Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

Child passenger safety, keeping kids safe while on the road

Child Passenger SafetyPeople often say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, and when put in the context of child passenger safety, that statement couldn’t be more true. Every journey should be safe. Which is why, in recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 15-21), experts at Seattle Children’s Hospital are urging parents to put safety first when traveling in a vehicle with a child.

According to safecar.gov, car accidents are the number one killer of children ages 1 to 12 in the U.S. From 2007 to 2011, a staggering 3,661 children were killed in car accidents and an additional 634,000 children were injured.

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Helping Kids Cope with Violence in the News

Children are exposed to violent events by seeing them in the news or by hearing about them from friends, and they’re likely to have fears and questions. Studies show that children can suffer long-term emotional damage from exposure to violence in news coverage.

Bob Hilt, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, says parents should be prepared to help their children deal with traumatic events, such as natural disasters and acts of violence.

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Vaccinations vital for teens as they head back to school

Vaccines for teensAs summer comes to a close, parents are getting their preteens and teens ready for back-to-school, from stocking up on pencils, notebooks and new clothes, to preparing for their busy fall schedules. But what’s also important to add to the list, is making sure teens are up-to-date on their recommended vaccinations.

As kids grow up, protection from certain childhood vaccines begins to wear off. Teens may also be exposed to different diseases than they were when they were younger. Therefore, it’s important for parents to know what vaccines can protect their kids, their schoolmates and our communities from unnecessary illness.

Ed Marcuse, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, has a special interest in immunizations and wants parents to know that today’s vaccines are a very safe and effective way to prevent the infections that teens are at risk of contracting.

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Dangerous dares, stopping the next cinnamon challenge

SONY DSCNow that kids are headed back to school, more time with friends, an increased amount of peer pressure and less supervision all combine to make a dangerous mix. “I dare you” is how it usually begins – a few simple words, a group of kids and a smartphone to document the foolery. From the cinnamon challenge, attempting to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon in 60 seconds without drinking water, to the milk challenge, attempting to drink a gallon of milk in one hour without vomiting, a recent trend in the media has parents and doctors sounding the alarm.

However, more and more kids are attempting rather than avoiding the dangerous dares and challenges they see on the internet. Which begs the question, are we doing enough to end the trend? Or are we waiting for the next cinnamon challenge to hit the web?

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Fat letters from schools spur childhood obesity debate

Childhood obesityReceiving report cards from schools is a standard practice that helps parents stay informed about their child’s academic performance. But now, schools in some states have been going one step further and are also letting parents know how their child’s weight measures up.

A new report released this week in Pediatrics has spurred debate around this issue as it states that Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings in schools and subsequently informing parents about their child’s weight category is a necessary step in the fight against the childhood obesity epidemic.

Twenty one states, not currently including Washington, have enacted policies or made recommendations about collecting height and weight data and assessing body composition in schools. In some states, like Massachusetts and Arkansas, a confidential letter that has been dubbed a “fat letter” is mailed to parents whose child has a high BMI, informing them of their child’s weight status and advising them to talk with a doctor.  

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Doctor offers tips for a smooth transition from summer to school

BacktoSchoolPack away the flip-flops and beachwear. Bring on the mechanical pencils and 3-ring binders. School is almost back in session, and it’s time for kids to transition to a more structured, scholarly schedule.

Heading back to school can be a stressful time for parents and kids, but planning ahead and talking through issues can help. Mollie Grow, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, offers tips to ease the transition from summer to school.

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Magnets pose an increasing risk to children

MagnetsAn 8-year-old girl comes to the emergency room with what her parents think is stomach flu, then is rushed into surgery after X-rays show she swallowed three tiny magnets. A toddler eats magnets that look like candy, then has part of her bowels removed after the magnets click together inside her.

They’re stories that make parents squirm – and they’re becoming all too familiar to Julie Brown, MD, co-director of pediatric emergency medicine research at Seattle Children’s. Brown treats children in Seattle Children’s Emergency Department and is seeing more and more cases where kids accidentally swallow magnets or insert them into their nose, ears or other orifices, with potentially life-threatening consequences.

In a study published Aug. 6 in Annals of Emergency Medicine, she and her colleagues found that this is a national trend: From 2002 to 2011, there was a significant increase in kids receiving emergency care after accidentally taking magnets into their bodies, indicating that magnet-related injuries are an increasing public health problem for children.

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Dating violence a common experience for teens

Teen datingRecent research presented at the American Psychological Association’s meeting in Honolulu finds that about one in three American teens report being victims of dating violence. Almost one in three teens also acknowledge they’ve committed violence toward a date.

Researchers analyzed information collected in 2011 and 2012 from 1,058 youths, ages 14 to 20, in the Growing Up with Media study, a national online survey funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study defines teen dating violence as physical, sexual or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship.

“When we think about violence, we often think about someone being punched or beaten. Physical abuse is a devastating type of dating violence, but psychological and sexual violence also hurt keenly and can cause lasting damage,” said Jen Brown, a nurse with Seattle Children’s adolescent medicine team.

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Helping new parents cope with normal infant crying

Typical newborn cryingOne of the biggest surprises new parents face is just how relentlessly a normal, healthy infant can cry during their first few months of life. This crying can lead people to question their fitness as parents, raise unnecessary concerns about their child’s wellbeing and result in overwhelming feelings of anger, frustration and guilt.

Research shows that bouts of prolonged, unrelenting crying is the No. 1 reason parents – and other caregivers – shake a baby. Shaken baby syndrome can cause blindness, seizures, physical and learning disabilities, and even death.

Thankfully, research also has shown that simply understanding the normal pattern of infant crying and learning a few coping skills significantly reduces the likelihood that a child will be shaken or abused. Read full post »

Tips to Keep Kids and Teens Safe this Fourth of July

Fireworks safetyThe Fourth of July is a time for fun and celebration; however, families should follow precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable occasion. Not only do parents need to worry about firework safety, but families should also keep in mind alcohol and sun safety, too.

Dr. Tony Woodward, medical director of emergency medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, recommends some basic safety tips to keep your kids out of the emergency department this year.

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