Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D., Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Holidays are meant for sharing, spending time with family and friends, and celebrating traditions. Although injuries are not necessarily more common during the Christmas holidays, keeping our kids safe will keep the holidays festive and maximize our enjoyment.
Studies focused on injuries during the Christmas season have reported eye trauma from Christmas trees, choking from Christmas ornaments, ingestion of toxic decorative plants, and falls associated with decorations. Here are some pointers to keep our kids safe during the holidays:
- Secure and stabilize the Christmas tree so it doesn’t topple when pulled.
- Keep heavy ornaments and stocking hangers, out of reach so they don’t fall and injure young children.
- Keep electric wires secure to prevent tripping
- Keep Christmas trees well-watered and at least 3 feet away from heat sources, and make sure electric tree lights are properly wired. Don’t leave lit candles unattended. Refer to holiday fire safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration.
- Always supervise young children around fireplaces. They can touch the screen and burn their fingers.
- For households with young children, avoid hanging small ornaments, and check that tree and shrub lights are secure, to prevent choking.
- Keep decorative poisonous plants such as poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly, out of young children’s reach. The poinsettia sap can cause skin and mouth irritation or vomiting. Eating a large amount of mistletoe berries can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart, and respiratory rate, and rarely, shock or even death. Eating holly berries can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If your child ingests any of these plants, call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) immediately for advice.
- When it is cold, always dress children warmly, especially when shopping with them outdoors.
- During parties, ask about your guests’ food allergies. Request that guests with multiple food allergies bring alternate “safe” food from home.
Check out other holiday health and safety tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lauren Falini, Bariatric exercise physiologist, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
It seems like 2-years-olds are always on the move. A typical day for a toddler might involve running around the house as your chasing him, wearing himself out at the playground, and racing around on a ride on toy.
But is this enough physical activity? What kind of exercise does a toddler need? The National Association of Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that toddlers 12 to 36 months old should get at least 30 minutes of structured adult led physical activity, and at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity or free play. It is also recommended that toddlers should not spend more than one hour being inactive except when they are sleeping.
These are important guidelines. Studies have found that active children sleep better, maintain healthier weight and remain active through childhood. Being active also helps prevent diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
Anna Nguyen, Healthy Kids blog Editor
The holiday season is officially here! The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these helpful reminders to keep you and your family safe during this time of year:
- When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant."
- When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches, and needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
- When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
- Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
- Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, because heated rooms can dry live trees out rapidly.
- Check all tree lights--even if you've just purchased them--before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
- Some light strands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who might try to mouth them, and wash your hands after handling them.
- Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them.
- Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D., Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
A significant part of my work as a cognitive-behavioral therapist specializing in anxiety and related disorders is providing families with recommendations for good resources. “Good resources,” in these cases, are usually books and websites that offer general, up-to-date information on the disorder for which I am treating the child, as well as sound suggestions for at-home interventions (i.e., parent manuals). Of course I provide such psychoeducation in session, but I like parents to be able to hear the information more than once, from more than one source, and for it to be accessible to them outside of the therapy hour.
What I do not want is for families to garner information or recommendations for treatments from “unsafe” sources – that is, sources that provide information that is not scientifically supported or has been directly contradicted by science. In fact, I explicitly warn families about this, because there is so much misinformation on the web. During initial sessions, when giving my families handouts printed with what I think are the best and safest sources of information on their child’s disorder and treatment for that disorder, I typically say: “Please DO NOT put the name of your child’s diagnosis into Google search and hit ‘return.’ You will receive millions of hits, many of them from untrustworthy sources having something to sell, and you will feel even more overwhelmed than you already do. Instead, start with these I am recommending – you can always read more later.”
I've given my recommendations for resources on obsessive-compulsive disorder,for children who have difficulty with pill swallowing, and tic disorders. What follows are my current recommendations for good resources on school refusal.
Anita Kulick, President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
The hottest news lately seems to be a football story that has very little to do with the game. It’s about a Miami Dolphins player bullying a teammate or is it? That’s certainly how it’s being presented in the media. Whatever the real story is, it’s a great conversation starter generating lots of controversy and pseudo psychological analyses.
Following the news coverage, I’ve began wondering if it’s really a case of bullying, or just the culture of sports. This type of behavior seems to be acceptable, even encouraged, on nearly every team – from township to professional leagues – especially sports that covet athletes who have brute strength combined with competitiveness and aggression.
Beyond the story of these two troubled men, does this situation have any relevancy for the public at large? It does. It’s stirring up anxiety for parents who are already concerned about the rampant bullying occurring in schools, on playgrounds, in cyberspace, and almost everywhere else. As a parent, you might be thinking if a physically powerful, intelligent, grown man can be brought down by a bully, how can I protect my child from suffering a similar fate?
Paul Reggiardo, D.D.S.
Today's guest blogger is Paul Reggiardo, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist in Huntington Beach, California. He is a national spokesperson of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and past president of the AAPD, as well as an advocate for the dental health and overall well-being of children.
Amidst open enrollment season, parents need to be aware of a significant change to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Pediatric dental benefits are now considered to be one of 10 “essential benefits” plans must provide. This means children will either have pediatric dental benefits included in a medical plan package or there will be an option to purchase these benefits separately.
On a national scale, this new provision could mean 8.7 million children currently lacking dental benefits could gain coverage through the ACA by 2018. This new accessibility to dental care has the opportunity to help curb the staggering statistics provided by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows that tooth decay is the number one chronic infectious disease among children in the U.S., affecting 42 percent of children aged 2 to 11 years old.
Flaura Koplin Winston, MD, PhD, Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
Right now, thousands of children in the Delaware Valley are recovering from an injury, and they rely on their families to help them heal. While it is important to tend to their wounds and rehabilitation, it is just as important for parents to remember to look beyond the physical injuries. Injury is stressful for children and their families, and sometimes stress reactions can get in the way of recovery.
Whether it’s a dog bite or a broken arm caused by a motor vehicle crash, the impact of injury for your child goes beyond the physical. In the first few days after an injury, many injured children feel upset, jumpy or worried at times, and many parents do, too. Despite what you might think, it’s not just the most severe injuries that can lead to strong emotional reactions. Any injury that is frightening for you or your child can lead to traumatic stress symptoms. These can include reliving what happened, avoiding reminders of what happened, and difficulty sleeping, eating, or concentrating. It may be helpful to rate your child’s and your own reactions over the first few weeks after an injury. Here’s how.
A recent Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia research review shows that unfortunately about 1 in 6 injured children -- and a similar percentage of parents -- experience more severe and persistent traumatic stress, lasting more than a month and getting in the way of full recovery.
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Parents should make a media use plan, including mealtime and bedtime curfews for media devices, advised the American Academy of Pediatrics, when it announced new recommendations for media use by children at its annual meeting today.
The last time the AAP touched on this subject was in 2001 and the world has changed dramatically since then. The previous guidelines said no more than two hours of screen time each day, but even then, surveys indicated that the typical American child was in front of a screen for more than five hours per day. As the new guidelines point out, the average 8 to 10 year old in 2013 may be in front of a screen up to eight hours a day, some teens up to 11 hours a day, with 75 percent of teens owning their own phones and nearly all teens texting. Thus the old “two hours per day” limit no longer fits the world as it exists.
To help cope with this changing media world, pediatricians are now being asked to assess media use during annual checkups and evaluate whether there is a television screen and internet access in the child’s bedroom and to counsel parents to turn devices off well before bedtime.
- Allergies and Asthma
- Anita Kulick
- Anna Nguyen
- Beth Wallace
- Child Abuse
- Christopher C. Chang
- Colds and Flu
- Driver's Ed
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Flaura Winston
- Gary A. Emmett
- Growing Pains
- Hazel Guinto-Ocampo
- Health Hazards
- Health reform
- Infectious Diseases
- Janet Rosenzweig
- Katherine Dahlsgaard
- Lauren Falini
- Learning Curve