Distracted Driving Kills: Please Watch With Your Teens (Video)

Alex Brown age 17,

Cady Reynolds age 16,

Margay Schee age 13,

Joe Teater age 13,

Ashley Johnson age 16,

Julie Davis age 58 – her granddaughter was 2.

Kassy Kerfoot age 18.

What do all these people have in common? They are the real names of some of the 5,500 people who die and the 500,000 people injured on our roads each year due to distracted driving. Some of the victims are innocent occupants and pedestrians who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Innocent – small consolation – dead is still dead. Most are under 20- they are our children- they are our future.

Distracted driving is texting while driving; it is talking on cell phones. It is any activity that takes the focus off of the task of safe motor vehicle operation. It only takes a moment of inattention. But enough of me rambling.

Below is a link to a video that is 3 minutes 50 seconds duration. If you watch it-you WILL be moved, you WILL make a difference in someone’s life. You will show a teenager in your family this video- you will watch it together. You will think twice before you respond to a text while driving. You will set an example for your kids to follow. Just 3 minutes and 50 seconds.

Making a difference- changing a life for the better need not take long- it usually just takes action. Please make a difference- pass this along.

For more information on teen and districted driving:

In This Brave New World, We Are EVERY Child’s Village

There are many amazing blogs by mothers of children with special needs out there in the blogosphere. Recently I read a blog post by a mother of a special needs child about the bothersome reactions strangers have to her child when out in public. I reached out to her and left a comment reminding her that up until recently special needs children were automatically institutionalized, or kept hidden away at home. Today, thanks to greater medical and psychological understanding, these children and adults are gaining acceptance and standing up for their rights. We as trailblazers must educate some of our society about this portion of our planet’s population.

My children have been involved with the CHIME Institute for many years, even though only one of them is technically considered a special needs child. CHIME believes in inclusion. While the environment is hardly perfect, at least it is a step toward improvement.

Just this morning I saw an older child laughing at the way a younger child with Downs was pronouncing something. I didn’t say anything because the younger child was too smart to give this kid the time of day, but I did catch the older one’s eye and give him a stern look. He knows I know his parents, and he shuffled away. I hope that was enough of a warning. I’ll keep my eye on him.

For a glimpse into the CHIME Institute, click here. For some great mom blog reads, click here and here. Some of the comments are great, too.

Pneumonia, Bronchitis and Kids – More Common Than You Think

Pneumonia in kids is probably more common than we all realize. It represents an infection of the lung tissue which can be caused by viral illnesses, bacterial illnesses or a type of organism that is somewhere between a virus and bacteria called mycoplasma. The most common cause of pneumonia is usually viral, but viral illnesses can predispose lung tissue to become infected with bacteria. Other ways of acquiring pneumonia are by inhalation (this is unusual but certain illnesses such as tuberculosis and anthrax may be acquired in this manner).

The best way to diagnose kids with pneumonia is through a thorough history and physical exam that your doctor will perform on your child. Another way that can be used to diagnose pneumonia is through the use of a chest X-ray, but small areas of pneumonia or early pneumonia might not show up on X-ray. Your Doctor will be able to diagnose this early on by piecing together what you tell him and his observation and examination of your child.

One thinks of pneumonia as an illness with high fever and severe productive cough but this is not always the case and sometimes all that is seen are the symptoms created by the body to help compensate for the changes occurring in the lungs. If a large amount of lung tissue is involved and it becomes difficult for the gas exchange (oxygen in and carbon dioxide out) to take place then a signal is sent to the brain to increase the rate of breathing so that more air is forced in and more oxygen can be extracted. When it is even more difficult to breathe the child may use muscles not ordinarily used to help with breathing such as abdominal muscles and neck muscles and one can observe this. With further progression of the disease less oxygen will reach the body and mild blueness or cyanosis will be seen in the skin.

OK we’ve talked about the more severe problems with pneumonia but let’s get back to the beginning and restate that most pneumonia is mild and might very well be a natural progression of a cold. In a considerable amount of children with mild pneumonia the diagnosis might never be made because it is not severe. And because most of these are viral in nature, they will clear up as the cold clears without the use of an antibiotic, and the child never exhibits the signs and symptoms mentioned in the previous paragraph.

If your Doctor pieces together the parts of the history and physical exam and decides your child might have pneumonia, and if your child appears sick or ill, he might very well begin an antibiotic because the exact nature of the pneumonia might be difficult to determine. Most of the time pneumonia can be adequately treated at home without the need for hospitalization and he/she will recover fully without any subsequent problems.

Bronchitis is a wastebasket term describing what is thought to be inflammation and mucous collection in the tubes that lead from your nose and mouth down into your lungs due to many causes- again usually viral. Any cold with a significant loose cough probably represents some degree of bronchitis or tracheitis (higher up). Generally, it also does not necessarily need an antibiotic to “cure” it because bronchitis, like mild pneumonia, will also go away as the cold resolves. There are instances, again, when your child’s doctor might very well decide to use an antibiotic for your child and those would include when your child looks sick or ill (because significant bronchitis and pneumonia can look exactly the same) or if your child has any sort of chronic lung condition such as asthma or cystic fibrosis where the chance of bacterial infection is increased.

So, especially during the winter months, if your child is diagnosed with pneumonia or bronchitis, you needn’t panic or assume the worst. Just follow your child’s doctor’s advice and he/she will be just fine.

This Saturday at AMC, FROZEN II is Sensory Friendly

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC 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. Saturday, Frozen II is Sensory Friendly at AMC.

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“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of  Frozen II on Saturday, December 14th at 10am (local time). Tickets are typically $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).

Still to come in December:  Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Tues. 12/24 & Sat. 12/28)

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Editor’s note: Although Frozen II 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 action/peril and some thematic elements.  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.

All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth

Did you know the decay from a baby tooth can affect your child’s adult teeth too? Taking care of your child’s teeth at a young age is what will help their permanent teeth develop correctly and come in healthy.

Tooth decay in infants is most commonly seen in the upper front teeth. This type of decay is known as “baby bottle” tooth decay. It’s caused from lengthy exposure of their teeth to liquids that contain sugar. As their parent, it’s up to you to make sure they get the oral hygiene they need until they are old enough to do it on their own.

  • Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth
  • When their first teeth come in, brush with a small and soft bristled toothbrush using only water
  • Monitor disproportionate sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs to avoid misalignment of teeth
  • Don’t permit your child to fall asleep with a bottle of formula, juice or milk
  • Avoid filling your child’s bottle with excessively sugary liquids
  • Let them drink tap or fountain water, if you choose to buy bottled water, make sure it contains fluoride. This will help their teeth resist decay
  • Encourage your children to brush their own teeth when they are old enough so they gain self confidence.
  • We always encourage our patients to lead by example, letting your child watch you brush teaches them the importance of good oral hygiene.

The ideal time to bring your child into the dentist is six months after their first primary teeth erupt or by their first birthday. This is the best time for the dentist to carefully examine the development of your child’s mouth. This way your dentist can help provide recommended preventive care that will help avert oral health problems.

This Holiday Season, Ask Yourself – Am I Raising a Spoiled Child?

“Spoiled! Not my kid!” Right??? Or would you admit that your child is just a tad bit spoiled?

All the polls say that most Americans feel kids today are more spoiled than ever. A TIME/CNN poll found that two out of three parents feel their kids are spoiled. A poll by the New American Dream showed 70 percent of parents believe kids are too focused on buying things. I have to say I agree with the polls. The truth is there is no gene for spoiled. We have ourselves to blame for this one. Spoiled is clearly a learned behavior and one that is none too pleasant. But the good news is that this trait can be turned around. The first step to a makeover is realizing why spoiling our kids doesn’t do them any favors. The second step is taking an honest reflection to see if your child is moving into the “spoiled category.” Here is how to get started:

The Dangers of Raising Spoiled Kids

Of course we love our kids and want the best for them. We don’t want to see them unhappy for a single second. But indulging our kids’ every little whim doesn’t do our kids any favors. In fact, there are a few dangers to overindulging kids. Here are my top four concerns:

  • Don’t win popularity contests. Forget the birthday party invitations. Spoiled kids are not pleasant to be around. Other children do not like them because spoiled kids are often bossy and selfish. Who wants to be around a kid who always wants thing to go his way, who rarely shares, and who considers his own needs first? Adults (especially teachers) are turned off to spoiled kids because they are often rude and make excessive demands.
  • Reduces perseverance. Because everything comes a bit easier, a spoiled child has a tougher time handling the downsides of life. Spoiled kids are used to getting their way ASAP so they not only may have reduced perseverance when it comes to schoolwork but also a tougher time handling advertisy and the harder parts of life.
  • Lowers self-esteem. New research shows that always getting what you want leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, more psychosomatic complaints, and worse relationships with parents.You’re also in danger of the raising an “always unsatisfied” kid who always wants more and is never appreciative.
  • Robs character. Watch out! Spoiled kids often measure their worth based on what they have instead of who they are. They have a tougher time in the “empathy” department of feeling for others (a benchmark of ethical behavior) because they are more concerned about themselves.

But how do you know if your kid is spoiled? Here is my four word review for spoiled.

A Four-Word Test For a Spoiled Kid

There are four words that typically describe spoiled children. How is your child doing? Here is my four-word test for a spoiled kid that I shared on the TODAY show:

  • “NO!” She can’t handle the word. He expects to get what she wants and usually does. Take my Toy store test. Your child is in walking down the toy aisle and wants a toy he doesn’t need. You say no. Can you kid handle no (or does he beg, nag or have a tantrum to get his way).
  • “ME!” She is self-centered and thinks the world revolves around her. She thinks more of herself than about others. She feels “entitled” and expects special favors and generally succeeds in getting them. He watches TV. You do the housework. She doesn’t like the dinner. You cook another meal just for her. He wants an extension on his homework assignment that he never got around to doing and expects the teacher to give it to him.
  • “GIMME!” A spoiled kid is more into getting than receiving, because she has so much and she just wants more. She’s generally unappreciative and a bit greedy. You can’t think of what to give her for the holidays because she already has everything. He requests things only by brand name. She bases her character on what she owns and wears instead of who she is. Do you feel more like an ATM machine than a parent?
  • “NOW!” A spoiled kid just can’t wait and wants things A.S.A.P. It’s just plain easier to give in to this child than to postpone her request. She interrupts when you’re on the phone and expects you to stop. And you do. She whines to get the cookie-n.o.w.-and can’t wait for after dinner.

Be honest…Do any of those words fit your child’s typical behavior? Any one words could indicate that your child is moving into the “spoiled” category. Here is another quick test: Do you think an outsider would consider your child spoiled? If so, it’s time for a serious makeover.

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Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy—along with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome—so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviors. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, it hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem-solve—all must-have skills for the global economy. The good news? Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured.  UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want activate our children’s hearts and shift their focus from I, me, and mine… to we, us, and ours.  It’s time to include “empathy” in our parenting and teaching!  UnSelfie is AVAILABLE NOW at amazon.com.