Twitter Facebook RSS Feed Print
Your Child

Preventing Heat-Related illness in Kids

2:00

With temperatures in the 90s and climbing, children are vulnerable to heat-related illness during the summer months.

Children are actually at a higher risk for heat exhaustion than adults. The difference is that a child's body surface area makes up a much greater proportion of his overall weight than an adult's, which means children face a much greater risk of dehydration and heat-related illness.

One of the best ways to prevent heat stroke in children is to make sure they are hydrated.  “It’s important for parents to have their kids take breaks and drink fluids,” says Dr. Ken Haller, an associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “Water is usually good enough, and the occasional electrolyte solution, like Gatorade, is not a bad idea.”

Haller also notes that taking a break, whether inside or in the shade, can be helpful. And, if they are busy drinking water, your young charges are not heating themselves up by running around. Taking a break gives their small bodies time to cool down.

Children aren’t the best judge of when they are over-heated or dehydrated, that’s why it is important for parents to pay attention to how long their kids are outside and how much fluid they are getting.

And don’t be fooled just because it’s a cloudy day. While sun can definitely be a factor in heat stroke, Haller cautions that kids can still work up a sweat even in the shade if the day is hot enough.

The symptoms for heat exhaustion and heat stroke can slip up on you before you become fully aware of them. Typically, we keep our bodies cool by sweating.  Heat stroke develops when we become too dehydrated to perspire. Our bodies start to heat up even more when we can’t sweat.

The warning signs of heat exhaustion can range from nausea and vomiting to fatigue and muscle cramps.

Heat stroke symptoms in a child are: a headache, feeling dizzy, acting disoriented, agitated or confused, hallucinations, fatigue, seizure, skin that is hot, dry and flushed but not sweaty and a high body temperature of 104F or higher. Symptoms of a heat stroke are nothing to take lightly.

If you suspect that your child is having a heat stroke call 911 immediately. You can also take the child to a shady place that is cool. Remove any unnecessary clothing and fan warm air over the child while wetting the skin with lukewarm water. This will help in the cooling-down process.

Dehydration prevention is key to helping children avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Make sure they drink cool water early and often. Send your child out to practice or play fully hydrated. Then, during play, make sure your child takes regular breaks to drink fluid, even if your child isn't thirsty. A good size drink for a child, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is 5 ounces of cold tap water for a child weighing 88 pounds, and nine ounces for a teen weighing 132 pounds. One ounce is about two kid-size gulps.

Early signs of dehydration include fatigue, thirst, dry lips and tongue,  lack of energy, and feeling overheated. But if kids wait to drink until they feel thirsty, they're already dehydrated. Thirst doesn't really kick in until a child has lost 2% of his or her body weight as sweat.

A simple rule of thumb: if your child's urine is dark in color, rather than clear or light yellow, he or she may be becoming dehydrated.

 Other factors that can put your child at greater risk for heat illness include obesity, recent illness (especially if the child has been vomiting or has had diarrhea), and use of antihistamines or diuretics.

Lack of acclimatization to hot weather and exercising beyond their level of fitness can also lead to heat illness in young athletes.

The time of day can also have an impact on how over-heated your child becomes. Outdoor playtime is better scheduled in the morning and early evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. It’s good to have shady areas nearby to get out of the sun and rest for a little while.

No one recommends keeping your child indoors all summer. Kids need unstructured playtime and exercise to stay fit mentally and physically. However, making sure they are hydrated and take breaks is the best way to prevent a potentially life –threatening situation.

Story sources: Connie Brichford, http://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/heat-stroke.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/children/dehydration-heat-illness#1

Your Toddler

Uncut Grapes Can Choke Young Children

1:30

While good nutrition involves plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, there’s one fruit that should not be given to children 5 and under; grapes.

Uncut grapes are dangerous for young children because their size and smooth texture can cause choking and even death.

There have already been three choking cases in Scotland, out of which two turned out to be fatal, involving boys who were 5 or younger.

A report published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood notes that food is responsible for more than half of the choking incidents, which end in deaths when it comes to children under the age of 5.

"There is general awareness of the need to supervise young children when they are eating ... but knowledge of the dangers posed by grapes and other similar foods is not widespread," noted Dr. Jamie Cooper, co-author of the report, from the emergency department at Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital.

According to the same report, there is no awareness concerning the specific risks that soft fruits raise, and the relatively small numbers of cases per hospital, which occur every year, don't fully reflect the extent to which this issue can affect young children.

Kids that have choked on grapes don’t often make the news, but according to research conducted in the United States and Canada, grapes occupy third place when it comes to deaths caused by food-related incidents, after hotdogs and sweets.

There are two reasons why grapes are so dangerous, especially in very young children: first, because the airways of the children are small and their swallow reflex is not fully developed, and second due to the smooth texture of the fruit.

Other foods with similar texture can pose a choking hazard, such as tomatoes.  Health experts suggest that grapes and tomatoes be cut in half twice. Anytime a child (or an adult for that matter) is eating uncut grapes or small tomatoes they should pay attention to their eating and not mechanically pop them into their mouths – like when watching TV or playing video games.

Grapes and tomatoes are good sources of fiber and healthy nutrients, just make sure that your little one has his or hers’ cut up so they are not easily choked when eating them.

Story source: Livia Rusu, http://www.techtimes.com/articles/189851/20161224/grapes-as-a-choking-hazard-doctors-say-lack-of-awareness-puts-young-children-at-risk.htm

 

 

Your Child

Make Your Backyard a Safe Haven

2.00 to read

Summertime means backyard time for kids. There’s forts, trampolines, swings, pools, trees –everything you need to spark the imagination and capture the energy of youth. While there is no sure-fire way to prevent all kids from getting injured, there are some strategies that are a good start to creating a safe haven for your kids.

Plants: Make sure there are no poisonous plants in your backyard. Little kids often put things in their mouth that they shouldn’t or crawl into spaces that could cause them to end up in the emergency room.

Keep an eye out for poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak around fence lines and on trees.

A short list of common posionous plants includes Oleander, the most common toxic plant with every bit of the plant being harmful. Lilly of the Valley can cause nausea, vomiting, pain and diarrhea. Hydrangea blooms will cause stomach pain if ingested and possibly itchy skin, weakness and sweating as well as a possible breakdown in the body’s blood circulation.

You can find photos and more toxic plants at http://www.safetyathome.com.

Home playgrounds. Just like public playgrounds, home playgrounds need to be monitored and checked for loose screws, cracked wood and rusty metal.

http://children.webmd.com has a great list of precautions parents can take to help prevent injuries.

- Cover areas under and around the playground equipment with shock-absorbing material, such as sand, rubber, or mulch, 9-12 inches deep.

- Make sure swing seats are made of soft rubber, not hard wood.

- Don't suspend more than two swing seats in the same section of the equipment's support structure. Most home playground injuries can be blamed on swings.

- The equipment should have ladders with steps rather than rungs for easier access, or rungs with more than nine inches or less than three and a half inches of space between them, to prevent children from getting stuck.

- Cover all protruding bolts.

- Do not attach ropes or cords to the play set, which could become strangulation hazards.

- Plastic play sets or climbing equipment should never be used indoors on wood or cement floors, even if they're carpeted. All climbing equipment should be outdoors on shock-absorbing surfaces to prevent children's head injuries.

- Slides and platforms should be no higher than six feet for school-age children, or four feet for pre-schoolers.

- Platforms, walkways, ramps, and ladders should have adequate guardrails.

- Protect against tripping hazards such as tree stumps, concrete footings, and rocks.

- During hot summer days, check the temperature of the slides and swings, because they can become hot enough to cause burns to the skin.

Treated wood. Treated wood is a common product found in backyard fences and decks. Many treated outdoor wooden structures contain arsenic. The wood industry phased out production of this type of wood in 2003, but there are plenty of wood products around that were manufactured before then. Arsenic in pressure treated wood used in play sets and picnic tables pose an increase risk of cancer according to the EPA.

Pools and spas. Pools and spas pose their own special kind of risks. Drowning is a leading cause of death to children under 5. And many drownings  occur at home. Take these simple precautions:

- Always supervise children who are in and around a pool or spa.

- Have fences or walls at least four feet high completely around the pool. Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, with latches out of reach of children.

- Keep rescue equipment by the pool.

- Steps and ladders for aboveground pools should be secured or removed when the pool is not in use.

- Use a cover for the pool when it is not in use.

- Make sure drain covers are properly fitted and paired or have vacuum suction releases to prevent being trapped under water.

- Consider installing a pool alarm that can alert if someone enters the pool.

- Spa water temperatures should be set to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid elevated body temperature, which could lead to drowsiness, unconsciousness, heatstroke, or death.

- Keep a cell phone with you when you’re at the pool with your kids. Seconds count and you don’t want to have leave your child to find the phone.

These are just a few suggestions for helping parents create a safe backyard where kids can have fun and hang out. Have a great Summer!

Sources: http://children.webmd.com/guide/make-backyard-safe

http://www.safetyathome.com/seasonal-safety/summer-safety-articles/dangerous-plants-in-your-backyard/

Your Child

Sexting and Internet Safety Increase as Health Concerns for Children

2:00

With more and more young kids using cell phones and surfing the web, parents are increasingly concerned about children ‘s sexting and Internet safety according to a new poll.

Internet safety rose to become the fourth most commonly identified major problem in the 2015 C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital national poll on children’s health, up from eighth the year before, with 51 percent of adults this year citing it as a top concern.

Sexting, meanwhile, was cited by 45 percent of adults and advanced to number six on the list of most pressing problems this year, from 13th place in 2014.

 “The public is well aware of the potential risks to children and teens of Internet activities and sexting, such as cyber-bullying and predatory behavior,” poll director Dr. Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said by email with Reuters.

“Children’s use of the Internet continues to grow, so it makes sense that growing use, without much evidence of greater safety, would lead to higher levels of public concern,” he added.

The poll was taken of 1,982 adults age 18 and over and took place in May.

Smoking and tobacco use, usually rated near the top of the list, dropped from fourth to seventh place, which may reflect a declining number of children who have this habit, the researchers note.

School violence ranked number eight, followed by teen pregnancy and stress.

The top 10 health concerns in the poll also highlight a need for parents to foster open communication with children and teens and monitor not just their comings and goings but also their activities online, said Kathleen Davis, director of pediatric palliative care and ethics at the University of Kansas Hospital.

“Parents must take on a greater ‘hands on’ approach to parenting, knowing what their child is texting, emailing, Snap chatting, Facebooking and blogging and with whom they are communicating in those fashions,” Davis, who wasn’t involved in the poll, said by email.

While the new technologies may seem alien, the parenting strategies to deal with children’s online lives should be familiar, noted Lisa Jones, of the Crimes Against Children Research center at the University of New Hampshire.

“Striking the right balance with controlling technology use and access for children, or monitoring their behavior is something I think we are still figuring out and will probably be an ongoing process for parents, just like deciding how much to control what children choose to wear, who they can hang out with, and where they can go on their own,” Jones, who wasn’t involved in the poll, said in an email to Reuters as well.

“The key recommendation for parents is to keep communication open,” she said. “Make sure your children feel comfortable coming to talk to you when problems come up.”

Many teens and pre-teens aren’t aware of the dangers associated with sexting and how those photos and comments can follow you the rest of your life.  Without good guidance kids don’t truly realize that it’s become a viral universe and posts can gain speed worldwide before you know it. Also, a child may think that only the person they are sending the text to will see it- that’s not always the case and others, including pedophiles can learn where a child lives, the school he or she goes to and their daily habits by “friending” or following a child or their friends online.

Parents still need to monitor their children’s web surfing and texting as they move from childhood into adolescence. It’s not always a pleasant job, but it’s incredibly important for a child’s health and safety.

Source: Lisa Rapaport, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/10/us-health-kids-internet-safety-idUSKCN0QF1X820150810

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting

“10 Worst Toys” List for 2017

2:00

Since 1973, an annual list of the top 10 most dangerous toys has been issued by the Boston based non-profit organization, World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.)

This year’s list includes such favorites as fidget spinners, a Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword and a Spider-Man Drone.

Strings, small parts, rigid surfaces, projectile pieces and toys that emit toxic substances are all potentially unsafe when it comes to toys, warned WATCH President Joan Siff and Director James Swartz at a press conference.

"It's alarming that there are so many toys out there that are unsafe," Siff told USA TODAY. "These are not the only ones." Since December, there have been 15 toy recalls in the U.S., according to Siff. 

The Toy Association, an industry group, says the lists are unnecessary and only create panic among consumers.

Both sides agree that parents should examine toys before giving them to children to look for any potential hazard.

Here’s this year’s WATCH list:

1.     Itty bittys baby plush stacking toy by Hallmark. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall on the product on Aug. 31 because of the small fabric hats and bows that were detachable and posed a choking hazard. But WATCH said they purchased the toy online after the recall was announced.

2.     Pull Along Pony by Tolo Toys Limited. WATCH said the product violates a federal law that requires that strings on playpen and crib toys be less than 12 inches long. The Tolo toy’s cord is 19 inches long. But the Toy Association said pull-along toys are an exception to this rule because the purpose is to teach motor skills.

3.     Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword by Mattel. The nonprofit warns consumers that the stiff plastic sword can cause facial damage or other injuries to children.

4.     Hand Fidgetz Spinners by Kipp Brothers. Fidget spinners are meant for antsy kids, but WATCH said many come with small parts that can easily become loose or pulled off.

5.     Spider-Man Spider-Drone Official Movie Edition by Marvel and Skyrocket Toys. The drone comes with rapidly moving blades to help propel it into the air. The toy comes with a warning to keep moving parts away from fingers, hair, eyes and other body parts. WATCH said this is dangerous for children, which the drone is marketed toward.

6.     Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt Crossbow by Hasbro and Nerf.com. The crossbow toy can cause eye and facial injuries. WATCH said the crossbow is inappropriate for small children.

7.     Slackers Slackline Classic Kit by Brand 44.This outdoor tightrope is marketed as an activity for all ages but comes with a warning of “severe injury,” including a chance for “strangulation hazard, especially with children.”

8.     The Oval Xylophone by Plan Toys Inc. and Plan Creations. The wooden instrument can be found online and is marketed to children as young as 12 months old. WATCH said that the toy does not come with a warning regarding the 9-and-a-half-inch-long stick, which could be placed in the child’s mouth and obstruct the child’s airway.

9.     Jetts Heel Wheels by Razor USA. The mini-roller skate-like devices are meant to be attached to the back of a child’s shoes to create the effect of a rear-wheel roller skate. The product comes with sparklers on the back that spark while moving. The manufacturer warns users to “keep sparks away from eyes, hair, exposed skin and clothing. Sparks can burn.”

10. Brianna Babydoll by Melissa & Doug. The dolls are marketed to children as young as 18 months, but have removable clothes and ponytail holders, which WATCH said could be a choking hazard.

Some parents may find the list helpful and others may think it’s nothing to get worked up about. The best advice seems to be to consider your child’s playing habits and age. Some kids are harder on toys than others. Infants and toddlers like to pull things apart and put things in their mouths – look for choking hazards. Inspect the toys with safety in mind and don’t assume that a well-known brand’s toys are always safe. Keep abreast of product safety recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at https://www.cpsc.gov

Story source: Kellie Ell, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/retail/2017/11/14/10-worst-toys-of-2017-list/862445001/

 

 

Your Child

Kids Allowed to Sip Alcohol Get Mixed Message

1:30

Letting your little one have an occasional sip of alcohol may be sending him or her the wrong message suggests a new report. 

According to the study, children that are allowed to sporadically sip alcohol as youngsters are more likely to start drinking by the time they are in high school.

Researchers followed 561 middle school students in Rhode Island for about three years. At the start of sixth grade (about age 11), nearly 30 percent of the students said they'd had at least one sip of alcohol.

The alcohol was provided in most cases by parents and given at parties or special occasions.

By ninth grade, 26 percent of those who'd had sips of alcohol at a younger age said they'd had at least one full alcoholic drink, compared with less than 6 percent of those who didn't get sips of alcohol when younger.

The researchers also found that 9 percent of the sippers had gotten drunk or engaged in binge drinking by ninth grade, compared with just under 2 percent of the non-sippers.

The study’s lead researcher Kristina Jackson, of Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, in Providence, Rhode Island, said the findings don’t prove that sips of alcohol at a young age absolutely leads to teen drinking.

"We're not trying to say whether it's 'OK' or 'not OK' for parents to allow this," Jackson said in a journal news release.

She noted that some parents believe that introducing children to alcohol at home teaches them about responsible drinking and reduces the appeal of alcohol.

"Our study provides evidence to the contrary," Jackson said.

Giving sips of alcohol to young children may send them a "mixed message," she suggested.

"At that age, some kids may have difficulty understanding the difference between a sip of wine and having a full beer," Jackson said.

For the study, Jackson’s team tried to account for other factors that might contribute to underage drinking such as parent’s drinking habits and any family history of alcoholism as well as the kid’s tendency to be impulsive or a high-risk taker.

Jackson says that there was still a connection between the early sipping and drinking by high school age.

She also stressed that parents who have already given their child sips of wine or beer shouldn’t be alarmed, but should think about sending their child a clear message about alcohol use and abuse.

The study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Sources: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20150331/letting-kids-sip-alcohol-may-send-wrong-message

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-03-kids-alcohol-earlier.html

Your Child

Can Dogs Help Kids Be Less Anxious?

1:45

Scientific studies have already linked fewer allergies and asthma in kids that own dogs, now a new study says you can also add less anxiety to the list of benefits from man’s best friend.

Researchers say a new study shows kids who live in a home with a pet dog score far lower on clinical measures of anxiety.

Although the study was small, the results were not surprising. Researchers focused on 643 kids between 6 and 7. But the team at Bassett Medical Center in New York found that just 12 percent of children with pet dogs tested positive for clinical anxiety, compared to 21 percent of children without a dog.

"It may be that less anxious children have pet dogs or pet dogs make children less anxious," Dr. Anne Gadomski and colleagues wrote in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Previous studies have also shown that adults benefit from owning a pet as well as kids. In fact, many health officials suggest that adults should consider getting a dog. Not only can they provide companionship but can encourage more exercise.

Gadomski acknowledged how special pets can be to a child by noting that, "Sometimes their first word is the name of their pet," she told NBC News. "There is a very strong bond between children and their pets."

What makes dogs such special pets for kids?  Godmski’s team said, "From a mental health standpoint, children aged 7 to 8 often ranked pets higher than humans as providers of comfort and self-esteem and as confidants," they wrote.

"Animal-assisted therapy with dogs affects children's mental health and developmental disorders by reducing anxiety and arousal or enhancing attachment," they added.

"Because dogs follow human communicative cues, they may be particularly effective agents for children's emotional development."

The researchers asked parents for specific details about what type of anxiety a child showed.

Pets seemed to help in several areas.

"Significant differences between groups were found for the separation anxiety component ('My child is afraid to be alone in the house') and social anxiety component ('My child is shy') favoring pet ownership," they wrote.

Most of the families in the study - 73 percent - had a pet of some kind. Most - 58 percent - had dogs. Families with pets may be more stable and may be more affluent, but the researchers suggest there's more to it than that.

"A pet dog can stimulate conversation, an ice-breaking effect that can alleviate social anxiety via a social catalyst effect," they wrote.

Other studies have also shown that playing or cuddling with a dog can release the bonding hormone oxytocin, and lower the stress hormone cortisol, they noted.

There’s already an abundance of research on dogs and families, which is one of the reasons Gadomski chose to look at the relationship between dogs and kids for this study.

However, she noted that cat lovers might also benefit from the same type of interaction.

If you’re interested in getting a dog as a pet for your family, there are several websites that offer a quiz to help families decide which breed may best be suited for them. Just search “best dog breeds for families.”

Shelters also have puppies and dogs that make wonderful pets.  Many of the older dogs are already house trained and socialized. Shelter staff can answer your questions about whether a particular dog that is up for adoption would be suitable for a family and small children.

Source: Maggie Fox, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/heres-reason-get-puppy-kids-pets-have-less-anxiety-n469591

Image:http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Benefits-Dogs-Kids-36052085#photo-36052085

 

 

 

 

Your Child

Exercise: Reducing Depression - Behavioral Problems in Kids

2:00

Two new studies examined whether kids that have serious behavioral disorders or who may be at a higher risk for depression might benefit from exercise. The results showed positive outcomes for both sets of children participating in the studies.

For one study, researchers focused on children and teenagers with conditions that included autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression.

They looked at whether structured exercise during the school day -- in the form of stationary "cybercycles" -- could help ease students' behavioral issues in the classroom. Cybercycles are stationary bikes equipped with virtual reality exercising games.

Over a period of seven weeks, the study found it did. Kids were about one-third to 50 percent less likely to act out in class, compared to a seven-week period when they took standard gym classes.

Lead researcher, April Bowling, said the results were meaningful.

"On days that the students biked, they were less likely to be taken out of the classroom for unacceptable behavior," said Bowling, who is now an assistant professor of health sciences at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.

"That's important for their learning, and for their relationships with their teachers and other kids in class," she said.

The study was done at a school that enrolls kids with behavioral health disorders, many of whom also have learning disabilities. Their usual gym classes focused mainly on skill building, with only short bursts of aerobic activity at most, according to the researchers.

For seven weeks, 103 students used the stationary bikes during their usual gym class -- twice a week, for 30 to 40 minutes. Their classroom behavior was tracked and compared with a seven-week period without the bikes, when they had gym class as usual.

Overall, the study found, the students were better able to control their behavior in the classroom during the stationary-bike trial.

Another recent study from Norway, adds more evidence to the benefits of exercise in children. Researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology measured activity levels in 800 six year olds who were asked about their exercise habits and any depressive symptoms. Follow ups were recorded at 8 and 10 years of age. Overall, children who exercised more, at a moderate to vigorous intensity, showed fewer depressive symptoms years later.

While the researchers noted that exercise alone isn’t a cure for depression, it has been shown to alleviate some depression symptoms.

“I think that physicians, parents and policy makers should facilitate physical activity among children,” says Tonje Zahl, the study’s lead author. “The focus should be on physical activity not just for the here and now benefits, such as improving blood pressure, heart rate and other physical benefits, but for the mental health benefits over the long term,” she says. All children should be targeted for this, she adds.

Experts say there are several theories as to why exercise may help kids control their behaviors. Bowling suggests that exercise may redirect the brain away from worrying.

Another theory is that exercise affects neurotransmitters -- chemical messengers in the brain that help regulate mood and behavior.

Bowling notes that it’s unfortunate that many schools are focusing so much on academics that they are cutting out gym and recess.

"If we really want our kids to do well, they need more movement during the school day, not less", she said

If children are unable to get the exercise they need at school, there’s always active playtime, walking and sports after school that can help provide some of the same benefits.

Both studies were published in the online journal, Pediatrics.

Story source: Amy Norton, http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/news/20170109/exercise-an-antidote-for-behavioral-issues-in-students#1

Alice Park, http://time.com/4624768/exercise-depression-kids/

 

 

Parenting

Recent Hurricane Disasters May Have Lasting Impact on Kids

2:15

Children may experience long lasting trauma from either living through or even viewing images of natural disasters such as hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, experts say.

"Compared to adults, children suffer more from exposure to disasters, including psychological, behavioral and physical problems, as well as difficulties learning in school," Jessica Dym Bartlett, a senior research scientist at Child Trends, said in that organization's news release.

It’s reasonable to think that children who have actually had to live through the devastation of being in a hurricane could be traumatized and suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome, (PTSD.) But child mental health experts say that even kids who have seen pictures of the damage and watched news reports can also be traumatized and may develop similar symptoms of PTSD such as depression and anxiety.

"Understand that trauma reactions vary widely. Children may regress, demand extra attention and think about their own needs before those of others -- natural responses that should not be met with anger or punishment," Dym Bartlett said.

To help children through this difficult time, parents should create a comforting and safe environment where their child’s basic needs are met. Keep to regular schedules and other routines that provide children with a sense of safety and predictability.

Children that stay busy are also less likely to have continuing negative thoughts; boredom can worsen adverse thoughts and behaviors. Youngsters are less likely to feel distress if they play and interact with others, Dym Bartlett noted.

Limiting your child’s exposure to the continuous images and descriptions of disasters coming from news reports is also helpful, but it’s not necessary to try and eliminate everything pertaining to catastrophes. It’s better to help children understand what has happened in age-appropriate language and to empathize hope and positivity. Reassurance that you are there for them and will do all that is humanly possible to protect them can ease some of the fear associated with disasters.

"Find age-appropriate ways for children to help. Even very young children benefit from being able to make a positive difference in others' lives while learning important lessons about empathy, compassion and gratitude," Dym Bartlett said.

If a child continues to have difficulties coping for longer than six weeks after an event, like the hurricanes, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network recommends seeking professional help.

Parents and caregivers should also make sure that they take care of their own emotional health during these trying and sad times.

Story source: Health Day News, https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/09/12/Hurricanes-may-take-lasting-emotional-toll-on-kids/4141505232381/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=14

Pages

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.

 

DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

What every parent needs to know about teen suicide.

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.

 

Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.