Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

Babies Likely Consuming Unsafe Levels of Dangerous Chemicals

baby eating

new study reports infants eating a typical diet consume unsafe levels of phthalates, man-made chemicals used in plastics that can interfere with growth and brain development.

Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, a Seattle Children’s Research Institute environmental medicine expert, co-authored a study that compiled data from 17 international studies measuring phthalate (pronounced thall-eight) exposure in different foods. Diet is believed to be the greatest source of phthalate exposure. Foods are likely contaminated with these chemicals through packaging and processing materials, Sathyanarayana said.

The study, published in Environmental Health, found the typical diet of infants over 6 months old who are eating solid foods contains an unsafe level of phthalates. In contrast, the typical diets consumed by women of a childbearing age and adolescents did not contain unsafe levels of these toxins. Read full post »

HPV Research Could Decrease Cancer Risk for Millions


Seattle Children’s Research Institute adolescent medicine expert Dr. Rachel Katzenellenbogen.

Nearly all men and women in the United States are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) during their lives, putting them at greater risk of developing life-threatening cervical, anal, vaginal, penile, throat and tongue cancers. But, what if it was possible to stop these cancers from developing?

The National Cancer Institute has awarded Seattle Children’s Research Institute adolescent medicine expert Dr. Rachel Katzenellenbogen more than $2 million to research that possibility. She is studying what happens in the body between the time of HPV infection and cancer development in search of opportunities to intervene and prevent malignant disease.

“There are generations of people who did not get the HPV vaccine or got vaccinated after they were already exposed to HPV,” Katzenellenbogen said. “Those people could still develop cancer. We need to understand their disease process if we are going to help them.” Read full post »

10 Tips to Help Prepare Your Child for Summer Camp

Summer is right around the corner and summer camps provide much-needed structure to kids’ schedules by giving them opportunities to further develop cognitive and social skills outside of the school year. However, there’s often a lot of time and anxiety that goes into preparing your child for summer camp—especially if it’s their first time.

Here are 10 tips to parents looking for advice on how to prepare for camp: Read full post »

A Journey to Recovery: Pepper Inspires Others Battling an Eating Disorder

At 12 years old, Pepper Snider knew something wasn’t quite right. After a bout of Mononucleosis (mono), Snider began feeling a sense of enjoyment from hunger and started to purposely restrict herself. Years later, a comment from an eighth grade classmate would put everything into focus.

“Look at that roll.”

It was the beginning of a very dangerous journey for Snider, one that would take years to diagnose as anorexia nervosa. Now, at 25 years old, Snider is fully recovered and wants others to know they are not alone in their struggle. Her mission is to help build a community of support and let other people know it is okay to ask for help. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Takes Bike Month Challenge to Heart

Throughout the month of May, people across the country strapped on their helmets and put the pedal to the metal, of sorts. It was national Bike Month, and in recognition, Seattle Children’s Hospital’s employees showcased their love of biking in a very big way.

Each year, Cascade Bicycle Club celebrates Bike Month with a challenge to see who can get the most people to bike to work throughout the month of May. Consistently ranked among the top organizations in the region for embracing alternate forms of transportation, Seattle Children’s employees took the competition seriously.

Ask Andrew Hansen about his daily commute to Seattle Children’s, and he’ll do more than explain his route, he’ll give you a front row show, using a YouTube video he created. As seen in the video below, biking is about more than the destination; it’s a journey, even if it is just to work.

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Kids, teens more likely to wear life jackets if adults wear them too

lifejacket imageNew studies from researchers at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center have found that the use of life jackets among adults can significantly influence whether kids wear them too, and help prevent half of boating-related deaths. Yet use of life jackets by adults on boats remains low, researchers say.

About 85 percent of recreational boating-related drowning victims in the United States in 2012 did not wear a life jacket, but researchers also found that that teens were 20 times more likely to wear a life jacket if at least one adult was wearing a life jacket. This fact is especially timely with Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, as open-water drowning remains an important public health problem in the U.S., and impacts many adults as well as children.

To learn more about the studies, please visit:


Life Jackets for Children and Teens

Does your child suffer from springtime allergies?

The dreaded symptoms of allergies (stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes) are most often triggered during the spring and summer months. The question on many parents’ minds: How do you distinguish between the symptoms caused by allergies and the symptoms caused by other illnesses that tend to go around this time of year?

“Allergies can sometimes cause a cough or a sore throat, but they don’t cause fevers or aches and pains like a cold can,” said Benjamin Danielson, MD, a pediatrician and medical director of Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC). “Persistent congestion, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and a runny nose with clear mucus are all symptoms that would indicate sensitivities to allergens, especially when they appear suddenly or sporadically throughout the year.”

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Helping families in their darkest hour

Social worker Yasha Carpentier (right) talks with a patient’s mom about the Patient Emergency Assistance Fund.

Social worker Yasha Carpentier (right) talks with a patient’s mom about the Patient Emergency Assistance Fund.

A patient arrived at Seattle Children’s Emergency Department by helicopter, alone and unconscious. As the Emergency Department team worked to resuscitate the boy who had nearly drowned, his parents drove several hours in stunned silence to the hospital, hoping their son would be alive when they got there. After receiving the good news that he would ultimately recover from the accident, they realized that they’d left their cell phone charger at home and had no way to contact family and friends.

It’s a common scenario for families, who often arrive at Seattle Children’s Hospital for lifesaving care with little more than the clothes on their backs.That’s where the Patient Emergency Assistance Fund, administered by Seattle Children’s Social Work Department, comes into play. The fund provides short-term help to families who are hours away from home with little money and few of the basic necessities of life.

Social worker Lynne Hakim calls the fund a safety net and says the basic necessities it purchases, like a simple cell phone charger, can be the bridge that helps a family cope with all the uncertainty and intensity inherent in an unplanned hospital stay.

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Get rid of unwanted meds on National Drug Take Back Day

Have you ever wondered what to do with unused or expired medications? Many people may leave them around the house or think they can throw them away, but both these methods carry risks. Well, tomorrow you can safely dispose of them on National Drug Take-Back Day.

Tomorrow, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., sites across the country will be collecting unwanted meds for free. Just click here to find a National Take Back Collection Site near you and get a start on your spring cleaning!

To learn more, Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, talks about this event, and provides tips for properly disposing of unused meds on her Seattle Mama Doc blog:

Making a positive parenting pledge: Three dads share their perspectives

Austin JenkinsThe idea of positive parenting may sound simple, but throughout the month of April, in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, it holds a special significance. As the popular saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and Seattle Children’s Hospital believes that in banding together as a community, the prevalence of child abuse can be decreased.

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., which is why Seattle Children’s is asking parents, caregivers and community members to take a moment to make a positive parenting pledge. Whether it’s being patient with a crying child or embracing the turbulence of parenting, the pledges represent a promise, not just for parents, but also for members of the community. By encouraging parents and empathizing with their daily struggles, a community can be built with a foundation rooted in parental support, instead of judgement.

And this April, Seattle Children’s is focusing on an extraordinary group of caregivers that don’t get as much recognition: fathers.

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