e-liquid, the key ingredient in e-cigarettes.

A lot of smokers, including teenagers, are switching from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes and are now getting their nicotine fix by inhaling a vapor.  However, e-cigs are expensive and in an effort to cut costs, many will purchase vials of liquid nicotine to refill their e-cigarette; sort of like buying a carton of cigarettes instead of a couple of packs a day.

Liquid nicotine contains high levels of concentrated nicotine. It doesn’t take but a little bit to make someone very sick. The powerful stimulant can be accidently ingested or absorbed through the skin.  Even a teaspoonful of e-liquid can kill a child. Lesser amounts can cause seizures and other dangerous symptoms.

Like cigarettes, liquid nicotine should always be kept out of the reach of children and pets. Many of the vials come in bright colors with flavors such as bubblegum, strawberry, vanilla and chocolate - kids will be tempted to taste it. E-liquids are not regulated and do not have childproof caps. If carelessly left where a child or pet can find it, the results can quickly turn deadly.

Health officials are concerned that more fatal accidents could happen if steps aren’t taken to protect children.

"One teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a child, and smaller amounts can cause severe illness, often requiring trips to the emergency department," the American Association of Poison Control centers in a statement, ABC News reported. "Despite the dangers these products pose to children, there are currently no standards set in place that require child-proof packaging."

In recent years, there's been a sharp rise in the number of liquid nicotine-related calls to U.S. poison control centers. Signs of consumption of liquid nicotine can include vomiting, increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, convulsions and, in extreme cases, loss of the ability to breathe or death.

The police in this case, said they weren’t sure that the e-liquid that killed the toddler was associated with an e-cigarette and so far, no charges have been filed in the death of the child. It was just a tragic accident.

Recent studies point out that electronic cigarette use is on the rise with high-school students. Some teens say they are using them to help stop smoking, while others are giving them a try for the first time- even though they don’t smoke. Researchers noted in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, that even middle-school student use rose from 2.7% to 3% in 2013.

How do kids purchase liquid nicotine? It’s readily available on the Internet. All you do is fill in a birth date and you’re in. You can buy a gallon of the stuff if you have the money. You can also purchase little bottles to fill from your bulk buy. It’s that simple.

While adults may be more likely to keep their liquid nicotine vials put away, teens don’t often think of the consequences of leaving theirs on the floor, on a desk, on the bed, in a purse on the sofa, in a backpack on the kitchen table – wherever they usually drop their stuff - for a small child to find. 

In New York, the toddler’s death has prompted a call for changes in how liquid nicotine is packaged; requiring childproof caps and someone must be least 18 years old to purchase it at a store.

This is not a pro or con e-cigarette use article. It’s a warning for anyone that uses liquid nicotine to be very aware of where you leave your vial. This may have been the first reported case of a toddler dying from nicotine poisoning; let’s all do our part to make it the last.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20141215/toddler-dies-liquid-nicotine

Your Toddler

12 Tips to Make a Home Safer for the Grandkids

2:00

Grandparents and grandkids are two-way blessings. Grandchildren benefit from having a close relationship with their grandparents. They have an extra pair of eyes to watch over them and a lot of hugging and spoiling.

Grandparents get the joy of being around their grandchildren, watching them grow and develop and yes- spoiling them.

Many younger families depend on grandparents to supplement with childcare. Some grandparents are the preferred choice for day care. And of course, sometimes it’s just a family visit.

Not all grandparents think about making their home safer for the grandkids because they aren’t always around them. They may not be aware of what to look for or what to do to make their home safer for little ones. It may have been a long time since a grandparent has had to think about having a child in the house. A lot more information is quickly available regarding child safety than in years past.

The American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) recently published an article with tips for making a home safe for grandchildren. Reading it reminded me of when my child was little and the visits our family used to have with my husband’s parents and mine. I never thought about having a list of suggestions to help them safeguard their home for our child. Most of the time there wasn’t a problem, but occasionally there were big safety issues that they just hadn’t thought about.

If you’ve been thinking about how to talk with yours or your spouse’s parents about making their home more kid-proof – here’s some excellent tips from “ Grandparent Central”, AARP:

1. Keep meds out of reach. About 38 percent of child-poisoning cases involve grandparents' medications, so clear all drugs from countertops, tables and drawers. Put a childproof lock on the medicine cabinet. Make sure your purse is not within reach of your grandchild.

2. Get rid of crib-clutter. Not long ago, cribs were filled with such things as stuffed toys, little pillows, bumper pads and blankets. Nowadays, more people are aware that these items can present a suffocation hazard and are best left out of the crib

3. Baby should sleep on back. Make sure that baby is sleeping on his or her back and not face down or on their side in the crib.

4. Lock up detergent pods. These colorful packets of liquid laundry or dishwasher soap look like candy. They can pose "a serious poisoning risk to young children," says a study in the journal Pediatrics. If you use these products, make sure they are locked in a cabinet and cannot be accessed by curious little hands.

5. Make furniture tip-proof. Flat-screen TVs and modern furniture are particularly prone to tipping if little ones try to pull themselves up. Attach anti-tip brackets or straps to safely secure these items. And don't forget outlet covers, drawer locks, stairway gates, and edge and corner guards for furniture.

6. Walkers and wheelchairs. These items may look like toys to a young child. Make sure they are either out of sight or that someone keeps an eye on the child if they seem a little too intrigued by them.

7. Keep guns under lock and key. One of the most important tips! If you're among the 1 in 3 Americans with a gun, always keep it unloaded in a locked cabinet, with the ammunition stored separately.

8. Be present when your grandchild is with your pet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 77,000 children under age 10 are treated each year in emergency rooms for dog bites.

9. Guard pools and drains.  Always keep your cell phone with you when your grandchild is in the pool in case you need to call 911. If you've got a backyard pool or hot tub, you likely know to prevent access with a childproof gate. But you may not be aware of the danger of drains: Suction forces can be powerful enough to trap small children underwater.

10. Watch all water. Since toddlers' heads are heavy in proportion to bodies, they can easily be pulled down. That's why even an inch of standing water is dangerous. Put a childproof lock on the toilet and drain bathwater immediately.

11. Stove safety. When kids are around, use back burners and always keep handles of pots and pans turned in.

12. Beware of choking hazards. 5 of the most overlooked choking hazards for young children are mini-batteries, jewelry, refrigerator magnets, pen caps and loose change. Five items you may not typically think about.

These 12 tips are obviously good for every family household but may be particularly helpful when someone is not used to having children at their house for extended periods of time.

Grandparents and grandchildren often share a special bond that can grow even more secure and stronger when the home safe during their visit.

Story source: Bulletin staff, http://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2016/home-safety-tips-grandkids.html

Your Toddler

More Small Children Poisoned by Detergent Pods

1:45

When detergent pods first became available, many families thought they were a convenient product for dishwashing and laundry. Grab a pod, pop it in and go. However, over time, warnings began to emerge that these colorful products proved too tempting to small children. The bright designs and little round shapes looked a lot like candy to toddlers and young children.

Even though the warnings have taken on a sense of urgency, a growing number of children are getting their hands and mouths on these products, with serious and sometimes fatal repercussions.

Among more than 62,000 calls made to emergency departments for poisoning from any kind of laundry or dishwashing detergent from 2013 to 2014, 17 children were in a coma, six stopped breathing, four had fluid in their lungs and difficulty breathing, and two died.

"Over 60 percent of these calls were due to laundry detergent packets," said lead researcher Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio.

"That's about 30 children a day, or one child about every 45 minutes," he said. "Over the two years of the study, poisoning from detergent packets increased 17 percent, and in 2015 there was another 7 percent increase," Smith said.

Laundry detergent packets are more toxic than other forms of detergent and cause more hospitalizations and serious medical problems, Smith explained.

These packets look attractive to children, who could mistake them for food or candy, he said.

"All they have to do is put them in their mouth and bite down and the packet will burst, and once these toxic chemicals get down their throat the game's over," Smith added.

Given this growing problem, Smith said that parents of children under the age of 6 years should not have these products in the home. "They should use traditional detergents, which are far less toxic," he said.

Smith and colleagues analyzed data from calls made to U.S. poison control centers in 2013 and 2014 after unintentional exposures to laundry or dishwasher detergent involving children under the age of 6.

During those years, the number of poisonings increased for all types of detergents, but it was greatest for laundry detergent packets (17 percent), followed by dishwasher detergent packets (14 percent), the researchers found.

Smith noted that the liquid detergent were the most harmful to children.

Dr. Barbara Pena, research director in the emergency department at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, said companies have to do something to make these products safer.

People need to keep these products out of sight so children can't get into them, she said. "They should be treated just like medicine."

Ideally, parents of young children would not have them in the home, Pena said.

In response to the study, the American Cleaning Institute said Monday that manufacturers are working on a series of packaging and labeling steps that will be part of new international standards intended to reduce accidental exposure to the cleaning products.

The standards will include "secure package closures designed to challenge the typical strength, mental acuity and/or dexterity of a young child," the institute said in a news release.

There will also be first-aid instructions on the products' packages, the group said.

The report was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

It’s good that companies are researching safer packaging for their products, but ultimately, it’s up to the parents and caregivers of small children to make sure that their young child is safe from being poisoned by detergent pods.

Story source: Steve Reinberg, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20160425/more-kids-being-poisoned-by-detergent-pods-study?print=true

Your Toddler

Thumb Sucking

2.00 to read

I admit it – I was a thumb sucker for way too long. My thumb and mouth didn’t part company until I was in first grade. The fear of getting caught during a sleepover at a friend’s house was enough for me to finally call it quits.

It’s normal for babies and toddlers to suck their thumbs. Babies are born with the urge to suck as part of their survival. They also use it as a way to soothe themselves when they feel hungry, afraid, restless, sleepy or bored. Toddlers carry on that natural instinct as they find their way in the world.

By the time children are around four-years-old they’ve typically stopped sucking their thumb and found replacements for self-soothing. Occasionally, children (like myself) will continue to suck their thumb out of habit.

Some experts say that if a child is still sucking their thumb by the age of six, they may be doing so because of emotional distress such as anxiety.

Thumb sucking isn’t a problem under the age of four, but if a child continues- with great intensity- after five or six years old, they could be setting themselves up for dental or speech problems.

Prolonged thumb sucking may cause their teeth to become improperly aligned (malocclusion) or push their teeth outward. If the thumb sucking stops, the teeth most likely will align correctly, but the longer the sucking continues the more likely orthodontic treatment will be needed.

Extended thumb sucking may also cause speech issues such as lisping, inability to say Ts and Ds, and pushing the tongue out when talking. A speech therapist may be needed to help correct these problems.

How do you help your child stop sucking their thumb? It takes a lot of patience.

One place to begin is to pay attention to what triggers the thumb sucking. Does your little one start when they are bored, sleepy, or unsure about something? Redirecting can help. Busy hands help keep thumbs from going into the mouth. Give your child a large stuffed animal to wrap their arms around or have them help hold the book when you are reading to them. Offer a squeezable rubber ball or finger puppets to grasp when they are watching TV.  The key is to offer an alternative at the times you notice they are the most likely to want to suck their thumb.

Ask your child to not suck their thumb in public and gently remind them when you see them doing it. Let them suck their thumb at home, but start the process of being self-aware in public. Kids often unconsciously slip their thumb into their mouth. A reminder helps them notice what they are doing.

You can also start talking to your child about why it’s time to give some thought to stopping. In age-appropriate language explain how thumb sucking is okay for younger children, but as children get older they learn how to stop. Ask them questions like “Do you see (insert name of an older child or adult here) sucking his or her thumb?” They’ll think about it more and start to decide whether they want to continue. It’s a process that takes time.

Punishing or shaming your child is absolutely the wrong method to address thumb sucking. This approach not only doesn’t work, but also lowers a child self-value and can create an even stronger desire to thumb suck. It’s like quitting anything you’re doing that may not be good for you in the long run- the worse someone tries to make you feel about it- the more you want to do it (think overeating, smoking, drinking.)

You can also talk to your pediatrician or family doctor for his or her suggestions on how to help your child. For older children, behavioral therapy may be beneficial.

There are products that are nasty tasting that can be swabbed on your child’s thumb, but some experts think that approach is cruel and more like a punishment than a humane way to help a child outgrow a natural inclination.

Most kids will simply quit sucking their thumb when they are good and ready. Helping your child reach that point may require patience and creativity, but in time his or her thumb will cease to be a constant comfort companion.

Sources: http://children.webmd.com/tc/thumb-sucking-topic-overview

Your Toddler

Anchor It!

1:45

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has launched “Anchor It”, a national public education campaign, to help make people aware of the dangers that free-standing furniture and TVs present, particularly to children.

The annual number of children injured or killed from furniture and TV tip-overs is astounding.

According to CPSC data, unstable and unsecured TVs and large pieces of furniture kill a child every two weeks, on average, in tip-over incidents that are easily preventable.  CPSC also reported that 38,000 Americans go to emergency rooms each year with injuries related to tip-overs of top-heavy furniture or televisions placed on furniture, instead of a TV stand.  Two-thirds of those injuries involved children younger than 5.  Additionally, between 2000 and 2013, 84 percent of the 430 deaths reported to CPSC involved children younger than 10.

A January 2015 CPSC report found that a television tipping over from an average size dresser falls with thousands of pounds of force. 

The impact of a falling TV is like being caught between two NFL linemen colliding at full-speed—10 times. 

“Every 24 minutes in the U.S. a child goes to the emergency room because of a tip-over incident involving furniture or a TV,” said CPSC Commissioners Marietta Robinson and Joseph Mohorovic. “We must take action now. CPSC’s new ‘Anchor It!’ campaign is a call to action for parents and caregivers to ‘get on top of it, before they do.’ If we can prevent one more death, it will be worth it.”

Cards and posters are being distributed parents and caregivers of toddlers at daycare centers and preschools. A list of safety steps parents and caregivers can take are printed on the handouts. They are:

·      Buy and install low-cost anchoring devices to prevent TVs, dressers, bookcases or other furniture from tipping.

·      Avoid leaving items, such as remote controls and toys, in places where kids might be tempted to climb up to reach for them.

·      Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.

·      Place TVs on a sturdy, low base and push them as far back as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible.

·      If purchasing a new TV, consider recycling older ones not currently used. If moving the older TV to another room, be sure it is anchored properly to the wall.

The “Anchor It” campaign’s website (www.Anchorit.gov) shows you how to anchor furniture and television sets properly, with easy to follow instructions. Keep your little one safe and Anchor It!

 

Your Toddler

Seven Tips For Toddler Discipline

2.15 to read

Toddler-hood is a particularly vexing time for parents because this is the age at which children start to become more independent and discover themselves as individuals. Yet they still have a limited ability to communicate and reason. "They understand that their actions matter -- they can make things happen," says Claire Lerner, LCSW-C, child development specialist and director of parenting resources for the organization Zero to Three. "This leads them to want to make their imprint on the world and assert themselves in a way they didn't when they were a baby. The problem is they have very little self-control and they're not rational thinkers. It's a very challenging combination." So how do you deal with a child who screams every time you try to give him or her a bath, and whose vocabulary seems to consist of just one word -- "no"? Here are a few simple toddler discipline strategies to help make life easier for both you and your child. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 1: Be Consistent Order and routine give young children a safe haven from what they view as an overwhelming and unpredictable world, says Lerner. "When there's some predictability and routine, it makes children feel much more safe and secure, and they tend to be much more behaved and calm because they know what to expect." Try to keep to the same schedule every day. That means having consistent nap times, mealtimes, and bedtimes, as well as times when your toddler is free to just run around and have fun. When you do have to make a change, it helps to warn your child in advance. Telling your child, "Aunt Jean is going to watch you tonight while Mommy and Daddy go out for a little bit" will prepare her for a slightly different routine, and will hopefully prevent a scene at bedtime. Consistency is also important when it comes to discipline. When you say "no hitting" the first time your child smacks another child on the playground, you also need to say "no hitting" the second, third, and fourth times your child does it. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 2: Avoid Stressful Situations By the time children reach the toddler stage, you've spent enough time with them to know their triggers. The most common ones are hunger, sleepiness, and quick changes of venue. With a little advance planning, you can avoid these potential meltdown scenarios and keep things relatively calm. "You have to anticipate, which means you don't go to the grocery store when your child needs a nap," says Lisa Asta, MD, a pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif., and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Try to make sure your child is home at naptimes, bedtimes, and mealtimes. If you are out, always keep food on hand in case of a sudden hunger attack. Keep excursions short (that means finding another restaurant if the one you've chosen has an hour-long wait, or doing your grocery shopping at times when the lines are shortest). Finally, plan ahead so you don't have to rush (particularly when you need to get your child to preschool and yourself to work in the mornings). You can ease transitions by involving your child in the process. That can be as simple as setting an egg timer for five minutes, and saying that when it rings it's time to take a bath or get dressed, or giving your child a choice of whether to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt to school. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 3: Think Like a Toddler Toddlers aren't mini-adults. They have trouble understanding many of the things we take for granted, like how to follow directions and behave appropriately. Seeing the scenario from a toddler's perspective can help prevent a tantrum. "You might say, 'I know, Derek, you don't like getting into the car seat ... but it's what we have to do,'" Lerner explains. "So you're not coddling, but you're validating their feelings. You have to set the limit, but you do it in a way that respects the child and you use it as an opportunity to help them learn to cope with life's frustrations and rules and regulations." Giving choices also shows that you respect your toddler and recognize the child's feelings. Asking your child if he or she wants to bring a favorite book in the car, or take along a snack, can make the child feel as though he or she has some control over the situation while you remain in charge, Lerner says. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 4: Practice the Art of Distraction Make your toddler's short attention span work for you. When your child throws the ball against the dining room wall for the 10th time after you've said to stop, it's pretty easy to redirect your child to a more productive activity, like trading the ball for a favorite book or moving the game outside. "Parents need to create an environment that is most conducive to good toddler behavior," advises Rex Forehand, PhD, the Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher Professor of Psychology at the University of Vermont and author of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child. "If they're into something they're not supposed to do, the idea is not to punish them but to get another activity going or pick them up and put them in another room." Toddler Discipline Secret No. 5: Give Your Child a Break Time-outs are one of the foundations of child discipline, but they may not be the best approach for the toddler stage. The negative implication of being sent away can teach kids that they're bad, rather than promote good behavior. If you do give your child a time-out, limit it to just a minute or two at this age. Instead of calling it a time-out, which can be confusing to children under 3, refer to it as something more positive. Lerner suggests creating a "cozy corner," a safe place, free from distractions and stimulation, where your child can just chill out for a few minutes until he or she can get back in control. That time away can help you regroup, as well. Correct bad behaviors, but also take the time to praise good behaviors. "If you don't tell your child when they're doing the right thing, sometimes they'll do the wrong thing just to get attention," Asta says. When you tell your toddler he or she has done something good, there's a good chance your child will want to do it again. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 6: Stay Calm When you're standing in the middle of the mall, looking down at your child who's screaming on the floor, and trying to ignore the stares of the shoppers around you, it's easy for your blood pressure to reach the boiling point. It's hard to stay calm, but losing control will quickly escalate an already stressful situation. Give yourself some time to cool off, advises Forehand. "Otherwise, you're venting your own anger. In the end that's going to make you as a parent feel worse and guilty, and it's not going to do your child any good." "I call it the "Stepford Wife" approach," Lerner says. As your child screams, say, 'I know, I know,' but stay completely calm as you pick him up. Don't show any emotion. Sometimes the best tactic is to ignore the behavior entirely. "You just literally act like they're not doing what they're doing. You ignore the behavior you want to stop," Lerner says. When your child realizes that his screaming fit is not going to get him a second lollipop or your attention, eventually he'll get tired of yelling. Your child may drive you so close to the breaking point that you're tempted to spank him, but most experts warn against the practice. "When we spank, kids learn that physical punishment is acceptable. And so we are modeling exactly what we don't want our kids to do," says Forehand. At the toddler stage, redirection and brief breaks are far more effective discipline tactics, Forehand says. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 7: Know When to Give In Certain things in a toddler's life are nonnegotiable. She has to eat, brush her teeth, and ride in a car seat. She also has to take baths once in a while. Hitting and biting are never OK. But many other issues aren't worth the headache of an argument. Pick your battles. "You have to decide whether it's worth fighting about, and about half the time it's not worth fighting about," Asta says. That means it's OK to let your son wear his superhero costume to the grocery store, or read The Giving Tree 10 times in a row. Once he gets what he wants, you can gradually get him to shift in another direction -- like wearing another outfit or picking out a different book to read. Finally, know that it's OK to feel stressed out by your toddler sometimes. "Realize that none of us as parents is perfect -- we do the best we can. There are going to be days that we're better at this than other days," Forehand says. "But if we parent consistently and have consistent rules, then we're going to see more good days than bad days."

Your Toddler

Potty Training

If you ask 10 parents how they potty trained their child, you will most likely get 10 different answers. “Potty training isn’t one diaper fits all and it doesn’t work in one day,” says pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard, co-host of The Kid’s Doctor radio show. “When your child is ready, there are signs they are ready.” Those signs, she says, include showing interest in the potty and going to the potty several times successfully. “Start at 18 months and buy a potty, put it in the bathroom and let the child touch it, sit on it, play with it, carry it around the house, whatever, to be involved in the bathroom.”

By age two, a child may use the potty on occasion and then, Dr. Sue says, you can put them in training pants, not “pull-ups.” “Pull-ups are diapers with legs. The child does not understand the difference. They don’t get wet, they don’t have that sense of feeling dirty,” she emphasizes. It can take anywhere from three to six months for your child to become potty trained. During that time it is important for parents to praise and reward their children for their efforts, but do not punish them if they have a relapse or accident. “Parents need to recognize there is a commitment parents must make in order to make this successful,” says Dallas-based child neuropsychologist Dr. Kristy Hagar. Dr. Hubbard concurs saying “Parents need to use declarative statements like ‘It’s time to go potty Susie’ not ‘Do you need to go?’” Both Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Hagar offer some final pieces of advice for parents: Realize that every child is different and if you are in the middle of potty training, don’t give up.

Your Toddler

Nightmares & Night Terrors

Just about every parent has been awakened by their child at night because of a nightmare or night terror. They are very common occurrences in toddlers and pre-schoolers and something that most children outgrow by the time they head off to school. “Nightmares are just bad, scary dreams and they occur during REM sleep at the end of the night,” says pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard. She says with nightmares a child will wake up frightened and will usually have vivid memories of the dream. A child will be able to tell a parent about the dream and may have trouble going back to sleep because of it.

“Night terrors are totally different,” Dr. Hubbard says. “Night terrors scare the parents and they are not scaring the child, which is hard to understand.” Night terrors occur earlier in the night, normally during the first few hours of sleep. During a night terror, the child is not awake and when they do wake up they have no memory of it occurring. “ It can go on for a few minutes and then they go back to sleep or wake up and look around and go back to sleep. They have no fear, no anxiety, they just go right back to sleep. You on the other hand are trying to figure out what happened to your child. You can not comfort a child during a night terror, which is so terrifying as a parent, you can’t do anything,” she says. Nightmares and night terrors are sometimes triggered by sleep deprivation. Dr. Hubbard says one way to help prevent them from happening is to keep your child on a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

Your Toddler

Proof That Reading to Your Child is Good for Them

1:45

Not only do small children love being read to but a new study confirms that it is actually good for them.

Brain scans taken of 19 preschoolers whose parents regularly read to them showed heightened activity in important areas of the brain. Experts have long theorized that reading to young children on a consistent basis has a positive impact on their brain development; researchers say this study provides hard evidence that it does.

 The study’s leader Dr. John Hutton, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center,

 and his team used functional MRI scans to measure real-time brain activity in 19 children, aged 3 to 5 years, as they listened to stories and to sounds other than speech.

Parents were interviewed about "cognitive stimulation" at home, including how often they read to their children. Based on their responses, the number ranged from two nights a week to every night.

Overall, Hutton's team found, the more often children had story time at home, the more brain activity they showed while listening to stories in the research lab.

The impact was largely seen in the area of the brain that is used to obtain meaning from words. There was "particularly robust" activity, the researchers said, in areas where mental images are formed from what is heard.

"When children listen to stories, they have to put it all together in their mind's eye," Hutton explained.

Even though children's books have pictures, he added, that's different from watching all the action play out on a TV or computer screen.

When a child is listening to a story being read to them, they are engaging a different part of the brain than when they are passively sitting in front of a screen with images.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to read to their children every day, starting at birth. That pre-kindergarten time is a critical time for brain development, Hutton said. Other research has found that children with poor reading skills in first grade usually do not "catch up" with their peers.

Hutton believes that a traditional story time provides a critical "back-and-forth" between parents and children.

"It's not just a nice thing to do with your child," he said. "It's important to their cognitive, social and emotional development."

Reading to your child can help him or her build a lifelong relationship with the written word. That skill will help them be able to navigate more easily in school, later on in business and can bring hours of personal pleasure through the stories of gifted writers.

Source: Amy Norton, http://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-health-information-26/brain-health-news-80/brain-scans-show-why-reading-to-kids-is-good-for-them-701897.html

 

 

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