Marianne: June 2012 Archives
Posted by Marianne Frederick
It's summer, and schools are out. While young children are ready to play, parents are thinking how to get kids ready for the coming school year. Here's an item you may want to add to your summer to-do list: It's never too early to think about vaccinations. Summer is a good time to prepare to have young children vaccinated to protect them from the bugs that circulate when kids go back to school.
Parents and caregivers may wonder why we vaccinate children. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that many diseases which used to routinely harm and even kill infants and children in the U.S. in the recent past, have been reduced or eliminated due to the development and use of vaccines. The administration of vaccines has reduced the incidence and spread of many childhood diseases. But the viruses and bacteria responsible for vaccine-preventable diseases still "live" in the world and can be passed on to infants, children and adults who may be unprotected unless they are vaccinated. A vaccine-preventable illness can be serious for children and parents. When children are sick, they are unable to attend school and must be seen by a physician, involving doctor's appointments and even trips to the hospital emergency room.
Before the polio vaccine was developed, 13,000 to 20,000 cases of paralytic polio were documented annually in the
When your school's representative or primary care physician contacts you about your community's vaccination programs, please remember that vaccinating a child prevents the spread of diseases that can have very negative outcomes, not just for your family, but for other children and adults in your community.
Posted by Marianne Frederick
Summer begins next week. Many schools are already out, and families are beginning to take advantage of the warmer weather with vacations, outdoor activities, and having fun in the sunshine! Sunlight is good for most of us in small doses. It helps maintain good attitudes and gives us the Vitamin D to promote the absorption of calcium we get from food and dairy products that strengthens our bones. And while going to the beach and lying out in the sun may sound like a tempting idea, as parents and caregivers we need to be very careful of young children's exposure to the sun.Not only can over-exposure and repeated sunburns cause discomfort in the present (and wrinkles in later life), but repeated burning by the sun can create skin conditions that are a precursor to skin cancer.
Infants' and young children's skin burns quicker than older children and adults' skin. In young children with fair and sensitive skin, parents need to be especially alert to the possibility of sunburn. Parents also need to pay strict attention to the amount of exposure to the sun children with darker skin receive as the effects of sun burning cannot always be observed at first glance. Children who have light-colored eyes and hair, moles on the skin or a history of skin cancer in their family are at a greater risk for the kind of sun damage that can cause skin cancer. Severe sunburn can happen to any child (or adult) who receives too much exposure to the sun, and bad or repeated sunburn can cause blistering of the skin, swelling, pain and discomfort as with any burn. Parents and caregivers need to be careful to limit young children's exposure to the sun's damaging ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B rays (UVB). Here are a few tips to keep kids' time in the sun safe and fun:
- Limit young children's exposure to the sun by bringing them inside when the sun is strongest (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and encouraging them to play inside or in the shade when possible;
- Before children go out in the sun, make sure to apply sun screen amply on areas of the skin that are exposed: Noses, cheeks, chins, tops of ears, foreheads, shoulders, arms, hands, backs of necks and backs, legs, ankles and feet. Repeated applications are often necessary when kids get wet. And don't forget those areas that aren't used to being exposed... like tummies!
- If you don't know what kind of sunscreen to use, checking with your pediatrician who knows your child's skin type is a good idea. (Read the labels and know the ingredients in a sunscreen. Pay attention to the ingredients if your child has any other skin conditions or allergies!)
- When you know your child is going to be out in the sun, you may want to dress them in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing with longer sleeves, so some of their skin at least is covered. If clothing is "see-through", the sun's rays can get through, so the less skin you can see, the greater protection their clothing will be.
- Putting a hat or cap on an infant's or young child's head will help keep a child's scalp from burning and it's good if a cap has a wide brim or sunviser to shade their eyes;
- If you live near the equator where the sun's rays are strong or at a high altitude where the air is thin, your child will need more protection from the sun's rays.
- For children 5 years old and under, sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher is better protection in a sunscreen--but to make sure of the best SPF for your child, check with your pediatrician.
No matter where you are under the sun, keep young children's sun exposure to a minimum when possible and have a great summer!
Posted by Marianne Frederick
In April 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a program called, "Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock." Knowing exactly where your young children are is always important, but now that the warmest season of the year is soon to be in full swing, it becomes even more important to check to make sure your child is not in the backseat as you are locking your car.
This public service campaign by the NHTSA aims to reduce the number of young children's deaths from heatstroke and hyperthermia after having been left in vehicles which can become overheated quickly. During 2011, there were 33 deaths of young children in the U.S. from this type of hyperthermia, in 2010 there were 49--the majority of those deaths were of children under the age of 6 who had been left in vehicles whose interiors became overheated. All of the deaths were preventable. According to the NHTSA, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash fatalities for children under the age of 14. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood noted, "It is [our] hope that the simple tips from this campaign will save lives and help families avoid unnecessary heartache."
As part of the campaign, the NHTSA is releasing both radio and online advertisements focused on the theme "Where's baby? Look before you lock." In addition, the NHTSA is making a tool kit available athttp://www.safercar.gov/parents/heat-involved.htm for parents and organizations to use in local campaigns on the issue. It's important for parents and caregivers to remember that children's body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult. Heatstroke in kids left in cars can occur even when temperatures outside the vehicle are as low as 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Cars heat up quickly!
The NHTSA recommends the following tips to help parents and caregivers prevent accidental heatstroke in very young children:
- Never leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle--even if the windows are partially open and/or the air conditioner is running;
- Make a habit of looking in the vehicle front and back before walking away from the vehicle;
- Request the child care provider call you as soon as they are aware if the child does not show up for scheduled daycare, nursery school or school as expected;
- If you do not take your child to daycare and someone else does, have that person call you to confirm your baby arrived safely;
- Place reminders to yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as a child's backpack or lunch or stuffed toy--place the item in the front passenger seat so you are forced see it before exiting the car;
- Never allow your car to be a play area for any young child in your care; and
- Store your car keys up and out of a child's reach!
Especially this summer, please remember to "Look Before You Lock!" and help keep kids safe!
Posted by Marianne Frederick
Any season these fellows are out in abundance is tick season. Unfortunately, some areas of the country didn't have a hard freeze this past winter, so there may be more of these biters than usual. Ticks are mite-like arachnids and are parasitic to mammals. They live in bushes, woodlands and in tall grass, but can also be found in low-lying moist, damp areas. They exist in several sizes, from practically microscopic to the size of a pinky fingernail--and their bites can transmit diseases including Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Colorado Tick Fever and Tularemia. If you are bitten, you may get nothing--or you may get what the tick was carrying!
If you enjoy hiking and camping and you take your young children along--or any family member with a compromised immune system--it's important to do a tick check after walking or spending time in the woods or tall grass. Ticks attach themselves as you walk through leaves, by bushes or through grass. Once attached, ticks crawl to warm, moist places on the body and then proceed to draw blood.
To help children avoid ticks when walking in woods or fields, dress them in long-sleeves and long pants, tuck their shirts in their pants and pull their sock-tops above the bottoms of their pant legs, so the ticks can't reach the skin around their ankles. Dressing children in light-colored clothing will help you see the dark-colored tick if it gets on their clothing.
If your child has been bitten by a tick, you will need to remove it if it is embedded in the skin, wash the bite site and dab it with some rubbing alcohol. Tick bites are usually painless, so it's difficult for a child to know that a tick is there unless you check for and see it. In the past, people used to burn ticks and that is NOT advised, as it's a burn hazard! The best way to remove a tick is to take a tweezers (not your fingers), grip the tick as close to his embedded head as possible and slowly, steadily pull straight out from the site. Store the tick in a jar...and over the next few weeks you should watch for symptoms of any tick-borne disease. If the tick isn't removed completely, you will need to take your child to the doctor or emergency room so a health professional can remove it. If symptoms do materialize, you will want to take that tick in the jar with you to the doc, so they can determine what the tick was carrying.
Symptoms of a tick-borne disease can include swelling at the bite site (though not all tick bites do this), severe pain at the bite site, red rash, muscle-joint aches, stiff neck, swelling of lymph nodes, flu-like symptoms, difficulty breathing or apnea (cessation of breathing), weakness and uncoordinated movement. A tick bite can cause paralysis in humans, so you need to pay attention to the symptoms. If any of these symptoms develop, take your child to an emergency room as soon as possible. You can also call the National Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 whose staff will provide more information about what you need to be doing immediately following a tick bite or further symptoms. Remember to do a tick check if you walk in the woods, and in the meantime, ChildSafetyBlog.org wishes you a safe and tick bite-free summer!
Posted by Marianne Frederick
Toys 'R' Us rarely recalls toys as we have learned over the years, however, the CPSC and Toys 'R' Us are voluntarily recalling approximately 24,000 Imaginarium Activity Centers due to a choking hazard. The problem is the five-sided wooden
Fortunately, there have only been eight reports of the knobs detaching and no reports of injuries thus far. Consumers will find the model number 46284, the Toys 'R' Us item number 295909, and the barcode number 000799985462841 printed on the box the Imaginarium came in, not on the product itself.
Consumers are advised to completely remove this toy from children's access and return it to Toys 'R' Us for a full refund or store credit. Consumers can contact Toys "R" Us on their toll-free number at 1(800) 869-7787 between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Saturday and between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, or visit the firm's website at www.toysrus.com/safety.
To view a photo of the
Posted by Marianne Frederick
There's nothing so frightening to a first-time parent than a sick infant. A baby can't tell you where it hurts or what's wrong--but parents can tell when a child is fussy, feverish, lethargic or in pain. Children cry when they are hungry or need to be burped, when they are too warm or too cold, when a diaper requires changing--even when they are being held in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable position, so how do you know this crying means your wee one doesn't feel well? The American Academy of Pediatrics is a great resource for new moms and dads, and your child's pediatrician is probably the best resource for this information.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says if you have addressed all your baby's normal needs and baby is still crying, take your baby's temperature using a digital thermometer. The digital ear thermometers are good and give accurate readings but are not recommended for babies under three months. Ask your pediatrician for the best way to take your particular infant's temperature.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors tend to agree that a normal temperature reading for babies occurs between 97 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (36-38 degrees Celsius). If your baby is under three months of age and has a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, call your doctor immediately! If the baby is older than three months, appears well, is taking fluid, but has a fever (under 100.4 degrees), observe how the she appears and acts and if the fever persists for more than 24 hours or is higher than 100.4 degrees, call your doctor. Other reasons to call the doctor are any of the following symptoms along with a fever: cough, loss of appetite, signs of an earache, vomiting, diarrhea, and unusual fussiness or sleepiness.
Check with your pediatrician about medicines and fever reducers. Docs now say not to give a baby aspirin due to concerns about Reye's Syndrome, which can be fatal. Be very careful when giving medicine to your baby making sure to follow the prescription from your doctor and the directions on the package. Your baby's weight will determine the correct dosage and always use the measuring device that comes with the medicine to give your baby the correct amount of medicine. Never give your baby adult medicines in reduced quantity--this can have disastrous results! If you have questions about how to give your baby medicine correctly or if you are unsure whether you are reading the label properly, call your doctor or your pharmacist. Labels and prescriptions can often be confusing. When in doubt, call your doc!