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POSTED: Thursday, February 6, 2014, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Flaura Winston | Tips
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Several years ago, I knew that our messages about child passenger safety were getting across to families. During a check-up, a mother asked whether it made sense to buy the new pink booster seat that her 7-year-old daughter wanted, asking me, “How much longer should she sit in a booster?”  My answer: I’m so glad she likes her booster and that you are protecting your child! She needs to be in the booster until she reaches 4 feet 9 inches in height, likely not until your petite daughter reaches 12 years of age. While adult seat belts are better than no restraint at all, booster seats position the belt across the chest and thighs so that the belt can do the best job in protecting children.

For many parents, ensuring that their 15-month-old is securely fastened into their rear-facing child safety seat or their 7-year-old is in a booster seat is part of their daily routine. It may be hard to believe, but not so long ago these actions were more often “the exception” than “the rule” when it came to child passenger safety. Since the late 1990’s, there has been a remarkable increase in child restraint system (CRS) use through age 8: from 51 percent in 1999 to 80 percent in 2007 (click here to view a chart showing this progress). This has translated into a 46 percent reduction of child traffic fatalities from 2001 to 2010. This progress can be attributed to increased legislation, education, and improvements to safety technology in motor vehicles.

While the good news is that today’s parents and caretakers know the importance of using a CRS to keep their children safe in motor vehicles, there is a new challenge to be tackled - ensuring that children are accurately and securely restrained in the correct CRS. In 2004, a survey completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 72.6 percent of child restraints observed in parking areas throughout the United States had at least one “critical” misuse, this included:

  • Not using the appropriate CRS for the child’s age
  • Incorrectly attaching the CRS to the vehicle, 
  • Not harnessing the child in the CRS correctly
POSTED: Thursday, January 30, 2014, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Beth Wallace | Nutrition | Tips

Doesn’t it seem like one of the fastest growing nutrition product markets has been the “milk” industry in the past five years? I am 100 percent confident that in my childhood, I never saw a commercial for almond milk.

No longer do parents walk into the grocery store and choose between skim and 2 percent milks. Now there are so many options ranging from organic and lactose free to non-animal derived sources like almond or rice milk. The variety has become slightly overwhelming. With growing concerns about allergies and the safety of our food sources, parents are left staring at the refrigerated section wondering which milk is best for their families. 

It is important to be an informed consumer when choosing a milk product in order to maximize the vitamins and minerals in your child’s diet.  First things first, you should know what nutrients are important to compare in each of these items.  Historically, traditional cow’s milk has been a major source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D for children over the age of 1, and the American Academy of Pediatrics continues to recommend transition to whole milk (and in some cases 2 percent) for children between the ages of 1 and 2 years old.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 5:30 AM
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Need some help figuring out how to talk to your child about underage drinking? Wondering how the conversation will play out?

Start the Talk, is a new interactive online tool that helps parents practice tough conversations about underage drinking with their kids in a videogame-like environment.

It is part of the Talk. They Hear You. campaign launched last spring from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which gives parents and caregivers information and tools to start talking to children — as early as 9 years old — about the dangers of alcohol. Research has shown that children start to think differently about alcohol between the ages of 9 and 13, and many children begin to think underage drinking is OK.

Between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to think differently about alcohol.  Many children begin to think underage drinking is OK. 
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/Talk-to-your-9-year-old-about-the-dangers-of-underage-drinking.html#lI8oQ3L0F2rOsL1s.99
Between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to think differently about alcohol.  Many children begin to think underage drinking is OK. 
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/Talk-to-your-9-year-old-about-the-dangers-of-underage-drinking.html#lI8oQ3L0F2rOsL1s.99
POSTED: Thursday, December 26, 2013, 9:38 AM
Filed Under: Anna Nguyen | Tips
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Now that the presents have been opened, many children and teens are probably using their new smart phone or tablets. Parents or caregivers need to make sure that they aren't listening to music, watching television shows, and playing games on these devices using head phones or earbuds at dangerously high volumes —it can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) urges parents to help protect their kids with a few simple safe listening tips this holiday season:

  • Keep the volume down. A good guide is half volume.
  • Limit listening time. Everyone’s ears benefit from a break.
  • Model good listening habits. Practice what you preach—for your kids’ sake and your own.

“Mobile technology use is pervasive in today’s society and is becoming ingrained in children at younger and younger ages,” said Patricia A. Prelock, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA’s 2013 president in a written statement. “Parents have a tremendous opportunity to start children off right by establishing safe listening behaviors early. While we want everyone to enjoy their new tech gifts this holiday season, we also want them to enjoy the gift of hearing for many years to come.”

POSTED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Tips

Today's guest blogger is Warren Brill, D.M.D., M.S., a pediatric dentist in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry president and a national spokesperson of the AAPD, as well as an advocate for the dental health and overall well-being of children.

It’s the season for festivities, friends, family and an abundance of food. Because we are all so busy, it’s the time of year that parents tend to relax some routines: kids stay up later and eat more sweets and snacks than usual. There are certain healthy routines that should not be relaxed, even amid the hustle and bustle of the season because of all these indulgences. Among habits which are important to stick to and reinforce, those related to good oral hygiene are essential.

Many parents are surprised to learn that tooth decay is the most common chronic infectious childhood disease. More than one-fourth of United States children age 2 to 5 have tooth decay, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. But what parents should know is that tooth decay is largely preventable with good oral hygiene and regular preventative care.

POSTED: Monday, December 16, 2013, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Parenting | Tips
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Today's guest bloggers are Martha and Grant Griffin, authors of the new children’s book, What Makes Me Shine: Sam’s Birthmark. They are the proud parents of two beautiful sons. Their oldest child, Barron, was born with a port wine vascular birthmark. After researching vascular birthmarks and connecting with other birthmark parents, they saw a need for a children’s book with a main character who has a birthmark. They live in Dallas, TX with their sons and dog, Shakespeare.

We are used to stares and questions regarding our son’s vascular port wine stain birthmark covering the right side of his face as we've gone about our holiday preparations. From the time of our son’s birth, we have embraced our son's birthmark and want to help other parents and children accept their differences.

People asking questions and looking is normal human behavior. Explaining what it is and what causes the birthmark gives you the opportunity to teach both children and adults. We see parents all the time whispering, "Don't stare," or "Stop, it's rude to stare," and whisk away the inquisitive child. Those parents are the ones that are uncomfortable with the situation and a brief 30 second chat can help everyone to adjust their perception of something they consider a negative. That first step is hard for both sides. Once someone takes the initiative to ask, people find out that somebody with a disability, or who looks different, is really like themselves.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Hazel Guinto-Ocampo | Tips
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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.


POSTED: Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini | Tips
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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.

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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