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Your Child

Young Kids Still Being Injured or Killed in ATVs Accidents

2:30

Despite safety warnings from pediatricians and child health experts, children under 16 are still driving or riding as passengers on all-terrain vehicles.  The number of young kids being injured or killed in ATV accidents has not changed much in recent years, according to a new study.

Since 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that ATV use be restricted to youth aged 16 years and older who wear helmets, don’t take passengers and steer clear of roads.

“Too many young children are driving these machines - equivalent to a motorcycle in many ways,” said senior study author Dr. William Hennrikus, medical director of the Pediatric Bone and Joint Clinic at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. 

“Children should not drive an ATV until they’re over 16, just like driving a motorcycle,” Hennrikus said by email to Reuters. “Helmets should always be worn, just like a motorcycle.”

For the study, researchers examined data on 1,912 patients under age 18 who were injured while using an ATV and treated at trauma centers in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2014. 

During this period, 28 children died in ATV crashes, a mortality rate of roughly one per every 100,000 kids in the population, researchers calculated.

Fewer than half of the children were wearing helmets and a street or roadway was were 15% of the crashes happened. Rural areas tend to have more ATV crashes.

Being a passenger or being pulled by the ATV was a factor in almost one in four injuries, the study also found. 

Half of the kids involved in ATV crashes were 14 or younger, and about 6 percent were no more than 5 years old. 

Boys accounted for three in every four patients.

Limitations of the study include the possibility that researchers underestimated injuries and deaths because they only looked at trauma center patients, not children who were treated elsewhere or died before they ever reached a trauma center.

Experts agree that age isn’t the only factor parents should consider when letting their child drive an ATV.

“Parents need to think not just about their child’s size, but also their ability to think, to react to emergency situations and to maintain safe, cautious control of a very powerful vehicle,” said David Schwebel, a sports injury researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who wasn’t involved in the study.

All across the country children are riding on or driving ATVs with sometimes-serious consequences. Just in the past few months a 12-year old boy from New York died from injuries in an ATV crash. A 15-year old boy in Illinois was killed and his passenger, his 12-year old sister, was seriously injured when he lost control of the ATV. A 14-year old boy was killed in New Jersey after losing control and crashing his ATV into another 14-year olds ATV; 2 other children were seriously injured from that crash. None of the children were wearing helmets or seatbelts. 

“Helmets absolutely have to be used for any ride, even short, apparently safe ones,” Schwebel said by email. “Passengers should never ride on ATVs unless the ATV is designed for more than one person.”

While ATVs can be dangerous for adults, they pose a much higher risk for children.

“Children are not developmentally capable of operating these heavy, complex machines,” Sandra Hassink, president of the AAP, said. “The American Academy of Pediatrics warns all parents that no child under the age of 16 should drive or ride an ATV.”

Story source: Lisa Rapaport, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-children-atv-injuries-idUSKBN1A422F

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAPCFAATVs.aspx

 

Your Baby

Britax Recalls Car Seat Chest Clips Due to Infant Choking Hazard

1:30

Faulty chest clips on more than 100 models of Britax Care Safety car seats are being voluntarily recalled because the clips could break off and create a choking hazard for infants.

The company says that no injuries have been reported, but it has received complaints of chest clips breaking.

The recall will affect more than 200,000 car seats. However, Britax stresses that the car seats are still safe to use until a replacement kit is obtained. 

The chest clip is on the Britax B-Safe 35, B-Safe 35 Elite, and BOB B-Safe 35 infant seats.

The products were manufactured between Nov. 1, 2015, and May 31, 2017. To see the model numbers that are included in the voluntary recall, or to check the serial number of your seat, visit the company’s website set up for this recall at www.bsafe35clip.com. You can find the serial numbers on the "Date of Manufacture" label on the lower frame of the seat.

Britax is offering to replace the chest clip with a free kit that contains a new clip made from a different material. The kit comes with step-by-step instructions for replacement. Consumers are advised to routinely check their current chest clip until a replacement arrives.

Story sources: Alexandria McIntire, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20170623/recall-britax-car-seat-chest-clip

Ashlee Kieler, https://consumerist.com/2017/06/21/britax-recalls-207000-carseats-over-chest-clips-that-can-break/

Your Child

Are Soft Contact Lenses Safe for Teens and Children?

1:45

While many kids and teens that have to wear eyeglasses would like to switch to soft contact lenses, their parents may be wondering if they are safe for these age groups. The short answer is yes, according to a new review.

"In the past decade, there has been increasing interest in fitting children with contact lenses," said review author Mark Bullimore, an adjunct professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry.

He reviewed nine studies that included 7- to 19-year-olds who use soft contact lenses, to gauge the risk of corneal inflammation and infection. Called "corneal infiltrative events," these are usually mild, but about 5 percent involve a serious infection called microbial keratitis.

The studies revealed that children wearing contact lenses, typically, experience reactions similar to adults. In fact, one large study showed that events in younger children (8 to 12) were much lower than in teenagers from 13 to 17 years of age.

Also, researchers found that microbial keratitis was uncommon. One study actually found no cases in younger kids, and the teen rates of infection were the same as adults.

The difference may be attributed to the daily living habits of the age groups.  It's suspected that younger kids aren't showering or napping while wearing their contact lenses as often as teens do. Those behaviors increase the risk of corneal infiltrative events, Bullimore said.

Bullimore believes the findings should reassure parents about the safety of soft contacts for children and teens. They may improve young people's self-esteem and quality of life, and have been shown to prevent or slow progression of nearsightedness in children, he said.

"The overall picture is that the incidence of corneal infiltrative events in children is no higher than in adults, and in the youngest age range ... it may be markedly lower," Bullimore wrote in the review.

Parents can help kids avoid eye infections by supervising their youngster’s cleaning and wearing habits when using contact lenses, Bullimore added.

Soft contacts are now available with no age restrictions. Parents should talk with their child’s optician or optometrist for more information on transitioning from glasses to soft contacts.

The study was published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

Story source: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/eye-care-information-13/eye-and-vision-problem-news-295/soft-contact-lenses-safe-for-kids-and-teens-review-finds-723398.html

Daily Dose

Life Jackets!

1:15 to read

Summer is here and that means many of my patients are taking off to the beach or the lake to escape the heat and enjoy some water activities.  I recently saw a patient who told me that had just gotten a new boat and were looking forward to getting the kids out on the water.  This brought up the subject of life vests. 

When taking your children on a boat it is important that you have life vests for everyone. It is a law that all children under 13 years of age wear a “coast guard approved” life vest when on a boat that is being operated. This designation is very important, as many of the “life vests” that parents buy are not approved for boating…this includes “water wings” and some of the “cute” wearable t-shirts with life preservers sewn into them. 

Once you have found “coast guard approved” life jackets you might let your child help pick out the one they like the best and that is comfortable. This is important as it will ensure that they are both safe and comfortable. Children’s life jackets are sized by weight, so you might always have a few extras in case a friend or two comes along at the last minute.

Infants life jackets are are a bit different and have a strap that runs between their legs and extra flotation behind the head which guarantees that the baby floats face up at all times. I can attest to this important safety feature as my husband took our son on a little boat one summer day at a friends lake house. The lake was small enough that I could actually see them from the house as they rowed out to try to catch a fish. It was two men and a toddler on the boat…and I watched in horror as our 14 month old (now 32 year old) son leaned over the side of the boat to look at the fish and fell right into the dark murky Texas lake!!  Fortunately, we had followed the boating RULES and he was wearing his bright orange coast guard certified life jacket and bobbed right up to the surface…with a huge scared look on his face!  We have many pictures of our boys in the life jackets every time they set foot on a boat...including this one!

Lastly, get in the habit of applying sunscreen before you even set off for the dock and then have the children put on their life jackets. Kids can just as easily fall off the dock into the water as you prepare to get on the boat.  I would also encourage them to wear a hat for additional sun protection.

A day of boating is a great family activity and there is a lot a child can learn on board as well…how to navigate with a boating chart or GPS coordinates, how to watch for buoys or other water markings and all of the boating jargon.

Bon Voyage! 

Daily Dose

National ASK Day!

1:30 to read

Today is all about guns!!!  Unfortunately we seem to  awaken nearly every day to news of gun violence and death in our country.  Firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of death overall among U.S. children ages 1-17 years, and the second cause of injury-related death, only behind car crashes.  Those are grim statistics.  

 

June 21st, the first day of summer is alway designated as National ASK day…which stands for “Asking Saves Kids”.  This a day to remind me and all pediatricians to ask my patients if they:

 

#1 have a gun in the home?

#2 Is it locked and away from children?

 #3 Is the ammunition stored separately?  

 

A new study being published in the July issue of Pediatrics showed nearly 1,300 children die and 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds each year. Of those children who die, 53% were due to homicide, 38% were suicide and 6% were unintentional firearm deaths, while 3% were due to “other intent”.   Not surprisingly to me, 82% of all child firearm deaths were in boys. Firearm suicides among children are going up and have increased by 60% since 2007.Sadly, I had a patient who is one of those statistics. 

 

While the politics about gun control continue ….this is not about politics but rather about guns in the home being a threat to children and how to protect our children.  

 

Parents routinely ask other parents about safety before dropping their child off to play or spend the night …”is your pool fenced?”  “do you have a dog and is it friendly?”, “do you let your 8 year old child watch PG-13 movies?”, “how do you handle electronics in the home?”, “do you know my child has food allergies?”, “are you going to be home with the children?”…..the list is long. I think in these times…especially with more and more people buying firearms for their home…it is time to routinely ask about guns in the home!!! 

 

Just one question might save a child’s life!!

 

Daily Dose

Drowning Is Silent!

1:15 to read

Summer is here and many families will spend time at the beach, lake, or pool. The first thing that comes to my mind (when I think of water) is safety!!  

Knowing that over 900 children between the ages of 1–14 die each year from drowning, the discussion of water safety is a necessary part of summer routines. Astoundingly, reports show that 9 out of 10 of those children who drowned were “under supervision”. The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed allowing children between the ages of 1-4 to take swimming lessons. It was previously thought that encouraging swimming lessons for children under the age of 4 years might actually contribute to increased drowning.   In fact, recent studies have suggested that children ages 1–4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction. The AAP has not gone so far as to routinely recommend mandatory swimming lessons for this age group, but does endorse swimming lessons in younger children who are frequently exposed to water and are emotionally and physically able to participate.  

The AAP does not recommend formal “infant survival swimming lessons” for children under the age of 1 year. When I discuss water safety with my patients, I emphasize that drowning continues to be the second leading cause of death for children ages 1–19.  I often have interesting discussions with parents who have a backyard pool who do not believe that it is necessary to have a barrier around the pool. They will say, “we never let our child outside alone” or “he or she is always being supervised by an adult”.

As you might expect, these are usually first time parents who have yet to experience the cunningness of a toddler.  Just as our children watch us and learn how to feed themselves, or drink from a cup or climb out of a bed, they too watch us open a door, or take a stool out to reach something. A toddler is more than capable or figuring out how to reach a door handle even with a lock, or climb out a window to go outside and head straight for the pool. Drowning is SILENT!!  It is not like the movies with screaming and yelling. The child quietly goes beneath the water and sinks.  It only takes minutes and the consequences of drowning are devastating.  Even for a child who is found and resuscitated there may be a life-long brain injury and the worst case scenario, death.

All families with a pool should install a 4 sided fence that is at least 4 feet high to limit pool access. It must be difficult to climb and have a self-latching, self-closing gate. The arguments I hear about “landscape aesthetics” fall on deaf ears.  Every family should also know CPR. Sign your child up for swimming lessons, and have fun practicing flutter kicks and arm strokes. Just do it with an adult within arm’s reach of all new and novice swimmers and a fence around the pool!

That's your daily dose for today.  We'll chat again tomorrow!

Daily Dose

Lead Found in Baby Food

1:30 to read

I know many of the parents of the children I care for are concerned about the latest news from the Environmental Defense Fund which showed that about 20% of baby food samples tested over a 10 year period had detectable levels of lead.

 

This non profit group looked at data that the FDA had collected from 2003-2013 which included 2,164 baby food samples. While none of the baby food samples seemed to exceed the FDA’s “allowable” levels of lead, it is still quite concerning. At the same time the FDA is in the process of reviewing their standards to reflect the latest science surrounding the potential risks to young children who are exposed to lead.  

 

While lead testing is routinely performed in young children (1 and 2 yrs), the CDC currently  considers a blood lead level greater than 5 micrograms/deciliter as elevated, but no lead level is “safe”. 

 

Lead exposure has been shown to have neurocognitive effects - which means IQ, the ability to pay attention and academic achievement…and the effects cannot be corrected.

 

The study did not name baby foods by brand.  Root vegetables (carrots are one) had the highest rate of lead detection (65% of samples), followed by crackers and cookies (47%) and the then fruits and juices (29%). Only 4% of the cereal samples contained lead.

 

This report will cause a lot of parental anxiety, but really doesn’t tell us much about what to do?  Lead based paint is still the number one source of lead exposure, followed by water, which may also have contributed to lead in food…. but there is still lots of be determined.

 

In the meantime, the take home message is “feed your babies and toddlers a wide variety of baby foods” and when possible eat fresh foods. One hypothesis is that baby foods are more processed which may contribute to the higher lead content.  It is easy to cook and “mush” up your own food to feed your baby and it really does not require a fancy food processor.  If you can mush it your baby can eat it!!! The only concern about the introduction of food is basically it has to be soft enough not to be a choking hazard. So no whole nuts, chunks of meat, uncooked hard veggies…you get the idea.

 

Just because your baby doesn’t seem to like certain foods, don’t get stuck feeding them just a few foods…but continue to offer a variety of healthy foods..some of which they may eat more of than others. Every day will be different.

 

So…don’t go throw away all of your baby foods but think if you might be able to substitute fresh foods, don’t offer fruit juices to your babies and toddlers and most importantly eat healthy foods. That’s the best thing for you and your child.  

Parenting

Fourth of July Safety Tips

2:00

For Americans, it doesn’t get any more patriotic than Independence Day- or as most folks call it- July 4th.  The holiday celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, in 1776.

It’s traditionally been a high-spirited holiday with fireworks, casual family and friends’ gatherings, parades, lake and pool parties, music and lots of food. 

All these activities help build life’s memorable moments, however, the one memory you don’t want is a visit to the emergency room.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while enjoying the Fourth:

Fireworks: It’s really best to leave fireworks to the professionals, but if you’re planning on setting off some during the Fourth of July celebrations, follow these tips:

1. Be sure fireworks are legal in your area before using or buying them

2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers alone account for one quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries

3. If you set off fireworks, keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher handy in case of malfunction or fire.

4. If fireworks malfunction, don’t relight them! Douse and soak them with water then throw them away.

5. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one that is glass or metal.

Grilling: Malfunctioning gas grills cause the majority of grill fires. In addition, thousands of people visit emergency rooms every year because they have burned themselves while barbecuing.

1.     Use your grill well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under branches or overhangs.

2.     Open your gas grill before lighting.

3.     Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below your gas or propane grill so it cannot be ignited.

4.     Declare a three-foot "kid and pet-free zone" around the grill to keep them safe.

5.     Avoid loose clothing that can catch fire when cooking on the grill.

Water Safety: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

1.     Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.

2.     Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.

3.     Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.

4.     Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.

5.     If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.

6.     Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

7.     Always keep a charged cell phone with you for emergency use, but do not get distracted using your phone to text, surf the net or reading emails.

July 4th is a historic holiday and one that holds a special place in America’s heart.  Make sure your 4th is memorable for all the right reasons.

Happy Independence Day!

Story sources: https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2016/06/30/ten-safety-tips-4th-july

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

http://www.iii.org/article/grilling-safely

 

Daily Dose

Water Safety

1:30 to read

Memorial Day weekend is almost here and that means summer water activities. While the pool is a great place to stay cool it is also unfortunately associated with drowning.  Drowning is the leading cause of death in children between the ages of 1-4 years and is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14.  

 

Drownings are more likely to happen not at the child’s own home, but while a child is at a swim party, or a neighbors house.  Drowning is a SILENT event. While most people think of drowning being noisy with lots of splashing and screaming (as depicted on TV and movies), children rarely scream, call for help or thrash around. They quietly go under water…..and don’t come back up.

 

Statistics show that in 35% of drownings there is no adult supervision, and 57% of drownings occur in residential pools.  About 40% of children drown when not swimming , but after accidentally falling into the water. I have witnessed this myself when filming a segment on pool safety at my own pool! The toddler, who was standing right next to me, slipped and fell right into the pool….but I was literally standing less than an arm’s length away, witnessed the entire event and pulled him right back out of the pool…both of us wet and scared!!! It only takes a second for this to happen.

 

The AAP now recommends that children begin formal swim lessons at younger ages as the risk of drowning is reduced by 88% with formal swim lessons.  The AAP does not endorse “survival swimming” lessons for young children. 

 

Drowning is preventable!! Make sure that your children have adult supervision whenever they swim, and don’t let children swim alone. Even teens can drown and should not swim alone….

When attending pool events, whether at home or away, designate an adult to be the “water watcher” so that no one assumes someone else is responsible. The “water watcher “is dedicated to one task, supervising the children…so no texting, socializing, drinking etc. while on duty.

 

Protecting children around the pool also means having the correct equipment!  Pools should all be enclosed by a non-climbable fence with a self locking gate, which ensures that no one can wander into the pool before there is adult is on duty!  Children who do not know how to swim should wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device , and not water wings or floaties. The pool deck should also have appropriate water rescue equipment ready, which includes pool noodles, safety rings and a first aid kit. Keep a phone nearby as well for ready access to call 911 if an emergency should occur. 

 

Swimming is fun and a great way to exercise. Don’t forget the sunscreen and make sure to re-apply throughout the day. Have a good Memorial Day and a safe start to summer!!! 

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

If your child snores, is this a sign of something more serious?

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