Your Child

Music Improves Kids' Memory and Reading Skills

2.00 to read

Maybe Plato was right when he noted that music “…gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

A new study suggests that children who practice singing or learn an instrument are also more likely to improve in language and reading skills.

Previous research has shown a positive link between music and learning skills, but was mainly conducted on children in upper or middle class families. This new study looks at whether the same results apply to children living in impoverished and low socioeconomic neighborhoods. The present study included students from musical training programs in Chicago and Los Angeles public schools.

The findings support the idea that musical training can help any child not only benefit from the joy and discipline of musical training, but also the stimulation that the mind acquires through music.  This could prove particularly helpful to children living in difficult circumstances.

"Research has shown that there are differences in the brains of children raised in impoverished environments that affect their ability to learn," said Nina Kraus, PhD, a neurobiologist at the Northwestern University. "While more affluent students do better in school than children from lower income backgrounds, we are finding that musical training can alter the nervous system to create a better learner and help offset this academic gap."

How does music help a child learn better? According to researchers, musical training improves the brain's ability to process sounds. Children who learn music are better equipped to understand sounds in a noisy background. Improvements in neural networks also strengthen memory and learning skills.

For the study, scientists used two groups of children. One group was given music classes, while the other received Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps classes. Each group had comparable IQs at the beginning of the study.

The researchers recorded children's brain waves as they listened to repeated syllable against a soft background sound. The children were tested again after one year of music training/JROTC classes and again after a two-year study period. The team found that children's neural responses were strengthened after two years of music classes. The study shows that music training isn't a quick fix, but is a long-term approach to improve academic performance of children belonging to lower socioeconomic classes.

"We're spending millions of dollars on drugs to help kids focus and here we have a non-pharmacologic intervention that thousands of disadvantaged kids devote themselves to in their non-school hours-that works," Margaret Martin, founder of Harmony Project in Los Angeles, said in a news release. "Learning to make music appears to remodel our kids' brains in ways that facilitates and improves their ability to learn."

In other studies, music has also been shown to be effective in promoting better social behavior in teenage boys who have learning difficulties and poor social skills.

Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, many school districts have either cut back or completely eliminated music and arts programs. The loss of such a treasure in our school systems is tragic. Music not only “hath charms to soothe a savages beast,” but also to refresh and calm an anxious mind. It’s time we rethink the importance of music and the other arts programs in our schools. Fund them and bring them back – for all of our children’s sake.

The study was presented at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

Source: Staff Reporter, http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/8472/20140809/music-training-improves-memory-reading-skills-children.htm

Your Child

Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later

A new report shows that preteens who were bullied persistently when they were younger are more to have hallucinations, delusions or other psychotic symptoms.A new report out on bullying shows that preteens who were bullied persistently when they were younger are more likely than others their age to have hallucinations, delusions or other psychotic symptoms. The study conducted by British researchers involved over 6,000 children who averaged just less than 13 years of age. Their parents had provided regular updates about the youngsters' health and development since birth and the children had undergone yearly physical and psychological assessments since age seven.

Almost half (46 percent) had experienced bullying at ages eight or 10. As they neared 13, about 14 percent of the children had broad psychosis-like symptoms, with one or more symptoms suspected or confirmed. 11 percent had intermediate symptoms (one or more symptoms suspected or present at times other than when going to sleep, waking from sleep during a fever or after substance use) and 6 percent had narrow symptoms (one or more symptoms confirmed). Children who were bullied at either ages eight or 10 were about twice as likely as other children to have psychotic symptoms. The risk was highest in preteens who had suffered chronic or severe bullying. The study appears in the May 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. "Whether repeated victimization experiences alter cognitive and affective processing or re-program stress response, or whether psychotic symptoms are more likely due to genetic predisposition still needs to be determined in further research," wrote the researchers. "A major implication is that chronic or severe peer victimization has non-trivial, adverse, long-term consequences," they wrote. "Reduction of peer victimization and the resulting stress caused to victims could be a worthwhile target for prevention and early intervention efforts for common mental health problems and psychosis."

Your Child

Unnecessary X-Rays for Kids

1:45

Too many children are receiving unnecessary x-rays for symptoms such as vomiting, feeling ill and fainting says a new study from the Mayo Clinic.

"Chest X-rays can be a valuable exam when ordered for the correct indications. However, there are several indications where pediatric chest X-rays offer no benefit and likely should not be performed to decrease radiation dose and cost," said study author Dr. Ann Packard, a radiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Researchers looked at the reasoning behind 637 chest x-rays given to children from newborns to 17 years- old between 2008 and 2014. They found that 88 percent of the x-rays given to children did not have an impact on treatment they receive.

What kinds of symptoms were children displaying when they were given an x-ray?  Kids and infants had chest pain, fainting, dizziness, cyclical vomiting, and a general feeling of being unwell or under distress (spells). Another problem stated was a condition called "postural orthostatic hypotension," in which blood pressure drops suddenly when a person stands up after sitting or lying down.

X-rays are often given when a physician suspects someone may have pneumonia or a bronchial infection.

Thirty-nine of the x-rays for chest pain were positive for pneumonia, bronchial inflammation, trauma or other conditions, according to the findings scheduled for presentation in Chicago Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. But chest X-rays had no effect on treatment for any of the children with fainting, postural orthostatic hypotension, dizziness, spells or cyclical vomiting.

Radiation in children is a concern. Many pediatricians and experts recommend limiting the exposure to radiation in children when possible. These procedures can also be expensive for families.

"This study addresses both of these issues, which is important not only for physicians but also for young patients and their parents," Packard noted in a society news release.

"I would like this research to help guide clinicians and deter them from ordering unnecessary exams which offer no clinical benefit to the patient," she added.

Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

If a doctor recommends x-rays for your child, be sure and ask specifically why they believe the x-ray is needed and what impact they believe it will have on your child’s treatment.

Possible broken bones need x-rays, trouble breathing could need an x-ray to look for infection or pneumonia. Your doctor may have a perfectly sound reason for ordering an x-ray, but you may want to know ahead of time exactly what it will tell your physician before agreeing.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20141203/many-kids-exposed-to-unneeded-x-rays-study-finds

Your Child

Can Your Child Hear You?

2:00

You may think your child isn’t listening to you, but in fact, he or she may not hear you.

Twelve percent of U.S. children between the ages of 6 and 19 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss – that’s about 5.2 million children – according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 U.S. children are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

Many hearing experts have suspected that long-term hearing loss begins in childhood and now studies have shown how common hearing impairment is among kids.

"Historically, people have been looking only at adult hearing loss and assuming that this is not a problem among children," said Amanda Niskar, a nurse at the CDC and lead author of a study released last summer. "What we have found here for the first time is that this is not true. [Hearing loss] is a progression, and it starts when you're very young."

Some hearing experts say the problem of hearing loss in kids will likely worsen, considering rising levels of environmental noise.

One of the most common contributors to kid’s hearing loss is loud music. Regular exposure to loud noises can damage nerve cells in the ear called hair cells. As the name suggests, these cells have tiny hairs that detect sound vibrations and turn them into signals sent to the brain. But while soft noises only cause the hairs to vibrate, loud noises can break them.

Brief instances of exposure to loud noise may only temporarily damage these hairs. Niskar said two hours of loud music on headphones or seven minutes next to the speakers at a rock concert result in damage that may last for only a few days. However, chronic exposures can damage the hair cells — and hearing — permanently.

Loud toys can also cause hearing impairment. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASLH) discusses toy noise on their website www.asha.org.

“Some toys are so loud that they can cause hearing damage in children. Some toy sirens and squeaky rubber toys can emit sounds of 90 dB, as loud as a lawn mower. Workers would have to wear ear protection for similarly noisy sounds on the job.

The danger with noisy toys is greater than the 90-dB level implies. When held directly to the ear, as children often do, a noisy toy actually exposes the ear to as much as 120 dB of sound, the equivalent of a jet plane taking off. Noise at this level is painful and can result in permanent hearing loss.

Toys that pose a noise danger include cap guns, talking dolls, vehicles with horns and sirens, walkie-talkies, musical instruments, and toys with cranks. Parents who have normal hearing need to inspect toys for noise danger.

Before purchasing a new toy, listen to it. If the toy sounds loud, don’t buy it.”

Good advice to help protect your child’s hearing.

What are the signs and symptoms of hearing loss in kids? Each child is different, but there are some symptoms such as:

Signs in Babies

•       Does not startle at loud noises.

•       Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.

•       Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.

•       Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.

•       Seems to hear some sounds but not others.

Signs in Children

•       Speech is delayed.

•       Speech is not clear.

•       Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.

•       Often says, “Huh?”

•       Turns the TV volume up too high.

If you suspect your baby may have a hearing problem, make sure that he or she has a hearing screening. It’s easy and not painful. Older children should have their hearing tested before entering school any time there is a concern about the child’s hearing. Children who do not pass the hearing screening need to get a full hearing test as soon as possible.

With Christmas and holiday shopping in full swing, make sure to test the toys you buy for your child if they produce a noise and check to see that they are not too loud for your little one to be around.

Hearing loss can affect a child’s performance in school and personal relationships. If you have any suspicions that your child is having difficulty hearing the sooner he or she is checked, the better. There are many excellent therapies for hearing loss now as opposed to even a decade ago.

Sources: Dan Childs, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117355

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/facts.html

http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Noisy-Toys/

Your Child

Common Chemicals Linked to Lower IQ in Kids

 Phthalates are chemicals used in thousands of every day products. They make plastics more flexible and difficult to break. They are also used in personal-care products such  as soaps, shampoos, hairsprays and nail polishers. There are several different types of phthalates.

 A new study suggests that two phthalate chemicals in particular, may be damaging to fetal development and could even lower children's IQs.

 The chemicals, Di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP), are found in a wide range of products including vinyl upholstery, shower curtains, plastic food  containers, raincoats, dryer sheets, lipstick, hairspray, nail polish, certain soaps and chemical air fresheners. They can be absorbed into a person's body, and exposure in- utero was linked in the study to lower IQs later in a child's life.

 Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City headed the study.

 Three hundred and twenty eight New York City low-income women and their children participated in the study. The researchers followed the expectant mothers to assess  the impact of exposure to four phthalates in the third trimester of pregnancy: DnBP and DiBP, as well as 2 other phthalates. The chemical amounts were measured in each woman's urine, and the children took IQ tests at age 7.

 After controlling for factors such as the mother's IQ, education level and family home environment, the researchers found the children of mothers with the highest concentrations of DnBP and DiBP in their systems had IQ levels of 6.6 and 7.6 points lower than children in the lowest exposure group.

 The two other phthalates did not appear to have an impact on the children's intellectual development.

 "Because phthalate exposures are ubiquitous and concentrations seen here within the range previously observed among general populations, results are of public health significance," the researchers write in their study.

 The authors point out that the mothers with a higher volume of chemicals in their system were still within the national average of a larger sample measured by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicates Americans are being exposed to too high a dose of these common chemicals.

 Six phthalates have been banned in children’s products since 2009, but health officials have yet take to take steps to alert pregnant women of the risk that comes with using certain products that contain phthalates. Moreover, companies are not required to label the use of phthalates in products.

 Because so many products contain phthalates, it’s almost impossible to eliminate the chemicals entirely from your system.

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies phthalates as endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with a person's hormone system. They have been associated with a number of physical developmental abnormalities such as cleft palate and skeletal malformations.

 Other studies have linked increased fetal deaths and preterm births in animals to phthalate exposure. They’ve also associated the chemicals to health problems in teens such as insulin resistance.

 The researchers recommend pregnant women take a number of measures to at least minimize risks. They suggest avoiding products with recyclable plastic that's labeled with the numbers 3, 6 or 7.

 The Environmental Working Group also recommends against using cleaning and cosmetic products that include "fragrance" on the list of ingredients, since that indicates the product may contain some hidden phthalates. Many companies are now labeling which of their products are “phthalate free.”

 The study was published in the journal PLOS One.

 Source: Jessica Firger, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/prenatal-exposure-to-common-chemicals-linked-to-lower-iq-in-children/

 http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/phthalates_factsheet.html

Your Child

Caregiving Tasks Are Too Much for Young Children

2:00

It’s not uncommon for children of aging parents to feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caregiving. Studies have shown that the “sandwich generation” – adults trying to raise a family while caring for their parents – is just about stretched to their limits dealing with stress and economic struggles.

While adults may be having a hard time figuring out how to juggle all the demands on their time and resources, a new study looks at the impact on children who have had to take on a similar role as a caregiver.

An astounding 1.3 million American children and teens are caring for family members with physical or mental illness or substance abuse problems, and these children are at risk for poor health and school failure themselves according to the study.

This "hidden population" of young caregivers suffers physical and emotional stress due to their caregiving duties, wrote study author Dr. Julia Belkowitz, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

For this study, Belkowitz and her team studied youth caregivers in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Interestingly, the group of children mirrored the adult population of caregivers, with more females carrying the load than males. The average age was 12 years old, with 63 percent being girls and 37 percent boys.

When surveyed, the children reported that they spent an average of two hours each school day and four hours each weekend day doing caregiver tasks at home. Their family members said the children spent less than that amount of time caregiving. They estimated the children spent 1.5 hours a day on weekdays and 2.75 hours a day on weekends doing caregiver tasks.

The children’s tasks included helping family members with getting around, eating, dressing, bathing, using the toilet, and continence care. The youth caregivers also kept the family members company and offered emotional support, gave medications, translated during medical visits, handled medical equipment at home, cleaned the house and did grocery shopping.

"This study is an important step toward raising awareness about the issue of caregiving youth," Belkowitz said.

She and her colleagues worked on the study with the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY).

"Today in the U.S., there are many more than the 1.3 million children identified in 2005 who face the challenges of juggling adult-sized responsibilities of caring for ill, injured, aging or disabled family members while trying to keep up at school," Connie Siskowski, founder and president of AACY, said in the news release.

For many families, asking young children to help with caregiving may seem like the only option. This is particularly true for single parent families with no relatives nearby or two parent families that each have demanding or time consuming jobs. However, young caregivers pay a high price when asked to take over adult responsibilities. They may take extra time off from school, feel tired or overly stressed and not take the time to be with friends in an environment where they can just be kids or teens.

Parents needing caregiver help should look to other resources for assistance. While a parent might be reluctant to ask for help – fearing that certain services might try to interfere - it might be the only way to make life easier for you and your family.

The website www.aacy.org offers this advice: “If you want advice that is guaranteed to be private, use an anonymous telephone helpline or search for advice on the internet. Remember, most services and organizations that help people will only consider breaking confidentiality if they think it is the only way to keep someone safe. The Data Protection Act says that they must keep your personal information private unless you give them permission to share it or there is a very good reason for sharing it, such as keeping someone safe from harm.

If you have a disability, illness or substance misuse problem, you may be able to get an assessment of your needs from a social worker. An assessment is not a test of whether you are a good parent or not, it is a way of finding out what you and your family need to stay well. During an assessment, a social worker or sometimes a health worker will talk to you in private about your health problem and what help you need.”

This study was presented recently at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in San Diego. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Sources: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/caregiving-news-728/young-caregivers-at-risk-for-failing-in-school-study-shows-692430.html

http://www.aacy.org

Your Child

Brita Recalls Children’s Water Bottles

1:45 to read

Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.

The company said Tuesday that the lid of the hard-sided bottles can break into pieces with sharp points.

Brita has received 35 reports of lids breaking or cracking. No injuries have been reported.

The recalled bottles include a violet bottle with Dora the Explorer, a pink bottle with Hello Kitty, a blue bottle with SpongeBob Square Pants and a green bottle with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Each bottle has a Brita logo and white lid.

The bottles are 6 inches tall and hold 15 ounces of liquid. They have fold-up straws and filters that sit inside the straw below the lid.

The removable plastic wrap on the bottle at time of purchase has model number BB07. The following UPC codes were used:

  • 60258-35883 on the Dora the Explorer
  • 60258-35914 on the Hello Kitty
  • 60258-35880 on the SpongeBob Square Pants
  • 60258-35882 on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The bottles were priced between about $13 and $19. They were sold online at Amazon, Target and Drugstore.com. They were sold at stores including Alaska Housewares, Associated Food Stores, Bartell Drug, C Wholesale Grocers, Quidsi, Royal Ahold, Shopko, Target, US Navy Exchange and Walmart.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the bottles and to contact Brita for a postage-paid shipping package to return the bottles for a full refund. Brita can be reached at (800) 926-2065 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Individuals may also visit www.brita.com and click "Safety Recall" for more information.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/brita-recalling-childrens-water-bottles-25032799

Brita water bottle recall

Your Child

Self-Control May Lead to Future Success

The children who struggled with self-control as preschoolers were three times as likely to have problems as young adults. They were more prone to have a criminal record; more likely to be poor or have financial problems; and they were more likely to be single parents.A new study says that self-control makes the difference between getting a good job or going to jail — and we learn it in preschool!

"Children who had the greatest self-control in primary school and preschool ages were most likely to have fewer health problems when they reached their 30s," says Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychology at Duke University and King's College London. Moffitt and a team of researchers studied a group of 1,000 people born in New Zealand in 1972 and 1973, tracking them from birth to age 32. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the best evidence yet on the payoff for learning self-discipline early on. The researchers define self-control as having skills like conscientiousness, self-discipline and perseverance, as well as being able to consider the consequences of actions in making decisions. The children who struggled with self-control as preschoolers were three times as likely to have problems as young adults. They were more prone to have a criminal record; more likely to be poor or have financial problems; and they were more likely to be single parents. This study doesn't prove that the lack of self-control in childhood caused these problems, but the large size of the study, and the fact that it followed one group of people over many years, makes a good case for an effect. Teaching Control Economists and public health officials want to know whether teaching self-control could improve a population's physical and financial health and reduce crime. Three factors appear to be key to a person's success in life: intelligence, family's socioeconomic status and self-control. Moffitt's study found that self-control predicted adult success, even after accounting for the participants' differences in social status and IQ. IQ and social status are hard to change. But Moffitt says there is evidence that self-control can be learned. "Identical twins are not identical on self-control," she says. "That tells us that it is something they have learned, not something they have inherited." Teaching self-control has become a big focus for early childhood education. At the Clara Barton Center for Children in Cabin John, Md., it starts with expecting a 4-year-old to hang up her coat without being asked. Director Linda Owen says the children are expected to be responsible for a series of actions when they arrive at school each morning, without help from Mom and Dad. The children sign in, put away their lunches, hang up their own clothes, wash their hands before they can play, and then choose activities in the classroom. "All those things help with self-management," Owen says. Mediating Conflict Of course, not all 4-year-olds are ready to manage that, so the classroom is loaded with cues and clues to help the preschoolers make their own decisions and be responsible. A series of seven photos over the sink shows the correct sequence for hand washing. A "solutions kit" poster shows techniques the children can use to resolve disagreements themselves, like sharing or playing with another toy. The two teachers give the children multiple cues when it's time to clean up: Lights flash, a bell rings and the children clap and count to 100. That makes it easier to switch gears without a meltdown. If a child has problems with self-management, the teachers make a customized "visual cue" card, with photos of the four play choices in the room, to make the decision easier. And teachers Cathie Morton and Daniela Capbert don't just supervise — they're in the thick of the children's play so that when the inevitable conflicts arise, they can redirect the children into other activities or help them talk through their feelings. When things do go wrong, there are consequences. Timeouts and apologies don't mean much to children at this age, Owen says, so the teachers try to match consequences to the deed. When one of the children accidentally knocks over a 2-foot-tall tower of blocks that several children had spent half the morning building, the teachers ask the builders what should happen next. "Help fix it," one boy says. And, with a little prompting from the adults, they all pitch in and rebuild. Self-Control At Home Parents can help their children learn self-control. Mary Alvord is a clinical psychologist in Silver Spring, Md., whose new book, Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents, teaches self-control strategies. Take small steps, she says. For example, preschoolers can learn that they don't always get what they want immediately; they may need to wait for that treat. "I call it Grandma's rule," Alvord says. "No dessert until you finish your dinner." Parents can help teenagers learn self-control by making sure the family has clear rules for things like curfew or finishing homework before they have screen time. Teenager who have problems with impulsivity may benefit from special driving classes that let them practice controlling the car in difficult conditions on a racetrack. For all teens, clear rules such as curfews help them regulate themselves. Though self-control can be improved throughout life, Moffitt says the earlier children can learn these skills of self-discipline and perseverance, the better. "The later you wait in life to try to learn self-control skills, the more problems you have to reverse and overcome." All the more reason to start picking up blocks when you're very young.

Your Child

Kids and Caffeine

2.00 to read

While sipping on a coffee-laced Frappuccino, I’m reading about a current study on caffeine and kids. It made me think about my own dependence on caffeine and when it started. For as long as I can remember, my parents would drink several cups of coffee in the morning before going to work, and even as late as right before they retired for the night.  I suspect my mother had a cup while I was busy being born.

I can’t remember exactly when I joined the family coffee drinking ritual, but I know I was pretty young.  Fall and winter demanded hot steaming cups of coffee and iced coffee helped cool the torturous Texas summers. Spring was a combination of both. Sometimes I think that by now, there’s probably coffee bean residue percolating in my blood stream. 

I kind of wish that I’d never started drinking coffee, because it’s the caffeine I really crave- not necessarily the taste of the brew.  When I’ve tried to quit, my body and mind rebels with headaches and bad attitudes. Which brings me back to the study on kids and caffeine.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that children and teens are now getting less caffeine from soda, but more from caffeine-heavy energy drinks and coffee.

"You might expect that caffeine intake decreased, since so much of the caffeine kids drink comes from soda," said the study's lead author, Amy Branum, a statistician at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "But what we saw is that these decreases in soda were offset by increases in coffee and energy drinks."

Not too long ago, energy drinks were just a fad, something that was more likely to give you the shakes than boost your energy level. That was before they were tweaked and bottled or canned in fruity flavors, sugary beverages and clever advertising. Once kids (and adults) got a taste of the “new and improved” tasty stimulates, the caffeinated beverages began to become a part of every day life – at least Monday through Friday when school and work beckoned.

"In a very short time, they have gone from basically contributing nothing to 6 percent of total caffeine intake," Branum said.

“Energy drinks have more caffeine than soda,. That's their claim to fame," she said. "That's what they're marketed for."

So, what effect does excessive caffeine intake have on our kids? Scientists are not sure yet. There are concerns and a lot of questions about the possible adverse consequences for kids who are still developing.  Caffeine addiction, obesity from sugar heavy beverages, high blood pressure, rapid heart beats and anxiety are some of the side –effects researchers are exploring. 

Using data from the 1999 to 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Branum's team estimated that 73 percent of American children consume some level of caffeine each day.

Although much of their caffeine still comes from soda, the proportion has decreased from 62 percent to 38 percent. At the same time, the amount of caffeine kids get from coffee rose from 10 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2010, the researchers found.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that energy drinks are never appropriate for children or adolescents and in general, caffeine-containing beverages, including soda, should be avoided. The AAP suggests that children should drink water or moderate amounts of juice instead.

The genie is probably out of the preverbal bottle as far as some adolescents and college-aged kids are concerned.  Although, if they are more aware of the possible health risks associated with excessive caffeinated beverages, they may decide to look at healthier energy producing sources such as exercise, meditation and more rest.

Where parents can have the most influence is with their younger children.  Refraining from purchasing caffeinated products (there’s even “energy” gum) and keeping them out of the home is a good first step.

And by all means, avoid introducing your kids to coffee at a young age. It might seem kind of cute, but twenty years down the road, they may wish you hadn’t slid that first cup of java their way.

The report was published in the February edition of the online journal Pediatrics.

Sources: Steven Reinberg,  http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20140210/energy-drinks-coffee-increasing-sources-of-caffeine-for-kids-cdc-says

www.aap.org

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Should you give your baby pain killer prior to vaccinating?