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Child Health & Safety News 6/26: Snapchat Has Searchable Maps

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Safety News: What The Michelle Carter conviction for telling someone to commit suicide means  for YOUR Kids bit.ly/2sLM3LY

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed.  Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15 events & stories.

  • Signs Your Child Has IBS And How To Fix It bit.ly/2tYiPXJ  2017-06-25
  • Survivors Of Childhood Diseases Struggle To Find Care As Adults bit.ly/2s1yOD7 2017-06-25
  • How to Parent a Sensitive Child in a Less Than Sensitive World bit.ly/2tDdLbV 2017-06-24
  • Choking hazard prompts Britax to recall 207K child car seats on-ajc.com/2tzzm53 Check here for models 2017-06-24
  • Child safety campaign urges parents to ask about unlocked guns when dropping off for a playdate bit.ly/2rIsReZ Would u ask? 2017-06-23

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
A Snapchat update that shows publicly posted images on a searchable map has raised safety concerns among parents.  bbc.in/2t4Suud

  • When Should Your Allergic Child Start Wearing A Medic Alert?zpr.io/PJ7zS 2017-06-23
  • Tomorrow, Cars 3 is Sensory Friendly at AMC zpr.io/PJ7Rz 2017-06-23
  • 12-Year-Old Cheerleader Kills Herself After Cruel Bullying Incident bet.us/2tu1aYn Only 12 yrs old! 2017-06-23
  • How to Deal With Ever-Changing Parenting Guidelines bit.ly/2tNMBhN 2017-06-22
  • Is Your Child at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes? cle.clinic/2sR3rzH It’s on the rise in the US. 2017-06-21
  • Talking To Your Kids About Your Cancer zpr.io/Pivr7 2017-06-21
  • “The study found guns killed an average of 1,300 children and wounded 5,700 per year from 2012 to 2014.” bit.ly/2sJSeAf 2017-06-21
  • Mott Poll: Nearly Two-Thirds of Mothers “Shamed” By Others About Their Parenting Skills | Michigan Medicine uofmhealth.org/news/archive/2… 2017-06-20
  • The Dietary Patterns That Increase Risk for Childhood Obesity bit.ly/2sHF1c1 2017-06-19
  • Does My Child Really Need Dental Arch Expansion? zpr.io/PiDLN 2017-06-19

Boredom vs. Structure: Is One “Better” for a Special Needs Child?

There is a lot of parenting buzz about letting your kids be bored because only then will they tap into their imaginations and learn to be self-reliant. Childhood boredom can lead to many wonderful things like invented games, improvised plays and backyard expeditions. Then again, many children with special needs need structure. Some get very anxious when they are unsure where to go and what to do. Others get lost in time and distractions in ways that are not beneficial or can get up to activities that are destructive or unsafe. Throughout this article please understand that when I refer to unstructured time I never mean for it to mean unsupervised time. Safety is crucial! Also, this is not about boredom in school – this is about the summertime, weekend, hanging out at home type of boredom. So how do you balance your child’s need for structure with the healthy benefits of downtime?

I was faced with this dilemma of schedule vs. free time on only the fourth day of summer break, when my special needs child dramatically threw herself on my bed and sighed, “I’m bored.”

As always, take the unique needs of your child and your family into consideration. If you work, if your child is in a summer program or camp or if your child has a caregiver this may not all be up to you. You will need to get input from your child’s team to see how he or she tolerates unstructured time before you can decide how much boredom to allow at home.

Even when it seems like I am letting my kids hang around the house doing nothing, I always have a secret schedule in my mind and am always watching the clock and listening to the sibling rivalry. Sometimes I have to step in and redirect, sometimes I can let it play out. Sometimes I have to force them all to unplug, or go outside or read.

If your child needs structure and scheduling, try building some imagination time into the daily agenda. Start small, maybe ten minutes, and build the time up as your child can tolerate it. Knowing there is an end time may also help the child feel less anxious about free time.

Some children have trouble making choices. In this case you can schedule something like reading time or art time, but allow your child the choice of what book to read or what art materials to use. If that is too overwhelming, you can give your child two or three options and let them choose. Then stop giving the options. Eventually you can work up to giving your child bigger choices, like reading time or art time. Even using the phrase “play time” instead of “free time” may offer the child a hint about appropriate choices during this time. If the idea of unstructured time is very overwhelming to your child, brainstorm a list of things they could do during free time, then post it somewhere or keep it in a notebook so you can consult it as needed. You may even want to make a Boredom Jar so the suggested activities will be randomized when your child pulls one out.

As always, if unstructured time doesn’t work for your child right now that is fine, but as our kids grow up and we try to teach them to be independent you can revisit it at a later date.

Transformers: The Last Knight is Sensory Friendly Tuesday at AMC

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of Transformers: The Last Knight, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum.

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing Transformers: The Last Knightsensory friendly tomorrow, Tuesday, June 27th at 7pm (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming In July:  Despicable Me 3 (Sat, 7/8); The House (Tues, 7/11); Spiderman Homecoming (Sat, 7/22); War for the Planet of the Apes (Tues, 7/25);

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Editor’s note: Although Transformers: The Last Knight has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language, and some innuendo. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

When Should Your Allergic Child Start Wearing A Medic Alert?

Medic Alert Foundation: Kid’s Medical ID’s

Everyone has a habit- some of us don’t leave the house without our keys while others need to make sure that all of the lights are turned off. Whatever your habit, chances are these are things that were learned easily by repetition.  We are all taught at an early age that repetition helps us to remember to do things with less concentration. If your child has severe (e.g. life threatening) allergies, the same can be done to help teach your children to stay as safe as possible each and every time that they leave the house.

Begin As Soon As Possible This truly means as soon as possible. Regardless of what age your child learns about their allergies, it is crucial that they understand the importance of wearing some type of medical I.D. item. From the moment that your child is diagnosed with an allergy, make it part of their daily routine to check for their medical I.D. before they leave the house. Just as we teach them colors and numbers, teach them to advocate for themselves before they even understand that’s what’s actually happening. Always be open and honest with your child and explain the reason for having their allergies easily accessible for those who may need to see it in the event of an emergency.

Medical I.D. is Necessary Many parents feel that having their child wear a medical I.D., especially at an early age, may not be necessary. Parents who are with their children most of the time feel that they can ensure that proper allergy information is exchanged directly from them. Although this is understandable, it may not always be the case. Car accidents can happen at any time. This is one example of the possibility of a parent not being able to speak for their child due to what may have happened to them during the accident as well.  Sometimes things happen in life that we do not expect. Should a parent fall ill, become unconscious or be unable to speak or communicate for whatever reason, a medical I.D. would still be accessible in the interim.  With a medical I.D. product, everything is clearly seen. If you relay allergy information to a family member or guardian, they may not share the complete information if they are affected by an accident or are under stress.

What is Appropriate? Luckily, there are quite a few items that are available now. There are multiple styles, colors, sizes and ways to showcase the important information that just may save your child’s life.  Having more than one I.D. is often recommended as well (one somewhere on yourself and one on your personal effects).

  • Medic Alert Foundation: Medical ID

    Infant car seats can use a D. Wrap as a first line of information if someone was removing your child from the car. If there is an accident, emergency responders instinct is to reach for the car seat- having the wrap attached makes all of the emergency information travel with them.

  • Shoe tags are also recommended. Having emergency information on a car seat is the first step but for parents who rely on babysitter or daycare, shoe tags will still be with your child after they are taken out of their car seat.
  • Necklaces for both boys and girls are available as well. These are items that can always be worn so, in this case, the habit would be to make sure it’s not missing. I do recommend that you research the appropriate items and length for younger children who still like to put things into their mouth.
  • Bracelets are often the preferred jewelry. The reason being- a necklace may slip back underneath your child’s head and become invisible if they are lying down whereas a bracelet will always be on a place where vitals will be checked.

Allergies can be a tricky part of life, especially for younger children and new parents as well. By teaching your children that this is their normal way of life, they will grow up not feeling as if they should have done something differently. Empower your children by letting them pick out their I.D. items and always have open conversations with them on why they need to keep themselves safe. At such early ages, our children are like little sponges of information- let them sink it all in but always let them know that their safety comes first.

Tomorrow, Cars 3 is Sensory Friendly at AMC

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Cars 3 on Saturday, June 24th at 10am (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming Soon:  Transformers: The Last Knight (Tues, 6/27)

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Editor’s note: Although Cars 3 has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, and it is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America, we still recommend checking the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Talking To Your Kids About Your Cancer

If you have cancer, discussing it with your children may be difficult. But listening and talking to them can be reassuring, as well as helping them understand your diagnosis.

Keep it simple

Children may have heard things about cancer that frighten them, so speak to them honestly and simply about what you’re going through. Ask them what they think cancer is and explain anything they don’t know.

Be honest

Explain it in language your children will understand. The word “cancer” becomes less frightening for everyone if it’s described as cells that have grown faster than other cells in the body.

Create time and space to talk

Choose a time and a place to talk to your children where they’re most likely to listen and feel at ease, and where you won’t be interrupted.

Let them know they can always ask you questions and talk to you about how they feel, especially if they’re sad and upset. They need to know you’ll listen to their worries and help them cope.

Reassure them

Let them know that even though you’re ill, you still love and care for them. Explain how your illness might affect your moods and feelings, but that you’ll always love them.

Be clear

You don’t have to tell them everything at once. Just be clear about the situation you’re in. If you don’t know the answer to any of their questions, say so. It might be a good idea to read about it together, or ask a doctor or nurse to explain things.

Be positive with them

Try to be honest yet hopeful, but be careful not to make promises you’re not sure you can keep. Most of all, your children need to know that everyone’s doing all they can to make you better, that you still love and care for them, and that there are things they can do to help.

Children under six

Young children react to being separated from you and to changes in their routine. Ask people who your children feel safe and familiar with to help look after them or take over some of the things you usually do. Young children need consistency, so it’s a good idea to have the same person helping if possible. Always try to let them know in advance about any changes to their usual routine.

If you’re in hospital, have a regular time to call home or when they can call or text you. Make sure they have a photo of you and tell them you’ll be thinking about them. Prepare them in advance for what they’re likely to see when they visit you, and tell them about the different people who are there to help you.

Children aged 6 to 12

Children aged 6 to 12 can understand more about the cancer and its effects on the body. Use simple, straightforward language and short sentences to explain things, and don’t overload them with information.

All children need reassurance that:

  • nothing they or anyone else did or thought caused the cancer
  • cancer isn’t like a cold and you can’t catch it – it’s OK to sit close, hug or kiss

Teenagers

Teenagers may find it hard to talk to you or to show you how they feel, and at times their behaviour may be difficult.

Help them see that talking about feelings is a positive and mature way of coping. Encourage them to talk to someone close, such as a relative or family friend. Ask them what they think and include them as you would an adult. But don’t forget, they still need your guidance and support, and keep the usual rules and limits.

More support

Cancer Research UK has information on talking to children about cancer, with links to useful books and leaflets.

Macmillan also has information and advice on talking to children about your cancer.

Breast Cancer Care has resources and support about talking to children of various ages about breast cancer. The charity has produced a picture book called Mummy’s lump, which can be useful for younger children.

Healthtalk has articles and videos of people talking about their experiences, including:





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