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Your Child

Are First Born Children Smarter?

1:30

Who’s the smartest among your siblings? If you’re the first born, then you are, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the Analysis Group and the University of Sydney found that children who were born first typically scored higher on IQ tests than their younger siblings.

First-born children may have better thinking skills than their siblings because they received more mental stimulation during their early stages of development, researchers said.

For the study, researchers used data from the U.S. Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth on nearly 5,000 children who were monitored from pre-birth to age 14. Every two years, the children in the survey were assessed on a variety of categories, including reading, vocabulary assessment and matching letters.

The research found that firstborn children typically perform better than their siblings as early as age 1, which could be due to how parents treat subsequent children. According to the study, parents were less likely to partake in mentally stimulating activities with their younger children, meaning they may not have developed the same thinking skills as the older sibling.

The results from this study are similar to other studies that have looked at whether birth order plays a role in IQ level and personality traits.

While the study has similar findings as other studies along this line, siblings may beg to differ as to who is actually the smartest in the family.

The study was published in the Journal of Human Resources.

Story source: Mary Bowerman, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/13/study-first-born-children-smarter-than-their-siblings/97846312/

Parenting

The Magic of Music

2:00

“Where words fail, music speaks,” wrote Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson and he was so right. Music is the universe’s official language where old and young share its beauty and complexity.

Alzheimer’s patients have been known to respond with joy and excitement when played their favorite music after being non-responsive to other stimulus.

Children jump in rhythm and clap their hands when they hear the sounds of instruments playing. Hundreds of YouTube videos show how quickly tears can turn to smiles and giggles as the first notes of Disney’s  “Let It Go” spring forth. 

Is there really anyone who isn’t deeply affected by music?

Research has shown that particpating in music benefits children when learning other subjects and offers kids a variety of skills they can use throughout their life. 

“A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a not-for-profit association that promotes the benefits of making music.

Can particpation in music make a child smarter? There’s a difference of opinion about that. However, it’s safe to say that it takes an assortment of specific skills to sing or play an instrument or do both simultaneously.

For instance, people use their ears and eyes, as well as large and small muscles, says Kenneth Guilmartin, cofounder of Music Together, an early childhood music development program for infants through kindergarteners that involves parents or caregivers in the classes.

“Music learning supports all learning. Not that Mozart makes you smarter, but it’s a very integrating, stimulating pastime or activity,” Guilmartin says.

Children have learned how to sing and speak in other languages by listening to cross-culture songs. I even picked up a little French from the Beatles’ “Michelle” when I was a child. “Michelle, ma belle, Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble,Tres bien ensemble.”(These are words which go together well, together well.)

According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. “Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds,” the group claims.

Research indicates the brain of a musician, even a young one, works differently than that of a non-musician. “There’s some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain,” says Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches a specialized music curriculum for children aged two months to nine years.

Playing music makes your brain work harder, but what about just listening to music? While some studies have noted that learning to play music can enhance your brain, listening to music just makes you feel good. But really, isn’t that wonderful too?

Music enriches your life. It’s captivating and has the power to make you smile or cry. Most of all, it’s universal.

Introducing children to music at a young age opens the door to new adventures. Whether it’s classical or hip-hop, country or rock, bluegrass or blues, jazz or Dixieland, African rhythms or Mongolian throat-singing; borders and politics may separate people, but nations and communities will share their music.

“There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don’t understand, but it’s individual. Music is for music’s sake,” Rasmussen says. “The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music,” he adds. “Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.”

Yes, music is the official language of the universe and a beautiful gift to share with our children.

Source: Laura Lewis Brown, http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-benefits-of-music-education

Your Baby

Having a Baby? Keep Your Pets!

1:00

In a world full of allergens, you might think that having pets around could only make things worse.  But according to a new study from Canada, families with dogs and cats may unwittingly be protecting their infant children from not only allergies but obesity as well.

University of Alberta epidemiologist Anita Kozyrskyj and a team of researchers analyzed more than 700 Canadian children. They found babies exposed to pets while in the womb or up to three months recorded an "abundance" of ruminococcus and oscillospira (both are bacteria found in the gut,) the latter of which is associated with leanness or lower body mass index, notes the study - published in the journal Microbiome.

Kozyrskyj said the two types of bacteria increased "twofold" when a pet was in the house. The team said the theory is that early exposure to bacteria — like that from a dog — creates a type of resistance.

Unborn babies can benefit from allergy resistance by being indirectly exposed through their mother’s womb. The microbes can pass from pet to mother to baby.

Even if a parent decides not to keep pets after the baby is born, if pets were in the house during the pregnancy, the infant may gain some benefit anyway.

The findings also suggest pet exposure could cut down the risk of group B strep, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said could cause blood infection, pneumonia and meningitis in newborns. Doctors treat against group B strep by giving mothers antibiotics during the delivery process.

Dogs were shown to offer higher levels of the beneficial microbes.

Story source: Sean Rossman, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/07/why-owning-pet-could-protect-your-baby-obesity-and-allergies/100162098/#

Your Child

Measles Vaccine May Help Prevent Other Diseases

2:00

The measles vaccine may provide additional benefits beyond protecting children from the highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease.

According to a new study, by blocking the measles infection the vaccine may also prevent measles-induced immune system damage that makes children much more vulnerable to other infectious diseases for two to three years after immunization.

The immune system has the advantage of having “cellular memory” for previous infections to help fight invading microbes.

The study focused on a phenomenon called "immune amnesia" in which the measles infection destroys cells in the immune system that remembers previously encountered pathogens.

Prior research had suggested that “immune amnesia” typically lasted a month or two. The new study, based on decades of childhood health data from the United States, Denmark, England and Wales, showed the measles-induced immune damage persisted on average for 28 months.

Because of the long-term damage to the immune system by the measles infection, children that were not vaccinated and got the measles were more likely to die from other infections.

"The work demonstrates that measles may have long-term insidious immunologic effects on the immune system that place children at risk for years following infection," said Princeton University infectious disease immunologist and epidemiologist Michael Mina, whose study appears in the journal Science.

"The work also demonstrates that, in these highly developed countries prior to the introduction of measles vaccine, measles may have been implicated in over 50 percent of all childhood infectious disease deaths."

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but increasing numbers of cases have been reported in recent years, as more people remain unvaccinated. Last year's 668 U.S. measles cases were the most since 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"Our work reiterates the true importance of preserving high levels of measles vaccine coverage as the consequences of measles infections may be much more devastating than is readily observable," Mina said.

The study provided data showing that measles prevention through vaccination lowered childhood deaths from the pathogens that cause conditions such as pneumonia, sepsis, bronchitis, bronchiolitis and diarrheal diseases.

The study comes as many parents opt out of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine for their children based on discredited claims about the vaccine's safety or for religious and other reasons.

The MMR vaccine has been thoroughly studied by scientists around the world and has been found safe for children. This new study shows that its benefits may last much longer than previously thought.

Source: Will Dunham, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/07/us-health-measles-idUSKBN0NS23N20150507

Your Child

Bullying: Kids Helping Kids to Stop

1:45

Being bullied in school can be at the least annoying and at the worse, enough to make someone try to take their own life.

While adults have searched for ways to get the message across that bullying is not acceptable, certain kids who have a high amount of social influence over their peers may be the best resource for reducing the hateful interaction, according to a new study.

Schools with the largest numbers of these "social influencers" had the largest declines in student conflict, the findings showed.

The study included students from 56 New Jersey middle schools who had strong social influence within their peer groups. These kids weren't always the most popular kids in a particular grade, but had influence in their peer group.

The investigators selected the teens using a tool called social network mapping that allowed them to identify the kids who had the most connections, both online and off.

The researchers came up with their own plan and asked the kids to spread messages about the dangers of bullying and more positive ways of handling conflict. These anti-bullying messages were promoted through Instagram, print posters and colorful wristbands.

"We designed our own curriculum because current programs address problems as defined by adults, and they aren't necessarily fitted to each individual school environment," lead author Elizabeth Levy Paluck, an associate professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University, said in a university news release.

"We think the best way to change social norms is to have these student influencers speak in their own voices. Encouraging their own messages to bubble up from the bottom using a grassroots approach can be very powerful," she added.

Kids were more likely to choose not to bully or to find other ways of handing stress or anger when their peers made it known that they did not approve.

"When adults choose student leaders, they typically pick the 'good' kids. But the leaders we find through social network mapping are influential among students and are not all the ones who would be selected by adults. Some of the students we find are right smack in the center of student conflicts. But the point is, these are the students whose behavior gets noticed more," she explained.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/influential-students-effective-at-bully-prevention-706695.html

Parenting

Host A CPR Party!

2:00

Many of us are familiar with kitchenware, make-up and clothes parties. You know, the kind where someone hosts a get-together of 10-15 family members, friends and friends of friends to sell you something you can’t live without.

A new trend is beginning to catch on for parties with a different take on something you can’t live without- the breath of life. They’re called CPR parties.

Parents around the country are hosting CPR parties to educate other parents and community members on how to properly apply CPR in cases of an emergency such as a drowning, electrical shock or choking.

There are different types of parties. Some are non-certified classes that are often associated with organizations that promote family CPR education.  Sometimes there’s a small fee associated with the party. No one receives a certificate of completion or takes a written test at the end of the instruction; however, they are asked to participate in the CPR exercises.

Certification classes are also available where participants do take a written test as well as do the CPR exercises.

A CPR party can include any level of CPR such as infant, child or adult. You can also learn what do in case of a choking.

DVDs with step-by-step instructions are often used in the non-certified parties.

For certification parties, a host may receive free training, take the test at the end of the class and receive his or her 2-year certification, plus training manuals and materials with ideas on how to host the party.

If you’re uncomfortable with instructing a small group, many times a certified instructor can be brought in for a fee.

The main reason for hosting a CPR party is to help neighbors, friends and family members be prepared if a child or an adult goes into cardiac arrest. Calling 911 should always be the first step, but before medical professionals arrive, immediately performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will greatly increase his or her chance for survival. In fact, a recent study by the National Institutes of Health shows CPR to be effective in children and adolescents who suffer from non-traumatic cardiac arrest due to drowning, electrocution, or choking.

When someone suffers an out of hospital heart attack, they often don’t receive the help they need before the ambulance arrives, simply because the people around them don’t know CPR.

CPR party experts recommend making the get-together a fun experience with heart decorations and treats. You can combine them with baby showers, moms groups, and family reunions; any time that friends and/ or family are gathered together.

There are several organizations that offer information on how to host a CPR party. A few of them are:

·      Code Blue CPR - http://www.codebluemedcpr.com/cpr-parties.html

·      CPR Party - https://www.thecprparty.org

·      The Stork Stops Here - http://www.thestorkstopshere.com/TrainingHealth.html

·      Hands on Heart CPR - http://www.handsonheartcpr.com/cpr-party.html

Next time you’re searching for a party theme, consider a CPR party. What a marvelous gift you’ll have given your guests- the knowledge to possibly save a life one day!

Your Toddler

FDA Targets Unapproved Eardrops

1:30

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

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

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

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

·      Benzocaine;

·      Benzocaine and Antipyrine;

·      Benzocaine, Antipyrine, and Zinc acetate;

·      Benzocaine, Chloroxylenol and Hydrocortisone;

·      Chloroxylenol and Pramoxine;

·      Chloroxylenol, Pramoxine, and Hydrocortisone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Child

The Eczema, Allergies and Asthma March

1:45

Eczema refers to a number of different skin conditions in which the skin becomes red and irritated and sometimes has small, fluid filled bumps that ooze.

The most common cause of eczema is atopic dermatitis (sometimes called infantile eczema), which affects older kids as well as infants.

Children with eczema may eventually get food allergies, hay fever, or asthma. But you can take steps to soothe the itch and possibly cut the risk of allergies.

While most experts don't think eczema is purely allergic, it's clearly connected to allergic conditions like food allergies, hay fever, and asthma.

·      Up to 80% of kids with eczema get hay fever or asthma later in childhood.

·       35% of adults with asthma or nasal allergies had eczema as kids.

·      If a mom has allergies, there's almost a 1 in 3 chance that her baby will have eczema.

·      37% of kids with moderate to severe eczema also have food allergies.

For some kids, eczema and allergies develop in a specific order, as they get older. It starts with eczema, then food allergies, then asthma, and then hay fever. It's called the allergic march.

But just because your child has eczema doesn't mean they'll get these other conditions. It just means there's a higher risk.

There are several things that can increase a child’s risk of being part of the allergic march.  Kids who get eczema at a young age may be more likely to have allergies or asthma later. Kids with worse eczema symptoms may be more likely to get allergies or asthma.

You can do some things that might lower your child's chances of worsening eczema, asthma, or allergies. The evidence isn't clear, so talk to your doctor or your child's pediatrician. Depending on the situation, the doctor might recommend:

Breastfeeding your baby: It might lower the risk of eczema, later allergies, or asthma.

Diet changes: If your baby has a high risk of allergic problems, some doctors recommend changes in diet. Breastfeeding for at least 4 months can help protect your child. “Hydrolyzed” formula might help protect formula-fed babies.

Other ways to keep your child's eczema under control include:

Get allergy testing. If you can pin the problem on a specific allergen, you can figure out ways to avoid it.

Use a moisturizer. Go for thick creams and ointments that stop the skin from drying out.

Keep fingernails short. Your child will do less damage to the skin from scratching.

Avoid irritants. Always use unscented soap and laundry detergent. Stay away from cigarette smoke.

Watch for problems. If your child's eczema seems to be getting worse -- or if they get allergy symptoms, like congestion or a runny nose -- see a doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner your child will feel better.

In many cases, eczema goes into remission and symptoms may disappear altogether for months or even years.

For many kids, it begins to improve by the age of 5 or 6; others may have flare-ups throughout adolescence and early adulthood.

In some kids, the condition may improve but then restart as they enter puberty, when hormones, stress, and irritating skin products or cosmetics are introduced. Some people will have some degree of dermatitis into adulthood, with areas of itching and a dry, scaly appearance.

Eczema is not contagious, so there's no need to keep a baby or child who has it away from siblings, other kids, or anyone else.

Story sources; http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/child-eczema-14/allergies?ecd=wnl_prg_050116&ctr=wnl-prg-050116_nsl-promo-4_title&mb=HJinmVxrQQBBWXaWABbkR%40HnVev1imbCiW2HnNaB9FE%3d

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/eczema-atopic-dermatitis.html#

 

 

 

Parenting

Is Your Child Ready for a Tricycle or Bicycle?

2:00

Whether it’s a birthday or the holidays, sooner or later you’re going to start thinking about either a tricycle or bicycle for your little one. Despite some potential hazards, riding bikes and trikes is a fundamental part of childhood.

At what age is a child typically ready for a trike? Most children are able to handle one around 3 years old.

You want to look for a trike that is low to the ground and has big wheels. These are less likely to tip over. You also want to have your child try on several bicycle helmets to make sure it fits properly. 

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, tricycles should only be used in protected places. Because they are so low to the ground, they are difficult for motorists to see on a street or in a driveway. Drivers need to be particularly vigilant in checking to see whether a youngster is anywhere near the car before pulling out of a driveway. Without a backup camera, you won’t see a small child on a tricycle when backing out.

Once your little one masters a tricycle, when is it safe to move on to a 2-wheeler? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should be at least 5 years old or older before learning to ride a bicycle. One of the most important tips for buying a bicycle for your child is to purchase the correct size. The wrong size bike can cause your child to lose control be injured.

While it may be fun to surprise your little one with a bike, he or she really needs to try it out first to help choose the correct size. Sometimes parents are tempted to buy one that their child can grow into – don’t do it. A bike that is too large is hard to maneuver and especially dangerous for a first time bike owner.

How do you know how to find the right size? The AAP offers these tips on how to test any style bike for the proper fit:

  • Sitting on the seat with hands on the handlebar, your child must be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground.
  • Straddling the center bar, your child should be able to stand with both feet flat on the ground with about a 1-inch clearance between the crotch and the bar.
  • When buying a bike with hand brakes for an older child, make sure that the child can comfortably grasp the brakes and apply sufficient pressure to stop the bike.

Also, think about your child’s coordination skills. You can consider coaster brakes until your child is older and more experienced.​

Many of today’s adults didn’t grow up with helmets, but they have proven exceptionally valuable in preventing serious brain injury from falls. Make sure your child has a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-approved helmet.

Let’s face it; tricycles and bicycles are one of a child’s first steps towards independence. Once balance and braking are mastered, the freedom of moving through space on your own is intoxicating. They’re also a great way for families to exercise and spend some quality time together outside.

Story sources: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Choosing-the-Right-Size-Bicycle.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Ready-For-A-Tricycle.aspx

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What every parent needs to know about teen suicide.

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