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Health Hazards

POSTED: Friday, June 14, 2013, 5:11 PM
On Nov. 12, Leslie Gudel shut down the company she had founded to market her Nap Nanny products.

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Baby Matters LLC of Berwyn, Pa., is announcing a voluntary recall of all models of its Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners and covers. This recall is announced as part of the settlement of an administrative case filed by CPSC in December 2012, which sought a mandatory recall of the Nap Nanny and Chill products.

From 2009 to the present, the Commission staff has received at least 92 incident reports involving the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill products, including five infant deaths.

For more information, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

POSTED: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 6:05 AM

Planning a trip abroad for the summer?  Consider potential health risks that may lurk at your destination. It’s important to check with your doctor to find out what precautions, such as vaccines or medications, can help protect your family.

Here’s why. While virtually nonexistent in the United States, measles is still a common disease in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. This vaccine preventable disease infects about 20 million people and kills about 164,000 people per year. The majority of these deaths are among children, and more than half of these deaths occur in India. Measles can also make a pregnant woman miscarry or give birth prematurely. 

What about polio?  It has been decades since a case of polio has been reported in the U.S. In fact, that disease has been completely eliminated worldwide. Right? Not so. Over the past several months, cases of polio have been reported in Somalia and Kenya.  This disease, which begins like many other other viral illnesses, infects the nervous system and may leave its victims paralyzed; some patients even die. 

POSTED: Friday, May 24, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: Health Hazards

Today’s guest blogger is Kevin Osterhoudt, MD, MSCE, FAAP, FACMT, emergency medicine attending physician and medical director of the Poison Control Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and associate professor of pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. For updates and more information, go to Poison Control Center’s Facebook page.

Ingestion of torch fuels, often used in the summertime to fuel patio torches or decorative candles, can lead to severe injury. The good news is that you can prevent this predictable summertime hazard before this year’s celebrations of the unofficial start to summer – the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Already in May, The Poison Control Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has taken five calls about potentially toxic exposures to these lamp oils. Two toddlers were hospitalized, one in an intensive care unit; and one adult drank some of the oil by mistake. The other two cases involved children playing with the bottle, which led to spilling or splashing the contents on the skin and face.

POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2013, 9:21 AM

We often hear marijuana isn’t that dangerous of a drug. In reality, regular use of marijuana may permanently damage a teen’s developing brain – and could lead to a reduction in IQ, other drug use, and mental health issues.

I heard a frightening and eye opening lecture by Dr. Sharon Levy of Children’s Hospital Boston about the effect of marijuana on the developing brain earlier this month at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Washington, DC.

Smoking marijuana has all the known side-effects of smoking tobacco except nicotine addiction.  So a heavy and early smoker of marijuana is increasing the probability of chronic lung disease and cancer as he or she builds up “pack-years.”  But the active ingredients in marijuana are dozens of different cannabinoids of which the best known is THC (tetra-hydro-cannabinol). The effect of these active drugs is at the endocanninoid site (also called the anandamide receptor) in the brain. 

POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2013, 9:47 AM
Polly Pocket Pollywood Limo-Scene is shown in the office of Talbots Toyland in San Mateo, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007. The toy store pulled off these items earlier in the day after it was listed on the toy recall list. Mattel recalled 9 million Chinese-made toys Tuesday, including Polly Pockets play sets and Batman action figures, because of dangers to children from lead paint or tiny magnets that could be swallowed. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Magnetic toys are attractive to everyone.  Parents want them for their kids because they’re science-related, encourage creativity, affordable, and can keep them occupied for hours. Kids want them because they are cool. These addictive toys can be used to construct endless shapes and patterns and even relieve stress. That's why magnets, in sets of 50 to 200, are also sold as desktop toys.  Tweens and teens also use magnets to create jewelry, and wear them to mimic tongue, lip, and nose piercings or studs.

Powerful magnets, made of neodymium-iron-boron, which are 10 to 20 times stronger than older magnets, called ferrite, have been increasingly available for purchase in the past few years.

Generally, most swallowed inedible objects or foreign bodies are not dangerous unless they get stuck such as bigger coins in the esophagus – the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, or have the potential to erode though the walls of the stomach or intestines such as button batteries and sharp objects. 

POSTED: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:52 AM
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled about 4,000 Ryan's Room brand Spin-A-Mals Farm and Spin-A-Mals Safari wooden puzzles. (Photo: CPSC)

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled about 4,000 Ryan's Room brand Spin-A-Mals Farm and Spin-A-Mals Safari wooden puzzles meant for children over 12 months of age. The puzzles consist of a painted, rectangular board with pegs mounted to it and removable gear and animal-shaped pieces.

Small World Toys received four reports of pegs separating from puzzle boards. No injuries have been reported. More information about the recall, contact information for Small World Toys, and photos of the puzzles can be found at the CPSC online.

Read more from the Healthy Kids blog »

POSTED: Friday, March 22, 2013, 6:00 AM

Azithromycin, a commonly prescribed antibiotic, could potentially cause a fatal irregular heart rhythm in some patients, the Food and Drug Administration warned last week

This warning will now be reflected on the drug’s label which is known as Zithromax, Zmax or as a "Z-Pack." The drug manufacturers producing the product (primarily Pfizer) also agreed with the FDA’s recommendation.

It was first reported about a year ago that azithromycin, and some other antibiotics, but not penicillins such as amoxicillin, increased the rate of cardiovascular death, and actually increased the rate of death from all causes after this antibiotic was used in adults. The rate was not insignificant being 47 additional deaths per million doses used (about 1 in every 25,000 doses), according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2012. The FDA warning also includes children, although children were not included in the original report.

POSTED: Monday, March 18, 2013, 9:56 AM

Codeine shouldn’t be given to a child for pain relief after the removal of tonsils or adenoids because the medication could cause death, according to the the Food and Drug Administration. Children have these surgeries when frequent infections of the tonsils and/or adenoids cause breathing and ear problems.

The FDA recently issued a boxed warning - its strongest warning - about the risks of taking this widely prescribed pain medication after these commonly performed surgeries in children. Codeine is a narcotic opiate pain reliever, available by prescription, alone or in combination with acetaminophen or aspirin.  It is also found in some cough and cold preparations.

The FDA's database from 1969 to 2012 identified 10 children who died, and 3 who suffered from an overdose, while taking codeine. The children ranged in age from 21 months to 9 years, were taking the appropriate dose of codeine, and showed signs of overdose within 1 to 2 days. Most of these children were taking codeine for pain relief following removal of their tonsils and adenoids, and had sleep apnea.

About this blog
The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Temple University Hospital
Christopher C. Chang, M.D., Ph.D Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Mario Cruz, M.D St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
Gary A. Emmett, M.D. Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Lauren Falini Bariatric exercise physiologist, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Crozer-Keystone Health System
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, RD Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Flaura Koplin Winston, MD, PhD Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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