Your Toddler

Study: Preschool Kids Do Better As Adults

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Can preschool help your child be better prepared as an adult? New results from a 25 year study says absolutely. Have you been struggling with whether to send your child to preschool next year? Maybe a new publicly funded study can help with your decision.

According to results from a Chicago based study with children from low-income families, preschool had surprising long-term benefits. Researchers followed more than 1,000 children for up to 25 years. They tracked nearly 900 children into adulthood. What they discovered was that low-income kids who attended preschool ended up with better jobs, less drug abuse and fewer arrests than children who didn’t attend preschool. Arthur Reynolds began studying more than 1,500 Chicago kids back in 1986, and he’s kept up with most of them ever since. About two-thirds of those children went through the Child-Parent Center Education Program – the rest through traditional pre-kindergarten programs, which start later and are less intensive. The two groups had similar backgrounds, largely poor and African American. Now those kids are turning 28, and Reynolds, a University of Minnesota professor of child development, says people who had rigorous preschool are still enjoying advantages after 25 years. “There’s an initial effect on school readiness,” said Reynolds, a professor of child development at the University of Minnesota. “That kind of sets off sort of a chain reaction that leads to the changes that we see in adulthood at the end of the twenties.” The ongoing publicly funded program focuses on language development, scholastic skills and building self-confidence. It involves one or two years of half-day preschool, and up to four additional years of educational and family services in grade school. The findings were published in the online version of the journal Science. Previous studies have also found that attendance at high quality preschools produced similar results. Though many preschool kids also received extra services in grade school, including intensive reading instruction, the researchers found the most enduring effects, particularly for non-academic success, were due to one or two years of preschool. The authors theorize that those intensive early childhood experiences built intellectual - skills, social adjustment and motivation that helped children better navigate their high-risk environments. The challenges facing the low-income children were daunting, and the final results were, as adults, the average income for those attending preschool was $12,000 less than the average income. Also almost half of them had been arrested. But even though the statistics sound grim, they were not as dismal as for the kids who did not attend preschool. Preschool gave the children who attended a leg-up in the world. Experts not involved in the study still called the results impressive. "To still show really any advantage for such a long period of time is remarkable and noteworthy," said Kyle Snow, director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children's applied research center. The study's lead researcher, Arthur Reynolds of the University of Minnesota, said the differences between the groups are meaningful and translate to big savings to society for kids who attended preschool. The average cost per child for 18 months of preschool in 2011 is $9,000, but Reynolds' cost-benefit analysis suggests that leads to at least $90,000 in benefits per child in terms of increased earnings, tax revenue, less criminal behavior, reduced mental health costs and other measures.  "No other social program for children and youth has been shown to have that level of return on investment," he said. Some of the study’s results were: —80 percent of the preschool group finished high school versus 75 percent of the others. —Nearly 15 percent of the preschool group attended a four-year college, versus 11 percent of the others. —28 percent of the preschool group had skilled jobs requiring post-high school training versus 21 percent of the others. —Average annual adult income for the preschool group was about $11,600 versus $10,800 for the group that did not attend preschool. The low average incomes include zero earnings for those in prison and close to that for adults who were still in college or studying elsewhere. —14 percent of the preschool group had abused drugs in adulthood versus 19 percent of the other. —48 percent of the preschool group had been arrested in adulthood and 15 percent had been incarcerated, versus 54 percent of the others arrested and 21 percent incarcerated. Preschool offered many of the children a solid base for further education, and an opportunity to start the first grade better prepared.

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

Arsenic In Fruit Juice

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There’s been a lot of media coverage about the pros and cons of giving children fruit juice to drink. Now a new study conducted by Consumer Reports says that 10 percent of juices tested by the magazine had arsenic levels higher than allowed in water by the Food and Drug Administration.

Brands including Apple & Eve, Great Value, Mott's, Walgreens and Welch's had at least one sample that exceeded the 10 parts per billion threshold, it said. Other juices with low arsenic levels include: America's Choice Apple; Tropicana 100% Apple; and Red Jacket Orchards 100% Apple.

One of the big concerns is that so many children drink fruit juice daily. Arsenic can accumulate in children’s bodies over time, and raise their risk for cancer, and other serious illnesses.

The 88 samples came from 28 apple and three grape juice brand products that were purchased by Consumer Reports. They included ready-to-drink bottles, juice boxes and cans of concentrate from different lot numbers at stores around New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The Juice Products Association responded to the report by saying that comparing juice to water was not appropriate.

The FDA has different guidelines for juice than it does water. While the guideline for water is 10 ppb of inorganic arsenic, juices are allowed higher levels at 23 ppb.

"Fruit juice producers are confident the juice being sold today is safe," said Gail Charnley, a toxicologist for the juice association.

“They showed that the juice samples they tested met the Food and Drug Administration’s limit on arsenic in juice,” Charnley said. “The toxicologists and the food safety experts at the FDA set that limit in a precautionary public health based kind of way. And the food industry is committed to meeting those limits.”

The FDA is willing to look at it’s fruit juice standards and possibly make some adjustments.

"We welcome the research that Consumer Reports has undertaken and look forward to reviewing the data that formed the basis for their story and their recommendations,” the agency noted. “We continue to find the vast majority of apple juice tested to contain low levels of arsenic, including the most recent samples from China. For this reason, FDA is confident in the overall safety of apple juice consumed in this country. By the same token, a small percentage of samples contain elevated levels of arsenic. In response, FDA has expanded our surveillance activities and is collecting additional data”

Consumer Reports also found about one-fourth of all juice samples had lead levels at or above the federal limit for bottled water, it said.

The advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, Consumer Union, said in the report these findings should be enough to prompt the federal government to establish arsenic limits for juice.

The FDA has conducted recent tests on fruit juice after Dr. Mehmet OZ talked about high levels of arsenic, in children’s fruit juice, on his television show. The FDA said its results showed very low level of total arsenic in the samples it tested.

One of the issues the FDA had with Oz’s study was its failure to separate out measurements of inorganic and organic arsenic. Studies have linked inorganic arsenic to a variety of cancers. But many consider organic arsenics – especially the types commonly found in seafood - to be safe.

As far as Consumer Reports is concerned, that’s not a proper way to evaluate arsenic in drinks and food.

“Questions have been raised about the human health effects of other types of organic arsenic in foods, including juices,” the magazine noted. “Use of organic arsenic in agricultural products has caused concern. For instance, the EPA in 2006 took steps to stop the use of herbicides containing organic arsenic because of their potential to turn into inorganic arsenic in the soil and contaminate drinking water.”

Beyond this, there’s evidence that organic arsenic converts into the inorganic form when chickens consume feeds that contain the compound, Consumer Reports researchers noted.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  has also weighed in on giving kids fruit juice to drink.  Their website notes that drinking too much juice can contribute to obesity, the development of cavities (dental caries), diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems, such as excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pain.

The AAP suggests that:

  • When you give your child juice, it should be 100% pasteurized fruit juice and not fruit drinks.
  • Infants under 6 months of age should not be given juice, although many Pediatricians do recommend small amounts of juice for children that are constipated.
  • Infants between 6 and 12 months can drink up to 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day, but should do it only in a cup, not a bottle.
  • Younger children aged 1 to 6 years should have only 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day.
  • Older children should be limited to 8 to 12 ounces of juice a day.
  • Instead of juice, children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits.

The arsenic study will be featured in the January, 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine and is available online.

 

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Sources: 

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45491242/ns/today-today_health/#.Tt6znZgzJnY

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/us-arsenic-juice-idUSTRE7AT231...

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

Toddlers’ Meals and Snacks Packed with Salt

2.00 to read

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

2.00 to read

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

Kid’s “Hypoallergenic” Products May Cause Allergic Reactions

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When a child has eczema, doctors often recommend that parents purchase hypoallergenic ointments, creams or lotions to ease the suffering from dry, inflamed skin.

However, according to a new study, many products labeled as hypoallergenic contain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the “hypoallergenic” label, said Carsten Hamann, a medical student at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California and the lead researcher on the study.

“Kids who have eczema or atopic dermatitis use more lotions and creams and ointments, etc. Ostensibly, their caregivers who purchase these products to use on the kids' skin, give preference to products using these meaningless marketing terms,” Hamann told Reuters Health in an email.

Hamann and his colleagues tested products that might be used by kids with eczema, which affects 17.8 million people in the U.S., according to the National Eczema Association. Patients have patches of red, itchy skin, often on the arms, legs, cheeks, and behind the ears.

Doctors often advise people with eczema to apply moisturizer to the affected areas.  People with eczema tend to have a higher risk of so-called “contact allergies.” That is, they may have allergic reactions to substances that come in contact with their skin, including fragrances, preservatives, and other kinds of chemicals.

Researchers tested 187 cosmetic products found in 6 different stores in California, to see if they contained any of the 80 most common known allergens.  All of the products were specifically marketed as being safe for use by children and labeled as “hypoallergenic”, “ dermatologist recommended/ tested”, “fragrance-free,” or “Paraben free.” Most people assume that these types of products are actually designed to help people who have sensitive skin.

But, researchers found that 89 percent of the products contained at least one allergen, 63 percent contained two or more, and 11 percent contained five or more. The average number of allergens per product was 2.4, the researchers reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Preservatives and fragrances accounted for 58 percent and 29 percent of the allergens, respectively. These ingredients often irritate a skin condition.

Ten percent of the products contained methylisothizolinone, a preservative that is about to be banned in the European Union because it can cause severe skin irritation, according to the researchers.

“It would be very difficult for even the most caring, intelligent and well-read parent to know the names of 80-plus allergens and their synonyms, let alone compare that list of allergens to a 15-plus long ingredient list on the back of a pediatric product,” Hamann said.

Dr. Michael Arden-Jones, a skin disease specialist at the University of Southampton in the U.K., said that defining something as an allergen can be complicated.

“Almost any chemical compound could be implicated as an allergen, so it is almost impossible for a cream to be truly non-allergic,” he told Reuters Health. “Thus, as there is no true ‘hypoallergenic’ cream, there is no agreed meaning of ‘hypoallergenic.’”

Skin experts say that ointments are generally the safest products for kids who have eczema. Creams and lotions contain water and therefore must contain preservatives, making them more likely to contain allergens. Prescription moisturizers are typically reliable. Products with artificial coloring or fragrances or do not have the ingredients listed on the box should be avoided.

The National Eczema Association reviews products and offers the “NEA Seal of Acceptance” for those that do not include known irritants. Depending on the product, the NEA Seal of Acceptance™ Review Panel considers testing data on sensitivity, safety, and toxicity, as well as the ingredients, content, and formulation data. There is a tab on the website dedicated to information on child eczema in infants to older children. Their website is: http://nationaleczema.org.

Sources: Madeline Kennedy, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/21/us-eczema-products-safety-idUSKCN0J529L20141121

http://nationaleczema.org.

Your Toddler

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

2.00 to read

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...

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

Why you should never use a kitchen spoon to measure medicine.