Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 07-15-2013 to 07-21-2013

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:05 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:

Restroom safety – a valuable lesson for young children

Best Water Safety Products: Because Kids Don’t Naturally Float

Last updated on July 24th, 2013 at 10:55 am

keeping your family safeNo one has eyes in the back of their head, but when it comes to water and young children an extra set of eyes would sure help keep children safer. Today I’m talking about some water safety products that can act like an extra pair of eyes.

If you have a pool and also have young children, non-swimmers, or a special needs child, think about investing in a wrist alarm. Also a great product to have when you are traveling or visiting grandma’s pool and your child doesn’t understand water safety. The child wears a colorful wristband that locks into place so that they can’t remove the band. If the sensor on the band is submerged in water the base station lights up and sounds a piercing alarm. I recently found the Safety Angel 2 system and can confirm that the alarm made me jump, which is exactly what you need if you think your toddler was napping, the door to the pool was locked, the gate was closed, or any other comforting thought. Click here to watch a video about the inventor, a former Special Forces Combat Diver.

If you do have a pool, I’d also invest in a door alarm for all outside doors that lead to the pool, ornamental pond or nearby stream or retention pond. Amazon has a huge selection. Of course, don’t forget to fence your pool with a self-latching gate.


When you are in the pool with a non-swimmer, not-so-confident swimmer or a special needs child, think about getting a SwimFin. I test drove one and they earned a permanent place in our swim bag when my children were younger. While only a Coast Guard approved life jacket will keep a child truly safe, SwimFin leaves arms and legs free to practice swim strokes, do huge jumps, keeps a child afloat and best of all, they look so cool your child will actually ask you to wear it!

Think I’m being overcautious with my layers of protection? Watch this video to be reminded of how creative children can be in crafting escape strategies. It’s not just children though, if you have elderly parents with dementia or Alzheimer’s they are also at risk. I have heard of many people who also buy alarm systems for their pets, though this video would indicate that where water is concerned some dogs just want to have fun!

If you are thinking ‘that seems a bit much to spend on something I don’t need’, these products are comparable in price to a car seat, which everyone buys, yet drowning kills almost as many children as car accidents every year.

Of course there is no substitute for direct adult supervision, because you are the lifeguard on duty, but technology can make your job easier, and your child safer.

Our Miracle Baby: Aidan’s Story of Surviving CDH

Last updated on July 22nd, 2013 at 11:17 am

Editor’s Note: In honor of Pediatric Safety’s 4 year bloggiversary, we are publishing 4 of our favorite posts from the past, one each Friday for the next four weeks. This is our 1st – originally posted in July of 2011. Our thanks to Neil for sharing his story with us!


When I was asked to write a post about my son and the life-threatening birth defect he was diagnosed with at 37 weeks…I jumped at the opportunity. My son is a survivor but many are not, and I have been Aidan 3doing everything I can to help spread the word and try to increase awareness. The birth defect is called congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). It’s definitely a mouthful but in layman’s terms, it means a hole in the diaphragm. I’ll get into more detail later, but even though the diaphragm is kind of a forgotten muscle (especially when the baby is still in the womb), suffice it to say that when there is a hole…the survival rate is only 50%.

The diaphragm’s main purpose when the baby is in the womb is to separate the abdominal organs from the chest organs. When there is a hole in the diaphragm, the abdominal organs can pass through that hole. At the very least, the extra organs in the chest cause the lungs to be underdeveloped (due to the extra organs taking up the space the lungs need to develop properly). However, when organs don’t develop in their proper location it can lead to all kinds of other issues such as heart defects, chromosomal abnormalities, premature labor, etc.

We found out after 37 weeks of what we thought was a perfect pregnancy that our son’s stomach had passed through a hole in his diaphragm and caused his heart to be pushed to the wrong side of his chest.

As I mentioned earlier, CDH has a mortality rate of 50%. It occurs in 1600 babies per year in the US and is just as common as spina bifida and cystic fibrosis. However, there is very little research on the cause and there is no known cure other than treating the symptoms with surgery and/or medicine. So basically we went from what we thought was a picture perfect pregnancy to being told our son had only a 50% chance of survival due to some birth defect we had never even heard of. We were devastated! I can honestly say that Monday, 5/24/2010 was the worst day of our lives. We felt lost, alone, blindsided, and had no idea where to turn.

If there was any good news from the events of 5/24, it was that we had (hopefully) enough time to make arrangements to prepare for Baby R’s arrival. We wanted to make sure that we were comfortable with all the doctors that would be taking care of our son as it could mean life or death. In fact, the first surgeon assigned to us could not find the time to meet with us for at least a couple weeks. A couple weeks, I didn’t think we had. Since my wife’s fluid levels were elevated, there was a high likelihood that she could go into labor early which meant at any moment.

At this point, I started researching alternative hospitals and doctors. After visiting two hospitals in Chicago, we settled on staying in Chicago and having our son delivered at one hospital and transferred to Children’s Memorial after being stabilized. We were extremely pleased to learn that the head of pediatric surgery at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago was extremely knowledgeable about CDH which calmed us down as much as possible That is to say…just a little bit.

Fast forward to June 17, we got to the hospital around 7:15 on 6/17/10 for the scheduled c-section. Things were going really well from the start. As always, Amy’s vitals were great and so were Baby R’s / Aidan’s. At around 10 am, Amy was brought to the OR to give her the spinal anesthesia, etc. I had to go to the adjoining recovery room until they were ready for me.

That was probably the longest 25 minutes of my life. I was in my scrubs, pacing back and forth just waiting for them to come get me. I had nowhere to go, was nervous for our son, and anxious for Amy.

I was finally brought into the OR to see Amy. There were 2-3 OB’s, 3 neonatologists, a couple anesthesiologists, and I think a couple other doctors there for support. The main OB (who happened to be the one who diagnosed the CDH in the first place) was great at giving us as much play by play as we wanted.

And then all of a sudden, we heard a little cry. I have never been so happy to hear a baby cry in myAidan 1 life. Many CDH babies don’t have enough lung capacity to even cry at all. That fact that Aidan gave out a little cry was a great sign (we hoped), and Amy and I both let out a collective sigh of relief.

I could see Aidan struggling and catch a glimpse of a finger or toe periodically. The doctors said he looked great, great color, and the fact that he was fighting the doctors was another good sign. He wanted to breathe on his own. Finally they called me over to cut the cord, and I was able to get my first good look at him. He looked amazing…my face, Amy’s nose and hopefully someone else’s height…

I went into overdrive at this point to ensure Amy got a chance to see Aidan. I snapped a quick picture on my phone so Amy could at least see what he looked like. Then suddenly it was time to wheel him away to the NICU.

In route to Amy’s room, we stopped by the NICU, and we were able to spend 15-20 minutes with Aidan. He looked great but was fighting with the doctors big time. We found out that the transport service was already on the way.

Aidan was doing so well after being transported to Children’s Memorial, that the surgery to fix his hernia (the hole in his diaphragm) was scheduled for 6/21 (when he was 4 days old). Typically surgeons do not rush to fix the hernia through surgery. Current research has shown that it’s actually more beneficial in the long-run to stabilize the baby and allow him/her to get as strong as possible before doing surgery. This can mean days or months before some CDH babies are ready for surgery.

After 2.5 hours of surgery, the surgeon came out to the waiting room to talk to us. Her first words were, “he’s a miracle baby—with a great name”. She told us that the surgery went really well but that he was actually in much worse shape (before surgery) than everyone thought. Since he had been so stable since birth, everyone thought that his lungs would be in great shape and that only his stomach and some of his intestines would be in his chest (at the very worst).

The reality was that everything was in his chest…his stomach, small & large intestines, spleens (yes he has two), etc. Basically everything but his liver was in his chest. All those organs in his chest caused his left lung to be moderately underdeveloped and his right one to be slightly underdeveloped.

In addition, he had no diaphragm at all. This was all a shock to the surgeon since Aidan was basically stable from the minute he was born. His breathing, oxygen levels, blood pressure, etc. were so strong and stable that is was a bit of a surprise that he was actually in such bad shape technically. But his right lung was relatively well developed which obviously was able to compensate for the weak left one.

Aidan 4The doctor had to move his organs to their proper places and then make a new diaphragm using Gortex. It is very common for surgeons to patch the existing diaphragm but Aidan didn’t have enough muscle tissue to do that. The surgeon also had to create a new hernia or hole in his abdomen. This is sometimes done when there isn’t enough room for all the organs once they are moved back to their proper locations. Basically Aidan’s abdomen is not used to having so many organs in it, so they created a little extra room for his stomach to grow for the time being. He will need to have another surgery on 7/21/11 to close this hernia (and put his stomach back in its proper location), but it will be “minor” surgery compared to what Aidan has already been through.

Once Aidan was moved back to the NICU, we got to see the incision and see how he was doing. The incision was about 4-5 inches across his stomach area. But the neonatologist made a point to tell us that she rarely sees a baby come out of such major surgery and need so little oxygen. He was completely sedated (and was using a ventilator to help him breathe 100%) but his oxygen level was almost already back to normal. I got another update from Aidan’s nurse that evening. He was barely awake; however, he was already starting to breathe on his own in addition to the ventilator.

We had our ups and down post surgery. Aidan was extubated, weaned off all medications, etc. only be re-intubated less than 24 hours later and put back on all medicines (with methadone added to the mix). But in the end, Aidan came home after only 29 days in the NICU. We were pretty naïve to what other CDH families went through at the time, but I had a feeling that 29 days was a short time to be in the NICU. I now know that with such a severe defect, we were extremely lucky that Aidan was able to graduate from the NICU after such a short period of time (or even survive past the first day for that matter). Aidan was able to come home with basically no signs of CDH other than a large scar on his abdomen.

Aidan had no reflux (a very common side effect of CDH that can last for years) and no other chromosomal abnormalities or heart defects. He was basically a normal 1 month old. However, Aidan would still need to have a hearing test every 6 months for the next 5 years. His surgeon has seen some high frequency hearing loss in CDH babies up to the age of 5.

My wife and I went through a lot to educate ourselves on this defect that we had never heard of in order to prepare for our first born. But this entire ordeal has definitely made us stronger, and we appreciate life, love and our son more as a result.

In hindsight, I feel ignorance was actually bliss to a point. I am almost glad I didn’t know as much about CDH (before Aidan was born) as I do now. If I had been as informed, and realized that of theAidan 2 1600 cases per year in the US only 50% of the children survive once diagnosed with a hole in their diaphragm and that children without a diaphragm at all are even less likely to survive…if I had realized that there was no known cause or cure and that very little research has been done to try to find the cause…if I had known that often CDH babies have to endure multiple surgeries throughout their lives (which sometimes are cut prematurely short), I think I might have actually been even more scared than I was. For a child with such a severe defect (no diaphragm at all), Aidan blew away the odds which was more than anyone could have every anticipated.

In the end, Aidan was 1 of 800 babies to survive in 2010 after being diagnosed with CDH – a defect virtually no one has ever heard of.

7 Ways to Protect Your Home and Family this Hurricane Season

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:06 pm

Homeowner Tapes WindowsPost-hurricane, you always meet two types of people: Those who’ve gotten hit severely and wonder what they could have done differently, and those who’ve avoided damage — thanks to luck or solid preparation.

After Hurricane Sandy last year, Ira Pastor, an IT professional living in Merrick, N.Y., was unfortunately the first type. “We didn’t really prep,” he admits. “I never thought anything would happen.” But during Sandy, Pastor found himself huddling with his family in the dark — his house was flooding and electrical wires snapped and hissed outside. By the end of the storm, Pastor didn’t recognize his neighborhood anymore. Now, eight months later, he is still cleaning up. “I think we’re going to sell our house,” he says. “It just doesn’t pay to live here anymore.”

Climatologists predict that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which began in June and ends in November, will likely be extremely active. Do these seven things now to protect your home and family, and you’ll avoid ever finding yourself in Pastor’s predicament.

1. Get impact-resistant windows.

It only takes a Category 1 storm (winds of 74 mph) to break a regular window, but impact-resistant windows can withstand hurricanes of the highest classification, Category 5 (winds exceeding 156 mph). That’s because they’re made of laminated glass (an interlayer is permanently bonded between two pieces of glass, forming a barrier that protects against hurricane-force winds) and heavy-duty, reinforced steel frames that hold the windows in place.

Cost: Around $1,000 per window

2. Install a storm door and windows.

If impact-resistant windows seem a bit too pricy, a more affordable solution is to install storm windows over your current ones, as well as a storm door. Both feature heavy weather-stripping to reduce air infiltration; a stabilizer bar runs along the middle for extra strength. Most door manufacturers sell pre-hung doors in kits so installation is easy. The kits include all the hardware you need to install the door, such as hinges, pneumatic closers and latches.

Cost: Around $75 per window, $300 per door

3. Reinforce your garage door.

About 80 percent of residential hurricane damage starts when wind enters through garage doors, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. To keep you and your kids safe, consider replacing your garage door system with an impact-resistant one or hire a contractor to add struts, sturdier rollers, hinges and braces for additional strength.

Cost: Around $1,200 to replace garage door system, $600 to hire a contractor to reinforce your garage door

4. Secure your roof.

Your roof’s ability to withstand high winds depends on its shape. Gable-end roofs (aka triangular) are more susceptible to damage than hip-shaped or flat roofs. If your house has a gable-end roof, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes recommends you check that it’s braced properly. To do this, go to your attic and see if the gable end has been reinforced with any framing boards. Properly braced boards should connect back to roof trusses or framing boards to create horizontal or diagonal support, like this. If your roof is not properly braced, hire a contractor to do the work.

Cost: Around $100 per gable end

5. Get a standby generator.

One downed power line can leave you in the dark for days, unless you invest in an automatic standby generator. Wired directly into your home’s electrical system and fueled by natural or LP gas, a standby generator reacts instantly to power loss, safely switching from utility to generator power. When the power is back, it shuts itself off and returns to standby mode.

An added benefit: Properly installed units don’t pose a carbon monoxide poisoning risk, unlike other gas-powered heating alternatives that use oil, kerosene, wood, propane and charcoal.

Cost: $2,000 to $15,000, depending on number of watts (can range from 8,000 to 60,000)

6. Stock up on emergency supplies.

The American Red Cross recommends that you store at least three days’ worth of food, water and supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency kit (in case of evacuation), and a two-week supply at home in case stores are closed and you cannot leave the affected area. Supplies should include a flashlight, radio, first-aid kit, medications, batteries, personal documents, cell phone, emergency contact info, cash, emergency blanket and a map. Remember to check your supplies every six months and replace outdated items.

Cost: Varies, depending on number of family members and age of kids

7. Inventory your stuff.

Finally, if you ever do incur damage during a storm, an inventory of all your stuff will speed up the insurance claim process afterward. If you haven’t already, create or update your inventory and store it in a safe place away from home. Get started at the Insurance Information Institute’s

Happy 4 Year Bloggiversary Pediatric Safety!!

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:07 pm

Happy Birthday PedSafeWe can’t believe it’s been four years since the launch of Pediatric Safety. We started out as this little site on blogger with these huge dreams of raising awareness of the dangers little kids faced when being transported on ambulances. Because there was no way to safely secure them, we had 1.8 million children under 5 years old being transported each year by ambulances; over 5 thousand ambulance crashes a year; resulting in an average of 4 child fatalities per year. And no-one knew about this or talked about this – unless they were involved in emergency services. Most parents had no idea…after all, who was going to tell them it wasn’t safe?

So we started PedSafe to tell this story…to raise awareness, gather some momentum for change and hopefully start saving some kids lives! It didn’t take long to realize that we couldn’t do it on our own. We’d have to go out and look for support and ask all the people who care– the parents and doctors and nurses and emergency responders and teachers…basically everyone who cares about kids – for help. And as we started talking and tweeting and looking for help we realized there was a whole world of child health and safety issues that people wanted and needed to talk about – needed to depend on each other to support them through – and if we worked together, we could make this into something so much more than where we started.

PedSafe girls Square Button Final

And so, on July 17, 2009 Pediatric Safety was born – a community for everyone who cares about the health and safety of kids. We created an Awareness section to communicate the latest news; a Community area with a forum where folks can get together, exchange stories and ask questions; an Innovations section where some very creative parents and caregivers could show off the inventions they created to keep kids healthy and safe…and an Involvement section where our cause – ANSR for Kids (Ambulances Need Safety Regulations) – could find a home.

Since our launch, we’ve had the fortune to meet and work with some wonderful folks – a pediatrician, a nurse and child safety expert, a family psychologist, a water safety specialist, a family dentist, an EMS safety specialist and a special needs parenting expert – all of whom volunteered their time to help make this site a community where you can find answers and hopefully give answers to others when they need them. Together we’ve shared over seven hundred posts and eight thousand tweets about child health and safety. At its heart, Pediatric Safety is a place where people can support each other – the village needed to raise a child. If we’ve been able to accomplish even a little of that, then this has been 4 years well spent.

So…in honor of these 4 years together, we’re going to publish 4 of our favorite posts from the past – one each Friday – for the next 4 weeks. Thank you friends – for taking this journey with us! And please, if there’s something more we can be doing for you going forward, let us know. We look forward to sharing the days ahead.

With love and gratitude,

Stefanie and Audra

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 07-08-2013 to 07-14-2013

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 04:07 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 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Talking to kids about healthy relationships can help them steer clear of abuse great tips worth reading!