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Your Child

New Guidelines for How Much Sleep Kids Really Need

2:00

As adults, we all know that without a good night’s sleep, we’re going to be struggling to get through the day’s activities. When we’re not running on all rested cylinders, small troubles seem like mountains, being able to focus and complete a project is difficult and nodding off while driving is more likely to happen.

Restful sleep is a wonderful thing and unfortunately, many of us just aren’t getting enough.

Most adults know about how much sleep they need the night before to feel their best the next day. Children, on the hand, need a certain amount of sleep depending on their age.

For the first time, a new set of sleep guidelines specially tailored to children, have been released from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The new recommendations give a precise number of hours for each age range, spanning from infancy up until 18 years old.

"Sleep is essential for a healthy life, and it is important to promote healthy sleep habits in early childhood," said Dr. Shalini Paruthi, fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in a statement. "It is especially important as children reach adolescence to continue to ensure that teens are able to get sufficient sleep."

A team of 13 top sleep experts conducted a 10-month research project to find out how much sleep children actually need. The team reviewed 864 published scientific articles that revealed the link between sleep duration and the health of children across all age categories.

Here’s what they found:

·      Infants between 4-12 months of age should get 12 to 16 hours of sleep for any 24-hour period. This includes naps.

·      Children between 1 and 2 years of age need 11 to 13 hours for every 24-hour period.

·      Children between 3 and 5 years old need a little less at 10 to 13 hours per 24-hour period.

·      Children between 6 and 12 years old need 9 to 12 hours of sleep – not including naps- in a 24-hour period.

·      Teens between 13 and 18 years old need 8 to 10 hours per 24-hour period.

All told, babies, kids, and teens spend roughly 40 percent of their childhood asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

The panel points out that the right amount of shut-eye is critical for a child’s developing brain and body and overall mental and physical health.

Researchers also noted that when children do not get enough sleep, their behavior is affected and their long-term health can be negatively impacted.

"Adequate sleep duration for age on a regular basis leads to improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health," the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wrote. "Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression, especially for teens who may experience increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts."

According to Dr. Nathaniel Watson, the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, making sure that their child gets enough sleep is one of the best ways parents can lay a foundation of healthy habits that children can take with them into adulthood. With more than one third of the adult population sleep deprived, sleep becomes paramount for children to avoid the slew of consequences that come with a lifetime of sleep problems.

"The AAP endorses the guidelines and encourages pediatricians to discuss these recommendations and healthy sleep habits with parents and teens during clinical visits," they announced. "For infants and young children, establishing a bedtime routine is important to ensuring children get adequate sleep each night.”

Story source: Samantha Olson, http://www.medicaldaily.com/how-much-sleep-do-kids-need-sleeping-baby-constantly-tired-389448

Your Child

Healthy Diet Improves Reading Skills

1:00

Good nutrition not only improves your child’s physical condition but may also advance his or her reading abilities, according to a new Finnish study.

Researchers in Finland found students' reading skills improved more between first grade and third grade if they didn't eat a lot of sugary foods or red meat, and if their diet consisted mainly of vegetables, berries and other fruits, as well as fish, whole grains and unsaturated fats.

The study involved 161 students between the ages of 6 and 8 (first through 3rd grade). Researchers reviewed the children's diets and their reading ability using food diaries and standardized reading tests.

The study showed that a healthier diet was associated with better reading skills by third grade, regardless of how well the students could read in first grade, the researchers said.

"Another significant observation is that the associations of diet quality with reading skills were also independent of many confounding factors, such as socioeconomic status, physical activity, body adiposity [fat] and physical fitness," study author Eero Haapala said in a University of Eastern Finland news release. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyvaskyla.

As with most studies, the research did not prove cause and effect, but an association between the foods the students ate and their reading skills.

The study's authors noted that parents, schools, governments and corporations all have an opportunity to enhance academic performance in schools by making healthy foods more available to children.

The study was published recently in the European Journal of Nutrition.

Story source: Mary Elizabeth Dallas, https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/food-and-nutrition-news-316/healthy-diet-may-boost-children-s-reading-skills-714811.html

 

 

Your Child

Child’s Chronic Cough Could Mean Something More Serious

1:45

Children that continue to cough for weeks after an acute respiratory illness should be seen by their pediatrician and examined for the possibility of an underlying lung disease, according to a new study.

That’s one of the lessons from a Queensland, Australia, study of 839 children presenting to Emergency Room Departments with an acute respiratory illness.

The researchers found that 20 percent of the children still had a persistent cough when followed up 4 weeks later.

When those children were examined, 47 percent were diagnosed with protracted bacterial bronchitis.

When reviewed by a pulmonologist, 31% of the children with chronic cough were found to have an undiagnosed chronic lung disease, such as asthma, obstructive sleep apnea and bronchiectasis, a condition where the walls of the airway thicken as a result of chronic inflammation or infection.

The finding of high rates of chronic cough with an underlying disease shows the importance of making sure a child is examined early or has a follow up appointment if he or she continues coughing after a respiratory illness.

Lead author, Dr. Kerry-Ann O’Grady (PhD), an epidemiologist at the Centre for Children’s Health Research in Brisbane, said it was notable that one-third of the children with chronic cough, in the study, had wet cough — a key symptom of persistent lower airway bacterial infection.

If not treated promptly, the underlying conditions revealed in the reviews could lead to irreversible lung damage, she said.

“If you can knock it off and pick it up early in kids, then you’re likely to lead to long-term better health outcome.”

Story source: https://www.pharmacynews.com.au/News/Latest-news/Why-you-should-never-ignore-kids-with-chronic-coug

Your Child

FDA Warning: Don’t Give Kids Codeine, Tramadol

1:45

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning about the dangers of two popular painkillers and the effects they can have on children. The government agency said that Codeine and Tramadol should not be given to kids under the age of 12 because they can cause life-threatening breathing problems.

Nursing mothers should also avoid using these drugs, since they can pass unsafe levels of opioids to their babies through their breast milk, the agency said.

Some children and adults are genetically predisposed to process opioid drugs more quickly, the FDA said. That can cause the level of narcotics in the bloodstream to rise too high and too quickly, risking overdose in children, due to their smaller size.

"It's very hard to determine which child or mother has this risk, so that's why we've taken this action today," Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy center director for regulatory programs at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a media briefing.

Codeine is often combined with acetaminophen in prescription pain medicines and cough syrups, while Tramadol is only approved to treat pain in adults, the agency said.

The FDA is now warning against children under 12 years old taking either codeine or tramadol.

Kids under 18 also should not be given tramadol to treat pain following surgery to remove the tonsils or adenoids, the agency noted. Codeine labeling already warns against post-surgical use for kids.

In particular, children with sleep apnea, are obese or who have a weakened respiratory system are at a higher risk for dangerous breathing problems from these two drugs.

"Today's actions build on a better understanding of this very serious safety issue, based on the latest evidence," Throckmorton said.

Both of these medications are often prescribed and are in households.  Nearly 1.9 million kids aged 18 or younger received a prescription for a codeine-containing medication in 2014, and nearly 167,000 were prescribed a medication containing tramadol, the FDA said.

Parents should carefully read drug labels to make sure medications don't contain either opioid, the agency stressed. They also can ask their doctor or pharmacist if a specific medication contains codeine or tramadol.

"We understand there are limited options when it comes to treating pain and cough in children," Throckmorton said. "However, after careful review our decision to require these labeling updates was taken because we believe it is a way we can protect children."

The FDA plans to hold a public advisory committee meeting later this year to discuss the broader use of prescription opioid cough and cold medicine in children, he said.

Story source: Dennis Thompson, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20170420/dont-give-kids-medicines-with-codeine-tramadol-fda#1

Parenting

Taking Anti-Depressants During Pregnancy

2:30

There have been several studies examining the health risks to babies when moms-to-be take anti-depressants during pregnancy. Research is showing that many antidepressants, especially the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and older medications, are generally safe. Birth defects and other problems are possible. But the risk is very low.

One concern pregnant women have had is; will taking anti-depressants harm my baby’s intellectual, neurological and social development development?

Recently, in a first-of its kind study, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found a slight elevated risk of intellectual disability (ID) in children born to mothers treated with antidepressants, but the risk was not statistically significant and is likely due to other factors, including parental age and the parents' psychiatric history.

While other studies have examined the risk of autism in mother's who took antidepressants during pregnancy, this is the first study to examine the risk of ID in this population.

What is intellectual disability? According to the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), intellectual disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18. The term intellectual disability covers the same population of individuals who were diagnosed previously with mental retardation. It’s now the preferred term of use.

For the study, researchers examined the risk of ID in 179,000 children born in Sweden in 2006 and 2007. Approximately 4,000 of those children were exposed to antidepressants and other psychotropic medications during pregnancy. The researchers compared the risk in these children with a subsample of 23,551children whose mothers were diagnosed with depression or anxiety prior to childbirth but did not use antidepressants during pregnancy.

The results showed that the risk of ID after exposure to antidepressant medication was not much different between both groups. ID was diagnosed in about 0.9% of exposed children and 0.5% of unexposed children.

"Our study provides more information for clinicians to evaluate the risks in pregnant women taking antidepressants," said co-author Abraham Reichenberg, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "It should be factored into other considerations such as the increased risk for the mother if not medicated, the drug's side effects, and other medical conditions."

The study will be published online in JAMA Psychiatry.

Webmd.com makes some good points about pregnancy and anti-depressants and offers tips for mothers-to-be that suffer from depression. Both psychiatric experts and ob-gyn experts agree that if you have mild depression and have been symptom-free for at least six months, you may be able to stop using antidepressants under a doctor’s supervision before getting pregnant or while you are pregnant. Psychotherapy, along with lifestyle measures, may be all that you need to manage your depression. You may be able to get through your pregnancy without antidepressants if you:

  • Talk with a therapist on a regular basis
  • Exercise more
  • Spend time outside
  • Practice yoga and meditation
  • Minimize your stress

But, the experts point out, it will be better for both you and your baby to stay on antidepressants while pregnant if any of the following is true:

  • You have a history of severe or recurrent depression
  • You have a history of other mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder
  • You have ever been suicidal

Few, if any, medications are considered absolutely safe during pregnancy. Research findings on the effects of antidepressants on the growing baby are mixed and inconclusive. One study may find a particular antidepressant causes one type of risk. Another one, though, may find that it doesn’t. Also, the risks to the baby may be different depending on the type of antidepressant and when in the pregnancy it is taken. Regardless, most risks found by researchers have been low.

Story sources: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170712110441.htm

http://www.webmd.com/baby/pregnancy-and-antidepressants#1

Your Child

Back-to-School Wellness Checkup

2:00

A new school year is coming up fast and now is the time to make sure your child has a wellness physical.

If you take care of school-aged children, you know that’s just one reason to schedule a back-to-school physical. Your school district will have specific guidelines; for some, the annual physical is mandatory. Most districts also need proof of up-to-date immunizations before your child can enter certain grades.

Setting aside time for a general health checkup will allow the doctor to thoroughly assess your child’s physical and psycho-social development, and provide an opportunity to answer your questions. Check your health insurance for well visits to make sure you’re covered. You can also see what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for a wellness physical at https://www.aap.org/en-us/Pages/Default.aspx.

What can you expect from a back-to-school checkup?

The physical aspect of the exam should include an assessment of:

  • Spinal alignment to rule out scoliosis.
  • Eyes, ears, nose, skin, and mouth for any abnormalities that may need follow-up
  • Fine and gross motor development
  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reflexes

Children at risk for lead poisoning or tuberculosis may be screened for those issues, and kids who are overweight or with a family history of high cholesterol may have their cholesterol checked.

Sexually active teenagers should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, and girls should have a pelvic exam. Your doctor should also talk to older children about what to expect as their bodies begin to change at puberty.

While your at the doctor’s office, have them look at your child’s immunization records to make sure everything is up to date. If not, see if your child can get the necessary vaccines.

Sometimes, a psychological and behavioral exam, based on the child’s age, is included. The doctor should ask questions about school performance, including achievements or difficulties, and also about friendships and socialization.

Expect that your doctor may also talk about injury prevention, such as requiring your child to wear a bike helmet and protective gear when playing sports; safely storing firearms in your home; and making wise health decisions regarding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

Before visiting the pediatrician:

  • Make a list of the questions you want to ask. It’s easy to forget some of your questions once you’re in the office.
  • Remind your doctor if your child is homeschooled so they will include vision and hearing screenings in the visit (these are typically done at school).
  • Request age-appropriate nutrition counseling if you have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or obesity or weight issues.
  • Direct your young athlete’s exam toward sports issues, such as training, nutrition, and exercise, and ask about signs of overuse injuries.
  • Maintain a regular schedule of well visits so your child will develop a trusting relationship with your pediatrician. This will enhance continuity of care, and the doctor will be able to assess conditions more readily because they’ll have a well-established baseline of information about your child.

Many schools will begin classes by late August or early September. Now’s the time to make sure your little one is all set to go!

Story source: Lynda Shrager, http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/lynda-shrager-the-organized-caregiver/5-tips-for-a-successful-back-to-school-checkup/

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