Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 06-22-2015 to 06-28-2015

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:
As Teens Push Away, What Can Parents Do To Support Them? http://t.co/iZlLqeabRA

Summer Hazards Part I – Watch Out for the Sun

The heat of summer has arrived, at least temporarily, making it a good time to present some topics related to living in a warm environment.

Let’s discuss the advantage of remaining well hydrated during the time of the year when fluid loss through activities can cause significant problems. Some experts believe that everyone should drink 1 oz of fluid for every 2 pounds of body weight per day. Admittedly that is a large amount of fluids but our bodies are more than half water and the millions of chemical reactions that are ongoing in our bodies every minute of every day require water, among other elements to keep going. In hot and humid weather, the elements work against us to keep that fluid reserve “topped off”. Exercising during this kind of weather exacerbates the potential for water loss and subsequent poor regulation of body temperature. It is this poor regulation of body temperature that can lead to the various forms of disease after heat exposure, ranging from mild to life threatening. So, stay very well hydrated during the summer months and stay alert to the problems that can arise with exercise and poor fluid intake.

Everyone likes the appearance of tan skin and unfortunately the source of that sought after appearance is the sun. A certain amount of sunlight is a very good thing and in fact a lack of sunlight over time can lead to such problems as vitamin D deficiency and poor control of calcium metabolism and regulation. The downside of this exposure is that the UVA and UVB rays given off by the sun and absorption of those rays through your skin can damage the skin leading to lack of elasticity and signs of early aging. Far worse than this effect is the tendency to alter the genetic characteristics of skin cells that can lead to cancer of the skin, especially the most severe form, melanoma, which can be fatal.

Fortunately there are things that can be done to minimize the effects of exposure to the sun. Try to avoid exposure to bright sun between the hours of 10 AM and 3PM when the sun’s rays are most direct and therefore stronger. Make use of the various sun blocks on the market. These sunblocks are usually designated by a SPF number that attempts to give us, the consumers some way of comparing them Regardless of the SPF number, the sun block needs to be applied and reapplied every couple of hours in order to give the protection it promises. The higher the number gives you some idea as to how often it needs to be reapplied. The higher the number, theoretically the less often it needs to be applied. Make it a rule of thumb to reapply all sun block at least every hour or two , and, if your skin gets wet, it may need to be applied more often.

My next post will deal with other summer hazards; insect bites, poison ivy, and miscellaneous others.

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Editor’s Note: this post first appeared in Pediatric Safety in June of 2012.  Given the extreme warm weather we are currently experiencing in many areas of the U.S., we thought it might be a good time to run it again

Inside Out is Sensory Friendly This Saturday at AMC

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.

Inside Out 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 June 27th, at 10am local time, the Autism Society’s “Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings” program will be showing Inside Out. 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 July 18th: Minions

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Editor’s note: Although Inside Out  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 thematic elements and some action. 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.

Childhood Eczema: 7 Tips to Stop the Itch

Eczema can be tough for a child to cope with, but you can help relieve the discomfort with this simple seven-point approach.

Dr Colin Holden, consultant dermatologist and president of the British Association of Dermatologists, has these tips for parents of babies and small children with eczema.

Get an Eczema Diagnosis

Eczema on the kid's handIf you think your baby or child has eczema, see your GP (pediatrician*) to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. If necessary, your child may be referred to a dermatologist.

Don’t try to treat eczema by yourself. Each case can need different treatment, which usually involves a combination of moisturisers (emollients) and steroid creams and ointments.

If their skin becomes red and starts to seep liquid, it may be infected, in which case see your GP immediately for antibiotics.

Give Your Child a Bedtime Routine

Children with eczema often find sleeping a problem, as their skin can get hotter and itchier at night. Keep their bedroom cool and use cotton sheets or a light, natural-fibre duvet.

Apply moisturiser at least 20 minutes before bedtime to allow it to soak in. Keep pets out of the bedroom, as dogs and cats can make eczema worse.

Avoid Harsh Soaps, Shampoos and Bath Oils

Soap and bubble bath can make eczema far worse, as can washing your child too often.

Current advice says that you should wash a baby or young child once or twice a week (although the baby’s face, hands and bottom should be cleaned daily).

Bathe your baby in warm – not hot – water, and stick to fragrance-free soaps, shampoo and bath oil. Your pharmacist or GP can advise you on what products to buy.

Use Lots of Moisturiser

Dry skin is more likely to flare up or become infected with a bacteria or virus. Use creams on your child as directed by your GP (pediatrician*)  to make sure the skin affected by eczema is kept as soft and moist as possible. Avoiding harsh soaps that dry out the skin will also help.

Read more about moisturisers and how to use them on a child with eczema.

Help Your Child to Stop Scratching

One of the biggest problems with childhood eczema is the urge to scratch the itchy skin, which may then bleed or become infected.

See if your child scratches at certain times of the day, for example while watching TV, and try to teach them to do something else instead, such as tightly holding their arm.

Praise them for not scratching, or even use a star chart. Keep their nails short. Cotton clothes rather than wool may lessen the itching.

Check Your Child’s Diet

Eczema usually starts when a baby is around six months old. In about 10% of cases it is triggered by foods, including milk, eggs, citrus fruit, chocolate, peanuts and colourings.

If you suspect a food is causing your child’s eczema, it’s important to seek advice from your GP (pediatrician*)  before you cut out the food to make sure your child still gets a balanced diet.

Read more about food allergy and intolerance.

Keep Your Child Cool

Heat can make the skin itch more, so after your child has been running around or playing sports try to keep them as cool as possible in loose clothing.

If they’ve been swimming, rinse off any chlorine from the pool, as this can irritate the skin.

Read more about childhood eczema and how to treat it.

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

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 06-15-2015 to 06-21-2015

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:
Are Parents Relying Too Much on Technology for Their Child’s Safety? – some good tips on teaching kids skills http://t.co/OcpoBVbGzb

CPR Training Required for High School Graduation

CPR in Irelands schoolsI know it is summer and the last thing any of us want to think about is school and all the work our kids have to put in to graduate.   If you are the parent of a high school student that is trying to figure out what courses will be best to take and what will be needed to ensure graduation then looking ahead to this upcoming school year and the growing movement of required CPR training in schools for graduation is a must.  Currently 24 states have legislation that require high school students take the CPR training in the school to be eligible to graduate and many more states have pending legislation on the way.

The American Heart Association statistics tell us that every hour in the United States 48 people will suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest and that 9 out of 10 of those people will not survive, however if proper CPR measure are begun by a trained bystander then the odds of that person surviving can double or even triple; and since these people are suffering a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital this means they will be having them in every day situation like being at work, home, school, and places where care would normally take too long.   Having many more trained people in these everyday places can have an immediate impact and help save lives now.     The program that is teaching the CPR program in the schools is called “CPR IN SCHOOLS” and is monitored by the American Heart Association and can be found online at www.heart.org/cprinschool.

The bottom line is that there is never a bad time to learn CPR because you have no idea when you will need to use it and whether or not your children are required to take it in school, it is always a worthy investment that can pay dividends long after your children have graduated and who knows, the life they save may be yours.

Thank you and Have a Great and Safe Summer.

Photo credit: Northern Ireland ExecutiveCC license