Your Toddler

What’s In Infants and Toddler’s Prepackaged Food?

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As a parent, you may have assumed that pre-packaged food for infants and toddlers surely must be healthy; I mean really, what kind of a company would knowingly put these innocents at risk for long-term health issues? If that has indeed been your assumption, then you may be surprised to learn the results of a new study using a comprehensive analysis of foods sold for infants and toddlers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, if you’ve ever read the confusing Nutritional Facts list on such products, you may not be surprised at all.

The health culprits contained in children’s food products are sugar and sodium. A little is fine, too much is a health disaster waiting to happen in the form of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The harsh reality is that some of these products have more sodium and sugar in them than adult food products.

We’re not talking about natural sugars and sodium contained in food, but added sugar and salt to make the foods “taste better”.

The CDC’s study showed that about one-third of prepared dinners made for toddlers contained at least one kind of added sugar as well as 97% of breakfast pastries and cereal bars. Researchers found that 88% juices and other drinks marketed for infants and toddlers contained added sugars.

On the sodium spectrum, 72% of toddler dinners were found to be way over the recommended limit, with an average of 2,295 milligrams of sodium per meal. The Institute of Medicine recommends that toddlers consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

Some foods marketed to infants and toddlers had more sodium than comparable adult foods. Among 34 types of savory snacks for infants and toddlers – a category that includes crackers, some types of rice cakes and mini-hot dogs sold in jars – the average concentration of sodium was 486 mg per 100 grams of food. In comparison, salted potato chips intended for adults have about 450 mg of sodium per 100 grams, the researchers noted in their study, which was published by the journal Pediatrics.

When you take a hard look at what children are eating these days, and the lack of recommended physical activity, it’s no surprise that 23% of American kids between the ages of 2 and 5 (yes, that young) are either overweight or obese. With the added sodium in their diets, obese children are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease (the No.1 cause of death in the U.S.), and other health problems. These health issues are starting to show up in teenagers, where once they didn’t develop till much later in life.

The CDC researchers set out to better understand the amount of sodium and sugar in prepared foods designed for infants and toddlers. They scoured a commercial database that includes nutrition information on more than 200,000 prepared foods. They also walked the aisles of Wal-Marts, Targets, Costcos and supermarkets in the Atlanta area to find additional products for their analysis. Altogether, they included 1,074 food items for infants and toddlers in their sample.

The good news is that not all of their findings negative. For instance, among 657 infant vegetables, fruits, dry cereals, dinners and ready-to-serve items that combined mixed grains with fruit, all but two were considered low in sodium. In addition, more than 80% of the 582 fruit, vegetable, soup and dinner items for infants had no added sugars.

However, food content began to change after kids turned 1 and moved on to toddler foods. Cereal bars, fruit and dry fruit snacks for this age group were still low in sodium, but most contained at least one type of added sugar. The most common additive listed was “fruit juice concentrate”, a somewhat creative name for squeezing out most of a fruit’s water and fiber so that only the fruit sugar is left.

The authors of the study expressed concern that starting children on high sodium and sugar foods when they are little could set them up for a lifetime of poor eating habits.

So what can you do as a parent? Become a label investigator before purchasing pre-packaged food for your child (or yourself for that matter).

When reading the Nutrition Facts label on a food, check for four things:

·      How many servings are contained in the product. Oftentimes a product – even a small one- contains more than one serving.

·      The sodium content per serving

·      The sugar content per serving

·      The list of ingredients.  Added sugars may have names such as high fructose syrup, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup. Added sodium may be listed as monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

Look at where these items fall in the list of ingredients.  Ingredients are listed in order of the quantity they contribute to the overall food. When you see any ingredient listed first or at the top of the list, there’s a lot of it in the food.

For this study, the data on sodium and sugar came from the Nutrition Facts labels that appear on food packages. These aren’t necessarily accurate because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows the figures on the label to be off by as much as 20%, the researchers noted. 

Source: Karen Kaplan,  http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-sn-infant-toddler-foods-salt-sugar-20150202-story.html

Your Toddler

Pain Patch, Serious Threat to Young Children

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For people who suffer with severe chronic pain, a slow released Fentanyl skin patch offers a respite from agony. However, the powerful pain reliever can be deadly for young children who accidently get a hold of a discarded or unopened patch.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a Drug Safety Communication to warn parents, caregivers and health care workers about the dangers of accidental exposure to and improper storage and disposal of fentanyl patches.

In 2012, a toddler in Deerfield, Massachusetts accidently ingested a fentanyl patch after visiting a family member in a nursing home. The child’s great-grandmother was on fentanyl patches for pain. The boy’s parents believe the patch was improperly discarded and either stuck to a Halloween candy bucket or his toy truck while he was playing on the floor. The child ingested the patch 2 or 3 days after the visit and died from an overdose. An autopsy found the patch in the boy’s throat.

The FDA is aware of 32 cases of children who were accidentally exposed to fentanyl since 1997, most of them involving children younger than age 2. There have been 12 deaths and 12 cases requiring hospitalization.

"These types of events are tragic; you never want this to happen. We are looking for ways that we can help prevent this from happening in the future," Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release. "This reinforces the need to talk to patients and their families to make sure that these patches are stored, used and disposed of carefully."

The fentanyl patches contain a powerful opioid narcotic and are sometimes given to patients who are suffering from cancer and for other debilitating pain causing conditions that have not responded to non-fentanyl pain relievers. The brand name is Duragesic.

A fentanyl overdose -- caused when a child either puts a patch in his or her mouth or applies it to the skin -- can cause death by slowing breathing and increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, the FDA said.

Other overdose symptoms for fentanyl may include:

-       Extreme weakness or dizziness

-       Pinpoint pupils

-       Cold and clammy skin

-       Weak pulse

-       Fainting

The FDA said Monday that it approved changes to the Duragesic patch so the name of the drug and its strength will be printed on the patch in long-lasting ink in a clearly visible color. The agency added that it has asked manufacturers of the generic versions to make the same changes. The previous ink color varied by strength and was not always easy to see.

If you have Duragesic patches in your home make sure that they are properly discarded and that young children are not able to reach them. Older children, such as adolescents should not have access to them as well. A combination of alcohol and fentanyl can quickly become deadly.

Fentanyl is the strongest legal narcotic available. The U.S. government classifies it as a Schedule II Controlled Substance and highly addictive.

Source: http://children.webmd.com/news/20130923/pain-patches-children?printing=true

Your Toddler

FDA Targets Unapproved Eardrops

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For years, physicians may have been unknowingly prescribing unapproved eardrops used to treat ear pain and swelling, to parents for their children’s ear aches. The drugs have not been evaluated for safety, quality and effectiveness says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The agency notified the drugs' makers to stop marketing the drops following a few reports of local allergic reactions of the ear, eye, face, neck and mouth. The drops can also cause itching, stinging, burning and irritation of the ear, according to an FDA news release.

"If we don't know whether these drugs have any benefits, we should not accept any possible risk of side effects," said the FDA's Dr. Charles Lee in the news release.

The FDA did not release the names of the companies or the medications involved, but did note, "unapproved prescription otic [ear] drug products containing the following ingredients are covered by this action:

·      Benzocaine;

·      Benzocaine and Antipyrine;

·      Benzocaine, Antipyrine, and Zinc acetate;

·      Benzocaine, Chloroxylenol and Hydrocortisone;

·      Chloroxylenol and Pramoxine;

·      Chloroxylenol, Pramoxine, and Hydrocortisone.

“Taking enforcement actions against these unapproved products will protect patients from unnecessary risks,” said Cynthia Schnedar, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “There are many FDA-approved prescription products to treat ear infections, so we expect little or no impact on patients from the removal of these unapproved and potentially unsafe products.”

The labels on these products do not disclose that they lack FDA approval, and health care professionals may not be aware of their unapproved status.  The FDA’s action does not affect FDA-approved prescription otic products, or legally marketed otic products sold over-the-counter.

Unapproved prescription otic drug products are frequently given to young children suffering from ear infections and other conditions that cause ear pain and swelling. Patients taking unapproved drugs may be at greater risk because there is no proven safety or effectiveness information. These products may be contaminated or manufactured incorrectly, which could result in patients receiving the wrong dose, even when administered according to the labeled directions for use, the agency said.

The FDA recommends that you check with your doctor if you think your child may have been prescribed one of these products or has exhibited side effects. You can ask for an alternative medication that has been FDA approved.

Sources: Margaret Farley Steele, http://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/doctor-news-206/unapproved-ear-drops-targeted-by-fda-700970.html

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm453348.htm

Your Toddler

Potty Training Questions Continue

1.30 to read

Can Potty Training Too Early Cause Problems Later?

For some parents, there’s an odd sense of pride when they can boast of potty training their child before he or she turns 2. While their pre-toddler might get the hang of going to the potty early, they are more likely to have daytime wetting problems later, according to a new study.

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina found that children who start toilet training before age 2 have a three times higher risk of daytime wetting or urinary urgency.

"Parents who train their children early to meet preschool deadlines, to save landfills from diapers or because they think toddlers are easier to train should know there can be serious repercussions," says lead author Steve Hodges, M.D., an associate professor of pediatric urology at Wake Forest Baptist.

The study involved 112 children ages 3 to 10. About half were seen in the urology department for daytime wetting or urinary urgency/frequency. Participants were compared to a group seen in a general pediatric clinic and pediatric emergency room that had no history of dysfunctional voiding.

A questionnaire was used to gather information on the age toilet training was initiated and the presence of daytime voiding dysfunction. Patients were grouped into three categories of potty training: early (before age 2), normal (between 2 and 3) and late (after age 3) training. There were 38 early, 64 normal and 10 late trainers.

Sixty percent of the early trainers had daytime wetting. They had a 3.37 times increased risk of daytime wetness as compared to the normal group.

Why would early potty training cause daytime wetting? The researchers believe early trainers are more prone to subsequent voiding dysfunction because they are more apt to "hold" their stool or urine. "When children hold stool, it backs up in the rectum," Hodges explained. "The enlarged rectum presses against the bladder, reducing its capacity and causing the nerves feeding the bladder to go haywire."

Constipation seemed to be a common factor with three times more complaints from early trainers than normal trainers. "Almost all of the children who had wetting also had constipation," Hodges noted.

Younger children also are more apt to delay peeing, behavior that can lead to bladder contractions and reduced bladder capacity. "Research has demonstrated that bladder growth continues in children up to the point of toilet training," said Hodges. "Uninhibited voiding in diapers is likely beneficial to bladder development. In my practice, it's often the children who trained earliest and most easily who end up with the most severe voiding problems."

The study also found that among the 10 children who trained after age 3, seven had daytime wetting problems, and these same seven also were constipated. The three late trainers who did not have wetting problems were not constipated.

"This does not mean late potty training causes dysfunctional voiding," Hodges explained. "It means that when kids train late, it's very likely because they are already constipated, which makes toilet training extremely difficult. Parents whose 3- or 4-year-olds have trouble training are often blamed for 'waiting too long,' but our data suggest waiting isn't the problem — instead it's likely constipation."

Many experts agree that letting the child show signs of readiness for toilet training is a better indicator of when to start training, instead of going by age.

"There is nothing magic about the age of two," said Hodges. "If parents opt to train early or late and are meticulous about making sure children void on a regular schedule and monitor them for signs of constipation, I suspect the incidence of voiding dysfunction would decrease."

Before children can use the toilet successfully on their own, they must be able to control their bladder and bowel muscles. This typically begins between 22 and 30 months of age.

Some signs of this control are:

·      Having bowel movements around the same time each day

·      Not having bowel movements at night

·      Having a dry diaper after a nap or for at least 2 hours at a time.

Children must also be able to climb, talk, remove clothing, and have mastered other basic motor skills before they can use the toilet by themselves.

The report was presented online in Research and Reports in Urology.

Sources: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/wfbm-ptb100714.php

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/tc/toilet-training-topic-overview

 

 

 

Can potty training too early cause problems later in your child’s life? Read what a new study says in Hot Topics. 

Your Toddler

“Late-Talkers” Can Catch Up

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Parents of children who are "late-talkers" may have no reason to worry says a new study. Do you have a toddler that isn’t talking as much as you think he or she should? There’s no need to worry according to a new study

A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics says 18 percent of children have a language delay. Parents should not be overly concerned that late-talking at age two years will result in enduring language and psychological difficulties for the child," Dr. Andrew Whitehouse, an associate professor and of developmental psychopathology at the University of Western Australia in Subiaco. Researchers followed children who were part of the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study, including 1,245 children whose speech was not delayed: they were using at least 50 words and could string two or three words together in a phrase, and 142 who had not reached this milestone. The children were tracked through age 17. The Child Behavior Checklist, also based on parental report, was used to measure behavior by parent report and to measure child and adolescent behavior during follow up at 2-years-old, 5-years-old, 8-years-old, 10, 14, and 17. At age 2, the children identified as “late-talkers” were more likely than other toddlers to have behavioral problems. But there was no difference between the groups at ages 5, 8, 10, 14 and 17. The study looked at survey results filled out by parents on more than 1,400 two-year olds, born between 1989 and 1991. The researchers found that one of 10 kids was a late-talker, and these kids tended to act more introverted and displayed more emotional problems. Dr. Whitehouse suggests that frustration may be at the root of the behavioral problems, and as the child develops better communication skills, the frustration eases or goes away. Children usually can form meaningful words by the age of 18 months. Between the ages of 2 to 3 years old, children should be saying new words each month and using two-word sentences, such as "more juice." Some children are late talkers because of hearing loss, cognitive impairment, speech disorder, language disorder, autism, or other considerations. If your child is a late talker it’s important to have your pediatrician check for possible medical causes. Still, for many it is simply a developmental stage with no long-term adverse effects.

Your Toddler

Magnetic Toy’s Warning Labels Not Enough

1.30 to read

Current warnings labels on magnetic toys don’t seem to be effective in keeping powerful magnets out of the mouths of small children according to a survey by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN.)

The NASPGHAN represents 1700 pediatric gastroenterologists in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The doctors would like to see the magnets banned.  

“Many of our member physicians have had the unfortunate experience of removing these high-powered neodymium magnets from the gastrointestinal tract of innocent infants and children to reduce the risk of abdominal surgery,” said Athos Bousvaros, M.D., President elect of NASPGHAN. “It is simply unreasonable to suggest that product warnings are sufficient to prevent their accessibility to children and adolescents. The only solid way to prevent ingestion of these magnets is to ban them.”

Young children may think that the magnets are candy and older children and even teens use the magnets to mimic tongue piercings.

How dangerous are magnets if ingested?  If two or or more of these small magnets are swallowed they may attract two loops of bowel together and although the intestinal tract is pretty tough, it is no match for high powered magnets. The pinching together of the intestinal walls can cause bowel ulceration, perforations in the intestine and severe injury requiring surgery.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed a lawsuit against Maxfield & Oberton, the manufacturer of Buckyballs and Buckycubes, after the company refused to cease distribution of the high-powered, rare earth magnet products that have caused serious injury to children as a result of ingestion.

The company announced on Monday that that they have discontinued the controversial desk toy. The company claims the products were manufactured for and marketed to adults. The products will continue to be sold online until the current supply sells out.

Symptoms of magnet ingestion are abdominal pain, vomiting and fever. These are very common symptoms and may indicate a variety of illnesses. Initial evaluation can miss that magnets are the cause of the problem.  Unfortunately, delay in treatment may lead to an increased severity of consequences. If your child presents with these symptoms, and you know that there have been small magnets in the house, be sure to take your child to the doctor or the emergency room and tell the examining physician.

Sources: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/23/doctors-warning-labels-on-magnetic-toys-arent-enough

http://www.naspghan.org/user-assets/Documents/pdf/Advocacy/July%202012/N...

Your Toddler

Allergy Drops & Sprays Poisonous If Swallowed

1.45 to read

Spring and fall are both beautiful seasons, but for some people they are the time when allergies flare up and cause a lot of misery. This is also when you start seeing a lot of prescription and over the counter nose sprays and eye-drops around the house.

These products work great when used as directed, but the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warns that they are poisonous if swallowed.  It only takes less than a fifth of a teaspoon to seriously harm a child.

Parents and caregivers often leave these products out where curious toddlers can find them. Since they do not come in child-resistant packaging – little ones can easily open them.

Eye drops injured more than 4500 children under the age of 5 from 1997 to 2009. Nasal sprays injured more than 1,100 children in the same age group during those years according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC.)

The eye drops in question work by causing blood vessels in the eye to constrict. The nose sprays work in a similar fashion by constricting vessels in the nose. Visine is one of the most popular eye drop brands purchased and Afrin, Dristan and Mucinex nose sprays are often used for nasal allergies.

All these products contain a class of drugs called imidazolines. The active ingredients are  tetrahydrozoline, naphazoline, or oxymetazonline. When applied as directed, the drugs only affect the area where they are used - such as the eyes or nose. If any of these chemicals are swallowed, then they quickly affect other areas of the body.

"Generally, symptoms can occur in as little as one hour, peaking at eight hours, and resolving after 12-36 hours," a CPSC briefing paper notes. "Even though the symptoms resolve in a relatively short amount of time, ingestion of imidazolines can result in severe life-threatening consequences, such as decreased breathing, decreased heart rate, and loss of consciousness that require hospitalization to ensure recovery."

The CPSC has asked for a new rule that requires child-resistant packaging for eye drops and nose sprays but that hasn’t happened yet. If the rule should be finalized, manufacturers will still have at least a year to comply. 

Right now, there are lots of these products in use and in homes where small children live. The FDA has a list of suggestions to help avoid accidental poisoning.

  • Store medicines in a safe location that is too high for young children to reach or see.
  • Never leave medicines or vitamins out on a kitchen counter or a child's bedside.
  • If a medicine bottle has a safety cap, relock it each time you use it.
  • Remind babysitters, houseguests, and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them away and out of sight when they are in your home.
  • Avoid taking medicines in front of young children because they like to mimic adults.

Many parents or caregivers probably aren’t aware of how dangerous these products can be if swallowed. It’s a good idea to take a walk around the house and make sure that there aren’t any sitting on the counters or in a drawer where little hands can reach.

A list of products containing the drugs mentioned above can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20121025/child-poisonings-eye-drops-nose-sprays

Your Toddler

Does TV-Time Hurt Toddler’s Chance for Success?

1.45 to read

Many child health experts recommend that parents not allow their children, if they are 2 years old and younger, to watch any television. The reason is that this is a critical time for brain development and watching TV gets in the way of a child’s exploration, problem solving, playing and interacting with parents and others. Without real life stimulation, a child’s brain doesn’t get the chance it needs to develop in normal and healthy ways.

A new study now looks at how toddler TV-time may impact their first foray into the educational system.

The Canadian researchers examined how the TV-viewing habits of about 2,000 children in Quebec at the age of 29 months affected them once they started kindergarten.

Every hourly increase in daily TV viewing over the recommended two-hour limit at the younger age was associated with poorer vocabulary, math skills and attention; reduced physical abilities; and an increased risk of being picked on by classmates when the children started kindergarten.

"[The findings] suggest the need for better parental awareness and compliance with existing viewing recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics," study author Linda Pagani, a professor at the University of Montreal, said in a university news release.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.

 

Some parents may believe that kindergarten isn’t real school, but that it’s more of a pre-school adjustment period where kids get used to being in classrooms and learning very basic education skills. That’s true to a certain extent, however, kids need and deserve all the developmental advantages they can get as they begin their very important school years.

Although the study reported an association between more TV time and poorer skills in school, it did not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Study data and conclusions also typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Most likely your child’s future will include more media options than anyone can imagine today. Experts are already talking about the brain drain that too much multi-tasking and media surfing are having on older kids and adults. So give your little one a media free environment for at least his or her first two years of life. Let them explore the world by touching, smelling, seeing and hearing the wonders around them. There will be plenty of TV time in the future.

Source: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/08/20/how-toddlers-tv-time-can-hurt-kindergarten-success

 

 

Your Toddler

Anchor It!

1:45

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has launched “Anchor It”, a national public education campaign, to help make people aware of the dangers that free-standing furniture and TVs present, particularly to children.

The annual number of children injured or killed from furniture and TV tip-overs is astounding.

According to CPSC data, unstable and unsecured TVs and large pieces of furniture kill a child every two weeks, on average, in tip-over incidents that are easily preventable.  CPSC also reported that 38,000 Americans go to emergency rooms each year with injuries related to tip-overs of top-heavy furniture or televisions placed on furniture, instead of a TV stand.  Two-thirds of those injuries involved children younger than 5.  Additionally, between 2000 and 2013, 84 percent of the 430 deaths reported to CPSC involved children younger than 10.

A January 2015 CPSC report found that a television tipping over from an average size dresser falls with thousands of pounds of force. 

The impact of a falling TV is like being caught between two NFL linemen colliding at full-speed—10 times. 

“Every 24 minutes in the U.S. a child goes to the emergency room because of a tip-over incident involving furniture or a TV,” said CPSC Commissioners Marietta Robinson and Joseph Mohorovic. “We must take action now. CPSC’s new ‘Anchor It!’ campaign is a call to action for parents and caregivers to ‘get on top of it, before they do.’ If we can prevent one more death, it will be worth it.”

Cards and posters are being distributed parents and caregivers of toddlers at daycare centers and preschools. A list of safety steps parents and caregivers can take are printed on the handouts. They are:

·      Buy and install low-cost anchoring devices to prevent TVs, dressers, bookcases or other furniture from tipping.

·      Avoid leaving items, such as remote controls and toys, in places where kids might be tempted to climb up to reach for them.

·      Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.

·      Place TVs on a sturdy, low base and push them as far back as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible.

·      If purchasing a new TV, consider recycling older ones not currently used. If moving the older TV to another room, be sure it is anchored properly to the wall.

The “Anchor It” campaign’s website (www.Anchorit.gov) shows you how to anchor furniture and television sets properly, with easy to follow instructions. Keep your little one safe and Anchor It!

 

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