Happy Halloween!


For some kids (and adults), Halloween ranks right under Christmas for favorite day of the year. It’s exciting, fun and full of surprises and treats.

While a lot of importance is placed on safety with costumes and streetwise awareness, there are a few more steps parents can take once the kids are back from trick or treating.

It’s a good idea to check the treats before your little ones dig in. Here are a few simple guidelines for what to look for when examining your child’s candy. Look for anything that doesn’t look like you think it should, including the following:

·      Lumps or bulges under the wrappers

·      Punctures or pinholes in wrappers or boxes

·      Ripped wrappers

·      Loose wrappers

·      Discolored or stained wrappers or boxes

·      Foreign objects poking from the candy

·      Candy that isn't in the original box or wrapper

·      Treats that are in unsealed boxes or partly unwrapped wrappers

·      Mismatched candy in packages containing multiple pieces. Look for candies that are a different size or color from all the others.

·      Candy brands or manufacturers that you've never heard of.

·      Candy that has a strange or unpleasant smell.

·      Candy that has passed its expiration date.

Throw away any candy that appears to have been tampered with. Candy that comes with twist wrappers can easily be opened and tampered with.

Although not as common as it used to be, fruit is still sometimes given out during Halloween. Check the fruit by washing and slicing it into small pieces. Cutting it allows you to examine it for concealed items such as needles, razor blades or glass.

Unless you know who gave your child homemade treats, toss them. Examples could include popcorn balls, caramel apples or baked goods. If you’re sure you know who gave the homemade goodies and you trust them – then enjoy!

If you’re really concerned about dangerous items that could have been placed in the Halloween candy, some hospitals or doctor’s offices offer a free x-ray test on Halloween night or the next day. Call and check to see if your hospital or doctor provides this service before going.

A few other really good tips are:

◦       If your children have dietary needs (nuts, dairy, vegetarian etc.), make it especially clear to them that they should never eat candy before having an adult read the label.

◦       If your unsure of the candy brand, look it up online. If no brand exists, it's probably homemade.

◦       Serve a meal to children before they leave for trick-or-treating. This will make them less tempted to snack on Halloween candy before they get home.

◦       Encourage your children to take candy they've eaten before. The purpose of this is that, when they unwrap it, they'll know if it doesn't look right and you'll have told them to bring this to your attention.

◦       Consider not giving out candy containing common allergens, or, if you do, include it in an assortment of candy for children who know they're allergic.

◦       Only save brand-name lollipops (like Dum-Dums or Tootsie pops), and not ones that could possibly be homemade and then tainted. As always, help your kids check them when they are unwrapped.

◦       If your children are on the older end, remind them to just not take peanut-butter candy (Twix, Reese's,) to begin with.

◦       Tell children to restrict their trick-or-treating to the local neighborhood. This will limit the number of strangers they encounter on Halloween.

From the Kid’s Dr. family, have a wonderful and safe Halloween this year!



Higher Vitamin D, Less Childbirth Pain


A new study suggests there may be a simple way pregnant women can reduce their pain during childbirth. The secret? Higher levels of vitamin D.

The new study included 93 pregnant women whose vitamin D levels were checked before childbirth and who received an epidural for pain during labor. The researchers measured how much pain medication each of the women required during delivery.

Women with lower vitamin D levels required more pain medication than those with higher vitamin D levels, according to the study scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in New Orleans.

"Women often experience lower than normal levels of vitamin D during pregnancy. We found that patients with low levels of vitamin D experienced an increase in pain during childbirth," senior author Dr. Andrew Geller, an anesthesiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said in a society news release.

"Given the research results, prevention and treatment of low vitamin D levels in pregnant women may have a significant impact on decreasing labor pain in millions of women every year," he added.

"This topic needs to be revisited and additional research should be conducted to determine how we can improve the labor experience for women everywhere," Geller concluded.

Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that women at highest risk are vegetarians, women who do not get enough sun exposure and members of ethnic minorities.

You can obtain more vitamin D by:

  • Making sure that you have enough exposure to the sun. 20 to 25 minutes, without sunscreen, is helpful.
  • Fresh fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna are a good source of vitamin D.
  • Canned tuna is also a good source, but check with your OB/GYN on how much canned tuna you should eat while pregnant. Tuna (light canned) is recommended over white Albacore tune because of mercury content.
  • Fortified milk with vitamin D can offer a vitamin D boost.
  • Fortified orange juice with vitamin D also offers around 100 IUs, but can vary from brand to brand.
  • Vitamin D supplements. Be sure to not overdo the dosage. Too much of a good thing is not a good idea as far as vitamin D is concerned. Too much can be toxic. 4,000 IUs is the daily limit recommended from all vitamin D sources including food, sun and supplements.
  • Egg yolks provide vitamin D in small doses. One yolk yields about 40 IUs.
  • Fortified cereals can offer additional vitamin D.
  • While probably not a favorite of many people, a 3.5-ounce serving of beef liver contains about 50 IUs.
  • Cod liver oil comes in liquid or capsule form. One tablespoon contains about 1,300 IUs of vitamin D.
  • During the darker winter months, Ultraviolet lamps and bulbs can be helpful. People at high risk of vitamin D deficiency may resort to UV-emitting lamps and bulbs. This includes people unable to absorb the vitamin (mal-absorption) or those who can't get enough in winter months, says Michael F. Holick, MD, a professor of medicine, sociology, and biophysics at Boston University Medical Center. 

These are similar to tanning beds, but smaller. "The lamp is only about 24 inches by about 16 inches," says Dr. Holick. 

These lamps carry the same skin-cancer risks and need for protective eyewear, so they're best for those with a doctor's recommendation.

A healthy Vitamin D level is recommended for both men and women and the benefits are showing up in studies, not only for pregnant women, but also for heart, skin and emotional health.

Studies presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Sources: Robert Preidt, Health Day Reporter,

Ella Quittner,,,20504538,00.html


Important Recall: Shrapnel From Exploding Airbags


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  released a recall notice Monday for defective airbags and urged people whose cars are equipped with them to take action immediately.

More than 7.8 million vehicles are involved in the recall. At least four people have died when inflator mechanisms ruptured on the air bags, scattering the passengers with metal fragments.

These vehicles are traveling the roads with individuals and families who believe that the airbags will protect them in a crash. Normally, that’s true, but these defective airbags are dangerous time bombs waiting to explode.

The airbags are made by Takata and are in place in some Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan and General Motors models.

The recall comes with urgency, especially for owners of vehicles affected by regional recalls in the following areas: Florida, Puerto Rico, limited areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

"Responding to these recalls, whether old or new, is essential to personal safety and it will help aid our ongoing investigation into Takata airbags and what appears to be a problem related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures. However, we’re leaving no stone unturned in our aggressive pursuit to track down the full geographic scope of this issue," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman.

Consumers that are uncertain whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can contact their manufacturer’s website to search, by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their individual vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed. Owners that have been contacted by their manufacturer should contact their dealer’s service department and make arrangements for the repair.

In addition, consumers can sign up for NHTSA recall alerts, which go out before recall letters are mailed by the manufacturers to the affected owners.

Some of the automakers affected by this recall are asking passengers not to ride in the front passenger seat until the problem is fixed. They’ve also said that dealers will disable airbags until the parts required to repair them are in. If you are the owner of one of the affected cars, check with your automaker’s website to see what they recommend.

The NHTSA released an updated press release today.

The list below corrects the list that accompanied our October 20 advisory, which incorrectly included certain vehicles. The numbers cited for potentially affected vehicles below are subject to change and adjustment because there may be cases of vehicles being counted more than once. Owners should check their VIN periodically as manufacturers continue to add VINs to the database. Once owner recall notices are available, owners can retrieve a copy from, or will receive one by U.S. mail and are advised to carefully follow the enclosed instructions.

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan

2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon

2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible

2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe

2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan

2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon

2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible

2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe

2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2004 – Ranger

2005 – 2006 GT

2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe

2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)

2001 – 2002 Honda Accord

2001 – 2005 Honda Civic

2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V

2003 – 2011 Honda Element

2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey

2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot

2006 – Honda Ridgeline

2003 – 2006 Acura MDX

2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL

2005 – Acura RL

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima

2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder

2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra

2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35

2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4

2003 – Infiniti FX

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2007 Mazda6

2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6

2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8

2004 – 2005 MPV

2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2004 – 2005 Lancer

2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima

2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder

2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra

2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35

2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4

2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2005 Baja

2003 – 2005 Legacy

2003 – 2005 Outback

2003 – 2005 Baja

2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2002 – 2005 Lexus SC

2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla

2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix

2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia

2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra


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