Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 03-23-2015 to 03-29-2015

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 and Facebook 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 not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 10 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Create a Code Word to Help Teens Out of Sticky Situations  http://t.co/htQTnKYklB

FREE National Parks Pass for People / Families with Disabilities

National Parks passDid you know that a person with a permanent disability can gain free access for life to national parks, wildlife preserves and other locations? I had no idea!

The pass is usually $80 per year. The person with the disability can also bring along some friends for free! The Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation all accept the pass. Other locations accept it, as well. Check the site websites or the list here for links and accepted locations. The rules and application process are all here.

You will need documentation of the disability to apply, which can be a statement signed by a doctor, a document from a federal agency or other items.

Be sure to send copies and not the original letters or documents.

About the Access Pass: The Access Pass is a free, lifetime pass available to United States citizens or permanent residents, regardless of age, that have a permanent disability. The Pass can be used at over 2000 Federal recreation sites across the nation, including National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and many National Forest lands. The Access Pass admits the Pass owner and any passengers traveling with him/her in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas or the Pass owner and three additional adults where per-person fees are charged. The Access Pass may also offer a discount on some expanded amenity fees, such as camping.

Spring Arrives…and So Do Your Kids’ Allergies

AllergiesPicture this- after a cold and dreary winter, the sun is shining and you step outside to feel the sunshine warm your face. You take a deep breath and you inhale all of nature’s perfection around you. The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and the grass is so green that you have to take your socks and shoes off to frolic. But alas, just eight hours later, you are hearing your child sneezing, coughing, wheezing and you have a momentary glimpse of what is to come over the next few weeks with the changing of the season. What began as a wonderful spring day has quickly turned into a possible scene from a zombie apocalypse movie.

Pollen, Your Invisible Enemy Very often, food allergies and environmental allergies like to be friends. Sometimes this is just coincidental but there are factors that link certain foods and pollen levels to an increase in allergic reactions. Worst yet, there are even specific foods that may exacerbate or even bring out new ways for an allergic reaction to kick into action. If you have not experienced or heard the terms “concomitant” or “synergistic foods”, welcome to yet another complicating twist within the food allergy journey. The good news- with some knowledge of what these terms mean and websites such as Pollen.com who will send you emails when the pollen begins to rise, you can put your proactive plan into action. Learning to be prepared means less zombie replays and less fearful parents.

Wait, There’s a Filter Where? We are told to change air filters inside of our homes to control the amount of dust being inhaled but did you know there are super secret, rarely discovered places to find them too? I’m exaggerating but filters are filters and the more you find what items have one, the better your air will be.

Some of the forgotten filters that you should replace include

  • Inside the cab of your car– are you going Oh, the INSIDE, wow! Yeah, I did too.
  • Your vacuum– If it’s not sucking up the dirt, chances are it’s pushing it back out.
  • Air purifiers– This should be a given but I like to list everything.
  • Water filters– Those refillable water pitchers are great but only if they are kept clean too.
  • Your Fridge– Think about it- dirty water filter equals dirty water, mold…shall I even continue?

Sweet Dreams There’s also the question of traveling. With the nicer weather, we all begin to want to go somewhere after being stuck inside the house all winter. Then we wind up at places that are sometimes not the best for our new found allergies. For instance, your daughter forgets to bring her special pillow and blanket during the packing fiasco while trying to get out of the door in a timely manner. The next night, you are dealing with sheets, blankets, pillows and who knows what else in the hotel’s air systems. No parent wants to travel and have their children or anyone in their family feeling out of sorts when they are not in their own comfy beds.  PureRoom.com offers people with allergies allergy-friendly options for their overnight stays as well as in-home items. This company ensures fresh air, bedding, odors, carpets and more.

Waiter, We’d Like a Booth Please If you are thinking about it now, debating on cancelling that upcoming trip- don’t. Allergies should never be something to prevent you- where there’s a will, there’s a way. There’s even help out there to ease your travels and get you back into the allergy comfort zone. Allergic Traveler offers a safer way to travel and dine out.  Especially since traveling can be stressful enough, the added bonus of items like their international dietary alert cards help ease some of that stress. Avoiding Milk Protein is a website that lists multiple allergy-safe events. It’s great to visit relatives but it’s also good to go to some “safe” places where your child with food allergies can go and have just a few less worries and a few more treats.

Get outside, travel to those unseen places and do what you want to do, regardless of allergies. Take precautions but refuse to be forced into a limited lifestyle. Allergies can be complicated but they can also be easier than you think.

Be Sensory Friendly at Home (the Movie) This Saturday

Sensory-Friendly-Films-logoOnce a month, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and with other special needs “Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings” – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy their favorite “family-friendly” films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Home-posterDoes it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

This Saturday March 28th, at 10am local time, the Autism Society’s “Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings” program will be showing Home. Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming April 18thUnderdogs

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Home  has been chosen by the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for mild action and some rude humor. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 03-16-2015 to 03-22-2015

twitter thumb

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 and Facebook 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 not on Twitter or FB (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:
Patient Safety Week: 8 tips to prevent medicine poisoning in young children http://t.co/dDsKef7qGc

Holding Your Breath Underwater: What Parents Should Know…

Remember contests to see who could stare the longest without blinking or who could hold their breath the longest?  Such contests are the stuff of most of our childhoods.  Seemingly harmless displays of prowess.  Life is never as simple as those carefree childhood contests.

kids-holding-breath-contestWhen a child is learning to swim, they need to be able to hold their breath for a reasonable amount of time.  The ability to put one’s face in the water is an important part of being comfortable in the water.  Unfortunately, some children (and adults), find this apparently simple act extremely difficult.  The fear of water, of having your face in the water, can paralyze someone and keep them from learning to swim or ever be comfortable in the water, which then places them at a higher risk for drowning.  Fortunately there are a number of people who are dedicated to helping people overcome these fears.  Check out Project Face In The Water and Water Phobias if you or your children have this reasonable but paralyzing fear.  Know there is almost certainly someone in your area who focuses on teaching people who are afraid of the water.

The other extreme is holding your breath under water for too long.  Competitive swimmers are regularly encouraged to swim under water for as long as possible to increase lung capacity and speed.  Even casual swimmers will challenge themselves to see if they can swim the length of the pool, have breath holding contests, or just swim underwater a bit further.  The more hard-core breath-holding experts go into free diving, challenging themselves to swim deeper, stay down longer, or simply to push themselves to do that extra 20 feet without a breath.

The problem is, if the body decides you have gone too long without oxygen, it will force you to breathe in.  The easiest way for the body to accomplish this is to make you faint, which will then allow the involuntary motion of breathing to continue.  (As opposed to the voluntary motion of holding your breath)  Fainting on dry land isn’t pleasant, but it’s rarely fatal.  Fainting in water can quickly lead to death by drowning.  Drowning isn’t breathing in water, it’s not being able to breathe in oxygen.  Trying to breathe when you are in the water is like trying to breathe in outer space, there simply is no oxygen and you suffocate to death.

When you pass out in the water, it is called Shallow Water Blackout (SWB).  Unfortunately it is a leading cause of death among competitive swimmers.  If you have a competitive swimmer, a risk-taker, a snorkeling enthusiast, or just a regular swimmer, learn more about Shallow Water Blackout.  Understand how it happens, and how you can keep it from happening to you or someone you love.

There are a range of resources to help you.  Life Like Benjo and Shallow Water Blackout Prevention is raising awareness about SWB.  If you are a swim coach or dive instructor, I strongly recommend you contact Aquatic Safety Research Group for information on how to coach more safely.

Breathing correctly while in and around water is one of the most calming and joyful experiences you can have.  Know how and when to breathe properly.  Breathe.

(And the stare down contest did come in handy, totally unexpectedly, in a showdown with a CEO when I was in my 20’s.  I won.)