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Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Last summer, one of our advisors, pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., shared a very sad story with us: One of her patients, 4-year-old Colin, had drowned a few years earlier in a community pool in their hometown of Austin, Texas–with family and friends all around. Colin’s parents have since founded Colin’s Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about water safety and drowning prevention, and their work has provided swim lessons for children who need but can’t afford them, and educates the public about what it takes to prevent drowning.
Dr. Brown wrote about Colin, the organization, and everything we as parents should be doing to keep our children safe around the water in our August issue. Just as the issue arrived in our offices, tragedy struck a family in the town next to mine: Two brothers, ages 3 and 5, left their house, climbed their next-door-neighbor’s fence, and drowned in the neighbor’s pool.
This makes me think about a product called Safety Turtle. It’s a wristband (with a turtle’s face) that a young child wears whenever he’s not supposed to be around water. You have to lock it on your child (literally, with a key) so that it can’t come off. Should the wristband become immersed in water, an alarm on the wireless base unit sounds, and doesn’t stop until you reset it. Dr. Brown asked Jan Emler, the founder of a swim school in Austin, for her thoughts on a product like Safety Turtle. She said, “Since the majority of preschool drowning deaths occur in backyard pools, we are in favor of an alarm system that stays with the child. As long as supervising adults make certain the child is wearing the wristband and properly power the base station, this alarm system can be an effective weapon in the arsenal used to fight childhood drowning. It’s one more layer of protection–along with uninterrupted adult, visual supervision; formal swim lessons; and four-sided fencing.” Safety Turtle works best in fresh water, but there are ways to use it in salt water, explained here.
I can’t help but think of those two little boys, whose lives could have been saved if they’d been wearing something like this.
Safety Turtle, $280.
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Friday, May 18th, 2012
CDC: Drowning Still a Leading Cause of Death for Toddlers
Drowning remains the leading cause of death in children under age 4 other than birth defects, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Baby’s Poor Head and Neck Control May Be an Autism Clue
Early research suggests that if a 6-month old baby has “head lag,” or weak head and neck control, it may be an early sign of autism or another language/social developmental delay.
Breastfed Babies May Gain Less Weight
Babies who are fed milk from their mothers’ breasts gain less weight over their first year compared to babies fed milk — breast or formula — from a bottle, suggests a new study.
Having Children Makes You (Relatively) Happier
Two college professors, Chris M. Herbst and John Ifcher, are challenging the collective, if counterintuitive, wisdom. Being a parent, they say, really does make people happier than the alternative — in part because over the past few decades, those who aren’t parents have been becoming gradually less happy.
Study Finds Setbacks for Young Autistic Adults
One in 3 young adults with autism have no paid job experience or college or technical education nearly seven years after high school graduation, a study finds. That’s a poorer showing than those with other disabilities, including the mentally disabled, the researchers said.
Newborn Infant Dies After Dog Attack at Ohio Home
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An Ohio coroner’s investigator says a 3-day-old infant died hours after she was attacked by a family dog while sitting in a swing.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Fewer Kids Dying From Leukemia
Kids with one type of leukemia are living longer than they used to, most likely thanks to new drug combinations that mean fewer patients are relapsing after a first round of treatment.
Keep Kids Away From the Medicine Cabinet
The report, which contains poisoning data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Association of Poison Control Centers, reveals that while overall U.S. poisoning deaths among kids plunged by half from 1979 to 2006 – the percentage of those deaths from medications – both prescription and over-the-counter products – has nearly doubled, jumping from 36% to 64%.
Gunman Reportedly Filmed Lethal Shooting Spree at French Jewish School
French authorities offered new details on Tuesday of an assault that has stunned the nation, saying the lone gunman seemed to be filming his actions as he shot his victims to death.
9-Year-Old Gets Jury Duty Summons: What’s That?
His dad says he’d have one weakness as a juror: ‘If someone offered him an Xbox game, he would do as he’s asked; but besides that, he’s a very impartial kid.’
After Daughter’s Drinking Death, Mother Tells Teens: Look Out for Each Other
When Molly Ammon had too much to drink at a spring break party, her friends put her to bed to sleep it off. She never woke up. Now, her devastated mom is warning other teens of the dangers of binge drinking, hoping to save another child’s life.
Neveah Reynolds, 4, Saves Sister, Kazmirah, 2, From Drowning In Pond
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Neveah Reynolds, a 4-year-old from LaFollate, Tennessee is hailed as a hero after saving her 2-year-old sister, Kazmirah, from drowning in a pond.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Shipments From Abroad to Help Ease Shortage of Two Cancer Drugs
Dire shortages of two critical cancer drugs — shortfalls that have threatened the lives and care of thousands of patients — should be resolved within weeks, federal drug officials said.
Moms with Migraines Twice as Likely to Have Baby with Colic
When babies with colic cry – sometimes for weeks at a time – Mom and Dad might get headaches. But according to a new study, a mother’s headache may be causing her baby’s colic in the first place.
Exercise in Pregnancy Safe for Baby, Study Finds
Exercising at moderate or — for very active women — even high intensity during pregnancy won’t hurt your baby’s health, a new study finds.
Movies Influence Teen Alcohol Consumption More than Parents, Study Finds
Major exposure to scenes of alcohol consumption in movies is a bigger risk for teen drinking than having parents who drink or if booze is easily available at home, says a new study.
Authorities Say Children Tied to Bed in Texas Home
The eight children confined in a small, dark bedroom with a piece of plywood over the window included two 2-year-olds tied to a bed and a 5-year-old girl “in a restraint on a filthy mattress,” the child welfare worker who discovered them said in a court document.
Parents Sentenced Over Kids’ Drowning During Camping Trip
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The parents of two Ohio youngsters who drowned during a family camping trip have been sentenced to 12 years in prison for not better protecting their children from harm, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
Many Kids Now Engage in Media ‘Multi-Tasking’
Apparently, today’s youngsters love their media — a lot. So finds a new British study, which reveals that media “multi-tasking” is all the rage among some 10- and 11-year-olds who simultaneously surf TV, laptops, cell phones and other devices.
Kids Still See Unhealthy-Food Ads on TV, Study Finds
American children see fewer food and drink ads on television today, but most of the ads they view are for unhealthy products, a new study says.
Unschoolers Learn What They Want, When They Want
The unschooling philosophy is based on education pioneer John Holt’s 1964 book “How Children Fail.” Put simply, Holt wrote that living is learning. He believed children should follow their innate curiosity and passions rather than being forced to learn hordes of information they will never use.
After the Mammogram Storm, What Should Women Do?
While breast care experts acknowledge that mammography is imprecise and can lead to false positives, undue anxiety and overtreatment, they say it is the best tool they have for detecting breast cancer and that the benefits far outweigh any potential harms.
Hero 9-Year-Old Rescues Drowning Toddler
A 9-year-old San Jose, Calif., boy is being hailed as a hero for rescuing a drowning toddler from the bottom of a swimming pool.
Oregon Mom Loses Fight to Keep Sons Away from Stepmom Who Shot and Killed Her Own Children
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An Oregon mother who fought to keep her teenage boys away from a stepmom who was convicted of shooting and killing her own daughters 20 years ago, lost her custody fight this week.
Monday, June 20th, 2011
Peanuts, milk, shellfish? 1 in 12 kids may have food allergies
As many as one in every 12 kids in the United States may have a food allergy, according to a new study that appears to confirm that the condition is more widespread — and perhaps more dangerous — than previously thought. (MSNBC)
Portable pools claim a child’s life every 5 days
A child dies every five days in portable pools during warm-weather months, according to a new study. The research published Monday in the journal Pediatrics shows 209 deaths and 35 near-drownings of children under 12 from 2001 through 2009. Most of the children, 94 percent, were under 5, and 81 percent of the incidents happened during summer months. (MSNBC)
Millions still die due to lack of midwives: U.N.
More investment in midwifery could save many of the millions of babies and hundreds of thousands of women who still die every year because of a lack of skilled healthcare during childbirth, the United Nations said on Monday. (Reuters)
Ranking America’s High Schools
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Since 1998, The Post’s Jay Mathews has ranked Washington-area public high schools using the Challenge Index, his measure of how effectively a school prepares its students for college. In 2011, the Post expanded its research to high schools across the United States. Get Challenge Index scores for more than 1900 public high schools nationwide. (Washington Post)
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) cited water balls, the large walk-in see through balls usually found at fairs and malls, for suffocation and drowning dangers. The federal government sent out an official warning this morning. “The CPSC said the contraptions are dangerous because those inside have no way to let themselves out and the contraptions are air-tight and could create breathing difficulties,” according to Mitch Lipka at The Consumer Chornicle. “The safety agency said oxygen depletion from being inside one of the balls could happen within minutes.”
Kids with heart, lung, and breathing issues are at particular risk inside the ball, the CPSC said. Read more at the Consumer Chronicle.
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Monday, May 24th, 2010
Pool season kicks off this weekend (yippee!) So it’s helpful to know that drowning prevention guidelines have been updated, and, to confirm the fears of the more germ-aware parents out there, some pools are pretty darn dirty.
Let’s get the gross stuff out of the way. Roughly 12 percent of public pools inspected in 2008 were immediately closed for serious code violations, according to a report released on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The biggest offenders were pools at child care facilities, followed by hotel/motel pools, and then ones at apartments/condos. The CDC recommends we all follow these rules:
- Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
- Don’t swallow pool water (anyone have tips on how to stop little kids from doing that?! Share your secrets!).
- Bathe with soap and wash your children (especially their bottoms) before swimming.
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers.
- Take your kids on frequent bathroom breaks and/or change diapers often.
- Change diapers in a designated diaper-changing area, not near the pool.
Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just updated their guidelines to prevent childhood drowning. The highlights:
- All pools should be completely surrounded by fences—even large, inflatable ones.
- Pool owners should install drain covers, safety vacuum-releases systems, and other devices to stop kids’ bodies and hair from getting entrapped in pool drains.
- There may be some benefit to children ages 1 to 4 learning to swim, so the AAP no longer advises against swimming lessons for kids in that age range. (They do not officially recommend it, however, and they have no evidence that infants under 12 months should take swim lessons.)
You’ll find more details on the AAP’s new statement here.
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