Your Toddler

Toddler Sleep, Eating Problems, Often Go Together

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So-called behavioral insomnia, where a young child regularly resists bedtime or has trouble staying asleep, is common -- seen in up to 30 percent of children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.

A similar percentage have problems at mealtime, ranging from being an overly "fussy" eater to having a full-fledged "feeding disorder" - in which, for instance, parents can't get their child to follow any regular eating schedule, or the food refusal affects a child's weight.

It might not be surprising to many parents that sleeping and eating issues often go hand-in-hand. But the new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, is the first to show this may be true.

Among parents of 681 healthy kids 6 months to 3 years old, Israeli researchers found that those whose child had behavioral insomnia were more likely than other parents to say their child had eating issues as well.

And parents whose children were diagnosed with a feeding disorder were more likely to say they had trouble getting their child to sleep at night.

When asked if mealtime was a "problem," one-quarter of parents of children with insomnia said that it was; that compared with nine percent of other parents.

Similarly, 37 percent of parents whose children had an eating problem said that sleep was also an issue. In contrast, only 16 percent of other parents said the same.

Young children's eating and sleeping habits are the two most common concerns parents bring to their pediatricians, write the researchers, led by Dr. Riva Tauman of Tel Aviv Medical Center.

The current findings, they say, suggest that doctors should be aware that the two issues commonly go together, and help parents find ways to manage both.

The standard way to address behavioral insomnia is for parents to change their children's nighttime routine. That usually means setting a regular bedtime and certain rituals, like reading a story, that let a young child know bedtime is coming.

With eating problems, experts generally suggest that parents try to get kids interested in mealtime from an early age -- gradually introducing a variety of healthy, colorful foods, for instance, and making the eating environment pleasant but without any distractions like TV.

The current findings are based on 58 children who had been diagnosed with behavioral insomnia, 76 with a feeding disorder, and 547 who were studied for comparison.

Parents of children with insomnia were more likely to also report feeding "problems" -- worrying, for example, that their child was not eating enough or not growing properly.

Similarly, parents of children with feeding disorders were often worried about their child's sleep; and compared with other parents, they reported that their children got to bed almost an hour later, and slept for fewer hours each night.

It's possible, according to Tauman's team, that parents of young children with feeding disorders are more sensitive to sleep issues -- and vice-versa.

But they say it's also likely that parenting practices, like a lack of consistency in enforcing rules, underlie both problems.

On the positive side, the researchers note, that means that getting help for one issue could help parents manage both.

Tips for getting your child to sleep:

Stick to a bedtime. "Don't wait until your baby is rubbing his eyes or yawning to put him to bed," says Marc Weissbluth, MD, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. "By then he's overtired." If you notice your child winding down at 8 p.m., make that his/her bedtime.

Get into the routine. Thirty minutes to an hour before bedtime, start a calming ritual that may include giving a bath and reading a story or two.

Put your baby in his/her crib awake. If your child is routinely rocked to sleep at bedtime, what happens when she wakes up alone at 3 a.m.? Answer: She cries. "All infants and toddlers wake two to six times a night," says Parents advisor Jodi Mindell, PhD, coauthor of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep. "They need to know how to put themselves back to sleep."

Swaddle for the first three months. Research shows that 
infants who are swaddled wake up less and sleep longer than
 other babies.

Tune out. If your baby seems sensitive to household sounds, try running a white-noise machine or a fan in her room.

Let the sun in. Expose your baby to about 30 minutes of light each morning. Why? Light suppresses the release of the sleep hormone melatonin; this helps set her internal clock -- making it easier for her to fall asleep at night.

Your Toddler

Rear-facing Car Seats Protect Older Children

Children under four years of age fare better in motor vehicle accidents when they are riding in rear-facing rather than forward-facing car seats.Children under four years of age fare better in motor vehicle accidents when they are riding in rear-facing rather than forward-facing car seats, according to a report published online in the British Medical Journal. Infants are typically switched from a rear- to a forward-facing seat when they reach about 20 pounds, which occurs at roughly 8 months of age for an average boy, study authors Dr. Elizabeth A. Watson and Dr. Michael J. Monteiro, from Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, UK, note. They add, however, that growing evidence suggests it may be best to delay the switch until four years of age.

For example, some data shows that many fatalities in young forward-facing riders could have been averted with a rear-facing seat. An analysis of US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data of 870 children involved in crashes from 1998 to 2003 found that through 23 months of age, better protection from all crash types was provided with rear-facing seats. In terms of specific injuries, recent crash test results suggest that rear- rather than forward-facing seats provide better protection of the lower neck and chest, the authors note. In another crash simulation study, it was concluded that manufacturers should developed rear-facing seats for children up to four years old. Watson and Monteiro note that in contrast to forward-facing seats, rear-facing seats provide full alignment of the head, neck, and spine, so that crash forces are dispersed over these areas rather than centered on one site. The message for healthcare professionals, the authors say, is that they should recommend rear-facing car seats for children under four years of age. To fully address the issue, however, seat manufacturers and retailers need to "increase the availability of rear-facing car seats for children over 20 pounds."

Your Toddler

What’s In Infants and Toddler’s Prepackaged Food?

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As a parent, you may have assumed that pre-packaged food for infants and toddlers surely must be healthy; I mean really, what kind of a company would knowingly put these innocents at risk for long-term health issues? If that has indeed been your assumption, then you may be surprised to learn the results of a new study using a comprehensive analysis of foods sold for infants and toddlers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, if you’ve ever read the confusing Nutritional Facts list on such products, you may not be surprised at all.

The health culprits contained in children’s food products are sugar and sodium. A little is fine, too much is a health disaster waiting to happen in the form of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The harsh reality is that some of these products have more sodium and sugar in them than adult food products.

We’re not talking about natural sugars and sodium contained in food, but added sugar and salt to make the foods “taste better”.

The CDC’s study showed that about one-third of prepared dinners made for toddlers contained at least one kind of added sugar as well as 97% of breakfast pastries and cereal bars. Researchers found that 88% juices and other drinks marketed for infants and toddlers contained added sugars.

On the sodium spectrum, 72% of toddler dinners were found to be way over the recommended limit, with an average of 2,295 milligrams of sodium per meal. The Institute of Medicine recommends that toddlers consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

Some foods marketed to infants and toddlers had more sodium than comparable adult foods. Among 34 types of savory snacks for infants and toddlers – a category that includes crackers, some types of rice cakes and mini-hot dogs sold in jars – the average concentration of sodium was 486 mg per 100 grams of food. In comparison, salted potato chips intended for adults have about 450 mg of sodium per 100 grams, the researchers noted in their study, which was published by the journal Pediatrics.

When you take a hard look at what children are eating these days, and the lack of recommended physical activity, it’s no surprise that 23% of American kids between the ages of 2 and 5 (yes, that young) are either overweight or obese. With the added sodium in their diets, obese children are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease (the No.1 cause of death in the U.S.), and other health problems. These health issues are starting to show up in teenagers, where once they didn’t develop till much later in life.

The CDC researchers set out to better understand the amount of sodium and sugar in prepared foods designed for infants and toddlers. They scoured a commercial database that includes nutrition information on more than 200,000 prepared foods. They also walked the aisles of Wal-Marts, Targets, Costcos and supermarkets in the Atlanta area to find additional products for their analysis. Altogether, they included 1,074 food items for infants and toddlers in their sample.

The good news is that not all of their findings negative. For instance, among 657 infant vegetables, fruits, dry cereals, dinners and ready-to-serve items that combined mixed grains with fruit, all but two were considered low in sodium. In addition, more than 80% of the 582 fruit, vegetable, soup and dinner items for infants had no added sugars.

However, food content began to change after kids turned 1 and moved on to toddler foods. Cereal bars, fruit and dry fruit snacks for this age group were still low in sodium, but most contained at least one type of added sugar. The most common additive listed was “fruit juice concentrate”, a somewhat creative name for squeezing out most of a fruit’s water and fiber so that only the fruit sugar is left.

The authors of the study expressed concern that starting children on high sodium and sugar foods when they are little could set them up for a lifetime of poor eating habits.

So what can you do as a parent? Become a label investigator before purchasing pre-packaged food for your child (or yourself for that matter).

When reading the Nutrition Facts label on a food, check for four things:

·      How many servings are contained in the product. Oftentimes a product – even a small one- contains more than one serving.

·      The sodium content per serving

·      The sugar content per serving

·      The list of ingredients.  Added sugars may have names such as high fructose syrup, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup. Added sodium may be listed as monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

Look at where these items fall in the list of ingredients.  Ingredients are listed in order of the quantity they contribute to the overall food. When you see any ingredient listed first or at the top of the list, there’s a lot of it in the food.

For this study, the data on sodium and sugar came from the Nutrition Facts labels that appear on food packages. These aren’t necessarily accurate because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows the figures on the label to be off by as much as 20%, the researchers noted. 

Source: Karen Kaplan,  http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-sn-infant-toddler-foods-salt-sugar-20150202-story.html

Your Toddler

Giving Makes Toddlers Happy

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You might assume that toddlers don’t like sharing their food or their things with others, but according to a new study – you’d be wrong.

Toddlers love to give because it makes them happy. I even love typing that sentence. How sweet is the thought of little happy toddlers sharing and laughing with each other?

A team of three psychologists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, gave toddlers some treats and a few minutes later asked the toddlers to give one of their treats to a puppet. The children were also given an extra treat and asked to give this to the puppet too.

The toddlers' reactions to these requests were videotaped and then rated for happiness. The researchers concluded that the toddlers showed greater happiness when they shared their own treat than when they shared the extra treat. This suggests that this behavior is emotionally rewarding for the children.

"People tend to assume that toddlers are naturally selfish," study lead author Lara Aknin said in a university news release. "These findings show that children are actually happier giving than receiving."

This study and others like it suggests that the good feelings we have when helping others is deeply ingrained in our psyche, beginning in early childhood. 

I wonder sometimes if we could all be a little more like these toddlers – enjoying the accomplishment of giving to others instead of so focused on ourselves – the world might just be a happier place.

 The study was published in the online journal PLoS One.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/toddlers-happier-receive-study-180409974.html

Your Toddler

Treating and Preventing Burns

Burns are one of the most painful injuries a child can suffer. Knowing how to recognize the degree of a burn, and the proper treatment, can make a huge difference in how well the burn will heal.

Burns are divided into four different levels. 1st degree burns are minor and heal quickly. Symptoms are redness, tenderness, and soreness (like most sunburns). 2nd degree burns are serious injuries. First aid and medical treatment should be given as soon as possible. Symptoms are blistering (like a severe sunburn), pain, and swelling. 3rd degree burns (also called full-thickness burns) are severe injuries. Medical treatment is needed right away. Symptoms are white, brown, or charred tissue often surrounded by blistered areas. There may be little or no pain at first. 4th degree burns are severe injuries that involve skin, muscle, and bone. These often occur with electrical burns and may be more severe than they appear. They may cause serious complications and should be treated by a doctor right away. Call your pediatrician if your child suffers anything more than a minor burn. ALL electrical burns and any burn on the hand, foot, face, genitals, or over a joint worse than 1st degree should receive medical attention right away. There are many different causes of serious burns in children, including sunburn, hot-water scalds, and those due to fire, electrical contact, or chemicals. All of these can cause permanent injury and scarring to the skin. Chemicals that cause burns also may be absorbed through the skin and cause other symptoms. Call the Poison Help Line (1–800–222–1222) or your pediatrician after washing off all the chemicals. Treatment Your immediate treatment of a burn should include the following. - As quickly as possible, soak the burn in cool water. Don’t hesitate to run cool water over the burn long enough to cool the area and relieve the pain immediately after the injury. Do not use ice on a burn. It may delay healing. Also, do not rub a burn; it can increase blistering. - Cool any smoldering clothing immediately by soaking with water, then remove any clothing from the burned area unless it is stuck firmly to the skin. In that case, cut away as much clothing as possible. - If the injured area is not oozing, cover the burn with a sterile gauze pad or a clean, dry cloth. - If the burn is oozing, cover it lightly with sterile gauze if available and immediately seek medical attention. If sterile gauze is not available, cover burns with a clean sheet or towel. - Do not put butter, grease, or powder on a burn. All of these so-called home remedies actually can make the injury worse. When treating a burn at home, watch for any increase in redness or swelling or the development of a bad odor or discharge. These can be signs of infection, which will require medical attention. Prevention Most burns that are not fatal are not related to fires. Most often, these are scalds from hot liquids—for example, when a child turns over a cooking pot upon himself, or turns the knobs on a bathtub faucet so that hot water flows on him. Children also sometimes suffer burns by touching a hot iron, a coil on an electric stove, a curling iron, hot barbecue charcoal, or fireworks. - Install smoke detectors in hallways outside bedrooms, the kitchen, living room, and near the furnace, with at least one on every floor of the house. Test them every month to be sure they work. It is best to use alarms that have long-life batteries, but if these are not available, change batteries at least annually on a specific date that you’ll remember (such as January 1 of each year). - Practice home fire drills. Make sure every family member and others who care for your children in your home know how to leave any area of the home safely in case of a fire.. - Have several working fire extinguishers readily available. Place fire extinguishers around the home where the risk of fire is greatest, such as in the kitchen, furnace room, and near the fireplace. - Teach your children to crawl to the exits if there’s smoke in the room. (They will avoid inhaling the smoke by staying below it.) - Purchase a safety ladder if your home has a second story, and teach your children how to use it. If you live in a high-rise building, teach your children the locations of all exits and make sure they understand never to use the elevator in a fire. (It can become trapped between floors or open on a floor where the fire is burning.) Agree on a family meeting point outside the house or apartment so you can make certain everyone has gotten out of the burning area. - Teach your children to stop, drop, and roll on the ground if their clothing catches fire. - Avoid smoking indoors. - Do not leave food cooking on the stove unattended. - Lock up flammable liquids in the home. It is best to store them outside the home, out of children’s reach, and away from heat or ignition sources. - Lower the temperature of your water heater to below 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) to prevent hot water scalds and burns. - Don’t plug appliances or other electrical equipment into extension cords if they place too much “amperage” or load on the cord, thus creating a potentially unsafe situation. - Keep matches and lighters away from children, locked and out of reach. - Avoid all fireworks, even those meant for consumer use.

Your Toddler

Too Many Children Spend Little Time Outdoors

New research from Australia suggests that many children spend too little time outdoors and too much time in front of the TV.

If you think your child is slowly turning in to a couch potato, you may not be alone. New research from Australia suggests that many children spend too little time outdoors and too much time in front of the TV and a lack of suitable outdoor spaces may be partly to blame. The study looked at nearly 1,400 10- to 12-year-olds and found that 37 percent typically spent a half-hour or less being active outside. Few were outdoors for two hours or more on a typical day.

Researchers found that many children devoted at least two hours per day to the TV or computer screen, with 49 percent of boys and 36 percent of girls doing so. The researchers did find, however, that certain children were more likely to play outdoors for more than a half-hour at a time, namely those whose parents allowed them to walk around their neighborhood on their own. The finding suggests that when parents think their neighborhood is safe, children are more likely to get outdoor exercise, according to Dr. Li Ming Wen and colleagues at Sydney South West Area Health Service and the University of Sydney. Dr. Wen told Reuters Health that if more neighborhoods were safe, clean, walkable and offered public areas where children could play, that might allay parents' concerns and help kids be regularly active. Wen suggested that, when possible, parents not drive their children to school but allow them to walk. Having them walk with their friends, the researcher noted, may help ease parents' safety worries.

Your Toddler

Tips For Raising A Toddler

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Need help with your toddler? Here’s an easy guide with nine tips containing common mistakes and helpful remedies.

1. Be Consistent. Toddlers do best when they know what to expect, whether it's what time they bathe or go to bed or what consequences they'll face for misbehaving. The more consistent and predictable things are, the more resilient and agreeable a toddler is likely to be. Fix it: As much as you can, keep regular routines for your child. Consistency can be a challenge when parents (or other caregivers) don't see eye to eye. Not sure how best to react if your child dumps food on the floor or ignores bedtime? Sit down with your partner ahead of time to decide on an appropriate response -- and stick with it. "You don't want to send mixed messages," says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, the author of Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions about Babies and Toddlers and a pediatrician in private practice in Los Angeles. "You really want to be consistent." 2. Focus on Family Time It's delightful to spend time with the whole family. But some parents go overboard on family time. "Kids cherish time alone time with one parent," says Thomas Phelan, PhD, a clinical psychologist in suburban Chicago and the author of several parenting books, including 1-2-3 Magic. "One-on-one time is fun for parents too, because there's no sibling rivalry to contend with." Fix it: What's a good way to spend one-on-one time with a toddler? Phelan recommends simply getting down on the floor together and playing. 3. Offering Too Much Help Some parents jump in to help a toddler who is having trouble doing something. Before you do, consider the possibility that by helping your child complete a puzzle or put on a shirt, you may be sending the message that he/she can't do it alone -- in other words, that the child is incompetent. "Parents who offer too much help may be sabotaging their young children's ability to become self-reliant," says Betsy Brown Braun, the Los-Angeles-based author of You're Not the Boss of Me. Fix it: "We need to teach children to tolerate struggle," Braun says. Of course, there's nothing wrong with offering praise and encouragement. "Be a cheerleader," Brown says. "Say, 'You can do this!'" 4. Talking Too Much Talking with toddlers is usually a terrific idea. But not when it's time to rein in errant behavior. Imagine a mom has just said "no" to her 2-year-old's request for a cookie. The child fusses. Mom explains that it's suppertime. The child grabs a cookie anyway. Mom takes it away, and tries again to explain herself to her now tearful child. Back and forth it goes, with mounting frustration on both sides. "Talking can lead to what I call the talk-persuade-argue-yell-hit pattern," Phelan says. "Toddlers are not adults in a little body. They're not logical, and they just can't assimilate what you are saying to them." Fix it: What's the smart way to lay down the law? Once you tell your toddler to do something, Phelan says, don't talk about it or make eye contact. If the child disobeys, give a brief verbal warning or count to three. If the child refuses to toe the line, give a time-out or another immediate consequence. No explaining! 5. Avoid Only Kiddie Food Does your toddler seem to eat nothing but chicken fingers and fries? Are goldfish crackers the only fish he or she eats? As some parents realize too late, toddlers fed a steady diet of nutritionally iffy kid's foods may resist eating anything else. Fix it: Encourage your child to try "grown-up" fare. "A good percentage of kids are willing to try a new food if they see mommy and daddy enjoying it," Altmann says. "If they push back, keep putting it on their plate. Some kids need to try things a dozen or more times before they take to it." Her advice:  As long as there's something your child can eat on the plate, don't worry. Do not allow yourself to become your child's short-order cook. 6. Getting Rid of the Crib Cribs do more than keep little ones safe. They promote good sleep habits. A toddler moved too soon into a "real" bed may have trouble staying in bed or falling asleep, and so may end up climbing into bed with mommy and daddy. "Some moms wear themselves out because they have to lie down with their child every night," Altmann says. "They don't realize they're the ones who set the pattern." Fix it: When is it time to get rid of the crib? When your child asks for a bed or starts climbing out of the crib. For most kids, that comes between the ages of 2 and 3. 7. Potty Training Some parents cajole their children into using the toilet when they think it's time -- and issue harsh reprimands when things go awry. That can lead to a power struggle. Fix it: "Children learn to use the toilet when they're ready," Altmann says. "The process shouldn't be rushed." But you can set the stage. Show your toddler the toilet. Explain its use. If you feel comfortable doing so, let your child watch you use the toilet -- and offer praise if he or she gives it a whirl. 8. Too Much TV Time Toddlers who watch lots of TV often have more trouble learning later on. And studies suggest that kids under the age of 2 can't really take in what's being displayed on TV and computer screens. Fix it: Keep your toddler busy with reading and other, more creative pursuits. Have conversations-and encourage talking as well as listening. "The longer you can hold off exposing your child to TV, the better," Altmann says. 9. Trying to Stop a Tantrum Some parents worry that an out-of-control child makes them seem like ineffectual parents. But all toddlers have tantrums. When they do, it's pointless to try to talk them out of it -- even if the drama is unfolding in front of company or in a public place. "When we are in public and dealing with a child, we feel judged," Braun says. "We feel like there is a neon sign over our heads saying we are incompetent parents." Fix it: Braun says parents must remember that the child matters more than the opinions of other people -- especially strangers.

Your Toddler

Daytime Nap Benefits Beyond Rest

A new small study shows that for children aged four and five, taking a nap during the daytime may help reduce hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.Any parent can testify that a child's naptime is also beneficial for the caregiver. Now a new small study shows that for children aged four and five, taking a nap during the daytime may help reduce hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.

The study of 62 children categorized them as either napping (77 percent) or non-napping (23 percent). Researchers found that those who didn't take daytime naps had higher levels of anxiety, hyperactivity and depression. The data was based on the parents' or caregivers' reporting of the child's typical weekday and weekend bedtime/wake time and napping patterns. Family demographics and behavioral assessments of the children were also included in the analysis. Researchers found that children who took naps did so an average 3.4 days a week. "There is a lot of individual variability in [the age] when children are ready to give up naps. I would encourage parents to include a quiet 'rest' time in their daily schedule that would allow children to nap if necessary," said lead author Brian Crosby, a postdoctoral fellow of psychology at Pennsylvania State University. In his research, Crosby also noted an optimal age for children to stop napping hasn't yet been determined.

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

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