Your Toddler

Thumb Sucking

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I admit it – I was a thumb sucker for way too long. My thumb and mouth didn’t part company until I was in first grade. The fear of getting caught during a sleepover at a friend’s house was enough for me to finally call it quits.

It’s normal for babies and toddlers to suck their thumbs. Babies are born with the urge to suck as part of their survival. They also use it as a way to soothe themselves when they feel hungry, afraid, restless, sleepy or bored. Toddlers carry on that natural instinct as they find their way in the world.

By the time children are around four-years-old they’ve typically stopped sucking their thumb and found replacements for self-soothing. Occasionally, children (like myself) will continue to suck their thumb out of habit.

Some experts say that if a child is still sucking their thumb by the age of six, they may be doing so because of emotional distress such as anxiety.

Thumb sucking isn’t a problem under the age of four, but if a child continues- with great intensity- after five or six years old, they could be setting themselves up for dental or speech problems.

Prolonged thumb sucking may cause their teeth to become improperly aligned (malocclusion) or push their teeth outward. If the thumb sucking stops, the teeth most likely will align correctly, but the longer the sucking continues the more likely orthodontic treatment will be needed.

Extended thumb sucking may also cause speech issues such as lisping, inability to say Ts and Ds, and pushing the tongue out when talking. A speech therapist may be needed to help correct these problems.

How do you help your child stop sucking their thumb? It takes a lot of patience.

One place to begin is to pay attention to what triggers the thumb sucking. Does your little one start when they are bored, sleepy, or unsure about something? Redirecting can help. Busy hands help keep thumbs from going into the mouth. Give your child a large stuffed animal to wrap their arms around or have them help hold the book when you are reading to them. Offer a squeezable rubber ball or finger puppets to grasp when they are watching TV.  The key is to offer an alternative at the times you notice they are the most likely to want to suck their thumb.

Ask your child to not suck their thumb in public and gently remind them when you see them doing it. Let them suck their thumb at home, but start the process of being self-aware in public. Kids often unconsciously slip their thumb into their mouth. A reminder helps them notice what they are doing.

You can also start talking to your child about why it’s time to give some thought to stopping. In age-appropriate language explain how thumb sucking is okay for younger children, but as children get older they learn how to stop. Ask them questions like “Do you see (insert name of an older child or adult here) sucking his or her thumb?” They’ll think about it more and start to decide whether they want to continue. It’s a process that takes time.

Punishing or shaming your child is absolutely the wrong method to address thumb sucking. This approach not only doesn’t work, but also lowers a child self-value and can create an even stronger desire to thumb suck. It’s like quitting anything you’re doing that may not be good for you in the long run- the worse someone tries to make you feel about it- the more you want to do it (think overeating, smoking, drinking.)

You can also talk to your pediatrician or family doctor for his or her suggestions on how to help your child. For older children, behavioral therapy may be beneficial.

There are products that are nasty tasting that can be swabbed on your child’s thumb, but some experts think that approach is cruel and more like a punishment than a humane way to help a child outgrow a natural inclination.

Most kids will simply quit sucking their thumb when they are good and ready. Helping your child reach that point may require patience and creativity, but in time his or her thumb will cease to be a constant comfort companion.

Sources: http://children.webmd.com/tc/thumb-sucking-topic-overview

Your Toddler

High Chair Injuries on the Rise

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High chairs were designed to offer older babies and younger toddlers a safer place to eat at the table. They’re usually higher from the ground than a regular chair, so a parent or caregiver (or sibling) can spoon feed the baby comfortably. If there’s an infant in the family, more than likely there’s a high chair in the house.

They’re great when used properly, but when children aren’t secured correctly, accidents can and do happen. In fact, a new safety study reveals that high chair injuries increased 22 percent between 2003 and 2009.

Emergency rooms staffs are treating an average of almost 9,500 high chair related injuries every year – that equates to one injured infant per hour.

"We know that these injuries can and do happen, but we did not expect to see the kind of increase that we saw," said study co-author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

"Most of the injuries we're talking about, over 90 percent, involve falls with young toddlers whose center of gravity is high, near their chest, rather than near the waist as it is with adults," Smith said. "So when they fall they topple, which means that 85 percent of the injuries we see are to the head and face."

Because the fall is from a seat that's higher than the traditional chair and typically onto a hard kitchen floor, "the potential for a serious injury is real," he added. "This is something we really need to look at more, so we can better understand why this seems to be happening more frequently."

Researchers analyzed data collected by the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The data concerned all high chair, booster seat, and normal chair-related injuries that occurred between 2003 and 2010 and involved children 3 years old and younger.

The researchers found that high chair/booster chair injuries rose from 8,926 in 2003 to 10,930 by 2010.

How are children getting injured? About two-thirds of the children had been either standing or climbing in the chair just before the fall, the study authors noted.

Either chair restraints aren’t working as they should or parents are not using them properly.

"In recent years, there have been millions of high chairs recalled because they do not meet current safety standards. Most of these chairs are reasonably safe when restraint instructions are followed, but even so, there were 3.5 million high chairs recalled during our study period alone," said Smith. However, even highly educated and informed parents aren't always fully aware of a recall when it happens, he noted.

Still, Smith believes that a 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will lead to a notable drop in recalls in coming years because it calls for independent third-party testing of children's products before they're put on the market.

The most common diagnosis from a high chair fall is a concussion or internal head injury. This type of head trauma accounted for 37 percent of high chair injuries, and its frequency imbed by nearly 90 percent during the eight years studied.

Nearly 6 in 10 children experienced an injury to their head or neck after a high chair fall, while almost 3 in 10 experienced a facial injury, the study found.

When the researchers looked at falls from traditional chairs, children’s injuries were typically broken bones, cuts and bruises.

While the tray may look like it can block a child from climbing or standing, it’s not a restraint. Children need to be buckled in.

Supervision plays a key role in keeping your little one safe when in a high chair. Many falls happen when a parent or caregiver leaves the room or is not facing the baby.  "Even if a chair does meet current safety standards and the restraint is used properly, there's never 100 percent on this . . . Parents will always need to be vigilant." said Smith.

Some high chairs have wheels, so make sure that if yours does- they are locked when the baby is in the chair.

Also, never place the high chair next to a wall or counter where your baby or toddler can push against it, causing the chair to become unstable.

High chairs are convenient and can be very safe when used properly. Make sure your child is restrained properly and that you can see your baby whenever you move away from the chair.

The study was published online Dec. 9 in Clinical Pediatrics.

Source: Alan Mozes, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20131209/rise-in-us-high-chair-injuries-stuns-experts

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

Expanding Gel Balls Dangerous If Swallowed

1.45 to read

Toddlers and babies love to put things in their mouth. They don’t know when something is unsanitary or dangerous, they just like to suck and chew on things. But that natural inclination can cause big problems when they swallow something that is unsafe for consumption.

One little girl in Houston,Texas did just that.

She found a cute little gel ball, put it in her mouth then unfortunately swallowed it. It was a Water Balz.

The problem is that once a Water Balz is submerged in water, or if it ends up in the stomach, it can expand to 400 times its original size.

The 8-month-old child was brought to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston with stomach pain. Her parent’s suspected that she had eaten one of her sister’s Water Balz and became alarmed when they read the toy’s label.

Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, a pediatric surgeon at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, told Reuters Health "It goes in small and grows on the inside and may not come out."

X-Rays taken at the hospital showed that the baby’s small intestine was swollen, as if something was causing a blockage, but the X-Rays couldn’t reveal what was causing it. The baby’s belly continued getting bigger and bigger and her symptoms didn’t go away.

"The blockage allows fluid and gas to accumulate, it is just like you step on a hose," said Olutoye, whose report appeared Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Finally, doctors decided surgery was necessary to remove the obstruction. They cut her intestine open and drew from it a bright-green Water Balz nearly an inch and a half across.

Luckily, the baby recovered and is now doing fine.

The colorful balls are small (about the size of a marble) and are an easy temptation for toddlers and even pets. While most parents wouldn’t buy this product for their baby, they might buy it – or one similar - for their older child. That’s often how a toddler finds one to play with.

This type of product is becoming more and more common. It is made from a super-absorbent polymer that is used, not only in children’s playthings, but also in pottery and gardening products because of its ability to absorb water.

Pets can also suffer from bowel obstruction, which can be fatal, if they eat one.

DuneCraft Inc. manufactures and markets the Water Balz product. CEO, Grant Cleveland, said he was sorry to learn about the incident with the baby, but noted that the label carries a warning and is recommended for kids over the age of 4.

"An eight-month-old has no business being near that product," he told Reuters Health. "Trying to turn it in to a public risk is absurd."

There are other similar products on the market that pretty much do the same thing. They all promote that the little gel balls will expand when water is added.

“This report should serve to raise awareness of the hazards of accidental ingestion of these products, which pose a public health concern,” Dr. Olutoye and his colleagues wrote. “We speculate that this problem may increase in incidence as a cursory look at department stores suggests that the use of superabsorbent polymer technology is becoming more prevalent in toys, gardening equipment and other household products.”

The photo below, from a New York Times article, shows the difference in size once water is added to the Water Balz.

If you’ve got Water Balz in your home, or a product that performs like it, make sure that your little one is not able to get a hold of them. Keep an eye on your pets too, just in case they think you’ve bought them a new chew toy.

 

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/gel-balls-threat-toddlers-doctors-154518994.html

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/expanding-ball-toy-poses-hazard...NY Times Water Balz         Water Balz

Your Toddler

Parents: Read to Your Young Children!

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatric providers advise parents of young children to read aloud and talk about pictures and words in age-appropriate books to their kids.  The AAP says that these activities can help strengthen a child’s language skills and literacy while promoting parent-child relationships.

Pediatricians have long encouraged reading to children, but the guidelines are the first official policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics telling doctors to talk to parents about daily reading to their children, from the first year of life until kindergarten.

Reading with young children “stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime," the AAP guidelines said.

Studies have shown a wide economic divide when it comes to parents reading to their children. Only one in three children living in poverty have parents that read to them consistently.  Children who aren’t read to often have “a significant learning disadvantage” by the time they get to school age, the AAP added.

Even wealthier families do not always make reading a ritual, with 60 percent of those with incomes 400 percent of the poverty threshold saying they read to their children from birth to age five, according to a 2011-2012 survey.

Some pediatricians worry that technology – from television to smartphones- may be taking the place of reading to little ones.

The AAP has previously said babies under age two should be as screen-free as possible, and that the best kind of learning takes place through unstructured, interactive play with humans and toys.

Even babies can benefit from being read stories, said the AAP.  “We can stimulate greater brain development in these months and years," said Peter Riche, a fellow of the AAP and Chief of Pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York.

"I do see earlier word recognition, earlier phrases and sentence formation, and singing—I always recognize that in those who are exposed to daily reading."

Many families do not have the money for books so the AAP said it "supports federal and state funding for children's books to be provided at pediatric health supervision visits for children at high risk."

Another important benefit of parents reading to their young children is the blooming of a child’s self-confidence and independence.

Child development experts say that when parents read to their children not only do kids feel more secure but words and pictures also ignite creativity and imagination; two valuable components of a well-rounded life experience.

Sources: Kerry Sheridan, http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-06-doctors-urge-parents-babies.html

Your Toddler

Shopping Cart Injuries: 66 Children Hurt Every Day

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A new study reveals that shopping carts and children can be a dangerous combination. I’m not surprised at the amount of injuries researchers from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found. The study notes that, in the United States alone, 66 children a day are hurt because of falls and spills from being in a shopping cart. That’s one child injured badly enough every 22 minutes to go to the emergency room, or more than 24, 000 children a year. According to a new analysis of data from 1990 to 2011 by Dr. Gary Smith, director of Nationwide’s Center for Injury Research and Policy, the annual number of concussions, linked to shopping carts in children less than 15 years old, has risen nearly 90 percent since voluntary shopping cart safety standards took effect in 2004 “This is a setup for a major injury,” Smith said. “The major group we are concerned about are children under 5.” His study is published in the January issue of the journal Clinical Pediatrics. Newborns and children under 4 years old account for nearly 85 percent of the injuries. More than 70 percent of the harm was caused by falls out of shopping carts, followed by running into a cart or carts tipping over. It only takes a moment for a parent to look away for a shopping cart accident to happen, Smith said. A wiggly baby in an infant seat or a toddler reaching for a bright box of cereal can easily cause a fall that results in serious injury. Children’s center of gravity is high, their heads are heavy and they don’t have enough arm strength to break a fall, Smith explained. In many other countries, shopping cart stability standards help prevent accidents, but the U.S. lacks those standards, Smith says. The reason a high a number of falls and spills doesn’t surprise me is because I see how easily it can happen every time I shop for groceries. For example: During a recent trip for groceries I saw a baby in a carrier that was placed (but not buckled) in the upper seating area of a shopping cart. A rambunctious child of around 5 years old was pushing the cart into a display loaded with cold and cough syrup medicines. In a pleasant but firm voice, I told him to stop. The mother was at the other end of the aisle looking at products. Most of the potential disasters I see involve a toddler that is not securely buckled and is trying to either stand up in or get out of the cart. Parents are either distracted or have left the child “just for a second” to unload their cart or grab another item. If your store provides carts that are low to the ground, like the toy cars, those are a safer option when taking your child with you shopping. If your store doesn’t, ask the manager to start providing those types of carts. If you must use a standard shopping cart, make sure that your child is secured and that you never leave his or her side. It only takes a second for a child to lose their balance or a baby carrier to fall to the ground. It's a long fall and a very unforgiving surface they'll land on. Source: JoNel Aleccia, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/shopping-cart-danger-66-kids-hurt-day-stud...

Your Toddler

“You’re a Do-Do Head.” Toddler Name-Calling

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Sooner or later your sweet little toddler will blurt out a string of words that sounds a lot like an insult. You might hear something like  “You’re a do-do head.” or the ever popular “You’re stupid.”  It may stop you in your tracks and make you wonder… “Did I hear that right?” 

Toddler rage can get pretty intense and if you’re a toddler you’re not really capable of saying exactly what’s got your big girl or boy panties in a wad. As a parent, you might have to restrain yourself from giggling the first time or two insults are hurled, but after awhile you’re really going to want to put a stop to it. First of all – it’s annoying when the cuteness wears off- and secondly, you don’t want your child insulting everyone whenever they get the urge, and finally they need to learn how to control their impulses.

Sometimes parents, caregivers or babysitters get right down on a toddlers level and the fight begins. No one wins in this situation.

So how do you put a stop to your preschooler’s name-calling and its first cousin “potty mouth?” Well, there are several approaches you can try. Since every kid is different, some of these tips will help some and not others. But don’t give up and don’t lose your cool (too often.)

  1. Take the fun out of name-calling. Let’s face it; name-calling for a toddler is a blast. They get a quick response and it can be very amusing watching mom or dad blow up right in front of them. Oftentimes they get giggles from their parents, or equal rage. For a toddler that’s a lot of exciting attention. Instead, calmly respond. “I don’t like that word, please don’t use it.”  It’s simple and to the point. Continue doing whatever you were doing before your child decided to let you know you weren’t behaving the way they wanted you to.
  2. Help your child find the language they need to explain what they are feeling. Angry insults usually come from frustration, and ha-ha insults from getting positive re-enforcement in the way of laughter and making a big deal of whatever is said.  To a toddler, cracking mom and pop up on a regular basis is a hoot till mom and pop get tired of it. Take the time to look at the situation that was going on right before the outburst. Was there something he or she wanted? Was he or she hungry, tired, thirsty, bored? Express what you think they were really wanting to say, such as: “You really wanted more cookies; they taste yummy. You're mad that mommy isn't letting you have them.” See if they respond that you have acknowledged their true complaint. Work with them a little while to help them find the right words.
  3. Give the anger a release valve. Offer your toddler a pillow to hit on or allow them to stamp their feet…. for a limited amount of time. Anger is normal – we all have times when we get angry. Expecting a child to not get angry or express it is not reasonable. Help them learn how to express anger appropriately and move on.
  4. Acknowledge your child’s need for independence. That’s a tough one because they aren’t really independent. But they are beginning to understand that they can have some say in their life choices. Help your youngster feel more empowered by allowing her to choose which shoes to wear, or what she has for snack time. When children are constantly being told what to do, they are more likely to try to exert some sense of power with behaviors like name-calling.
  5. Don’t reward name-calling. I think that says it pretty clearly. If you want to entertain a power struggle with a toddler, you’ll probably come out on top in the long run, but feel worse about your behavior than theirs. A better approach is to not reward name-calling by either over-reacting or giving in to demands. If he or she doesn’t get what they want after a name-calling session, they’ll eventually learn that name-calling doesn’t work.
  6. “Ouch.”  Some parents find it effective to use this simple phrase to let their children know that they have crossed the line. It sends a brief message in a neutral way that can have a real impact because it is delivered without a lot of words that a child might otherwise tune out.
  7. Where did you learn to act like that? Kids are great mimics. They learn by watching and listening. If you name-call when you’re angry, or someone they spend a lot of time around is a name-caller, you can see where they might pick it up. I’ve always thought if you want to see a reflection of yourself – watch how your toddler behaves.
  8. And finally, the hardest method of dealing with name-calling – don’t laugh. OK, now stop right there… not one more giggle. See? It’s hard. Once the laugh train is going full steam, it’s difficult for the conductor to stop it. Do your best to maintain a poker face even when the name-calling is silly. There are lots of more positive things to laugh with your child about.

Most children try name-calling when they feel hurt or out-of-control. If you find yourself at the beginning of the name-calling phase, control your own behavior and offer your child a way to help express what is going on with them. It’s one of those childhood expressive periods that needs some direct guidance and management before it becomes a pattern of bad behavior.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/25/parent-coach-name-calling_n_1791306.html

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

Kid’s “Hypoallergenic” Products May Cause Allergic Reactions

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When a child has eczema, doctors often recommend that parents purchase hypoallergenic ointments, creams or lotions to ease the suffering from dry, inflamed skin.

However, according to a new study, many products labeled as hypoallergenic contain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the “hypoallergenic” label, said Carsten Hamann, a medical student at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California and the lead researcher on the study.

“Kids who have eczema or atopic dermatitis use more lotions and creams and ointments, etc. Ostensibly, their caregivers who purchase these products to use on the kids' skin, give preference to products using these meaningless marketing terms,” Hamann told Reuters Health in an email.

Hamann and his colleagues tested products that might be used by kids with eczema, which affects 17.8 million people in the U.S., according to the National Eczema Association. Patients have patches of red, itchy skin, often on the arms, legs, cheeks, and behind the ears.

Doctors often advise people with eczema to apply moisturizer to the affected areas.  People with eczema tend to have a higher risk of so-called “contact allergies.” That is, they may have allergic reactions to substances that come in contact with their skin, including fragrances, preservatives, and other kinds of chemicals.

Researchers tested 187 cosmetic products found in 6 different stores in California, to see if they contained any of the 80 most common known allergens.  All of the products were specifically marketed as being safe for use by children and labeled as “hypoallergenic”, “ dermatologist recommended/ tested”, “fragrance-free,” or “Paraben free.” Most people assume that these types of products are actually designed to help people who have sensitive skin.

But, researchers found that 89 percent of the products contained at least one allergen, 63 percent contained two or more, and 11 percent contained five or more. The average number of allergens per product was 2.4, the researchers reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Preservatives and fragrances accounted for 58 percent and 29 percent of the allergens, respectively. These ingredients often irritate a skin condition.

Ten percent of the products contained methylisothizolinone, a preservative that is about to be banned in the European Union because it can cause severe skin irritation, according to the researchers.

“It would be very difficult for even the most caring, intelligent and well-read parent to know the names of 80-plus allergens and their synonyms, let alone compare that list of allergens to a 15-plus long ingredient list on the back of a pediatric product,” Hamann said.

Dr. Michael Arden-Jones, a skin disease specialist at the University of Southampton in the U.K., said that defining something as an allergen can be complicated.

“Almost any chemical compound could be implicated as an allergen, so it is almost impossible for a cream to be truly non-allergic,” he told Reuters Health. “Thus, as there is no true ‘hypoallergenic’ cream, there is no agreed meaning of ‘hypoallergenic.’”

Skin experts say that ointments are generally the safest products for kids who have eczema. Creams and lotions contain water and therefore must contain preservatives, making them more likely to contain allergens. Prescription moisturizers are typically reliable. Products with artificial coloring or fragrances or do not have the ingredients listed on the box should be avoided.

The National Eczema Association reviews products and offers the “NEA Seal of Acceptance” for those that do not include known irritants. Depending on the product, the NEA Seal of Acceptance™ Review Panel considers testing data on sensitivity, safety, and toxicity, as well as the ingredients, content, and formulation data. There is a tab on the website dedicated to information on child eczema in infants to older children. Their website is: http://nationaleczema.org.

Sources: Madeline Kennedy, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/21/us-eczema-products-safety-idUSKCN0J529L20141121

http://nationaleczema.org.

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