Test of Anthrax Vaccine in Children Gets Tentative OK
A presidential ethics panel has opened the door to testing an anthrax vaccine on children as young as infants, bringing an angry response from critics who say the children would be guinea pigs in a study that would never help them and might harm them. (via Reuters)
Most Parents Don’t Follow Doctor’s Orders
Two-thirds of parents say they don’t always follow the advice they get from their child’s doctor, according to a new poll. The findings showed that 56 percent of parents said they follow the advice they’re given most of the time, while 13 percent said they follow it only occasionally, according to the findings from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. (via NBC News)
Student Suspended for Pop-Tart Gun, Josh Welch, Files Appeal with Maryland School System
An attorney for an Anne Arundel County 7-year-old suspended from school for nibbling a pastry into the shape of a pistol has filed an appeal with the county school system to have the suspension overturned and the student’s record expunged, saying he will “go all the way to the Maryland Court of Appeals” if needed to pursue the case. (via Huffington Post)
New Guidelines for Athletes with Concussions
A major medical group is updating its guidelines for handling amateur or professional athletes suspected of having a concussion. The American Academy of Neurology says the athletes should be taken out of action immediately and kept out until they’ve been cleared by a health care provider with training about concussions. (via FOX News)
Organic Baby Food: It’s More Expensive, but it May Not Be More Nutritious
Parents go organic for a variety of reasons, including environmental concerns and a desire to avoid pesticide residue. And in some cases, they just want a status symbol. According to the consumer market research firm Mintel, organic baby food made up about 10 percent of the $1.4 billion U.S. baby food and snacks market in 2011. But studies show that parents who are aiming to buy the best food for their infants may not need to spring for the expensive organics. (via The Washington Post)
Ohio Third Grade Reading Guarantee Law One Semester In: PBS Reports On Progress
Ohio schools are one semester into its first year of the new “Third Grade Reading Guarantee” law, but some 30 percent of students — about 40,000 statewide — are still not reading at grade level. (via Huffington Post)
Healthy School Lunch: America’s Obsession With School Meals
With the passage of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 and new school lunch requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2011, America’s school menus are healthier than ever – even if kids aren’t always happy about it. (via Huffington Post)
Modern Parenting May Hinder Brain Development, Research Suggests
Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame. (via Science Daily)
U.S. Launches Study into Youth Sports Concussions
The U.S. government launched on Monday a sweeping study of rising sports-related concussions among the youth, amid concerns that the injuries may have contributed to the suicides of professional football players. (via Reuters)
Review Questions Blood Pressure Tests for Kids
Despite long-standing recommendations that doctors check children’s blood pressure at every office visit, a new review of research says there is not enough evidence to support that guideline. (via Reuters)
Fussy Infants Exposed to More TV
Although doctors say babies should not watch television, some mothers may use the tube as a way to calm fussy infants, a new study suggests. (via My Health News Daily)
Even Moderate Drinking in Pregnancy Can Affect a Child’s IQ
Relatively small levels of exposure to alcohol while in the womb can influence a child’s IQ, according to a new study. (via ScienceDaily)
Pediatricians May Lack Training in Concussion Care
Pediatricians and pediatric nurses often see young patients with concussions, but a new survey suggests they may lack the tools and training to diagnose and treat them. (via Reuters)
Pollutants Linked to Lower Fertility in Both Men and Women
Researchers say that pollutants such as perchlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), industrial compounds and pesticides that are no longer manufactured but remain in older products can still decrease couples’ ability to have children by up to 29%. (via Time)
Kids With Down Syndrome Twice as Likely to be Heavy
More than one in four children with Down syndrome in the Netherlands is overweight, a rate double that of Dutch youth without the developmental disability, according to a new study. (via Reuters)
Enrollment in Charter Schools is Increasing
Although charter schools engender fierce debate, the number of students enrolled increased close to 13% between 2010-11 and 2011-12. (via New York Times)
Early Puberty May Heighten Heart Risks For Women
A new study finds menstruating before age 12 may contribute to a 23% greater risk of developing heart disease. (via Time)
Chris Coyne was used to getting pummeled on the football field—he thought that taking a beating was just part of the game. He refused to be sidelined by a few nasty bumps. But after sustaining numerous head injuries, the Yale university student found himself unable to take notes in class or remember where he was going. Like lots of young sports fanatics, Chris wasn’t happy to sit on the bench: he just wanted to get back in the game as soon as possible. More than 50% of sports concussions go unreported, partially because young athletes don’t want to pass up playing time. Chris continued to play with his concussion, and his brain hadn’t recovered from all the times it had slammed against his skull. Ultimately, he had to give up football for good. “I wish I knew then what I know now about concussions and injuries,” he says. “If I did, I would still be playing.”
Experts estimate that there are between 1.6 and 3 million sports-related concussions among children and adults every year. Even if your kid’s not an athlete, you should still make sure you can recognize the symptoms of a concussion. Falls are the main cause of brain injuries in kids under age 10; your tot’s tumble could be more serious than you think. Whenever your kid bangs his head, watch out for these red-flag symptoms: headache, fatigue, balance problems, vomiting, drowsiness, memory and concentration issues, irritability and sadness, and sleep disturbances. If you suspect that your child has a concussion, get her checked out by a doc right away. Though many of these injuries are easily treated with rest, others require surgery to reduce swelling and decrease the risk of long-term damage.
Now, Chris works to raise awareness about concussions, and remind young players how important it is to let themselves rest and recover following an injury.
Check out this video about Chris’s story, which was produced by Choices, a Scholastic magazine for students.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Lambeth Hochwald, a writer for Parents magazine and Parents.com. She recently attended the National Football League (NFL) Youth Health and Safety Luncheon in New York City to learn more about how to prevent and treat concussions.
Concussions are, without a doubt, on the top 10 list of things parents worry about. This brain injury is caused by a blow to the head or the body from hitting another player, a hard surface (such as the ground), or a piece of equipment (such as a lacrosse stick or hockey puck).
With 38 million kids participating in sports each year in the U.S. and 3 million youth football players, the risk of a concussion isn’t rare. In fact, it’s been estimated that there are 1.6 to 3 million sports- and recreation-related concussions among children and adults every year.
Thankfully, our concussion awareness is evolving. Last year, 30 NFL teams hosted health and safety events for community members and the NFL has also partnered with organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate youth coaches, players, and parents on how to prevent, identify, and properly treat a concussion.
“We know that a concussion changes the brain’s electrochemical ‘software’ function,” said Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., division chief of neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “It produces physical, cognitive, and emotional signs and symptoms that can last hours, days, or even months.”
Here are seven things you need to know about concussions:
Know the signs. Concussions can lead to physical symptoms, including headache, fatigue, balance problems, vomiting, and drowsiness; cognitive symptoms, including memory and concentration issues; emotional symptoms, including irritability and sadness and sleep disturbances.
Know the risks.Bicycle accidents are the number one reason kids ages 19 and younger are treated for a concussion in the emergency room. In kids who are 10 and under, concussions tend to occur after a bicycle accident or a fall at the playground.
Know about helmets. Helmets don’t prevent concussions, but they do prevent severe brain injury and skull fractures. Make sure your child is wearing a helmet that meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards (the label inside should include the certification) and that fits properly. “A haircut can affect how a helmet will fit,” added speaker Scott Hallenbeck, executive director of USA Football.
Know that concussions are often an ‘invisible’ injury. Because more than 90 percent of sports-related concussions occur without losing consciousness, it’s up to coaches, teammates, parents, and onlookers to recognize what to do when a child has experienced this trauma.
Know the risky sports/positions. Head injury risks are higher in tackle football and soccer than in other sports. There are also certain positions on a team that can also raise risks. For example, your child is more likely to receive a concussion if she is a baseball catcher or a soccer and hockey goalie.
Know the CDC is on it. The CDC’s “Heads Up” awareness program and Facebook page provide ample information about concussions for health-care professionals, parents, and coaches. Concussion fact sheets are available as clipboard stickers, magnets, and posters for young athletes. These can be ordered in bulk for your child’s school.
Know that it’s imperative for your coach to be trained. The CDC offers online training for youth and high school coaches. Be sure your child’s coach is up-to-date on the latest concussion prevention and treatment information. Ask about his or her experience — your child is counting on you.
Parents should stay vigilant from the sidelines. If you suspect that a coach is continuing to keep a child on the field after an injury, speak up. Playing or practicing with concussion symptoms is dangerous and can lead to longer recovery and a delay in your child’s return to the sport. “Toughing it out” is unacceptable. As NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says, “It’s not cool to be tough when it comes to your head.”
Recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion with the new Concussion Recognition and Response app ($3.99) from Safe Kids USA. Using information from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), two experts, Gerard A. Gioia, Ph.D., and Jason Mihalik, Ph.D., created the app to help parents and coaches in the event a child experiences a home- or sports-related injury.
In just a few minutes, complete a checklist to determine if symptoms are serious enough for immediate medical attention. Parents can also record a child’s health information (name, age, gender, sport played), take photos of the injury, and share all the information via email with health care professionals for proper treatment and follow-up. Plus, the app offers tips on how a child can safely return to regular sports or exercise routines after an injury.
Concussion Crisis Growing in Girls’ Soccer
The number of girls suffering concussions in soccer accounts for the second largest amount of all concussions reported by young athletes, according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
Bans on School Junk Food Pay Off in California
Five years after California started cracking down on junk food in school cafeterias, a new report shows that high school students there consume fewer calories and less fat and sugar at school than students in other states.
Kids’ Concussion Symptoms May Persist for a Year
Children who suffer concussions may experience lingering problems with memory and attention, and may need help in school, according to a new study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.