Child Health & Safety News 2/19: 80% of Kids in Russia Beat Cancer

Last updated on March 4th, 2018 at 02:22 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Warren Buffett’s sister donates $105.8 million for behavioral health center for children

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 overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed.  Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Russian child cancer survival rates higher than 80%, Health Ministry reveals   

How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth From Valentine’s Day Candy

Last updated on March 4th, 2018 at 02:22 pm

Like anything that we consider “unhealthy” — French fries, soda, or ice-cream — moderation is key. It’s the same when it comes to Valentine’s Day candy for your child.

Although baby teeth develop cavities at a far faster rate than adult teeth do, it’s ok for your child to enjoy a small amount of sugar every now and then. The key is to limit how much and how often the holiday messenger hearts or chocolate covered caramels are consumed.

Here are a few important tips to keep in mind when you’re helping your child choose or sort through Valentine’s treats for their class:

Encourage Non-Edible Valentines. These days, it seems like every time we turn around, there’s another class party, holiday, and junk food to go along with it. Encourage your child’s teacher to promote non-edible items like stickers, pencils, notepads, or other gifts instead of all 20 students buying candy for one another. Even if the entire class doesn’t join in, your student can make a difference in their own personal gift choices.

Avoid Stickier Candies. Sticky items like caramel or taffy tend to adhere to teeth for hours at a time, keeping sugar in contact with the teeth. If your child is in braces, there’s also a risk of the brackets getting pulled off when they bite into tacky-textured treats. A better option is to go with chocolate candies that melt away within a matter of minutes.

Eat Candy with Your Meal. Instead of having Valentine’s Day candy as a snack, or nibbling on a few pieces here and there throughout the day, encourage your child to eat it with their school lunch or right after dinner. What this does is limit the length of time that acid byproducts etch away at tooth enamel. More frequent snacking just means more acid on their teeth throughout the day. After a couple of days, throw out the leftovers.

Double Down on the Fluoride. Make sure your child is using a fluoridated toothpaste each day. Adding in a fluoride-based mouthwash can help to target hard-to-reach areas around times when you know your child’s smile is going to be exposed to extra sugar. Fluoride treatments at their regular checkups are one of the best ways to strengthen teeth against decay.

Regular dental visits make it easy for your family to receive preventive services that limit your child’s risk of developing cavities. Schedule your next visit with your dentist today!

Connecting Kids to the World, One Class at a Time: Meet Empatico

Last updated on March 4th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

Empatico is the newest initiative of The Kind Foundation.

It is a free learning tool, an online platform designed to digitally connect classrooms from across the globe. The project wants to promote empathy in children by showing them how diverse the international community is. Teachers are able to connect to other classrooms and together they complete activities using live video conferencing.

We at Pediatric Safety thought this was a brilliant idea, so we caught up with Empatico’s Business Development Manager Christina Bruno and asked her to tell us more about the project.

Where did the inspiration for Empatico come from? 

Our vision is to create meaningful moments for students and teachers to realize the world is a bigger place than they knew and to foster a lifetime of curiosity, kindness, and empathy. When we started out, we knew many teachers were already doing this work – connecting their classrooms and providing unforgettable experiences for their students to meet peers around the world – and we wanted to make it as easy as possible so that more classrooms, no matter what their experience, have an opportunity to connect. Making global connections in order to understand our shared humanity has been a long-term passion of our founder, our team, and the educators we worked with to build Empatico, and we also believe it is particularly relevant in this current climate.

How has the feedback on the project been so far?

Teachers are already sharing with us the positive impact Empatico has had on their students. They’re learning what other communities look like, how their peers from different places play and contribute to their communities, and they’re starting to realize their commonalities and become curious about their differences. We’ve also received feedback on how easy it is to use Empatico – teachers are automatically matched with another classroom based on their availability and interest in activities, and our activity plans provide teachers with all the resources they need for a successful connection. We’re in our early days, though, and we know the opportunity to bring this experience to many more students is still ahead of us.

Perspective is one of the greatest allies in creating a more compassionate world. What other steps do you think parents and teachers can take to help children gain a broader perspective as they grow up?

We completely agree! Parents and teachers can do many things in their day-to-day conversations with children to reinforce the skills taught in Empatico activities, like critical thinking and perspective-taking. For example, parents and teachers can challenge assumptions and encourage students to explore the world to find out their own answers by asking questions about new experiences, like traveling to a new place or meeting new people. It’s important for children to realize that many people they meet will have a unique way of perceiving the world and a different way of doing things than they do. When children recognize such differences, help them get into the habit of asking: “What is life like for that person? Are there other pieces to the story that I’m missing?” Parents and teachers can show children the value in learning from different perspectives and help them understand how different perspectives can influence behavior as well as change over time. This can be reinforced in role play exercises or when reading stories, watching movies, or even during discussions with peers.

What were some of the challenges you had to overcome while developing this initiative?

One of the greatest challenges we face is how to bring live video connections to as many classrooms as possible around the world, even if they have limited access to technology. Empatico was designed as a classroom-to-classroom experience rather than a student-to-student experience as a way to partially solve this challenge, so classrooms only require one device rather than many. Of course, there’s never a guarantee that technology will work perfectly, but we hope to make it significantly easier. We’ve also made it a priority to open access and target outreach to countries all over the world, rather than restrict access.

We also face the challenge of this kind of virtual connection being a regular part of school–on the whole, few teachers regularly teach this way. There are many teachers who have been pioneers in global connection and education, and we hope Empatico can help encourage many many more teachers to use technology in this way. We believe the right tool can help move global education and connection from the pioneer teachers to the masses, and we think making an easy and intuitive tool like Empatico plays a big part in achieving this goal. All students deserve the opportunity to see the world.

The website says you are currently in the beginning stages of this project. How large do you anticipate it becoming in the future? What other features can we look forward to seeing?

By the end of 2020, our hope is to reach more than one million students. To accomplish this goal, we’ll focus first and foremost on building a great tool for and with teachers. In parallel, we’ll work with partners, including NGOs in the education space, networks of schools and teachers, districts, and Ministries of Education to build awareness and increase adoption. New features will depend largely on the feedback we receive from our earliest users. A few potential areas of expansion include providing content for different age groups (beyond 8-10 year olds), offering translation to languages beyond English, and providing asynchronous opportunities for classrooms to connect when live video is not possible. 

What is your favorite part of being involved in this initiative?

I’m excited to be part of something bigger that can potentially change the way people perceive and interact with each other around the world. If you think about the ripple effects of reaching students early in life with an experience like Empatico, we have the potential to reach millions of people over time.

My favorite part is that it’s hard to choose just one reason to love Empatico… Our activities prepare students for future success by building 21st century skills like respectful communication, critical thinking, perspective-taking, and collaboration. And we combine the best parts of technology with the best aspects of humanity to ultimately help students better navigate their classrooms, communities, and world. What’s not to love?!


After we found out about Empatico, we mentioned it to one of our PedSafe Experts, internationally recognized child character development and empathy expert Dr. Michele Borba. As it turns out, not only had she heard of it, but she had already spoken to them about the project.

We asked her to share her thoughts with us.

“New research reveals that empathy plays a surprising role in predicting kids’ happiness and success. Rather than being a nice “add-on” to our kids’ development-it is, in fact, integral to their current and future success, happiness, and well-being. And empathy the good news is that it is a quality that can be taught and a talent that kids can improve, like riding a bike or learning a foreign language.”


“We are more likely to empathize with those “like us”- our same gender, race, income, educational background, and culture. But we are raising our children in a global world where they will be exposed to differences. It’s why Forbes urges companies to adopt empathy and perspective-taking principles and the Harvard Business Review named it as one of the essential ingredients for leadership success and excellent performance.” Helping children step out of their comfort zones, widen their circles of caring and experience different perspectives: like visiting museums, reading books with diverse characters, having a variety of friends. Empatico is a powerful way to open their hearts to children of different cultures. It’s all why we must get kids to switch their focus from “I, Me, My. Mine” to “We, Us, Our, Ours.” And it’s up to adults to offer real and meaningful experiences to help them do so.”


Michele Borba, Ed.D. author of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

Cultivating empathy is without a doubt one of the most important things we can do to progress our global society. We are grateful for businesses and authors like The Kind Foundation and Dr. Borba for setting an example and helping create positive change.

Beyond Flu What Illness Should You Watch Your Child For

Last updated on March 4th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

Children’s colds

It’s normal for a child to have 8 or more colds a year.

This is because there are hundreds of different cold viruses and young children have no immunity to any of them as they’ve never had them before.

They gradually build up immunity and get fewer colds. Most colds get better in 5 to 7 days.

Here are some suggestions on how to ease the symptoms in your child:

  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids.
  • Saline nose drops can help loosen dried snot and relieve a stuffy nose. Ask your pharmacist, GP (*physician) or health visitor about them.
  • If your child has a fever, pain or discomfort, children’s paracetamol (*acetaminophen) or ibuprofen can help. Children with asthma may not be able to take ibuprofen, so check with your pharmacist, GP or health visitor first. Always follow the instructions on the packet.
  • Encourage the whole family to wash their hands regularly to stop the cold spreading.

Cough and cold remedies for children

Children under 6 shouldn’t have over-the-counter cough and cold remedies, including decongestants (medicines to clear a blocked nose), unless advised by a GP or pharmacist.

Children’s sore throats

Sore throats are often caused by viral illnesses such as colds or flu.

Your child’s throat may be dry and sore for a day or two before a cold starts. You can give them paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce the pain.

Most sore throats clear up on their own after a few days. If your child has a sore throat for more than 4 days, a high temperature and is generally unwell or unable to swallow fluids or saliva, see your GP.

Children’s coughs

  • Children often cough when they have a cold because of mucus trickling down the back of the throat.
  • If your child is feeding, drinking, eating and breathing normally and there’s no wheezing, a cough isn’t usually anything to worry about.
  • If your child has a bad cough that won’t go away, see your GP. If your child also has a high temperature and is breathless, they may have a chest infection.
  • If this is caused by bacteria rather than a virus, your GP will prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection. Antibiotics won’t soothe or stop the cough straight away.
  • If a cough continues for a long time, especially if it’s worse at night or is brought on by your child running about, it could be a sign of asthma.
  • Some children with asthma also have a wheeze or breathlessness. If your child has any of these symptoms, take them to the GP.
  • If your child seems to be having trouble breathing, contact your GP, even if it’s the middle of the night.
  • Although it’s upsetting to hear your child cough, coughing helps clear away phlegm from the chest or mucus from the back of the throat.
  • If your child is over the age of 1, try a warm drink of lemon and honey.

Find out more about coughs.


A child with croup has a distinctive barking cough and will make a harsh sound, known as stridor, when they breathe in. They may also have a runny nose, sore throat and high temperature.

Croup can usually be diagnosed by a GP and treated at home. But if your child’s symptoms are severe and they’re finding it difficult to breathe, take them to the nearest hospital’s accident and emergency (A&E) department (*ER).

Read more about the symptoms of croup.

Children’s ear infections

Ear infections are common in babies and small children. They often follow a cold and sometimes cause a high temperature. A baby or toddler may pull or rub at an ear.

Other possible symptoms include fever, irritability, crying, difficulty feeding, restlessness at night and a cough.

If your child has earache, with or without fever, you can give them paracetamol or ibuprofen at the recommended dose. Try one first and, if it doesn’t work, you can try giving the other one.

Don’t put any oil, eardrops or cotton buds into your child’s ear unless your GP (*physician) advises you to do so.

Most ear infections are caused by viruses, which can’t be treated with antibiotics. They’ll just get better by themselves, usually within about 3 days.

After an ear infection, your child may have a problem hearing for 2 to 6 weeks. If the problem lasts for any longer than this, ask your GP for advice.

Find out more about ear infection (otitis media).

Glue ear in children

Repeated middle ear infections (otitis media) may lead to glue ear (otitis media with effusion), where sticky fluid builds up and can affect your child’s hearing. This may lead to unclear speech or behavioural problems.

If you smoke, your child is more likely to develop glue ear and will get better more slowly. Your GP can give you advice on treating glue ear.

See glue ear for further information.

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

NHS Choices logo


Child Health & Safety News 2/12: Senate Funds Health Programs

Last updated on March 4th, 2018 at 02:17 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: States need U.S. help to protect drug-affected infants 

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 overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed.  Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Senate Budget Deal Would Give A Boost To Health Programs

How to Tell if Your Child Has a Concussion

Last updated on March 4th, 2018 at 02:17 pm

Head Injuries and Concussions.

When in doubt, Check it out.

Concussions have gotten a lot of press lately and when we think about concussions, we typically think of sports and athletes but the truth is that concussions and possible head injuries can happen anywhere and while we cannot have our children walk around with a helmet everywhere they go, we can be aware of the most common signs and symptoms of head injuries and possible concussions so that we, as parents, can make better decisions for the safety of our children.

Please allow me to preface this information with a better safe than sorry approach. If you, at any time, feel that your child has suffered a blow to the head and feel that they should have an exam to be sure everything is ok, then do it. You can drive the child to the hospital if the child has no signs or symptoms or you can call 911 and have them taken to the ER if the child is showing any of the following signs or symptoms.

How does a concussion happen? A concussion can happen when the head receives a severe blow or the body can be shaken to the point that it effects the brain. This can happen from something as small as a fall from tripping or something as severe as a football tackle or baseball hit to the head.

What are the most common signs and symptoms of a concussion that I should be looking for?

  • Severe Headaches. With the child receiving a blow to the head, a headache might be expected but if the headache persists or becomes severe then a trip to have it assessed is in order.
  • Your child is not acting like their normal self. The tricky part of head injuries is that they do not have to manifest immediately. Some signs and symptoms can take hours to start manifesting themselves and observation of the child is in order. If the child is not acting as they normally do, for example a child that is suddenly sluggish or unable to focus or remember things could possibly have a head injury and needs to be examined.
  • Nausea and or Vomiting. It is not uncommon for a person with a head injury to become nauseous or vomit shortly after sustaining the injury.
  • A loss of coordination. A person who has suffered a head injury or concussion may lose coordination and may not be able to walk or even stand.
  • Vision problems. Blurred vision or a loss of vision in one or both eyes is a sign of a head injury. The best answer, in this case, is calling 911. There is no timetable on how long this could last and it is best to have this person transported and evaluated at the hospital.
  • Slurred Speech. This is one of the easier signs to assess as the person will not be able to speak as they normally do.
  • Disruption of sleep. If a child that has suffered a head injury earlier in the day or previous days is having difficulty sleeping, this is something that should be assessed by a doctor and requires immediate attention.

While this is just a list of some of the most common symptoms, the ultimate decision is up to you. As I said above and as I tell all of the patients I encounter with these types of injuries. To know for sure we need to go get it looked at. The longer these symptoms go undiagnosed and untreated, the worse they can become and the greater damage they can cause. When in doubt check it out.