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Your Toddler

Bathroom Safety Tips

1:45

While most of us may not think of a bathroom as a dangerous place, it often is where home injuries occur. From infants to the elderly, bathrooms are notorious for being places one can slip and fall, drown, be scalded and even electrocuted.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to accidents in the bathroom. The simplest way to avoid bathroom injuries is to make sure that an adult is always with an infant, toddler or young child when he or she is in the room. This may mean installing a latch on the door at adult height so the child can't get into the bathroom when you aren't around. Also, be sure any lock on the door can be unlocked from the outside, just in case your child locks him or herself in.

Here are 5 tips to help prevent bathroom injuries to young children:

1      Supervision: Children can drown in only a few inches of water, so never leave a young child alone in the bath, even for a moment. If you can't ignore the doorbell or the phone, wrap your child in a towel and take him along when you go to answer them. Bath seats and rings are meant to be bathing aids and will not prevent drowning if the child is left unattended. Never leave water in the bathtub when it is not in use. It's also important to have anything and everything you think you'll need within arm's reach before getting down to business. So that you don’t have to step away from your child, have items such as soap and shampoo, washcloths, a towel or two, moisturizer for infants, diapering supplies and a change of clothes within reach.

2      Slips and falls: Install no-slip strips on the bottom of the bathtub. Put a cushioned cover over the water faucet so your child won't be hurt if he bumps his head against it. Get in the habit of closing the lid of the toilet, and get a toilet lid lock. A curious toddler who tries to play in the water can lose his balance and fall in. Potty-training is a time when parents should be in the bathroom to make sure curious toddlers don’t decide to play with the toilet water.

3      Water temperature: To prevent scalding, adjust your water heater so the hottest temperature at the faucet is no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius). Test the water with your wrist or elbow to check that it feels warm, not hot. When your child is old enough to turn the faucets, teach him to start the cold water before the hot.

4      Medicine and toiletry storage: Keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Remember, however, that these caps are child-resistant, not childproof, so store all medicines and cosmetics high and out of reach in a locked cabinet. Don't keep toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, and other frequently used items in the same cabinet. Instead, store them in a hard-to-reach cabinet equipped with a safety latch or locks.

5      Electric appliances: If you use electrical appliances in the bathroom, particularly hair dryers and razors, be sure to unplug them and store them in a cabinet with a safety lock when they aren't in use. It is better to use them in another room where there is no water. An electrician can install special bathroom wall sockets (ground-fault circuit interrupters) that can lessen the likelihood of electrical injury when an appliance falls into the sink or bathwater.

Every year, young children are injured or die in bathrooms. Many families never think to lock a bathroom door when no one is in it, but making sure there is a lock in place and is used may prevent an unnecessary tragedy. 

Story source: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/bathing-skin-care/Pages/Preparing-Your-Bathing-Area.aspx

 

Daily Dose

Teen Drivers

1:30 to read

As you know, when teens start to drive, I am a huge advocate for parent - teen driving contracts. I wrote my own contracts for my boys but I recently found a website that all parents who are getting ready to have teen drivers need to be aware of.

Injuries from motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for teens in the United States.  Studies have shown that having limits and boundaries in place for new drivers reduces the number of motor vehicle accidents that new drivers experience. Although not all states have “graduated driver’s licenses”, all parents can have discussions about the privilege and responsibility of driving and set their own guidelines for their new teen driver.

The website www.youngdriverparenting.org was developed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and is an interactive site for both parent and teen.  The program is entitled “Checkpoints”.  The website includes teen driving statistics to help parents keep their teen drivers safe as well as giving information about state-specific teen driving laws.

The site has a great interactive component to help parents create their own parent-teen driving “contract” that addresses such things as teen driving hours, number of passengers allowed, and boundaries for driving. These parameters can be modified as the teen becomes more experienced and meets the “checkpoints” that were agreed to.  It is a great site as it not only gives you a template for the agreement, but sends emails as the allotted amount of time has passed for each step of the contract.  You don’t have to remember what you and your teen agreed to, they email you and then you and your child can revisit the agreement and expand it over time as your driver becomes more experienced.

Instead of handing out my “dog eared” old driving contracts that I wrote for my boys, I am now going to send my patients to this site (which is also being sustained by the American Academy of Pediatrics).  

Teen drivers whose parents are actively involved in monitoring their driving are not only less risky drivers but know ahead of time what their parent’s expectations are. Having a teen involved proactively with driving rules is far preferable to regretting that limits, boundaries and parental rules were not discussed prior to allowing your new driver on the road.

The website is not only free it is also evidence based, and within 5 - 10 minutes of reviewing the site a family is set to go with their own checkpoint agreement.  Here’s to teen driver safety!

Daily Dose

Thimerosal In Flu Vaccines

Confusion about thimerosal in flu vaccinesI received an email from a reader who “had a problem with my statement about vaccines being thimerosal free”.  Since 2001 all vaccines given to children under the age of 6 are thimerosal free, with the exception of the influenza vaccine.

She is correct in pointing out that influenza vaccines may contain a minimal amount of thimerosal (a mercury based preservative), but influenza vaccines are also available thimerasol free.  The LAIV (live nasal vaccine/flumist), is also thimerasol free and is available for use in children 2 and older.

Although injectable influenza vaccines may contain a minimal amount of thimerosal, the amount is negligible and is deemed safe by both the FDA and the CDC. Infants are not receiving a series of vaccines containing thimerasol, and at most would receive 2 influenza vaccines after they are 6 months of age during the first season that they are vaccinated, and subsequently would receive one dose per year thereafter.  There are also thimerasol free influenza vaccines available (this year both seasonal and “swine flu” vaccines) for use. By the time a child is 2 years of age, they would at most have received 3 doses of an influenza vaccine that had  0.01% thimerasol or less which would be between <1 mcg – 25 mcg/0.5ml vaccine dose. (Do you know how much mercury is in the fish you eat or other products you consume daily?)  After the age of 2 parents may choose to have their child immunized for influenza with the LAIV nasal vaccine that is also thimerasol free. As with many things in life one must weigh the risk benefit ratio, in this case of giving a vaccine that contains minimal thimerasol. In my opinion the science has quite eloquently proven that there is not a link between the preservative thimerasol and autism. With that being said,  I also believe that the risk of an infant developing flu and having complications from their infection, far outweighs any hypothetical or anecdotal concern about thimerasol. As I have said before, we know what does not cause autism and it was not thimerasol in vaccines. In fact the rate of diagnosis of autism has gone up, rather than down, since thimerasol was removed from vaccines. We need to continue to devote research dollars to finding the cause of autism. In the meantime, I stand corrected and wanted to give all of you more detailed information about thimerasol and influenza vaccines. That's your daily dose.  We'll chat again tomorrow! Send your question to Dr. Sue! (click here)

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Hot car deaths

Hot Car Dangers

Your Teen

FDA to Regulate E-cigarettes, Raise Age for Purchasing

2:00

Cigarette smoking among teens and young adults has been on a slight decline in the past few years, but e-cigarette use has been rapidly increasing.

Because there are no regulations and scant information on the products used to fuel e-cigarettes, many leading health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics have been urging the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to bring e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine under its authority.

The U.S. government has responded and taken action. The FDA issued a tough set of rules for the e-cigarette industry that included banning sales to anyone under 18, requiring package warning labels, and making all products—even those currently on the market—subject to government approval.

For many teen and health organizations, the ruling has been long overdue.

Though the product-approval process will be phased in during three years, that will be little solace to the fledgling but fast-growing $3.5 billion industry that has, until Aug. 8 when the rules take effect, largely been unregulated and dominated by small manufacturers and vape shops.

Many of the vape shops, device manufacturers and liquid nicotine producers are not happy with the change.

“This is going to be a grim day in the history of tobacco-harm reduction,” said Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, an industry-funded advocacy group. “It will be a day where thousands of small businesses will be contemplating whether they will continue to stay in business and employ people.”

In June, the FDA proposed requiring warning labels and childproof packaging because of an increase in nicotine exposure and poisoning incidents. The agency could move to regulate advertising or flavors such as cotton candy and watermelon that also might appeal to youth.

“We’re looking at the flavor issue with e-cigarettes,” said FDA Tobacco Center Director Mitch Zeller during a news conference. Later, he said, that while the agency was aware of “anecdotal reports” that e-cigarettes have helped smokers kick their habit; those benefits were outweighed by concerns about youth using the devices.

E-cigarettes are not the only tobacco related products that will come under the control of the FDA. Unregulated tobacco items, including pipe tobacco and water-pipe tobacco, will also fall under the supervision of the FDA.

The FDA has been regulating cigarettes since Congress granted it oversight of traditional smokes with the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in the fight for a tobacco-free generation—it will help us catch up with changes in the marketplace, put into place rules that protect our kids and give adults information they need to make informed decisions,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement.

Most researchers agree e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes because, unlike cigarettes, they don’t combust. Studies have shown that when traditional cigarettes combust they release more than 60 carcinogens. But the long-term effects of using the electronic devices remain largely unknown, and many anti-tobacco groups and public health officials are concerned they could become a gateway to traditional smoking.

Anti-tobacco groups have been frustrated with FDA, saying the agency has taken far too long to finalize its rules.

Concerns escalated when a study published in August by the Journal of the American Medical Association found ninth-graders who used e-cigarettes were 2½ times as likely as peers to have smoked traditional cigarettes a year later.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in April that e-cigarette use tripled among U.S. teenagers in 2014.

The AAP issued its recommendations on tobacco and e-cigarettes in late 2015.

In a press release, the organization said it strongly recommends the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, should be increased to age 21 nationwide.

"Tobacco use continues to be a major health threat to children, adolescents and adults," said Karen M. Wilson, MD, MPH, FAAP, chair of the AAP Section on Tobacco Control and section head of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Children's Hospital Colorado. "The developing brains of children and teens are particularly vulnerable to nicotine, which is why the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among adolescents is so alarming and dangerous to their long-term health."

Under the new rules, e-cigarette manufacturers would have up to two years to continue to sell their products while they submit an application to the FDA.

Story sources: Tripp Mickle, Tom Burton, http://www.wsj.com/articles/fda-to-regulate-e-cigarettes-ban-sales-to-minors-1462455060

https://www.aap.org

 

Your Teen

Are Kids Safe With Cell Phones at Crosswalks?

Before you buy that cell phone for your child to keep them safe when they are away from you, parents need to be aware.

Before you buy that cell phone for your child to keep them safe when they are away from you, parents need to be aware. A new study shows that kids who talk on a cell phone may be more likely to step into traffic. The study says children should learn to end phone conversations before they step up to the curb and prepare to step into traffic. Research done at the University of Alabama at Birmingham also shows that older children and more experienced users also don't navigate streets as well while on a cell phone and younger children tended to find gadgets more distracting.

"Kids this age are just learning to cross the street on their own," says David Schwebel, an associate professor and vice chair in the department of psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A third of the 20 million 8- to 12-year-olds in the United States already have a cell phone, with more than half of "tweens" expected to be carrying them by the end of next year, according to market researchers. In the study, which appears in the February 2009 issue of Pediatrics, researchers followed 77 pre-teens individually as they navigated a virtual reality street crossing. The children were first allowed to familiarize themselves with the street scene before actually starting the test. The children were then asked to run through the simulation 12 times, six while on the phone and six while undistracted. The researchers found that children speaking on a cell phone were 43 percent more likely to be hit or to have a close call in the simulated street crossings than kids who weren't on the phone. Researchers also kept track of how many times a child looked left and right before stepping into the street and found that number fell by 20 percent when a phone conversation was going on. There was no difference between boys or girls. "I don't think this means parents should taken phones away from their kids, " says Schwebel. "I encourage families to get cell phones for their children. They're more helpful than harmful, if they're used in a safe way."

Your Teen

Newer Cars Safer for Teen Drivers

2:00

One of the most exciting days in a teen’s life is when he or she gets their driver’s license. It’s also one of the scariest for parents. Parents know that it takes time and experience to become a competent driver. Teens often believe that because they can stop at stop signs, put on their seat belt, Parallel Park and stay in a well-defined lane, they are competent enough.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), list motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.  Seven teens –ages 16 to 19- die every day from motor vehicle injuries.  According to a new study, more teens could survive serious auto accidents if they are driving newer cars.

While older cars may be less expensive, newer models are more likely to come with better standard safety features. Larger and heavier cars may also offer more protection.

"We know that many parents cannot afford a new vehicle," said the study's lead author, Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Our message to parents is to get the most safety they can afford."

Researchers analyzed data from 2008 to 2012 from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which included information on 2,420 drivers ages 15 to 17 and 18,975 drivers ages 35 to 50.

The majority of teens that died (82%) were in cars that were at least 6 years old. A smaller, but significant proportion of teens (31%) were in cars 11 to 15 years old. For comparison, fatally injured teens were almost twice as likely as their middle-aged counterparts to be driving a car that was 11 to 15 years old.

Researchers say that they can’t prove that older cars driven by teens actually increase the risk of death if they are in a motor vehicle accident. However, there is good reason to think that teens would be safer in newer cars.

Older cars have older seatbelts that can wear and tear with age. Airbags were not required in cars till 1997 and 1998 for trucks. Today, they are standard equipment. The biggest safety upgrade though, has been the addition of electronic stability control.

Ultimately, McCartt said, though newer model cars tend to have more safety features, protecting your teens is not as straight forward as just steering clear of older vehicles. "We did find older vehicles that met our safety criteria," she said.

Still, it's a rare older vehicle that has electronic stability control — an important safety feature that helps drivers keep control in extreme maneuvers, McCartt said. "That's something that is standard on new cars since it was a requirement starting in 2012," she added.

Extreme maneuvers can quickly happen when something unexpected happens while driving. There are also plenty of distractions that can take your eyes off the road such as reading or replying to a text, eating or drinking while driving, cell phone calls, Changing CDs or radio stations, video watching, looking at or entering data for a GPS, talking to passengers. The list goes on. These distractions are certainly not limited to teens, but they have the least experience behind the wheel.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has compiled a list of affordable used vehicles that meet important safety criteria for teen drivers that can be found at http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicles-for-teens.

They also have a list of recommendations to consider when purchasing a car for a teenager. They are:

•       Young drivers should stay away from high horsepower. More powerful engines can tempt them to test the limits.

•       Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer. They protect better in a crash, and HLDI analyses of insurance data show that teen drivers are less likely to crash them in the first place. There are no mini-cars or small cars on the recommended list. Small SUVs are included because their weight is similar to that of a midsize car.

•       Electronic stability control (ESC) is a must. This feature, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads, reduces risk on a level comparable to safety belts.

•       Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible. At a minimum, that means good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, acceptable ratings in the IIHS side crash test and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Most teens will eventually get their driver’s license – that’s a given.  If a teen is still a minor, it’s up to the parents or responsible guardians to help choose a car that will give them the best chance of survival if an accident should happen. That choice may include a newer model.

The study was published online in the journal, Injury Prevention.

Source: Linda Carroll, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/cheap-old-car-might-carry-deadly-cost-teens-study-n271321

http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicles-for-teens

Your Child

Zip Line Injuries Soaring

2:00

There’s definitely something thrilling about standing high above the ground, hooking oneself onto a pulley and launching off the edge of safety, then soaring through the air on a steel cable. It’s called zip lining.

A new study finds, as the adventure sport’s popularity has increased, so have associated injuries requiring treatment at an emergency room.

Researchers found the injury rate from zip lines rose by more than 50 percent between 2009 and 2012, with kids 9 and under accounting for 45 percent of the injuries.

"One of the things that really struck us about this study is how serious the injuries were. Almost 50 percent of them were fractures or broken bones, and over 10 percent actually had to be admitted to the hospital," said Tracy Mehan of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who led the study.

"These are much higher and more serious injuries than we see with a lot of studies, and it shows us that this activity is much more like an adventure sport," Mehan told NBC News.

Mehan and her team looked at a national database of emergency room visits. They found that since 1997, close to 17,000 people have been injured badly enough from zip line activities to need care from an emergency room.

There were not enough annual cases until 2009 — when zip lines really began to be popular — to put a good, solid rate on the number of injuries.

"Seventy percent of them were in the last four years, which shows us that this is a growing trend," Mehan said. "In fact, in 2012 alone, there were over 3,600 injuries, which was about 10 a day."

What was once an adventure only found in a remote part of the world has become big business in rural areas and suburbs throughout the country.  If you have the space, you can even buy a kit and assemble a zip line in your own backyard.  What could possibly go wrong?

"In 2001 there were about 10 commercial zip line outfits in the United States," Mehan said. "By 2012 this had grown to over 200. And when you add in all of the publicly accessible zip lines that you see now, it's over 13,000."

Most of the injuries happened when people fell off or crashed into something like a tree or a zip line structure.

"The injuries really happen when you fell off the zip line from a high height, or when you went careening into a tree at a high speed or a support structure and had a collision. Those types of injuries are very serious," she said.

"The most common injury by far that we see are broken bones. That was almost 50 percent of our injuries. Other injuries can be bruises, sprains and strains, or concussions."

Head injuries account for 7 percent of the hospital visits says Mehan, and wearing a helmet doesn’t guarantee your head will be protected. A fall from a short height can damage the head and neck, even with a helmet.

While zip line popularity may be increasing, safety standards are pretty much non- existent says Mehan.

"I think a lot of families assume that if there is a zip line out there, that it is following industry safety standards and it's being kept up and maintained in a way that is safe, but that's not always the case," she said.

"Not a lot of states actually have standards in place. Some do, some don't, and even among those that do, it can even vary among jurisdiction," she added.

"We would like to see one universal set of safety standards adopted by each state."

When 12-year-old, Bonnie Sanders Burney, fell to her death in a zip line accident in North Carolina this year, the state’s General Assembly quickly passed a law requiring research for possible regulations. While some states have codified regulations, others allow operators of zip lines and high ropes courses to self-regulate.

Mehan and her team hope the information from this study will spur a tougher look at creating a national code of safety regulations pertaining to zip lines.

Source: Maggie Fox and Erika Edwards, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/zipline-injuries-soar-study-finds-n438876

 

 

 

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July 4th

Have a safe & fun July 4th!

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