Did You Know…Every 2 weeks a child dies from a “tipover”?

It’s not something we like to think about…and it certainly could never happen to us…but the reality is that every 2 weeks a child dies because an unsecured appliance or piece of furniture has toppled over onto them. In fact between 2000–2008, the CPSC received reports of nearly 200 tipover deaths among children 8 and younger.  More than 90% of them involve children under 5!Tipover Hazard

Typically, injuries and deaths occur when children climb onto, fall against or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests and appliances. Sometimes it’s the out-of-reach item placed on top of furniture, in other cases it’s the furniture or appliance itself that will topple causing serious if not fatal injuries. On Monday, the CPSC issued a warning, urging parents to inspect and secure these items.  They also offer the following safety tips:

  • Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests, dressers, TV stands, bookcases and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.
  • Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves.
  • Push the TV as far back on its stand as possible.
  • Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach and teach kids not to play with them.
  • Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won’t be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking the TV over.
  • Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.

One thing we often forget is that even when our own home has been thoroughly baby-proofed, our friends and family’s homes will likely not have received the same attention. It’s up to us to be vigilant…wherever we may be.

Prevent Childhood Tooth Decay with Dental Sealants

Cavities are a common problem for children that can begin at an early age. Approximately one fifth of kids ages 2-4 and over fifty percent of eight year old children are affected.

Dental sealants can help! Sealants are a thin plastic covering Dental-Sealants-Resultsplaced on the grooves of the posterior chewing teeth or molars. Sealants prevent decay on the chewing surfaces by covering the skinny, narrow, cracks and crevices referred to in dentistry as “pits and fissures”. This lessens the hiding places for the bacteria that cause cavities or “caries” and makes the back teeth more cleansable. We recommend sealants on any premolars or molars that have not had any fillings. In some cases we have seen a sealant stop a cavity that has already started forming!

You may hear some press relating sealants with a link to BPA. BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical in some plastics. Human and animal studies have linked BPA to an estrogen like chemical that can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease in adults. Minute BPA levels rise in the saliva in the first three hours after sealant placement and then quickly drop off. The benefits of sealants outweigh the potential risk of BPA exposure. Dental materials cause far less BPA exposure then normal, daily, used consumer products such as plastic bottles and the linings of metal cans.

The first eruption of permanent molars typically occurs around age 6. Sealants can be placed on these teeth shortly after they erupt through the gum. If sealants are regularly applied to the surface of your child’s teeth and they have the recommended use of fluoride, most decay can be prevented in their childhood years.

Teach Your Kids to Stress Less

Being a kid means being carefree, right? Not necessarily. According to a new survey by the American Psychological Association of 1,206 kids ages 8 to 17, one-third say they worry a help take away the stressgreat deal or a lot — and more than one-third report that they’re stressing more this year than last.

Why are kids so stressed? Dr. Caron Goode, author of Help Kids Cope with Stress and Trauma, says that the onslaught of media (television, radio, the Internet and mobile devices) in kids’ lives is a very real source of increased stress. Parents can shield kids from some adult stressors, like the evening news and violent TV programs, and should avoid over-scheduling their activities.

However, we can’t protect our children from every stressful situation that life throws at them. Instead, it’s important to teach them to recognize the signs of stress and learn how to react in a positive, healthy way — especially now, when they are starting a new school year and coping with the additional stresses of meeting teachers and fitting in with classmates. Goode offers these practical tips for helping your kids stress less:

1.  Identify the root fear.

The first thing parents need to do is to sit down and listen to what kids are worrying about. Maybe it’s the fact that Dad is unemployed or that the oil spill in the Gulf has hurt the environment.

  • Goode says that when kids express a general anxiety, it’s important for parents to help them identify it more specifically by rephrasing their concerns. Example: “It sounds like you’re worried that Dad lost his job.”
  • Then Goode suggests probing further to get to the root source of the fear. Example: “What worries you about Dad not working?” (Perhaps it’s not having enough money for those new jeans.)
  • Lastly, channel the child’s concerns into a positive, affirmative action to help dissipate their feelings of helplessness. Example: “Let’s come up with a plan for you to earn some money doing chores, so you can save up for those jeans.”

2. Recognize the signs of stress.

Parents can help kids recognize the signs of stress in their own bodies so they can take steps to calm down. Signs of stress include:

  • Shortened breathing
  • Pounding heart
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling that “the walls are closing in”

3. Practice self-soothing techniques.

Goode suggests practicing the following techniques with your kids, so they’ll know how to do them on their own:

  • Hand on the heart. “Research shows that when placing a hand on the heart and imagining something calming like a beach, the heart will be calmer within five minutes,” says Goode. “Kids can easily bring down their anxiety levels using this technique.”
  • Deep breathing. This lowers blood pressure and heart rate, helping the body to relax. Goode says even just five deep breaths can help alleviate stress.
  • Blow away stress. Goode suggests telling children to close their eyes and imagine that their worry is a dark cloud hanging overhead. Tell the child to name the cloud, see the cloud, describe it, and then blow it away with a few deep breaths. This helps the child clear his mind.
  • Positive imagery. Tell your child to imagine sunshine in her heart. Describe a bright light that feels calm and peaceful. The child can hold onto the light and use it to zap worries later. This technique is especially helpful for children dealing with bullying or an illness, because it gives them a sense of control.

3. Blow off steam.

Getting regular exercise — even for just 15 minutes — can seriously reduce stress because it releases energy and endorphins. “When the body is in movement, there’s less inclination to focus on a negative mental stream,” says Goode.

4. Walk the dog.

Goode says that walking the family dog together can be one of the best ways to help a child stress less. “Children who walk a dog will usually talk things out with a parent if they walk together.” In addition, says Goode, stroking a pet has been shown to release oxytocin, the chemical responsible for bonding, which has a calming effect and reinforces closeness between a parent and child.

5. Connect with your kids.

Above all, Goode says, the antidote to stress is connection. “I believe this technology-driven generation is missing the face-to-face conversations and the family dinners where we talk things out,” she says. Make connecting with your kids a priority. Turn off the technology. Schedule a family game night or a Sunday outing. That’s the kind of connection that keeps kids grounded, even in the face of stress.




Help Save Lives with National Seat Check Saturday

Did You Know???

  • An estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraints from 1975 to 2008.
  • Still…each year, thousands of children are tragically injured and killed in automobile accidents.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 and older.  Why???
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 3 out of 4 car seats are not used correctly.  And most of these parents have no idea…

NHTSA is aiming to change that with National Seat Check Saturday on September 25. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week (September 19-25), communities nationwide will have certified technicians available to provide hands-on child safety seat inspections and advice – for free!  Click here  to find nearby car seat inspection stations on National Seat Check Saturday and throughout the year.  Other resources available to you:

  • A poster for you to place on your blog to help spreadNational Seat Check Saturday the word about Child Passenger Safety Week and National Seat Check Saturday to other parents and caregivers
  • site  where you can easily find instructional videos, handy informational flyers, and links to product ratings and recall lists …and FINALLY
  • The Child Passenger Safety Twitter account (@childseatsafety) will be hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday, September 22 at 2 p.m. EST. NHTSA experts will be available to offer information and insight on car seats and how to travel safely with children. Just use the hashtag #CPSweek to follow along and ask your questions.

For more information on Child Passenger Safety Week and to find your local car seat inspection station visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS or http://www.facebook.com/childpassengersafety.

Thanks for helping us save lives!!

“Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” – What a Great Idea

I was driving my dogs to a park last week. I often choose a trail as it is not easy to walk along our neighborhood roads. Cars driving too fast, distracted drivers- I just feel safer. To drivers my five dogs and I may seem like a road hazard as well. So for our mutual benefit I hit the trails and parks. My (human) kids are grown but the same concerns should hold true for all parents- often our roadsRoad Signs are simply not a safe place.

So I was driving to the trail when I saw the above sign, reminding me to “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here.” I checked my speed- doing good- simple and effective. It beats the way I often react to offensive drivers when I do walk the roads. I usually indicate with my favorite finger that they are number one.

These signs are not an angry reaction to an individual driver- they are a constant and permanent reminder. They are just a simple and good idea. The makers of this sign have a website where we are reminded about the hazards to pedestrians, to the young and old alike. Their slogan is, “Promoting Child Safety In Our Neighborhoods, Post a Sign, Save a Life.” They sell signs and hats and bumper stickers. It’s a message worth getting out- we don’t need to speed on residential roads-the risk is too high. It’s pure American Grassroots messaging and caring.

In that spirit I challenge all our readers to submit other local, not famous, grassroots programs. Let’s spread the word.

Live Well, Live Safe- Jim

Keeping Your Family Safe from MRSA

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a potentially life-threatening antibiotic resistant Staph infection. Staph is commonly found on the skin and in the nose. When the MRSA strain of Staph comes into contact with an open sore, that’s when an infection can occur and it can quickly become dangerous. In 2005, nearly 19,000 Americans died from MRSA infections. During the same year, there were 134 cases of MRSA in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.No FreeRide_for MRSA2

MRSA Prevention

There are many ways to prevent the spread of MRSA and protect your family. Good hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of not only MRSA, but many other illnesses as well. When it is not possible to wash hands with soap and water, the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used but always supervise the use of hand sanitizer by children. If you have a cut or abrasion, cover it with a clean, dry bandage until it is healed. Never share any personal items, such as towels, razors, toothbrushes, etc. Wipe down toys, sports equipment, and hard surfaces with a disinfecting bleach solution using 1 tablespoon of bleach per each quart of water. If you or your child plays sports, wash all athletic clothing after each use and clean sports equipment frequently.

MRSA Symptoms

Have a sore that is painful, swollen, red, or draining? Worried it might be MRSA? Take it seriously!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “most MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. They often first look like spider bites or bumps that are red, swollen, and painful. These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men).” Not every sore that meets these criteria is a MRSA infection, but if you have these symptoms, it is important to have it evaluated and treated by a doctor.

MRSA Treatment

If you believe you or a loved one may have a MRSA infection, cover the area of infection and seek medical care as soon as possible. If you have been diagnosed with MRSA, follow your physician’s instructions and do not try to treat yourself without medical evaluation and follow-up. Take all medication prescribed by your doctor for the entire duration of the prescription, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. MRSA can worsen and even become deadly if not properly treated.

You can learn more about MRSA and how to prevent it at StopMRSANow.org.  To hear more MRSA tips from NBA All-Star Grant Hill, who nearly died from a MRSA infection in 2003, check out his interview on the Ask MomRN Show