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Daily Dose

Dealing with Tragedy

1.30 to read

I cannot stop thinking about the horrific tragedy in Newtown Connecticut.  As a parent, my heart is broken for the families in Newtown whose children, brothers, sisters and mothers were killed.  There really are no words to express the emotions we all have. 

At the same time, I worry about the many children who have seen or continue to see the images of this massacre.  Unfortunately, there continue to be mass shootings and tragedies that monopolize the news on air, online and in print making it hard to “shield” young children.  The news never stops and these events are all too common. 

But a parent’s job continues to be to try and make sure that children feel safe and secure.  Although it seems to be harder and harder to do these days, parents must continue to protect their children both physically and emotionally. This means telling your child to wear their seat belt, lock the door when you leave the house, wear your bike helmet, and to never play with matches...the list goes on and on.  

It also means having age appropriate discussions with your children about “stranger danger”, weather related disasters and now school lockdowns.  The discussions surrounding this latest national tragedy should be tailored to the age of the child, but regardless of their age, I think the discussion should always end with, “mommies and daddies are here to love and protect you and that will never change.”  

There is no way to process this tragedy nor is there a guide as to how to go forward.  Despite all of the news stories there are no answers, but only questions as to why? 

Hug your children, maybe grab an extra kiss and be thankful for your  family.  Let us also say a prayer for the community of Newtown, both those who were lost and for the living, for their grief is unimaginable.

 

Your Child

2 Doses of Chickenpox Vaccine Almost 100 Percent Effective

2:00

Chickenpox is one of the most common childhood illnesses. It is a viral infection caused by the Varicella zoster virus and produces a painful, itchy rash with small, fluid-filled blisters.

It occurs most often in early spring and late winter and is highly contagious. Typically, chickenpox occurs in kids between 6 and 10 years of age.

A new study shows that among schoolchildren, two doses of the chickenpox vaccine is more effective than one.

Giving the first dose at age 1 and the second dose at ages 4 to 6 is nearly 100 percent effective in preventing the once common childhood disease, researchers have found.

"A second dose of varicella [chickenpox] vaccine provides school-aged children with better protection against the chickenpox virus, compared to one dose alone or no vaccination," said lead researcher Dana Perella, of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Two doses of the vaccine protected against the moderate to severe chickenpox infections that can lead to complications and hospitalizations, she said.

Before routine chickenpox vaccination began in 1995, virtually all children were infected at some point, sometimes with serious complications. About 11,000 children were hospitalized each year for chickenpox, and 100 died annually from the disease, according to the CDC.

One-dose vaccination greatly reduced incidence of chickenpox, but outbreaks continued to be reported in schools where many kids had been vaccinated. That led the CDC in 2006 to recommend a second vaccine dose.

To evaluate effectiveness of the double- dose regimen, Perella and colleagues collected data on 125 children with chickenpox in Philadelphia and northern Los Angeles and compared them with 408 kids who had not had the disease.

They found that two doses of the vaccine was slightly more than 97 percent effective in protecting kids from chickenpox.

"With improved protection provided by two-dose varicella vaccination compared with one-dose only, continued decreases in the occurrence of chickenpox, including more severe infections and hospitalizations, are expected as more children routinely receive dose two between the ages of 4 and 6 years," Perella said.

For children with weakened immune systems that cannot take the vaccine, having their classmates and playmates protected by the vaccine helps protect them against the viral infection.

School vaccine requirements should include two-dose varicella vaccination, Perella said.

"In addition, 'catch-up' varicella vaccination is also important," she said. This applies to anyone over 6 who haven’t had a second vaccine dose, especially if they could be exposed to chickenpox or shingles - a painful condition in older people caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus, she said.

Most healthy children who get chickenpox do not have serious complications from the illness. But there are cases when chickenpox has caused hospitalization, serious complications and even death.

A child may be at greater risk for complications if he or she:

·      Has a weakened immune system

·      Is under 1 year of age

·      Suffers from eczema

·      Takes a medication called salicylate

·      Was born prematurely

The report was published online March 14 and will appear in the April print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Story sources: Steven Reinberg, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20160314/two-dose-chickenpox-shot-gets-the-job-done-study-shows

http://www.parents.com/health/vaccines/chicken-pox/chickenpox-facts/

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Happy Halloween

Have a Safe Halloween!

Your Baby

Skip Hop recalls 130,000 Nightlight Soothers

1:45

Skip Hop makes adorable little nightlights that are often placed in infants and children’s bedrooms to help lull them to sleep. Two models of the popular nightlights are being recalled due to shock hazard.

This recall involves 130,000 of Skip Hop’s Moonlight & Melodies owl and elephant nightlight soothers that play melodies or nature sounds and project images. They have a USB wall power adapter and cord. The white and gray owl soothers measure about 5.5 by 4.5 by 6 inches. The white elephant soother measures about 7 x 4.2 x 5.7 inches. The soothers have a sound speaker on each side and operation buttons at the top or the back. The Skip Hop logo is on the underside of the soother.

Skip Hop is aware of reports that the power adapter can break, including one electrical shock incident.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled nightlight soothers and contact Skip Hop for instructions on returning the USB wall power adapter with a prepaid shipping label and receive a free repair kit which includes a free USB wall adapter.

The Skip Hop products were sold at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Target and other retailers nationwide and online at Skiphop.com and Amazon.com from July 2016 through August 2017 for approximately $40.

Consumers can contact Skip Hop toll-free at 888-282-4674 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at recall@skiphop.com or online at www.skiphop.com and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information.

Story source: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Skip-Hop-Recalls-Nightlight-Soothers#

Daily Dose

Car Seat Safety

1:30 to read

As a pediatrician, I remind parents from the time they leave the hospital for the first ride home with their newborn, until their child is at least 4 years of age that their child needs to be well secured in a car seat!! I have written articles with updated guidelines for car seat safety, including the recommendations that a child remain in a rear facing car seat until at least 2 years of age. I have done TV segments on how to install a car seat…..but I had not installed a car seat in my own car. 

 

So last week I found myself with my husband perusing the aisles of our local “baby store” for a car seat for our now toddler granddaughter.  We arrived with lists of questions and Consumer Report rankings trying to figure out the “best and safest” car seat. It was certainly a lesson in knowing that there is not a “one size fits all” when choosing a car seat. We left the store over an hour later, with a large box and several hundred dollars “poorer”, but confident that we had made a good choice.

 

Next, time to put the car seat in the back seat of my car so that we could pick up our grand daughter for an event. We got out the instructions and I assured my husband that I had observed car seat installations numerous times…key word “observed”.  We started reading page after page of instructions to try and begin the “easy” installation.

 

Well….we did manage to get it in the middle of the back seat of the car and even figured out the latching system (that took us about 30 minutes and two different trials). But that was just the first of the installment issues.  We had to thread the seat belt through the car seat over and over again with each of us on opposite sides insisting that the other was not threading the belt correctly or pulling tight enough….. as we worked to make sure the seat was tight and stable. Once that was complete we realized that we should have figured out the car seat straps before we had latched the car seat….and did we really have to take it out again?

 

It seemed like you needed a degree in physics and engineering (not medicine and business) to safely install a car seat.  We finally figure it out….but it was not always a “friendly” exchange between a long married couple who are now grandparents. How could our many years of parenting seem easy in comparison?

 

My advice, go to a car seat installation in your area…which is what we did with the rear facing car seat we had for our infant granddaughter. Somehow, they made it look like it was not that difficult and it was certainly installed correctly and safely!

Your Child

Tips for Grandparents Caring for Grandkids

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Summers often provide grandparents the opportunity to spend extra time with the grandkids. While parents continue their work schedule, grandpa and grandma lovingly spoil their little ones. Many grandparents are actually raising their grandkids or providing year-round part time care.

Grandparents are are more than just babysitters, they provide a unique generational connection.  Their stories and life experiences can provide a treasure trove of valuable links to the family’s past. Hard-earned wisdom can offer guidance when youngsters are searching for answers. They are unique.

If you’re a grandparent caring for your grandkids – God bless you! What a wonderful gift you are giving to your kids and their children. 

Now is a good time to educate yourself on the new medical discoveries made since you raised your own children by asking your grandchild's parents to share information.  The medical profession has learned a lot about having infants sleep safely on their backs and on safer over-the-counter medications for illnesses, as well as many other things. A child safety update can be enormously beneficial. 

It may have been a while since you’ve been in charge of a little one’s care; to help freshen up on child home safety, here is a list of safety recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Nursery & Sleeping Area -

•       If you saved your own child's crib, stored in your attic or garage, per­haps awaiting the arrival of a grandchild someday, you should replace it with a new one. Guidelines for children's furniture and equipment have changed dramatically, and a crib that is more than a few years old will not meet today's safety standards. This is likely also true for other saved and aging furniture that could pose risks to children, such as an old playpen.

•       Buy a changing table, use your own bed, or even a towel on the floor to change the baby's diapers. As she gets a little older, and she becomes more likely to squirm, you may need a second person to help in changing her diaper.

•       Do not allow your grandchild to sleep in your bed.

•       Keep the diaper pail emptied.

Kitchen -

•       Put "kiddie locks" on the cabinets; to be extra safe, move unsafe cleansers and chemicals so they're completely out of reach.

•       Remove any dangling cords, such as those from the coffeepot or toaster.

•       Take extra precautions before giving your grandchild food prepared in microwave ovens. Microwaves can heat liquids and solids unevenly, and they may be mildly warm on the outside but very hot on the in­side.

Bathroom -

•       Store pills, inhalers, and other prescription or nonprescription medi­cations, as well as medical equipment, locked and out of the reach of your grandchild. Be especially vigilant that all medications of any kind are kept up and away from a child's reach and sight.

•       Put nonslip material in the bathtub to avoid dangerous falls.

•       If there are handles and bars in the bathtub for your own use, cover them with soft material if you are going to be bathing the baby there.

•       Never leave a child unattended in a tub or sink filled with water.

Baby Equipment Safety

•       Never leave your grandchild alone in a high chair or in an infant seat located in high places, such as a table or countertop.

•       Do not use baby walkers.

Toy Safety:

•       Buy new toys for your grandchild that has a variety of sounds, sights, and colors. Simple toys can be just as good. Remember, no matter how fancy the toys may be your own interac­tion and play with your grandchild are much more important.

•       Toys, CDs, and books should be age-appropriate and challenge chil­dren at their own developmental level.

•       Avoid toys with small parts that the baby could put into her mouth and swallow. Follow the recommendations on the package to find toys suitable for your grandchild's age.

•       Because toy boxes can be dangerous, keep them out of your home, or look for one without a top or lid.

Garage and Basements

•       Make sure that the automatic reversing mechanism on the garage door is operating.

•       Keep all garden chemicals and pesticides as well as tools in a locked cabinet and out of reach.

•       Make sure that freezers, refrigerator and washing machines are not accessible. 

These safety tips can help recharge your memory when it comes to caring for small children as well as offer some new ideas on making your home a safer place for them to visit.

Times have changed since your children were young. Your energy level may not be quite as high as it once was, so planning the day with rest breaks included can help you and the kids.

 While some things may have changed, love is still the universal ingredient that helps children thrive and grandparents have plenty of that!

Sources: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/A-Message-for-Grandparents-Keeping-Your-Grandchild-Safe-in-Your-Home.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/work-play/Pages/A-Message-for-Grandparents-Who-Provide-Childcare.aspx

 

 

Your Child

Kids: Safe Lawn Care

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This is the time of year when kids are most likely to be playing in the yard. Daylight hours are longer and winter’s chill is fading fast or gone.  It’s also the time when insects and weeds make an appearance, demanding some type of control.

All pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are toxic on some level. Along with killing pests and weeds, they can also harm you, your children, your pets, and any wildlife on your lawn.

Researchers have noted that young children are especially at risk from pesticides. Their bodies and immune systems are still developing. They are also more likely to spend time outside on the lawn, playing or crawling and coming in contact with any pesticides used there.

As population growth and sub-division building increases, these chemicals have increased in usage.

 However, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are not the only ways to have a welcoming lawn and insect control. If you must use some pesticides, you can help keep your family safe by using them with care, and only when needed.

Lawn care starts with the basics. When your lawn is healthy, there’s less of a chance for weeds and pests. Pests often mean that the soil is lacking nutrients. Without healthy soil, grass and other plants have a harder time growing and staying healthy. A soil test will tell you what the pH level is and whether your soil needs extra nutrients. Most grasses do best in a soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. If you find that your soil needs help or a pH adjustment, you can add nutrients as needed.

Compost is a healthier option for adding nutrients than many chemical fertilizers. Most lawns can use a good fertilizing at least once a year. You can top-dress with a quarter- to a half-inch of compost. Or look for fertilizer that's labeled "slow release" or "natural organic" fertilizer.

A soil test will tell you what the pH level is and whether your soil needs extra nutrients. Most grasses do best in a soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. If you find that your soil needs help or a pH adjustment, you can add nutrients as needed.

You can also do online research about what kind of grass grows best in your part of the country. County extension offices often have an abundance of material on grasses, flowers and tree types that your area is compatible with and need less watering.

Mowing can have a dramatic effect on lawns. By leaving your grass a little longer -- usually between 2 ½ and 3 ½ inches -- you can usually improve your lawn's health. This is because the leaves of longer grass have more access to sunlight, which helps the grass grow thicker and create deeper roots.

Longer grass is better for your soil, since it provides more shade and helps the soil retain moisture. It also makes it more difficult for weeds to grow.

When pests appear, many experts agree that integrated pest management (IPM) is the most effective and environmentally friendly way to control pests. Basically, this means using holistic ways to treat pests when possible, such as mowing your lawn higher to shade out weeds or planting more disease-resistant types of grasses or plants, and only using pesticides when needed.

Here are a few suggestions to try before you reach for the pesticide:

- Give nature a little time to work. Damaged parts of your lawn may bounce back over time. And most lawn and garden pests have natural enemies that will help control pests. For example, ladybugs and praying mantises eat other bugs while not damaging your lawn or garden.

- Pull out weeds using a long-handled weed puller. It's usually easier than by hand.

- Vinegar can also be used to kill weeds.

- Mulch garden beds to prevent weeds.

- Remove diseased plants so the problem doesn't spread.

If you do decide to use a pesticide, follow these guidelines to help keep your family safe:

- Make sure you know what kind of pest you're dealing with so you can choose the right type of pesticide. Your local extension agent or other local lawn expert can help you identify the problem. There are also organic lawn and pest care companies.

- Don't treat the whole lawn if it’s unnecessary. Use pesticides just where you have the problem.

- Read the label on the pesticide carefully and follow the instructions.

- Wear gloves, and long pants and sleeves while using the pesticide to protect your skin. Wash clothing separately before wearing them again.

- Keep children and pets away from the area for the time recommended on the label.

- If you hire a lawn care service, find one that uses an IPM approach to lawn care or uses organic or chemical-free processes.

Fleas and ticks are some of the most annoying pests during summer and can be difficult to control. 

Fleas and ticks prefer a moist environment. Overwatering is an invitation to these pests. One of the safest ways to treat your yard is the application of Diatomaceous Earth (often just called DE). Diatomaceous earth, which is available at garden centers, is crushed rock that contains the fossilized remains of diatoms, an alga. The hard-shelled alga grates against the fleas and kills them mechanically, not chemically. Don’t buy the DE that is intended for pools; it has been chemically treated and isn’t for use around pets. DE is easy to use by sprinkling areas in the yard where fleas are likely to congregate, such as your dog’s favorite hangouts. Wear a filter mask when spreading the fine powder and keep your dog inside while treating the yard.

Another natural way to treat your yard is by using beneficial nematodes, microscopic round worms that are safe for your family and your pets. Along with fleas, nematodes kill weevils, crane flies, grubs, corn borers, and other vegetable garden pests. The nematodes are microscopic so you won’t see them; you’ll purchase them on a small sponge that contains about one million live nematodes, enough for about 3,000 square feet of yard space.

After soaking the sponge in water, you’ll spray the yard with the mixture. You can purchase the nematodes as far in advance as about a week prior to the yard application; just keep the package in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Organic lawn care can be a little more laborious at the beginning, but as your soil becomes healthier– less and less time is needed to maintain it.

Having a safer lawn may mean that you learn to live with a weed or two. But even healthy lawns have a few weeds and pests. Knowing that your kids are safe when playing hide-and-seek or leapfrog should make any weeds that do pop up a little easier to tolerate.

Story sources: http://www.webmd.com/children/lawn-care#1

Paris Permenter, John Bigley http://www.petsafe.net/learn/10-ways-to-prevent-pests-naturally

 

Daily Dose

Summer Series: A Lesson in Pool Safety

1.15 to read

Every year, over 900 children (14 years and younger) drown in swimming pool mishaps. Unfortunately, most of these drownings are totally preventable. Swimming pool season is in full swing so it is a good time to reiterate pool safety. Studies have shown that nine out of the 10 children over the age of 1 who died were “supervised”.  The best way to prevent any drowning is by having fencing surrounding all pools. That means four feet high on all four sides. It is amazing how even a young toddler can unlock a door, or climb on a chair and undo a latch or climb out of an open window into a yard with direct access to a pool. Children are clever, quick and quiet when they want to be. Drownings are silent, and many times the last place a parent looks for their missing child is at the bottom of the pool, long after it is too late. So, after fencing a pool with a locking gate, you also need to have the appropriate equipment at the pool while your children are swimming. The first thing that should always be nearby is a telephone. There should also be an appropriate rescue floatation ring available. Anyone supervising a child should be a “designated supervisor” so that they are totally aware that they are in charge and should be within arm’s reach of the “non swimmer” child at all times. Optimally, the supervising adult is also CPR trained (a good summer activity for all...so go take CPR class). Lastly, “The Virginia Graeme Baker Law” which is federal legislation passed in 2007, requires all pools to be retrofitted with new drains to avoid suction entrapment and drowning. Despite this act, it seems that not all pools, both public and private, have complied. It might be wise to inquire if your pool is updated, and new drains have been installed. At the same time it is a good idea to teach children to stay away from drains in general. Swimming is one of the highlights of summer for all ages, and safety is paramount!

Your Baby

Thousands of Head Injuries Related to Strollers and Baby Carriers

2:00

According to a new report, between 1990 and 2010, an estimated 316,000 children five years or younger suffered injuries from strollers and baby carriers that were serious enough to land them in the ER.

The analysis found that in 1990, fewer than one in five accidents in strollers or baby carriers resulted in traumatic brain injuries or concussions. But by 2010, 42 percent of children in stroller accidents and 53 percent of babies in carrier accidents who were treated in emergency rooms were found to have suffered a brain injury or concussion.

The higher rate of brain injuries does not necessarily mean that strollers and carriers are more dangerous now than in the 1990s. It could be that physicians and other medical care providers have become more aware of traumatic brain injury and concussion and are reporting these types of injury, said Kristin J. Roberts, the study’s co-author and a research associate in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The data showed that the majority of the injuries (55 percent) occurred in children who were younger than 1 year old, and most of the injuries occurred when children fell from a stroller or carrier or when they tipped over. The head and face most commonly took the brunt of the falls.

“It’s not uncommon to see a child who has fallen out of a carrier that was placed on a bed or a child who was not strapped into a stroller,” said Dr. Leslie Dingeldein, a pediatric emergency physician at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

While the study showed that an average of 17,187 children each year end up in hospital emergency rooms because of stroller and carrier injuries, overall injury rates associated with these accidents declined over the 21-year period studied.

Roberts also noted that the incidences of stroller and carrier accidents might be even higher because the data doesn’t include injuries treated at pediatricians’ offices, private urgent care facilities or at home.

The study authors noted that in 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued updated standards that addressed potential stroller-related hazards such as hinges, brakes, buckles, structural integrity and stability. The new standards went into effect in September of 2015, after the study’s data collection period.

“The good news for parents who rely on strollers and carriers is that new federal mandatory safety standards for these products address many of the risks to children identified in this study,” Elliot Kaye, chairman of the safety commission, said in an email to the New York Times.

The Mayo Clinic offers these safety tips when baby is in a stroller:

•       Stay close. Don't leave your baby unattended in his or her stroller.

•       Be careful with toys. If you hang toys from a stroller bumper bar to entertain your baby, make sure that the toys are securely fastened.

•       Buckle up. Always buckle your baby's harness and seat belt when taking him or her for a stroller ride.

•       Use your brakes. Engage your stroller brakes whenever you stop the stroller.

•       Properly store belongings. Don't hang a bag from the stroller's handle bar, which can make a stroller tip over.

•       Take caution when folding. Keep your baby away from the stroller as you open and fold it, since small fingers can get caught in stroller hinges. Always make sure the stroller is locked open before you put your child in it.

•       Keep it out of the sun. During hot weather, don't let your baby's stroller sit in the sun for long periods of time. This can cause plastic and metal pieces to become hot enough to burn your baby. If you leave the stroller in the sun, check the stroller's surface temperature before placing your baby in the stroller.

•       Check for recalls. Return the stroller warranty card so that you'll be notified in case of a recall. If you're considering a used stroller, make sure the stroller hasn't been recalled.

The report was published in the journal Academic Pediatrics.

Story sources: Rachel Rabkin Peachman, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/17/more-head-injuries-reported-for-babies-in-stroller-accidents/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/stroller-safety/art-20043967?pg=2

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Potty training can be tricky.

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