Pregnant Women Most Vulnerable to Flu
The World Health Organization says pregnant women should be given top priority for flu vaccinations this season, putting them above the elderly, children, and people with chronic health conditions. (via ABC News)
Predicting Obesity at Birth
Researchers say they have a formula for divining which newborns are at the highest risk of becoming obese during childhood. (via Time)
For Children, a Lie on Facebook Has Consequences, Study Finds
A federal law intended to protect children’s privacy may unwittingly lead them to reveal too much on Facebook, a provocative new academic study shows. (via New York Times)
Experts Call for Mental Illness Screening for Children
Leading mental health experts are calling for school children to be screened for risk of mental illnesses such as depression and have devised a test that reliably identifies those at high risk. (via MSNBC)
Online Tool Creates Catch-Up Immunization Schedules
A new online tool takes the guesswork out of developing individualized catch-up immunization schedules by allowing parents and health care providers to easily create a schedule that ensures missed vaccines and future vaccines are administered according to approved guidelines. (via ScienceDaily)
1 in 3 Developmentally Delayed Babies Untreated
About one out of every three infants who scores well below average on a test of developmental skills — and is therefore considered at a high risk of having delays — does not get referred to early intervention services, according to a new study.
More Relatives, Friends Caring for Kids: Report
The number of youth living with relatives or friends instead of their parents has risen nearly 18 percent in the past decade as a growing number of grandparents take on caring for their grandchildren, an analysis of government data shows.
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.
The new study about perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) has parents concerned once again about immunizations, but not for the usual reason: Research shows that PFCs may affect how well children’s bodies respond to vaccines. The theory is that this chemical interferes with the immune response once a child is vaccinated. This is just an association for now–not a cause-and-effect–so the word is not final, but it has lots of moms and dads worried about how often their children are exposed to PFCs. And the unfortunate answer for most families? A lot.
PFCs are found in the coating of Teflon pots and pans. In the lining of microwave popcorn bags. On coated paper plates. In Scotchgard spray and treated fabrics. In Stainmaster carpets. Gore-Tex clothing. The Environmental Working Group has a quick worksheet on how to avoid exposure, and it’s helpful, but the fact is, PFC is a tough thing to avoid.
We tackled the tough topic of chemicals in Parents, and one of the most useful parts of the story was our section on “Safer Swaps.” While we didn’t address PFCs, we covered other troublesome sources of chemical exposure, including phthalates and BPA. Take a look–you may be pleasantly surprised by how much you can do to protect your child.
The Nurse-In: Why Breast-Feeding Moms Are Mad at Target
Nursing mothers intend to turn out en masse from Maine to Oregon to breast-feed their babies while wandering through after-Christmas markdowns or sipping a latte in the in-house Starbucks — it’s a maternal twist on civil disobedience: the nurse-in.
More Kids Skip School Shots in 8 States
More parents are opting out of school shots for their kids. In eight states now, more than 1 in 20 public school kindergartners aren’t getting all the vaccines required for attendance, an Associated Press analysis found.
Do Babies with Flat Heads Need Helmets?
An updated report released Monday by the AAP advises that in most cases, these scary-sounding “positional skull deformities” can be successfully treated with physical therapy and some other tweaks — no orthotic helmets needed.
Eating Sweets Early in Pregnancy Can Mean Obese Baby
Expectant mothers who consumed more sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages during the first trimester of their pregnancies were more likely to have obese babies than those whose intake was lower, a new study shows.
D.C. Parents Raise Concerns About Middle Schools
Middle schools are the latest hot spot in D.C. Public education. With preschool and elementary enrollment ticking up for the first time in decades, parents and policymakers are scrutinizing the lack of attractive middle-grade options with increasing urgency.
A New Law On School Fitness Data Faces Obstacles
Under the new law, researchers can access unidentified individual student data, which they say will help bolster aggregate analyses that already show correlations between physical fitness and academic performance, gang activity and absenteeism.