Archive for the ‘ Child Health ’ Category

Most Doctors Are Delaying Vaccines Because of Parents’ Requests, Study Says

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Baby VaccineDoctors are well aware of the potential risks that delaying vaccines can have, but, according to new research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most doctors are accommodating parents’ requests to alter their child’s vaccine schedule.

Although doctors agree that delaying or spacing out vaccines can increase their chance of contracting illnesses (like measles) and infecting others with these diseases, the importance of building parents’ trust seems to override these negative consequences in many situations.

The study, published today in the journal of Pediatrics, surveyed 534 pediatricians to find out how often parents requested postponing vaccines for children under the age of 2, how pediatricians felt about these requests, and what methods they used to respond.

Nearly all pediatricians (93 percent) reported have been asked to delay vaccines at least once per month—of those pediatricians, one-third said they complied with parents’ requests “often” or “always,” and another third caved in “sometimes.”

Most doctors complied with these requests in the hopes of building a better relationship with their family, and to avoid losing the child as a patient. “Parents hear a lot of frightening things about vaccines from family members, friends, and the media,” says David Hill, M.D., a pediatrician in Wilmington, North Carolina and author of Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro. “But I believe that the best way to protect children from disease is to vaccinate them on time and completely.”

The AAP’s‘ vaccine schedule, which was recently updated in late January, is compiled by a panel of 60 experts from the Advisory Community on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and details exactly when a child should get certain vaccines. “The schedule is designed very thoughtfully,” explains Wendy Hunter, M.D., a pediatrician in San Diego and author of the Baby Science blog. “The timing of vaccinations is proven safe and effective when the schedule is followed.”

And “going to a pediatrician is not like going to Starbucks,” says Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician and Parents advisor who’s also the author of the Baby 411 series. “If it feels that way, with parents ordering up their favorite shots and rejecting others, then they aren’t taking advantage of the knowledge that’s advocating for their child’s health.”

The AAP encourages pediatricians to continue working with reluctant parents, to educate and influence them to adhere to the vaccine schedule. Physicians can choose their own strategies to communicate with parents who are still uncertain about vaccines. “I find that given time to build a trusting relationship, we can usually work together to keep children as safe and healthy as possible,” says Dr. Hill.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

Photo of child getting a vaccine via Shutterstock

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Are Teachers’ Prejudices Affecting Your Daughter’s Math and Science Grades?

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Female studentGirls can do anything boys can do, especially in math and science, but what if teachers, whose goal is to educate and empower kids, are discouraging girls from these subjects without knowing it?

This may be the case, according to new study conducted by the American Friends of Tel Aviv University and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The research suggests that the perceptions elementary school teachers have about what girls can and can’t do in math and science might be causing female students to shy away from those areas. Their unconscious biases are negatively impacting girls and unintentionally affecting the academic and career choices that female students make later in life.

Three groups of students, from sixth grade through the end of high school, were asked to take two exams. The exams were then graded by two different people: one who didn’t know their names and one who did. The results showed that girls were scored higher than boys only when their tests were graded by the objective scorer versus the familiar scorer, reports Science Daily.

Researchers in Tel Aviv continued to follow the students and also noticed a pattern: if a girl was discouraged by an elementary school teacher, they were less likely to register for advanced-level science and math courses. But boys who were encouraged, despite being scored lower, actually began to excel more and more.

“It isn’t an issue of discrimination but of unconscious discouragement,” said Dr. Edith Sand, an economist at the Bank of Israel and an instructor at TAU’s Berglas School of Economics. “This discouragement, however, has implications. The track to computer science and engineering fields, which report some of the highest salaries, tapers off in elementary school.”

Women around the world are still underrepresented in multiple fields, especially ones related to math and science. Although strides have been made in the U.S. to help young girls have a more STEM-focused education, to play with more toys related to science, technology, engineering, and math, and teach them how to code with HTML, there is still more to be done so that they won’t face inequalities in the future.

As parents, it’s important to continue encouraging kids, regardless of gender, to pursue all endeavors, which will definitely be a step in the right direction.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

What Parents Don't Need to Do (When it comes to school)
What Parents Don't Need to Do (When it comes to school)
What Parents Don't Need to Do (When it comes to school)

Image: Girl at chalkboard via Shutterstock

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Could Ditching Your Dishwasher Lead to Fewer Allergies for Kids?

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

cleaning dishesFor the past few years, researchers around the world have dedicated their studies to find out why so many childhood allergies are on the rise.

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that there may actually be a positive link between handwashed dishes and decreased children’s allergies.

The study, published in the journal of Pediatrics, focused on more than 1,000 children between the ages of 7 and 8. In addition to determining if a parent washed dishes by hand or with a dishwasher, researchers noted if children ate fermented foods, and consumed foods that were purchased directly from farms (such as eggs, meat, and unpasteurized milk). Researchers then analyzed each child’s development of asthma, eczema, and hay fever.

“Ultimately, the researchers found that children raised in households where dishes were always washed by hand had half the rate of allergies,” reports the The New York Times. In fact, 38 percent of children who ate from dishwashed plates had a history of eczema, compared to only 23 percent of children who ate from handwashed plates. “They also discovered that this relationship was amplified if the children also ate fermented foods or if the families bought food directly from local farms.”

The correlation between handwashed dishes and fewer allergies is likely due to an idea known as “hygiene hypothesis,” which argues that children who live in germ- and bacteria-free environments develop more allergies because a tolerance is never built up.

The AAP study also notes, “Dishwashing by hand might, however, be associated with different lifestyle and socioeconomic factors that could act as cofounders, explaining the lower prevalence of allergy seen in children whose parents use hand dishwashing.” Meaning that how children are raised (including their family backgrounds, economic households, etc.) may play a role in how dishes are washed. And further research is needed to confirm if there is a definite cause and effect relationship between these findings.

Read more about the dishwashing and allergy study on AAP.org.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn

Baby Care Basics: Allergies
Baby Care Basics: Allergies
Baby Care Basics: Allergies

Image: Daughter helping with dishes via Shutterstock

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Here’s Why a Doctor Denied a Baby Healthcare

Friday, February 20th, 2015

stuffed puppyChoosing the right pediatrician to care for your newborn can be nerve-racking for any parent who wants to make sure they pick a nurturing and thorough doctor.

Like many parents, one couple in Michigan interviewed a number of pediatricians before the birth of their daughter, Bay. Months before she was born, Krista and Jami Contreras decided on Dr. Vesna Roi, and six days after birth, they arrived at the doctor’s office for Bay’s first appointment.

But much to their surprise, the parents were turned away for one reason: they are a lesbian couple.

After spending time in “much prayer,” Dr. Roi concluded that she would not be the best fit for Bay. Another doctor at the practice actually delivered the unexpected news. He offered to take Bay on as his patient, but that did not make the situation any less shocking for the Contreras.

I was completely dumbfounded,” said Krista, Bay’s biological mother. “We just looked at each other and said, ‘Did we hear that correctly?’” Jami, put it more simply and accurately when she said, “You’re discriminating against a baby? It’s just wrong.”

Months later, Dr. Roi sent a handwritten letter to the parents. The letter did not directly state that she made her decision based on their sexual orientation, but she did explain that she did not judge the couple’s “free choice.”

Krista and Jami did not immediately reach out to the media about their experience, but they finally chose to speak out so that others are aware that instances like this still happen.

Although Dr. Roi’s actions may be discriminatory, they are not illegal. “Currently, 22 states have laws that prohibit doctors from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation. Michigan is not one of these states,” reports USA Today. Also, there is currently no federal law protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.

This is not the first time a child has been refused something because of a parent’s sexual orientation. Just last month, Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard’s visit with a private preschool was canceled once the administration learned that they were a married couple raising children.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Your First Prenatal Visit and Tests
Your First Prenatal Visit and Tests
Your First Prenatal Visit and Tests

Image: Stuffed puppy with stethoscope via Shutterstock

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Good Parenting Means Fewer Cavities for Your Kids!

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

girl at dentistAs many of you already know, a child’s first trip to the dentist is not always the easiest. But what if you have the ability to control the outcome of your child’s teeth more than you thought?

A new study suggests just that—children will have less cavities if their parents display a more authoritative parenting style, and they also behave better than children whose parents are more permissive.

Authoritative parenting style is defined by the study as parents who displine kids while also giving them guidance. Permissive parents, on the other hand, are more likely to ignore bad behavior and let children make their own decisions.

The study followed 132 groups of parents and children who visited Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The children were all between the ages of 3 and 6. Researchers gathered information about parenting styles and the child’s behavior in order to reach their conclusions.

Ninety-three percent of children with authoritative parents showed positive behavior at the dentist’s office and, versus only 42 percent of the children with permissive parents. In addition, “80 percent of children with authoritative parents had cavities, compared to 97 percent of children of permissive parents,” reports Fox News.

It’s safe to say that the correlation between parenting style and a child’s behavior does not only apply to dentist appointments—other public scenarios would most likely yield the same results.

“A good parent who hopefully does the right things at home and is developing a child who’s respectful and careful and curious, but within limits, is the kind of parent who’s going to provide a child who’s relaxed and knows how to behave,” said Dr. Paul Casamassimo, chief of dentistry at Nationwide Children’s and author of the study.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1
Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1
Dental Experts Remind Parents, Toddlers Need to Visit Dentist by Age 1

Image: Girl at the dentist via Shutterstock

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