Editor’s Note: This guest post is written by Dr. Robert Sicoli, co-medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Dr. Sicoli is a fellowship trained Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician with over 20 years of experience.
While lighting off a few bottle rockets or running around the backyard with a lit sparkler may seem like a relatively harmless way for kids to celebrate the Fourth of July, thousands of people each year are injured by fireworks and many of them end up in the emergency room.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were over 8,600 injuries involving fireworks in 2010. Unfortunately, 40% of those injuries were children younger than 15 years of age. While the safest bet is taking your family to a public fireworks show, many states allow the private use of various types of fireworks. If you live in a state that allows fireworks for private use, follow these fireworks safety tips to keep you and your family safe.
- Make sure to buy ready-to-use fireworks. Avoid kits that require assembly at home and avoid making your own.
- Don’t buy fireworks with brown labels or that are wrapped in brown paper. These are usually made for public displays and not intended to be used privately.
- Always follow the label directions carefully.
- Always light fireworks outside and away from combustible items, like dry leaves and grass.
- Choose a proper, safe, and wide open area for light and setting off the fireworks. Don’t launch bottles rockets in a wooded area or near a busy street.
- Light fireworks one at a time. Never lash multiple fireworks together, never point them toward another person, and make sure to wear eye protection.
- Don’t let kids under 10 use any type of fireworks, even sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
- Always keep a hose or bucket of water nearby.
- Never try to re-light a “dud.” Wait at least ten minutes and then douse it with water.
- Soak all fireworks in water before throwing them away.
- Store extra or unused fireworks in a cool, dry place.
While following these tips will help keep your family safe, accidents could still happen. Burn injuries are common on hands, fingers, eyes, head, and face. In the case your kids are injured, follow these tips for treatment:
- For relatively mild burns, such as red or irritated skin, rinse with cool water and apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
- For severe burns, such as blistering, peeling, and/or very painful skin, call your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.
- If smoke or other particles get into the eyes, avoid rubbing them or the irritation will get worse. Try cleaning the eyes by rinsing them with cool water, but if your child is still in pain after flushing the eyes or complains about visual problems, seek medical attention immediately.
- If your child has inhaled smoke, let him rest in a cool, ventilated area. If he continues to cough, if the coughing is severe, or if there is difficult or labored breathing, call 911 or visit the emergency room right away.
If you’re not sure where to start, we have basic primers about sun safety (i.e. What is SPF? What does UVA and UVB mean?), sunscreen selections from American Baby editors, sun protection clothes and gear recommendations for kids, and more. Check out the information below to avoid sunburns this season.
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.
Editor’s Note: The tips in this post were provided by Autism Today (www.AutismToday.com), a resource website for autism that was founded by Karen Simmons, a mom of six kids (two with special needs). The advice below is aimed at helping parents who are dealing with autism for the first time.
1. Start Local. Find a strong local support system and learn what is available in your area. Reach out to nearby cities if needed.
2. Utilize the Internet. Go to reliable websites with autism resources to educate yourself on programs, services, interventions, therapies, and supports.
3. Qualify Your Doctor. Locate a medical doctor who specializes in autism and has experience treating autism. A referral from other parents or a reputable autism organization is best.
4. Look Into Special Services. Check for related health services focused on speech and language, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical and behavioral therapy, etc.
5. Reach Out for Help. Make use of specific government agencies and public services that support autism, especially in the early intervention arena.
6. Educate Your Family. Teach relatives, friends, neighbors, and your child’s siblings and peers about autism and share what your family is going through. Help them be more accepting and to understand the challenges.
7. Get Up to Speed. Stay current with the latest medical, biomedical, behavioral, and education services so you can pick and choose what is right for your child and your family.
8. Be Involved. Attend conferences focused on educational information and network with other individuals with autism, families, and professionals in the field. You may find lifelong alliances!
9. Take Frequent Breaks. Find and take advantage of respite for yourselves. As caregivers, you will need it.
10. Plan for the Future. Autism is a lifelong disorder and is not going to go away, but with proper interventions, it improves over time. And as long as parents, caregivers, and other supporters have the best mindset, a child they can be guided toward leading a happy, fulfilling life.
Editor’s Note: This guest post is written by Ari Brown, M.D., FAAP, a Parents advisor and pediatrician in Austin, TX. She is the co-author of the best-sellling “411” parenting book series including Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for your Pregnancy, Baby 411, and Toddler 411. Here, she shares her new role as champion for the world-wide Shot@Life initiative.
As a pediatrician, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, I’ve been involved in children’s health initiatives in the U.S. for a long time. But this year, I’m going global! I’m excited to be a part of a new movement to help kids and I want to share it with you!
On April 26, 2012, the United Nations Foundation will roll out a new grassroots program cleverly titled, Shot@Life. The message: every child—no matter where they live—deserves a shot at leading a healthy, productive life.
American parents don’t usually have to worry about losing their children to diseases like measles, pneumonia, or even the worst case of diarrhea. That’s because most of our kids have access to and are able to receive life-saving vaccines. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 children worldwide don’t have that opportunity for protection. In fact, 1.7 million children will die this year from these diseases that are rare in the U.S., thanks to vaccination. Unfortunately, a child dies every 20 seconds.
I know, I know. We have so many economic issues at home, it is hard to think about the plight of children on the other side of the world. But honestly, protection against diseases there helps all of our kids. Germs don’t need a passport. They don’t have to take their shoes off in security or go through special body scanners to get on a plane to our hometowns. So, our own children will benefit from protecting children in other countries.
Before February ends, we wanted to honor National Children’s Dental Health Month. To help kids maintain strong, cavity-free teeth every day, Andie Pearson, D.D.S., a practitioner for ChicagoHealers.com, recommends the following suggestions.
Refrain from sugary and processed snacks. Kids who constantly eat sticky, chewy, and dry snacks will suffer from decomposed tooth enamel and tooth decay over time. Children should regularly avoid eating snacks like dried fruit, candy, chips, granola bars, popcorn, nuts, cookies, cakes, and other baked sweets.
Choose fruits, vegetables and dairy first. With lots of nutrients, these are the healthiest options for kids’ teeth. Store snacks like baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumber slices, bananas, berries, yogurt, and cheese where children can conveniently grab when hungry so that they steer clear of the less healthy snacks. Fruit and vegetable juices are also great choices, but be sure to avoid products with high fructose corn syrup, as they contain loads of sugar.
Brush 2-3 times per day. Sugar and tiny crumbs tend to get stuck around the teeth and gums so it’s important for kids to brush frequently. Not doing so will cause tooth enamel to decompose and, in turn, cause the teeth to decay over time. Make sure that children brush after every meal, and rinse after every snack.
Floss daily. Food gets stuck in gums that can’t be removed simply by brushing. Teach kids to floss during their younger years to prevent gum disease and tooth decay later in life.
The competition is divided into two categories: School Programs and Technology Innovation. Teachers, schools, and school districts can enter School Programs by submitting their school’s unique physical activity programs, which can include curriculums, activities, environmental modifications, events, or any other initiatives that are currently being implemented. Regional winners will receive $25,000 prizes and national winners will receive $100,000 prizes.
Technology developers can enter TechnologyInnovation with ideas of how existing and emerging technology can be used to inspire kids to get active. Technology can include devices, tracking and measurement systems, software applications, social media, gaming systems, and smartphones. Winners will receive $50,000 in funding and the chance to present at this year’s Health 2.0 conference.
Note: This guest post is by Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician and mom of two children. She is partnering with Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, makers of Children’s Advil®, this cold and flu season on a fever education program.
With cold and flu season underway, many parents will have concerns when caring for their sick, feverish children. New national surveys of parents and pediatricians reveal that the actions many parents take to alleviate their child’s fever are not always in line with the most current recommendations made by doctors. Recently, the makers of Children’s Advil® conducted two online surveys, one given to 1,000 parents to find out how they treated their children’s fevers and a follow-up survey given to 250 pediatricians on their views of parents’ misperceptions and where education was needed. Based on the “Dose of Reality” study, follow the advice below to treat your child’s fever in safe ways.
1) Dose based on weight. The preferred way to dose a children’s fever reducer is to dose based on your child’s weight, yet more than one-third of parents (36 percent) surveyed dose based on their child’s age. Follow the dosing instructions on the medicine label, but if your child’s age and weight don’t match up, follow the weight dose. If you don’t know your child’s weight, follow the age dose.
2) Use a long lasting fever-reducing medication. Remember that the main goal of giving your child a fever reducer is to make him more comfortable, not to bring the temperature down to normal. It’s important to consider how long a medication will last. For example, products containing ibuprofen (like Children’s Advil®) provide up to eight hours of relief with just one dose.
3) Wait 24 hours after the fever breaks before sending a child back to school or daycare. More than half of the parents surveyed admitted to sending their child back to class less than 24 hours after the fever broke. Pediatricians advise that parents keep their child home from school or daycare until the she is fever-free for at least 24 hours.
1) Worry. Fever is the body’s normal response to an underlying infection and parents should talk to the pediatrician about the proper treatment. Definitely call the doctor if: a child is under three months of age and has a fever of 100 degrees or more; a child has a high fever over 103 degrees; or a child has had a persistent fever for more than a few days.
2) Give adult medication to a child. Nearly a quarter of the parents from the survey gave their child an adult over-the-counter medication and estimated the dose. This is dangerous. Children are not mini-adults and should only be given medication that has been formulated for them, unless specifically advised by the pediatrician.
3) Wake a child at night just to give fever medication. Pediatricians believe that feverish children who are sleeping comfortably should not be awakened to take fever medication. Instead, close monitoring is a good idea and parents should always check with the pediatrician.