Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

New Research Shows That Risky Drinking Spikes When Young Adults Study Abroad

Researchers found that drinking-related posts on Facebook increased among students studying abroad, especially for those who went to Europe.

Studying abroad is a formative educational opportunity for many young adults, myself included. My time in French Polynesia last summer as a junior in college changed my outlook on the world and made me a better student, friend and daughter. But I also know from experience that studying abroad can also be problematic for some who might take the newfound freedom a little too far.

Underage and excessive drinking was something I witnessed, and according to new data from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, where I volunteer with the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT), underage and excessive drinking is often a key part of the study abroad experience, especially for those who went to Europe.

Researchers found that drinking-related posts on Facebook increased among students studying abroad, especially for those who went to Europe. Read full post »

Flu Vaccine Matters for Children and Parents Alike

Flu Season AheadEach year in the United States alone, 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized due to complications from the flu. In 2014, influenza claimed the lives of more than 140 children; half of whom were healthy and had not been vaccinated.

“It’s important for everyone – especially children – to get a flu shot every year,” said Dr. Matthew Kronman, an infectious disease expert at Seattle Children’s Hospital and a member of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Below, Kronman answers some common questions related to the flu and flu shots.

Why is the flu dangerous? What happens to make it deadly?

Influenza by its very nature can cause infection and inflammation in the lungs, making it very difficult for some people to breathe. Add to this that people with influenza can be at risk of having a secondary bacterial infection on top of their influenza, and that sometimes the immune response to an influenza infection is overly robust to the point of causing damage itself, and it becomes clear how influenza can cause serious and even life-threatening infections. Fortunately, we have a vaccine annually that can help protect us from this severe infection!

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Is it Growing Pains or Something More?

Many kids can relate to the unpleasant experience of growing pains – they come on at night and can cause sharp, shooting, as well as dull and nagging pain. But what people may not know is what causes them, why do they affect some children and not others, and most importantly, when should parents be concerned that they could be something much more serious?

Dr. Suzanne Marie Yandow, chief of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, answers these common questions below.

What causes growing pains?

The direct cause of growing pains is unknown, but they typically present in children 3 to 5 years of age and may persist much later in some cases in kids ages 8 to 12. Some studies have shown that more than one out of three children displays symptoms at some point in their lives, and the symptoms most often arise during periods of rapid growth.

What are the common symptoms?

Growing pains often come on in the evening and at night, and the pain is usually in the muscles rather than the joints. This pain usually presents bilaterally, meaning the pain will occur in both legs, rather than just one or the other. Frequently they are present in the front of the legs or shin area.

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Before the School Bell Rings: Tips to Get Ready

School supplies line the store shelves, sweaters have replaced swimwear on the racks, football is on TV, and many parents are getting ready to send their kids back to school. As parents start to transition from summer to the school year, it’s important they set their child up for success by beginning to prepare now for the new routine.

“It’s normal for kids to feel both excitement and anxiety as the new school year approaches,” said Dr. Ben Danielson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. “When parents focus on the positives, keep their own worries in check, and get organized for the new beginning, it helps their child approach the school year with confidence.”

Here are Danielson’s tips for how parents can prepare for a successful year of learning, growth, hard work and fun. Read full post »

Summer Heat Wave: Four Things Parents Should Always Keep in Mind

Water Safety 6 to 11Many regions across the U.S. are experiencing the hottest summer on record, and this presents real health concerns for families. Dr. Tony Woodward, medical director of emergency medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, provides the following advice for parents and caregivers about how to beat the heat as well as keep their kids safe this summer:

1. Keep kids out of hot cars

Leaving a child alone in a car can have deadly consequences, even on just a warm day.

“It doesn’t take very long, a child’s body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s body,” said Woodward. “When you combine this with the fact that the temperature in your car can rise nearly 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, dangerous and potentially lethal heatstroke can develop quickly.”

According to KidsandCars.org, 38 children die in hot cars each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles.

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Test Your Water Safety and Life Jacket Knowledge: Common Questions Answered

lifejacket imageSummer is finally here and pools, river and lakes are becoming popular destinations for families looking for a fun way to beat the heat. But before stepping aboard a boat or planning a trip to a lake or other open water, it’s important to remember life jacket safety, says Elizabeth Bennett, a drowning prevention expert at Seattle Children’s.

Here, Bennett answers some of the most common questions parents ask about life jackets. Read full post »

Research Finds Preschoolers Need More Opportunities for Active Play

outdoor playThe early childhood years are crucial for learning and development which should always involve a great deal of outdoor physical activity and playtime, but new research shows that’s not always the case. Results from a two-year study published today in Pediatrics show that children in daycares and preschools were presented with only 48 minutes of opportunities for physically active play per day — significantly less than what’s recommended. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education and Let’s Move! Child Care recommend that children should receive at least 120 minutes of active play time daily, including child-led free play and teacher-led play. Read full post »

Child Protection Experts Respond to Abusive Head Trauma Critics: Would You Shake Your Baby?

ThinkstockPhotos-510903253In recent years, the diagnosis of abusive head trauma (AHT), historically referred to as shaken baby syndrome, has been the focus of great debate in court rooms and media headlines across the country. The debate has focused on a few key questions: Does AHT really exist? Can shaking really cause brain injury or death in infants?

“Having people believe that abusive head trauma doesn’t exist and that shaking an infant is harmless is a public health danger,” said Dr. Carole Jenny, a child abuse physician in Seattle Children’s Protection Program and at Harborview Medical Center, who has more than 30 years of child protection experience. “Parents and caregivers need to be aware that abusive head trauma as a result of shaking is a real thing that can happen – it does happen – and it has devastating, lifelong or fatal consequences.”

Dr. Christopher Greeley, who is a child abuse expert and associate professor at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, said that it comes down to this: “Would you shake your newborn baby?” Read full post »

Coins, Blow Darts and Button Batteries: The Diary of an Otolaryngologist

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Dr. Sie’s collection of items removed in surgery

They say that life is all about the little things, and for the Otolaryngology care team at Seattle Children’s Hospital, this statement holds true more often than not. Each year more than 150 children find their way to the Seattle Children’s Otolaryngology clinic to have some kind of household object, or “foreign body,” removed from their ear, nose or throat.

These objects, while sometimes but not always small, and ranging from coins to button batteries, have become part of a unique collection that hangs in Dr. Kathleen Sie’s office. It’s a collection that she hopes will raise awareness for parents and caregivers about the prevalence of many dangerous household items that often hide in plain sight.

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Seattle Children’s Researchers to Present at Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting

Dr. Megan Moreno (top) and Dr. Annika Hofstetter (bottom)

Dr. Megan Moreno (top) and Dr. Annika Hofstetter (bottom)

Seattle Children’s has the honor of having over 100 doctors and researchers slated to present at the 2015 Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting. This is the largest international meeting focused on children’s health research and clinical implications.

On the Pulse is highlighting two Seattle Children’s researchers who will be presenting their exciting new research: Dr. Megan Moreno and Dr. Annika Hofstetter.

Using media to understand mechanisms of behavior change

Dr. Megan Moreno of Seattle Children’s Center for Child Health and Behavioral Development is leading the way in adolescent social media (SM) use research. In her PAS presentation she will highlight key adolescent health issues pertaining to the SM landscape.

Over 90 percent of adolescents use SM, where they may display risky behaviors and describe their health attitudes, intentions and behaviors in ways that can be measured, Moreno said. Read full post »