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Your Baby

Babies Sleeping in Their Own Room, Sleep Longer

2:00

Many parents choose to have their newborn sleep in the same room as they do, so a common question is what is the right age to move baby into his or her own room? The answer may depend on who you ask. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) recommends that babies share their parents’ room – but not their bed- for at least 6 months and preferably, until their first birthday. The guidelines are meant to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, which may occur while an infant is sleeping.

But if you are ready for your little one to sleep for longer periods of time, then a new study suggests moving your baby into his or her own room by 4 months of age.

For the study, Dr. Ian Paul, the chief of academic general pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine. analyzed surveys from 230 first-time mothers. He found that babies slept for longer stretches if they didn't sleep in the same bedroom as their parents.

At 4 months, babies who slept alone had the longest stretches of uninterrupted sleep -- by about 45 minutes, on average -- though they slept about the same amount of time as babies who slept in their parents' rooms.

At 9 months, babies in their own rooms slept 40 minutes longer at night and over 20 minutes longer overall, compared with those who were still sharing a room with their parents. Those differences disappeared at 12 months but reappeared later. When the researchers followed up at 2½ years, toddlers who began sleeping alone by 9 months slept 45 minutes longer per night, though total sleep time was roughly the same.

As most parents can attest to, when a baby doesn’t sleep well it has an impact on the parents’ stress level and mental health. Paul notes that he believes the AAP recommendation is excessive and that most parents are ready for a room to themselves before 6 months to a year. "Most parents don't want their baby sleeping in their room until 1 year," Paul said. "I've got three of them myself."

Some experts also agree that moving an infant out of the parents' bedroom sooner could help babies sleep better before they develop separation anxiety, said Paul.

The difference in recommendations has led to tension between the two groups.

"This is important information," said Dr. Rachel Moon, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia who co-authored the AAPs’ latest recommendation. "We don't have enough info about downstream effects about what we've recommended."

Moon, a SIDS researcher, cautioned in response to Paul's study that just because sleep is uninterrupted doesn't mean it's better. 

"We think that a lot of the problems with SIDS is that babies don't arouse," she said, adding that if babies sleep too deeply or for too long, some experts believe this could put them at risk.

Room sharing has been estimated to lower the risk of SIDS by as much as to 50%, according to the report Moon co-authored.

The researchers also found other differences between babies that slept in their own room and those that shared a room with their parents: Infants who slept in a room alone were also more likely to have a consistent bedtime routine, and they were more likely to go to bed by 8 p.m. Babies that shared a room were more likely to have something in their bed that shouldn’t be there, such as a blanket, pillow or stuffed animal, and were more likely to be brought into their parents’ bed sometime in the night. Both of which have been linked to sudden infant death, including by suffocation.

Instead of changing the guidelines, Moon said, doctors can use the new study to give better guidance to room-sharing parents who may be more likely to bring their baby into bed overnight, putting them at risk.

"If we know that this is happening, then we can do a better job of providing proactive guidance for families," she said.

If you’re still confused about when to move your little one into his or her room, talk with your pediatrician, for guidance, about any concerns or questions you have.

Story sources: Michael Nedelman, CNN http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/05/health/babies-room-sharing-study/index.html

 

Your Child

Preventing Heat-Related illness in Kids

2:00

With temperatures in the 90s and climbing, children are vulnerable to heat-related illness during the summer months.

Children are actually at a higher risk for heat exhaustion than adults. The difference is that a child's body surface area makes up a much greater proportion of his overall weight than an adult's, which means children face a much greater risk of dehydration and heat-related illness.

One of the best ways to prevent heat stroke in children is to make sure they are hydrated.  “It’s important for parents to have their kids take breaks and drink fluids,” says Dr. Ken Haller, an associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “Water is usually good enough, and the occasional electrolyte solution, like Gatorade, is not a bad idea.”

Haller also notes that taking a break, whether inside or in the shade, can be helpful. And, if they are busy drinking water, your young charges are not heating themselves up by running around. Taking a break gives their small bodies time to cool down.

Children aren’t the best judge of when they are over-heated or dehydrated, that’s why it is important for parents to pay attention to how long their kids are outside and how much fluid they are getting.

And don’t be fooled just because it’s a cloudy day. While sun can definitely be a factor in heat stroke, Haller cautions that kids can still work up a sweat even in the shade if the day is hot enough.

The symptoms for heat exhaustion and heat stroke can slip up on you before you become fully aware of them. Typically, we keep our bodies cool by sweating.  Heat stroke develops when we become too dehydrated to perspire. Our bodies start to heat up even more when we can’t sweat.

The warning signs of heat exhaustion can range from nausea and vomiting to fatigue and muscle cramps.

Heat stroke symptoms in a child are: a headache, feeling dizzy, acting disoriented, agitated or confused, hallucinations, fatigue, seizure, skin that is hot, dry and flushed but not sweaty and a high body temperature of 104F or higher. Symptoms of a heat stroke are nothing to take lightly.

If you suspect that your child is having a heat stroke call 911 immediately. You can also take the child to a shady place that is cool. Remove any unnecessary clothing and fan warm air over the child while wetting the skin with lukewarm water. This will help in the cooling-down process.

Dehydration prevention is key to helping children avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Make sure they drink cool water early and often. Send your child out to practice or play fully hydrated. Then, during play, make sure your child takes regular breaks to drink fluid, even if your child isn't thirsty. A good size drink for a child, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is 5 ounces of cold tap water for a child weighing 88 pounds, and nine ounces for a teen weighing 132 pounds. One ounce is about two kid-size gulps.

Early signs of dehydration include fatigue, thirst, dry lips and tongue,  lack of energy, and feeling overheated. But if kids wait to drink until they feel thirsty, they're already dehydrated. Thirst doesn't really kick in until a child has lost 2% of his or her body weight as sweat.

A simple rule of thumb: if your child's urine is dark in color, rather than clear or light yellow, he or she may be becoming dehydrated.

 Other factors that can put your child at greater risk for heat illness include obesity, recent illness (especially if the child has been vomiting or has had diarrhea), and use of antihistamines or diuretics.

Lack of acclimatization to hot weather and exercising beyond their level of fitness can also lead to heat illness in young athletes.

The time of day can also have an impact on how over-heated your child becomes. Outdoor playtime is better scheduled in the morning and early evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. It’s good to have shady areas nearby to get out of the sun and rest for a little while.

No one recommends keeping your child indoors all summer. Kids need unstructured playtime and exercise to stay fit mentally and physically. However, making sure they are hydrated and take breaks is the best way to prevent a potentially life –threatening situation.

Story sources: Connie Brichford, http://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/heat-stroke.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/children/dehydration-heat-illness#1

Parenting

Cashews Recalled Due to Glass Pieces

1:30

Nuts have become a go-to snack for many families looking to live a healthier life. If you’ve purchased cashews from an ALDI grocery store recently, be sure to check and see if the brand is Southern Grove Cashew Halves and Pieces with Sea Salt.

The recall was initiated after the company received consumer reports of glass found in the product. To date, there have not been any reported injuries. Potentially impacted product has been removed from store shelves.

This recall affects the Southern Grove Cashew Halves and Pieces with Sea Salt sold in 8-ounce (227-gram) canisters, labeled with UPC No. 041498179366. The affected cashews have best by dates of 11/27/18 and 11/28/18.

The cashews were sold by ALDI stores in 29 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Consumers who have purchased the product in question are urged not to consume this product and may return the product to their local ALDI store for a refund or dispose of the item.

Consumers with questions may contact Star Snacks at 201-882-4593 or RecallFEQ01@gmail.com, Monday-Friday 9 am – 2 pm EST.

Story source: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm562129.htm

Your Teen

Knee Surgeries Increasing for Female Teen Athletes

2:00

In 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act was passed. The law requires educational institutions to maintain policies, practices and programs that do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender. 

Young women and girls were given the opportunity to equally participate in school sports programs and receive athletic scholarship money proportional to their participation.

It was a monumental advancement for young girls and women, but along with opportunity came injuries.

A growing number of teenage girls are joining their male counterparts on the operating table to repair torn knee ligaments, according to a new study.

Researchers focused on surgery for a common knee injury known as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, which has long been linked to intense participation in sports like basketball and soccer which require constant pivoting as well as contact sports like football.

The study of private insurance data for 148 million U.S. residents found that overall, the average annual ACL surgery rate climbed 22 percent from 2002 to 2014, when it reached 75 procedures for every 100,000 people.

For teen girls, however, the average annual knee surgery rate rose by 59 percent during the study period to 269 procedures for every 100,000 people. 

“Although there are proven ACL injury prevention programs available, they are not being widely adopted, particularly among young women,” said lead study author Mackenzie Herzog of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The study didn’t focus on why the injuries are happening, but Herzog noted a few reasons why he thinks the increase in injuries might be happening in youth sports.

“Two particular trends that concern us are increased trends toward year-round sports participation at a young age and the tendency to specialize in one sport early,” Herzog said.

For teen boys, the average annual knee surgery rate climbed 44 percent during the study period to end at 212 procedures for every 100,000 people, researchers report in JAMA Pediatrics. 

Surgery rates also rose faster for women than for men, although adult male athletes still had more procedures. By the end of the study, 87 men and 61 women out of every 100,000 people had ACL surgery each year.

In an email to Reuters, Dr. Devin Peterson, a researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who wasn’t involved in the study, said cross-training programs that include exercises to improve strength, balance, coordination and muscle control could help prevent ACL tears.

Pediatric sports medicine expert R. Jay Lee, offers these tips and more from the Johns Hopkins Medicine website:

Get a preseason physical. A preseason or back-to-school physical is a great way to determine if your young athlete is fit to play. “Sports physicals help assess any areas of concern for athletes before they start an activity, and in turn keeps them from further injuring themselves during play if a condition is present and needs to be treated,” says Dr. Lee.

Encourage cross training and a variety of sports. “I see kids today who play on two baseball or lacrosse teams on the same day or throughout the week and year. But it’s important for athletes to change the sports or activities they are doing so they are not continuously putting stress on the same muscles and joints,” warns Dr. Lee. Parents should consider limiting the number of teams their athlete is on at any given time and changing up the routine regularly so that the same muscles are not continuously overused.

Warm up before the sports activity. Stretching is an important prevention technique that should become habit for all athletes before starting an activity or sport. Dr. Lee suggests a mix of both static and dynamic stretching during warmups to help loosen the muscles and prepare them for play. Toe touches and stretches, where you hold the position for a certain amount of time, are considered static, while jumping jacks and stretches, where the body continues to move during stretching, are considered dynamic.

Make sure the proper equipment is used. Protective equipment, like helmets, pads and shoes, are very important for injury prevention. Parents should talk with coaches before the season starts so that they have adequate time to properly outfit their child before practices begin.

Recognize injury and get help quickly.  “I’ve seen a number of young athletes who have serious injuries and didn’t do anything about them, and now the damage has progressed,” Dr. Lee warns. “We need to get these kids in to see a doctor earlier to keep this from happening.”

If parents notice that there is a change in their athlete’s technique, such as a limp when running, throwing differently or rubbing a leg during activity, they should pull the athlete out of play. If the problem persists, parents should seek an assessment for their child prior to returning to the activity.

Dr. Lee warns: “Athletes will alter the way they do things because of pain, but then they can end up with a more serious injury because of it.”

Story sources:  Lisa Rapaport, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-acl-surgeries-girls-idUSKBN1952SE

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/articles-and-answers/prevention/10-tips-for-preventing-sports-injuries-in-kids-and-teens

 

Your Toddler

AAP: Winter Car Seat Safety

2:00

So far in Texas, this year’s El Nino weather pattern has made for a pretty mild winter compared to previous years. But, other areas around the country are being hit hard with a wintery punch and it’s only a matter of time till temperatures drop and snow and ice find their way to the Lone Star State.

Winter can be a bit tricky for child car seat use. While it sounds like the opposite might be true, bulky clothing such as coats and snowsuits should not be worn under the car seat harness.

More padding - more cushion right? That seems logical until you know what happens when a car crashes. In a wreck, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.

So how can you keep your little one warm and protected while buckled up? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has these tips to help strike a comfortable and safer balance.

·      Use a coat or blanket over the straps. You can add a blanket over the top of the harness straps or put your child's winter coat on backwards (over the buckled harness straps) after he or she is buckled up. Some parents prefer products such as poncho-style coats or jackets that zip down the sides so the back can flip forward over the harness. Keep in mind that the top layer should be removable so your baby doesn't get too hot after the car warms up.

·      Use a car seat cover ONLY if it does not have a layer under the baby. Nothing should ever go underneath your child's body or between her body and the harness straps. Be sure to leave baby's face uncovered to avoid trapped air and re-breathing. Many retailers carry car seat bundling products that are not safe to use in a car seat. Just because it's on the shelf at the store does not mean it is safe!

·      Dress your child in thin layers. Start with close-fitting layers on the bottom, like tights, leggings, and long-sleeved bodysuits. Then add pants and a warmer top, like a sweater or thermal-knit shirt. Your child can wear a thin fleece jacket over the top. In very cold weather, long underwear is also a warm and safe layering option. As a general rule of thumb, infants should wear one more layer than adults. If you have a hat and a coat on, your infant will probably need a hat, coat, and blanket.

·      Don't forget hats, mittens, and socks or booties. These help keep kids warm without interfering with car seat straps. If your child is a thumb sucker, consider half-gloves with open fingers or keep an extra pair or two of mittens handy — once they get wet they'll make your child colder rather than warmer.

·      Get an early start. If you're planning to head out the door with your baby in tow on winter mornings, you need an early start. You have a lot to assemble, and your baby may not be the most cooperative. Plus, driving in wintry conditions will require you to slow down and be extra cautious.

·      Tighten the straps of the car seat harness. Even if your child looks snuggly bundled up in the car seat, multiple layers may make it difficult to tighten the harness enough. If you can pinch the straps of the car seat harness, then it needs to be tightened to fit snugly against your child's chest.

·      Remember, if the item did not come with the car seat, it has not been crash tested and may interfere with the protection provided in a crash. Never use sleeping bag inserts or other stroller accessories in the car seat.

·      Store the carrier portion of infant seats inside the house when not in use. Keeping the seat at room temperature will reduce the loss of the child's body heat in the car.

·      Pack an emergency bag for your car. Keep extra blankets, dry clothing, hats and gloves, and non-perishable snacks in your car in case of an on-road emergency or your child gets wet on a winter outing.

·      Make sure your cell phone is charged. If there is an emergency, you want to be able to reach 911 or call for assistance in case of a flat tire or engine trouble.

This is a time when there is a lot of holiday travel from state to state or just down the road to grandma’s house.

Remember, it’s not just children in car seats whose coats shouldn’t be tucked under the harness, adults and older children should make sure their coats are on the outside of the seat-belt.

Little steps can make a big difference in everyone’s safety.

Source: https://healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Winter-Car-Seat-Safety-Tips.aspx

Your Child

Never Use Q-Tips to Clean Your Child’s Ears

1:45

Parents and caregivers seem compelled to clean their child’s ears with a cotton swab. Despite repeated warnings to not put anything smaller than one’s elbow inside a child’s ear, more than 263,000 U.S. children had to be treated in emergency rooms for ear injuries related to cotton-tip applicators between 1990 and 2010, according to a new study.

Almost three-quarters of the cases — 73 percent — involved ear cleaning. About two-thirds of the patients in the study were younger than 8.

"There's this misconception that people need to clean their ears in the home setting and that this is the product to do that with," Dr. Kris Jatana, senior author of the study and a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told TODAY.

"The ears themselves are typically self-cleaning... It is risky to use cotton-tip applicators in the ear canal across all age groups, and certainly we are seeing way too many injuries as a result of this practice."

The most common incident in the ER was the presence of a foreign body, such as part of the cotton swab and a perforated eardrum, researchers said.

"It's difficult for people to gauge how deep they're putting [the swab]," Jatana said. "Sometimes, it just takes a small movement to puncture the ear drum."

Physicians specializing in ear and throat diseases say that Q-tips and similar products should never be used for cleaning the ears. Not only can they cause ear canal injuries, but can also push ear wax deeper into the canal causing it to become trapped.

Studies have found 90 percent of people believe ears should be cleaned and say they regularly clean their ears or their children’s ears, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. Kids also apparently learn to stick Q-tips into their ears by watching their parents: about 77 percent of the injuries in the study happened when the child was handling the swab himself.

If you see earwax on the outer part of your child’s ear, you can clean it with a washcloth or wipe, Jatana suggests. In most cases, earwax is actually beneficial for the ear. It protects, lubricates and cleans the ear canal. Occasionally, children and adults have excessive wax build-up, but a doctor should be consulted about removal.

Hearing loss, a feeling of fullness in the ear or ear pain are symptoms that should be checked out. An ear, nose and throat doctor can remove more stubborn excess wax.

Story source, A. Pawlowski, http://www.today.com/health/cotton-swabs-are-causing-ear-injuries-thousands-kids-t111296

 

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Your Baby

AAP: No Fruit Juice for Children Under 1 Years-Old

1:45

Kids under the age of 1 should avoid fruit juice, older kids should drink it only sparingly and all children should focus, instead, on eating whole fruit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A 2006 AAP policy recommended no juice for children younger than 6 months of age, 4-6 ounces daily for children ages 1-6 years and 8-12 ounces for children 7 and older. Since then, however, considerable concern has been expressed about increasing obesity rates and risks for dental decay.

The new policy advices against giving children under the age of 1 any fruit juice at all unless there is a strong clinical basis for it in the management of constipation. For older children, maximum daily intakes of 100% juice products should be 4 ounces for children ages 1-3 years, 4-6 ounces for children ages 4-6 years and 8 ounces for those 7 and older.

When juice is served to older toddlers, it is important that it not be sipped throughout the day or used to calm an upset child. 

Instead of juices, the AAP recommends fresh fruit in children’s diets. Fruit generally contains additional fiber compared to juices. Consistent with recent AAP recommendations, water and cow’s milk are preferred as primary fluid sources after breastfeeding or formula ceases.

The policy clarifies that there is no reason to give juice during the first year of life and that expensive juice products marketed specifically for infants have no value.

The guidelines also strongly discourage unpasteurized juice products, which can carry pathogens such as E. coli.

As far as which juice is better for kids, the AAP does not favor one juice over the other, but does recommend 100 % fruit juice and not fruit drinks – which contain less than 100 % juice and have added sweeteners.

"Some juices naturally have certain vitamins or minerals in them," Abrams said, noting that orange juice has lots of vitamin C. "But that doesn't mean that apple juice doesn't provide vitamin C, because it's usually fortified."

Story sources: Steven A. Abrams, M.D., FAAP, http://www.aappublications.org/news/2017/05/22/FruitJuice052217

Katherine Hobson, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/22/528970924/pediatricians-advise-no-fruit-juice-until-kids-are-1

Your Child

Backyard Bird Coops Increasing Salmonella Cases

1:30

Backyard chicken and duck coops have become a popular trend in cities around the country.  Many families like the idea of being able to walk out the backdoor and collect fresh eggs for meals. Plus, kids are drawn to the cute baby chicks and are often eager to make them the new family pet. That’s where things can get tricky.

Close contact with even the cleanest and healthiest-looking chicken can make you sick, and there's proof this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On Thursday, the CDC announced that it is working with states to investigate eight multistate outbreaks of salmonella connected to these kinds of backyard birds.

"A lot of people perceive a bird with salmonella will look sick, but that is really not the case," said Megin Nichols, a CDC veterinarian. The birds carry the bacteria on their feathers, on their feet and in their droppings.

At least 372 people were infected with salmonella from January 4th to May 3rd, 2017, according to the government agency. These cases were linked to pet ducks, chickens and geese. The CDC noted that this number was most likely less than the actual amount of cases. Typically, for every known infection, there are 29 other people who probably got sick.

Of the 372 cases, 36% were children. No one has died from the infection, but 71 of those infections were so bad the people had to be hospitalized.

The salmonella bacteria can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever.

The increase in cases set an all time high record in 2016, with 895 people getting sick after interacting with birds. By comparison, over the prior 26 years, there had been only 65 poultry-related outbreaks recorded.

If you’re considering participating in this trend or already have a chicken coop, be sure and make sure you and family members are aware of how to safely raise birds. The CDC offers some information to help you master a few best practices, and so does the US Department of Agriculture on its Biosecurity for Birds page. 

A few tips to lessen the chance of getting salmonella are:

- Always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after you touch the birds or their equipment. Food and water bowls can be contaminated with the bacteria, too.

- Keep the birds outside so they don't track bacteria into your home.

- If you have kids, especially little ones under 5, watch how they interact with the animals. Children are particularly susceptible to the infection, as they often put their hands in their mouths. Be sure to teach them how to handle the animals.

- If you collet eggs, make sure they are cooked thoroughly before eating them.

Story source: Jen Christensen, http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/02/health/salmonella-chickens/index.html

 

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