Your Toddler

HGH May Benefit Kids with Cystic Fibrosis

Although Human Growth Hormone is not a cure for the disease, researchers discovered that it reduced the number of hospitalizations among those who have the disease.A new study from the University of Connecticut suggests that recombinant human growth hormone could be a promising tool in treating cystic fibrosis.

Although rhGH is not a cure for the disease, researchers discovered that it reduced the number of hospitalizations among those who have the disease. The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, was produced by the UConn/Hartford Hospital Evidence-based Practice Center and was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While the study offers insights on managing the disease, there's not enough evidence yet on whether rhGH treatments could extend the lives of those with cystic fibrosis.

 "It's intuitive that it might be beneficial as far as length of life goes, but we won't be able to go ahead and tell that just yet," said one of the researchers, Craig Lapin of UConn's Department of Pediatrics and the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Cystic Fibrosis affects multiple organs. Lungs are clogged with a thick mucus, which can lead to lung infections. The disease also affects the pancreas, making it difficult for the body to absorb food, which significantly stunts growth and often leads to early deaths. The researchers studied cases of children and adolescents, with cystic fibrosis going back to the 1990s, who received an injection of human growth hormone every day for six months to a year.

 In the 1950s, children with cystic fibrosis generally died before age 8. But with antibiotics and other medical advances, the median age for people with the disease increased to 37 by 2008.

"As the kids with cystic fibrosis are living longer and longer, a lot of these ancillary problems are become more apparent," said C. Michael White, director of the Evidence-based Practice Center and lead author of the study. In the cases studied, the researchers found that human growth hormone added 1.25 inches in height and three pounds to the patients. That growth also resulted in larger internal organs, particularly the lungs, making breathing easier.

 HGH also appears to improve the mineral content in bones, making them stronger. "

For those who received human growth hormone, White said, annual hospitalizations decreased by half, from about three hospitalizations per year to one and half.

 HGH therapy can be expensive, but fewer hospitalizations should balance out the expense.

 "Hopefully, this is going to encourage cystic fibrosis care providers to use it more frequently in patients at the lower end of weight and of short stature," Lapin said of the findings. A daily injection can be difficult for a child who is already taking several other medications, White said, but going to the hospital fewer times might make up for it.

 "I could see that, for a lot of kids, the injections would become just part of the daily routine," he said. "They would probably be a lot less scary than hospitalizations."

Your Toddler

Magnets in Toys Pose Broad Dangers

Parents need to be better warned about potential health risks and symptoms of children swallowing toys with magnets.When giving your child toys this holiday season, parents need to be better warned about potential health risks and symptoms of children swallowing toys with magnets. That is the warning from a new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. When ingested, multiple magnets can stick together across a bowel wall, leading to infection in the digestive tract, the need for surgery and even death. The study also found that parents often don't seek medical attention for a child who has swallowed a magnet as quickly as necessary.

The findings are based on the analysis of 121 magnet-swallowing cases in 21 counties and were published online in the journal Pediatric Radiology. "The majority of swallowed magnetic objects were components of toy sets, including many well-known brands," study author Dr. Alan Oestreich, a professor of radiology at Cincinnati Children's, said in a hospital news release. "Many of the children represented in the survey were 5 years of age or younger and dependent on their parents or guardians to ensure they do not have access to multiple small magnets." The authors urged parents to pay particular attention when buying toys for small children as written warnings are not mandatory on toys containing magnets. Symptoms of ingested magnets can be mild and flu-like, but nausea, vomiting, cramps or abdominal pain should be given medical attention.

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Your Toddler

Seven Tips For Toddler Discipline

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Toddler-hood is a particularly vexing time for parents because this is the age at which children start to become more independent and discover themselves as individuals. Yet they still have a limited ability to communicate and reason. "They understand that their actions matter -- they can make things happen," says Claire Lerner, LCSW-C, child development specialist and director of parenting resources for the organization Zero to Three. "This leads them to want to make their imprint on the world and assert themselves in a way they didn't when they were a baby. The problem is they have very little self-control and they're not rational thinkers. It's a very challenging combination." So how do you deal with a child who screams every time you try to give him or her a bath, and whose vocabulary seems to consist of just one word -- "no"? Here are a few simple toddler discipline strategies to help make life easier for both you and your child. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 1: Be Consistent Order and routine give young children a safe haven from what they view as an overwhelming and unpredictable world, says Lerner. "When there's some predictability and routine, it makes children feel much more safe and secure, and they tend to be much more behaved and calm because they know what to expect." Try to keep to the same schedule every day. That means having consistent nap times, mealtimes, and bedtimes, as well as times when your toddler is free to just run around and have fun. When you do have to make a change, it helps to warn your child in advance. Telling your child, "Aunt Jean is going to watch you tonight while Mommy and Daddy go out for a little bit" will prepare her for a slightly different routine, and will hopefully prevent a scene at bedtime. Consistency is also important when it comes to discipline. When you say "no hitting" the first time your child smacks another child on the playground, you also need to say "no hitting" the second, third, and fourth times your child does it. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 2: Avoid Stressful Situations By the time children reach the toddler stage, you've spent enough time with them to know their triggers. The most common ones are hunger, sleepiness, and quick changes of venue. With a little advance planning, you can avoid these potential meltdown scenarios and keep things relatively calm. "You have to anticipate, which means you don't go to the grocery store when your child needs a nap," says Lisa Asta, MD, a pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif., and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Try to make sure your child is home at naptimes, bedtimes, and mealtimes. If you are out, always keep food on hand in case of a sudden hunger attack. Keep excursions short (that means finding another restaurant if the one you've chosen has an hour-long wait, or doing your grocery shopping at times when the lines are shortest). Finally, plan ahead so you don't have to rush (particularly when you need to get your child to preschool and yourself to work in the mornings). You can ease transitions by involving your child in the process. That can be as simple as setting an egg timer for five minutes, and saying that when it rings it's time to take a bath or get dressed, or giving your child a choice of whether to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt to school. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 3: Think Like a Toddler Toddlers aren't mini-adults. They have trouble understanding many of the things we take for granted, like how to follow directions and behave appropriately. Seeing the scenario from a toddler's perspective can help prevent a tantrum. "You might say, 'I know, Derek, you don't like getting into the car seat ... but it's what we have to do,'" Lerner explains. "So you're not coddling, but you're validating their feelings. You have to set the limit, but you do it in a way that respects the child and you use it as an opportunity to help them learn to cope with life's frustrations and rules and regulations." Giving choices also shows that you respect your toddler and recognize the child's feelings. Asking your child if he or she wants to bring a favorite book in the car, or take along a snack, can make the child feel as though he or she has some control over the situation while you remain in charge, Lerner says. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 4: Practice the Art of Distraction Make your toddler's short attention span work for you. When your child throws the ball against the dining room wall for the 10th time after you've said to stop, it's pretty easy to redirect your child to a more productive activity, like trading the ball for a favorite book or moving the game outside. "Parents need to create an environment that is most conducive to good toddler behavior," advises Rex Forehand, PhD, the Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher Professor of Psychology at the University of Vermont and author of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child. "If they're into something they're not supposed to do, the idea is not to punish them but to get another activity going or pick them up and put them in another room." Toddler Discipline Secret No. 5: Give Your Child a Break Time-outs are one of the foundations of child discipline, but they may not be the best approach for the toddler stage. The negative implication of being sent away can teach kids that they're bad, rather than promote good behavior. If you do give your child a time-out, limit it to just a minute or two at this age. Instead of calling it a time-out, which can be confusing to children under 3, refer to it as something more positive. Lerner suggests creating a "cozy corner," a safe place, free from distractions and stimulation, where your child can just chill out for a few minutes until he or she can get back in control. That time away can help you regroup, as well. Correct bad behaviors, but also take the time to praise good behaviors. "If you don't tell your child when they're doing the right thing, sometimes they'll do the wrong thing just to get attention," Asta says. When you tell your toddler he or she has done something good, there's a good chance your child will want to do it again. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 6: Stay Calm When you're standing in the middle of the mall, looking down at your child who's screaming on the floor, and trying to ignore the stares of the shoppers around you, it's easy for your blood pressure to reach the boiling point. It's hard to stay calm, but losing control will quickly escalate an already stressful situation. Give yourself some time to cool off, advises Forehand. "Otherwise, you're venting your own anger. In the end that's going to make you as a parent feel worse and guilty, and it's not going to do your child any good." "I call it the "Stepford Wife" approach," Lerner says. As your child screams, say, 'I know, I know,' but stay completely calm as you pick him up. Don't show any emotion. Sometimes the best tactic is to ignore the behavior entirely. "You just literally act like they're not doing what they're doing. You ignore the behavior you want to stop," Lerner says. When your child realizes that his screaming fit is not going to get him a second lollipop or your attention, eventually he'll get tired of yelling. Your child may drive you so close to the breaking point that you're tempted to spank him, but most experts warn against the practice. "When we spank, kids learn that physical punishment is acceptable. And so we are modeling exactly what we don't want our kids to do," says Forehand. At the toddler stage, redirection and brief breaks are far more effective discipline tactics, Forehand says. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 7: Know When to Give In Certain things in a toddler's life are nonnegotiable. She has to eat, brush her teeth, and ride in a car seat. She also has to take baths once in a while. Hitting and biting are never OK. But many other issues aren't worth the headache of an argument. Pick your battles. "You have to decide whether it's worth fighting about, and about half the time it's not worth fighting about," Asta says. That means it's OK to let your son wear his superhero costume to the grocery store, or read The Giving Tree 10 times in a row. Once he gets what he wants, you can gradually get him to shift in another direction -- like wearing another outfit or picking out a different book to read. Finally, know that it's OK to feel stressed out by your toddler sometimes. "Realize that none of us as parents is perfect -- we do the best we can. There are going to be days that we're better at this than other days," Forehand says. "But if we parent consistently and have consistent rules, then we're going to see more good days than bad days."

Your Toddler

Study: Preschool Obesity Rate Stable at 1 in 7

New government research shows that the U.S. obesity epidemic has stabilized in the past five years among preschool-aged children at about one in seven children being obese. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 14.6 percent of 2- to 4-year-old children were obese in 2008, about the same as in 2003 and compared to a 12.4 percent obesity rate in 1998.

"These new data provide some encouragement but remind us of two things -- one, too many young children are obese, and two, we must not become complacent in our efforts to reduce obesity among young children," said Dr. William Dietz, director of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. Childhood obesity is known to increase the risks of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life, and it can often lead to adult obesity. The CDC surveyed some 2 million children. Researchers defined obesity as having a body mass index, which is a measure of height and weight, that ranked at or above the 95th percentile on growth charts. American Indians and Alaska Natives were the only racial or ethnic group where the proportion of obese children rose between 2003 to 2008 -- rising about one-half percent per year in each group to 21.2 percent. Hispanic preschoolers had the next-highest obesity rate in 2008 at 18.5 percent, with 12.6 percent of young white children and 11.8 percent of black children considered obese. Study author Dr. Andrea Sharma, a CDC epidemiologist, said reducing obesity rates required "policy changes that promote physical activity and good nutrition." She urged "greater consumption of water and fruits and vegetables and lower consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods high in fats or added sugars."

Your Toddler

Babies, Toddlers and Discipline

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In a previous article we looked at the results of a study on whether spanking your child creates more disobedience instead of controlling bad behavior.  According to the research in this particular study, spanking is not an effective form of discipline; in fact, it’s not discipline at all. It only creates more problems down the road.

So, what are some better alternatives to getting your child to behave? 

The first step is to understand what discipline is and how it works. Discipline is not punishment.

Punishment, defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: suffering, pain or loss that serves as retribution or a severe, rough or disastrous treatment.

That’s not the goal of loving parents who are trying to stop a child’s unacceptable behavior.

Discipline, on the other hand, is about teaching. It helps a child learn what is expected and to gradually learn how to control their behavior.  Children learn best when they feel safe and secure and their “good behavior” is encouraged.  The key is to have a good relationship with your child as well as clear and realistic expectations.

There is no one discipline tool that fits all, but there are some guidelines for different age groups. As children mature, techniques need to change to fit your child’s mental and physical growth.

Ages 0-1 years of age (Infants):

Infants should never be disciplined. They are not capable of understanding the meaning of words or able to remember what you’ve asked of them. You’d think that this would be obvious, and to most parents or caregivers it is. But there are some people who don’t get it and not only try to discipline their baby, but get angry when the infant doesn’t do what they want.  Babies are not little adults who have an agenda. They are merely babies and depend entirely on their parents or caregivers for survival.

Loving touches and gentle words are just as important as food and clothing to these little ones.  They need to learn that their world is a safe and nurturing place and that they can trust those around them.  A baby never does anything to deliberately annoy someone. They simply aren’t capable of that kind of manipulation.

Ages 1-3 (Toddlers)

These are the ages when children first sample the world around them through mobility and touch. They are curious, excited and easily frustrated. They learn through touching and moving and oftentimes creating a mess. They get frustrated because they don’t have the skills to accomplish everything they want.  The word “no” can become a part of their limited vocabulary.

Discipline at this age is about setting a few simple boundaries and helping them learn new skills with patience and praise.

Avoid battles, particularly with eating and toilet training. It’s not a war between you and your toddler. Making a mess is normal. This age group demands a lot of attention and patience. Re-directing and praise works better than a constant stream of you saying “no, no, no.” The word no loses its power when repeated constantly.

Toddler-proof your home: The best way to help a toddler stay out of a dangerous situation, or not grab something you don’t want them to have, is to toddler-proof your home. Cover electrical outlets with plastic snap-ons. Move breakable objects to a higher place in the house. Make sure coffee tables don’t have sharp corners.  Secure your TV to the wall and make sure that bookcases are secured. Anything they climb on or pull over needs to be anchored. Make sure that drawers and cabinets cannot be accessed. Put in place kid-safe products designed to block access to these areas.

Toddlerhood is a challenging time, no doubt about it.  They have little self-control and are not rational thinkers. They want to be independent and discover things for themselves but don’t have the communication skills and forethought needed to do so safely so it’s up to you, the parent, to help keep them safe.

Routines, order and consistency: Routines, order and consistency are very important to helping this age feel that the world around them is a safe place. This means regular nap times, meal times and bed times as well as free time to play and explore.  

Since they are just beginning to experience a little independence, toddlers need to know what you expect of them. Terms have to be simple; consequences quick. If your child bites or hits or grabs the cat by the tail, you respond quickly with the appropriate words. “ Do not bite”, “Do not hit,”  “ Do not pull the kitty’s tail”.  Say it every time it happens, and redirect your child to an activity that you can praise. Be consistent in the idea that there are certain actions that are not acceptable and others that are not only acceptable, but also more interesting.

Avoid stressful situations. You’ve spent enough time with your child to know that there are situations that often trigger bad behavior. The most common ones are hunger, sleepiness, and quick changes of venue. Avoid these potential meltdown scenarios with a little advance planning. An example would be that you wouldn’t take your toddler to the grocery store when you know they haven’t had a nap or are hungry. You can pretty well predict how that is going to go.

If you’re taking your child out, keep excursions short unless it’s to the park or playground. Even those trips should have a time limit that you know works well.

Restaurants can be tricky with a toddler. There is a lot of stimulation and not a lot of room for exploring. Find “family friendly” locations and try not to go during the busiest times. If a meltdown occurs, take your child outside, explain the situation in a calm voice and redirect their attention again until he or she calms down. 

Validate their emotions: Let your child know you understand their frustration. Validate their emotions. “I know you don’t like the car-seat, but we have to use it when you ride in the car.” It’s not coddling, it’s validating their feelings but also setting boundaries. When we ride in the car- you’ll be in the car seat. I understand you don’t like it.

You can also bring something your child likes to hold – a stuffed animal, blanket or toy. You can offer a healthy snack or give them a choice between the two, so they feel like they have a measure of control in their life. It’s a learning experience every day for parents as well as toddlers.

Time-outs? A lot has been made of “time-outs.” Time-outs are helpful when used as a discipline tool, but typically they don’t work well for toddlers. They are too young to really understand what it is you’re asking of them and it can be too confusing.  Distraction and redirecting tend to work better for this age.

Praise good behavior: You can correct bad behavior, but don’t forget to praise good behavior.  When a little one only hears what they are doing wrong, they don’t get a sense of the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.  Sometimes re-phrasing in a more positive tone helps. “The puppy likes to be petted, not have her tail pulled. Let’s pet the puppy like this. Look- see the puppy likes that – you’re such a good puppy petter!”

Stay calm: Toddlers can push your buttons.  It’s important to stay calm and to know when you’re getting too upset to parent well.  Losing control can quickly escalate into yelling, hitting and doing or saying something you regret. If your child is home and having a tantrum or repeating the same behavior over and over, give yourself some time to cool down.

When they are in a safe environment like the home, ignoring the tantrum may work best. Sometimes, you just have to let them exhaust themselves while screaming, lying on the floor and flailing about. It’s part of learning that they won’t always get what they want.

Once they settle down, hug them and let them know that you love them and then find something better to do. 

Toddlers will test your patience, your sanity and your self-control. They’ll also make you find creative ways to teach them. Each child is different and requires an approach tailored to their personality and maturity.

And yes, sometimes you reach a point where the battle is more damaging than giving in. Be flexible and give in, but redirect the behavior towards something that you want them to learn or do.

“Alright, mommy is going to give you this piece of candy, and then you’re going to help me put away your building blocks. That’s the way we’re going to make this moment work for both of us. Sound good?”

Toddlers and babies are precious little beings that can make your heart burst with joy and love. Yes, they can be demanding, but they are so worth the extra effort.

In later posts we’ll look at discipline techniques for older children.

Sources: Stephanie Watson, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/7-secrets-of-toddler-discipline

http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=122&id=2429

Your Toddler

Have A Fun And Safe July Fourth!

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July Fourth is a great holiday for celebrating with family and friends. Make sure your precious time together is a safe one!Celebrating the Fourth of July is a time honored tradition. All across the country families and friends will be gathering to bar-b-cue, trade tall-tales, and watch fireworks.  As you gear up for your Fourth of July bash, we’ve got several tips to help your family stay safe.

Preventing Fireworks Accidents The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks display. But if you decide to hold your own mini-celebration make sure your child doesn’t become another accident statistic. First, make sure you know the local laws regarding fireworks. Some states ban all consumer fireworks, while certain cities have their own laws prohibiting certain types of consumer fireworks. Don't assume your municipality or state allows the use of consumer fireworks you purchased elsewhere. And take note, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has banned some fireworks – including cherry bombs and M-80s – from public sale anywhere in the United States. Maintain a "hands-off" policy for children. Even if consumer fireworks are legal in your area, make sure your children know only adults should handle them. Even sparklers, which adults often overlook, can inflict painful and disfiguring burns. Educate your children. Because you can't control the behavior of your children's playmates, ask your kids to leave a celebration if their friends disregard the "adults-only" policy. Teach them to "stop, drop and roll" if their clothes catch fire. Make sure they know how to call emergency services in your area, and show them how to put out fireworks with water or a fire extinguisher. Be prepared. Never ignite fireworks inside. Before you begin, select a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and other flammable materials. Have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby. Read and carefully follow all safety and lighting instructions. Maintain a long-distance relationship. You can minimize the risk of injuring yourself and others by making sure spectators are well out of range before you light fireworks, and by never: - Carrying fireworks in your pocket. - Throwing fireworks at anyone. - Placing any body part over fireworks. - Trying to re-light fireworks that malfunction. - Mixing alcohol consumption with fireworks displays. - Using homemade fireworks or explosives. Food safety Backyard bar-b-cues are a lot of fun as long as you follow food safety guidelines. Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill. When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Avoid opening the lid too often, which lets cold air out and warm air in. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler. Marinades Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days. Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it. However, if the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a boil first to destroy any harmful bacteria. Thawing Foods Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water. For quicker thawing, you can microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill. Transporting When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth. Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40 °F or below. Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving home. Keep Cold Food Cold Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill. When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Avoid opening the lid too often, which lets cold air out and warm air in. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler. Keep Everything Clean Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. To prevent food-borne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food. If you’re eating away from home, find out if there’s a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Or pack clean cloths, and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands. July Fourth can be a wonderful holiday full of great food, laughs, and activities. Have a blast and make it a safe one!

Your Toddler

1 in 5 Preschoolers Obese

A new study shows that the obesity rate in children continues to increase; almost one in five American 4-year-olds is obese. The study, conducted by researchers at Ohio State University and Temple University, also shows that the obesity rate is alarmingly higher among American Indian children, with nearly a third of them obese.

Overall, more than half a million 4-year-olds are obese. Obesity is more common in Hispanic and black children too, but the disparity is most startling in American Indians, whose rate is almost double that of whites. The lead author said that rate is worrisome among children so young, even in a population at higher risk for obesity because of other health problems and economic disadvantages. "The magnitude of these differences was larger than we expected, as it was surprising to see differences by racial groups present so early in childhood," said Sarah Anderson an Ohio State University public health researcher. Dr. Glen Flores, a pediatrics and public health professor at the University of Texas Southwester Medical Center in Dallas who was not involved in the study, said the research is an important contribution to studies documenting racial and ethnic disparities in children's weight. "The cumulative evidence is alarming because within just a few decades, America will become a 'minority majority' nation," he said. With interventions, the next generation "will be at very high risk" for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, joint diseases and other problems connected with obesity," said Flores.

Your Toddler

Holiday Safety Tips

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The holidays are a fun time of year for families, it's also an important time of year to be mindful of your child's safety.The holidays are a fun time of year for most families, it's also an important time of year to be mindful of your children's safety.

James Schmidt, an emergency room physician at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter in Virginia, sees plenty of avoidable accidents at this time of year — and all year round. "Each year," he says, "parents are warned of holiday hazards, including toxic mistletoe and dangerous toys. Unfortunately most of the holiday hazard stories miss the larger point regarding children's safety. Most of the household injuries that occur during the holiday are the exact same types of injuries that occur commonly throughout the year -— poisonings, choking, falls and burns." There is however, one common seasonal injury — that's when a child pulls over a Christmas tree. Trees should be securely fastened to the wall and toddlers should not be permitted close enough to a tree to tug on it, cautions Schmidt. Other dangers to watch for include easy access to alcohol at holiday gatherings. "During a large party, guests may leave half-imbibed cups around the house. Small children may wander the house sampling the drinks. Children often show up at ERs showing symptoms of alcohol poisoning," he says. Childproofing for the Holidays Most parents understand the importance of childproofing their homes. Gates on stairs, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors , and keeping medicines and poisons out of reach are fairly standard in many homes. In addition to the risks of holiday decorations, younger children can get into trouble if they visit a home during the holidays (or anytime of year) that isn't childproofed. It is especially likely that a home isn't childproofed if you are visiting grandma and grandpa and they don't usually have children in the house. In addition to not having safety locks on cabinets, gates on stairs, covers on electrical outlets, etc., they may also have prescription medications that aren't in a child resistant container. Things to be especially watchful for, and which you may want to ask about, include: - Do they have a pool? Does it have a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate? Can the children get to the area where the pool is located? - Are there guns in the house? Are they stored unloaded in a locked box with the bullets locked separately? - Are there small objects, such as hard candy or nuts in candy dishes, where younger children can get them? - Are there gates on the stairs? - Are medications, poisons, and household cleaners out of reach? - Do they have a pet that may harm the children? If there are going to be a lot of younger children present at a holiday gathering, you might consider volunteering to go over before hand and childproof the house for them. Toy Safety The following tips will help consumers choose appropriate toys: - Select safe toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children. - For infants, toddlers, and all children who still mouth objects, avoid toys with small parts that can pose a fatal choking hazard. - Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts. - For all children under age 8, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points. - Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8. - Be a label reader. Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide. - If your child is going to be getting something that he can ride, such as a bicycle, inline skates, scooter, or a skateboard, be sure that he also gets the appropriate protective equipment, including a helmet and pads. - Discourage your small children from playing with BB and pellet guns.

Your Toddler

Iron Deficiency in Newborns

Babies at the higher end of the low-birth-weight spectrum are at risk of iron deficiency, and should get iron supplements, according to a Swedish study published Monday in Pediatrics.For years iron supplements have been given to low weight babies to reduce the long term effects of too little iron in the baby’s blood. A new Swedish study suggests that babies born in the mid-weight range can also benefit from iron supplementation.

Babies at the higher end of the low-birth-weight spectrum are at risk of iron deficiency, and should get iron supplements, according to a Swedish study published Monday in Pediatrics. These "marginally" low-birth-weight infants tip the scales at 4 pounds, 6-8 ounces when born. They represent a large percentage of newborns; for example, 5 percent of babies born in the US every year are in the marginally low-birth-weight range. While iron supplements are recommended for all low-birth-weight babies, these recommendations aren't always followed for the infants who fall into the marginal range, Dr. Magnus Domellof of Umea University in Sweden told Reuters Health. There is "large variation between different clinics and different hospitals, and there is a lack of guidelines." Iron deficiency can have a serious impact on a child’s neurological development, but giving too much iron may also be harmful. To investigate the effects of iron supplementation, Dr. Domellof and his colleagues randomly assigned 285 healthy, marginally low-birth-weight babies to receive either a placebo, or 1 milligram of iron per kilogram of body weight, or 2 milligrams of iron per kilogram, every day between 6 weeks and 6 months of age. At six months, the researchers found, 36 percent of children in the placebo group were iron deficient, compared to only 8 percent of the 1-mg group and 4 percent of the 2-mg group. The most severe deficiency, or anemia, was seen in 10 percent of the group given only the placebo. Eighteen percent of the exclusively breastfed babies in the placebo group had iron deficiency anemia. Dr. Domellof and his colleagues saw no adverse effects of iron supplementation in any of the infants. Full-term, healthy babies born to well-nourished mothers have adequate stores of iron in their bodies to carry them through their first 6 months of life. For this reason, they can thrive on breast milk, which contains very little iron, and then begin eating iron-rich solid foods at 6 months of age. But smaller babies have lower reserves, and need to start iron supplementation earlier. Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that marginally low-birth-weight infants should receive iron supplements from 6 weeks to 6 months of age. Dr. Domellof, and his colleagues, plan to follow the children up to age seven to determine whether iron deficiency -- or iron supplementation -- has long-term effects on health and development. Parents should discuss iron deficiency with their Pediatrician before starting their baby on an iron supplementation program.

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