Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 04-09-2012 to 04-15-2012

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:09 am

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 Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of 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 news-worthy events.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Baby bike seat poses finger amputation risk – The Boston Globe

Kids Also at Risk for Antibiotic-Resistant MRSA Infections

Last updated on August 30th, 2015 at 03:36 pm

I have a friend who recently acquired a MRSA infection….in a karate studio! MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus gives rise to antibiotic-resistant staph infections that are very difficult to get rid of and which are potentially dangerous, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

If you’ve heard of MRSA you probably picture an infection picked up by an elderly person in hospital. While the vast majority of MRSA infections are among older, hospitalized patients, rates of community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) have been on the rise for over the past decade, and do not appear likely to come down any time soon. MRSA infections in the community generally start with skin infections and involve younger people prone to cuts – in places with lots of interpersonal contact, such as athletic facilities, dormitories, military barracks, and daycare centers.

Although my friend is an adult, I got concerned about the MRSA risk for the rough and tumble set because so many kids are involved in karate and other contact sports, including my 9-year old son. And sure enough – just a tiny bit of research revealed the risk young kids and teens now face. Recent data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed a doubling over the past decade in children’s hospital admissions due to severe skin infections, with MRSA the major culprit. These skin infections now rank as the seventh most common reason for childhood hospitalization, up from 13th in 2000 (see this New York Times article for more detail). Furthermore, the CDC indicates that athletes – including school-aged athletes – are particularly at risk, because of their tendency to receive cuts and scrapes, and the person-to-person contact and often-unhygienic conditions of locker rooms. Risk of skin infections is greatest in high-contact sports such as wrestling, football and rugby, though MRSA infections have been connected to many other sports, including soccer, basketball, volleyball, rowing, and baseball (click for CDC guidance for athletes and coaches).

Thankfully, with prompt, effective treatment most MRSA skin infections do not lead to serious complications. But they can be very difficult to get rid of – and without proper treatment, can spread within the body or to other people. Indeed, my friend’s MRSA infection ended up spreading from the cut in her foot to her lungs – which resulted in problematic respiratory symptoms and literally months of unpleasant treatment with multiple high-strength antibiotics. And it’s important to note that severe MRSA infections can lead to death.

According to the CDC, eradicating MRSA in both healthcare and community settings is a high public health priority. Prevention is the best way to achieve this goal, including practices such as:

  • Good hand washing and general hygiene before, during and after exercise and sports activities
  • Never sharing towels, razors, uniforms or sports equipment
  • Ensuring that cuts and scrapes are kept covered until they are fully healed

Check out the CDC website for more guidance on preventing MRSA infection.

However, if a member of your family does acquire a skin infection, remember that it could be caused by MRSA, especially if it is a pustule or boil or has any of these characteristics:

  • Red
  • Swollen
  • Painful
  • Warm to the touch
  • Full of pus or other drainage
  • Accompanied by a fever

If you suspect that an infection may be MRSA, do not attempt to treat it yourself – including draining or applying disinfectant, as this can just spread the infection. Just cover the infected area, take steps to prevent spread in your family, and contact your healthcare provider. And be sure that any prescribed course of antibiotics is fully completed, since MRSA is so difficult to eliminate. The CDC website also provides a range of educational materials for families, athletes and communities that you may find useful in identifying and dealing with a MRSA infection.

How to Bring Home a New Baby Without a Sibling Revolution

Last updated on June 7th, 2014 at 10:46 pm

This topic is one of my favorite opportunities for laughing at myself. My first mistake was asking my older two children to meet our new baby at the hospital. Not only did they not want to go, they begged their father either to send back the baby or to leave us both at the hospital. Right away, I learned the value of letting the older siblings have their own feelings rather than forcing mine upon them. It was either that or knowing that they would act out in ways I’d rather not imagine. After all, what was in it for them? They now had to share a room, as well as the time and attention of their tired and cranky parents.

My challenge was to convince them that while having a new sister was non-negotiable, they could have some adventure along the way. They arranged and decorated their new room in an outlandish manner, complete with “BABY KEEP OUT” signs and booby traps, since baby couldn’t read. Their father logged in overtime on surprise excursions that Mom would never have approved of and that Baby would never enjoy. They acquired extra paid jobs around the house. They got special individual time with both of us, and we still managed to keep up with their busy lives. Luckily, their sister was irresistible and won them over in no time.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 04-02-2012 to 04-08-2012

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:10 am

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 Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of 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 20 news-worthy events.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Autism disorders affect 1 in 88 children, CDC says

What to Do if Your Child’s Teeth Get Injured

Last updated on August 29th, 2015 at 03:22 pm

It’s inevitable that your child will fall or somehow injure himself at some point. Sometimes these accidents result in injuries to the mouth or teeth. How do you know when a trip to the dentist is warranted? How do you know if permanent damage has been done? Here are a few helpful hints on what to do to deal with this sometimes scary occurrence.

  1. Always remain calm and assure your child that everything will be okay.
  2. If there is bleeding present, place a clean piece of gauze over the site and have your child bite down or hold it place.
  3. Place a cold compress to reduce swelling.
  4. If the tooth is chipped, check the lips, gums and tongue for possibly embedded pieces.
  5. If a tooth is loose, have your child avoid movement of that tooth.

Any or all of theses occurrences warrant a trip to the dentist. There your dentist can assess and determine the best course of action. Loose, broken/chipped or otherwise injured teeth can often be repaired or stabilized. If permanent damage isn’t immediately apparent, it is often times difficult to determine if or when the trauma may result in something more extensive. In these cases, depending on the child’s age, children are put in a sort of holding pattern to determine the future vitality of the tooth. It can often take months or years for a trauma to manifest into future breaks or nerve damage.

If your child falls or is hit in the face but does not show any of these symptoms, the decision to go to the dentist may become questionable. First and foremost, we as parents know our children better than anyone. If you believe seeing your dentist is necessary, then go. I don’t know a single dentist who has ever been unwilling to take a look at a child after an injury no matter how minor. If you decide that your child does not need immediate attention, you should monitor the area at home or a few days. Symptoms may become evident later. If the area becomes painful, swollen or the teeth become discolored or loose, a trip to the dentist is recommended.

Chances are you won’t be able to prevent every fall or injury but here are a few precautions:

  • Take childproofing steps that discourage slipups and soften those inevitable falls. Stash slippery throw rugs (and make sure all area rugs have non-skid pads or backing) and pad table edges and anything else that’s sharp.
  • To cut down on trips and falls, let your cruising baby or fledgling walker practice those skills barefoot or in nonskid socks or slippers, when possible.
  • Don’t let your child walk or run while holding toys or eating.
  • Make sure your child has the proper protection while engaged in sports- i.e. athletic mouth guards and/or helmets.

Warning: Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock Your Car!

Last updated on June 25th, 2018 at 03:19 pm

As a former paramedic, I can tell you there are few things as heart-wrenching as responding to an event dealing with a child. Especially those events that are preventable such as drowning, poisoning and the following. Please read.

This week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its first-ever national campaign to get the message out about the harmful and potentially fatal effects of leaving children in hot cars.

The Where’s baby? Look Before You Lock message asks all parents, grandparents, and other care-givers to be mindful when leaving your vehicle.

Cars heat up quickly – even with a window rolled down two inches, if the outside temperature is in the low 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes. Young children, those under 4 years old, are particularly at risk because their bodies overheat more easily.

So this campaign is a call-to-action for parents, families, and everyone who cares about the safety of children. As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, “While parents are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing heatstroke in hot cars, everyone in the community has a role to play in keeping kids safe.” Keep your children safe this summer.

NHTSA also offers Hyperthermia Prevention Safety Tips:

  • Never leave a baby or young child unattended in a vehicle—even if you leave the windows partly open or the air conditioning on.
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as:
    • Writing yourself a note and putting it where you will see it when you leave the vehicle;
    • Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back when you leave the vehicle;
    • Keeping an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, place the object where you’ll notice it when leaving the vehicle.
  • If you see a child alone in a vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

PS. Dogs left in cars can suffer the same fate as children.