Your Young Child and Sports Injuries: Should You Worry?

Father Looking After Son Injured Playing FootballAs school begins again, your child will be exposed to various sports- participation should be encouraged.  The fall sports usually include soccer, football, and late baseball.  You, as parents should do your homework also about safety and sports and always promote the acquisition and use of the best and latest equipment available to protect your children from injury.  Once this is accomplished, you should also be on the lookout for injuries to your own child during sport play.

The younger your child is, the less likely there is to be a significant injury and the more likely the level of theatrics will be elevated.  Many reasons for this are:  lighter body weights, lack of high volume inertial injuries, slower running, and natural avoidance of collisions during sport play.  You should not only rely on the opinion of coaches and ancillary personnel to decide if it is OK for your child to continue to participate in the sport. In point of fact they might very well be more conservative than you when determining if a child should return to play. Either go to him/her or call him/her over to you and do your own rapid exam and evaluation; after all, you are the one who knows your child better than anyone.

Limb injuries are very common among sports injuries and you should ask him/her where and how much this hurts.  Feel the area for irregularities in shape and/ or movement.  Ask him to use the extremity in the appropriate action and judge his/her level of discomfort;  he/she would not like to be taken out of the game and “stigmatized” as a “baby”- but at this age will not have the same drive to participate that the older child will show.  Because of the reasons mentioned above, an actual fracture would be unusual at lower ages- not impossible.  If there is any doubt in your mind, take him to an urgent care or emergency room for evaluation.

Head injuries are less common than extremity injuries but are the most important and become more so as the child grows and exerts more and more inertial energy to collisions.

Any child who is unconscious for any length of time after the injury, is amnesic about the details of the incident, cannot answer simple questions as to where he/she is or, what he/she is doing here, etc., or is just “not acting right” to you as his/her parent should be removed immediately from the game and taken for evaluation. 

While mild “concussions” are common these children must be observed as per his/her Doctor, and repeated such episodes can become dangerous.

In summary, know your child well, be proactive in helping to assure there is the proper protective equipment and evaluating your child’s injury yourself, and always be conservative with decision making after sports injuries.

AMC is Screening War Dogs Sensory Friendly Tomorrow

New sensory friendly logoAMC 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 War Dogs, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum. 

As 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.

War-Dogs-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“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing War Dogs tomorrow, Tuesday, August 23rd 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).

Coming Soon: Pete’s Dragon (Sat, 8/27); Kubo and the Two Strings (Sat, 9/10); Sully (Tues, 9/13)

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Editor’s note: Although War Dogs 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 language throughout, drug use and some sexual references. 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 family.

Send Your Kids Off to School Without the Morning Chaos

family morning chaosWe’ve all been there, maybe you were even there this morning. Kids won’t get out of bed, your boss called, he wants the project plan today and you forgot to get groceries last night.

“It’s all gonna be fine”, you tell yourself. That’s right, use those positive self-talk sentences. Research shows that speaking kindly to yourself actually increases helpful neurochemicals. They’ll boost your mood.

Now for those kids…  you’re in a state of mild emergency so your main goal is to remain calm, get them up and out the door and off to school with lunches, water, back-packs and homework in-tact. Tonight you can reflect on what needs to change to make things go better tomorrow.

THIS MORNING:  think about creating a smooth-entry into the day by gently waking the kids up. If you stress, they’ll stress. AND that means an avalanche of cortisol, a hormone you don’t want a lot of for mornings to go well.

1. Start any task your kids might be able to simply complete so that they have a head start. Like their out-the-door readiness tasks. Grab those back-packs, shoes and socks, put them right by the kitchen table so now they can eat breakfast, pack em and putt em on.

2. Stave off those mid-morning “Mom I forgot telephone calls,” by going through your morning checklist with them.

  • Calm-Mindset“Jason!” “Yes, mom he says through a mouthful of Cheerios.” “Morning Check-off READY …dirty clothes in hamper, meds, lunch, homework, lacrosse equipment.” “Yup all done.”
  • “Okay, Sarah! Morning Check-off READY.” “Yea, mom,” she says half-way to the door cause she’s your task completer, in fact, she probably should be your family manager. But we’ll think about that another day. “Lunch, homework, field trip slip, reading book.” “Yup, got it mom, now let’s go.”

3. For you, put a few drops of aroma therapy on your wrists take a deep breath and drive your kids to school. Work can wait at least until you replenish your relationships with your kids. Remember family first.

4. Grab a Bloom mantra from your mantra case, hold on tight and say it over and over, “Even when we are late, I’m loving and kind.” You did it! AND You can do it again.

With more planning from the Morning Mayhem chapter in Bloom, you’ll get out of damage control a little day by day.  In the meantime pat yourself on the back cause you’re a mom, and you’re human.

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bloom cover - 140x208Written for real parents with anxious, angry and over-the-top kids, Bloom is a brain-based approach to parenting all children. Taking its lead from neuroscience and best practices in early childhood mental health, it offers parents, teachers and care providers the words, thoughts and actions to raise calm, confident children, while reducing the need for consequences and punishment. The first book of its kind, it provides pages full of printable mantras you can carry with you, hang on your fridge or use in your classroom to raise emotionally competent kids. Stop second-guessing the way you handle misbehaviors, and learn why they occur in the first place. Bloom is available at amazon.com

Making Healthy Packed Lunches for Your Back-to-School Kid

Thanks to Jamie Oliver, school dinners have had a radical overhaul. But what about the lunchboxes we pack for our children?

Making healthy packed lunchesIt’s just as important to make sure the lunchbox your child takes to school provide a healthy, balanced lunch as when they eat at home.

This means plenty of foods that contain the nutrients that children need, and fewer foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat.

You can learn the healthy foods basics in Good food and diet.

Packing the Lunchbox

A balanced packed lunch should contain:

  • Starchy foods. These are bread, rice, potatoes and pasta, and others.
  • Protein foods. These are meat, fish, eggs, beans and others.
  • A dairy item. This could be cheese or yoghurt.
  • Vegetables or salad, and a portion of fruit.

Starchy foods are a good source of energy, and should make up a third of the lunchbox. But don’t let things get boring. Instead of sandwiches give kids bagels, pitta bread, wraps and baguettes. Use brown, wholemeal or seeded bread, not white bread.

Get ideas for healthy starchy foods.

Children often like food they can eat with their fingers, so chop up raw veggies such as carrots or peppers, and give them houmous or cottage cheese to dip the veggies in. Breadsticks and wholemeal crackers are great finger foods and they can be spread with low-fat soft cheese or eaten with reduced-fat cheddar and pickles.

Replace chocolate bars and cakes with fresh fruit, dried fruit.

Vary the fruit each day and get them to try new things, like kiwi or melon.

Unsalted nuts are a great snack food for children to have at home, but it’s best to leave them out of your child’s packed lunch. Many schools ban nuts to protect pupils with a nut allergy.

Here are more ideas for healthy food swaps.

You could also make up a tasty fruit salad. Be inventive and encourage your children when they try something new.

Making Healthier Food

It may take a while for your children to get used to a healthier lunchbox. But it will be worth it for their health, so keep trying.

You can help by eating a wider range of foods at home, as a family. For ideas on how to introduce more fruit and vegetables into your family’s diet, read 5 A DAY and your family.

Reading supermarket food labels can help you to buy healthier foods for your child’s lunch, and for family meal times. Learn more in Buy healthier food.

Save chocolate and cakes for occasional treats. Remember to praise your child when they’ve tried something new, to show your encouragement.

You can find lots of ideas for healthy lunches at Change4Life: healthy lunchbox ideas.

Lunchbox Ideas

There are more ideas for healthy packed lunches from the Children’s Food Trust.





Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 08-08-2016 to 08-14-2016

twitter thumbIn this week’s Children’s Safety News: Webcam Nightmare: Mom Finds Daughters’ Room Featured on Live App  https://t.co/uAaK9962Hm 

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:
Dangerous summer stroller mistake parents make https://t.co/vpZwxkFecD
Covering with a blanket can cause heatstroke, just like being left in a car.

Back to School Safety Tips…for Parents of Gen Z

Group of elementary school kids running in a school corridorSummer is winding down and a new school year is right around the corner.  A new school year can bring changes in routine and even the schools themselves.

The following is a list of safety tips we have compiled and distributed for back to school time and may serve as a nice guide or refresher to help us all get back into our school year routine.

School Zone Driving Safety Tips

  • Be on the lookout for school zone signals and ALWAYS obey the speed limits.
  • When entering a school zone, be sure to slow down and obey all traffic laws.
  • Always stop for school busses that are loading or unloading children.
  • Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.
  • Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets, in school parking lots, etc.
  • Never pass other vehicles while driving in a school zone.
  • Never change lanes while driving in a school zone.
  • Never make U-Turns while driving in a school zone.
  • Never text while driving in a school zone.
  • Avoid using a cell phone, unless it is completely hands-free, while driving in a school zone.
  • Unless licensed to do so, never use handicap or emergency vehicle lanes or spaces to drop off or pick up children at school.
  • Please look out for kids with their head down, looking at the phone and not at the street they are crossing.

Riding Your Bike to School

  • Safely walking to schoolCheck with the school to make sure your child is allowed to ride their bicycle to school. Some schools do not allow students to ride bicycles to school until they reach a specific grade.
  • Make sure your child always wears a bicycle helmet! Failure to wear one could result in a traffic citation. Furthermore, in the event of an accident, helmets reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.
  • Obey the rules of the road; the rules are the same for all vehicles, including bicycles.
  • Always stay on the right-hand side of the road and ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Be sure your child know and uses all of the appropriate hand signals.
  • Choose the safest route between home and school and practice it with children until they can demonstrate traffic safety awareness.
  • If possible, try to ride with someone else. There is safety in numbers.

Playground Safety

  • MA supervisor must always be present when children are at the school’s playground. Make sure your school has someone who monitors the playgrounds at all times.
  • Playground equipment should be surrounded by shock-absorbing material that is at least nine inches thick.
  • Protective surfaces should extend six feet in all directions around the playground equipment. For swings, it should extend twice the height of the set.
  • Due to strangulation hazards, do not attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, pet leashes or cords of any kind to playground equipment.
  • Be watchful of sharp edges or points on equipment.
  • Alert the school if you notice anything strange about the playground equipment at your child’s school.
  • Spaces that can trap children, such as openings between ladder rungs, should measure less than three and a half inches or more than nine inches.
  • All elevated surfaces, such as ramps, should have guardrails to prevent falls.

Walking to School

  • kids_walking_to_school 2Leave early enough to arrive at school at least 10 minutes prior to the start of school.
  • Use the same route every day and never use shortcuts.
  • Go straight home after school. Do not go anywhere else without permission.
  • Always use public sidewalks and streets when walking to school.
  • Demonstrate traffic safety awareness and pick the safest route between your home and the school and practice walking it with your children.
  • Try and walk to school with other students. There is strength in numbers.
  • Teach your children to recognize and obey traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings.
  • Only cross streets at designated crosswalks, street corners and traffic controlled intersections.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street and never enter streets from between obstacles like parked cars, shrubbery, signs, etc.
  • Always walk and never run across intersections.
  • Avoid talking to strangers. Teach your children to get distance between themselves and anyone who tries to approach or make contact with them.
  • If a stranger does approach your child, make sure they know to immediately report the incident to you or a teacher.
  • Teach your children to never get into a vehicle with anyone, even if they know them, without your permission.

Clothing and School Supplies

  • To prevent injury, backpacks should have wide straps, padding in the back and shoulders, and should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of a child’s body weight.
  • When placing items in a backpack, place the heavier items in first. The closer the heavier items are to a child’s back, the less strain it will cause.
  • Children should use both backpack straps and all compartments for even distribution of weight.
  • Remove drawstrings from jackets, sweatshirts, and hooded shirts to reduce the risk of strangulation injuries.
  • Art supplies in the classroom should always be child safe and non-toxic. Be sure they have “CONFORMS TO ASTM D-4236” on their packaging.
  • Make sure your child’s school is up-to-date on the latest recalled children’s products and toys.

School Bus Safety

  • Make habit of arriving at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus.
  • Make sure your child stays out of the street and avoids excessive horseplay while waiting for the school bus.
  • Bbacktoschool-bus stop meete sure the bus comes to a complete stop before getting on or off.
  • When riding the bus, make sure your child understands they must remain seated and keep their head and arms inside the bus at all times.
  • Do not shout or distract the driver.
  • NEVER walk in the drivers “ blind spot “ which is from the bumper to about 10 feet away from the bumper.

I hope this helps to get us all back into our school routine and I hope everyone has a great and safe school year!