Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 03-31-2014 to 04-06-2014

Last updated on April 15th, 2014 at 01:04 am

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 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Child When a Fake Account Has Been Set Up on Instagram  http://t.co/6pE3f0GhVT

The Latest Autism Statistics and How They May Be Wrong

Last updated on April 15th, 2014 at 01:04 am

You probably heard about the latest statistics on the incidence of autism according to research by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The newest ratio is 1 in 68 children, although many believe that number is still too low.

The Terrible Twos are NormalThe research only includes children who have been screened by a healthcare professional or a school, so anyone living without healthcare or doesn’t go to school is not included in the data. This also misses any special needs child who is having “a good day”on testing day as well as parents who were talked out of testing by doctors, teachers or family members.

Despite all the progress that has been made to mainstream special needs children with autism or other conditions, many cultures still tend to ignore or deny these conditions. While they may fool themselves into thinking they are preserving their family’s “honor” or whatever they want to call it, this attitude robs the children of the crucial early intervention that could literally change the course of their future.

Autism Speaks has produced some beautiful PSAs with the Ad Council that target certain communities and educate the public about the early signs of autism. I hope other advocacy groups will come forward with similar encouragement so that all challenges will be allowed to come out of hiding and given the chance to fulfill as much potential as possible. I hope we can erase all the stigmas one day.

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Editors Note: excerpted from Autism Speaks…(some of the early signs mentioned above)

The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

Daffodils, Parmesan and Kids…Who Knew?

Last updated on April 15th, 2014 at 01:03 am

Daffodils - beautiful but dangerousSpring is here. Flowers are in bloom. In Connecticut one local town celebrates the arrival of spring with an annual daffodil festival. In fact – thousands of flowers. I wonder how many people know that the bulbs of the plant are among the most poisonous of all plants in the US.

And who doesn’t like a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on- well in my house, on just about everything. And I like the bright inviting colors of the packaging- inviting me to indulge. Unfortunately Comet cleanser has equally colorful packaging. And certainly you never accidentally put your comet in the fridge and the Parmesan under the sink but look at products the way a child would. They are drawn to bright colors and to things that Mom and Dad handle and use.

Antifreeze used to smell really nice and became a common poison to our animals and kids. Manufacturers are no longer allowed to add perfumes to make the product smell better. Believe it or not, antifreeze performance does not improve with the addition of perfume and without it kids and dogs are safer.

So as you go about enjoying spring, getting into spring cleaning- check to make sure that your cabinets, both kitchen and bath have child proof locks. In the garage make sure that kids can’t get in or that products are well out of reach. Also make sure that shelving is very secure and won’t fall over onto curious, climbing kids. And finally check your fridge for Comet- just to be sure.

Accidental poisoning CAN be prevented- take a few minutes to check things out- don’t guess, be sure.

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Editors Note: This post originally ran in May of 2010 and was written by our former PedSafe EMS Expert Jim Love.  Our thanks to him for some wonderful reminders

Spend Wisely on Organics to Protect Your Family & Finances

Last updated on August 30th, 2015 at 10:53 pm

You do a lot to keep your family healthy, including making smart choices about the food you buy. And chances are, you’d buy everything organic if you could. But for most moms, a totally organic kitchen isn’t realistic, considering the items can cost upward of 50 percent more than their conventional counterparts.

“We all need to prioritize our purchasing based on what’s important to us,” says eco-cuisine expert Jackie Newgent, a registered dietitian and the author of Big Green Cookbook. Your first priority may, obviously, be to provide your family with plenty of healthy fruit and vegetables, calcium-rich dairy, and whole grains – organic or not.

Beyond that, however, Newgent and other experts say that if and when you can budget for a few organic goods, certain picks are worth the cost. Check out this shopping guide to help you know where to allocate your organic dollars and where to save.

1. Fruits and Vegetables

When it comes to pesticides in produce, not all fruits and veggies are equal. Certain types are exposed to and retain more chemical residue than others, even after washing. The worst offenders – aptly nicknamed “the dirty dozen” – include peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, spinach, imported grapes, carrots and pears.

“If you want to buy organic but have a limited budget, spend it on these,” says Colleen Doyle, a registered dietitian and the nutrition and physical activity director for the American Cancer Society.

Produce that has thick skin, on the other hand, is usually the least tainted, says Christopher R. Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition expert based in Louisville, Ky. The outer covering acts like a shield, protecting the edible portion from pesticides, so paying extra for organic isn’t necessarily worth it if you’re on a budget. In other words, much of the chemical residue that may be on foods like bananas, pineapple, melon, kiwi, mangoes or avocados likely ends up in the trash along with the peel anyway.

And despite not having thick peels, broccoli and cabbage also tend to retain among the lowest levels of pesticides, says Doyle.

2. Dairy

“Organic milk and other dairy products are worth the extra cost whenever possible,” says Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, an anesthesiologist and registered dietitian, and a Sarasota, Fla.-based spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. This is especially important for women and children who tend to eat and drink a lot of milk for its calcium.

The government’s organic stamp signals that milk-producing cows were not exposed to pesticides in feed, nor were they given antibiotics or artificial hormones.

Gerbstadt and others recommend organic because they’re concerned that the use of antibiotics in livestock could potentially contribute to strains of drug-resistant bacteria that may affect humans.

Equally worrisome is the hormone given to some cows to increase milk production – called recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH. Although studies have found no significant difference between milk produced with rBGH and that without without, Gerbstadt and other experts recommend erring on the side of caution and avoiding it entirely. That way, there’s zero risk that any trace amounts of artificial hormones from milk will enter your – or your child’s – system.

If the cost of organic dairy is prohibitive, you can find non-organic milk without rBGH – the next best thing. Look for terms like “rBGH-free” on labels. Not all manufacturers put this information on their labels, however, so if you have a favorite brand, call the company’s customer service number or visit its Web site to check.

3. Eggs

With all the various terms that can appear on egg cartons, choosing what’s best for your family can be especially difficult. The bottom line: It’s OK to buy an inexpensive, non-organic option to save money. All eggs, organic or not, are rich in nutrients and high-quality protein, says Newgent.

For starters, you needn’t worry about growth hormones like those sometimes given to milk-producing cows. “Egg-laying hens in the U.S. are not given hormones, additives or preservatives,” she says. Furthermore, eggs produced by chickens that were raised on non-organic feed don’t pass on pesticides to you, she confirms. Finally, it’s also not necessary to pay extra for brown eggs; shell color has no impact on quality, nutritional value or flavor.

“Eggs are fantastic for you,” reiterates Mohr. “They can be one of the least expensive sources of protein in the whole grocery store.” And because organic cartons tend to be so much more expensive – often $2 or more above the cost of conventional – practicality trumps any potential benefit you’d get from organic, he says.

4. Other Grocery Items

Bread, cereal, pasta, cookies – you’re faced with a plethora of organic choices elsewhere in the grocery store too. But the majority is not worth paying extra for, since grains generally have low concentrations of pesticide residue to begin with. “They do not need as many pesticides [when growing] as other foods,” says Mohr.

One exception: rice. Buying organic makes sense since it can contain higher levels of pesticides. (Rice is grown in water, which carries more pesticide particles than soil.) Luckily, though, organic rice won’t bust your budget: It’s nearly as inexpensive as conventional, especially if you buy in bulk.

You’re used to budgeting for the things that benefit your family most. And buying organics only when those benefits outweigh the cost is the best way to keep both your family and your finances healthy.



Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 03-24-2014 to 03-30-2014

Last updated on April 7th, 2014 at 08:58 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 Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
National Fire Protection Association has created new videos for young children that connect Fire Safety with learning, using music, catchy lyrics & dance moves  http://t.co/aTtPrIYJ75