Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

Legal pot: How to talk to teens about Washington’s new marijuana law

Marijuana becomes legal in Washington state on Thursday, and a commercial marijuana market is on the horizon. Dr. Leslie Walker, chief of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and president elect for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, says that now’s the time for parents to talk with their children – especially teens – about the consequences of marijuana use.

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A Serious Warning: Energy Drinks for Children and Teens

We all want our kids to lead vibrant, active lives, because childhood is such a dynamic time of discovery and participation.

But there are healthy – and unhealthy – ways to ensure that this happens.

One of my concerns right now is that caffeine is playing an unhealthy role in the diets of too many children and adolescents. Teens, for example, shouldn’t consume more than 100 mg of caffeine per day. (The recommended caffeine ceiling for adults is about 400 mg per day.)

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with certain energy drinks that exceed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) mandated limit of 71 mg of caffeine for a 12-ounce soda.

Energy drinks are sold as nutritional supplements, so they’re not regulated as foods.  As a result, their labels often don’t reveal the exact amount of caffeine in each drink. And, in addition to caffeine, energy drinks may contain other stimulants, such as taurine and guarana, a caffeine containing plant.

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Tips for a Fun and Safe Halloween

Some would say Halloween has always been scary.

It was first called “All Hallows’ Eve,” and people believed that there were no barriers separating the world of the living from the world of the dead. As a result, many locked themselves in their homes because they feared that ghosts and demons were roaming the streets. If people absolutely had to go out, they disguised themselves in costumes.

Halloween has become a lot more fun today, peppered with costumes, sweet treats and community events.

But, if you’re a parent, it can still generate some anxiety.

To help ease any worry, Seattle Children’s would like to share some guidelines  to help you and your child have a fun and safe Halloween.  Watch the video above for additional tips and treats.

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Prudence, Prevention and the Real-World Perils of Pertussis

It’s back-to-school time, so it’s back to wellness basics for our children.  One of the most effective ways we can keep our children healthy is to keep them up-to-date with immunizations. And one of the most important immunizations a child (and parents and grandparents) can get protects against pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

We’ve talked about this before, but it’s well worth discussing again. Read full post »

Hot Cars and Kids – a Deadly Combination

What can happen when otherwise attentive parents get distracted

For most of us, especially those of us in the Pacific Northwest, when the sun comes out our moods improve with the increase in temperature. Unfortunately, what also increases is  the number of children who die from hyperthermia or overheating of the body, after being unintentionally left in a car.

On average, 38 children in the U.S. die in hot cars each year. The numbers typically begin to increase in May with 3 deaths per month. By July and August, this surges to 9 deaths per month.  Although the majority of deaths occur in warmer states such as Texas, it can happen anywhere. Just this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in the first week of August, eight children across the U.S. have died from heatstroke in hot vehicles. Read full post »

Youth Violence: What Can We Do?

As we mourn those lost in the recent string of shootings, we feel intense sadness, fear and confusion. We are shocked by what some human beings are capable of and afraid what other dangerous individuals may lurk in our communities. The media dramatizes these unthinkable crimes until they take on fictional proportions, making them seem foreign, distant and unreal.

Violence is an everyday reality

However, violence in the lives of our young people is a daily reality that does not always make the nightly national news.

  • According to 2009 data, an average of 16 people between the ages of 10 and 24 are murdered daily in the United States.
  • In a national survey of teenagers, six percent skipped school in the previous month because of fears of violence.
  • Just under 700,000 youths receive emergency medical care yearly for injuries from violent assaults.[i] Read full post »

Fireworks Safety

Approximately 9,300 people are seriously injured because of fireworks each year in our country – and children under the age of 14 incur nearly half of these injuries.

Indeed, if they’re not handled properly, fireworks can cause burns, as well as hand, foot and eye injuries in both children and adults. Bottle rockets are the leading cause of fireworks-related fires. And sparklers burn at over 1,200 degrees; they are one of the main fireworks that cause injuries.

The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home – attend public fireworks displays, and leave the lighting to the professionals. Read full post »

Bullying: Identify It and Help Stop It

A video of a 68-year old New York bus monitor being bullied by middle schoolers surfaced yesterday – bringing the unsettling topic of bullying top of mind.

Bullying can be one of the toughest situations a child or adult can face – and can arise in many forms from verbal to physical to emotional. It can manifest in a variety of ways including via the Internet (i.e. cyberbullying) and by spreading rumors. The aftermath of bullying can last a lifetime, providing a sense of hurt, isolation and fear.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10% are bullied regularly. Read full post »

Protecting Children from Harmful Effects of Violence in the News

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Tragic news of multiple fatal shootings rocked Seattle today.

Children can be especially at risk to experience fear and anxiety as reactions to these events. Research shows that children who witness violence  in regular news coverage, as well as in their families, schools and communities, are vulnerable to serious long-term emotional harm.

In the video below, Dr. Bob Hilt, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, discusses ways parents can help their children cope during disasters such as earthquakes,  man-made disasters, and random acts of violence.

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Deploying an Automobile Manufacturing Process to Serve Patients Better

On the face of it, lean manufacturing, which is used by Toyota and other major global companies, doesn’t seem to fit very well into the world of medicine.

But, on closer examination, surgeons are beginning to see that lean has a good deal in common with the scientific method used in research – it’s just a matter of terminology, although it’s important to point out that this isn’t like randomized controlled trials; instead, it’s about testing hypotheses.

Indeed, the overall goal of lean is to define and refine a process, and then make the end product better for the customer; in medicine, that’s the patient. Read full post »