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Child Health & Safety News 10/16: Home Fire Drill 2 Minute Test

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Safety News: What pediatrician mothers want you to know bit.ly/2xp4Pwh

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.

  • Sesame Street, World Vision partnership now in 11 countries, reaching refugee kids with lifesaving health & hygiene lessons bit.ly/2zblL67 2017-10-15
  • UK restaurant tricks putting your child’s health at risk with jaw-dropping levels of salt, fat & sugar dailym.ai/2gcIzek 2017-10-15
  • Fidgets can enhance concentration, provide calming for special needs students bit.ly/2xETxEh 2017-10-15
  • Facebook Says Its Fake News Label Helps Reduce The Spread Of A Fake Story By 80% bzfd.it/2hFFpjs 2017-10-14
  • AAPedDentists issued the 1st evidence-based guideline on the use of SDF to treat cavities in pediatric patients bit.ly/2geNMWC 2017-10-14
  • Health Care Cuts Put 50,000 Hudson Valley Children at Risk bit.ly/2xC7T3j 2017-10-13

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
The Old School Family Safety Drill You Still Need to Practice bit.ly/2xzeuf7
Could Your Family Pass the 2 Minute Evacuation Test?

  • When Should Your Child Have a First Eye Exam? cle.clinic/2z2si2S 2017-10-13
  • How to Stop Cyberbullying: Digital Citizenship for Children zpr.io/ngE6w 2017-10-13
  • My Little Pony: The Movie is Sensory Friendly 2x in October at AMC zpr.io/ngxQP 2017-10-13
  • Special Needs Kids Are All Around Us – Please Teach Acceptance – Thurs Time Capsule bit.ly/2yhDpYK 2017-10-12
  • Are You Keeping Your Grandkids Safe?? bit.ly/2fYaA8Y 2017-10-11
  • Bullying harms children’s mental health, but for how long? bit.ly/2fXn4Ok  2017-10-11
  • Is Your Teenager In An Abusive Relationship? You CAN Help!zpr.io/ngfPk 2017-10-11
  • Babywearing improves child’s health, promotes attachment bit.ly/2fQBjV7 2017-10-10
  • Ending child marriage critical to achieving sustainable development goals – affects 15 million girls each year bit.ly/2yafeLf 2017-10-09
  • Child Oral Health Concerns bit.ly/2yQnSfi 2017-10-09
  • Carbon Monoxide is a Silent Killer…How to Keep Your Family Safe zpr.io/n6emV 2017-10-09
  • Sensory Friendly Screening: Blade Runner 2049 Tomorrow at AMC zpr.io/n6eXq 2017-10-09

Shame Nation: Choose To Be Part Of “The Solution”

It was July and I was at home when I got a call from my niece.  She and my sister were driving somewhere, and I remember this particular call because it went something like this…

    • “Hey Aunt Stef…you’ve got to check this out…it’s the funniest thing…You remember when we did that show Legally Blonde?  Well there’s this group of young kids, and I guess they did a performance of it too, only their teacher video-taped it and posted it on YouTube and oh my G-d Aunt Stef, it’s awful.  I mean it’s so bad it’s funny.  You’ve got to watch it.  Here let me text you some of it.” 
    • No that’s ok babe, I don’t need to see it”…
    • “Really Aunt Stef, it’s sooo funny, mom watched it and she thought it was hysterical.  I can’t believe their teacher posted this.  It went viral so fast it’s incredible.  Look I know it’s really long but you can fast forward through some of it, I’ll tell you where the funniest parts are”.
    • Honey…how old are these kids?”  
    • “I don’t know…I think they’re in middle school… Look Aunt Stef I’ve got to go, I just texted it to you…watch it later and tell me what you think. You’re going to die laughing…. I love you!!”

I didn’t check it out.  But I also didn’t tell her not to.  And that bothered me.  Something felt really wrong with this video. I was worried about those little kids…I was worried FOR those little kids.  How old were they.  How long had this been going viral, and how many people around the world were laughing at them.  I knew for a fact my niece and her friends at school were…and still, even though it bothered me…I said and did nothing.

When I look back at it now, I think it’s because my niece and her friends weren’t bad or mean kids. Actually quite the opposite. My niece is a gifted and talented young actress studying at a high school for the arts, and I am incredibly proud of her, but for a very different reason. I can say without a doubt that she is one of the nicest, kindest people I know, and she would NEVER deliberately hurt someone!  In fact, she feels things very deeply. Yet she missed this! She didn’t see the pain she and the other people watching and laughing over that video were causing.

How the heck did we get here??? To this place where we can sit in a room and make fun of someone who is not there to defend themselves and have no sense at all that our laughing at them could be hurting them.

That is EXACTLY what nationally recognized speaker, parent advocate, and Internet safety expert Sue Scheff explores with the help of journalist, YA author, and blogger Melissa Schorr in her newly released book Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate. Sue knows firsthand how devastating cyber shaming can be. In 2006 she won a landmark case for Internet defamation and invasion of privacy. Now a leader in the movement against cyber bullying, she focuses on teaching others how to avoid virtual cruelty and how to effectively react when it occurs. 

According to Shame Nation, psychologists point to several factors that have allowed online cruelty like this to flourish:

  • the anonymity of the Internet;
  • the distance, or lack of face-to-face contact, with a victim,
  • mob mentality run amok,
  • lack of gatekeepers and
  • lack of consequences.

Taken together these factors have become known as the “online disinhibition effect”, the notion that people behave far differently online than they would in reality.

But it’s more than that. It’s also due in part to our failure to instill empathy in young people, and Shame Nation explores this as well. Parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba, EdD, author of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World makes a strong case that a decrease in basic empathy has created a culture ripe for online attacks. The inability to see those on the other side of the computer screen as people deserving of our compassion is a huge driver. Instead of feeling sad for their pain, we make it funny. We sit at home and watch the “People of Walmart” and laugh as people are publicly shamed. You don’t see or feel the hurt…it’s so far removed, it’s not “real”.

That was what happened with the middle-school performance of Legally Blonde.  My niece missed the ball on this one.  There was an opportunity to be an “Upstander” …not just a bystander…or worse, add to the teasing and humiliation, and she missed it.  But whose fault was that really?  If I’m being honest, it was mine

I’m the adult, I set the example. This means I and the other adults in her life need to know what’s happening out in the cyber-world so I can educate her.  So she knows what to look for to avoid becoming a victim…or inadvertently a bully.

And while we’re on this subject, I know some of you may be thinking “lock her in her room and for anything other than schoolwork, shut off the internet and all those damn devices” is the answer. But while it may sound good on paper, realistically, I can’t tell her to stay off-line. No-one can. For better or worse, this is a connected world we live in…all of us… kids and adults. Going off the grid is just not an option – and it won’t save her. As Nancy Jo Sales describes in her book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, “I spoke to girls who said, “Social media is destroying our lives.  But we can’t go off it, because then we’d have no life.”

So my niece is on the grid (and I am guessing if you are reading this, so is a child you care about), and she is not getting off any time soon – not as a child, and realistically not as an adult.  But I can help her. I can:

  • Teach her how to avoid trouble: give her guidelines for online sharing; show her how to protect her online identify and run regular checkups to make sure no-one is damaging her reputation
  • Teach her how to control a disaster if things go wrong: how to document, block, report and identify someone trying to harm her.
  • Teach her how to get support: to take advantage of resources like HeartMob and Crisis Text Line and Online SOS…and know there are systems in place providing help, from simple letters of support to full-on legal aid, if she finds herself a victim of a digital attack.

Because that’s what I learned from Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate

And finally, I can Teach her to be an Upstander. I can explain what that word is, why it’s important to stand-up for someone else.  And then I can apologize for not doing that…and for failing her and those kids. And that’s when I realized if I didn’t do something right at that moment, I would be failing them both again.

So I picked up the phone and called her.  And it was a difficult call. Because while it was about something she had done, in truth, it was more about what I hadn’t done. And my very sensitive niece brought up an excellent argument – one I’m betting every one of you will have to deal with at some point, because it’s really fundamental to the Upstander / bystander question:

  • “But Aunt Stef, I don’t think there’s really anything I could have done…there were millions of people…that post went viral”.

She had a point – but then again, that’s the battle every single person faces when they’re being bullied online.  They’re one person and it feels like they’re fighting the world. That’s what made this book so insightful, and so powerful, at least for me.  What do you do…what can you do…if you come up against this situation…  Whether you are living this or just witnessing this.  This was my answer…

“Well, hon, what do you think about this”…and I gave her an example I had read (thank you Sue) about a heavy-set middle-aged man who was being publicly humiliated.  All he did was dance at a local bar with friends, but someone captured it on video and posted it and the rude comments started coming in from all over.  Until two women in LA created a #FindDancingMan twitter campaign, said “I’d dance with that guy”, and created a movement that turned the shaming into a party of compassion.

    • “I’m not saying you have to create a “dancing man campaign” but do you think you and your friends could come up with something creative that might make those kids feel even just a little bit better?”

     

      • I don’t know…maybe”.

And just like that, this HUGE weight came off my shoulders.  She didn’t have to have an answer… that wasn’t the magic pill here.  She’s a brilliant kid with a big heart and this hit home.  I stood up for those kids…and for her …and I think when she has an opportunity, she will stand up for someone else.

It has to start somewhere…  That day, it started with us…

How to Stop Cyberbullying: Digital Citizenship for Children

“Cyberbullying” or “electronic aggression” means deliberately using technology such as smartphones, the internet, social media, or gaming environments to harass, humiliate, badmouth, or threaten someone. Like any form of bullying, cyberbullying can poison someone’s joy in life, reputation, and well being. An antidote is a substance that can counteract a form of poisoning, and teaching digital citizenship can be a powerful antidote to cyberbullying.

A citizen is an inhabitant of a place – and the online world is a place where most young people live a great deal of the time. According to Mike Ribble, author of Digital Citizenship in Schools and Raising a Digital Child, parents and educators are often like immigrants to the online world, while their children are like digital natives.

Many adults are intimidated because technology changes constantly and rapidly, and it can be hard to keep up with it unless you grew up with it. Fortunately, the values and behavior of a good citizen are the same regardless of whether you are online or in the “real” world.

A commitment to act with respect, safety, and kindness towards yourself and others knows no boundaries. The knowledge of how to protect yourself from harmful words, whether you hear them or see them, is the same. The importance of staying mindful is relevant no matter where you are. And bullying is unsafe, disrespectful behavior, whether it happens in person, on paper, or with electrons.

Here are five steps that parents and educators can take to teach their children and teens about what it means to be a good digital citizen in ways that will help to prevent and stop cyberbullying.

1. Set a good example.

Remember that the actions of young people’s close adults have a powerful influence on what they will do. As one teacher told me, “At our small private school, parents were gossiping, online and offline, about the troubles of one family. It is not surprising that their children started posting insults about a boy in that family who was having a hard time.”

Let the children and teens in your life see you choosing to stay respectful even when you are upset. Let them see you reaching out to communicate in person directly and respectfully with someone with whom you have a problem rather than complaining behind this individual’s back. Or, if this doesn’t work, going in person to someone who is in a position to do something about the issue. Let them see you state disagreements objectively and politely, without name-calling or sarcasm. Let them see you choosing NOT to “like” or share a post or photo that is hurtful or disrespectful, even if it seems amusing. If you make a mistake, let them see you saying so – and showing how you are going to make amends.

State your disapproval when people in positions of power and prestige act in harmful or disrespectful ways, even if you appreciate their winning a game, enjoy their music or films, or agree with their politics. Model balance by turning your technology off and doing something together out in nature or with other people without being connected electronically.

2. Stay connected with your children’s worlds online and everywhere else.

Every day, thousands of kids think about ending their lives because of cyberbullying. They endure torment their own parents don’t learn about until an emergency, such as a suicide attempt, calls the problem to their attention. Tragically, this is sometimes too late.

Protect and supervise kids until they are truly prepared to make safe and wise choices themselves. Kids are safest when their adults know who is with them, what they are doing, and where they are going. Remember that with technology, even if you are side by side with a child, you won’t necessarily know what online content they are consuming unless you are looking at the same screen. Discuss the Kidpower Protection Promise with all the young people in your care: “You are very important to me. If you have a safety problem, I want to know – even if I seem too busy, even someone we care about will be upset, even if it is embarrassing, even if you promised not to tell, and even if you made a mistake. Please tell me, and I will do everything in my power to help you.” Point out that cyberbullying is a safety problem.

3. Treat kids’ freedom in the use of communication devices as a privilege, not an automatic right.

As one mother explained, “I was horrified when I learned that my daughter had texted embarrassing photos and attacking remarks about a couple of kids on her swim team. I heavily restricted her use of her devices until she wrote an essay about the harm done by cyberbullying and gave it in person along with an apology to her teammates and coach that she rehearsed with me ahead of time to make sure that it was respectful and clear. Although she was furious with me, I felt that my child needed to understand the seriousness of this kind of behavior and to make amends.”

Make clear agreements so that young people know what their responsibilities are as digital citizens. Kidpower’s free Digital Citizenship and Safety Agreement provides a template you can use and adapt for your specific needs.

4. Teach kids not to do anything online that they wouldn’t want the world to see.

One transgender teen was shocked when they found out that a boy they had trusted had encouraged them to text about their feelings about their gender identity – and then forwarded these very personal messages to a bunch of other kids, along with sneering comments. The boy who did this was shocked to discover that he got into big trouble for cyberbullying that he had thought no adult would ever know about, especially since he had deleted the forwarded messages.

Young people need to understand that even though a communication seems very private and anonymous, and even if the developers claim their platform is private, what they do using technology leaves an electronic footprint that can become public, including to potential employers or college admissions offices. In addition, even if they delete it later, an electronic communication can spread very far and very fast, with much greater consequences than they ever intended. Sending or receiving sexually explicit photos of anyone under 18 years old, even if intended to be privately shared, and even if the photos are “selfies,” can be considered child pornography and trigger serious legal consequences.

5. Teach young people how to take charge of their safety and well being, online and everywhere else.

Part of good citizenship is knowing how to act if you have a problem that harms the well being of you or someone else. If you get or see a threatening or harmful message, don’t answer back and don’t delete. Take a screenshot, and go tell an adult you trust. One boy, “Max”, asked his parents for help after a couple of former friends had put up a Facebook page saying “I hate Max” that was “liked” by hundreds of kids in his high school. As you can imagine, this experience was devastating. Max says, “What helped me was having the support of my parents who got Facebook to take the page down and who kept telling me that what happened was not my fault; going to a counselor; going to a Teenpower class to practice what to do when you have problems with people; and finding some new friends.”

Practice Kidpower ‘People Safety’ skills such as how to: protect your feelings from hurtful words; set boundaries with yourself and others; communicate and connect with people in positive ways; stay in charge of what you say or do no matter how you feel inside; move away from trouble; and be persistent in getting help from busy adults. Practice ways to speak up, say “No” and “Stop”, and use other peer diversion tactics, and practice persisting in the face of negative reactions. Practice putting your hands down and stepping away from the technology when you feel tempted to post, agree with, or share something hurtful or disrespectful. Kidpower International provides educational materials and training in how to teach these skills to people of all ages, abilities, cultures, beliefs, and identities.

Finally, understanding about digital citizenship is useful for much more than stopping cyberbullying. As defined by Mike Ribble, digital citizenship has nine major themes for describing appropriate and inappropriate uses of digital technology (Ribble, Bailey & Ross, 2004; Ribble & Bailey, 2004a). They include: Rights, Safety, Security, Access, Communication, Etiquette, Responsibility, Education, and Commerce. CommonSense Media has a free curriculum with k-12 lessons based on these themes.

 

My Little Pony: The Movie is Sensory Friendly 2x in October at AMC

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.

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 My Little Pony: The Movie on Saturday, October 14th and October 28th 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).

Still to come in October: Geostorm (Tues 10/24); My Little Pony: The Movie (Sat 10/28)

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Editor’s note: Although My Little Pony: The Movie 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 some mild 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 family.

Child Health & Safety News 10/9: Sextortion -Parents Need To Know

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: How ‘Sesame Street’ is helping kids learn to cope with trauma abcn.ws/2fYmZ0x 

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 15 events & stories.

  • Daan Utsav: Bringing Quality Healthcare To Underprivileged Children bit.ly/2hXQkJ0 2017-10-08
  • Does a Parent’s Age Have an Effect on Child Development? bit.ly/2yvh8ax 2017-10-08
  • 85% of Parents Are Giving Time-Outs Wrong bit.ly/2xoaoLH 2017-10-08
  • A growing backlash among young people disillusioned with the negative side of tech, such as online abuse & fake news bit.ly/2xkEYWg 2017-10-07
  • 3 ways to boost your child’s health through their gut bit.ly/2g0Tpr7 promoting healthy gut bacteria that can last a lifetime 2017-10-06
  • For Children With Severe Anxiety, Drugs Plus Therapy Help Best n.pr/2xdDVHJ 2017-10-06

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
Why Every Parent Needs to Know About Sextortion thebea.st/2y1e2YW
it’s the fastest growing crime against kids on the internet!

  • West VA senators back reauthorizing the 20 yr old CHIP (childrens health insur plan) which expired this month bit.ly/2yI0cdd 2017-10-06
  • Did You Know..Every 2 weeks a child dies from a “tipover”? – Thurs Time Capsule 09/11 bit.ly/2x1Lkqe  2017-10-05
  • 9 million kids get health insurance under CHIP. Congress just let it expire. wapo.st/2xQBacw  2017-10-04
  • Quarter of young people admit to bullying someone online bit.ly/2xf2e3h 2017-10-04
  • Rett Syndrome: The Little Girl’s Disease Nobody Knows zpr.io/n6Y2H 2017-10-04
  • Page Turners for Grade Schoolers bit.ly/2xOQbLZ ..books that are “safe” for young readers not quite ready for mature content 2017-10-03
  • Women’s Choice Award® Announces Best Children’s Hospitals for 2018Awards to recognize excellence in pediatric care read.bi/2xUqUl8 2017-10-03
  • Feds push flu shots; 105 US children died from the flu last year detne.ws/2xEjlQ3 2017-10-02
  • An ADHD Dog Trainer Shows Special Kids How To Use Calm Energy zpr.io/n6P5E 2017-10-02

Carbon Monoxide is a Silent Killer…How to Keep Your Family Safe

As the winter months rapidly approach and the cold starts to set in, It is inevitable that people will start to break out the heaters.  It is around this time of year that you will start to see an increase in the number of Carbon Monoxide stories in the news and especially in the hospitals.  It’s the Carbon Monoxide I would like to talk about today.

What is Carbon Monoxide and how can I tell where it is?

Carbon Monoxide or CO, is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is created from unburned Fuel Sources such as gas, oil or coal. So any appliance that uses fuel can create carbon monoxide.  Heaters, Furnaces, Dryers, Cars, Fire Places, Chimneys, Generators, Barbecues, etc.. all have the ability to create carbon monoxide.  Please make sure that any fuel burning item in your home has been properly installed and sealed, and that all manufacturer instructions for doing so have been followed.

Items that use electricity do not burn a fuel and do not emit carbon monoxide.  While these items may pose a significant risk of fire when used improperly or left unattended, they do not burn fuel and do not pose a risk of Carbon Monoxide.

Common Locations of Carbon Monoxide:

  • Automobile Garage – Cars warming up or left running in a garage will cause a build-up of Carbon Monoxide.
  • Laundry Room – Laundry machines that run on natural gas or propane can emit propane.
  • Basement – Furnaces and Heaters located in a basement or enclosed area can cause a build-up of Carbon Monoxide.
  • Kitchen – Gas Appliances like ovens can emit Carbon Monoxide.
  • Bedroom – Fuel burning heaters such as gas lamps and heaters can emit Carbon Monoxide.

What are the Signs of CO Poisoning?

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty Breathing.

How Can I Detect CO In My Home?

While CO is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas it can be detected with Carbon Monoxide monitors that can be bought at many stores.  Things to know about CO detectors before you purchase:

  • CO detectors come in many sizes.
  • CO detectors are NOT all the same. Some detect non-lethal low levels of CO while others only detect potentially lethal high levels of CO.   Please read the package on the detector you purchase.
  • Some can be hardwired to your house alarm system and some use batteries AA or 9volt batteries.

Where In My Home Should I Place CO Detectors?

  • CO detectors should be placed in areas of the house you spend the most time in. The living room, Family Room areas are great places to put them and they should also be placed outside the bedroom areas to alert occupants Before it reaches the bedrooms.
  • CO detectors should not be placed next to or near items that emit a lot of heat as it may cause the device to malfunction. As always, please read and follow the instructions on whichever device you purchase.

What should I do if my CO detector is activated OR someone in my home begins to have the symptoms of CO poisoning?

  • If the detector is activated you should immediately open doors and windows and go outside.
  • Once outside, assess to see if anyone is having symptoms of CO poisoning.
  • If anyone is having symptoms CALL 911 AND Follow the instructions they give you.
  • If the alarm continues to sound call 911 and let the fire department clear the home.

For more information on Carbon monoxide you can contact the following:

  • Your local Fire Department
  • Underwriter Laboratories – 1-847-272-8800
  • Utility Companies in your area. The Gas company for example.

As always, I urge everyone to err on the side of caution and CALL 911 if any concern exists about CO in your home. Please be safe and use your items carefully. Here in South Florida during hurricane Irma there were fatalities due to CO because people ran generators and motors inside of their homes while they slept and succumb to CO poisoning.  Always run motors and any fuel burning device in an opened, ventilated area!

Be Safe and stay warm.

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