Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 05-11-2015 to 05-17-2015

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 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Romanian teenager dies attempting to take ‘ultimate selfie’ http://t.co/m4AvedWNQB
Please  share this with your kids!

Girls’ and Boys’ Puberty Q&As

Girls and boys puberty QsPuberty can be a confusing time because your body and your feelings are changing as you grow up.

Understanding what’s happening will help you cope.

Here are answers to some of the questions that boys and girls often ask about their bodies.

Puberty for boys:

  • When will I start puberty?
    If puberty hasn’t started yet, don’t worry. Most boys begin when they’re around 13 or 14 years old, but some start earlier and some later.

    • We all grow and change at different rates, and there’s nothing you can do to make it happen sooner or later. Your body will change when it’s ready.
    • It’s normal to feel confused or worried sometimes. It can help to talk to someone you trust, such as your dad, mum, brother, or a trusted teacher.
  • What will happen to my body?
    There are plenty of signs that puberty has started. Every boy is different, but here are some of the most common changes to look out for:
  • Getting taller: your body grows, and it may become more muscular.
  • Bigger penis and balls: your testicles and penis grow, and they may feel itchy or uncomfortable.
  • Unexpected erections: your body produces more sex hormones, so you might get erections when you least expect them and you’re not thinking about anything sexy. At other times, you might think about sex a lot.
  • Spots and sweat: hormones can make you sweaty and spotty, but as long as you have good personal hygiene you can still look and feel healthy. Find out about acne.
  • Sperm: you start producing sperm and you may have wet dreams in which you ejaculate (come) while you’re asleep. This is normal.
  • Hair: areas of your body become more hairy, including your armpits, legs, arms, face, chest and around your penis.
  • Deeper voice: you might sound croaky for a while, or you might have a high voice one minute and a low voice the next. It will settle down eventually.
  • On the inside: you may have mood swings and feel emotional, but your feelings will settle down in time.

Puberty for girls:

  • When will I start puberty?
    Puberty usually happens between 10 and 14 years old, but every girl is different.

    • We all grow and change at different rates and there’s nothing you can do to make it happen sooner or later. Your body will change when it’s ready.
    • Your breasts may grow quickly or slowly. You might have your first period, then not have another one for months. There’s no such thing as ‘normal’, so don’t panic if your experience is different from other girls.
    • If you feel confused, you’re not the only person. Try talking to someone you trust, such as your mum, dad, sister, friends or a teacher you trust.
  • What will happen to my body?
    During puberty, it’s normal to experience the following changes:
  • Growing: you’ll get taller, and this might happen quite quickly.
  • Breasts and hips: your breasts and hips get bigger. You might feel itchy or uncomfortable when this happens. This is normal.
  • Hair: hair grows under your arms and around your vagina. Some girls develop hair in other parts of their body, such as their top lip. This is normal.
  • Periods: your periods will start at some point during puberty. You might get period pains before or during your period.  Read more about starting periods.
  • Vaginal discharge: your vagina may produce discharge (fluid). This is normal. It’s your vagina’s way of keeping clean and healthy. The discharge should be colourless or white, and shouldn’t smell. If it looks green or yellow and smells, see a doctor because you might have an infection, such as thrush (this is common and easily treated).
  • Spots and sweat: hormones can make you sweaty or spotty, but as long as you have good personal hygiene, you can still look and feel healthy.
  • On the inside: you might have mood swings and feel emotional, but your feelings will settle down eventually.

Photo credit: Cavale DoomCC license

Little One is on the move!!! Uhhhh….where’s the dog???

Baby Boy Playing with toy as puppy watchesThis is such an exciting time… and an exhausting one. You “safely introduced your dog to your new baby’ and established some guidelines to keep everyone safe (see ‘Your New Baby Safely Met Your Dog … Now What???) and so far everything has been going really well. Your baby is growing by leaps and bounds… and learning something new every day. But just as you started to get the new routine down pat, Mother Nature throws a monkey wrench into this perfect dynamic .Your child’s rate of development seems to be at warp speed, and before you know it, they have learned to crawl. In the blink of an eye they’ve gone from a very slow lobster crawl, to moving faster on hands and knees then you can on two feet! You just can’t seem to catch them! But there is a potential danger here…. The dog can… with ease!

As I did in my last article, I feel it is important to give you some insight into the dog’s mind, and also ask some very thought provoking questions to you, and then offer some ‘canine behavior’ awareness in more detail afterwards.

  1. What is the difference, in a dog’s mind, between a baby that ‘runs’ on all fours, and a pup that does the same thing, other than one has no fur or tail?
  2. How does the dog know the difference between baby’s toys and theirs? Both of their toys seem to be either hard plastic, soft plastic, or plush (stuffed).
  3. What sets off the ‘chase instinct’ in a dog?

So the answer to the first question is pretty obvious…. There is no difference in the dog’s mind. This is why it is so important that YOU teach them that there is a difference. When a pup wanders off, the mother dog picks them up by the scruff (the extra skin) on the back of their necks to bring them back to where they want them. So for this reason, it is important to still monitor their interactions, and make sure they are never alone together.

One of the things I teach my customers with infants is to really accentuate the “DOWN” command whenever they are around the baby. Now I do realize that some people say “DOWN” when a dog jumps on them, but I am referring to them physically lying down. (I often recommend to my customers to use the words “OFF” when a dog jumps, and “DOWN” to lie down, so they do not get confused.) This is especially important for two reasons: To make sure baby doesn’t get knocked over and hurt, but also, it helps to focus your dog. Dogs cannot multi-task; they can’t focus on your command and on the baby at the same time.

To teach “DOWN” first get your dog into a “SIT” position to start. Then, hold a treat between your thumb and pointer fingers, hold your palm facing the floor, and slowly lower your hand towards the floor, keeping the treat right in front of their nose. If they lose interest and look away, bring the treat back up to eye-level to re-capture their attention, and do it again, all the while saying, “DOWN” until they are fully lying down, and then tell them, “YES! GOOD DOWN!” and give them the treat.

I recommend that you practice this often, so when you give him the DOWN command and he is around the baby, he knows the command is not a suggestion or a request, but a direct order from his superior that must be obeyed immediately. To explain the importance of practicing this regularly, I ask my customers, “Why do they run fire drills in schools for the kids?” Because they don’t want to wait until a true emergency actually breaks out and ‘hope’ that the kids will know what to do! Think of how relaxed you will be if you know without a doubt that if you tell your dog ‘DOWN” he will do it immediately.

The second question is a bit trickier, but is important because for most of us, the saying “Possession is 9/10ths of the law” holds true. But to both dogs AND babies, possession is ten-tenths of the law. It can be potentially very dangerous for a baby to see a toy, assume it is theirs, and go to grab it… especially if it is in the dog’s mouth! The simplest solution would seem to be to keep the dog’s toys in one room, and the babies’ toys in another, but in reality, I have never found that to work. The baby goes through house with toys in their hand, and deposits them everywhere and anywhere, and the dog does the same in their mouths. At times, I arrive at a customer’s house, look around at the hundreds of toys scattered everywhere, and wonder if I myself could distinguish which toys belong to which species!

One trick I have given a few families that seems to work very well is to dip the toys belonging to the dog in some bullion soup. (For stuffed animals, just dip a small corner of it. That is sufficient for a dog’s sensitive nose.) This gives it an added flavor that they love, and they tend to play mostly with those. Just remember to wash and re-dip them weekly…. You don’t want them to get stinky or to attract bugs.  Another option is to get a wire rimmed basket for the dog’s toys and a toy chest for your child’s toys. Make sure the right toys go in each basket every night before bed, and get into that routine. When your child is a bit older, and can understand a bit better, (and no longer puts everything in their mouths) you can use a black magic marker to mark your child’s toy.

The final issue… baby moving at warp speed; crawling on all fours, can easily set off the ‘chase instinct’ in your dog. I have two cats. One of my cats is never bothered by the dogs… they never chase him. However, the other one is always being chased. Why is this? Because my male cat does not get nervous or scared by the dogs, and if they look or bark at him, he ignores them… so they leave him alone. My female on the other hand, gets scared and goes to run away… and the same dogs that ignored my male cat, go chasing after her. So how do we combat this? By reinforcing earlier commands with the dog… “GO TO YOUR PLACE” and “DOWN/STAY” are important ones to really enforce, but you can also add a new one: “IGNORE.”

To teach IGNORE, get your dog on a leash, put him in a down/stay position, and have someone roll a ball in front of him. If he goes to give chase, give a quick and firm tug on the leash and say, “IGNORE”. Do this a few times until he is completely non-reactive, and then either treat and praise, or play and praise with one of HIS toys. (I want to point out that at this point your baby is copying everything you do… so please remember, you’re “rolling the ball” to the dog… not throwing it. The last thing you want are items going airborne at your dog!)

In the end, adding a few new commands to your dog’s routine (and a few new tricks for you to try) is a great way to both make sure he behaves appropriately around your little one, and also make sure he continues to get the attention and mental stimulation he needs.  Happy dog…happy baby…safe home.

So I will wrap this post up a bit differently from my last ones… and ask your input. Apparently, I stumped some of the best trainers in the world by asking for their input on how they go about distinguishing a kid’s toy from a dog’s. So I would love to hear from those of you who have raised your kids (and your dogs) already through this stage…how did you successfully keep the toys separate???

What to Do if Baby is Intolerant to Cows’ Milk

If you think your baby is having a reaction to cows’ milk, talk to your health visitor or GP (pediatrician*). If your baby is formula-fed and diagnosed with a milk allergy, your GP can prescribe alternatives to cows’ milk-based infant formula. If necessary, your GP can refer you to a registered dietitian for advice on feeding your baby.

Cows’ Milk Allergy and Lactose Intolerance

A reaction to cows’ milk can be a sign of:

  • Cows’ milk allergy (a reaction by the body’s immune system)
  • Cows’ milk protein intolerance (a reaction that doesn’t involve the immune system)
  • Lactose intolerance (when the body can’t break down and absorb lactose, a natural sugar found in milk)

Cows’ milk allergy and milk protein intolerance are common in babies and children. Many children with these conditions grow out of them as they get older.

Cows’ milk allergy is the most common food allergy in children. They usually grow out of it by the age of three, but about one in five people will still have the allergy as adults.

Children with a milk intolerance often grow out of it by the time they start school.

It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 people in the UK has lactose intolerance, and it’s more common in some ethnic groups than others.

Lactose intolerance in babies is very rare.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of these conditions can be similar, so you should get medical advice if you’re concerned about your child.

Cows’ milk allergy symptoms include:

In rare cases, milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis.

Symptoms of milk intolerance can include diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach cramps, but not breathing problems. They can also include eczema.

Symptoms of cows’ milk allergy and intolerance start from when cows’ milk is introduced into a child’s diet.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloated stomach and stomach pains
  • Wind

Infant Formula and Cows’ Milk Allergy

If your baby is diagnosed with cows’ milk allergy, your GP (pediatrician*) can prescribe a different type of infant formula known as extensively or fully hydrolysed formula.

This means that:

  • The milk proteins are broken down into smaller parts, making them easier to digest
  • It’s much less likely that the cows’ milk protein will cause an allergy

Although infant formula with partially hydrolysed proteins is available in the shops, it’s not suitable for babies with cows’ milk allergy. This is because not all the properties in the cows’ milk proteins that trigger an allergic reaction have been broken down.

If your baby has a cows’ milk protein allergy, they should not be given goats’ milk-based formula unless you have discussed it with an appropriate healthcare professional and they have said that it’s safe for you to do so.

For more information, see Types of infant formula.

Breastfeeding and Cows’ Milk Allergy

If you are breastfeeding and have concerns regarding cows’ milk allergy in your infant, talk to your GP (pediatrician*) or a registered dietitian.

Getting Advice

If you think your child is allergic to a food, always get medical advice.

Milk and dairy products are good sources of nutrients such as calcium, so don’t cut them out of your child’s diet without medical advice.

Cutting out these types of food could lead to your child not getting the nutrients they need. Talk to your health visitor or GP (pediatrician*), who may refer you to a registered dietitian.

Read the answers to more questions about children’s health.

Further information:

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US audience.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 05-04-2015 to 05-10-2015

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 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Police warn of social media game challenging kids to disappear for 72 hrs http://t.co/QkZFpEFUqu please talk to your teens!

Summer Seatbelt Safety: For Your Family’s Sake

Everyone wears a seatbeltAs the school year winds down and summer travel plans go into action, families will get in the car and drive all around this great country of ours.   Let’s face it, summer does mean the kids are out of school and usually need someplace to go before they tear the house down and getting in the car and going somewhere, anywhere is usually what happens.   But before you head out in the car this summer, whether it is for the cross country journey or the 5 minute ride to the park, please put on your seat belt.

We have all heard the sayings “Seat Belts Save Lives” or “click it or ticket”.   In 2009 the NHTSA released a study saying that over 1600 lives could be saved each year and over 22,000 serious injuries could be avoided each year if seat belt use rose to 90% in drivers and passengers in automobiles and I am here to tell you that it is more than true.  Having responded to many traffic accidents and seen the results of both wearing and not wearing a seatbelt, I can honestly say that seatbelts do save lives every day.   Let’s be honest.  How long does it take to put on a seatbelt?  A few seconds? , that does not sound too unreasonable to be part of the thousands of lives saved every year does it?.

Many states handle seatbelt laws differently.  Some states require seatbelts and some do not.  Whether your state requires it or not, before we head out onto the roadway let us think about the people in the car shall we?

The Driver – You.  Adults are the WORST offenders about not wearing seatbelts.    When you put your seat belt on, you are keeping yourself safer in case of accident and you also give a good example to the other passengers regardless of age.

The Kids – Kids are always watching us to see how we do things and what is acceptable and if you put on your seatbelt every time you get in the car then the kids will begin to model your behavior and after a while it can become an automatic response from them, no matter what car they get in.  Now smaller children may need help and may require you to click them in properly and safely before yourself.  Infants and smaller children in car seats will obviously need the help but also the children in the booster seats may need some additional help, plus a quick check and tug on the belts they put on by themselves never hurts.

Teenagers – Teenagers are some of the worst offenders of not wearing seatbelts right after adults.   Teenagers have an invincibility about them which is normal but should never be allowed to talk you out of making them put on the seatbelt regardless of the distance of the trip.

Pets –  We do not normally think about our pets when it comes to seal belt time but pets are passengers too and if the pets are coming with us in the car then there needs to be a way to make sure they are secure.   There are a number of pet friendly carries and devices for the car that make this possible.

The bottom line is that seatbelts DO save lives.   I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to look at someone who just had a car accident and tell them “good thing you were wearing your seat belt “.

Have a Great Summer, Be Safe and Buckle Up……..All of you!

Thank You

Photo credit: MoDOT PhotosCC license