Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

Summer routines help keep kids thinking and moving while school’s out

GirlReadingAs the song goes, school’s out for summer! Children across the country are putting another school year behind them and welcoming, with open arms, the long days of summer. But while summer might seem like the perfect time to put aside routines and schedules, Mollie Grow, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, says a little structure is critical for kids’ growth and development.

Summer schedule may sound like an oxymoron, but kids need direction and routine, says Grow. Some children can experience a loss of cognitive ability during summer break, according to some studies. By encouraging mental stimulation throughout summer, parents can help children maintain math, reading and spelling skills. Research suggests a significant positive effect when children are enrolled in summer learning programs, compared to children who are not. Promote daily reading or math problems, select educational television programs and games and plan educational “field trips” with the family, like nature walks or trips to museums. Read full post »

More kids accidentally poisoned by legal marijuana, study finds

Medical marijuana

A Colorado study finds that more of the state’s children have accidentally ingested marijuana since medical marijuana was legalized. Suzan Mazor, MD, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Seattle Children’s and a medical toxicologist at Children’s and the Washington Poison Center, says parents and doctors can expect to see similar effects in Washington state.

The study, published May 27 in JAMA Pediatrics, was conducted at a children’s hospital in Colorado, where medical marijuana was legalized in June 2001 and recreational use of marijuana was decriminalized in November 2012. The researchers saw a sharp increase in emergency department visits for marijuana ingestion after October 2009, when the federal government stopped prosecuting medical marijuana users who were conforming to their state’s laws.

Fourteen children between 8 months and 12 years old were evaluated and treated for accidental ingestions between October 2009 and December 2011. By comparison, there were no accidental marijuana ingestions between January 2005 and September 2009.

Mazor says it makes sense that as marijuana became more available in the community, children’s exposures to the drug increased. She suspects that researchers would see the same results in Washington state, which has similar laws. “More availability of any poison usually translates to more unintentional poisonings in kids.”

The emergency team at Children’s has already seen several cases of unintentional marijuana ingestion. “One child in particular was quite sedated, and was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit after eating a homemade product containing marijuana,” says Mazor.

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Water safety tips for kids

Life jacketIf you’ve ever spent time with a toddler, you know how quickly they can move. One minute they’re standing next to you, the next they’re sampling from the dog’s bowl, drawing on the wall or crawling up the stairs. Elizabeth Bennett, drowning prevention expert with Seattle Children’s, says toddlers’ speed and curiosity can be especially dangerous when it comes to water.

“Water is a magnet for kids,” says Bennett. “The one- to four-year-old age group is at very high risk around the water.” Over 1,500 children and teens die every year in the U.S. from drowning. In Washington state, an average of 20 children and teens drown every year.

Bennett says families’ Memorial Day preparations should include a water safety refresher, because this is an especially dangerous time of year for drowning.

“People underestimate the power of the water, especially in the spring,” she says. “The water’s really cold right now, and the rivers are running high. The minute you go in the water, you’ll feel the effects of cold water shock. It’s critical that you are already wearing a life jacket, because your limbs will start to stiffen right away.”

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Camping safety tips for families

Camping kidsGet the tents out of storage, shake out the sleeping bags and head for the campgrounds. Temperatures are on the rise and nature is calling. But before you load up the minivan and head for the great outdoors, Michelle Terry, MD, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, has some tips to keep you and your family safe and well while camping. When you’re camping with small children, Terry advises parents to follow the three P’s – planning, preparation and precaution.

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Tips for kids’ mental health

MentalHealthPostWhen a child is sick, needs a vaccination or gets bumped or bruised, most parents don’t hesitate to make a trip to the doctor’s office. But what happens when a child’s feeling blue, overly anxious or struggling to focus in school? This month, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, doctors offer tips for parents to keep kids mentally and emotionally well, and explain what to do when there’s a problem.

Carol M. Rockhill, MD, PhD, and Ian M. Kodish, MD, PhD, child and adolescent psychiatrists at Seattle Children’s Hospital, say first and foremost, we need to relearn the way we view mental health.

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Doctor offers spring safety tips for parents and kids

Kids on trampoline

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and kids are spending more time outdoors. It is spring time – a season for hiking, grilling, gardening and outdoor fun. But with spring also comes the occasional bump, bruise, bite, rash and fall. How can parents help their kids avoid injury?

Tony Woodward, MD, MBA, medical director of the division of emergency medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, offers advice for keeping kids healthy and out of the emergency room.


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Mom and Children’s bring boy back to life after near-drowning

Travis AndersonFriday, July 13, 2012 was the day 9-year-old Travis Anderson drowned in the Pilchuck River near Snohomish, Wash. It was also the day that his mother, Kim, and the emergency team at Seattle Children’s saved his life.

Travis, a wiry redhead, was wading in a shallow portion of the river, near his mom, his brother and sister, and his best friend. He lost his footing. The current swept him downstream and beneath a log, where he became trapped under water. Kim and Travis’s older brother Jacob couldn’t free him. After a few minutes, a bystander helped shift the log, and Kim pulled her youngest child to the river bank.

Travis was a ghostly pale gray, his eyes half open. Blue lips and purple circles around his eyes indicated cyanosis, a lack of oxygen in the blood. He was unresponsive, with no pulse. Kim began CPR while her daughter called 911.

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A pledge to help end child abuse – One mother’s story

Positive Parenting PledgeBeing a parent is a full-time job, one that requires being on call 24/7 and dealing with new challenges every day. At times, it can be exhausting and frustrating. And in some tragic cases, that frustration can lead to child abuse and neglect.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parental feelings of isolation, stress and frustration are major causes of child abuse and mistreatment in the U.S. That’s why Seattle Children’s Hospital is asking parents, caregivers, and the community to make “Positive Parenting Pledges” in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month this April.

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Spring sports safety – 10 tips for staying in the game

Soccer girlsIt’s that time of year again. Spring has sprung, and with it comes the start of spring sports: baseball, tennis, lacrosse, soccer and track and field. Time for kids to dust off baseball gloves, clean off their cleats, dig out that tennis racket and get outside! But before they hit the pitch, field or track, the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team at Seattle Children’s Hospital has a few tips to keep kids in the game and injury-free.

Unfortunately, injuries are inevitable, but there are preventive measures kids can take to reduce the risk of being permanently sidelined. Children’s doctors and athletic trainers remind kids to know their body and their limits.

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The Steubenville rape case – How to talk to your teen about sexual assault

Teen girl talking As coverage of the Steubenville rape case and trial continues, parents may worry about their own teens. Are they safe? How can they best protect themselves from sexual assault? It’s a topic  parents should be prepared to talk about with their teens – both girls and boys, says Jen Brown, a nurse with Seattle Children’s adolescent medicine team. In a 7-part series on Children’s Teenology 101 blog, Brown offers straightforward, practical reminders for teens and their parents, and suggests ways to start the conversation and to keep it going. She also addresses special situations and issues, such as developmentally delayed teens and sexual assault within relationships. Read full post »