Your Toddler

Water an Easy Remedy for Overweight Kids

A new study indicates that the best way to help your child keep the weight off is to give them water instead of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks. One analysis of the diets of American children and teenagers showed they drink, on average, 235 "empty" calories in sugar-sweetened beverages each day. When those drinks are cut out, the average child does not make up for them by eating or drinking more calories elsewhere, the researchers said. A second study by Dutch researchers found children would cut out sugary drinks before they would exercise or abandon snacks.

"The evidence is now clear that replacing these 'liquid calories' with calorie-free beverage alternatives both at home and in schools represents a key strategy to eliminate excess calories and prevent childhood obesity," Dr. Claire Wang of Columbia University in New York said in a statement. In the study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Wang and her colleagues said they looked at data fro the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that included detailed questions about diet. Every 1 percent drop in soft drink intake correlated to more than six fewer calories, they found.

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Your Toddler

Another Good Reason Kids Need Enough Sleep

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By now you should know that if your child gets the appropriate amount of sleep each night, they do better in school, excel more in the activties they attempt and have fewer behavioral problems than kids who don’t.

A new study suggests that while your child is sleeping, the connections between the left and the right hemispheres of their brain strengthen, helping their brain functions develop.

Scientists have known for years that during early childhood the brain is changing constantly. New connections are forming and others are being removed.  A fatty layer called “myelin” forms around the nerve fibers and strengthens, allowing the brain to transfer information faster.

These maturing nerve fibers lead to improvement in skills such as language, attention, and impulse control. How does sleep contribute to the development of these connections? Scientists aren’t sure.

Too help find out, a research team, led by Salome Kurth, a postdoctoral researcher, and Monique LeBourgeois, assistant professor in integrative physiology at University of Coloroda Boulder, used electroencephalograms to measure the brain activity of eight sleeping children multiple times at the ages of 2, 3 and 5 years.

"Interestingly, during a night of sleep, connections weakened within hemispheres but strengthened between hemispheres," Kurth said.

They found that connections in the brain became stronger during sleep as the children aged. They also found that the strength of the connections between the left and right hemispheres increased by as much as 20 percent over a night's sleep.

"There are strong indications that sleep and brain maturation are closely related, but at this time, it is not known how sleep leads to changes in brain structure," Kurth said.

The next step will be to look at how sleep disruption may affect brain development and behavior. "I believe inadequate sleep in childhood may affect the maturation of the brain related to the emergence of developmental or mood disorders," Kurth said.

How much sleep do children 2 to 5 years-of-age need? A lot, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Their website breaks it down by age. 

  • Toddlers (1-3 years) need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24 – hour period, which can include naps.
  • Preschoolers (5-12 years) need about 11 to 13 hours of sleep.
  • School-aged children (5-12 years) need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep.

More and more studies show how important getting the right amount of sleep is to feeling and performing your best. As parents, we know how much better we feel after getting a full nights' sleep ( I know - it's not often enough!). But for children, an adequate amount of sleep not only helps them feel more rested but actually assists in healthy brain developemnt. 

Sources: News Staff, http://www.science20.com/news_articles/go_bed_brain_connections_young_children_strengthen_during_sleep-124917

 http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep

Your Toddler

Evenflo Booster Seat Recall

Evenflo voluntarily recalls booster seats after Consumer Reports says the seats did not perform well in safety crash tests.One of the largest manufacturers of baby and child gear is voluntarily recalling 18,000 care safety seats after the seats failed a significant crash test.

The seat in question is the $80 dollar Evenflo Masestro seat. This combination toddler-booster seat is designed for children from 20 to 100 pounds. Children use it with the harness until they’re big enough to use it with a vehicle’s seatbelt. Consumer Reports conducted a simulated 30-mile-per-hour crash test at an outside laboratory and found two of the seats failed when used with their harness. Consumer Reports says if the harness loosen in a real crash, it allows the child to move much farther forward, exposing their head and neck to injury, as well as increasing their potential for ejection. Consumer Reports notified Evenflo and the company issued “a voluntary safety recall of certain Maestro child restraint systems built between November 24, 2009 and April 9, 2010.”  Here are the models:

  • 3101198
  • 3101980
  • 31011048
  • 31011049
  • 31011057C
  • 31011059

To find out when a seat was made, check the label on the top of the shell. The manufacturing date will be at the top. Evenflo says no injuries have been reported, but it has developed a free fix that parents should install before using the seat in harness mode. It also says parents of bigger children may safely use the Maestro seat in its booster mode until the fix comes. To get your repair kit, contact Evenflo at 800-233-5921.

Your Toddler

Study: Steroids Do Not Help Wheezing Kids

Steroid drugs, one of the most common treatments for young children prone to wheezing and colds do not help and may even be harmful, according to new research. Two different studies were published in the January 2009 New England Journal of Medicine. One study, conducted in Britain looked at preschoolers who were hospitalized with a wheezing attack and treated with the steroid prednisolone. The study showed that the children stayed hospitalized just as long as other children who were given dummy pills.

The second study focused on children in Canada who had previous wheezing trouble and took the steroid fluticasone as a preventative measure. That study showed modest improvement in breathing but the side effect of possible stunted growth outweighed the benefits, researchers said. Wheezing, a high-pitched whistling noise as a person exhales, occurs when air struggles to get through narrowed airways. Parents often bring their children to emergency rooms thinking their kids can't breathe. Dr. Bradley Chipps, an allergy specialist in Sacramento, California, told the Associated Press that the research "gives us good information that what we've been doing doesn't work." "It gives us a lead to pursue a safer alternative," he said. Dr. Chipps is on the allergy and immunology executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and had no role in the study.

Your Toddler

Toddlers’ Meals and Snacks Packed with Salt

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New research from the Harvard School of Public Health says that one in 10 Americans die from eating too much salt. . Excessive salt consumption is linked to cardiovascular disease and has traditionally been associated with older adults. However researchers noted that younger people are now showing the same health problems from too much salt such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

The problem is that salt is used in just about all packaged and processed foods. Over the years producers have added more and more salt for flavoring,

And now a new study now shows that meals and snacks marketed to toddlers have more than the recommended amount of sodium, meaning that children as young as one are most likely eating far too much salt early in life.

There is scientific evidence that a child’s salt intake is related to whether he or she will develop high blood pressure (hypertension) as an adult. Hypertension is a major risk factor of heart disease – the number one killer of men and women in the United States.

"The good news is that commercial foods for babies, when they start complimentary feeding from 4 to 12 months ... are relatively low in sodium," explains Joyce Maalouf, the study's lead author and a fellow at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"But the products marketed to toddlers were significantly higher in sodium: more than 75% of the toddler meals and snacks had high sodium content."

The research team reviewed more than 1,100 products marketed to babies and toddlers and sold in grocery stores. If a product had more than 210 milligrams of sodium preserving it was defined as high in sodium. The rating is based on guidelines by the Institute of Medicine and MyPlate.gov.

Some meals tested as high as 630 milligrams of sodium per serving. Cereals and savory snacks tested highest in sodium compared to cereal bars and fruit snacks.

Name brands were not named in the study, but Maalouf said "We're talking meals that are pre-packed ... like mac and cheese, pasta with meat sauce, pizza, or chicken and vegetables".  He noted that the meals are not frozen meals but the kind that are microwavable.

"These meals are not the only meal that kids will eat," says Maalouf. "They're growing, they're always snacking. So they're eating seven to eight servings and meals per day."

Nutritionist suggest that parents read the labels on any prepackaged foods they buy for their child, and shop the outer aisles of the grocery store where fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy, and fresh meat and poultry are kept.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

Source: Caitlin Hagan,  http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/21/meals-and-snacks-for-toddlers-heavy-in-sodium/

Your Toddler

Jogging Strollers Recalled

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This recall involves sport v2 and classic v1 model single-seat jogging strollers. The three-wheel strollers have a metal frame, cloth seat and a canopy. The sport v2 model stroller was sold in red, orange, green, black, charcoal, navy and in graffiti print. Sport v2 serial numbers included in the recall are 0308/0001 to 0510/0840. Phil and Ted’s Jogging Strollers are being recalled in the US and Canada because the hinge mechanism poses laceration and amputation risks.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product. Name of Product: Jogging Strollers Units: About 22,000 in the United States and 7,200 in Canada Importer: Phil&Teds USA Inc., of Fort Collins, CO Hazard: When folding and unfolding the stroller, a consumer’s finger can become caught in the hinge mechanism, posing amputation and laceration hazards. Incidents/Injuries: phil&teds has received three reports of incidents resulting in injuries to the adult users including a finger tip amputation and two reports of lacerations. Description: The classic v1 model strollers were only sold in red. Serial numbers for the classic v1 are 0308/0001 to 0510/0906. The first four digits of the serial number is a month/year date code and the last four digits are for the individual stroller. Serial numbers are printed on the inside of the folding hinge. The phil&teds logo is located on the crotch piece of the harness on both models. Sold by: Specialty juvenile stores nationwide from May 2008 through July 2010 for between $350 and $450. Manufactured in: China Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled strollers and contact phil&ted USA to arrange for the shipping of a free hinge-cover kit and repair instructions. Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact phil&teds USA at (877) 432-1642 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the company’s website at www.philandteds.com/support

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Your Toddler

Post-Tonsillectomy Codeine May Pose Dangers

A new report warns about the potentially deadly dangers of giving codeine to children after a tonsillectomy.  The report appears in the New England Journal of Medicine. It follows the death of an otherwise health two-year-old boy who was prescribed codeine to relieve pain from having his tonsils removed. The child, who had a history of snoring and sleep apnea, had the surgery in an outpatient clinic and was sent home, the researchers said.

Doctors prescribed codeine syrup and told the boy's mother to give it to him for pain, but two nights later, the child developed a fever and wheezing. He was found dead the next morning, according to the report. Toxicology tests showed that the mother had given the child the proper dosage, but the coroner found that the child had high levels of morphine in his system. Further investigation determined that the child had an ultra-rapid metabolism genotype, which causes the body to metabolize codeine at a faster rate than the norm. Codeine, is a narcotic used to treat mild to moderate pain and is metabolized by the body to morphine. In children with the ultra-rapid genotype, morphine can build to deadly concentrations. "The sudden death of a healthy child was quite sobering because tonsillectomies are done every day, all over North America," said Dr. Gideon Koren, a pediatrics professor at the University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto and author of the report. "And more and more of them are done on an outpatient basis, with the child going home the same day." The gene is present in slightly more than 1 percent of whites, but as many as 30 percent of people of African origin could have it. Enlarged tonsils are usually treated with antibiotics, but tonsillectomies are still used to treat sleep apnea, the study authors noted. Parents whose children are prescribed codeine should also be aware that codeine can suppress breathing, which is potentially dangerous if the tonsillectomy doesn't cure the sleep apnea. "This demonstrates the need to keep children in hospital under surveillance for at least 24 hours to see if the apnea persists," Koren said.

A new report warns about the potentially deadly dangers of giving codeine to children after a tonsillectomy.  The report appears in the New England Journal of Medicine. It follows the death of an otherwise health two-year-old boy who was prescribed codeine to relieve pain from having his tonsils removed. The child, who had a history of snoring and sleep apnea, had the surgery in an outpatient clinic and was sent home, the researchers said.

Doctors prescribed codeine syrup and told the boy's mother to give it to him for pain, but two nights later, the child developed a fever and wheezing. He was found dead the next morning, according to the report. Toxicology tests showed that the mother had given the child the proper dosage, but the coroner found that the child had high levels of morphine in his system. Further investigation determined that the child had an ultra-rapid metabolism genotype, which causes the body to metabolize codeine at a faster rate than the norm. Codeine, is a narcotic used to treat mild to moderate pain and is metabolized by the body to morphine. In children with the ultra-rapid genotype, morphine can build to deadly concentrations. "The sudden death of a healthy child was quite sobering because tonsillectomies are done every day, all over North America," said Dr. Gideon Koren, a pediatrics professor at the University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto and author of the report. "And more and more of them are done on an outpatient basis, with the child going home the same day." The gene is present in slightly more than 1 percent of whites, but as many as 30 percent of people of African origin could have it. Enlarged tonsils are usually treated with antibiotics, but tonsillectomies are still used to treat sleep apnea, the study authors noted. Parents whose children are prescribed codeine should also be aware that codeine can suppress breathing, which is potentially dangerous if the tonsillectomy doesn't cure the sleep apnea. "This demonstrates the need to keep children in hospital under surveillance for at least 24 hours to see if the apnea persists," Koren said.

Your Toddler

Mother’s Low Vitamin D Linked to Child’s Cavities

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Want to make sure your baby has strong teeth and few cavities as he or she matures? A new study says that moms-to-be should who receive a sufficient amount of vitamin D during pregnancy, are providing their infant with a better chance of fewer cavities when their teeth come in. Previous studies have shown a link between low vitamin D in mothers can lead to defects in the enamel of their toddler’s teeth. Enamel starts developing while the baby is in the womb. Dr. Robert J. Schroth from University of Manitoba's dental school in Winnipeg, Canada, and his team wondered whether low vitamin D levels in mothers during pregnancy would also translate into higher cavity rates for their toddlers. They measured vitamin D levels in the second or early third trimester in 207 pregnant women and then examined the teeth of 135 of their children when they were an average of 16 months old. The mothers were from predominately poor, urban neighborhoods. Most of the women’s vitamin D levels were in the normal range, but about a third had below normal levels. Depending on the definition of cavities the researchers used, 23 to 36 percent of the toddlers had cavities. Prenatal vitamin D levels were significantly lower in women whose toddlers later had cavities than in women whose toddlers did not have cavities, according to findings published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers noted a direct relationship between low vitamin D levels in mothers and a higher number of cavities in their toddlers. "Prevention efforts should begin during pregnancy by bolstering maternal nutrition, either through improved dietary intake or supplementation with vitamin D" they said. While some experts recommend that women take vitamin D supplements during pregnancy, not everyone agrees. Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel from the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle disagrees that all pregnant women need vitamin D supplements. "In place of supplementation, I would recommend maintaining proper vitamin D levels during pregnancy the natural way - enjoy the sun, choose foods such as wild salmon, ahi tuna, mushrooms and eggs. Additionally, reducing carbohydrate intake will reduce the body's need for vitamin D," he told Reuters Health in an email. "Avoid sugar. It is a necessary fuel for dental cavities and it burns up vitamin D," Hujoel added. Natural vitamin D is found in small amounts in foods such as herring, mackerel, sardines and tuna. It’s also available in certain drinks such as vitamin D fortified milks and juices. More and more foods are fortified with vitamin De such as eggs and cereal. But most vitamin D – 80% to 90% of what the body gets – is obtained through exposure to sunlight. Source: Will Boggs MD, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/21/us-low-vitamin-toddlers-idUSBR...

Your Toddler

“Late-Talkers” Can Catch Up

1.50 to read

Parents of children who are "late-talkers" may have no reason to worry says a new study. Do you have a toddler that isn’t talking as much as you think he or she should? There’s no need to worry according to a new study

A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics says 18 percent of children have a language delay. Parents should not be overly concerned that late-talking at age two years will result in enduring language and psychological difficulties for the child," Dr. Andrew Whitehouse, an associate professor and of developmental psychopathology at the University of Western Australia in Subiaco. Researchers followed children who were part of the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study, including 1,245 children whose speech was not delayed: they were using at least 50 words and could string two or three words together in a phrase, and 142 who had not reached this milestone. The children were tracked through age 17. The Child Behavior Checklist, also based on parental report, was used to measure behavior by parent report and to measure child and adolescent behavior during follow up at 2-years-old, 5-years-old, 8-years-old, 10, 14, and 17. At age 2, the children identified as “late-talkers” were more likely than other toddlers to have behavioral problems. But there was no difference between the groups at ages 5, 8, 10, 14 and 17. The study looked at survey results filled out by parents on more than 1,400 two-year olds, born between 1989 and 1991. The researchers found that one of 10 kids was a late-talker, and these kids tended to act more introverted and displayed more emotional problems. Dr. Whitehouse suggests that frustration may be at the root of the behavioral problems, and as the child develops better communication skills, the frustration eases or goes away. Children usually can form meaningful words by the age of 18 months. Between the ages of 2 to 3 years old, children should be saying new words each month and using two-word sentences, such as "more juice." Some children are late talkers because of hearing loss, cognitive impairment, speech disorder, language disorder, autism, or other considerations. If your child is a late talker it’s important to have your pediatrician check for possible medical causes. Still, for many it is simply a developmental stage with no long-term adverse effects.

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