Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

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!

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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Teenology 101: When teens can’t find a job

Recently, a report by the Brookings Institute came out about the dismal labor market for teens (and, for that matter, young adults). Particularly for high-school age teens, job opportunities are few and far between. In fact, employment rates dropped almost 50 percent for 16-19 year olds between 2000 and 2011.

Of course, we know the job market itself was shaken up by the recent recession. Also, the report points out that a small portion of the drop in employment is due to a rise in school enrollment, which is good news!

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Teenology 101: Vaccine hesitancy

Vaccines have been a topic of much debate lately: Do they help? Are they safe? Should I vaccinate my child?

I can recall a recent visit with a 16-year-old girl. She had a question about the HPV vaccine. She’d seen a commercial and was interested in learning more. We discussed the risks and benefits as well as the purpose of the vaccine. After she’d asked a series of very insightful and thought out questions, she decided she wanted to proceed with starting the vaccination series (the Gardasil vaccine is a series of 3 shots over 6 months). We brought her mother in to talk about starting the series and her mother hesitated. Like any caring parent, she wanted to be certain her daughter was safe. Their pediatrician hadn’t discussed the vaccine and she’d read on social media that it had potential side effects. At the end of our visit, my patient still wanted the vaccine, but her mother wanted to think about it.

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Gov. Jay Inslee joins Seattle Children’s ‘walking school bus’

From left: Dr. Jason Mendoza, Gov. Jay Inslee, West Seattle Elementary School principal Vicki Sacco and vice proncipal.

From left: Dr. Jason Mendoza, Gov. Jay Inslee, West Seattle Elementary School principal Vicki Sacco and vice proncipal.

Gov. Jay Inslee joined staff from Seattle Children’s Research Institute this morning as they lead a group of West Seattle children in a “walking school bus.”

A walking school bus is an organized group of children who walk to school together each day while supervised by an adult. Jason Mendoza, MD, MPH, is leading a study in partnership with Seattle Public Schools, to determine whether obesity can be prevented with activities that were common during eras when obesity was less prevalent.

“Decades ago children were more likely to walk to school and obesity rates were much lower,” Mendoza said. “I want to find out whether encouraging children to walk or ride their bike to school might increase their overall physical activity.”

Inslee joined this morning’s walk to West Seattle Elementary to show his support of the program and encourage kids to stay active. The governor is supporting walking to school as part of his “Healthiest Next Generation” initiative. Read full post »

iPads may be good for babies

Child and mother using a digital tablet. Close-up.It is fascinating to watch an infant, who cannot yet talk or walk, play games on a tablet computer. But many parents wonder, should children so young be playing with these devices? Despite previous recommendations that children under age 2 should not use any media, a Seattle Children’s Research Institute expert now says children may benefit from playing with age-appropriate apps for 30 to 60 minutes each day.

In 2011, Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, was part of a panel of experts who supported a statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discouraging the use of media by children under 2 years old. But in a new opinion essay, Christakis says that statement should be updated to address new technologies – specifically, the iPad and other tablet computers.

“The AAP statement was in press before iPads existed,” Christakis says. “It treats all screens the same, but there are a lot of theoretical reasons to believe tablet computers are quite different and prior research on traditional media doesn’t apply.”

While he still believes young children should not watch television, Christakis says tablets may be harmless, or even beneficial to infants. Given most parents are ignoring the AAP’s recommendation and 90 percent of children under age 2 watch video screens regularly, Christakis says tablets with interactive apps could be a better alternative. Read full post »

New food and beverage labels may be a step in the right direction, but is it enough?

NutirionMomReadingLabelBig changes could soon be coming to grocery stores across the U.S., but for those who don’t pay attention to the black and white nutrition label located on the back of food and beverage packages, the change might not seem very drastic.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed giving Nutrition Facts labels a makeover, a change Michelle Obama, an advocate for preventing childhood obesity, says “will make a big difference for families all across this country.” The tweaks are intended to help consumers make more informed decisions about what they put into their bodies. The proposed Nutrition Facts label, if approved, will be the first new look the label has received in over 20 years. Read full post »

What causes preterm birth? Seattle Children’s pledges dollars to find out

Courtesy of Paul Joseph Brown/GAPPS

Courtesy of Paul Joseph Brown/GAPPS

Globally, 15 million babies are born preterm each year, and more than 1 million of those do not survive their first month of life. Here in Washington, more than one in every 10 babies will be born preterm – before 37 weeks gestation – increasing the chance of birth complications, developmental disabilities, and lifelong health issues like cerebral palsy, asthma, and vision and hearing problems.

Today the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), an initiative of Seattle Children’s, has announced that it’s granting a total of $2.8 million to two international pregnancy research sites as part of its Preventing Preterm Birth initiative (PPB). The international sites, located in Zambia and Bangladesh, will mirror similar sites GAPPS has developed in the U.S., and will enroll women early in pregnancy and collect information and biological specimens during their pregnancies and deliveries.

The data and specimens collected for the research will be used to identify the causes of preterm birth as well as novel strategies for prevention. For more information, please refer to the press release.

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Seattle Children’s Annual Health Fair is back!

Games, hands-on activities, contests, crafts, music and much more will be featured at the Seattle Children’s Annual Health Fair, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 8.

Geared toward children 3 to 8 years old, the health fair will provide an opportunity for kids and caregivers to develop positive attitudes about hospitals and health care, and learn about staying healthy and safe through a variety of fun activities. This event also gives parents/guardians a chance to ask some of our health experts their health-related questions as well as receive a variety of health and safety resources.

Kids should bring their favorite stuffed animal or doll for a check-up at the Teddy Bear Clinic!

For more information, please visit: www.seattlechildrens.org/healthfair