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

Magnetic Toy’s Warning Labels Not Enough

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Current warnings labels on magnetic toys don’t seem to be effective in keeping powerful magnets out of the mouths of small children according to a survey by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN.)

The NASPGHAN represents 1700 pediatric gastroenterologists in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The doctors would like to see the magnets banned.  

“Many of our member physicians have had the unfortunate experience of removing these high-powered neodymium magnets from the gastrointestinal tract of innocent infants and children to reduce the risk of abdominal surgery,” said Athos Bousvaros, M.D., President elect of NASPGHAN. “It is simply unreasonable to suggest that product warnings are sufficient to prevent their accessibility to children and adolescents. The only solid way to prevent ingestion of these magnets is to ban them.”

Young children may think that the magnets are candy and older children and even teens use the magnets to mimic tongue piercings.

How dangerous are magnets if ingested?  If two or or more of these small magnets are swallowed they may attract two loops of bowel together and although the intestinal tract is pretty tough, it is no match for high powered magnets. The pinching together of the intestinal walls can cause bowel ulceration, perforations in the intestine and severe injury requiring surgery.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed a lawsuit against Maxfield & Oberton, the manufacturer of Buckyballs and Buckycubes, after the company refused to cease distribution of the high-powered, rare earth magnet products that have caused serious injury to children as a result of ingestion.

The company announced on Monday that that they have discontinued the controversial desk toy. The company claims the products were manufactured for and marketed to adults. The products will continue to be sold online until the current supply sells out.

Symptoms of magnet ingestion are abdominal pain, vomiting and fever. These are very common symptoms and may indicate a variety of illnesses. Initial evaluation can miss that magnets are the cause of the problem.  Unfortunately, delay in treatment may lead to an increased severity of consequences. If your child presents with these symptoms, and you know that there have been small magnets in the house, be sure to take your child to the doctor or the emergency room and tell the examining physician.

Sources: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/23/doctors-warning-labels-on-magnetic-toys-arent-enough

http://www.naspghan.org/user-assets/Documents/pdf/Advocacy/July%202012/N...

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

Would You Choose the Chubby Toddler?

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Once upon a time having a chubby toddler was a sign of prosperity. Parents, grandparents and friends loved to pinch the little one’s plump cheeks and say something along the lines of “look at those fat little legs and cheeks… how adorable!”

Little fat legs and cheeks are no longer a sign of wealth or health. They’re more likely to be an indicator of obesity or morbid obesity in a baby or toddler. Amazingly, many moms still believe that chubby equals cute and that their roly-poly child will eventually grow out of the “baby fat.”

According to a new study, parents of overweight toddlers mistakenly think their children are normal weight, and mothers of normal weight or underweight children wish their little ones were plumper. 

The findings were based on a study that involved 281 mothers from low-income households who had children between ages 12 and 32 months. Mothers were shown seven silhouettes of toddlers of various sizes, and asked to choose the silhouette that best matched their child.

About 30 percent of children were considered overweight by the researchers, based on a ratio of the child's weight and length.

About 70 percent of all mothers in the study were inaccurate in their assessments of their child's size, meaning they chose a silhouette that was at least two sizes larger or smaller than their child's true size.

Mothers of underweight children often knew their child was not healthy—they were 9.5 times more likely to choose the silhouette that matched their child's body size compared with mothers of healthy-weight children.

About 70 percent of mothers of healthy-weight children, and 80 percent of mothers of overweight children said they were satisfied with their child's body size. Four percent of mothers of overweight children even wished their child were even larger, the researchers said.

"That suggests we may have a lot of parents who are trying to fatten up their babies," said Dr. Eliana Perrin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, who wrote a commentary on the research in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Because mothers in the study were primarily from low-income households, and most were overweight or obese themselves, the findings may not be an indication of the population as a whole, the researchers said.

"There's this misperception that a chubby infant or toddler is a healthy infant or toddler," said study researcher Erin R. Hager, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, Growth and Nutrition. In addition, with so many overweight and obese kids in the United States, the view of what is a normal may be shifting, and now larger is the new norm, Hager said.

Researchers also noted that doctors should also help parents be more aware of what constitutes a healthy weight for toddlers.

The only real way for parents to know if their child is overweight is to plot their weight and length on a growth chart for their age, Hager said. Children are considered overweight if they fall in the 85th to 94th percentiles of the growth charts, and obese if they are in the 95th percentile or higher.

The child’s pediatrician or family doctor could be adding to the parent’s confusion.

When doctors use the charts, they tend to plot weight and height separately, and without both pieces of information, parents end up not knowing that their child is above normal size for his age, Hager said.

A recent study found more than 75 percent of parents of overweight children said that their doctors never told them that their child was overweight.

The concern among scientists is that children's eating habits are shaped when they are very young, said Dr. Stephen Cook, a member of the Executive Committee of the Section on Obesity for the American Academy of Pediatrics and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"Kids who gain weight as toddlers tend to hold onto weight longer and tend to be overweight and obese in adolescence and adulthood," said Cook, who conducted a similar study in older children.

Some researchers feel that with the epidemic of obesity in this country, people are losing the ability to discern what is a healthy weight and what is overweight or obese. That’s not good news for adults or children. But as more information becomes available for parents to research and read, awareness is slowly improving. If you’re concerned your child is carrying too many pounds for his or her height and weight, check with your pediatrician or family doctor and ask for an evaluation.

Sources: http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/2557-toddler-body-size-overweight.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47329655/ns/health-childrens_health/#.T6lnse0zJnZ

Your Toddler

Allergy Drops & Sprays Poisonous If Swallowed

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Spring and fall are both beautiful seasons, but for some people they are the time when allergies flare up and cause a lot of misery. This is also when you start seeing a lot of prescription and over the counter nose sprays and eye-drops around the house.

These products work great when used as directed, but the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warns that they are poisonous if swallowed.  It only takes less than a fifth of a teaspoon to seriously harm a child.

Parents and caregivers often leave these products out where curious toddlers can find them. Since they do not come in child-resistant packaging – little ones can easily open them.

Eye drops injured more than 4500 children under the age of 5 from 1997 to 2009. Nasal sprays injured more than 1,100 children in the same age group during those years according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC.)

The eye drops in question work by causing blood vessels in the eye to constrict. The nose sprays work in a similar fashion by constricting vessels in the nose. Visine is one of the most popular eye drop brands purchased and Afrin, Dristan and Mucinex nose sprays are often used for nasal allergies.

All these products contain a class of drugs called imidazolines. The active ingredients are  tetrahydrozoline, naphazoline, or oxymetazonline. When applied as directed, the drugs only affect the area where they are used - such as the eyes or nose. If any of these chemicals are swallowed, then they quickly affect other areas of the body.

"Generally, symptoms can occur in as little as one hour, peaking at eight hours, and resolving after 12-36 hours," a CPSC briefing paper notes. "Even though the symptoms resolve in a relatively short amount of time, ingestion of imidazolines can result in severe life-threatening consequences, such as decreased breathing, decreased heart rate, and loss of consciousness that require hospitalization to ensure recovery."

The CPSC has asked for a new rule that requires child-resistant packaging for eye drops and nose sprays but that hasn’t happened yet. If the rule should be finalized, manufacturers will still have at least a year to comply. 

Right now, there are lots of these products in use and in homes where small children live. The FDA has a list of suggestions to help avoid accidental poisoning.

  • Store medicines in a safe location that is too high for young children to reach or see.
  • Never leave medicines or vitamins out on a kitchen counter or a child's bedside.
  • If a medicine bottle has a safety cap, relock it each time you use it.
  • Remind babysitters, houseguests, and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them away and out of sight when they are in your home.
  • Avoid taking medicines in front of young children because they like to mimic adults.

Many parents or caregivers probably aren’t aware of how dangerous these products can be if swallowed. It’s a good idea to take a walk around the house and make sure that there aren’t any sitting on the counters or in a drawer where little hands can reach.

A list of products containing the drugs mentioned above can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20121025/child-poisonings-eye-drops-nose-sprays

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

Keep Kids Safe from Accidental Poisoning

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Findings by SafeKids Worldwide reveal that each day there are about 165 U.S. children treated in an emergency room after getting into household medications. That’s an astounding statistic because all of these visits were preventable.

Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations with a mission of preventing unintentional childhood injury, a leading cause of death and disability for children ages 14 and under.

SafeKids Worldwide released the report and unveiled a new initiative called “Safe Storage, Safe Dosing, Safe Kids." The campaign calls on caregivers, medical personnel, pharmacists, drug makers and government groups to work to reduce accidental poisonings of children from medications.

“This is a brand new initiative for Safe Kids, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of poison control centers and National Poisoning Prevention week,” says Safe Kids Worldwide president/CEO Kate Carr.

The report contains data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). While the numbers of childhood poisoning deaths have decreased by half from 1979 to 2006, the percentage of those deaths from prescription and over-the-counter medicines has nearly doubled, jumping from 36% to 64%.

What’s causing this increase? There are several factors including more available and improperly stored medications in homes. Also, the report points to rising numbers of households with multiple generations - which increases child access to medications. Other reasons cited by the report include improperly coordinated medication dosing because of multiple caregivers, and unsupervised young children who love to put things in their mouths.

“Kids in homes are curious, “ explains Carr, “and kids are always going to be curious, so if you have medication, make sure it’s stored up and away.”

Pills may also look like candy to very young children. The data revealed that 95% of the children taken to emergency rooms for accidental poisoning had been left unsupervised. 5 % were because a caregiver gave an incorrect dose of medicine.

Safe Kids' new initiative to fight medication-related poisonings and deaths calls for changes among caregivers, the pharmaceutical industry, the health care community, and both federal and state governments.

Some safety tips offered by SafeKids Worldwide are:

- Always store medicines and vitamins in a locked location, out of the reach and sight of children

.- Always put medicines and vitamins away after every use.  Never leave them on the counter between doses. Don’t be tempted to “keep them handy” in a purse, backpack, or briefcase, or in an unlocked cabinet or a drawer within a child’s reach.  

- Buy child-resistant packages when available and securely close them every time.

 - Remind babysitters, houseguests, and visitors to keep purses and bags that contain medicine up and away when they visit your home.

- Never leave any medicines out or on a counter.

- Program the poison control center number ‒ 1-800-222-1222 ‒ into your home and cell phones so you have it when you need it. 

The report stresses that federal and local governments have “a critical role to play in medication safety,” including effective regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, supporting funding for poison control centers, providing leadership in public health education programs, and providing medication disposal program.

Carr explains that “while accidents do happen, many of them are preventable, and it’s important to identify risks and teach parents and caregivers what they can do to prevent an unnecessary accident.”

It only takes a few precious moments for a child to put something in his or her mouth that could have deadly consequences. The plan urges parents, grandparents, childcare providers and other caregivers to become familiar with safe storage practices, and Safe Kids cites the CDC’s new “Up and Away and Out of Sight” educational program which reminds caregivers to store medications out of sight and out of reach of children.

Sources:

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/20/skyrocketing-child-deaths-by-meds-poisoning

http://www.upandaway.org/

Your Toddler

Does TV-Time Hurt Toddler’s Chance for Success?

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Many child health experts recommend that parents not allow their children, if they are 2 years old and younger, to watch any television. The reason is that this is a critical time for brain development and watching TV gets in the way of a child’s exploration, problem solving, playing and interacting with parents and others. Without real life stimulation, a child’s brain doesn’t get the chance it needs to develop in normal and healthy ways.

A new study now looks at how toddler TV-time may impact their first foray into the educational system.

The Canadian researchers examined how the TV-viewing habits of about 2,000 children in Quebec at the age of 29 months affected them once they started kindergarten.

Every hourly increase in daily TV viewing over the recommended two-hour limit at the younger age was associated with poorer vocabulary, math skills and attention; reduced physical abilities; and an increased risk of being picked on by classmates when the children started kindergarten.

"[The findings] suggest the need for better parental awareness and compliance with existing viewing recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics," study author Linda Pagani, a professor at the University of Montreal, said in a university news release.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.

 

Some parents may believe that kindergarten isn’t real school, but that it’s more of a pre-school adjustment period where kids get used to being in classrooms and learning very basic education skills. That’s true to a certain extent, however, kids need and deserve all the developmental advantages they can get as they begin their very important school years.

Although the study reported an association between more TV time and poorer skills in school, it did not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Study data and conclusions also typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Most likely your child’s future will include more media options than anyone can imagine today. Experts are already talking about the brain drain that too much multi-tasking and media surfing are having on older kids and adults. So give your little one a media free environment for at least his or her first two years of life. Let them explore the world by touching, smelling, seeing and hearing the wonders around them. There will be plenty of TV time in the future.

Source: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/08/20/how-toddlers-tv-time-can-hurt-kindergarten-success

 

 

Your Toddler

Babies and Toddlers Protected Most By Flu Vaccine

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Two new strains of influenza are making their way around the world this year and the new updated flu vaccine appears to work well against them.

Surprisingly, babies over the age of 6 months, and toddlers are showing the best results according to a new goverment report. 

Because of the mild flu season last year, many adults may have decided they don’t need the vaccine. But there’s no guarantee that the virus won’t bounce back with a vengeance this year.

Child deaths from the flu have made headlines in recent years and it appears parents have stepped it up to make sure their little ones are protected.  Three-quarters of tots ages 6 months to 23 months were vaccinated. That's a significant jump from the previous year, when 68 percent of those youngsters were immunized.

A yearly vaccination now is recommended for nearly everybody, but new figures released Thursday show that last year 52 percent of children and just 39 percent of adults were immunized.

The only ones who shouldn't get vaccinated are babies younger than 6 months and people with severe allergies to the eggs used to make the vaccine.

Flu specialists can't say how bad this winter's flu season might be. Influenza strains constantly evolve, and some cause more illness than others.

But strains from the H3N2 family tend to be harsher than some other flu types, and a new H3N2 strain is included in this year's vaccine because it is circulating in parts of the world.

Because of that strain, "I am pretty confident that this year will be a more traditional flu season" than last year, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Jernigan told The Associated Press. "People won't have had any real exposure to that."

Only one ingredient in this year's flu vaccine was retained from last year's, protection against the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic and has been the main kind of influenza circulating since. Also new in this year's shot is protection against a different Type B strain.

Other trends the CDC spotted last year:

- Roughly a third of teenagers got a flu vaccine.

- So did 45 percent of high-risk young and middle-aged adults, those who are particularly vulnerable to flu because they also have asthma, diabetes or any of a list of other health conditions.

- About 47 percent of pregnant women were vaccinated. Women have five times the risk of severe illness if they catch the flu when they're pregnant, and they can require hospitalization and suffer preterm labor as a result. Vaccination not only protects them, but recent research shows it also provides some protection to their newborns as well.

People can be vaccinated anytime, but Jernigan cautioned that it takes about two weeks for protection to kick in. Flu typically starts to appear in October or November, and peaks in January or February.

Insurance covers the flu vaccine as well as Medicare.  Some plans don’t even require a co-pay. Talk to your pediatrician or family physician about scheduling your child’s flu shot today!

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/years-flu-vaccine-guards-against-strains-161357811.html

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