Child Health & Safety News 4/10: Risk Factors for Child Abuse

Last updated on April 23rd, 2017 at 09:23 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Safety News: Live Yellow App – The Tinder Sexting App for Tweens:  YouTube Demo / Review / Parent Guide https://t.co/S05kn0Ms63

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 social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we miss something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of this past week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Learn the risk factors for child abuse https://t.co/MRpqQ8YzVw

Ghost in the Shell is Sensory Friendly, Tomorrow Night at AMC

Last updated on April 17th, 2017 at 08:00 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 Ghost in the Shell, 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.

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, 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 Ghost in the Shell tomorrow, Tuesday, April 11th 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).

Also in April: Smurfs: The Lost Village (Sat, 4/22) and The Fate of the Furious (Tues, 4/25),

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Editor’s note: Although Ghost in the Shell has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, suggestive content and some disturbing images. 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.

How to Raise Self-Reliant Kids: Strategies That Work

Last updated on August 12th, 2017 at 05:10 pm

Parenting strategies to help kids solve their problems, be self-reliant, bounce back from failure and not use us as their managers, arbiters and google maps for life

A mom was running late as she drove her two sons to school. “Can we pleeeease go back?” her six-year-old pleaded. “I forgot my stamps for show-and-tell.”

Any other day, this mom would have made a quick U-turn to retrieve the forgotten item. She’d done just that—more than a few times. But something clicked in her head:

If I’m always rescuing my kids, they’ll just take it for granted that I’ll do it for the rest of their lives.”

So this time her response was different.

“I know you’re upset,” she said, “but we’re not going back. I’m sure we can figure out something else for you to share. Let’s brainstorm some ideas.”

Her son was not thrilled, but by the time they got to school, he did have a plan—and this mother experienced an “aha” moment that would help her children learn to be more resourceful and less dependent on her.

 

Take a Reality Self-Check

How would you have responded? You might want to take a Reality Check and identify your current parenting style with your kids. I dare ya!

Think about how you usually act when your child seems frustrated, seeks help, fails or isn’t doing a task up to your standards. Here are a few possibilities:

The Parenting Style Quiz

Protector: “If you need anything, I’ll be sitting right here during the party.”

Rescuer: “I’ll figure it out for you, honey.”

Over-involved: “I’m calling that kid’s parent and telling her to invite you.”

Enabler: “You’re tired, sweetie. Go to sleep and I’ll finish this for you.”

Perfectionist: “I’m remaking your bed; you didn’t tuck the corners in just right.”

Or something else?

The truth is, if you want to raise an independent kid who can someday thrive (and survive) without you–and oh how I hope you do!–you need to show some restraint in the “lend-a-hand” department. Data shows that the 21st century parenting style is a lot of protecting, rescuing, helicoptering, over-involving, micromanaging, and enabling and it’s not doing our kids any favors.

If you feel just a tad bit guilty, then make a list of reasons why you should break these habits. Or write yourself a letter and describe how it hinders your child’s independence. Reading it everyday will help keep you motivated. Then take a pledge to stop your habit, and go for it! Breaking old habits is hard work, but it’s doable.

Here are tips to help you move from “Doer” to “Guider.” (Believe me, your child will thank you someday!)

Strategies to Build Self-Reliance

1. Learn to Guide, Not Do

No parents want their children to suffer heartaches and disappointments. Our basic instinct is to try and protect our kids from frustrations and solve their problems for them. But doing so prevents them from developing the very skills they’ll need to deal with the multitude of issues they’ll face in the real world.

If you really want your child to become self-sufficient and thrive without you, your role must be of a guider, and not doer.

That simple twist from doer to guides teaches your children that you expect them to be resourceful by solving their own problems-whatever they may be and that you believe they are capable of doing so.

2. Back Off From What Kids Can Do Solo

Girl helping mother to wash clothesIt may be time for your child to fix his own lunch, make her bed, do some laundry or call for a dentist’s appointment. It depends on your child’s age, maturation, and current capabilities, of course. The goal is to not overwhelm children with new expectations. Gradually introduce only one new task at a time. Here are three the steps to teaching kids any new skill:

Teach, Guide, Step Back

  1. Teach your child how to do the task.
  2. Then step to the side and guide your child (watching to ensure that your son or daughter can do the task.
  3. Finally, step back when your child has mastered the skill. It’s now time to teach another life skill or task.

Think: What is the one new task I can teach my child today using these three steps that will help him on the road to independence?

3. Stop Rescuing

You may have found yourself rescuing your kids a lot lately. And oh the excuses we use: “Kyle’s too busy. I’ll do her chores tonight.” 

One way to change this pattern is to start with a family meeting where you agree together on a new policy about taking responsibility—whether it’s for doing chores or finishing homework—and how any lapses will be handled. That will also help teach children that their actions have consequences.

Your new parenting mantra: “Never do for your child what your child can do for himself.” 

4. Teach Organization Skills

Use picture reminders for young kids

Is your child misplacing library books? Unable to find  sports gear? Losing teacher notes? Instead of bailing your child out, ask: “What can you do to solve this problem?”

For instance, kids might hang up a special calendar on which they mark library due dates, music lessons, field trips and tests. Even a young children can draw “picture reminders.”

Learning to organize is an important skill all children need for managing their own lives-so they rely less and less on you as time goes by.

5. Teach Brainstorming

Want your child to be able to solve problems someday without you? Then you must teach the skills of brainstorming. The first step is to identify the problem and express confidence that your child can work it out. You might need to help kids at first understand that brainstorming means coming up with lots of different ideas, no matter how silly those ideas may sound.

The next step is to identify the best ideas and figure out a plan for how to try them. With practice, children can use brainstorming to solve many issues that arise—without your help.

6. Teach How to Negotiate

Teach tie-breaking skills like “rock-paper-scissors”

Take turns listening to each other without interrupting. No put-downs. Only calm voices are allowed.Do your kids expect you to always be the arbiter who will end their battles? Try a new tactic: Teach your kids how to negotiate. Explain that the purpose of negotiation is to work things out so all sides are satisfied. Then establish clear negotiation behavior.

Take turns listening to each other without interrupting. No put-downs. Only calm voices are allowed

Then practice using this skill as a family. Another negotiation skill kids can do by themselves is to use tie-breakers such as “rock, paper, scissors,” drawing straws or following the rule that “Whoever went first last time goes last this time.” Kitchen timers can also reduce squabbles over sharing.

7. Talk About the Future

Encourage children to think beyond the here and now, as appropriate for their age. For example, with a young child you might take about the next day or with an older child, the coming summer. This is particularly important because, as author Mel Levine has written in A Mind at a Time, we are experiencing an epidemic of “career unreadiness.” Levine believes there are four major qualities common in young people who make success life transitions:

  1. They are self-aware,
  2. They are keen observers of the outside world,
  3. They possess certain “tools” (the ability to master skills, develop work efficiency, and think productively), and
  4. They are strong communicators.

Final Thoughts (from who could be better) Confucius

My favorite parenting quote is from Confucius:

“The most beautiful sight in the world is a child going confidently down the road of life after you have shown the way.”

Tape it to your mirror so you don’t forget your real goal in parenting!

*********************************************************************************************************************Borba - book cover -parentingsolutions140x180

Dr Borba’s book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research. The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is available at amazon.com.

Sensory Friendly Screening of The Boss Baby Tomorrow at AMC

Last updated on April 10th, 2017 at 06:40 pm

Since 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and with other special needs ”Sensory Friendly Films program“ – 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.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! “It can be challenging enough to bring ANY child to a movie theater” says PedSafe Special Needs Parenting Expert Rosie Reeves. “For a parent with a special needs child attempting an outing like this may seem overwhelming. And yet getting out, being with the community and sharing in an experience with an audience can be invaluable for just such children”.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing The Boss Baby tomorrow, Saturday, April 8th at 10am (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).

Also in April: Ghost in the Shell (Tues, 4/11), Smurfs: The Lost Village (Sat, 4/22) and The Fate of the Furious (Tues, 4/25),

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Editor’s note: Although The Boss Baby has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some mild 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 family.

Study: Can Music Help Premature Babies Sleep and Feed?

Last updated on April 17th, 2017 at 08:00 pm

music-and-premature-babies“Playing music to premature babies ‘helps them sleep and improves their breathing’,” is the headline in the Daily Mail about research into the effects of ‘music therapy’ on premature babies.

While positive effects were found, it is still unclear whether this will lead to tangible health improvements.

The researchers in this study speculate that being born premature could be traumatic (from an acoustic perspective) for two reasons:

  • The baby is prematurely separated from the sound of the mother’s heartbeat and the sounds they were accustomed to in the womb
  • The baby is ‘plunged’ into the noisy environment of a neo-natal intensive care unit

Researchers wanted to see whether exposing premature babies to more comforting sounds could help compensate for these proposed sources of trauma.

They investigated three types of live music therapy, administered with the help of a certified music therapist:

  • A lullaby or any other song chosen by the parent that was modified to be like a lullaby, preferably sung by a parent
  • An instrument designed to replicate womb sounds
  • An instrument that sounded like a heartbeat

The researchers found that the therapies were associated with slowing of infants’ heartbeats, calmer breathing, and improved feeding and sleep patterns. The therapies were also associated with decreased stress levels in the parents.

It is unclear whether music therapy does improve premature babies’ health outcomes. For example, if infants receiving music therapy are able to leave hospital earlier or have better long-term health outcomes.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the Beth Israel Medical Centre, New York and was funded by the Heather on Earth Music Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides funding for music therapy programmes in children’s hospitals.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics. This article was open access, meaning that it can be accessed for free in full from the journal’s website.

This research was well-covered by the Daily Mail. The paper also contains an aside (presumably included in an accompanying press release) that one parent chose to sing a ‘lullabied’ version of Marvin Gaye’s soul classic ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ and another chose 70’s funk standard ‘Pick up the Pieces’ by Average White Band.

What kind of research was this?

This was a randomised crossover trial that aimed to determine whether three different live music interventions in premature infants could affect:

  • Physiological functions, such as heart and respiratory rates, oxygen saturation levels and activity levels
  • Developmental function such as sleep patterns, feeding behaviour and weight gain

The three interventions administered with the help of a certified music therapist were:

  • A lullaby, either Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or any other song chosen by the parent which was modified to be like a lullaby, preferably sung by a parent
  • An ‘ocean disc’ musical instrument, which is a round disc containing metal beads that aims to replicate womb sounds
  • A ‘gato box’, a 2- or 4-tone wooden box or drum that is played with the fingers to provide a rhythm in a manner that simulates the heartbeat sound that the baby would hear in the womb

The ocean disc and the gato box were played live and were coordinated to the infant’s breath rate. All infants received each of the three possible treatments (lullaby, gato box, ocean disc) as well as a control where no sound stimulation was given.

A randomised crossover trial is similar to a randomised control trial, but after a participant has received one treatment they are swapped over to another treatment arm, meaning that all participants received all three treatments and the control.

The trial design does have the disadvantage that the benefits obtained from one treatment might still be present when a second treatment is tested.

What did the research involve?

The researchers recruited 272 premature infants aged at least 32 weeks old with respiratory distress syndrome, clinical sepsis and/or small size for gestational age in neonatal intensive care units.

The infants received each of the three possible treatments (lullaby, gato box or ocean disc) or no explicit sound stimulation (to act as a control).

Each treatment was given twice during the two-week trial (three treatments per week). The day each treatment was given and the time of day (morning or afternoon) was randomised. If the infant received an intervention in the morning, the control was given in the afternoon and vice versa. The interventions were delivered by music therapists in conjunction with parents.

Heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and activity level were measured at one-minute intervals during the 10-minute phase before the intervention, the 10-minute phase during, and the 10-minute phase after the intervention.

The researchers also analysed the infants’ vital signs, feeding behaviours, and sleep patterns daily during the two-week period.

In addition, self-perceived stress levels in parents of infants in neonatal intensive care were assessed before and after the two-week trial.

What were the basic results?

Activity Level

The percentage of ‘quiet-alert time’ (one of several states of alertness ascribed to newborns) increased during a lullaby. After the lullaby, it decreased.

Heart Rate

All three interventions showed a significant effect over time (before, during, after) on heart rate. Heart rate decreased the most during the lullaby and gato box interventions, and after the ocean disc treatment.

Respiratory Rate

The ocean disc also decreased the number of inspirations per minute during and after the treatment.

Developmental Behaviours

Use of the ocean disc was associated with increased ‘positive sleep patterns’ and ‘sucking pattern behaviour’ increased after the gato box treatment.

Parental Stress

The music interventions were also associated with a decrease in parents’ perception of stress.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers conclude that the live sounds and lullabies applied by a certified music therapist can influence cardiac and respiratory function, may improve feeding behaviours and sucking patterns, and may increase prolonged periods of quiet-alert states. These interventions also decrease the stress felt by parents of premature infants.

Conclusion

This research has found that live music therapies may slow infants’ heartbeats, calm their breathing, improve sucking behaviour important for feeding, improve sleep patterns and promote states of quiet alertness.

Different interventions led to different patterns of improvement, but all three types of musical therapy appeared to have a positive effect on the infant. The therapies also seemed to help the parents of premature infants feel less stressed.

Although this research is interesting, it is still unclear whether music therapy can lead to tangible health improvements, for example, the researchers did not measure whether infants receiving music therapy were able to leave hospital earlier or had better long-term health outcomes.

There are also practical considerations in that access to musical therapists is likely to be limited.

Despite these limitations, the study seems to provide a degree of evidence that the deep-seated human instinct to sing lullabies to your baby does them good.

For more information, read Getting your baby to sleep

Analysis by Bazian. Edited by NHS Choices. Follow Behind the Headlines on Twitter.

Summary

“Playing music to premature babies ‘helps them sleep and improves their breathing'” is the headline in the Daily Mail about research into the effects of ‘music therapy’ on premature babies. While positive effects were found, it is still unclear.

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Child Health & Safety News 4/3: A Dangerous Social Media Habit

Last updated on April 7th, 2017 at 02:16 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Safety News: Concerns arise about child safety in school zone crossings – how to decrease kids being hit by cars http://bit.ly/2oSSnfJ

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 social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we miss something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of this past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
The Dangerous Social Media Habit We Need To Quit https://t.co/sRpraJiTXr
Pls read & share w/your kids!