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Your Child

Could Health Warnings on Sodas Change Parents Buying Habits?

2:00

 In 1966, health warnings from the U.S. Surgeon General were added to cigarette packages to inform people of the dangers associated with smoking. Did it have an impact? Experts have mixed opinions.  Some say the warnings may have helped prevent some people from starting to smoke but long time smokers pretty much ignored them. Others say the warnings definitely have caused some smokers to stop while others say the warnings have not been effective at all.

What if there were health warning labels on sodas, would that make parents less likely to buy those beverages for their child? A new study says yes.

Lead researcher, Christina Roberto, and her colleagues wanted to know if health warnings- similar to cigarette warnings- would have an impact on purchasing. They conducted an online survey of nearly 2,400 parents who had at least one child aged 6 to 11 years.

 In a simulated online shopping experiment, parents were divided into six groups to "buy" drinks for their kids. One group saw no warning label on the beverages they would buy; another saw a label listing only calories. The other four groups saw various warning labels about the potential health effects of sugary beverage intake, including weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

 The health warning labels appeared to have the largest influence on the parents.

 Overall, only 40 percent of those who looked at the health warning labels chose a sugary drink. But, 60 percent of those who saw no label chose a sugary drink, as did  53 percent of those who saw the calorie-only label did.

 There were no significant buying differences between the groups seeing the calorie-only label and no label, the findings showed.

 "The warning labels seem to help in a way that the calorie labels do not," said Roberto, an assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

 The study findings make sense, said Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern  Medical Center at Dallas. "Just as we see with public health efforts to decrease smoking with warning labels, warning labels about sugary drinks will be effective with some parents but not all," she said.

 "Based on the study," she added, "it appears some will take the information to heart, but about 40 percent still chose sugary beverages in the study. That is still a big number. Nonetheless, it adds another layer of educating and influencing parents to try to make healthier choices for their children."

Currently, there are no such labels on sodas, although California is considering a policy change in sodas sold in that state.

 "Not all research is supportive of the claims made on the warning label used in this study," Sandon said. "Obesity and diabetes occur as a result of a number of factors working together -- such as physical inactivity, high-fat high-calorie food choices, genetic predisposition, etcetera -- not sugary drinks alone."

 The American Beverage Association issued a statement responding to the study: "Consumers want factual information to help make informed choices that are right for them, and America's beverage companies already provide clear calorie labels on the front of our products. A warning label that suggests beverages are a unique driver of complex conditions such as diabetes and obesity is inaccurate and misleading. Even the researchers acknowledge that people could simply buy other foods with sugar that are unlabeled."

 So, if health warnings were added to sodas and other high-sugary drinks would it make a difference in parent’s buying habits? Opinions on that will probably be the same as for cigarette health warnings; mixed and passionate.

Source: Kathleen Doheny, http://consumer.healthday.com/diabetes-information-10/sugar-health-news-644/health-warning-labels-would-help-parents-avoid-sugary-drinks-706987.html

Your Toddler

Almost 60,000 Kids Treated Yearly for Accidental Medicine Poisoning

2:00

According to a new report issued by Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing unintentional childhood injuries, almost 60,000 U.S. children are accidently poisoned by medicines each year.

That's the equivalent of four busloads of children -- or one every nine minutes -- arriving at emergency departments every day because of medicine-related poisoning, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

And nearly every minute each day a poison control center receives a call about a child who got into medicines, the report notes.

"We want parents and caregivers to remember that the first line of defense in preventing medicine poisoning is the family," Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, said in a news release from the group.

Since 1980, the amount of prescriptions filled has increased three-fold and consumers spend five times as much for over-the-counter drugs. Many families have numerous prescriptions in the home and Carr says parents and other adults need to be vigilant in protecting children from medication poisoning.

Safe Kids Worldwide has been instrumental in getting the word out about medication safety providing research, grants and media promotion. Carr says the efforts are paying off.

"Since Safe Kids and industry and government partners started getting the word out to parents about the importance of keeping kids safe around medicine, the number of ER visits has steadily declined. But there are still too many kids getting into medicine, so education needs to continue to be a priority for all," she added.

As you might suspect, curious toddlers are at the greatest risk for medicine poisoning. Kids aged 1 to 2 years account for 70 percent of ER visits for medicine poisoning, the report said. Parents and caregivers of toddlers need to be sure to store medicine where toddlers cannot reach them, Carr said.

Since medicines are kept in all sorts of places, sometimes they are left in spots that a child can easily access such as in purses, on tables and counters, in refrigerators, daily medicine boxes and in accessible cabinets.

These days, many children are being raised or cared for by grandparents. The report suggests, that grandparents may need safety reminders. In an analysis of ER data on children poisoned by medicines, the drugs belonged to grandparents in 48 percent of cases and to parents in 38 percent of cases.

"Look around your home, and in your purses, to make sure all medicine is out of reach of children," Carr explained.

The Safe Kids Worldwide website offers these tips for protecting children from accidental medicine poisoning:

·      Put all medicine up and away and out of sight. In 86% of emergency department visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to a parent or grandparent.

·      Consider places where kids get into medicine. Kids get into medication in all sorts of places, like in purses and nightstands. Place purses and bags in high locations, and avoid leaving medicine on a nightstand or dresser. In 2 out of 3 emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the medicine was left within reach of a child.

·      Consider products you might not think about as medicine. Health products such as vitamins, diaper rash creams, eye drops and even hand sanitizer can be harmful if kids get into them. Store these items up, away and out of sight, just as you would traditional medicine.

·      Only use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Kitchen spoons aren’t all the same, and a teaspoon or tablespoon used for cooking won’t measure the same amount of medicine as a dosing device.

·      Write clear instructions for caregivers about your child’s medicine. When other caregivers are giving your child medicine, they need to know what medicine to give, how much to give and when to give it. Using a medicine schedule can help with communication between caregivers.  

·      Save the Poison Help line in your phone: 1-800-222-1222. Put the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center into your home and cell phones. You can also put the number on your refrigerator or another place in your home where babysitters and caregivers can see it. And remember, the Poison Help line is not just for emergencies, you can call with questions about how to take or give medicine.

Story source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/poisons-health-news-537/60-000-kids-rushed-to-ers-for-accidental-medication-poisoning-each-year-709176.html

https://www.safekids.org

Your Toddler

More Small Children Poisoned by Detergent Pods

1:45

When detergent pods first became available, many families thought they were a convenient product for dishwashing and laundry. Grab a pod, pop it in and go. However, over time, warnings began to emerge that these colorful products proved too tempting to small children. The bright designs and little round shapes looked a lot like candy to toddlers and young children.

Even though the warnings have taken on a sense of urgency, a growing number of children are getting their hands and mouths on these products, with serious and sometimes fatal repercussions.

Among more than 62,000 calls made to emergency departments for poisoning from any kind of laundry or dishwashing detergent from 2013 to 2014, 17 children were in a coma, six stopped breathing, four had fluid in their lungs and difficulty breathing, and two died.

"Over 60 percent of these calls were due to laundry detergent packets," said lead researcher Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio.

"That's about 30 children a day, or one child about every 45 minutes," he said. "Over the two years of the study, poisoning from detergent packets increased 17 percent, and in 2015 there was another 7 percent increase," Smith said.

Laundry detergent packets are more toxic than other forms of detergent and cause more hospitalizations and serious medical problems, Smith explained.

These packets look attractive to children, who could mistake them for food or candy, he said.

"All they have to do is put them in their mouth and bite down and the packet will burst, and once these toxic chemicals get down their throat the game's over," Smith added.

Given this growing problem, Smith said that parents of children under the age of 6 years should not have these products in the home. "They should use traditional detergents, which are far less toxic," he said.

Smith and colleagues analyzed data from calls made to U.S. poison control centers in 2013 and 2014 after unintentional exposures to laundry or dishwasher detergent involving children under the age of 6.

During those years, the number of poisonings increased for all types of detergents, but it was greatest for laundry detergent packets (17 percent), followed by dishwasher detergent packets (14 percent), the researchers found.

Smith noted that the liquid detergent were the most harmful to children.

Dr. Barbara Pena, research director in the emergency department at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, said companies have to do something to make these products safer.

People need to keep these products out of sight so children can't get into them, she said. "They should be treated just like medicine."

Ideally, parents of young children would not have them in the home, Pena said.

In response to the study, the American Cleaning Institute said Monday that manufacturers are working on a series of packaging and labeling steps that will be part of new international standards intended to reduce accidental exposure to the cleaning products.

The standards will include "secure package closures designed to challenge the typical strength, mental acuity and/or dexterity of a young child," the institute said in a news release.

There will also be first-aid instructions on the products' packages, the group said.

The report was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

It’s good that companies are researching safer packaging for their products, but ultimately, it’s up to the parents and caregivers of small children to make sure that their young child is safe from being poisoned by detergent pods.

Story source: Steve Reinberg, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20160425/more-kids-being-poisoned-by-detergent-pods-study?print=true

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