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Sleep-Related Death and Babies: Risk Factors Vary by Age, Study Finds

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Baby Sleeping on BackHow safe is your baby’s sleep?

A new study examined the biggest sleep risks for babies under 1 year of age and found that younger and older infants faced different risk factors for sleep-related deaths. In the study, which was published online today in the journal Pediatrics, researchers analyzed more than 8,000 sleep-related infant deaths from 24 states between 2004 and 2012. Of those deaths, the study found that for infants up to 4 months of age, the biggest risk factor for sleep-related death was bed-sharing with either a parent or pet. In fact, in roughly 74 percent of the cases studied, the infants had been bed-sharing at the time of their death. About 50 percent of those cases happened when the child was sleeping in an adult bed or on a person.

But for infants ages 4 months to 1 year, the largest risk factor associated with death was different: rolling into objects, including blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, and bumpers, during sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their care providers, but not in the same bed. The crib or bassinet should be within arm’s reach, free of any loose items, including toys and soft bedding, and covered with a fitted sheet.

Despite those safe-sleep recommendations, a whopping 73 percents of the 4,500 respondents in a recent American Baby magazine survey admitted they placed at least one item the crib with their baby.

Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?

Babyproofing Your Home: Crib
Babyproofing Your Home: Crib
Babyproofing Your Home: Crib

Image: close-up portrait of a sleeping baby via Shutterstock

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HIV Returns in 3-Year-Old Girl Once Thought Cured

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Red AIDS RibbonIn 2012, The New England Journal of Medicine published an article about a child known as “Mississippi Baby” who was reportedly cured of HIV. Unfortunately, more than two years later, doctors have discovered the nearly 4-year-old now has detectable levels of the infection again, according to USA Today.

Researchers were cautiously optimistic that this case would provide information that could help babies born with the virus, mostly in developing countries. More from USA Today:

“Certainly, this is a disappointing turn of events for this young child, the medical staff involved in the child’s care and the HIV/AIDS research community,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases, at the briefing.

The development “reminds us that we still have much more to learn about the intricacies of HIV infection and where the virus hides in the body,” Fauci said in a statement. “The NIH remains committed to moving forward with research on a cure for HIV infection.”

The girl is now back on anti-retroviral treatment after being taken off two years ago and will remain mostly for the duration of her life.

“Mississippi Baby” was born with the infection. Her mother did not receive any prenatal care, and when she went to the hospital to deliver, it was too late for the doctors to give Baby treatment before delivery. The day after she was born, doctors began administering medications. Mother and baby routinely received treatment for the next 18 months, but then they disappeared. Doctors feared the worst when they returned five months later, but instead Baby appeared to be HIV-free.

Fauci says that doctors had hoped that giving anti-retroviral drugs so early prevented the AIDS virus from hiding in her white blood cells, which can serve as “reservoirs” of infection. These reservoirs of hidden cells can cause the disease to come back if patients stop their medications.

Fauci said last year that the child’s case offered support to something scientists have long believed: that a cure is possible “if you can get somebody treated before the reservoir of virus forms in the body, and before the immune system has been damaged by months or years of viral replication.”

Click here for an easy worksheet to keep track of all your medical records.

Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 1
Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 1
Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 1

Image: Female hands holding red AIDS awareness ribbon via Shutterstock

 

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1 in 8 Children Abused Before 18th Birthday, Study Finds

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Child Abuse GirlOne in eight American children have experienced a form of abuse, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers tracked child-abuse cases of more than 5.6 million children and categorized abuse to included beatings, neglect, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse. The study reveals that girls, racial minorities, and children under the age of one had higher percentages of abuse than their counterparts. More from HealthDay.com:

More than 12 percent of kids in the United States experience beatings, neglect or sexual or emotional abuse, according to a new study.

“One in 8 American children, at some point between birth and their 18th birthday, will be maltreated,” said study researcher Christopher Wildeman, associate professor of sociology at Yale University.

Although the percentage of confirmed cases of abuse and neglect is lower than 25 years ago, it’s higher than Wildeman had anticipated. “We compulsively checked our numbers when it came back as 12 percent,” he said.

The study, published online June 2 in JAMA Pediatrics, used information from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System Child File. The database contains only confirmed reports of maltreatment.

The researchers defined confirmed maltreatment as “any report that was substantiated or indicated, meaning sufficient evidence existed for [child protective services] to conclude that abuse or neglect had occurred.”

More girls were mistreated than boys (13 percent versus 12 percent), and certain minority groups were more prone to abuse than others, the researchers said.

More than 20 percent of black children are mistreated, they found. “For Native Americans, the risk is closer to 15 percent,” Wildeman said.

For Hispanic children, the percentage is about 13 percent and for whites, close to 11 percent. “Asians had the lowest, at about 3 to 4 percent,” he said.

Risk is highest early in life, with 2 percent of children having a confirmed report by their first birthday, and nearly 6 percent by their fifth birthday, the researchers said.

However, fewer children suffer abuse now compared to several decades ago, Wildeman said. “There have been big declines in child maltreatment in the U.S. in roughly the last 25 years,” he said, citing other research.

About 80 percent of the cases the team evaluated were neglect, not abuse, he said.

The researchers tracked cases for the years 2004 through 2011, which included about 5.6 million children. They then estimated the cumulative prevalence of confirmed maltreatment by age 18.

The new numbers don’t surprise Janet Currie, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey. “Child maltreatment is a huge and underappreciated public health problem,” said Currie, who was not involved in the study.

In her own recent research, she found that child maltreatment is the leading cause of death from injuries in children older than 1 year.

Because the new report only focuses on confirmed cases, she said it might underestimate the scope of the problem. “Cases may not be confirmed for various reasons, including lack of child welfare staff available to investigate a report,’” she said.

Anyone who suspects a child is mistreated should notify their local or state child protective services or police department, experts say. “Many suspected cases are not verified, but it is better to be safe than sorry about this,” she added.

Telltale signs of abuse include unexplained bruises or burns; fear of going home; age-inappropriate behaviors such as thumb-sucking or bed-wetting, or inappropriate sexual behaviors. A child who is chronically unwashed may be neglected. Other signs of possible neglect are lack of medical or dental care or drug or alcohol abuse, experts say.

To reduce the risk of mistreatment, friends and family should be especially attentive to the needs of parents of very young children, Wildeman said. “The risk of childhood maltreatment is about four times higher in the first year than any other age,” he said, citing his research.

Having loved ones pitch in during that time might ease the burden and the stress, Wildeman said.

Protect your child from predators with these important tips!

Baby Care Basics: What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Baby Care Basics: What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Baby Care Basics: What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Image: Neglect via ShutterStock

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Daughters of Domestic Dads Have Higher Aspirations, Study Finds

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Father Dad Daughter ChoresDaughters who see their dads do household chores are more likely to dream of less traditional, higher paying careers, according to the Association for Psychological Science. The study found a strong connection between the way daughters view gender roles and their fathers’ attitude (and action) toward housework. More from PsychologicalScience.org:

Fathers who help with household chores are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to less traditional, and potentially higher paying, careers, according to research forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The study findings indicate that how parents share dishes, laundry and other domestic duties plays a key role in shaping the gender attitudes and aspirations of their children, especially daughters.

This is a photo of a father and daughter doing laundry. While mothers’ gender and work equality beliefs were key factors in predicting kids’ attitudes toward gender, the strongest predictor of daughters’ own professional ambitions was their fathers’ approach to household chores.

“This suggests girls grow up with broader career goals in households where domestic duties are shared more equitably by parents,” says psychology researcher and study author Alyssa Croft, a PhD Candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology. “How fathers treat their domestic duties appears to play a unique gatekeeper role.”

The study results suggest that parents’ domestic actions may speak louder than words. Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian or stay-at-home-mom.

“Despite our best efforts to create workplace equality, women remain severely under-represented in leadership and management positions,” says Croft. “This study is important because it suggests that achieving gender equality at home may be one way to inspire young women to set their sights on careers from which they have traditionally been excluded.”

The study involved 326 children aged 7-13 and at least one of their parents. For each household, researchers calculated the division of chores and paid labor. They also determined the career stereotypes that participants identified with, their gender and work attitudes and children’s career aspirations.

The study found mothers shouldered more of the burden of housework than men, which echoes previous findings. Parents and kids associated women more than men with childcare and domestic work, and girls were significantly more likely than boys to say they want be like adults who take care of kids rather than someone who has a career.

“‘Talking the talk’ about equality is important, but our findings suggest that it is crucial that dads ‘walk the walk’ as well — because their daughters clearly are watching,” says Croft, noting that girls might be learning from an early age to take on additional roles, rather than different roles, compared to boys.

What career will your child have when she grows up? Take our quiz to find out!

Manners & Responsibility: Chores Kids Can (and Should) Do
Manners & Responsibility: Chores Kids Can (and Should) Do
Manners & Responsibility: Chores Kids Can (and Should) Do

Image: Father and daughter cleaning in the kitchen, sweep floor at home via Shutterstock

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Measles Cases Reach 20-Year-High, Continue to Rise

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Sick-Girl-Child-MeaslesThe number of reported cases of measles continues to rise in the United States, according to federal health officials. Earlier in May, the number of illnesses hit an 18-year-high, and now the number has increased to 288 confirmed cases, a record high for the past 20 years. The number is also expected to continue to rise during the summer. More from the New York Times:

Largely because of resistance to vaccination, cases of measles have reached a 20-year high in the United States, federal health officials said on Thursday.

As of May 23, there were 288 confirmed cases in the United States — more than in all of 2013, and more than in the equivalent period of any year since 1994. The number is expected to increase during the summer travel season.

“This is not the kind of record we want to break,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of immunization and respiratory diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The measles virus, which is highly contagious, usually causes only a fever and a rash. But it can lead to pneumonia, brain damage, deafness and even death. An unvaccinated American child who develops measles has about a one in 500 chance of dying, even with hospital care, according to the C.D.C.

There were fewer than 200 cases last year; the record low was 37 cases in 2004.

Eighty-five percent of this year’s cases were in people not vaccinated because of religious, philosophical or personal objections, Dr. Schuchat said.

In an unusual twist, over half were ages 20 or older. They may have included adults whose parents refused to vaccinate them years ago, she said.

Forty-three of the 288 who contracted the virus were hospitalized, most with pneumonia. None died.

Almost half the cases were part of a continuing outbreak in Amish communities in Ohio that started with missionaries who had traveled to the Philippines, which is experiencing an outbreak that has caused 41 deaths.

There were 60 cases in California, mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Orange County, where large numbers of wealthy parents refuse to vaccinate their children.

The third-biggest outbreak was in New York City, which registered 26 cases in February and March. It was concentrated in Upper Manhattan, and cases are believed to have spread in hospital waiting rooms because doctors and nurses did not promptly recognize the symptoms. At least two children that contracted the virus were from families that refused vaccines; seven were too young to be vaccinated.

Of the cases whose origins could be traced, 22 were imported from the Philippines, six from India, two from China, and the rest from 15 other countries.

Measles can be caught virtually anywhere. France, the world’s most popular tourist destination, had an outbreak of 20,000 cases from 2008 to 2011.

Before measles vaccination became routine in the early 1960s, about 500,000 Americans got the virus each year, most of them young children. Of those, about 48,000 were hospitalized, about 500 died, and many more suffered brain damage and deafness.

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Image: A sick cute girl is measuring the temperature via ShutterStock

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