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Sharing Too Much About Your Kids on Social Media


In a few days from now, your social media site of preference will be flooded with pictures of young children in cute Halloween costumes out for an evening of trick or treating.  It’s safe to say, online landscapes have replaced the old hard-cover family album. Relatives, friends and even strangers are just a click away from viewing your child’s most significant moments.

While many parents often keep a watchful eye on their kids social media use, they might want to think about how much personal information they are sharing about their family.

"This is all so new. Our parents didn't deal with this," said Dr. Bahareh Keith, an assistant of pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine, in Gainesville.

Before social media, parents might embarrass their kids by showing old photo albums to a few family members and friends.  Now, the things parents disclose online -- the good and not so good -- leave a lasting "digital footprint," Keith explained.

The researchers cite an astonishing statistic in their review: Studies have shown that 92 percent of 2-year-olds in the United States have an online presence, and about one-third make their first appearance on social media within 24 hours of their birth.

Not only do parents share the “Hallmark” moments in their children’s lives, but some parents also share personal information about their child’s struggles with behavioral issues that can end up in the public domain. Social media outlets such as Facebook allow friends of “friends” to view your posts. You may or may not know who these people are. Public information about your child’s personal behavior, Keith points out, can have psychological repercussions for kids.

On a more sinister note, public information about your home life can help thieves and pedophiles link together a profile on your family - such as where your child attends school, when you are at work or on vacation, your child’s most vulnerable tendencies and a host of other things you’d rather strangers not know.

According to Keith, there has been little research on the issue, probably because it's so new. Her team did a review of the medical and legal literature on the subject, to come up with some guidelines for parents.

For now, she offered some advice on how to post wisely:

·      Never share pictures of your child in "any state of undress."

·      Be careful about posts that give your child's precise location.

·      If you are going online for help with your child's behavioral issues, keep any information sharing anonymous.

Be sure to understand the privacy policies of the sites you post on. Simply limiting your Facebook posts to "friends" is not enough, Keith said. If someone else is tagged in a photo, for example, the friends of that person may see it.

Keith says the review is not to scare parents from sharing family photos or bragging about their children’s accomplishments online, but to use caution in what you share and when.

"We're not saying 'don't share,' " she said. "Just share wisely."

That's not only to keep kids safe, but to respect their privacy, according to Keith.

With older kids, she said, always ask if it's OK to post a photo or share a story.

With younger kids, try to think ahead. "Look forward," Keith said. "Ask yourself, at the age of 14, will my child be OK with this? If you're in doubt, don't post it."

It's natural for parents to focus on their kids when they're using social media, said Dr. David Lloyd-Hill, chair of the AAP's Council on Communications and Media.

"If you're a parent," he said, "the most important and exciting things in your life are probably centered on your kids."

But while those posts may be well meaning, Lloyd-Hill agreed that parents should think before they share and take some sensible precautions.

The bigger concern, he said, is children's privacy, and whether the images and information parents choose to share will hurt their child in some way -- now or years down the road.

"Yes, we need to be monitoring our kids' social media posts," Lloyd-Hill said. "But we also need to look at our own."

Keith is scheduled to present her findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in San Francisco this Friday. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Story source: Amy Norton,



Samsung Recalls I Million Galaxy Note 7 Smartphones


According to the Pew Research Center, 9 out of 10 Americans own a cell phone. That includes adults, teens and children. If you or a family member owns a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, you need to stop using it and contact your wireless carrier or a Samsung retail outlet.

Samsung issued a warning about a week ago warning U.S. consumers to stop using the new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of about 1 million of the smart-phones because the lithium-ion battery in the Galaxy Note7 smartphones can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers.

Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 of property damage from fires in cars and a garage, the agency said.

This is “such a serious fire hazard I urge all consumers to take advantage of this recall right away,” Elliot Kaye, chairman of the CPSC told a news conference late Thursday. 

This recall involves the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone sold before September 15, 2016.  The recalled devices have a 5.7 inch screen and were sold in the following colors:  black onyx, blue coral, gold platinum and silver titanium with a matching stylus. Samsung is printed on the top front of the phone and Galaxy Note7 is printed on the back of the phone. 

To determine if your phone has been recalled, locate the IMEI number on the back of the phone or the packaging, and enter the IMEI number into the online registration site or call Samsung toll-free at 844-365-6197.

The smartphones were sold at wireless carriers and electronic stores nationwide, including AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon stores and online at and other websites from August 2016 through September 2016 for between $850 and $890.

You can find a list of the wireless and retailer phone numbers and websites at





Most Parents Give Their Child the Wrong Medicine Dose


According to a new study, most parents accidently give their child the wrong dose of liquid medication – sometimes, as much as twice the amount they should have.

The study, conducted at pediatric clinics in New York, Atlanta and Stanford, Calif., also found that most dosing errors occurred when parents used a measuring cup. There were fewer errors when parents measured the dose with an oral syringe.

Pediatric medicines generally rely on liquid formulations, and parents have to decipher a sometimes, bewildering assortment of instructions in different units with varying abbreviations — milliliters, mL, teaspoon, tsp., tablespoon. Some medicines come with a measuring tool, but often the units on the label are different from those on the tool. It can be very confusing, especially for a parent trying to treat a sick child.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended in 2013 that over-the-counter products use a standard dosing tool with consistent labeling. The changes however, were not required.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommended standard dosing tools for OTC products last year.

For this study, Dr. H. Shonna Yin and her colleagues ran an experiment to see what combination of tools and instructions would produce the fewest errors in dispensing liquid medication. They randomly assigned 2,110 parents to one of five pairings of the many possible combinations of tools and label instructions.

In nine trials, 84.4 percent of the parents made at least one dosing error, and more than 68 percent of the errors were overdoses. About 21 percent of parents at least once measured out more than twice the proper dose. Smaller doses produced more errors. When the dose was 2.5 milliliters, there were more than four times as many errors as when it was 5 milliliters.

The difference in errors was the tool used to give the medication. When a cup was used, there were four times as many errors as when an oral syringe was used.

“If the parents don’t have an oral syringe, the provider should give one to the parents to take home,” said Dr. Yin, who is an associate professor of pediatrics at New York University. “Especially for smaller doses, using the syringe made a big difference in accuracy.”

If you don’t have an oral syringe at your home, you can check with your pediatrician or pharmacist and they should be able to help you choose the right one for your child.

The study was published online in the journal, Pediatrics.

Story source: Nicholas Bakalar,


Day Care Doesn’t Boost Weight Gain in Kids


With three out of five American children in some type of daycare arrangement, parents are often concerned about whether their child is eating a healthy diet when they can’t supervise what they are being served.

Previous studies have suggested that kids in daycare were more likely to gain excess weight, but a new study says other factors linked to obesity were not considered in earlier research.

"When we implemented these more sophisticated analytical approaches, we found that association really went away," said study author Dr. Inyang Isong, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a pediatrician with Boston Children's Hospital.

"We cannot say that sending a child to day care makes your child overweight ," Isong continued. "We just don't have enough evidence to say that."

Given that so many children are in daycare, the updated analysis is good news for parents.

 Pediatricians and parents have had longstanding concerns that childcare might increase a young one’s risk of gaining weight, said Dr. Allison Driansky, an attending pediatrician at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Most states do not have strict regulations regarding diet and exercise provided at day care, Isong and Driansky said.

"The concern was anytime you take control out of a parent's hands about what a child is eating or what a child is doing during a day, that could lead to obesity," Driansky said. "Not every parent is lucky enough to have a top-of-the-line day care. I think there was some concern that the day care wouldn't cooperate with what a parent wants for their child."

The new study included data from about 10, 700 U.S. children from diverse social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.

Factors such as the child’s gender, race, age and weight of the mother, family economic and social status, how many parents lived at home and the quality of the neighborhood were included in the analysis.

While the results pointed to no association between daycare and weight gain, Isong noted that this study "is not in any way full proof." Such proof would involve a clinical trial in which children would be randomly assigned to either childcare or home care.

The study did however offer a more detailed look at daycare and weight gain.

"We tried to control for a vast array of factors that could influence decisions to place children in child care," Isong said. "When we controlled for all those factors, the association went away."

Parents have the final say in what their children eat and do when they are not in daycare. Parents can encourage their little ones to be active, play outdoors and when old enough, find a sport they enjoy. Sugary drinks (including juices) should be limited and plenty of fruits and vegetables encouraged. Many experts recommend that children not watch TV before the age of two and that it be limited to 1 hour a day after that.

The study was published online in the October edition of the journal Pediatrics.

Story source: Dennis Thompson,


HPV Vaccine: Fewer Doses Recommended for Preteens


Based on recent studies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is recommending that children 11 to 14 years old receive only two doses of the HPV vaccine instead of three.

The vaccine protects against cervical and other cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

However, the CDC says that teenagers and young adults who start the vaccinations later, between at ages 15 to 26, should continue with the three doses.

The new advice is based on a review of studies showing that two doses in the younger group “produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in young adults (aged 16 to 26 years) who received three doses,” the C.D.C. said in a statement. The two doses should be given at least six months apart, the agency said.

The government agency noted that the two-dose schedule should make the process easier for families and hopefully will increase the number of preteens getting the vaccine.  So far, despite the vaccine’s proven effectiveness, immunization rates have remained low.

HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses, according to the disease centers. They are spread by intimate, skin-to-skin contact, and by vaginal, oral and anal intercourse. HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active people become infected at some point. In most people, the immune system destroys the virus. But in some, the infection lingers. Some viral strains cause genital warts, and others can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis and back of the throat.

The vaccine is recommended for preteens and young teenagers, ideally before they become sexually active, because it works best if given before a person is exposed to HPV.

The CDC still recommends vaccination for young people who have already had sex, saying that it should provide “at least some protection.”

HPV vaccination rates are slowly rising for boys and girls as parents begin to understand the health benefits for their children. Many pediatricians are now recommending the vaccine as a regular part of a child’s inoculation routine.

Story source: Denise Grady,


Health Official: Zika Outbreaks Likely in U.S.


The United States can expect to see outbreaks of the Zika virus says Dr.Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

While the U.S. has already seen more than 350 cases of people who were infected abroad and returned to the country, there haven’t been any recorded cases of someone infected within its borders. But those days may be limited, said Fauci.

"It is likely we will have what is called a local outbreak," he said on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

Since being detected in Brazil last year, the virus has spread through the Americas. It has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly, a typically rare birth defect marked by unusually small head size, which often indicates poor brain development. The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency in February.

Zika, which is spread by mosquitoes and through sexual contact, can give adults the paralyzing Guillain-Barre syndrome. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which primarily transmits disease, is already present in about 30 U.S. states.

While Fauci does expect someone to be bitten by the mosquito here in the States, he does not expect a large number of people to become ill.

"It would not be surprising at all - if not likely - that we're going to see a bit of that," he said. "We're talking about scores of cases, dozens of cases, at most."

He also raised the prospect that other neurological ailments could be eventually linked to Zika, which he called "disturbing."

"There are only individual case reports of significant neurological damage to people not just the fetuses but an adult that would get infected. Things that they call meningoencephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain and the covering around the brain, spinal cord damage due to what we call myelitis," he said. "So far they look unusual, but at least we've seen them and that's concerning."

Fauci has pressed the administration’s case for budgeting $1.9 billion dollars in emergency funds to fight the virus.

"We have to act now," he said. "I can't wait to start developing a vaccine."

Still, Fauci refrained from recommending that U.S. women avoid becoming pregnant because of fear of giving birth to a baby with microcephaly.

"Right now in the United States they should not be that concerned. We do not have local outbreaks," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no vaccine currently exists to prevent Zika virus disease. The mosquito that carries the Zika virus mostly bites in the daytime.

The CDC recommends following typical mosquito bite preventions such as:

•       Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

•       Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

•       Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

•       Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.

◦       Always follow the product label instructions.

◦       Reapply insect repellent as directed.

◦       Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.

◦       If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.

•       To protect your child from mosquito bites:

◦       Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.

◦       Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.

◦       Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.

◦       Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.

◦       Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.

◦       Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

•       Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.

◦       Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.

◦       If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.

◦        Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.

Story sources: Diane Bartz,


Calming Kid’s Pre-Surgery Anxiety: iPads or Drugs?


Once you think about it, it makes a lot of sense; a new study shows that iPads work as well as sedative drugs to calm anxious kids before surgery.

Researchers assessed 112 children between 4 and 10 years old in France who had day surgery requiring general anesthesia. Twenty minutes before receiving the anesthesia, 54 kids were given the sedative midazolam and 58 were handed an iPad to distract them.

Guess what they found. The anxiety level for both groups was about the same. However, iPads conferred none of the side effects of sedatives, the researchers said. Also, they said the kids given iPads were easier to anesthetize.

"Our study showed that child and parental anxiety before anesthesia are equally blunted by midazolam or use of the iPad," said Dr. Dominique Chassard and colleagues at Hospital Femme-Mere-Enfant in Bron, France. "However, the quality of induction of anesthesia, as well as parental satisfaction, were judged better in the iPad group."

As any parent knows, iPads and other tablets offer an endless amount of entertainment to help children relax. From music to cartoons to games, there are plenty of programs available to take a child’s mind off of the current situation.  It’s not surprising they would work to help alleviate anxiety before something as scary as surgery. 

The study was to be presented this week at the World Congress of Anesthesiologists meeting in Hong Kong. Researched presented at medical meetings is considered preliminary.

Story source: Robert Preidt,



Helping Shy Children Find Their Way


With school back in session, many shy kids are facing a difficult time. As a parent, you’re already familiar with your child’s personality and can tell when he or she is experiencing anxiety in a social situation.  Once your child enters school, there are going to be times when your little one is immersed in surroundings that may make them very uncomfortable, but along with challenges comes solutions.

As parents of a shy child, there are two traps to avoid: overprotectiveness and pressure. Trying to get your child to be more outgoing will only make him or her retreat. And sheltering denies them the chance to enjoy group activities or become comfortable in social circumstances. You have to walk a tightrope, promoting social behavior with compassion.

Some children are shy from birth and have a genetic predisposition to be that way. Other kids are shy only during certain situations that make them uncomfortable or afraid. These might include:

·      Meeting new people

·      Entering new situations

·      Being singled out or being the center of attention

·      Not knowing how they're expected to act or what they're expected to say

·      Being laughed at, embarrassed, or teased

Quite frankly, the last situation makes just about everyone uncomfortable, but for children that are naturally shy, it can be quite traumatic.

One tip for parents is to try and use the word “shy” less often when describing their child. Being labeled can make your child feel less confident. Being labeled anything presents a certain amount of pressure to live up to its definition. 

Instead, put a positive spin on his or her shyness. Maybe a more accurate characterization is "slow to warm up"; rather than withdrawing from or avoiding new situations, he or she just takes their time and sizes up the scene. This can be translated into a compliment: "You like to think things through," or "You like to get started slowly." As time goes on, your child can adopt this more positive view of him or her self and use it as a rebuttal if someone challenges their behavior.

Kids are often fearful when they don't have the social skills necessary to feel comfortable during a particular scenario. A child who hasn't spent much time around large groups of people, for instance, is more likely to want to avoid them. A child with low self-esteem or one who's been pushed hard academically may be afraid to fail, leading to shyness. Watch your child closely to see what triggers his or her shyness. Once you understand their anxieties better, you can talk them through and work together on ways to overcome them.

School is going to be a place where kids experience a tremendous amount of socialization- whether they want it or not. So why not practice difficult situations at home? This way, children have an idea of how to respond either before an event happens or before it happens again.

In an uncomfortable situation, a shy kid experiences the same physiological reactions that adults do. Your child may feel shaky, get sweaty, or turn red. His heart may race, or she may get a frog in her throat. If his reaction is visible to those around him, he may get even more embarrassed, setting up a cycle of awkwardness each time he has to step up to the plate.

With practice and reassurance, though, your child can prepare for those moments that throw him or her for a loop. You and your child can talk through the situations that make them nervous or, if your child is willing, even act them out together. He may giggle and think it's silly to practice saying hello at a birthday party or introducing himself to the soccer team, but he'll also begin to feel more confident in his ability to be friendly and relaxed.

You might also remind your child that it's normal to be nervous when meeting someone new, starting a new class, or being called upon by a teacher to speak. Describe one of your own flustered moments to show that most people have the same feelings.

In a child’s mind, one of the most important aspects of school is fitting in. This is a time when parents can make helpful suggestions. You might encourage him or her to get involved in activities by discussing the value of participation and then helping them discover a sport or activity they like to do. The key is to find something that suits them -- perhaps where they can be part of a team but still function as an individual, such as running cross-country or singing in the chorus. When a child realizes he or she is good at something, their confidence will rise, and so will their enthusiasm. However, if your child really resists, don't turn it into a power struggle. In a low-key way, keep making suggestions and trust that they’ll be drawn into an activity eventually.

Shyness should be a bump in the road, not a roadblock. With some anguish and a certain number of false steps, even very shy children can learn to forge relationships and cope when the spotlight is on them. They may have fewer friends than other kids, but those friendships will be just as close.

In rare cases, a child is so shy that he or she begins to avoid all interactions. If you are concerned that your child's shyness is isolating them or undermining their ability to function, seek help from a school counselor or your family pediatrician. Either may have valuable advice and can refer you to a specialist if necessary.

Yes, it can be like walking a tightrope trying to help a shy child learn how to handle uncomfortable situations. You don’t want to pressure too much or protect too much and it can be emotionally challenging figuring out the next step.  

By accepting your child as he or she is, you can help them accept who they are. It may help to remind yourself that your child's temperament isn't a reflection of your parenting skills. As long as he or she has some friends, is reasonably happy with his or her self, and can function as a student and family member, all is well. Praise your kid for their efforts to be social, provide advice when asked, keep an eye on their progress and challenges and know that they will find their way in the world.

Story source: Anne Krueger,


New Year Resolutions for the Family


As 2015 closes its tired eyes, 2016 is ready for full steam ahead! The beginning of a new year is often the time when people take stock of where they’ve been and where they want to go. It’s a great time for families to set new goals and discuss what is important to them.

Resolutions do not need to be difficult or overwhelming. In fact, the simpler the resolution, the better.

One small step at a time and before you know it 2017 will be here and your family will have accomplished more than they thought they would!

If you’re searching for ideas, here’s a list of suggestions.

1.     Spend one day out of the week unplugged from any unnecessary electronics or social media. Cell phones and computers have become a necessity these days, but too often they are overused for texting, social media and mindless Internet searches. Set a goal of spending at least one day a month (if not per week) without your gadgets, and instead, enjoy the outdoors or have a board or card game marathon.

2.     Commit to better eating schedules and choices. Healthy eating habits provide benefits for the whole family. Ask for your kids input when planning meals and discuss ways to make everyone’s choices healthier. Positive discussions about health and food can have a big impact on a child’s lifetime eating habits.

3.     Plan family outings that involve exercise. Make it fun and easy. Daily walks, bicycling, swimming even an indoor dance party can get everyone moving without a lot of expense.

4.     Read with and to your kids. Libraries are great places for young children to experience new books and reading programs. A whole new genre of books have peaked an interest in reading for many teens. Summer is a great time to start a family book club, when the kids don’t have homework competing for their time.

5.     Spread the household responsibilities. Having a system for household responsibilities spreads out the work instead of having it all fall on one person. Try keeping a chore jar with slips of paper for kids to pick which chore they'll do that week, such as taking out the trash. Print out this chore chart and put it on the refrigerator or a clipboard to help your family stay on task.

6.     Teach and reflect kindness. Kids learn how to be kind by their parent’s example. Bring unkind or rude comments to your child’s attention. Discuss how to handle frustration or angry feelings. Most of all, exhibit kindness towards your mate and others. Teach compassion through community service when an organization needs volunteers. Children who volunteer to help others in need have a broader view of the world.

7.     Get more sleep! The fact is, you all need at least eight hours of sleep to stay healthy and productive. Some children need more than that. Make sure bedtime is quiet and computers and cell phones are shut down at least an hour before bed.

8.     Teach your children how to manage money. Have them create a budget with their allowance or gift money and help them stick to it. Again, being a good example not only helps the whole family’s budget, but also teaches children the difference between want and need.

Also don’t forget to take a little time out for just you and your spouse. The occasional date night can help you reconnect and have fun together. Being a parent is hard work – one of life’s most demanding and rewarding. Don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually to be the example you want to be.

Have a Happy New Year!

Source: Erin Dower,



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