PedSafe Weekly Tweet Roundup: 03-12-2012 to 03-18-2012

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:11 am

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s “Weekly Tweet Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news from around the world.

Each day we strive to tweet relevant and timely health and safety information for parents, medical professionals and other caregivers. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing pretty well at keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 25 tweet-worthy events.

PedSafe Tweet of the Week:

Protect Your Child from Household Poisons – Fantastic article by EMS World
http://t.co/k6HDG9oy Please RT!

What Age Should Your Child Start Swimming Lessons?

Last updated on March 21st, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Most parents wait until their children are school-age to start swimming lessons. After all, most children don’t have the physical coordination to truly master swimming until they are older. They may look at the parent-and-tot classes and think, ‘they are just playing, do I really need to pull on my bathing suit for that?’

The answer is unequivocally YES! Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rate worldwide of all age groups. In the U.S., children ages 1-4 usually drown in private pools, were being supervised, but were out of sight of one or both parents for under 5 minutes. It only takes 2 minutes and 2 inches of water to drown. Pretty scary stuff. The great news is that participation in formal swimming lessons is associated with an 88% reduction in the risk of drowning in 1-4 year olds and even informal swimming lessons reduce the risk, which means just taking your child into the water with you and playing ‘safety games’ can make them safer around water. For some fun informal games check out last month’s blog “Fun water safety games! Survival skills for your child” again.

What type of swimming lessons should you consider? Lessons for young children run the gamut from ‘survival skills’ to what appears to just be games with nursery songs. As a mother and an expert in drowning prevention I am strongly in favor of the ‘games’ option. Those games are key to teaching children to feel comfortable in the water as well as forming the basis for teaching elemental skills that are the foundation of swimming.

Some parents become so afraid of drowning that they hope to instill fear of the water into their child in the belief that their child is more likely to stay away from the water. Nothing could be further from the truth, or more dangerous. Fear leads to panic. If a child falls into the water unexpectedly you want them to remain calm, to turn on their back and float, kick for the side, kick and paddle, grab the side and hold on, do monkey hands to the nearest steps or ladder – anything but panic. Early classes will not only keep a child from drowning, but they can buy you that extra minute or two to notice your child is missing.

Some infant survival classes initiate children into the water so abruptly that it is frightening to a child and may take years to undo the damage. A good rule of thumb is to observe a class. If parents are asked to leave the area, if children are crying (beyond the normal apprehension that does occur with some children which should be handled with gentle understanding), if you ever see an instructor force a child’s head under the water, find a different class.

Helping your child develop a safe and respectful attitude towards water, while still having fun, will keep them safe for their whole life. And singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ to your baby while you teach them to float on their back is really very magical.

Tanning Beds and Teens – A Toxic Combination?

Last updated on August 30th, 2015 at 06:15 pm

With near-record temperatures this week throughout much of the US, it feels like spring has already arrived. And it is true that Spring Break is just around the corner.

Tanning salons also feel spring has arrived, judging by all the ads and billboards around town. These ads often target young women – even teens – giving lists of reasons to tan that include spring break, homecoming and Prom! After all, what young girl doesn’t want a nice glow on vacation – or to offset that special dress?

Unfortunately, that glow often comes at a price much higher than the cost of a tanning membership. When we think about skin cancer we usually picture a 60 year-old white man. However, over the past 30 years, skin cancer rates have increased significantly among young women – melanoma increased by 50%, basal cell carcinoma rates more than doubled, and squamous cell carcinoma increased by 700 percent (see skincancer.org and cancer.gov). Young women now have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer – except breast cancer. In another decade our daughters and nieces may be doing walks for melanoma instead of breast cancer – only they will need to be held at night…or in the local shopping mall.

Numerous scientific studies have shown a link between indoor tanning and skin cancer. Some show that cancer risk is increased by 70% or more for indoor tanners – and that risk is higher for those who started tanning at younger ages. Given that national tanning rates for teen girls range from 9% at age 14 to 27% (more than one in four) by age 17, the use of tanning beds by teens has become a national public health issue.

In fact, last year California banned the use of tanning beds by those under 18, with many other states currently debating similar legislation. In testimony this month to the Connecticut Public Health Committee in support of the state’s proposed teen tanning law, Dr. Philip Kerr, a prominent dermatologist, stated that “the science is clear – if you use indoor tanning beds, your risk of developing skin cancer significantly increases.”

The issue driving such legislation is that young people are often not well informed about the risks of indoor tanning or don’t take them seriously – and current restrictions and guidelines designed to protect teens are not working. Dr Kerr points out that teen girls are three times more likely than women in their early twenties to believe that tanning beds do not cause skin cancer. Furthermore, an undercover congressional investigation revealed that “90 percent of tanning salons denied the known risks of indoor tanning.” Salons also fail to abide by FDA-recommended limits on and spacing of initial tanning visits. Their “unlimited tanning” and membership deals fly directly in the face of these guidelines and the science behind skin cancer.

So what is a concerned parent to do? Changing the beauty norm for young women – particularly during the challenging teen years – is an uphill battle, especially if we adults also reinforce the desire for a golden tan. However, information about the dangers of indoor tanning can help. Make sure you and your teen read the congressional investigative report because her local tanning salon will direct her to lots of slick industry-sponsored websites that try to refute the so-called “myths and hype” about indoor tanning risks. But if preventing your teen from tanning doesn’t seem realistic, be sure she is aware of the riskiest practices as outlined by the FDA, such as skipping the goggles and starting with long exposures. Also, make use of the regulations that may exist in your state. Although under-age tanning isn’t yet banned in most of the country, many states require parental permission – either written or in-person. This can help you monitor, and mould, your teen’s tanning habits.

Should I Worry that My Tween’s Height Dropped Below Average?

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:13 am

By their third or fourth birthday, most children achieve a consistency in their growth status compared to other children. A child who is taller than the others tends to remain that way. Before puberty, the average child grows 2 to 3 inches and gains 3 to 5 pounds a year. If your child is maintaining that growth rate but his peers are suddenly accelerating in growth, the most probable explanation is that he has a delayed onset of puberty. This can be perfectly normal, since maturation varies from person to person. If that’s the case with your son, he’ll catch up in due time. If, however, he has stopped growing in height and weight for no apparent reason, you need to talk to your pediatrician to see if a medical condition is affecting his growth.


PedSafe Weekly Tweet Roundup: 03-05-2012 to 03-11-2012

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:13 am

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s “Weekly Tweet Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news from around the world.

Each day we strive to tweet relevant and timely health and safety information for parents, medical professionals and other caregivers. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing pretty well at keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 25 tweet-worthy events.

PedSafe Tweet of the Week:

Vitamin D linked to stronger bones in girls – may help protect against stress fractures   http://t.co/BSiENCTp

Hands-Only CPR Can Save a Life

Last updated on August 30th, 2015 at 05:47 pm

Would you know what to do if someone suddenly collapsed nearby? Would you know how to assess the situation, decide on whether the person needed emergency care and administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), if necessary? Unfortunately, many people do not know how to handle this type of situation. Many fear doing the wrong thing and making a bad situation even worse. Others may fear catching a disease or illness from performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on someone without a barrier to protect against germs. For these reasons, the American Heart Association (AHA) has simplified its recommendations for performing CPR so more people are apt to learn and take action when needed.

Recently I became a certified instructor for the AHA and am trained to teach courses for healthcare professionals and for non-healthcare/non-medical people. Most of the people I teach are required to have CPR training as a part of their employer’s requirements or simply because their employer wants to have their staff trained. Other classes are for individuals who have a personal desire or reason to learn and become CPR certified. Even before I became a certified instructor, I’ve always highly encouraged everyone I know to become trained because you just never know when someone might need your help. I wish we could make it mandatory for parents to learn CPR before a baby is born but that will probably never happen. So all I can do is encourage and recommend taking a class and try to inform you of helpful information available to you and anyone else interested in knowing how to perform CPR in an emergency.

The AHA wants to encourage more people to help so they simplified the actions and process of helping for those who have not been formally trained. They want to spread the word about Hands-Only CPR because it can save lives that may be lost otherwise. Hands-Only CPR consists of immediately calling 911 or your local emergency number to get help on the way and then beginning chest compressions by placing your hands in the center of the victim’s chest and pushing hard and fast at a rate of 100 beats per minute. Continue doing this until help arrives or someone else can take over for you.

To see a demonstration of Hands-Only CPR, watch this video:

Visit the AHA’s Hands-Only CPR information page to learn more.

The AHA has also developed a handy app for most smartphones that can be referred to in the case of an emergency. This free app offers instructions and video. Just search “Hands-Only CPR” in iTunes and the Android Marketplace to find and download it. If you have another type of smartphone, search that term in your phone’s app store.

For Infants, Children and in Certain Circumstances…

“The American Heart Association recommends conventional CPR with breaths and compressions for infants and children; victims of drowning, drug overdose or other respiratory problems; and adult victims who are found already unconscious and not breathing normally.” …American Heart Association

A CPR course teaches you the skills needed to help those other victims. You’ll also practice performing the same two steps you’ll need for Hands-Only™ CPR. Typically people who have had CPR training are more confident about their skills and more likely to assist someone in a real emergency.

Even a very short CPR training program that you can do at home, like the American Heart Association’s 22-minute CPR Anytime, provides skills training and practice that can prepare you to perform high-quality chest compressions.”

The AHA also has an Infant CPR Anytime course available, which is highly recommended for all parents, grandparents, and caregivers.

If you would like to learn more about CPR and life-saving skills beyond Hands-Only CPR, please visit the AHA’s class locator page.

Remember, you never know when you may be called upon to help save a life. Why not learn how today?

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Editors Note:  AHA’s Hands-Only CPR is only for use on adults. We highly recommend every parent get certified in conventional CPR…a child’s life could one day depend on it.