Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

Study Links Chemical in Plastics to Genital Abnormalities in Baby Boys

A new study shows that pregnant women’s exposure to a chemical commonly found in plastic is directly linked to abnormalities in newborn boys’ reproductive organs.

Doctors and researchers know that man-made chemicals commonly found in plastics, foods, personal care products and building materials can interfere with how hormones like estrogen and testosterone work in the body.

A new study published in the journal Environmental Research now shows that pregnant women’s exposure to a particular endocrine-disrupting chemical called diethylhexyl pthalate (DEHP) is directly linked to abnormalities in newborn boys’ reproductive organs.

Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, a pediatric environmental health researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute who led the study, sat down with On the Pulse to answer some questions about the findings. Read full post »

Lights Out: Sleep for Health, Safety and Success this School Year

It’s that time of year again – time to prepare for the new school year. Soon-to-be kindergarteners are getting familiar with their new playground and are shopping for crayons. Older grade schoolers are guessing what teacher they’ll have and hoping their best friend will be in their class. Middle schoolers and high schoolers are anxiously awaiting their class schedule and are picking out an outfit for the first day. Meanwhile, parents are planning for the fall schedule and thinking about how to best set their child up for success in the new school year.

“Before parents get too far down the road of scheduling the carpool or adjusting their work schedule, take a minute to know what time your child’s school day starts. Some school districts have made significant changes to their bell schedule in a move to align the school day with the time of day that kids are the most alert and focused,” said Dr. Maida Chen, director of Seattle Children’s Sleep Disorders Program.

She shared more on the reason some districts are making changes to start times and provides tips for helping your child get enough sleep. Read full post »

Keeping Mosquitoes Away: Insect Repellent and Children

Summer is here and backyard barbecues, camping trips and youth camp sessions are in full swing. Amidst all of these fun activities is often a far less welcoming sign of summer: mosquitoes.

While the Pacific Northwest is not home to the type of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, on very rare occasions, mosquitoes here can carry the West Nile virus. Most often, however, mosquitoes simply leave people with uncomfortable, itchy bites. To help protect your family from mosquitoes as you enjoy the outdoors, Dr. Suzan Mazor, medical director of Toxicology at Seattle Children’s, shares the following advice. Read full post »

How Violence in Video Games and Media Harm Child Development

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics calls for action to reduce children’s exposure to violent video games and media. The report also calls on the gaming and media industries to create shows and games for children that do not contain violence.

“Children are not only viewing violence, but with virtual reality games they are actively engaging in a realistic and immersive violent experience,” said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and lead author of the new AAP policy. “A media diet is as important as a food diet. Pediatricians and families need to have thoughtful conversations about a child’s media intake.” Read full post »

Animal Safety: Teach Kids Smart Habits Around Animals

Supervision is key to preventing injuries to children around animals.

Summer equals outdoor time for many families, and that often means more face time with animals as well.

Dr. Tony Woodward, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, has seen children who have been injured by or become ill after contact with animals throughout his career in the emergency department. He offers advice and tips to families about keeping kids safe around animals.

“Most animals don’t understand humans and how we operate,” Woodward said. “Combine that with an excited or inquisitive young child who has no concept of harm, and we see kids get hurt.” Read full post »

Just Ask: Are Your Firearms Stored Safely?

The first day of summer marks a season when kids often spend more time at the homes of friends and other family members. Before children head off for playdates or childcare in another home, parents often ask common safety questions about the house their child will be visiting like “Who else will be home?” “Are there pets in the house?” Or, “Can I install the car seat in your car before I leave?” There’s one other important question parents should add to the list: “Is there an unlocked firearm in your house?” Read full post »

Dr. Jeff Sperring Reacts to Orlando Tragedy: Encourages Community to Celebrate Diversity

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Dr. Jeff Sperring, Chief Executive Officer of Seattle Children’s, reacts to the Orlando tragedy. 

Like all of you, I was heartbroken this weekend to hear about the tragedy that happened in Orlando. Our deepest sympathies and thoughts go out to the families, friends and communities who were so deeply affected in Florida and well beyond.

Hate can never be a part of our actions. Equally, hate should never be a part of our reactions. In the midst of this senseless act by a single person, we must use this time to reaffirm our commitment to each other. Our diversity, unity and tolerance create a light that cannot be overshadowed by anything that would aim to divide us.

At Seattle Children’s, we are a better team because we are different. We are a stronger team and a stronger community because we celebrate our differences and allow them to bring us together. I am proud to be part of the Seattle Children’s team that welcomes, includes and respects all of our patients, families and team members — for who we are, where we’re from and how we live and worship. Read full post »

Layers of Protection for Safe Water Fun

On the heels of the opening day of fishing season in late April, came the opening day of boating season and the start of the swimming season in May. With all of these water activities under way, it’s important that families understand how to keep their children safe.

In honor of National Water Safety Month, On The Pulse is shining the spotlight on water safety because every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of those that pass away, about two are children. In Washington state, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children and teens age 1 to 17.

“Staying safe while in, on or around the water requires using layers of protection,” said Dr. Linda Quan, an emergency physician and drowning expert at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “It’s not enough to have your child take a series or two of swim lessons when they’re in preschool. More skills and more attention are needed to help make your family’s time around the water safe and fun.”

Read full post »

The Dangers of Home Renovation: Keep Kids Safe During Repairs

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Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana says home renovations can expose mold, lead, asbestos and fumes, and families should take precautions to protect pregnant women and children.

Families planning home renovations should be aware that the walls they plan to tear down could contain hidden dangers that can hurt the developing fetus and children’s growing bodies.

Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana is a pediatric environmental health specialist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and she says that people considering home renovations, especially in older homes, should take extra precautions if they are pregnant or have children.

“Home renovations can bring out things like dust, mold and fumes that are harmful to children and pregnant women,” Sathyanarayana said. “With a little extra planning, families can keep renovations safe for everyone in the home.” Read full post »

Bullying Report Describes Effects On Child Development, Need For Cyberbullying Monitoring

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A new report on bullying describes its effects on childhood development and calls for better monitoring and understanding of cyberbullying.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine describes the effects of bullying on childhood development and calls for a better understanding of cyberbullying. Dr. Frederick Rivara, Seattle Children’s Guild Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, chaired the report committee, and Dr. Megan Moreno, principal investigator of the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, was a committee member. On the Pulse sat down with them to discuss the new findings and what families can do to protect their children from bullying.

What new information or findings does this report offer about bullying? What are the key takeaways?

Moreno: While bullying has been around for decades, there are many misconceptions about bullying. This report describes and synthesizes the current scientific evidence so that we can have a shared understanding of the current state of the science on bullying.

The first takeaway is that bullying experiences can lead to biological changes for the target of bullying, including stress response and brain activity alterations. Read full post »