If your child is anything like mine, you probably dread vaccination day. When my then 3-year-old daughter wrapped her arms around me, and used every muscle in her little legs to push off of the examination table sending me flying backward into the hall, I have to admit, I deeply considered skipping the next round. But we pushed through them, and now at five, she’s replaced her fear of needles with a fear of large cotton swabs (a strep test — it’s a long story).
Although we’ve all witnessed a runaway kid or two at the pediatrician’s office, the truth behind this needle nightmare is that one in every 10 Americans has a fear needles, or trypanophobia. Digital health media company, Healthline, has called it an under-reported healthcare crisis. Fear of needles can cause a person to skip vaccinations, which puts everyone’s health at risk.
According to Healthline, needle phobia usually develops around age 4 or 5 with a traumatic immunization experience. And if you told your kid that it wasn’t going to hurt, you can bet his immunization experience was traumatic.
According to Healthline’s CEO West Shell, “The key to ending needle phobia is awareness, education, and action. Needle phobia must be addressed and it must be addressed on large public platforms. Fear of snakes or fear of public speaking doesn’t kill people, but fear of needles does.”
Healthline has recently launched a public health campaign to help put an end to needle phobia. Take the End Needle Phobia Pledge, and help prevent your children from developing needle phobia by telling them the truth: shots help to protect them and others from dangerous diseases, and they hurt – but only for a second.
When driving your kids, parents know how important car safety, especially car seat safety is for babies and for toddlers. 21st Century Auto Insurance recently created the visual Guide to to Child Car Safety below to offer parents important tips and facts on how to protect kids riding in a car.
The infographic was also created as a part of the 21st Century’s “Baby on Board” contest — parents can show their artistic sides by reimagining and recreating the typical yellow diamond sign. The grand prize winner receives $10,000 for a baby room makeover, and the deadline for submissions is March 15, 2013.
As a parent, you were no doubt horrified by the senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary last month that left 20 children and six adults dead—and left many of us feeling hopeless and vulnerable. But now you can take action to protect your family. On January 26th, join the March on Washington for Gun Control. Supporters are calling for Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban (which expired in 2004), outlaw high capacity ammunition magazines, require background checks, and instate a 28-day waiting period for all gun purchases. Of particular interest for parents is the campaign’s push to require mandatory gun safety training before purchasing a gun to reduce the number of tragic accidents that claim many young lives each year.
We at Parents believe strongly in the cause of keeping kids safe from guns at home, in schools, and everywhere. We are currently working on a gun safety story aimed at increasing awareness of this important issue. More than 30,000 people are killed each year in America from guns. Let’s do our part to reduce this tragically high figure.
Editor’s Note: Parents.com has partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you a monthly series of posts about money-related topics related to moms. These guest posts will be shorter, edited versions of longer features from LearnVest.com.
As a mom, you know just how accident-prone and fragile kids can be. Cuts, scratches, scrapes, skinned knees, and bumps to the noggin’ are all frequent players on your “must fix” list. And there’s nothing worse than having to play Dr. Mom without having all of the needed medical supplies to heal your little patient.
Setting up a first-aid kit now for your home and your car will save time (you can quickly attend to injuries), money (no middle-of-the-night runs to the insanely expensive convenience store), and a whole lot of tears.
Keep these drugstore staples on hand and you’ll be ready for anything your active kid can throw your way.
1. Bandages and Gauze Pads
Your kit should include bandages in a variety of sizes. These little stickies help protect wounds from reinjury, hide scary-looking cuts, and magically make tears disappear. Before you spring for the more expensive character bandages, a little DIY craftiness can save money. Buy plain bandages and then decorate them with your child’s name, silly drawings, or stickers once they’re in use. Gauze pads will come in handy for more serious wounds (don’t forget the tape). You can also use them when applying ointments or cleaning agents. When purchasing gauze pads, bigger is better. You can always cut the pad if you need a smaller size.
Speaking of cutting, a good pair of sharp scissors is a necessity. In addition to cutting gauze, you may also need to cut other material, like clothing, during an emergency. Regular scissors are fine, as long as they’re sharp enough to cut gauze, clothing, etc.
3. Cold/Hot Packs
Hot and cold packs can relieve swelling and reduce the pain of minor injuries. Because you’re not guaranteed to have access to ice or hot water or a heating pad, stock up on the instant cold and hot packs (like this one) that you squeeze to activate.
4. Pain Medication/Fever Reliever
Pain is a big deal to little kids, so it’s always a good idea to have a children’s pain reliever around to reduce fevers and calm headaches, teething pain, and minor sprains and strains. Remember, aspirin isn’t recommended for kids, so the best choices are children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
For kids with food allergies, it can be difficult to make sure no forbidden foods ever slip through. If your child does consume something she has a slight allergy to, an oral antihistamine can reduce a potential reaction, says Emily Tuerk, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Even if your kid doesn’t have food allergies, it’s still a good idea to have an antihistamine on hand. “Oral antihistamines and topical antihistamine creams can lessen the reaction to insect stings or bites,” says Dr. Tuerk. They can also decrease symptoms of hives, poison ivy, and other skin reactions.
This standard beauty supply isn’t only for plucking stray hairs from your eyebrows. Tweezers come in handy to remove splinters, glass, insect stingers, ticks, or even candy. (You know, for when your 3-year-old decides to put a piece of candy up his nose.)
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.”
In a survey of 1,000 people, Rent.com found 34% of parents are raising their kids in a big city. They cited cultural activities, educational opportunities, and population diversity as reasons for city living. Based on parents’ feedback, Rent.com compiled a list of the 10 best cities in America to raise kids. In no particular order:
Portland, OR – Portland’s low crime rate and high graduation stats are two of many factors that draw families to this green city.
Dallas, TX – Children living in Dallas have endless attractions and learning experiences to take advantage of, from zoos to parks to children’s theater.
Columbus, OH – Columbus is an affordable city with some of the top public schools in the country and multiple indoor and outdoor themed parks.
Omaha, NE – Great public schools, a low crime rate, a low cost of living, and cultural attractions make Omaha a catch.
San Diego, CA – This city boasts great weather year-round and tons of kid-friendly attractions, including zoos and aquariums.
Austin, TX – Austin has a grassroots, neighborhood spirit that makes families proud of belonging to the heart of Texas.
Denver, CO – Denver has the largest public parks system of any U.S. city – a draw for active families that love the outdoors.
Phoenix, AZ– Phoenix’s fun attractions like the Phoenix Zoo, the Children’s Museum, and plenty of outdoor activities entertain kids of all ages.
San Jose, CA – Parents and kids enjoy San Jose for its cultural attractions, including the Children’s Discovery Museum and Happy Hollow Park; plus, the city has a great public transportation system.
Seattle, WA – Seattle – known as a science and technology center – boasts an excellent academic reputation and beautiful scenery.
Are you raising your kids in a city? If so, which one and why do you love it?
I feel caught sometimes between being the mom who would totally accept a secondhand crib (it saves a couple hundred bucks…and keeps a big piece of furniture out of the landfill) and being the editor who knows that baby hand-me-downs can be unsafe (there’s a reason why my local Salvation Army won’t take baby gear). Cribs are meant to be assembled only once, and so if you’re using a crib that’s been taken apart and put together a couple of times, it’s likely not secure. Add to that the millions of recalled cribs in the past five years and the only conclusion you can reach is that a new crib is your safest bet.
The same is said of car seats and strollers. I’m sure that most second- and third-born kids get their big sibling’s hand-me-down, but if you can afford to buy new, I can attest that the safety features get more sophisticated every year. The side-impact protection on today’s infant car seats is like nothing that existed three years ago. And after a rash of stroller-folding accidents, many of those are now built differently as well.
So if you’ve got old stuff you wish could be new, Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us are hosting their Great Trade-In Event. You bring in an old piece of baby gear that you’re wary of, and exchange it for 25 percent off a new item from Baby Trend, Chicco, Evenflo, Graco or S1 by Safety 1st. They’re swapping stuff such as playards and highchairs too. It starts Friday August 24th and ends on Sunday September 16th, and is available at all their stores nationwide. Read everything about it here. Yes, unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you’re getting things free…just at a discount. Not as attractive as free. But the gear is safer! And safer is better than free.