Your Baby

Half of U.S. Parents Using Unsafe Bedding for Infants

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Parents are getting better about using loose bedding and leaving soft objects in their baby’s bed, but about half of U.S. infants are still sleeping with potentially hazardous bedding according to a new study.

Blankets, quilts and pillows can obstruct an infant’s airway and pose a suffocation risk according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  This type of bedding is a recognized risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The researchers investigated bedding use from 1993 to 2010 from the National Infant Sleep Position study.

They found that from 1993 to 2010, bedding use declined, but remained a common practice. The rate of bedding use averaged nearly 86 percent in 1993-1995, and declined to 55 percent in 2008-2010. Prevalence was highest for infants of teen mothers (83.5 percent) and lowest for infants born at term (55.6 percent). Researchers also found that bedding use was highest among infants who were sleeping in adult beds, placed to sleep on their sides, or shared a sleep surface.

AAP recommends that the best place for a baby to sleep is in the same room as his or her parents and always in a crib, not in the same bed. The crib should be free from toys, soft bedding, blankets, and pillows.

Other safe sleep practices are:

•       Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards. For more about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov.

•       Place the crib in an area that is always smoke-free.

•       Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.

•       Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby. Loose bedding, such as sheets and blankets, should not be used as these items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they are close to his face. Sleep clothing, such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are better alternatives to blankets.

•       Place babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. Side sleeping is not as safe as back sleeping and is not advised. Babies sleep comfortably on their backs, and no special equipment or extra money is needed.

•       “Tummy time” is playtime when infants are awake and placed on their tummies while someone is watching them. Have tummy time to allow babies to develop normally.

•       Remove mobiles when your baby is able to sit up.

Study authors conclude that while the numbers have improved significantly, infants are still being put to bed in an unsafe sleeping environment; about half still sleep with blankets, quilts, pillows, and other hazardous items.

It’s not unusual that many parents may not be aware of the dangers of blankets, pillows and quilts in a baby’s bed. Lots of people were raised with all these items in the bed, but that was also before scientists began to understand SIDS better and the possible causes. True, many babies did fine before these alerts and safety suggestions became more popular but a lot of children also died – we just didn’t know why.  Parents today are able to access better infant safety information than their own parents.

The study, “Trends in Infant Bedding Use: National Infant Sleep Position Study 1993-2010” was published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Source: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/News/Pages/Study-Shows-One-Half-of-US-Infants-Sleep-in-Potentially-Hazardous-Bedding.aspx

Your Baby

Fussy Baby: Walking or Rocking Most Calming?

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When your baby cries should you pick him or her up and walk or find a good rocking chair and rock back and forth? A new study from Japan says that infants respond best when mom (or any caregiver) picks them up and walks around.

Researchers said that the babies’ rapidly beating hearts also slowed down, proving that they felt calmer.

"Infants become calm and relaxed when they are carried by their mother” said study researcher Dr. Kumi Kuroda, who investigates social behavior at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan. Interestingly, the study also observed the same response in baby mice.

For the study, researchers monitored the responses of 12 healthy infants ages 1 month to 6 months. The scientists wanted to discover the most effective way for mothers to calm a crying baby over a 30-second period — simply holding the baby or carrying the infant while walking.

Results showed that infants carried by walking mothers were the most relaxed and soothed compared to babies whose mothers sat in a chair and held them. As a mother stood up with her cradled her baby and started to walk, scientists observed an automatic change in the baby’s behavior.  

These results held even after the researchers took into account other factors, such as the child's age and sex, and the mother's age and walking speed.

Kuroda said she was surprised by the strength of the calming effect. Researchers noted that the rhythm of walking might be more effective in soothing infants than any other rhythmic motion, including rocking.

Babies cry for a variety of reasons. If an infant is hungry or in pain, they’ll most likely start crying again when they are laid back down. But sometimes a baby just feels a little anxious or unsure about their environment and will relax when held close and comforted. Kuroda acknowledged carrying might not completely stop the crying, but it may prevent parents from becoming frustrated by a crying infant.

The findings may also have implications for the parenting technique of letting babies cry in order to help them learn how to “soothe themselves”.

"Our study suggests why some babies do not respond well to the 'cry-it-out' parenting method," Kuroda said.

Babies crying during separation and maternal carrying are both built-in mechanisms for infant survival. These behaviors have been hard-wired for millions of years. "Changing these reactions would be possible as infants are flexible, but it may take time," she said.

While the study looked at a baby’s response to its mother, Kudro said the calming effect was not specific to moms. Dads, grandparents and caregivers were able to provide the same calming effect by carrying the baby and walking

Many moms and dads instinctively know to pick up a baby that’s crying, hold them close, pace around while gently patting baby on the back. This study just points out that if your baby is really upset, walking about may have a faster calming effect than rocking or sitting in a chair.  Plus it adds more evidence that simply ignoring a baby while he or she cries isn’t going to teach them how to soothe themselves. We all need a hug and a gentle pat on the back when we’re upset. Babies need it maybe even a little more.

The study was published online in the journal Current Biology.

Source: Carl Nierenberg, http://www.today.com/moms/carry-study-finds-its-good-

Your Baby

Protect Your Child Against Whooping Cough

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Pertussis, often called whooping cough, is a common disease that peaks every 3 to 5 years. Because the disease is highly infectious, once an outbreak starts it can spread rapidly.  Before a vaccine was available, pertussis killed 5,000 to 10,000 people in the U.S. every year. Currently, documented cases are on the increase and Texas could see the highest number of recorded cases in 50 years.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a health alert. Officials are urging people to make sure that their vaccinations and their children’s vaccination are up-to-date.

Whooping cough mainly affects infants younger than 6 months and kids 11-18 whose immunity has started to fade from earlier vaccinations.

The first symptoms are similar to those of the common cold. Children may experience a runny nose, sneezing, a mild cough and a low- grade fever. After about 1 to 2 weeks the dry cough evolves into a much harsher coughing spell that can last more than a minute. A child can turn red or purple from coughing so hard and may make the characteristic whooping sound when breathing in. Some children may actually vomit. Between coughing spells the child may look and feel okay.

Sometimes infants don’t cough or whoop like older kids do, but look as if they are gasping for air. Their face can turn red and they may actually stop breathing for a few seconds during a bad session.

The bacteria that causes pertussis is spread from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth. These may become airborne when the person sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Adults and children become infected by inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses. The time that someone is most contagious is during the earliest stages after the cough begins and continues for up to about 2 weeks.

Prevention begins with the pertussis vaccine. It’s part of the DTaP immunization that includes diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis. The immunizations are routinely given in 5 doses before the child’s sixth birthday. The AAP recommends that kids ages 11 to 12 get a booster shot of the new combination vaccine, Tdap, to boost their immunity. Young adults entering college should also make sure that they are up-to-date on their pertussis vaccination. Crowded classrooms and dorms are the perfect breeding ground for contagious diseases. 

Infants younger than 2 months cannot be vaccinated. To help protect those babies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women receive the pertussis vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation.

The name “whooping cough” sounds a little comical, but if you’ve ever witnessed a child in the throws of a pertussis coughing attack, it’s anything but funny. This disease can be fatal for little ones, so make sure you’re child is current on all of his or her DTap vaccinations and Tdap booster shots. If you are pregnant you can help protect your infant by getting the pertussis vaccination while you are carrying.

Research shows that adults and children who are not vaccinated are 8 times more likely to get whooping cough. Those that have received the vaccine may still get the disease but it tends to be less severe and doesn’t last quite as long.

Many of the cases in Texas are concentrated in the Fort Worth and Arlington area.  Statewide there have been 2 deaths, both were infants that were too young to recieve the vaccine. 

If your child has been diagnosed with whooping cough and is being treated at home, seek immediate medical care if he or she has difficulty breathing or shows signs of dehydration.

Sources: Gordon Dickson, http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/09/03/5130886/whooping-cough-outbreak-could.html

http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/whooping_cough.html#

Your Baby

Walmart Recalls Baby Dolls Due to Burn Hazards

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Twelve children have suffered incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters from “The My Sweet Love” and “My Sweet Baby” dolls sold nationwide at Walmart stores and online.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Walmart is now recalling these dolls. Consumers should immediately take the dolls from children, remove the batteries and return the doll to any Walmart store for a full refund.

The circuit in the chest of the doll can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer.

The My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby electronic baby doll comes in pink floral clothing and matching knit hat. The 16-inch doll is packaged with a toy medical check-up kit including a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe. The doll’s electronics cause her to babble when she gets “sick,” her cheeks turn red and she starts coughing. Using the medical kit pieces cause the symptoms to stop. “My Sweet Baby” is printed on the front of the clear plastic and cardboard packaging.

The doll is identified by UPC 6-04576-16800-5 and a date code that begins with WM. The date code is printed on the stuffed article label sewn into the bottom of the doll.

Walmart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

About 174,000 dolls are being recalled and were sold from August 2012 through March 2014 for $20.00.

Consumers can contact Walmart Stores at (800) 925-6278 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, or online at www.walmart.com and click on Product Recalls for more information.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Wal-Mart-Recalls-Dolls/#remedy

Walmart Doll Recall

Your Baby

223,000 Peg Perego Strollers Recalled

1:45 to read

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Peg Perego USA Inc., of Fort Wayne, Ind., is announcing a voluntary recall of about 223,000 strollers due to a risk of entrapment and strangulation.

A 6-month-old baby boy from Tarzana, Calif. died of strangulation after his head was trapped between the seat and the tray of his Peg Perego stroller in 2004. Another baby, a 7-month-old girl from New York, N.Y., nearly strangled when her head became trapped between the seat and the tray of her stroller in 2006.

Entrapment and strangulation can occur, especially to infants younger than 12 months of age, when a child is not harnessed. An infant can pass through the opening between the stroller tray and seat bottom, but his/her head and neck can become entrapped by the tray. Infants who become entrapped at the neck are at risk of strangulation.

The recall involves two different older versions of the Peg Perego strollers, Venezia and Pliko-P3, manufactured between January 2004 and September 2007, in a variety of colors. They were manufactured prior to the existence of the January 2008 voluntary industry standard which addresses the height of the opening between the stroller's tray and the seat bottom. The voluntary standard requires larger stroller openings that prevent infant entrapment and strangulation hazards.

Only strollers that have a child tray with one cup holder are part of this recall. Strollers with a bumper bar in front of the child or a tray with two cup holders are not included in this recall.

The following Venezia and Pliko-P3 stroller model numbers that begin with the following numbers are included in this recall. The model number is printed on a white label on the back of the Pliko P-3's stroller seat and on the Venezia stroller's footboard.

Pliko-P3 Stroller Model Numbers: IPFR28US3, IPFT28NA63, IPFT28NA64, IPP328MU10, IPP328MU09, IPP328US09, IPP328US10, IPP329US10, IPPA28US32, IPPA28US33, IPPA28US34, IPPD28NA34, IPPF28NA32, IPPF28NA57, IPPF28NA65, IPPF28NA66, IPPF28NA67, IPPF28NA68, IPPO28US32, IPPO28US34, IPPO28US62, IPPO28US69, IPPO28US70, IPPO28US71

Venezia Stroller Model Numbers: IPVA13MU09, IPVA13MU10, IPVA13US09, IPVA13US10, IPVA13US32, IPVA13US34, IPVC13NA32, IPVC13NA34

"Peg Perego" and "Venezia" or "Pliko-P3" are printed on the side of the strollers.

The strollers were sold at various retailers nationwide, including Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby from January 2004 through September 2010 for between $270 and $330 for the Pliko P-3 stroller and between $350 and $450 for the Venezia stroller. They were manufactured in Italy.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled strollers and contact the firm for a free repair kit. Do not return the stroller to the retailers as they will not be able to provide the repair kit.

For additional information, call Peg Perego at (888) 734-6020 anytime or visit the firm's website at www.PegPeregoUSA.com

CPSC and Peg Perego warn consumers that these strollers may be available on the secondhand market, in thrift stores or at yard sales. Consumers should not buy or sell these recalled strollers until the repair kit is installed.

NOTE: When using a stroller, parents and caregivers are encouraged to always secure children by using the safety harness and never leave them unattended. To learn more about the importance of stroller safety, see CPSC's safety alert: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5096.pdf

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12232.html

Your Baby

Babies Shouldn’t Be Given OTC Cold Medicines

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When a baby is sick with a cold, the first reaction for many parents is to want to give their infant something to make him or her feel better. It’s a natural response; no parent likes to see their little one feeling bad. But turning to the medicine cabinet or making a trip to the pharmacy isn’t going to help your baby get better any quicker and could be dangerous says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine should not be given to children younger than 2 because they could cause serious and potentially deadly side effects, the agency warned.

Children often get more colds than adults, and parents might want to give them pain relievers, decongestants and other medicines, but that would be a mistake. The FDA says the best medicine is simple rest and care.

"A cold is self-limited, and patients will get better on their own in a week or two without any need for medications. For older children, some OTC medicines can help relieve the symptoms -- but won't change the natural course of the cold or make it go away faster," Dr. Amy Taylor, a medical officer in FDA's Division of Pediatric and Maternal Health, said in the news release.

A virus is what typically brings on a cold, but people often ask their physician or pediatrician (for their children) for antibiotics to treat them. Antibiotics are only useful for treating bacterial infections.

Colds are usually accompanied by coughing which can actually be useful to the body.

"Coughs help the body clear the mucus out of the airway and protect the lungs; so you don't want to suppress all coughs," Taylor said.

"Coughs help the body clear the mucus out of the airway and protect the lungs; so you don't want to suppress all coughs," she said.

Fever helps the body fight off an infection and does not always need to be treated. But if your child is uncomfortable because of fever or other symptoms of a cold, there are alternatives to cough and cold medicine to help them feel more comfortable. Taylor says they include the following actions:

·      Using a clean cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in a small area near the child’s bed may help moisten the air and decrease the drying of the nasal passages and throat.

·      For infants with a stuffy nose, use saline or salt water drops/spray to moisten the nasal passages and loosen the mucus. Then clean the nose with a bulb syringe.

Non-drug treatments to ease coughs in children with colds include giving them plenty of fluids, especially warm drinks to soothe the throat.

While most children with colds do not need to see a doctor, Taylor said parents should call the doctor if they see any of these symptoms:

·      A fever in an infant aged 2 months or younger, or a fever of 102 Fahrenheit or higher at any age.

·       Signs of breathing problems, including nostrils widening with each breath, wheezing, fast breathing or the ribs showing with each breath.

·      Blue lips, ear pain, not eating or drinking, signs of dehydration.

·      Excessive crankiness or sleepiness, a cough that lasts for more than three weeks, or worsening condition.

·      A persistent cough may signal a more serious condition such as bronchitis or asthma.

"You have to know your child," Taylor said. "With small infants, fever is a major concern, and you need medical advice. If you are worried about your child's symptoms, at any age, call your pediatrician for advice."

The FDA voluntarily removed cough and cold products for children under two years old from the market because of on-going safety concerns discussed in 2007.  These safety concerns revealed that there were many reports of harm, and even death, to children who used these products.  These reports of harm occurred when the child received too medication such as in cases as accidental ingestion, unintentional overdose, or after a medication dosing error.  In those reports of harm that lead to a child’s death, most of those children were under two years of age.  

Since infant formulations of cough and cold products were voluntarily removed from the market years ago, parents who currently give these products to their infants (less than 2 years of age) may be using cough and cold products designed for older children and modifying the doses, for instance by giving half the recommended amount to the infant than what is recommended for an older child.  This can be especially dangerous as dosing adjustments cannot safely be made this way and could add to the existing risk of giving these products to young children.

Colds can be tough on children and adults and this is certainly the time of year when we all are more susceptible to getting one. Fluids and plenty of rest, plus sanitizing the area around the sick person and not sharing objects like silverware and drinking cups is the best treatment for colds. And of course the most important cold remedy for baby is mommy and daddy’s love and tender touch. 

Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/respiratory-and-allergy-information-2/common-cold-news-142/steer-clear-of-cold-meds-for-babies-fda-advises-693878.html

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/SpecialFeatures/ucm263948.htm

Your Baby

Longer Breast-Feeding Time, Less Childhood Obesity

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A new study looks at the duration of breast-feeding and babies who are high risk for obesity, as they get older. Researchers found that the longer mothers breast –fed these higher risk babies, the less likely the babies were to become overweight later.

"Breast-feeding for longer durations appears to have a protective effect against the early signs of overweight and obesity," said lead researcher Stacy Carling, a doctoral candidate in nutrition at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y.

Carling and her colleagues followed 595 children from birth to the age of 2. They tracked the children's weight and length over this time, and compared individual children's growth trajectories to how long the children breast-fed.

Which children are considered at high risk for extra weight gain? Researchers found that babies whose mothers were overweight or obese, mothers with lower education levels and mothers who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to have overweight children. Almost 59 percent of the children at risk for being overweight had mothers with one or more of these characteristics, compared to about 43 percent of the children not at risk for excessive weight gain.

Higher-risk babies who breast-fed for less than two months were more than twice as likely to gain extra weight than those who breast-fed for at least four months.

Although the study didn’t prove that longer breast-feeding actually reduced risk for obesity, it did provide several reasons why the link between the two may exist.

"Breast-feeding an infant may allow proper development of hunger and satiety signals, as well as help prevent some of the behaviors that lead to overweight and obesity," Carling said.

"Breast-feeding, especially on demand, versus on schedule, allows an infant to feed when he or she is hungry, thereby fostering an early development of appetite control," she said. "When a baby breast-feeds, she can control how much milk she gets and how often, naturally responding to internal signals of hunger and satiation."

The study did not include information on whether the babies were exclusively breast-fed or how often they were getting milk at the breast versus from a bottle, but the time required to reduce obesity risk was not long.

"The difference of two months of breast-feeding may be enough to reap some benefit," Carling said.

There are many reasons mothers choose to breast-feed for shorter periods, and some mothers are not able to breast-feed at all. For mothers that choose to breast-feed, Carling believes they need to be supported on many levels.

"Ultimately, increasing breast-feeding rates in the United States means increasing knowledge and support at a variety of levels from institutional to interpersonal," Carling said. "Our study recognizes the benefit of longer duration breast-feeding in a specific population and, hopefully, this and other studies will lead to more customized breast-feeding promotion in those populations at higher risk for overweight and obesity."

The findings were published in the January print issue of Pediatrics, and funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

Source: Tara Haelle, http://consumer.healthday.com/women-s-health-information-34/breast-feeding-news-82/breast-feeding-for-longer-may-protect-infants-at-risk-for-obesity-694218.html

Your Baby

Danger! Lidocaine and Teething Babies

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If you’ve ever received a prescription for lidocaine, you might be tempted to try it on your teething baby to ease the pain. Lidocaine solution is sometimes used to reduce a child’s gag reflex during dental procedures and to treat mouth and throat ulcers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to parents about using a lidocaine solution as a pain reliever on babies’ gums, saying it can lead to death and serious injuries in infants and toddlers.

"When too much viscous lidocaine is given to infants and young children or they accidentally swallow too much, it can result in seizures, severe brain injury, and problems with the heart," the statement said.

Overdoses or accidental swallowing have led to infants and children being hospitalized or dying, the FDA said.

While the number is not high, some parents or caregivers have tried it as a gum pain reliever during teething. There have been 22 reports this year of serious complications, including deaths, in children ages 5 months to 3 to 5 years who were given lidocaine or accidently swallowed it.

The agency will require a boxed warning on the label for prescription oral viscous lidocaine 2 percent solution to highlight that it should not be used for teething pain, the FDA said in a statement.

Instead of lidocaine, the FDA urges parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatricians' (AAP) recommendations for treating teething pain. They call for using a teething ring, or gently massaging the child's gums with your finger.

Other products containing benzocaine are sometimes used for oral pain relief. The FDA recommends against using these products for children under 2 years of age except under a physician’s supervision. Like viscous lidocaine, benzocaine is a local anesthetic.

The AAP offers these tips for helping your child through the discomfort of teething.

  • Give her firm objects to chew on—teething rings or hard, unsweetened teething crackers. Frozen teething toys should not be used; extreme cold can injure your baby’s mouth and cause more discomfort.
  • If your baby is clearly uncomfortable, talk to your pediatrician about a possible course of action. Your pediatrician may suggest that you give a small dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

The first thing a parent wants to do when they see their baby in pain is to find a way to relieve the discomfort. Teething is one of those times that can be trying for everyone involved. Babies can start teething as early as 3 months.

Pain relievers that are used on a baby’s gums aren’t typically very helpful; a teething baby drools so much that the medication is quickly washed away. In addition, pediatricians warn that such medications can numb the back of the throat and interfere with your baby’s ability to swallow.

Rubbing your baby’s gums or providing a safe teething ring can help ease your infant’s pain until those pesky teeth break through and the gums heal.

Sources: Ian Simpson, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/26/us-usa-fda-teething-idUSKBN0F129120140626

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/Teething-Pain.aspx

Your Baby

RSV Season in Full Swing

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Every year, up to 80,000 babies are hospitalized nationwide and about 500 die due to RSV-related illnesses. The virus may produce permanent health conditions such as asthma and breathing disorders.During the next few months, parents are urged to watch for signs of a lung infection that could turn deadly or cause lifelong health problems in their infants.

From late fall until early spring is the peak season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the leading cause of pneumonia and Bronchiolitis in infants. "Approximately 70 percent of children will contract RSV by the end of their first year," says Dr. Michael E. Speer, medical director of quality and outcomes management at Texas Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics in the section of neonatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. "By the time a child is 2 years old, that number rises to 97 percent. In addition, the risk of re-infection between the ages of 1 and 2 years is 76 percent." Every year, up to 80,000 babies are hospitalized nationwide and about 500 die due to RSV-related illnesses. The virus may produce permanent health conditions such as asthma and breathing disorders. "RSV can be especially dangerous to at-risk babies," says Dr. Speer. "This population includes premature infants, children 2 years and younger with chronic lung disease and patients who take medications for heart conditions." Speer credits improved care, such as the use of prophylactic immunization, for a decrease in the volume of seriously ill babies and fatalities in the last few years. Although RSV has no cure, monthly injections of the preventive vaccine – a monoclonal antibody known as Synagis – may reduce the risk of hospitalization. "Even if a child gets RSV while on Synagis, it's worthwhile to continue the medication, because there is more than one strain of RSV," says Dr. Speer. What to Watch For Dr. Sue Hubbard, medical editor of www.kidsdr.com says the signs of RSV initially, may resemble those of a cold, such as fever and runny nose. As the disease takes hold, symptoms may worsen. In younger children, especially infants and toddlers, RSV can affect their lungs, causing Bronchiolitis or pneumonia. These children can develop more severe symptoms after about 2 to 4 days of having regular cold symptoms and after their fever may have gone away, including: •       Irritability and poor feeding •       Lethargy •       Worsening cough •       Difficulty breathing, with retractions and nasal flaring •       Fast breathing •       Wheezing •       Hypoxemia (low oxygen levels), although cyanosis, is not common •       Apnea, although this is most common in infants under 6 weeks of age Be sure to call your pediatrician or seek other medical attention if your child's cold seems to be worsening and you think he is developing more Because RSV is spread easily through the respiratory tract, parents are urged to keep their babies away from any person with a cold or fever. Other precautionary advice to family members and caregivers includes washing hands thoroughly before handling the baby, avoiding crowded areas and never exposing the baby to tobacco smoke. RSV Facts RSV is the most common virus that occurs in babies. The leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in infants, RSV is especially dangerous to at-risk babies, including infants born prematurely, children with chronic lung disease and patients who take medication for heart conditions. The RSV season begins in late fall and extends through early spring. During this time, up to 80,000 infants are hospitalized nationwide and approximately 500 die from RSV-related illnesses. RSV is spread easily from person to person through respiratory tract secretions. Symptoms initially may resemble those of a cold, such as fever and runny nose. As the disease worsens, symptoms can include coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing and rapid breathing. Although not a cure, monthly injections of the monoclonal antibody Synagis for high risk babies – a preventive vaccine – may reduce the risk of hospitalization.  This vaccine is very expensive. Do your homework and consult your pediatrician.

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