Your Toddler

Sleep Problems May Mean Eating Problems

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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

Liquid Nicotine Poisonings up 300 percent!

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Most people are familiar with e-cigarettes. New e-cigarette stores are popping up almost every day. City councils around the country are debating the pros and cons of setting age limits to buy them and banning them in places where smoking cigarettes is already forbidden.

There’s another e-cigarettes related story that’s is much more alarming that is beginning to surface - the potentially deadly liquids that are often bought and used to refill the e-cigarette vaporizer.

These “e-liquids,” the key ingredients in e-cigarettes, are powerful neurotoxins. Tiny amounts, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting and seizures and even be lethal. A teaspoon of even highly diluted e-liquid can kill a small child.

According to an article in The New York Times, e-liquids are being mixed on factory floors and in the back rooms of shops.

Toxicologists warn that e-liquids pose a significant risk to public health, particularly to children, who may be drawn to their bright colors and fragrant flavorings like cherry, chocolate and bubble gum.

Many users, unaware of the toxicity of the ingredients, are casually leaving replacement bottles around the house where children are finding and ingesting them.

“It’s not a matter of if a child will be seriously poisoned or killed,” said Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System and a professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s a matter of when.”

Nationwide, the number of poison cases linked to e-liquids jumped to 1,351 in 2013, a 300 percent increase from 2012, and the number is on pace to double this year, according to information from the National Poison Data System. Of the cases in 2013, 365 were referred to hospitals - triple the previous year’s number.

As two examples, of the 74 e-cigarette and nicotine poisoning cases called into Minnesota poison control in 2013, 29 involved children age 2 and under. In Oklahoma, all but two of the 25 cases in the first two months of this year, involved children age 4 and under. That age group is considered typical.

The e-liquids are much more dangerous than tobacco because liquid is absorbed quickly into the skin, even in diluted concentrations. Initially, many of the e-cigarette brands were disposable devices that looked like regular cigarettes. However, many of the newer e-cigarette vaporizers are larger and can be refilled with liquid that is generally nicotine, flavorings and solvents.

Unlike nicotine gums and patches, e-cigarettes and their ingredients are not regulated. The FDA has said it plans to regulate e-cigarettes but has not disclosed how it will approach the issue.

Chip Paul, chief executive officer of Palm Beach Vapors, a company that operates 13 e-cigarette franchises, estimates that there will be sales of one to two millions liters of liquid used to refill e-cigarettes.

If you look online, you can buy e-liquids anywhere from a liter to 55 gallon containers with 10 percent nicotine concentration.

Mr. Paul said he was worried that some manufacturers outside the United States — China is a major center of e-cigarette production — were not always delivering the concentrations and purity of nicotine they promise. Some retailers, Mr. Paul said, “are selling liquid and they don’t have a clue what is in it.”

The nicotine levels in e-liquids can vary. Most range between 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent, concentrations that can cause sickness, but rarely death, in children. But higher concentrations, like 10 percent or even 7.2 percent, are widely available on the Internet.

A lethal dose at such levels would take “less than a tablespoon,” according to Dr. Cantrell, from the poison control system in California. “Not just a kid. One tablespoon could kill an adult,” he said.

Many people believe that e-cigarettes are a new and valuable tool in the battle to quit smoking. The science isn’t there yet to say whether they actually help or just replace conventional cigarette addiction. But one thing is for sure, if you have e-cigarettes and in particular, e-liquid refill containers in the home, they should be kept out of a child’s eyesight and reach.

Source: Matt Richtel, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/24/business/selling-a-poison-by-the-barrel-liquid-nicotine-for-e-cigarettes.html?_r=1

Your Toddler

Holiday Safety Tips

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The holidays are a fun time of year for families, it's also an important time of year to be mindful of your child's safety.The holidays are a fun time of year for most families, it's also an important time of year to be mindful of your children's safety.

James Schmidt, an emergency room physician at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter in Virginia, sees plenty of avoidable accidents at this time of year — and all year round. "Each year," he says, "parents are warned of holiday hazards, including toxic mistletoe and dangerous toys. Unfortunately most of the holiday hazard stories miss the larger point regarding children's safety. Most of the household injuries that occur during the holiday are the exact same types of injuries that occur commonly throughout the year -— poisonings, choking, falls and burns." There is however, one common seasonal injury — that's when a child pulls over a Christmas tree. Trees should be securely fastened to the wall and toddlers should not be permitted close enough to a tree to tug on it, cautions Schmidt. Other dangers to watch for include easy access to alcohol at holiday gatherings. "During a large party, guests may leave half-imbibed cups around the house. Small children may wander the house sampling the drinks. Children often show up at ERs showing symptoms of alcohol poisoning," he says. Childproofing for the Holidays Most parents understand the importance of childproofing their homes. Gates on stairs, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors , and keeping medicines and poisons out of reach are fairly standard in many homes. In addition to the risks of holiday decorations, younger children can get into trouble if they visit a home during the holidays (or anytime of year) that isn't childproofed. It is especially likely that a home isn't childproofed if you are visiting grandma and grandpa and they don't usually have children in the house. In addition to not having safety locks on cabinets, gates on stairs, covers on electrical outlets, etc., they may also have prescription medications that aren't in a child resistant container. Things to be especially watchful for, and which you may want to ask about, include: - Do they have a pool? Does it have a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate? Can the children get to the area where the pool is located? - Are there guns in the house? Are they stored unloaded in a locked box with the bullets locked separately? - Are there small objects, such as hard candy or nuts in candy dishes, where younger children can get them? - Are there gates on the stairs? - Are medications, poisons, and household cleaners out of reach? - Do they have a pet that may harm the children? If there are going to be a lot of younger children present at a holiday gathering, you might consider volunteering to go over before hand and childproof the house for them. Toy Safety The following tips will help consumers choose appropriate toys: - Select safe toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children. - For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts that can pose a fatal choking hazard. - Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts. - For all children under age 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points. - Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8. - Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide. - If your child is going to be getting something that he can ride, such as a bicycle, inline skates, scooter, or a skateboard, be sure that he also gets the appropriate protective equipment, including a helmet and pads. - Discourage your small children from playing with BB and pellet guns.

Your Toddler

Family Time Fosters Kid’s High-Emotional Health

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How important are family activities such as eating dinner together, storytelling, singing and playing together to a child’s present and future emotional health? According to a new study, quite a bit.

Researchers believe young children cared for in stimulating and nurturing environments, with regular participation in predictable family routines, reflects greater family organization and may provide a sense of security and belonging. It also may positively impact children's social-emotional health (SEH) before school entry and contribute to their future school and life success.

What is social-emotional health and why is it important? SEH is when someone exhibits the ability to understand emotions, express empathy with others, demonstrates a certain degree of self-regulation and can form positive relationships with others. It’s important because without these attributes it’s terribly difficult to experience self-value and find your way in the world.

High SEH in early childhood is thought to help a child adapt to the school environment and perform well academically. High SEH also is a good predictor of children's long-term outcomes.

"High social-emotional health has been associated with greater academic performance and improved behavior in the school environment," said Elisa I. Muñiz, M.D., M.S., developmental-behavioral pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, who led the research. "Our findings suggest that parents with preschool aged children who regularly practice family routines together have greater social-emotional health and so we encourage families to sing, read, play and eat together on a regular basis."

Researchers examined the parental responses of 8,550 children to questions such as how many times families eat dinner together per week, how often they sing songs, read books and tell stories to their children and how often they play together. Results showed that 16.6 percent of the children had high SEH with approximately 57 percent of those reporting that they participate in three or more family routines.

Experts say that children who enter school with low SEH are at greater risk of developing difficulties in reasoning and problem solving, as well as having reduced attention spans and experiencing decreased social acceptance. This can impact their academic achievement and overall health and wellbeing through adulthood.

Families, particularly when both parents work, are often strapped for time because of busy schedules and job requirements.  But simple family activities such as singing together in the car, reading to your child before bedtime and eating dinner together can help your child feel like an integral part of the larger human family.

The study was conducted by investigators at The Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx New York, affiliated with The Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM). It was published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304125423.htm

Your Toddler

Tips For Raising A Toddler

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Need help with your toddler? Here’s an easy guide with nine tips containing common mistakes and helpful remedies.

1. Be Consistent. Toddlers do best when they know what to expect, whether it's what time they bathe or go to bed or what consequences they'll face for misbehaving. The more consistent and predictable things are, the more resilient and agreeable a toddler is likely to be. Fix it: As much as you can, keep regular routines for your child. Consistency can be a challenge when parents (or other caregivers) don't see eye to eye. Not sure how best to react if your child dumps food on the floor or ignores bedtime? Sit down with your partner ahead of time to decide on an appropriate response -- and stick with it. "You don't want to send mixed messages," says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, the author of Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions about Babies and Toddlers and a pediatrician in private practice in Los Angeles. "You really want to be consistent." 2. Focus on Family Time It's delightful to spend time with the whole family. But some parents go overboard on family time. "Kids cherish time alone time with one parent," says Thomas Phelan, PhD, a clinical psychologist in suburban Chicago and the author of several parenting books, including 1-2-3 Magic. "One-on-one time is fun for parents too, because there's no sibling rivalry to contend with." Fix it: What's a good way to spend one-on-one time with a toddler? Phelan recommends simply getting down on the floor together and playing. 3. Offering Too Much Help Some parents jump in to help a toddler who is having trouble doing something. Before you do, consider the possibility that by helping your child complete a puzzle or put on a shirt, you may be sending the message that he/she can't do it alone -- in other words, that the child is incompetent. "Parents who offer too much help may be sabotaging their young children's ability to become self-reliant," says Betsy Brown Braun, the Los-Angeles-based author of You're Not the Boss of Me. Fix it: "We need to teach children to tolerate struggle," Braun says. Of course, there's nothing wrong with offering praise and encouragement. "Be a cheerleader," Brown says. "Say, 'You can do this!'" 4. Talking Too Much Talking with toddlers is usually a terrific idea. But not when it's time to rein in errant behavior. Imagine a mom has just said "no" to her 2-year-old's request for a cookie. The child fusses. Mom explains that it's suppertime. The child grabs a cookie anyway. Mom takes it away, and tries again to explain herself to her now tearful child. Back and forth it goes, with mounting frustration on both sides. "Talking can lead to what I call the talk-persuade-argue-yell-hit pattern," Phelan says. "Toddlers are not adults in a little body. They're not logical, and they just can't assimilate what you are saying to them." Fix it: What's the smart way to lay down the law? Once you tell your toddler to do something, Phelan says, don't talk about it or make eye contact. If the child disobeys, give a brief verbal warning or count to three. If the child refuses to toe the line, give a time-out or another immediate consequence. No explaining! 5. Avoid Only Kiddie Food Does your toddler seem to eat nothing but chicken fingers and fries? Are goldfish crackers the only fish he or she eats? As some parents realize too late, toddlers fed a steady diet of nutritionally iffy kid's foods may resist eating anything else. Fix it: Encourage your child to try "grown-up" fare. "A good percentage of kids are willing to try a new food if they see mommy and daddy enjoying it," Altmann says. "If they push back, keep putting it on their plate. Some kids need to try things a dozen or more times before they take to it." Her advice:  As long as there's something your child can eat on the plate, don't worry. Do not allow yourself to become your child's short-order cook. 6. Getting Rid of the Crib Cribs do more than keep little ones safe. They promote good sleep habits. A toddler moved too soon into a "real" bed may have trouble staying in bed or falling asleep, and so may end up climbing into bed with mommy and daddy. "Some moms wear themselves out because they have to lie down with their child every night," Altmann says. "They don't realize they're the ones who set the pattern." Fix it: When is it time to get rid of the crib? When your child asks for a bed or starts climbing out of the crib. For most kids, that comes between the ages of 2 and 3. 7. Potty Training Some parents cajole their children into using the toilet when they think it's time -- and issue harsh reprimands when things go awry. That can lead to a power struggle. Fix it: "Children learn to use the toilet when they're ready," Altmann says. "The process shouldn't be rushed." But you can set the stage. Show your toddler the toilet. Explain its use. If you feel comfortable doing so, let your child watch you use the toilet -- and offer praise if he or she gives it a whirl. 8. Too Much TV Time Toddlers who watch lots of TV often have more trouble learning later on. And studies suggest that kids under the age of 2 can't really take in what's being displayed on TV and computer screens. Fix it: Keep your toddler busy with reading and other, more creative pursuits. Have conversations-and encourage talking as well as listening. "The longer you can hold off exposing your child to TV, the better," Altmann says. 9. Trying to Stop a Tantrum Some parents worry that an out-of-control child makes them seem like ineffectual parents. But all toddlers have tantrums. When they do, it's pointless to try to talk them out of it -- even if the drama is unfolding in front of company or in a public place. "When we are in public and dealing with a child, we feel judged," Braun says. "We feel like there is a neon sign over our heads saying we are incompetent parents." Fix it: Braun says parents must remember that the child matters more than the opinions of other people -- especially strangers.

Your Toddler

Shy Toddlers: Language Skills Delayed?

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Some toddlers are little chatterboxes, and some are shy and barely speak at all.  New research suggests that shy kids understand what is being said to them, but choose to clam up when it comes to responding

The study looks at why shy children seem to develop language skills more slowly than other toddlers. This issue comes up quite often because delayed speech has been linked to social struggles later in life. 

Are these shy little ones unable to produce language or simply choosing not to speak? According to study researcher, Soo Rhee, a psychologist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, the shier kids don’t show any language attainment delays.

Quite a few toddlers have shy temperaments, about 15 percent. The 12 to 24 month-olds exhibit what is known as “behavioral inhibitions.” They tend to be bashful around other people, cling to and hide behind their parent’s legs, and shy away from new experiences.

Why do shy children seem to speak less proficiently than their more extroverted peers? Scientists have their theories. Perhaps these children avoid interaction, so they get less practice speaking. Or the language struggles may come first, making children reluctant to interact with others. Another theory held that shy children aren't delayed at all; rather, extroverts are ahead of the curve.

Finally, some studies hinted that shy toddlers aren't really delayed — they "know it, but won't say it," Rhee and her colleagues write in an upcoming issue of the journal Child Development.

The study involved 408 families with same – sex twins in Boulder County, Colorado. They conducted home visits and had the children come into the psychology laboratory at 14 months of age, 20 months and 24 months.

At these visits, the researchers assessed each child's temperament by observing how much they cried, clung to their parent or exhibited self-soothing behaviors such as thumb sucking. They also tested language development by asking each child to imitate sounds, ask for help and follow directions. These tests determined how much language a child could produce, and separately, how much he or she could understand.

The shy children did show delays in their spoken language compared with more outgoing kids, the researchers found. But there was no such link between temperament and receptive language, or how much language a child understands.

The good news is that the lack of speaking wasn’t related to any actual language impediment.

The researchers looked at the growth in language skills over time relative to each child's behavior. If they found that initial shyness led to initial language struggles and to less growth, it would suggest the kids weren't practicing speaking enough, explaining their deficits. 

On the other hand, if the link between shyness and language showed up in expressive (spoken) language, but not in receptive (understood) language, it would support the notion that shy kids are functioning at the same language level but not displaying their talent. The latter was the case in this study.

And while delayed speech can be a sign of undiagnosed developmental problems, parents of shy kids may not need to worry. The researchers didn't look at brain development directly, but the patterns they found suggest there wasn't anything wrong with the shy participants physically or developmentally. 

"One worry that we have is that shy children might just be underestimated in terms of their language abilities, so parents and teachers might not make as much of an effort to speak with them," Rhee said. "It seems perhaps that with children who are shy, one needs to make more of an effort to help children develop their expressive language abilities."

Other tips for helping your shy toddler develop a more outgoing personality are:

-       Don’t refer to your child as “shy” in front of him or her or others. Being labeled often feels like a criticism. You might try saying “He takes his time getting comfortable with people he doesn’t know or sees often.”

-       Offer encouragement. Praise your child if he or she reaches out to others. Ask friends and family members to focus on the act and not how long it took to do it.

-       Be sympathetic. Let your little one know that you understand how they feel. Sometimes even adults feel a little shy when they meet new people.

-       Don’t avoid social situations. You might think you’re protecting your child from uncomfortable feelings, but in reality they need to learn – even if slowly – that being around others is normal and a part of life. You may want to arrive early – for larger gatherings (such as birthday parties) – to give him or her more time to relax and settle down.

-       Choose familiar locations. Choose activities that involve smaller groups in quieter and familiar environments. A story hour at the library is a good option. Museums that have dedicated children’s areas are also fun.

-       Most importantly, don’t criticize or belittle your child. You might think this is a given, but having a very bashful toddler can be frustrating for a parent. Nothing crushes a child’s confidence faster than unkind words. Teasing your child can also make them feel more vulnerable and hurt. There’s nothing positive about making your child feel bad. Let them know you love them just the way they are.

Sources: Stephanie Pappas, http://www.livescience.com/43100-shy-toddlers-speak-late.html

http://www.babycenter.com/0_shyness_11563.bc

Your Toddler

Recall: Kid’s Sunglasses Due to Heavy Lead Content

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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

Babies: Two Languages are Better Than One

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We all know how difficult it can be to learn a second language, as you get older.  Even by the time you’re a teenager, it takes a lot more concentration and practice than it does for a younger child.

A new study shows that babies and toddlers that are bilingual may have an academic advantage over their monolingual peers when they get older. Being exposed to a second language in infancy not only helps a children learn a second language quicker, but may also help them with future studies.

How do scientists know this? By observing babies and how fast they become bored with familiar objects and then become intrigued by something new. Previous studies have shown that the rate at which an infant becomes bored with a familiar image and how fast they latch onto something more unique is a predictor of better pre-school developmental results.

For example, past studies have shown that babies who looked at the familiar image and then rapidly became bored demonstrated higher performance in various domains of cognition and language later on in life.

In the new study, scientists wanted to see if bilingual babies might have an advantage over monolingual babies in this regard.

Infants were shown a colored image of either a bear or a wolf. For half of the group, the bear was made to become the "familiar" image while the wolf was the "novel" one. The reverse was true for the other half of the group. In the end, the scientists found that bilingual babies became bored of familiar images far more quickly than single-language babies.

"One of the biggest challenges in infant research is data collection," said Leher Singh, lead author of the new study, in a news release. "Visual habituation works wonderfully because it only takes a few minutes and capitalizes on what babies do so naturally, which is to rapidly become interested in something new and then rapidly move on to something else. Even though it is quite a simple task, visual habituation is one of the few tasks in infancy that has been shown to predict later cognitive development."

Just learning and speaking one language is a marvel of brain ingenuity. Learning two languages is a cognitive developing workout.  It trains the brain to think differently and to associate more than one word with the same image or thought.

In this case, the researchers found that bilingual babies may just have increased cognitive performance due to being exposed to two languages.

"As adults, learning a second language can be painstaking and laborious," said Singh. "We sometimes project that difficulty onto our young babies, imagining a state of enormous confusion as two languages jostle for space in their little heads. However, a large number of studies have shown us that babies are uniquely well positioned to take on the challenges of bilingual acquisition and in fact, may benefit from this journey."

The findings were published in the journal Child Development.

Source: Catherine Griffin,  http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/16963/20140903/being-exposed-two-languages-increase-cognitive-benefits-babies.htm

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Your Toddler

High Chair Injuries on the Rise

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High chairs were designed to offer older babies and younger toddlers a safer place to eat at the table. They’re usually higher from the ground than a regular chair, so a parent or caregiver (or sibling) can spoon feed the baby comfortably. If there’s an infant in the family, more than likely there’s a high chair in the house.

They’re great when used properly, but when children aren’t secured correctly, accidents can and do happen. In fact, a new safety study reveals that high chair injuries increased 22 percent between 2003 and 2009.

Emergency rooms staffs are treating an average of almost 9,500 high chair related injuries every year – that equates to one injured infant per hour.

"We know that these injuries can and do happen, but we did not expect to see the kind of increase that we saw," said study co-author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

"Most of the injuries we're talking about, over 90 percent, involve falls with young toddlers whose center of gravity is high, near their chest, rather than near the waist as it is with adults," Smith said. "So when they fall they topple, which means that 85 percent of the injuries we see are to the head and face."

Because the fall is from a seat that's higher than the traditional chair and typically onto a hard kitchen floor, "the potential for a serious injury is real," he added. "This is something we really need to look at more, so we can better understand why this seems to be happening more frequently."

Researchers analyzed data collected by the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The data concerned all high chair, booster seat, and normal chair-related injuries that occurred between 2003 and 2010 and involved children 3 years old and younger.

The researchers found that high chair/booster chair injuries rose from 8,926 in 2003 to 10,930 by 2010.

How are children getting injured? About two-thirds of the children had been either standing or climbing in the chair just before the fall, the study authors noted.

Either chair restraints aren’t working as they should or parents are not using them properly.

"In recent years, there have been millions of high chairs recalled because they do not meet current safety standards. Most of these chairs are reasonably safe when restraint instructions are followed, but even so, there were 3.5 million high chairs recalled during our study period alone," said Smith. However, even highly educated and informed parents aren't always fully aware of a recall when it happens, he noted.

Still, Smith believes that a 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will lead to a notable drop in recalls in coming years because it calls for independent third-party testing of children's products before they're put on the market.

The most common diagnosis from a high chair fall is a concussion or internal head injury. This type of head trauma accounted for 37 percent of high chair injuries, and its frequency imbed by nearly 90 percent during the eight years studied.

Nearly 6 in 10 children experienced an injury to their head or neck after a high chair fall, while almost 3 in 10 experienced a facial injury, the study found.

When the researchers looked at falls from traditional chairs, children’s injuries were typically broken bones, cuts and bruises.

While the tray may look like it can block a child from climbing or standing, it’s not a restraint. Children need to be buckled in.

Supervision plays a key role in keeping your little one safe when in a high chair. Many falls happen when a parent or caregiver leaves the room or is not facing the baby.  "Even if a chair does meet current safety standards and the restraint is used properly, there's never 100 percent on this . . . Parents will always need to be vigilant." said Smith.

Some high chairs have wheels, so make sure that if yours does- they are locked when the baby is in the chair.

Also, never place the high chair next to a wall or counter where your baby or toddler can push against it, causing the chair to become unstable.

High chairs are convenient and can be very safe when used properly. Make sure your child is restrained properly and that you can see your baby whenever you move away from the chair.

The study was published online Dec. 9 in Clinical Pediatrics.

Source: Alan Mozes, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20131209/rise-in-us-high-chair-injuries-stuns-experts

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