Preventing Wandering in Children with Autism

Last updated on May 23rd, 2013 at 09:27 am

Mikaela LynchThe search for 9 year-old Mikaela Lynch has ended in tragedy as her body was found in a creek near her family’s vacation home in Northern California. Mikaela had autism and tended to wander off. She loved water but was unable to swim.

According to The National Autism Society, in cases of children with autism who died after wandering off, accidental drowning was the cause of death for 91% between the years of 2009-2011.

Any child may wander off, but The Interactive Autism Network’s data from April 2011 shows that children with autism are four times more likely to wander (or elope) from a safe setting than their siblings who were unaffected by autism.

AWAARE has downloadable resources available to help keep all children safe. Download their Autism & Wandering brochure here. Autism Speaks also has links to resources.  You can also find a wonderful video called “Understanding Autism” I’ve included here.

We relied on our home security system to alert us to a door that had opened in our house. We also have a small alarm that attaches to our sliding glass door, which my husband found in a pool supply store. While some preventive techniques are simple and relatively inexpensive, some people say that insurance should pay for other methods to keep these children safe.

What do you think? Should there be laws about this issue? How do you prevent wandering in your family?

Will Immunotherapy Reduce My Child’s Allergies…Is It Worth It?

Last updated on May 20th, 2013 at 05:04 pm

Allergy shotsImmunotherapy is a series of injections that helps build the body’s immunity to substances that trigger allergy symptoms. Each shot contains a tiny amount of the offending allergen. Over time, your immune system builds up a tolerance, which means that those sniffles and watery eyes lessen or even disappear.

Since immunotherapy is a commitment — the entire course takes years — it’s recommended for people who have multiple allergies and suffer from symptoms at least three months out of the year. Speak with your pediatrician about your child. Most doctors, including myself, advise that children should be at least 5 years of age to start allergy shots.

If your child is a candidate, consider whether or not you’d be able to take him to the doctor’s office regularly. He’ll need to get shots once a week for several months, and then once a month or so for two to five more years.

Next, check in with your insurance company. Most cover immunotherapy, but some have a yearly maximum or deductible. It’s important to have a clear idea of what’s covered before you begin treatment.

The good news: 85 to 95 percent of patients experience a significant improvement in their allergy symptoms. And for most, those benefits last for life. What’s more, immunotherapy will protect your child from developing allergy-induced asthma and other types of allergies.

Has anyone in your family tried immunotherapy? Did it work?



Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 05-06-2013 to 05-12-2013

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:22 pm

twitter thumbWelcome 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 10 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Magnesium may be as important to kids’ bone health as calcium   http://t.co/Ea5rKnE1Ov

Instant Packets of Independence for a Special Needs Child

Last updated on September 4th, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Today I taught my nearly nine year-old daughter how to make herself some instant Cinnamon Swirl oatmeal. It’s a simple enough task, but for a special need child who was never supposed to walk or talk it is a big deal on many levels. Just think about the many skills involved with the preparation:

  • Beautiful child hugging a green bowl of millet cereal favoriteShaking the packet without dropping it
  • Tearing the paper and keeping everything inside
  • Pouring the contents into the bowl and avoiding getting any on the counter
  • Adding a measured amount of water to the bowl (and only the bowl)
  • Stirring the oatmeal and water together with a spoon
  • Carrying the breakable ceramic bowl to the microwave while keeping the bowl level
  • Opening the microwave door
  • Setting the bowl into the microwave
  • Shutting the microwave door
  • Pressing the “1” button
  • Opening the microwave door
  • Gingerly taking the hot bowl out of the microwave
  • Shutting the door

Sure, for most of us this entire sequence would take less than half the minute it takes for it to cook, but a year ago my daughter wouldn’t have been able to do this.

Most importantly, a year ago she wouldn’t have wanted to do any of this for herself. She was perfectly content to have me run back and forth in a callback to my former waitressing days. Doing this for herself signifies a step towards independence. To me, this means that maybe one day she will be able to live on her own without starving to death. So what if she can’t quite spell perfectly, she can now make instant oatmeal. It’s the small victories that remind me of her quiet, determined march forward – which is not always so quiet and is usually less marching and more kicking and screaming.

How do you celebrate the small steps in your child’s life?

Do toddlers really need to floss their teeth?

Last updated on May 13th, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Do I really need flossYour 1-year-old may seem a little young for flossing, but cavities don’t know how old teeth are!  Teeth can get cavities as soon as they erupt into the mouth. If your toddler’s teeth are touching one another, food and plaque can get stuck between them, and cavities can form.

The importance of flossing is one of the reasons that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends taking your child for his first dental appointment at age 1. At this visit, the dentist can help determine if your child’s teeth are ready to be flossed, and she’ll show you how to properly brush and floss them. (This will be your job for a long time; most children aren’t ready to brush and floss on their own until they are 8 or 10 years old.)

Nighttime brushing and flossing are the most important, so make sure you do it every night before bed. And remember: Nothing to eat or drink except plain water after you’re finished!



Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 04-29-2013 to 05-05-2013

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:22 pm

twitter thumbWelcome 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 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

The Right Amount Of Vitamin D For Babies – interesting new study   http://t.co/YXKEtHHVdF