Your Toddler

Recall: Step2® Whisper Ride Touring Wagons™

1.45 to read

They’re popular, colorful, fun and possibly dangerous. The Step2® Whisper Ride Touring Wagons™, sold exclusively at Toys R Us, are being recalled due to a fall hazard.

The removable blue seat backs can detach and allow the child in the wagon to fall out.

This recall involves Step2® Whisper Ride Touring Wagons. The two-seat plastic wagon is 25-inches wide by 41.25-inches long by 20-inches high with blue seats, a tan wagon base and a red canopy.  The Step2 logo appears on the canopy and on the side of the wagon base.

Incidents/Injuries

Step2 has received 29 reports of the seat back detaching, 28 of which resulted in children falling out of the wagon.  Fourteen of these resulted in bumped heads and nine resulted in bruises, scratches or lacerations.  

Remedy

Consumers should immediately stop using the wagon and inspect it to determine if the seat belt is attached to the removable blue seat back.  If so, the wagon is included in this recall. Consumers with the recalled wagons should contact Step2 to obtain a free repair kit.  

Sold exclusively at

Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at ToysRUs.com from February 2013 to August 2013 for about $130.

Manufacturer

The Step2® Company, LLC of Streetsboro, Ohio

Manufactured in

USA

Contact Step2 toll-free at (866) 860-1887 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.step2.com and click on “Product Recall” for more information.

Resource: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Step2-Recalls-Ride-On-Wagon-Toys

Step2 touring wagon recall

Step2 touring wagon recall

 

Your Toddler

Chickenpox Lollipops?

2.00 to read

Would you give your child a lollipop that was infected with the chickenpox virus?  Most parents would say no way, but some want to throw a “pox party” to make sure their child gets sick.

You may have heard about them. They are called pox parties, and here’s how they work.   You have, or know someone who has, a child who is sick with chickenpox. A party is held so that the sick child can play with other children who are not sick. They play together, and share drinking cups or lollipops, food or wash cloths so that the well children are exposed to the virus in hopes that they will also get sick.

Why would a parent deliberately expose their child to chickenpox?

Many of these parents believe that getting the virus naturally will offer a longer lasting immunity than the vaccination and booster shots required by schools. They also say that smallpox is a “weak” virus that is not dangerous.

Dr. Louis Cooper, a spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America and a professor emeritus of pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, told ABC News "I deeply regret that parents who are trying to do the right thing just don't get it. The fact is that they're right; chickenpox for most children is a mild illness. But when you see children who have the misfortune of one of the complications that are possible, you never forget it."

"The child does not need to be immune-deficient or malnourished to have these complications," said Cooper, who recommends that all parents vaccinate their children against the virus. "It can be an ordinary healthy child, it's Russian roulette."

The chickenpox vaccine, varicella, was first approved for use in the United States in 1995 and is now required in every state before a child can enter day care or school. Exceptions, including proof that the child has contracted the virus on his or her own, as well as parents who refrain from getting their children vaccinated because of religious reasons, vary from state to state.

“Find a Pox Party” sites have turned up on Facebook and other social media outlets across the country. People have been selling contaminated candy, diapers, and blankets to parents, sometimes shipping these items through the mail.

A Nashville TV station reported on a local woman who charged $50 a pop to ship suckers smothered in saliva by her sick kids.

Spurred by that story, Nashville federal prosecutor Jerry Martin warned parents not to try it. “It’s illegal and unsafe,” Martin told the Associated Press.

Pediatricians are taking a strong stand against pox parties. They warn that children exposed to such practices have a higher risk of developing encephalitis and group A Strep.

Pox parties are not new; they’ve been around for a long time. Before the advent of vaccines smallpox parties and other types of controlled inoculation did reduce death rates due to, for example smallpox, considerably. These practices all but vanished when the smallpox vaccine was introduced.

Vaccinations have been under scrutiny since a 1998 study-now proven to be false- linked autism with childhood vaccinations. Some parents still refuse to get their children vaccinated, believing the study had merit.

Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician specializing in infectious disease at the department of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said that many parents who are against vaccinating their children argue that getting the virus naturally is more beneficial to the child's overall health.

"The thinking many parents have is that the natural infection is more likely to induce higher levels of antibodies and longer-lasting immunity than vaccines," Offit said. "That's generally true but the problem is if you make that choice you are also taking the risk of a natural infection, which can mean hospitalization and sometimes death."

Not everyone agrees on the pros and cons of pox parties, but most medical experts say that parents should choose the vaccine.

Curtis Allen is a spokesperson for the Center for Disease Control. He notes that chickenpox is uncomfortable for kids, and suggests that parents who are looking for natural immunity should talk to their pediatricians about the decision not to vaccinate.

"There are a couple of things to know about chickenpox," he said. "First of all, the vaccine is very safe. Secondly, varicella, or chickenpox, is not necessarily a benign disease. Most children ... do fine with it. However, there are some children who become very sick."

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

Preschool Lunch Isn’t Always Nutritious

Parents may be sacrificing nutrition by giving their children the food they like when packing their preschoolers lunch. That's one of the conclusions of a new study in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study found that 71 percent of packed lunches didn't have enough fruits and vegetables and that one in four preschoolers didn't get enough milk with lunch.

"What we found primarily was that parents weren't sending in as many fruits and vegetables and whole grains as they should, and the number of milk servings was low, too," said study author Sara J. Sweitzer, a registered dietician and a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. The study was triggered by a recent change in Texas day-care regulations that allow day-care programs to stop providing meals and snacks. A subsequent survey found that about half of child-care centers in two Texas counties had chosen to do just that. But they survey also reported that directors of those centers said that children were being given chips, prepackaged lunches and "junk food" by their parents. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains were rarely included. To determine whether or not these results were true, Sweitzer and her colleagues interviewed the parents of 74 children from five day-care centers. All of the children were between three and five years old and most were white and from families headed by two adults. The children's lunches were observed for a three-day period so the researchers could accurately assess the nutritional content. 67 percent of the parents interviewed said they packed nutritious food, even though they thought their child probably wouldn't eat them. 63 percent said they packed foods they knew their child would eat. Milk was available at the child-care center, but the child had to request it. According to the study, only 29 percent of the packed lunches contained adequate fruits and vegetables and only 20 percent of the children had a milk serving at lunch. 11 percent didn't get enough whole grains. "Fruits and vegetables and whole grains need to be presented on a regular basis," said Sweitzer, adding, "With chronic disease issues such as type 2 diabetes on the rise, this becomes a very key time to educate this child about nutrition." The easiest thing to do, she suggested, is to pack up some of the previous night's dinner to be reheated in a microwave, which is usually available at child-care centers.

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Your Toddler

Small Children and Rx Poisoning

2.00 to read

Most small children who are poisoned by an adult’s prescription medication do not get it from a secured cabinet but rather from a purse, countertop, sofa cushion, floor or other easy-to-see place in the house.

The medications that are dangerous enough to send a child to the emergency room usually belong to a mother or grandparent according to a report released by the non-profit group Safe Kids Worldwide, based in Washington D.C.

Kids "are getting medications from Mom's purse and Grandma's pillbox," says Rennie Ferguson, a researcher for Safe Kids.

Ferguson examined 2,315 emergency department records on children 4 years old and under that were compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2011.

67,000 children visited emergency departments in 2011 after accidental exposure to one or more medications.

The report notes that such cases have grown by 30% in the last decade amid a growing number of prescription and non-prescription medicines in the home. While ER cases dropped slightly between 2010-2011, the difference was not statistcally significant.

Where are children finding unsecured medicines? When examining the cases, the researchers noted that when a source was recorded:

-       27% came from the floor or had been otherwise misplaced.

-       20% came from a purse, bag or wallet.

-       20% had been left out on counters, dressers, tables or nightstands.

-       15% came from a pillbox or bag of pills.

-       6% came from a cabinet or drawer.

-       12% came from other places.

The medications belonged to adults in 86% of cases, the report adds. Moms (31%) and grandparents (38%) were the most common sources.

Because small children tend to put anything and everything in their mouths, an accidental poisoning can happen quickly while someone is distracted or out of the room.

The new data suggests that small children infrequently get into medications that are properly stored.

Many times people think they will forget to take their meds if they do not see them. If you have small children in the house, or ones that visit, store the medicines in a secure cabinet and set your watch or cell phone alarm to remind you to take them.

Make sure you do not leave medicines in a coat pocket or purse where children can find them. Also, you should speak up and ask that medications be stored away when your children visit the homes of grandparents, other relatives or friends. If you feel awkward in bringing up the subject, you can always mention that your child is at a very curious stage where they get into everything. It’s absolutely true – small children are curious about everything and they seldom understand which things are dangerous and which ones are not. It’s much better to be safe than sorry.

If you think a child has taken a medication that is not meant for them, the best thing to do is to call the National Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222.  The line is open 24 hours a day.

If your child is exhibiting acute signs of being poisoned call 911 first.

Symptoms of poisoning may include:

-       Seizure

-       Stop breathing

-       Change in cognitive abilities

-       Nausea

-       Vomiting

-       Drowsiness

-       Stomach pain

Check to see if you can find any loose pills or bottles around the child so you can determine what he or she has taken.

Prescribed medications can be necessary and effective for a host of illnesses or conditions. Many households have at least one prescription medicine in the home at all times. But there are many things parents and other caregivers can do to minimize risks, says Kate Carr, Safe Kids president and CEO. The first is to store medications out of sight and out of reach — "up and away" in the catchphrase of an ongoing medication safety campaign led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Up and away, easy to remember - easy to do.

Sources: Kim Painter, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/20/children-medication-poisoning/1998237

 

Your Toddler

Replace Recalled Brand With Generic

2.00 to read

For the time being, Frattarelli suggests parents look for generic versions of the medications, which are just as effective as name brands. "It's really just a difference in flavor or packaging," said Frattarelli, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Drugs. "Sometimes they are almost indistinguishable.”What to do? When kids begin sniffling, the first thing many parents reach for is Children's Tylenol. But that option is not available since a massive recall last year.

Nine months later, the Johnson & Johnson unit that was responsible is still ironing out its problems, and there's little indication of when parents will be able to turn to the brand. But medical experts say that when it comes to treating sick kids, there are still plenty of options. "The nice thing about this situation is that there are other alternatives to name brands," said Dr. Daniel Frattarelli, chairman of pediatrics at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan. The recall was announced last April 30 by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare division. More than 50 variations of the company's liquid products for infants and children were pulled from shelves, including certain types of Tylenol, Zyrtec, Benadryl and Motrin. In all, 136 million bottles of medicine were recalled — the largest withdrawal of children's medications from the market in U.S. history. The products were recalled after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspection of the Fort Washington, Pa., plant where McNeil manufactures them. Investigators found a host of problems, and company executives acknowledged that some of the medications "may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles." The company added that although there were no reports of adverse medical effects from the recalled products, customers should nevertheless stop using them. The plant in question has been shut since April, and additional recalls of children's Tylenol and Benadryl, as well as various adult products, continued through the end of 2010. It's still unclear when McNeil children's products will be back on store shelves. Assessments of the Fort Washington plant and others are continuing, company spokeswoman Bonnie Jacobs said. She added that "McNeil will take whatever steps are needed" to correct their continuing problems, including, if necessary, more recalls. For the time being, Frattarelli suggests parents look for generic versions of the medications, which are just as effective as name brands. "It's really just a difference in flavor or packaging," said Frattarelli, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Drugs. "Sometimes they are almost indistinguishable.” The simplest way to find a generic version of a medication is to look for one with the same active ingredient, he said. Children's Tylenol contains acetaminophen, and children's Motrin contains ibuprofen. Both are used to treat aches and pains and to reduce fevers. Generic alternatives also are available for the allergy medications Zyrtec and Benadryl, said Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Zyrtec contains a long-acting antihistamine called cetirizine, which helps relieve symptoms like runny noses and itchy eyes, noses and skin. The active ingredient in Benadryl is diphenhydramine, which addresses the same symptoms but can cause drowsiness, Fineman said. Parents should not give kids partial doses of adult medications, doctors warn. Even with medications for infants, it's important to adhere to the age limits printed on the packaging. For instance, acetaminophen should be given only to children who are at least 3 months old. "If you have a young child under 3 months who has a fever, that's not a situation where you want to give them something to block the fever and call it a day," Frattarelli said. "A fever under 3 months needs to be evaluated."

Your Toddler

Study: Depression Seen in Young Children

Depression in children as young as three is real and not just a passing grumpy mood.Depression in children as young as three is real and not just a passing grumpy mood, according to provocative new research. The study is billed as the first to show major depression can be chronic even in very young children, contrary to the stereotype of the happy-go-lucky preschooler.

Until fairly recently, "people really haven't paid much attention to depressive disorders in children under the age of 6," said lead author Dr. Joan Luby, a psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis. "They didn't think it could happen ... because children under 6 were too emotionally immature to experience it." Previous research suggested that depression affects about two percent of U.S. preschoolers, or roughly 160,000 youngsters, at one time or another. But it was unclear whether depression in preschoolers could be chronic, as it can be in older children and adults. Researchers followed more than 200 preschoolers, ages three to six, for up to two years, including 75 diagnosed with major depression. The children had up to four mental health exams during the study. Among initially depressed children, 64 percent were still depressed or had a recurrent episode of depression six months later, and 40 percent still had problems after two years. Overall, nearly 20 percent had persistent or recurrent depression at all four exams. Depression was most common in children whose mothers were also depressed or had other mood disorders, and among those who had experienced a traumatic event, such as the death of a parent or physical or sexual abuse. The new study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and released in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, did not examine depression treatment, which is highly controversial among children so young. Some advocates say parents and doctors are too quick to give children powerful psychiatric drugs. Though sure to raise eyebrows among lay people is the idea that children so young can get depressed is increasingly accepted in psychiatry. University of Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Sharon Hirsch said the public thinks of preschoolers as carefree. "They get to play. Why would they be depressed?" she said. But depression involves chemical changes in the brain that can affect even youngsters with an otherwise happy life, said Hirsch, who was not involved in the study. "When you have that problem, you just don't have that ability to feel good," she said. Typical preschoolers can be moody or have temper tantrums, but they quickly bounce back and appear happy when playing or doing everyday activities. Depressed children appear sad even when playing, and their games may have themes of death or other somber topics. Persistent lack of appetite, sleep problems, and frequent temper tantrums that involve biting, kicking or hitting also are signs of possible depression.

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Your Toddler

Is Your Child a Biter?

2.00 to read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Toddler

Honey Relieves Kid’s Cough

1.45 to read

My grandmother used to say a little honey was the best thing to stop a cough. A new study, published in the September issue of Pediatrics confirms what mothers and grandmothers have been saying for decades… a couple of teaspoons of honey soothes the throat, stops the coughing and helps you sleep better.

It’s tough for parents to find an over-the-counter solution to treat colds and coughs. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines don't work for children younger than 6 years and may pose risks. The FDA takes a similar stance.

In the new study, 270 children aged 1 to 5 with nighttime cough due to simple colds received one of three types of honey or a non-honey liquid of similar taste and consistency 30 minutes before bedtime. Parents completed questionnaires about their child's cough and sleep on the night before the study began and then again the night after their kids were treated.

Children received either 2 teaspoons of eucalyptus honey, citrus honey, Labiatae honey, or similar-tasting silan date extract 30 minutes before bed. All kids did better the second night of the study, including those given the date extract. But children who received honey coughed less frequently, less severely, and were less likely to lose sleep due to the cough when compared to those who didn't get honey. 

The study was co-funded by the Honey Board of Israel.

Not only were the children able to sleep better, parents were able to sleep through the night as well. That’s a huge relief especially for parents who have to be at the office or on the job site the next day.

Mild coughing isn’t always a bad thing: it helps clear mucus from the airway. But an acute cough can be relentless - causing vomiting and gasping for air.

Honey can be part of a supportive care regimen for children with colds, says Alan Rosenbloom, MD. He is a pediatrician in private practice in Baldwin, N.Y.

There are a few caveats, he says. Honey is not appropriate for children younger than 1 because they are at risk for infant botulism. "Never give honey to a child under the age of 1."

Skip the honey, and call your pediatrician if your child also has:

  • Fever
  • Prolonged, worsening cough
  • Wheezing
  • Cold symptoms that last longer than two weeks

If your child has a cold, Rosenbloom suggests a couple of other ways you can help them be more comfortable. Try saline drops or nasal spray, a humidifier in the bedroom to keep the air moist, and propping up the child's head during sleep to stop the postnasal drip that can trigger coughing.

If you want to give honey a try, there’s no need for a “special” kind of honey – any honey will do. It may be the best choice in the first few days of a cold – less coughing, better sleep, safer and more effective than OTC medications.

Looks like grandma was right—as always.

Source: http://children.webmd.com/news/20120806/mom-was-right-honey-can-calm-cou...

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

Lots of discussion about using prebiotics and probiotics in your child's diet. What is the difference between the two?