Mothers who are exposed to particulate air pollution, the type produced by vehicles and power plants, are more likely to bear children of low birth weight, according to an international study published today. The study was led by the University of California, San Francisco, and the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For National Heart Month, five Seattle Children’s providers share their tips for helping kids and teens build strong, healthy hearts.
Make a heart-healthy resolution for your family this February:
1. Protect young athletes with pre-sport heart screenings
“We’ve all heard stories in the news – the sudden death of a young, competitive athlete due to undetected cardiovascular disease,” says Jack Salerno, MD, director of electrophysiology and pacing services at Seattle Children’s. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. One minute your seemingly healthy child is on top of the world competing in a sport they love. The next minute their heart suddenly stops.”
Salerno says parents can help protect their young athletes from sudden cardiac arrest by learning about potential “red flags” before their kids begin competing in sports. “It’s important for student-athletes and their parents to work hand-in-hand with physicians to detect any potential risks before the sports season begins.”
The American Heart Association recommends that kids and teens be screened against a 12-point checklist that includes a review of the athlete’s personal and family medical history, and a physical exam by a doctor. The medical history review looks for risk factors like chest pain, elevated blood pressure and unexplained fainting, as well as any family history of heart disease. “A positive response to one or more items on the checklist could trigger further testing, including an electrocardiogram,” Salerno says.
Seven-year-old Mavrick Gabriel of Kenai, Alaska could be described as being “beyond his years.” He’s compassionate in a way that you don’t often see with young children, and he wants to educate others about his birth defect, craniofacial microsomia, and to help kids in the process.
Mavrick was born without a left ear and with a very small jaw that did not have a joint on one side. He can’t eat solid foods, has to use a feeding tube and his speech is affected. In June 2012, Gabriel and his family invited television cameras to capture a surgery—one of dozens he’s endured—that helped move him closer to having a jaw. But he doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him. “Most kids never have to go through this and I’d like to help other people with what I’m going through,” Mavrick said.
Winter weather can make getting outdoors seem like an ordeal – cold temperatures, snow and ice and a lack of summer sunshine can make even the most outdoorsy family want to stay inside. Pooja Tandon, MD, a childhood health researcher with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and a pediatrician, encourages children and families to get out, no matter the weather.
This Thursday, Jan. 31, is our daughter Emily’s 10th birthday, a time that should be filled playfully gathering with friends and giddily unwrapping presents. But Emily will never experience any of those things – she was born still.
Stillbirth is an all-too-common tragedy. In the U.S., 26,000 babies are stillborn every year – that is one baby, one family, every 21 minutes.
We were so excited to be pregnant with our first child, we never considered the possibility of a stillbirth—it was the only chapter in our pregnancy book that we skipped.
Jan. 30, 2013: Zach received a care package full of Batman goodies from Christian Bale this week, and his reaction was priceless:
Jan. 25, 2013: A young Seattle Children’s patient – and avid Batman fan – got a special surprise last week, when actor Christian Bale called him in his hospital room. 8-year-old Zach Guillot, of Dallas, Texas, is battling acute myeloid leukemia. He is currently a patient in the hospital’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, where he is recovering from chemotherapy in hopes of later receiving a bone marrow transplant. It will be his third transplant since he was first diagnosed in February 2010.
“Everyone knows Zach is a big Batman fan,” said Jeff, his father. “One of our friends called Christian Bale’s agent, cold-called-him from what I understand, and told him Zach’s story.”
On Jan. 18, Bale called Zach to talk about costumes, little brothers who moonlight as trusty sidekick “Robin,”and Zach’s homemade Batmobile. Zach’s parents, Julie and Jeff caught the conversation on video and shared it on YouTube.
Northwest Film Forum’s 8th annual Children’s Film Festival Seattle will be rolling out the red carpet to children and their families today through Feb. 3. It has become the largest film festival on the West Coast dedicated to this young audience, reaching more than 10,000 people during festival screenings in Seattle and a subsequent festival tour of 15 to 20 U.S. cities.
New this year, current and former patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital will have a few very special starring roles in the festival.
Lights, camera, action!
The festival will showcase more than 120 innovative, inspiring and fun films from 38 countries. Children’s is excited that five short films created by patients or featuring patients’ creative works have been selected to be shown at the festival.
We’re a mere three months away from opening Building Hope, our cancer, critical and emergency care expansion. Building Hope will create positive change for our hospital campus: the addition of spaces that are physically and functionally flexible; design that promotes a safe and healing environment; and spaces that improve flow and efficiency.
It’s a great milestone for Seattle Children’s – but the added space will substantially alter our hospital footprint.To seamlessly weave Building Hope into the hospital layout, Children’s today unveiled a new directional wayfinding system to help patients, families, staff and visitors easily navigate the expanding campus. “Wayfinding” includes signage, maps, colors, floor numbers, room numbers, design schemes and visual cues – anything that helps people identify where they are and gets them to where they want to go. Children’s has been preparing for wayfinding changes for more than two years.
We’ve replaced our six-zone wayfinding system, which consisted of zones like Giraffe, Whale and Train, with four Pacific Northwest-themed zones – Forest, River, Mountain and Ocean. The Forest zone exclusively includes the new Building Hope location and will be accessible in April, while the other zones encompass the space currently in use.
Flu cases in Washington state are already at higher-than-average levels, and experts say we have yet to hit the flu season’s peak. In the last few weeks, health officials have reported a spike in influenza activity. Seattle Children’s is seeing an increase in emergency department visits for flu symptoms. In the past week, 62 infants, kids and teens tested positive for flu, which is three times more than the number of cases seen in the first week of December.
Across the United States, 47 states are reporting widespread influenza activity, and at least 18 children have died from the flu this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Washington state, at least six people have died, including a 12-year-old boy.
Research in South America on a rare ear defect could help pinpoint risk factors for some of the most common birth defects in the United States.
Some 120,000 babies in the United States are born each year with birth defects, according to the March of Dimes. The most common birth defects are heart defects, cleft lip and cleft palate, Down syndrome and spina bifida.
Seattle Children's complies with applicable federal and other civil rights laws and does not discriminate, exclude people or treat them differently based on race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin (ancestry), age, disability, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law. Financial assistance for medically necessary services is based on family income and hospital resources and is provided to children under age 21 whose primary residence is in Washington, Alaska, Montana or Idaho.