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Your Toddler

Talk to Your Toddler Often!

1.45 to read

Want your toddler to cultivate a good vocabulary?  Talk to him or her often and in great detail. A new study suggests that the more an adult talks to a toddler, the better language skills the child will develop

The study included 29 children, 19 months old, from low-income Hispanic families. Each child was fitted with a small audio recorder that captured all the sounds he or she heard during the day in their homes.

The recordings were analyzed to distinguish between adult speech directed at the toddlers and speech they only overheard, such as when a parent or other caregiver was on the phone or talking with another adult.

The researchers found a wide spectrum of differences in the families. Some parents engaged their tot in conversation on a regular basis and some barely spoke to their little one. One child heard more than 12,000 words of child-directed speech in a day, while another heard only 670, according to the study released online recently in the journal Psychological Science.

"That's just 67 words per hour, less speech than you'd hear in a 30-second commercial," study co-author Anne Fernald, a psychology professor at Stanford University, said in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science.

The scientists followed up five months later with the children and tested their language skills. At age 24 months, those who had experienced more child-directed speech had larger vocabularies than those who heard less child-directed speech.

Experts say reading to your child is a wonderful way to help your child learn language skills. While reading, include extra information. An example might be: The bird flew over the tree  - The bird was a little brown bird, like the birds in our yard. What sound does a bird make? Cheep, cheep! Now, you say it. Cheep, cheep.

Developing good language skills early will help your toddler express what he or she wants better and may help lessen some of the frustration toddlers often experience.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/child-development-news-124/briefs-emb-10-21-toddlers-language-psych-science-release-batch-988-681484.html

Your Toddler

Got Water?

Too many children are getting much of their water from sweetened beverages rather than plain old H2O, the researchers found. The study also revealed that those who drink water consume fewer sweetened beverages and eat fewer high-calorie foods.Children in the United States are not drinking as much water as they should, and the deficiency can have far-reaching implications, a new study suggests.

"Even mild dehydration can affect physiological function, and cause fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches and dry mouth," said Samantha Heller, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., who was not involved in the study. Impaired cognitive and mental performance are also linked to inadequate hydration, said Heller. According to the study, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, depending on age-only 15 to 60 percent of boys, and 10 to 54 percent of girls drink the minimum amount of water recommended by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. Too many children are getting much of their water from sweetened beverages rather than plain old H2O, the researchers found. The study also revealed that those who drink water consume fewer sweetened beverages and eat fewer high-calorie foods. The research looked at the water intake of 3,978 boys and girls, aged 2 to 19 years, who had been included in a national nutrition study from 2005 to 2006. The investigators found that water intake from all sources varied by age: 2 to 5 year-olds drank 5.9 cups a day. 6 to 11 year-olds got 6.8 cups, and 12 to 1-year-olds consumed 10.1 cups daily. Girls generally drank less than boys. The findings also suggest that kids of all ages are more likely to drink beverages, such as sodas, tea or milk, and not water at mealtime. Water makes up 55 to 75 percent of total body weight, said Heller. "We cannot live without water for more than a few days because our bodies cannot store water. Thus, it is essential we replace the water our bodies lose every day." Heller, a nutritionist and dietitian, advises starting children on water early. "Give them water instead of sweetened beverages during the day and between meals," she said. To make it more appealing, put sliced cucumbers, oranges, lemons or strawberries in ice water, she suggested.

Your Toddler

Study: Swimming Lessons Don’t Increase Drowning Risk

Enrolling young children in swimming lessons doesn't increase their risk of drowning

Enrolling young children in swimming lessons doesn't increase their risk of drowning. The results of a new study published in the March 2009 issues of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine might dispel concerns among some health professionals that swimming lessons could actually increase drowning risk by making parents and caregivers less vigilant when young children are in and around water.

Government researchers looked at data on drowning involving children ages one to 19 years old and compared them with a control group of children who didn't drown. Of the 61 children ages one to four who drowned, three percent had received swimming lessons, compared with 26 percent of the same age in the control group. "From our calculation, we are confident that swimming lessons do not increase drowning risk in this age group and likely have a protective effect," the study's first author, Dr. Ruth A. Brenner, of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in a government news release. Though they can help, swimming lessons alone aren't enough to fully protect children from drowning. "In our study, many of the children who drowned, particularly in the older age group, were relatively skilled swimmers," Brenner and her colleagues noted in their study. " Parents and caregivers who choose to enroll their children in swimming lessons should be cautioned that this alone will not prevent drowning and that even the most proficient swimmers can drown." Swimming lessons should be part of a complete prevention program that includes fencing for pools, appropriate adult supervision, and parent and caregiver training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the researchers concluded.

Your Toddler

Safety 1st Recalls Décor Wood Highchairs Due to Falls

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Dorel Juvenile Group, of Columbus, Ind., is recalling about 35,000 Safety 1st Wood Décor highchairs because a child can remove the highchair’s tray, posing a fall hazard.

Safety 1st has received 68 reports of children removing the trays and 11 reports of injuries such as lacerations, chipped teeth and bruises.

The highchairs were sold at Babies R US and Toys R Us retail stores nationwide and online at www.Amazon.com, www.BabiesRUs.com, www.ToysRUs.com and www.Walmart.com and other online retailers from May 2013 through May 2015 for about $120.

This recall includes Safety 1st Wood Décor highchairs in three models: HC144BZF (Casablanca), HC229CZF (Gentle Lace) and HC229CYG (Black Lace). The model numbers are printed under the highchair seat. These A-frame black wood highchairs have a removable fabric, black and white print seat pad with a blue or pink border on the top and bottom of the seat pad. The highchairs have a white plastic, detachable tray with a cone-shaped center divider that fits between a child’s legs. “Safety 1st” is printed on the front center of the tray.

Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled highchairs and contact the firm to receive instructions on receiving a new tray with labels.   

Consumers can contact Safety 1st toll-free at (877) 717-7823 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at decorwoodhighchair@djgusa.com or online at www.safety1st.com and click on “Safety Notices” at the top of the page for more information.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2016/Safety-1st-Recalls-Decor-Wood-Highchair/

 

Your Toddler

Parents: Read to Your Young Children!

2:00 to read

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatric providers advise parents of young children to read aloud and talk about pictures and words in age-appropriate books to their kids.  The AAP says that these activities can help strengthen a child’s language skills and literacy while promoting parent-child relationships.

Pediatricians have long encouraged reading to children, but the guidelines are the first official policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics telling doctors to talk to parents about daily reading to their children, from the first year of life until kindergarten.

Reading with young children “stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime," the AAP guidelines said.

Studies have shown a wide economic divide when it comes to parents reading to their children. Only one in three children living in poverty have parents that read to them consistently.  Children who aren’t read to often have “a significant learning disadvantage” by the time they get to school age, the AAP added.

Even wealthier families do not always make reading a ritual, with 60 percent of those with incomes 400 percent of the poverty threshold saying they read to their children from birth to age five, according to a 2011-2012 survey.

Some pediatricians worry that technology – from television to smartphones- may be taking the place of reading to little ones.

The AAP has previously said babies under age two should be as screen-free as possible, and that the best kind of learning takes place through unstructured, interactive play with humans and toys.

Even babies can benefit from being read stories, said the AAP.  “We can stimulate greater brain development in these months and years," said Peter Riche, a fellow of the AAP and Chief of Pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York.

"I do see earlier word recognition, earlier phrases and sentence formation, and singing—I always recognize that in those who are exposed to daily reading."

Many families do not have the money for books so the AAP said it "supports federal and state funding for children's books to be provided at pediatric health supervision visits for children at high risk."

Another important benefit of parents reading to their young children is the blooming of a child’s self-confidence and independence.

Child development experts say that when parents read to their children not only do kids feel more secure but words and pictures also ignite creativity and imagination; two valuable components of a well-rounded life experience.

Sources: Kerry Sheridan, http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-06-doctors-urge-parents-babies.html

Your Toddler

Daytime Nap Benefits Beyond Rest

A new small study shows that for children aged four and five, taking a nap during the daytime may help reduce hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.Any parent can testify that a child's naptime is also beneficial for the caregiver. Now a new small study shows that for children aged four and five, taking a nap during the daytime may help reduce hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.

The study of 62 children categorized them as either napping (77 percent) or non-napping (23 percent). Researchers found that those who didn't take daytime naps had higher levels of anxiety, hyperactivity and depression. The data was based on the parents' or caregivers' reporting of the child's typical weekday and weekend bedtime/wake time and napping patterns. Family demographics and behavioral assessments of the children were also included in the analysis. Researchers found that children who took naps did so an average 3.4 days a week. "There is a lot of individual variability in [the age] when children are ready to give up naps. I would encourage parents to include a quiet 'rest' time in their daily schedule that would allow children to nap if necessary," said lead author Brian Crosby, a postdoctoral fellow of psychology at Pennsylvania State University. In his research, Crosby also noted an optimal age for children to stop napping hasn't yet been determined.

Your Toddler

Toddler Dies From Liquid Nicotine Poisoning

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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

Sleep Problems May Mean Eating Problems

2.00 to read

Parents who have a hard time getting their babies and toddlers to sleep at night may also often have trouble at mealtime, new study findings suggest.

So-called behavioral insomnia, where a young child regularly resists bedtime or has trouble staying asleep, is common -- seen in up to 30 percent of children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.

A similar percentage have problems at mealtime, ranging from being an overly "fussy" eater to having a full-fledged "feeding disorder" - in which, for instance, parents can't get their child to follow any regular eating schedule, or the food refusal affects a child's weight.

It might not be surprising to many parents that sleeping and eating issues often go hand-in-hand. But the new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, is the first to show this may be true.

Among parents of 681 healthy kids 6 months to 3 years old, Israeli researchers found that those whose child had behavioral insomnia were more likely than other parents to say their child had eating issues as well.

And parents whose children were diagnosed with a feeding disorder were more likely to say they had trouble getting their child to sleep at night.

When asked if mealtime was a "problem," one-quarter of parents of children with insomnia said that it was; that compared with nine percent of other parents.

Similarly, 37 percent of parents whose children had an eating problem said that sleep was also an issue. In contrast, only 16 percent of other parents said the same.

Young children's eating and sleeping habits are the two most common concerns parents bring to their pediatricians, write the researchers, led by Dr. Riva Tauman of Tel Aviv Medical Center.

The current findings, they say, suggest that doctors should be aware that the two issues commonly go together, and help parents find ways to manage both.

The standard way to address behavioral insomnia is for parents to change their children's nighttime routine. That usually means setting a regular bedtime and certain rituals, like reading a story, that let a young child know bedtime is coming.

With eating problems, experts generally suggest that parents try to get kids interested in mealtime from an early age -- gradually introducing a variety of healthy, colorful foods, for instance, and making the eating environment pleasant but without any distractions like TV.

The current findings are based on 58 children who had been diagnosed with behavioral insomnia, 76 with a feeding disorder, and 547 who were studied for comparison.

Parents of children with insomnia were more likely to also report feeding "problems" -- worrying, for example, that their child was not eating enough or not growing properly.

Similarly, parents of children with feeding disorders were often worried about their child's sleep; and compared with other parents, they reported that their children got to bed almost an hour later, and slept for fewer hours each night.

It's possible, according to Tauman's team, that parents of young children with feeding disorders are more sensitive to sleep issues -- and vice-versa.

But they say it's also likely that parenting practices, like a lack of consistency in enforcing rules, underlie both problems.

On the positive side, the researchers note, that means that getting help for one issue could help parents manage both.

Tips for getting your child to sleep

Stick to a bedtime. "Don't wait until your baby is rubbing his eyes or yawning to put him to bed," says Marc Weissbluth, MD, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. "By then he's overtired." If you notice your child winding down at 8 p.m., make that his/her bedtime.

Get into the routine. Thirty minutes to an hour before bedtime, start a calming ritual that may include giving a bath and reading a story or two.

Put your baby in his/her crib awake. If your child is routinely rocked to sleep at bedtime, what happens when she wakes up alone at 3 a.m.? Answer: She cries. "All infants and toddlers wake two to six times a night," says Parents advisor Jodi Mindell, PhD, coauthor of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep. "They need to know how to put themselves back to sleep."

Swaddle for the first three months. Research shows that 
infants who are swaddled wake up less and sleep longer than
 other babies.

Tune out. If your baby seems sensitive to household sounds, try running a white-noise machine or a fan in her room.

Let the sun in. Expose your baby to about 30 minutes of light each morning. Why? Light suppresses the release of the sleep hormone melatonin; this helps set her internal clock -- making it easier for her to fall asleep at night.

Your Toddler

Improper Use of Booster Seats Puts Many Kids at Risk

About two-thirds of children's booster car seats may be improperly installed or are being misused new analysis shows. Researchers looked at 564 children using booster seats at fast-food restaurants and discount stores in Indiana. They found common mistakes like shoulder seat belts being too slack or misplacement of the shoulder restraint under the child's arm, behind their back or over an arm rest.

"Our findings clearly show that booster seats are not protecting children because of user error. Parents need to know how to safely black a child in a booster, supervise the buckling up of children who put themselves in the seat, and double check that the shoulder and lap belts restraining the children remain properly positioned during the drive," study first author Dr. Joseph O'Neil, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine said in a news release issued by the university. The findings appear in the May 2009 issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention. Most states now require the use of booster seats for children riding in cars and trucks once they outgrow a standard five-point harness car seat. The purpose of the booster seat is to raise the height of a seated child so that an adult-sized shoulder restraint fits properly. O'Neil said, ideally, older children should use a booster seat until they reach a height where their knees extend over the seat at a 90-degree angle and their feet touch the floor while firmly sitting against the car or truck seat. Because of the danger of front-end collision and the powerful force of airbags, O'Neil also pointed out that all children younger than 13 years of age should only use the back seat.

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