Zootopia is Sensory Friendly 2x this Month at AMC: 3/12 & 3/26

Last updated on March 22nd, 2016 at 11:48 am

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new 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.

Does 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 Zootopiaone 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 12th, and on  Saturday, March 26th, at 10am local time, AMC and the Autism Society’s “Sensory Friendly Film” program will be showing Zootopia. 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 in April: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Sat, 4/9 and Tues, 4/12); The Jungle Book (Sat, 4/23)  and The Huntsman Winter’s War (Tues, 4/26)

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Editor’s note: Although Zootopia has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for for some thematic elements, rude humor and 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.

Are Tanning Beds Safe? Kids Need to Hear that Research Says: No!

Last updated on July 31st, 2018 at 06:20 pm

Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer (both malignant melanoma and non-melanoma). Many sunbeds give out greater doses of UV rays than the midday tropical sun.

The risks are greater for young people. Evidence shows that:

  • People who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk of developing skin cancer later in life
  • Sunburn in childhood can greatly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life

teen girls in tanning bedIt’s illegal for people who are under the age of 18 to use sunbeds (in the UK – see end of article for US status*). The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 makes it an offence for someone operating a sunbed business to permit those under 18 to:

  • Use a sunbed at the business premises, including beauty salons, leisure centres, gyms and hotels
  • Be offered the use of a sunbed at the business premises
  • Be allowed in an area reserved for sunbed users (unless they’re working as an employee of the business)

The GOV.UK website has further details about the Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010.

UV Rays from Sunbeds

Sunbeds, sunlamps and tanning booths give out the same type of harmful radiation as sunlight. UVA rays make up about 95% of sunlight. They can cause your skin to age prematurely, making it look coarse, leathery and wrinkled. UVB rays make up about 5% of sunlight and burn your skin.

A tan is your body’s attempt to protect itself from the damaging effect of UV rays. Using a sunbed to get a tan isn’t safer than tanning in the sun. It may even be more harmful, depending on factors such as:

  • The strength of UV rays from the sunbed
  • How often you use a sunbed
  • The length of your sunbed sessions
  • Your skin type – for example, whether you have fair or dark skin
  • Your age

In 2006, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products concluded the maximum ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from sunbeds should not exceed 0.3W/m2, or 11 standard erythema doses per hour (erythema means reddening of the skin caused by sunburn). These 11 standard doses are the same as exposure to the tropical sun, which the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as extreme.

Damage from UV Rays

Prolonged exposure to UV rays increases your risk of developing malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

You can’t always see the damage UV rays cause. The symptoms of skin damage can take up to 20 years to appear.

UV rays can also damage your eyes, causing problems such as irritation, conjunctivitis or cataracts, particularly if you don’t wear goggles.

Advice about Using Sunbeds

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued advice on the health risks associated with UV tanning equipment, such as sunbeds, sunlamps and tanning booths. They recommend you should not use UV tanning equipment if you:

  • Have fair, sensitive skin that burns easily or tans slowly or poorly
  • Have a history of sunburn, particularly in childhood
  • Have lots of freckles and red hair
  • Have lots of moles
  • Are taking medicines or using creams that make your skin sensitive to sunlight
  • Have a medical condition made worse by sunlight, such as vitiligo (a long-term skin condition caused by a lack of a chemical in the skin called melanin)
  • Have had skin cancer or someone in your family has had it
  • Already have badly sun-damaged skin

The HSE advice also includes important points to consider before deciding to use a sunbed. For example, if you decide to use a sunbed, the operator should advise you about your skin type and how long you should limit your session to.

Read more about the HSE guidance on the use of UV tanning equipment (PDF, 102kb).

Further Information:

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.  We are heading into Spring Break and Prom season – a time when many girls turn to tanning beds. This is information they really need to know.

US status on minors and indoor tanning:
  • In 2014 the FDA issued new regulations for indoor tanning beds including strengthened warnings about the health risks and a strong recommendation that minors under age 18 do not use sunbeds
  • In December, 2015, the FDA proposed a restriction against use of indoor tanning beds by minors
  • 17 states plus the District of Columbia have passed legislation banning use of tanning beds by minors – with lesser restrictions existing in several other states
  • Read more about tanning bed health risks and research from the American Academy of Dermatology
  • This New York Times article from last year also provides a good overview of tanning bed issues

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 02-29-2016 to 03-06-2016

Last updated on March 10th, 2016 at 12:29 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Children’s Safety News: 3-year-old boy suffers injuries after getting slinky toy wrapped around his neck https://t.co/4wG5ETSHmt

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 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
New kid-safe search engine – Kiddle – highly controversial https://t.co/2VllYv4ALt
Is restricting kid’s access to info the right choice?  What if the internet is the only place a child in danger can find info / help 2016-03-06

Tomorrow, LONDON HAS FALLEN is Sensory Friendly at AMC

Last updated on March 10th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program, in partnership with the Autism Society!  This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of London Has Fallen, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum. 

New sensory friendly logoAs always, 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.

Does 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, London Has Falleneveryone 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“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing London Has Fallen tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8th at 7pm (local time). 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).

Later this Month:  Zootopia (Sat, 3/12 and 3/26), The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Part 1 (Tues, 3/22)

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Editor’s note: Although London Has Fallen has been chosen by the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for strong violence and language throughout. 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.

Kids and Flouride: Getting Too Much or Not Enough?

Last updated on March 14th, 2016 at 10:33 am

Girl brushing rinsing teethDespite the controversy surrounding this f-word, fluoride in drinking water has proven safe and effective at preventing tooth decay in study after study. In fact, most sources of water naturally contain this mineral known as “nature’s cavity-fighter.” Water and beverages made with water provide the majority of the fluoride we receive. The increased fluoride in the body helps to produce strong teeth—teeth that are still waiting under the gums of young children. The remainder of our fluoride comes from applications such as toothpaste and mouthwash. These expose the teeth directly to fluoride to strengthen the enamel.

But how do you know if your kids are getting enough? Can they have too much? As a general rule, if your child is brushing with fluoride toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water, then they are probably getting enough. Children exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride may be at risk for a harmless discoloration of enamel known as dental fluorosis. So how can a parent be sure?

  1. Know your water. About three-fourths of people in the US have access to fluoridated drinking water, and you can get specifics about the concentration in your drinking water from the CDC here. If your child is drinking bottled water, they may be missing out on the benefits of fluoride. If your child is exclusively drinking infant formula mixed with tap water, they may be at higher risk for fluorosis. If your water comes from a private well, it likely has some naturally occurring fluoride, and the EPA recommends having it tested every three years to find out just how much.
  1. Supervise brushing. The ADA recommends brushing your child’s teeth until age 6, or until you are confident with their ability to do a good job. One reason for this is that smaller kids may swallow toothpaste, which usually contains fluoride. A pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is ideal, only after the child is able to spit it out, usually around age 2.
  1. Use other fluoride products judiciously. If your water is fluoridated and your child brushes with fluoride toothpaste, your child should be getting enough to prevent cavities. The ADA recommends the use of other fluoride products—tablets, drops, rinses, gels or other supplements—only in cases where the risk of tooth decay is very high. Consult your child’s dentist before adding these to your child’s routine.

Caring for the little ones in your life is hard work, and the last thing a parent needs is another worry to add to the list. With these three steps, you can be confident that your child is getting the right amount of fluoride for strong, healthy teeth.

Advice for Keeping Your Child at a Healthy Weight

Last updated on March 10th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

If your child is a healthy weight, there’s lots you can do as a parent to help them stay a healthy size as they grow.

Family In The Kitchen Eating BreakfastResearch shows that children who stay a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn, and more self-confident. They’re also much less likely to have health problems in later life.

Children whose parents encourage them to be active and eat well are more likely to stay a healthy weight and grow up healthy.

Check their BMI every now and then using using our BMI calculator to make sure they stay in the healthy range.

Steps for Success

Here are five key ways you can help your child maintain a healthy weight. You can read this whole page or click on the links below to go directly to the topic you want to know about:

Be a Good Role Model

One of the best ways to instil good habits in your child is for you to be a good role model. Children learn by example. One of the most powerful ways to encourage your child to be active and eat well is to do so yourself.

Set a good example by going for a walk or bike ride instead of watching TV, or surfing the internet. Playing in the park or swimming with your children shows them that being active is fun. It’s also a great opportunity for you all to spend time together.

Get Active

Children need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day for good health, but it doesn’t need to be all at once. Several short 10-minute or even 5-minute bursts of activity throughout the day can be just as good as an hour-long stretch.

For younger children, it can take the form of active play, such as ball games, chasing games like “it” and “tag”, riding a scooter, and using playground swings, climbing frames and see-saws.

For older children it could include riding a bike, skateboarding, walking to school, skipping, swimming, dancing and martial arts.

Walking or cycling short distances instead of using the car or bus is a great way to be active together as a family – and you’ll save money too.

Child-size Portions

Try to avoid feeding your child over-sized portions.

There’s very little official guidance on precisely how much food children require so you’ll need to use your own judgement.

A good rule of thumb is to start meals with small servings and let your child ask for more if they are still hungry.

Try not to make your child finish everything on the plate or eat more than they want to. And avoid using adult-size plates for younger children as it encourages them to eat oversized portions.

It may also help if you encourage your child to eat slowly and have set mealtimes. You can use mealtimes as an opportunity to catch up on what’s happened during the day.

Eat Healthy Meals

Children, just like adults, should aim to eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables everyday. They’re a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Getting 5 A DAY shouldn’t be too difficult. Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your child’s 5 A DAY including fresh, tinned, frozen and dried. Juices, smoothies, beans and pulses also count.

Discourage your child from having too many sugary or high-fat foods like sweets, cakes, biscuits, some sugary cereals and soft drinks. These foods and drinks tend to be high in calories and low in nutrients.

Aim for your child to get most of their calories from healthier foods such as fruit and vegetables, and starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta and rice (preferably wholemeal). And switch sweet drinks for water.

Less Screen Time and More Sleep!

Help your children to avoid sitting and lying around too much, as it makes it more likely for them to put on weight.

Limit the amount of time your child spends on inactive pastimes such as watching television, playing video games and playing on electronic devices.

There’s no hard and fast advice on how much is too much, but experts advise that children should watch no more than two hours of television each day – and remove all screens (including mobile phones) from their bedroom at night.

It also helps children stay trim if they sleep well. It’s been shown that children who don’t have the recommended amount of sleep are more likely to be overweight. The less children sleep, the greater the risk of them becoming obese. Lack of sleep can also affect their mood and behaviour.