Your Toddler

Poor Safety Ratings For Some Booster Seats

More than a dozen car booster seats do a poor job of positioning children to fit in their seat belts according to a new review.More than a dozen car booster seats do a poor job of positioning children to fit in their seat belts according to a new review by the Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. IIHS president Adrian Lund said the 13 boosters given a poor rating "may increase restraint use by making children more comfortable, but they don't position belts for optimal protection." Child seat manufacturers said their products meet and exceed federal regulations. Two of the seats on the list have been discontinued since the evaluation was done.

This is the first time the institute issued evaluations for booster seats. The group said it chose not to review crash protection because the seats simply elevate children so lap and shoulder belts are well-positioned to restrain them. Typically, booster seats are used by children between the ages of four and eight. The seat belt should be routed across a child's lower hip and mid-shoulders instead of the abdomen because the liver and spleen are more vulnerable to injuries. Ten seats were named "best bets," meaning they were most likely to correctly position seat belts. Parents should not interpret the evaluations to mean that poorly rated booster seats are not effective says Dr. Kristy Arbogast, a researcher of child passenger safety issues at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "The biggest disservice this would do is to encourage people to move out of booster seats because we know they're an effective restraint, we know they reduce the risk of injury and the risk of fatality." Arbogast suggested parents buying a new booster seat should try it out in their car and see how the seat belt fits on their child. Government recommendations calls for car seats for children up to 40 pounds and booster seats for children over 40 pounds until they are eight years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall. The government also recommends that all children ride in the back seat until age 13. More Information: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Your Toddler

Parents Ignore New Car Seat Recomendations

1.45 to read

I have been surprised at the number of parents I have seen lately, who are either unaware or choose to ignore the changes in car seat recommendations for children under the age of two.I have been surprised at the number of parents I have seen, who are either unaware or choose to ignore the changes in car seat recommendations for children under the age of two.

I try to discuss car seat safety at each check-up appointment, and have always been especially mindful of doing this at the one-year check up. A new policy (April 2011) by colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends what I have been discussing for a while now: children up to age two should remain in rear-facing safety seats. The new policy is supported by research that shows children younger than 2 are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. So how did we get here? Original recommendations (established in 2009), I had followed with my own patients. I discussed turning the car seat to a forward facing position if the child had reached 12 months and 20 pounds. Then in April, an article was published (Inj Prev. 2007;13:398-402), which was the first U.S. data to substantiate the benefits of toddlers riding rear facing until they are two years of age. This study showed that children under the age of two are 75 percent less likely to die or experience a serious injury when they are riding in a rear-facing. That is a fairly compelling statistic to keep that car seat rear-facing for another year! Studies have shown that rear-facing seats are more likely to support the back, neck, head and pelvis because the force of a crash is distributed evenly over the entire body. Toddlers between the ages of 12 and 23 months who ride rear facing are more than five times safer than toddlers in that same age group who ride forward-facing in a car seat. There has also been concern that rear-facing toddlers whose feet reach the back of the seat are more likely to suffer injuries to the lower extremities in a car accident. But a commentary written by Dr. Marilyn Bull in Pediatrics (2008;121:619-620) dispelled the myth with documentation that lower extremity injuries were rare with rear-facing seats. So, it has now been over two years since this data was published and recommended, and parents continue to say, “I just turned the seat around any way” or “I didn’t know.” I did go look at car-seats the other day and I noted that the labeling on the boxes had all been changed to recommend rear facing until two years or until a toddler reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations for the model. I take this to mean that some “small” toddlers could even rear face longer as they do in some European countries. For safety sake, rather than convenience, keep that car seat in the rear facing position. I wonder if they will begin putting DVD players and cup holders facing toward these toddlers, as that seemed to be a concern of many parents. Maybe this will make it “okay” to listen to music or talk while in the car rather than watching TV, at least until a child is older!! If you need references on car seats go to or Send your question or comment to Dr. Sue!

Your Toddler

WHO Recommends Rotavirus Vaccine for All Children

The World Health Organization is recommending that the oral rotavirus vaccine be included in all national immunization programs. The move could avert half a million deaths and 2 million hospitalizations a year. Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe gastroenteritis, which includes severe vomiting and diarrhea, in infants and young children. The contagious infection kills an estimated 1,600 children under the age of five every day, mostly in Africa and Asia.

Children in the United States and Europe have had access to the rotavirus vaccine for about three years but it had previously not been tested in and approved for low-income settings where the disease is most lethal. The Seattle-based Program for Appropriate Technology in Health estimates that vaccination can prevent 225,000 child deaths in the developing world each year. Poor countries will be able to apply for funding from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization to help them buy the vaccine, said spokeswoman Ariane Leroy. The group, which includes governments and private entities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has already pledged to make $4 billion available to developing countries until the end of 2015 - most of it for vaccine programs. "This WHO recommendation clears the way for vaccines that will protect children in the developing world from one of the most deadly diseases they face," said Tachi Yamada of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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,

Your Toddler

Children's Clothing Recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced recalls on two children’s products, and a popular dehumidifier.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 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. 1. Name of Product: Hoodie Footie(tm) Infant and Toddler Footed Pajamas Units: About 800 Importer: The Vermont Teddy Bear Co. Inc., dba Pajamagram, of Shelburne, Vt. Hazard: The metal snaps that attach the hood to pajamas can come off, posing a choking hazard to young children. Incidents/Injuries: None reported Description: The Hoodie-Footie(tm) infant and toddler footed pajamas have a front zipper and a detachable hood. The style "Winter Whimsy" is red fleece with multi-colored penguins, snowmen and snowflake designs. They were sold in infant sizes 0 to 18 months and toddler sizes 2T to 5T. "Hoodie Footie," the size and the code GPU#SUNHFH1 or GPU#SUNHFH2 are printed on a label at the neck of the pajamas. Sold at: Pajamagram catalogs and on the firm's website from November 2010 through December 2010 for about $30. Manufactured in: China Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled pajamas away from children and contact Pajamagram to receive free replacement pajamas plus a $25 gift card. Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact The Vermont Teddy Bear Company/Pajamagram at (800) 262-1162 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to: 2. Name of Product: Children's hooded sweatshirts and jackets Units: About 18,000 Distributor: Mejoong Corp. dba Hot Kids Hazard: The children's hooded sweatshirts have a drawstring through the hood and/or waist that can pose a strangulation or entrapment hazard to children. In February 1996, CPSC issued guidelines (pdf), which were incorporated into an industry voluntary standard in 1997, to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled on neck and waist drawstrings in upper garments, such as jackets or sweatshirts. Incidents/Injuries: None reported Description: This recall involves children's sweatshirts and jackets sold in sizes 2 through 12. The items are made of various materials and were sold in 13 colors and various prints. The brand names MJC, Hot Kids or MJ Collection are printed on the sewn-in label at the neck. Style Number | Description | Material | Color | Sizes 805 | Hooded sweatshirt | Cotton | Gray, pink, black, burgundy | Kids 4-20 806 | Hooded sweatshirt | Cotton | Gray | Kids 4-20 903 | Hooded sweatshirt | Polyester | Black, brown | Kids 2-18 2056 | Hooded flannel shirt | Cotton | Black/white | Kids 2-18 2059 | Hooded plaid jacket | Cotton | Black/white, pink/black, purple/black, red/black | Kids 2-14 4010 | Jacket | Polyester | Black/white, pink/black, purple/black, red/black | Kids 2-14 4015 | Hooded sweatshirt | Cotton Navy, white, pink, charcoal, black, burgundy | Kids 4-20 4049 | Hooded sweatshirt | Cotton | Navy, red, burgundy, gray, blue, pink, green | Kids 4-18 4116-B | Hooded plaid jacket | Cotton | Blue, white | Kids 2-18 4121 | Two-piece sports outfit | Polyester | Black, navy, red, green Kids | 2-18 4122 | Hooded sweatshirt | Cotton | Black Kids | 4-20 4123 | Hooded sweatshirt | Cotton | Black, red, heather, gray Kids | 4-20 5027 | Hooded plaid jacket | Cotton | Black, purple, white  Kids | 2-18 Sold at: The Hot Kids Store in Los Angeles and from nationwide wholesalers from June 2002 through January 2010 for between $6 and $15. Manufactured in: China and Vietnam Remedy: Consumers should immediately remove the drawstrings from the sweatshirts and jackets to eliminate the hazard or return the clothing to Hot Kids for a full refund. Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Hot Kids at (888) 946-8546 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to: 3. Name of Product: GE and Professional Series Brand Dehumidifiers Units: About 198,000 Importer: GEA Products L.P., of Louisville, Ky., and CEM Global LLC (Professional Series) of China Manufacturer: GD Midea Air Conditioning Equipment Ltd., of China Hazard: A component in the dehumidifier's compressor can short circuit, posing a fire hazard to consumers. Incidents/Injuries: Midea and GE have received a total of 14 reports of incidents involving smoke and fumes emitting from the unit and eight reports of fires. In six of the reported fire incidents, property damage extended beyond the unit. No injuries have been reported. Description: This recall involves 30-pint and 40-pint portable dehumidifiers manufactured between November 2006 and August 2007, and during April 2008. The dehumidifiers are white with a front-loading water bucket. "GE" or "Professional Series" and digital controls are located on top of the dehumidifier. Model and serial numbers are located on the back of the dehumidifiers. Model and serial numbers included in the recall are: Brand Model | Number Begins With: | Serial Number Begins With: GE | AHK30LK, AHW30LK, AHM30LK, AHK40LK, AHH40LK, and AHM40LK | VL1, ZL1, AM1, DM1, FM1, GM1, HM1, LM1, MM1, RM1 CEM "Professional Series" | PS78303 | from C10102336010841 4100001 to C10102336010841 5103037 Sold at: Walmart, Sam's Club, Home Depot, Menards and other retail stores nationwide from February 2007 through June 2009 for between $140 and $180. Manufactured in: China Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled dehumidifiers and contact Midea to determine if their product is included in the recall. Consumers with recalled dehumidifiers will return their product to an authorized service center for a free repair. Consumers should not return the recalled dehumidifiers to the place of purchase. Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Midea toll-free at (877) 593-8721 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to: Hoodie FootieHot Kids Hooded Sweatshirts and JacketsGE and Professional Series Brand Dehumidifiers

Your Toddler

Study: Swimming Lessons Don’t Increase Drowning Risk

Enrolling young children in swimming lessons doesn't increase their risk of drowning

Enrolling young children in swimming lessons doesn't increase their risk of drowning. The results of a new study published in the March 2009 issues of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine might dispel concerns among some health professionals that swimming lessons could actually increase drowning risk by making parents and caregivers less vigilant when young children are in and around water.

Government researchers looked at data on drowning involving children ages one to 19 years old and compared them with a control group of children who didn't drown. Of the 61 children ages one to four who drowned, three percent had received swimming lessons, compared with 26 percent of the same age in the control group. "From our calculation, we are confident that swimming lessons do not increase drowning risk in this age group and likely have a protective effect," the study's first author, Dr. Ruth A. Brenner, of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in a government news release. Though they can help, swimming lessons alone aren't enough to fully protect children from drowning. "In our study, many of the children who drowned, particularly in the older age group, were relatively skilled swimmers," Brenner and her colleagues noted in their study. " Parents and caregivers who choose to enroll their children in swimming lessons should be cautioned that this alone will not prevent drowning and that even the most proficient swimmers can drown." Swimming lessons should be part of a complete prevention program that includes fencing for pools, appropriate adult supervision, and parent and caregiver training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the researchers concluded.

Your Toddler

Chickenpox Lollipops?

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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

Alert: Tylenol Recall Grows

Johnson & Johnson recalls popular over the counter medicines.Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is recalling some of the most popular over-the-counter medicines because of a musty or moldy odor that can make you sick.

The drugs that are being recalled include Children’s Tylenol, Motrin IB, Tylenol Extra Strength, Tylenol Day & Night, Tylenol PM and Benadryl.  The 21 lots of recalled drugs have been sold in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Fiji, Guatemala, and some Caribbean countries. Some of these medications were recalled back in January after consumers began to become ill with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. The company said this new recall is a precautionary measure after an internal review found that the same lots of medicines that were recalled back in January, were shipped and stored on the same wooden pallets. In late April, McNeill recalled more than 130 million bottles of children’s medicines including Tylenol Infant Drops, Children’s Tylenol Suspensions, Children’s Tylenol Plus Suspensions, Motrin Infant Drops, Children’s Motrin Suspensions, Children’s Zyrtec Liquids in bottles and Children’s Benadryl Allergy Liquid in bottles. For more information, you can go to McNeil’s product recall website. Here is a list of the products being recalled.  Please check your medicine cabinet.

Product Name

Lot Number

UPC Code








Children’s TYLENOL® Meltaways








MOTRIN® IB CAPLET bonus pack 50+25 count






TYLENOL®, Extra Strength

TYLENOL®, Extra Strength  EZ TABLET 225 count



TYLENOL®, Extra Strength  EZ TABLET 50 count



TYLENOL®, Extra Strength  COOL CAPLET 24 count



TYLENOL®, Extra Strength  CAPLET bonus pack 24+12 count



TYLENOL®, Extra Strength  CAPLET 50 count



TYLENOL®, Extra Strength  CAPLET 50 count (included in Day/Night Pack)



TYLENOL®, Day & Night Value Pack (contains Extra Strength CAPLET 50 count Lot # ABA168 & UPC 300450444530)



TYLENOL®, Day & Night Value Pack (contains Extra Strength CAPLET 50 count Lot # ABA168 & UPC 300450444530)



TYLENOL®, Day & Night Value Pack (contains Extra Strength CAPLET 50 count Lot # ABA168 & UPC 300450444530)



TYLENOL®, Extra Strength RAPID RELEASE GELCAP 24 count



TYLENOL®, Extra Strength RAPID RELEASE GELCAP 225 count

















Your Toddler

Think Twice Before Purchasing an Exotic Pet

A new report warns that young children should not keep certain exotic pets because of risks for disease.A new report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that young children should not keep hedgehogs, hamsters, your-baby chicks, lizards and turtles as pets because of risks for disease. The report, out in the October 2008 issue of Pediatrics says there is evidence that the animals can carry dangerous and sometimes potentially deadly germs. The report also says young children are at risk because of developing immune systems, plus they often put their hands in their mouths.

"Many parents clearly don't understand the risks from various infections these animals often carry," says Dr. Larry Pickering the reports lead author and an infectious disease specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 11 percent of salmonella cases in children are thought to stem from contact with lizards, turtles and other reptiles. Hamsters can also carry this germ, which can cause severe diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. According to the report, hedgehogs can be dangerous because their quills can penetrate skin and have been known to spread a bacteria that can cause fever, stomach pain and a rash. However, one of the study's co-authors pointed out that with supervision and precautions like hand-washing, contact between children and animals is a "good thing" but cautioned that families should wait until children are older before bringing home an exotic pet. More Information: American Academy of Pediatrics


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