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Daily Dose

Why Kids Should Wear a Helmet

1:30 to read

Accidents in children are always an ever present problem. From scraped knees, to bumped heads, broken arms and stitches there are always injuries in our children. Accidents in children are always an ever present problem. From scraped knees, to bumped heads, broken arms and stitches there are always injuries in our children. Thank goodness most of them are traumatic at the moment, usually more to the parent than the child, and the child quickly recovers and is on to the next thing.

One way to help protect our children is by using protective "gear" when appropriate. We are really good about using car seats, child proofing houses and pools for the toddler set, but as the children get older there are other dangers lurking around with the bicycles, scooters, skateboards and the newest rip stick. All of these "wheeled" devices pose dangers for falls and "wipe outs" that may lead to things as mild as cuts and scrapes or as serious as a head injury. The hardest thing to get a school age child to understand is the meaning of the word ACCIDENT.

They do not understand that even if they think they have mastered the bike or rip stick, an accident can happen at any time. When I am talking to the elementary school set and ask them about mastering a bicycle on two wheels they are so proud to tell me of their accomplishments. But when I ask them what they are wearing on their head while riding, I don't always hear "a helmet". Children and adults on bicycles need to wear helmets at all times. I see kids riding their bikes to school (great exercise), but not a helmet in sight on their head. Don't let your child on their bicycles without a helmet, insist on a helmet just like a seat belt. If they become accustomed to always putting on a helmet before hopping on that bike or skateboard it will just become second nature. If they choose not to wear their helmet, then put the bike in "time out" for awhile to let them know that you are not going to allow them to ride without protection. Knee pads and wrist guards are great, but we can usually set a wrist fracture, or stitch up a knee. A head injury is another story!

That's your daily dose, we'll chat tomorrow.

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)

Your Baby

Half of U.S. Parents Using Unsafe Bedding for Infants

2:00

Parents are getting better about using loose bedding and leaving soft objects in their baby’s bed, but about half of U.S. infants are still sleeping with potentially hazardous bedding according to a new study.

Blankets, quilts and pillows can obstruct an infant’s airway and pose a suffocation risk according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  This type of bedding is a recognized risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The researchers investigated bedding use from 1993 to 2010 from the National Infant Sleep Position study.

They found that from 1993 to 2010, bedding use declined, but remained a common practice. The rate of bedding use averaged nearly 86 percent in 1993-1995, and declined to 55 percent in 2008-2010. Prevalence was highest for infants of teen mothers (83.5 percent) and lowest for infants born at term (55.6 percent). Researchers also found that bedding use was highest among infants who were sleeping in adult beds, placed to sleep on their sides, or shared a sleep surface.

AAP recommends that the best place for a baby to sleep is in the same room as his or her parents and always in a crib, not in the same bed. The crib should be free from toys, soft bedding, blankets, and pillows.

Other safe sleep practices are:

•       Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards. For more about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov.

•       Place the crib in an area that is always smoke-free.

•       Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.

•       Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby. Loose bedding, such as sheets and blankets, should not be used as these items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they are close to his face. Sleep clothing, such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are better alternatives to blankets.

•       Place babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. Side sleeping is not as safe as back sleeping and is not advised. Babies sleep comfortably on their backs, and no special equipment or extra money is needed.

•       “Tummy time” is playtime when infants are awake and placed on their tummies while someone is watching them. Have tummy time to allow babies to develop normally.

•       Remove mobiles when your baby is able to sit up.

Study authors conclude that while the numbers have improved significantly, infants are still being put to bed in an unsafe sleeping environment; about half still sleep with blankets, quilts, pillows, and other hazardous items.

It’s not unusual that many parents may not be aware of the dangers of blankets, pillows and quilts in a baby’s bed. Lots of people were raised with all these items in the bed, but that was also before scientists began to understand SIDS better and the possible causes. True, many babies did fine before these alerts and safety suggestions became more popular but a lot of children also died – we just didn’t know why.  Parents today are able to access better infant safety information than their own parents.

The study, “Trends in Infant Bedding Use: National Infant Sleep Position Study 1993-2010” was published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Source: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/News/Pages/Study-Shows-One-Half-of-US-Infants-Sleep-in-Potentially-Hazardous-Bedding.aspx

Your Child

McDonald’s Recalls Kid's “Step-iT” Wristbands Due to Burns, Skin Irritations

1:30

About 29 million of McDonald’s “Step-iT” activity wristbands have been recalled in the U.S. due to skin irritations or burns to children.

The recall involves “Step-iT” activity wristbands, which come in two styles—“Activity Counter” and a motion-activated “Light-up Band.” The Activity Counter comes in translucent plastic orange, blue or green and features a digital screen that tracks a child’s steps or other movement. The Light-up Band comes in translucent plastic red, purple, or orange and blinks light with the child’s movement. Both styles of activity wristbands have a square face with the words “STEP-iT” printed on them and a button to depress and activate the wristband. The back of the square face contains the etched words “Made for McDonald’s.” 

The company has received more than 70 reports of incidents, including seven reports of blisters, after wearing the wristbands.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled wristbands from children and return them to any McDonald’s for a free replacement toy and either a yogurt tube or bag of apple slices.

The wristbands were distributed exclusively by McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, from August 9, 2016 to August 17, 2016 with Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals. 

Consumers can contact McDonald’s at 800-244-6227 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT daily, or online at www.mcdonalds.com and click on “Safety Recall” for more information. 

You can see all the models recalled on http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2016/McDonalds-Recalls-Step-iT-Activity-Wristbands/

Parenting

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

2:00

This is the time of year when accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning happens the most. For families in cold climates or dealing with disasters such as flooding, tornados or loss of electricity for long periods of time, gasoline powered generators or heaters can be a godsend. But they also require special care to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless toxic gas that is a product of the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels. Unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings accounted for approximately 400 to 500 deaths (all ages) and more than 15,000 emergency department visits in the United States annually according to the AAP Council on Environmental Health.

Proper installation and maintenance for the use of combustion appliances can help to reduce excessive carbon monoxide emissions along with carbon monoxide detectors.

Many non-fires related CO poisonings come from automobiles left running in a closed garage- sending toxic fumes into the house.

Other ways carbon monoxide poisoning occurs may surprise you. Improperly maintained chimneys and flues can crack and leave a buildup that causes problems with venting CO fumes. Wood stoves that are not fitted correctly can leak CO into living rooms and bedrooms. Kerosene heaters reduce oxygen in rooms. They require good ventilation to operate safely. Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide can be emitted from improper use of kerosene heaters. These fumes become toxic in large quantities and put vulnerable individuals at risk, such as pregnant women, asthmatics, people with cardiovascular disease, the elderly, and young children. Charcoal grills put off an enormous amount of CO; they should never be used indoors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance for protecting families from CO poisoning with these tips:

Fuel-Burning Appliances

•       Forced-air furnaces should be checked by a professional once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer. Pilot lights can produce carbon monoxide and should be kept in good working order.

•       All fuel-burning appliances (eg, gas water heaters, gas stoves, gas clothes dryers) should be checked professionally once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer.

•       Gas cooking stove tops and ovens should not be used for supplemental heat.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

•       Fireplaces and woodstoves should be checked professionally once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer. Check to ensure the flue is open during operation. Proper use, inspection, and maintenance of vent-free fireplaces (and space heaters) are recommended.

Space Heaters

•       Fuel-burning space heaters should be checked professionally once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer.

•       Space heaters should be properly vented during use, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Barbecue Grills/Hibachis

•       Barbecue grills and hibachis should never be used indoors.

•       Barbecue grills and hibachis should never be used in poorly ventilated spaces such as garages, campers, and tents.

Automobiles/Other Motor Vehicles

•       Regular inspection and maintenance of the vehicle exhaust system are recommended. Many states have vehicle inspection programs to ensure this practice.

•       Never leave an automobile running in the garage or other enclosed space; Carbon monoxide can accumulate even when a garage door is open.

Generators/Other Fuel-Powered Equipment

•       Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when operating generators and other fuel-powered equipment.

•       Never operate a generator indoors or near an open window when the generator is outdoors.

Boats

•       Be aware that carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic symptoms of seasickness.

•       Schedule regular engine and exhaust system maintenance.

•       Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in the accommodation space on the boat.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic other illnesses – so it’s good to be aware of the symptoms, especially if you have any of the heating sources or gasoline powered motors mentioned above.

Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

The symptoms may be subtle, but the condition is life threatening. If you suspect CO poisoning, seek emergency medical care immediately and make sure your child is getting fresh air as soon as possible.

Story sources: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Children-and-Disasters/Pages/Protecting-Children-from-Carbon-Monoxide-Poisoning.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carbon-monoxide/basics/definition/con-20025444

 

Parenting

Hobby Lobby Recalls 43,000 Light-Up Spinner Toys

1:00

Hobby Lobby is recalling about 43,000 children’s battery-powered, light-up spinner toys sold in two themes: Easter and July 4th. The Easter-themed toys were sold in blue with a pink bunny on the dome and yellow with a yellow and orange chicken on the dome. The July 4th spinners are red with white stars painted on the blue dome. “Hobby Lobby” and item number 9130033 or 9130082 is printed on the spinner handle. Three LR44 coin cell batteries power the spinners.

The battery cover can detach and expose the small coin cell batteries, posing choking and ingestion hazards to young children.

Hobby Lobby has received one report of a 14-month-old child who ingested the battery.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled spinners away from children and return them to the nearest Hobby Lobby or Mardel store. Consumers with a receipt will receive a full refund and consumers without a receipt will receive a store credit.

The spinners were sold at Hobby Lobby and Mardel stores nationwide from February 2017 to April 2017 for about $5.

Consumers can contact Hobby Lobby Stores at 800-326-7931 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at www.hobbylobby.com and click on the Recall tab for more information.

Story source: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Hobby-Lobby-Recalls-Easter-and-July-4th-Light-Up-Spinner-Toys

Parenting

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

1:45

Millions of American families will enjoy the beauty and fun of decorating a Christmas tree and hanging lights this Holiday season.  Whether you choose an artificial tree or a fresh tree, there are steps you can follow to make sure that your tree and decoration space are safe.

Many house fires occur during November and December when Christmas lights and candles are pulled out and used. Not only are fires a hazard, but plenty of people end up in an emergency room due to injuries from falls, lacerations, back strains and children ingesting foreign objects.

The Consumer Protection Safety Commission has a great list of tips to help you make safety a priority.

1. Take special care with sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations. Lacerations were among the top reported decoration–related injuries last year.

2. Avoid trimmings that resemble food or candy that may tempt a child to mouth or swallow them.

3. Place decorations with small removable parts that can pose a choking hazard to young children out of reach.

4. Purchase only holiday light sets that bear the marking of a safety-testing laboratory. Fires sparked by holiday lights caused 10 deaths last year.

5. Examine new and old light sets for damage. Discard sets with cracked or broken sockets, frayed or exposed wires, and loose connections.

6. Keep burning candles in sight and away from places where kids and pets can knock them over. Between 2010 and 2012, candles were the source of an estimated 6,500 residential fires annually, causing 80 deaths, 650 injuries, and $237 million in property loss per year.

7. Place lighted candles away from items that can catch fire, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

8. Look for a label that reads “fire resistant” when purchasing an artificial tree. Check live trees for freshness. If the tree is fresh, the needles should stay in place and not break. It should be hard to pull them off the branches. Check the trunk to see if it is sticky. If so, it's definitely fresh. Check for loose needles by banging the tree up and down on the ground. Expect some needles to fall off but if a lot fall off, move to another tree. One that loses a lot of needles is no longer fresh and could be dry enough to be a fire hazard.

9. Place live Christmas trees away from heat sources, and keep trees well watered.

10. Read “Ladder Safety 101” for tips to prevent ladder falls this season. You may think you know everything there is to know about using a ladder, but even the “experts” can make mistakes and wind up in the ER.

It’s easy to get complacent when decorating for the holidays; it’s something a lot of families do year after year often using the same decorations. After a certain amount of time, these decorations can become worn and damaged. Make sure your holiday doesn’t turn into a visit to the emergency room or worse by brushing up on some simple safety tips.

Source: http://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2015/12/07/tis-the-season-to-decorate-safely/

 

Daily Dose

Parents Ignore New Car Seat Recomendations

1.45 to read

I have been surprised at the number of parents I have seen lately, who are either unaware or choose to ignore the changes in car seat recommendations for children under the age of two.I have been surprised at the number of parents I have seen, who are either unaware or choose to ignore the changes in car seat recommendations for children under the age of two.

I try to discuss car seat safety at each check-up appointment, and have always been especially mindful of doing this at the one-year check up. A new policy (April 2011) by colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends what I have been discussing for a while now: children up to age two should remain in rear-facing safety seats. The new policy is supported by research that shows children younger than 2 are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. So how did we get here? Original recommendations (established in 2009), I had followed with my own patients. I discussed turning the car seat to a forward facing position if the child had reached 12 months and 20 pounds. Then in April, an article was published (Inj Prev. 2007;13:398-402), which was the first U.S. data to substantiate the benefits of toddlers riding rear facing until they are two years of age. This study showed that children under the age of two are 75 percent less likely to die or experience a serious injury when they are riding in a rear-facing. That is a fairly compelling statistic to keep that car seat rear-facing for another year! Studies have shown that rear-facing seats are more likely to support the back, neck, head and pelvis because the force of a crash is distributed evenly over the entire body. Toddlers between the ages of 12 and 23 months who ride rear facing are more than five times safer than toddlers in that same age group who ride forward-facing in a car seat. There has also been concern that rear-facing toddlers whose feet reach the back of the seat are more likely to suffer injuries to the lower extremities in a car accident. But a commentary written by Dr. Marilyn Bull in Pediatrics (2008;121:619-620) dispelled the myth with documentation that lower extremity injuries were rare with rear-facing seats. So, it has now been over two years since this data was published and recommended, and parents continue to say, “I just turned the seat around any way” or “I didn’t know.” I did go look at car-seats the other day and I noted that the labeling on the boxes had all been changed to recommend rear facing until two years or until a toddler reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations for the model. I take this to mean that some “small” toddlers could even rear face longer as they do in some European countries. For safety sake, rather than convenience, keep that car seat in the rear facing position. I wonder if they will begin putting DVD players and cup holders facing toward these toddlers, as that seemed to be a concern of many parents. Maybe this will make it “okay” to listen to music or talk while in the car rather than watching TV, at least until a child is older!! If you need references on car seats go to http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov or http://www.seatcheck.org Send your question or comment to Dr. Sue!

Your Baby

CDC Warning: Dangerous Germ Found in Powdered Infant Formula

2:00

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new warning about Cronobacter contamination in powdered infant formulas.

Because powdered infant formula is not sterile, it can sometimes contain Cronobacter — formerly known as Enterobacter sakazakii — a germ found naturally in the environment that can survive in very dry conditions, the CDC reports.

Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe blood infections or meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine. If infected, infants two months of age and younger, are most likely to develop the infection.

Infants born prematurely and those with weakened immune systems are also at increased risk for serious sickness from Cronobacter, the CDC warns.

In infants, the sickness generally starts with fever and usually includes poor feeding, crying or very low energy. Very young infants with these symptoms should be taken to a doctor.

In some outbreak investigations, Cronobacter was found in powdered infant formula that had been contaminated in the factory. In other cases, Cronobacter might have contaminated the powdered infant formula after it was opened at home or elsewhere during preparation, according to the CDC.

Because Cronobacter lives in the general environment, it’s likely there have been other sources of this rare sickness.

Using current methods, manufacturers report that it is not possible to get rid of all germs in powdered infant formula in the factory. Powdered infant formula can also be contaminated after the containers are opened. Very young infants, infants born prematurely, and infants whose bodies have trouble fighting off germs are at highest risk.

The CDC offers these tips on protecting your infant:

·      Breastfeed: Breastfeeding helps prevent many kinds of sicknesses among infants. Almost no cases of Cronobacter sickness have been reported among infants who were being exclusively breastfed.

·      If your baby gets formula, choose infant formula sold in liquid form, especially when your baby is a newborn or very young. Liquid formulations are made to be sterile and therefore should not contain Cronobacter germs.

·      If you use powdered infant formula, follow these steps:

1      Clean up before preparation

Wash your hands with soap and water.

Clean bottles in a dishwasher with hot water and a heated drying cycle, or scrub bottles in hot, soapy water and then sterilize them.

Clean work surfaces, such as countertops and sinks.

2      Prepare safely

Keep powdered formula lids and scoops clean and be careful about what they touch.

Close containers of infant formula or bottled water as soon as possible.

Use hot water (158 degrees F/70 degrees C and above) to make formula.

Carefully shake, rather than stirring, formula in the bottle.

Cool formula to ensure it is not too hot before feeding your baby by running the prepared, capped bottle under cool water or placing it into an ice bath, taking care to keep the cooling water from getting into the bottle or on the nipple.

3      Use up quickly or store safely

Use formula within two hours of preparation. If the baby does not finish the entire bottle of formula, throw away the unused formula.

If you do not plan to use the prepared formula right away, refrigerate it immediately and use it within 24 hours. Refrigeration slows the growth of germs and increases safety.

When in doubt, throw it out. If you can’t remember how long you have kept formula in the refrigerator, it is safer to throw it out than to feed it to your baby.

Story Source: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/04/125714/#.VyJvoat5ylA

 

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