Archive for the ‘ New Research ’ Category

Time for Grad School? Mom’s Education Level Can Predict Her Child’s School Success

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Mothers' education plays role in kids' academic successFrom eating a balanced breakfast to staying in touch with teachers, there are plenty of ways to help your child succeed in the classroom. But new research shows that your own education may have just as big of an impact on your child’s achievement in reading and math.

According to a study recently published in Journal of Research on Adolescence, a mom’s level of education can actually predict her child’s academic performance years down the line.

Researchers analyzed information from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort that followed a group of more than 14,000 students from 1998, when they entered kindergarten, to 2007. Reading and math scores were gathered and assessed in third, fifth and eighth grade. They found that children who were born when their mother’s were very young (18 years old or younger) and likely had less education, didn’t do as well in school compared to children who had older mothers, and likely more education.

A news release from the University of Michigan reports:

Trends indicate that mothers who give birth during adolescence have much lower rates of high school completion and college enrollment in comparison to their counterparts who delay pregnancy.

“These results provide compelling evidence that having a child during adolescence has enduring negative consequences for the achievement of the next generation,” Sandra Tang, the study’s lead author, said in the news release.

There is a bright side, though: Children of young mothers who were able to further their education, in spite of having children, did perform better in school compared to those kids whose moms did not continue their education.

While married and unmarried mothers tended to reach the same educational levels several decades ago, the study points out that in recent years married mothers are likely to have more education and therefore more resources to share with their children compared to younger, unmarried mothers.

It’s never too early to start raising a reader! Check out 25 best ways to foster a love for books, and the best children’s books of 2014.

Tips for Teaching Math to Pre-K Kids
Tips for Teaching Math to Pre-K Kids
Tips for Teaching Math to Pre-K Kids

Photo of mom and baby reading courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Study: Laundry Detergent Pods Pose ‘Serious Poisoning Risk’

Monday, November 10th, 2014

laundry detergent podsIf you use laundry detergent pods, you’ve probably noticed how the brightly colored and shiny packages resemble a fun candy or juice rather than a potentially dangerous cleaning product.

This similarity has presented a “serious poisoning risk” to thousands of children around the country, according to a recent study published in Pediatrics.

Using information from the National Poison Data System, researchers found that more than 17,000 children under the age of 6 were exposed to the pods, mostly through ingestion, between 2012 and 2013. (That adds up to about one child every hour,  Dr. Marcel J. Casavant, a study author and the medical director of the poison center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told The New York Times!) Kids younger 3 years old made up more than 70 percent of that total, and more than 750 children had to be hospitalized due to their exposure.

The pods have been on the market since 2012 and their sales numbers have skyrocketed due to their toss-and-go convenience, The Wall Street Journal reports. But some experts are concerned that the pods are more toxic than regular detergent due to their highly concentrated formula, the WSJ reports:

Doctors told the Journal last year that the concentrated nature of the product heightened the risks to children who come into contact with them. Plus, they are encased in a water-soluble film and tend to burst when bitten into, shooting their contents down children’s throats. The doctors were also concerned that the formulation of the products could make them more dangerous. Some have pointed to a higher amount of surfactants in the laundry capsules relative to regular detergent as a possible cause. Surfactants are compounds like soap that help oil and dirt dissolve in water.

Children have sampled regular laundry detergent over the years without much incident, since they usually were turned off by the taste before they could ingest enough to cause problems, poison-control experts have said.

While some detergent manufacturers have made efforts to make their packaging more child-resistant, Dr. Michael Gray of the Abrahamson Pediatric Eye Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center told Reuters that the best thing for parents of young children to do is use traditional laundry detergent.

Laundry detergent pods are just one of many surprising safety hazards that can be found in your home. Take the time to review our list of 10 other hidden home dangers here.

It Worked For Me: Safety Solutions
It Worked For Me: Safety Solutions
It Worked For Me: Safety Solutions

Photo of laundry detergent pods courtesy of Shutterstock.

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ADHD Linked to Pollution Exposure During Pregnancy

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Air Pollution Linked to ADHD in ChildrenIs air pollution a factor in causing ADHD? A new study published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE suggests there may be a link.

A news release states:

Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH, a component of air pollution, raises the odds of behavior problems associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, at age 9, according to researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Researchers followed more than 200 women and their children living in New York City. Moms had their placenta and umbilical cord blood tested for PAH levels after birth, and children had their urine tested at ages 3 or 5. The results revealed that PAH exposure during pregnancy lead to a much higher chance (five times higher) chance that a child would develop inattentive-type ADHD, one of three types of ADHD.

“The findings are concerning because attention problems are known to impact school performance, social relationships, and occupational performance,” the study’s lead author Frederica Perera said.

NBC News reports:

PAHs are generated when carbon-based things are burned — from steaks on the grill to coal or oil burned to generate electricity. In New York, “traffic and residential heating are major local sources. There is also some contribution from coal-burning sources in states upwind,” Perera’s team also noted.

It’s not clear yet from this research how exactly PAHs are potentially linked to ADHD, but the study suggests relations to “the disruption of the endocrine system, DNA damage, oxidative stress, and interference with placental growth factors resulting in decreased exchange of oxygen and nutrients.”

Eleven percent of kids ages 4 to 17 (that’s 6.4 million!) have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study from 2013. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, read up on what you need to know here.

ADHD and Five Impaired Abilities
ADHD and Five Impaired Abilities
ADHD and Five Impaired Abilities

Photo of factory smoke courtesy of Shutterstock.

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4 Minutes of THIS Can Help Your Kid Focus in the Classroom

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Physical Activity Improves Classroom Behavior

It takes just four minutes of physical activity to help a child focus for at least 50 minutes of classroom learning time, according to a recent study from Queen’s University in Canada.

In Ontario, where the study took place, elementary schools are required to have twenty minutes of daily physical activity (DPA), so the researchers said they wanted to determine the best way to use that time.

“Given the time crunch associated with the current school curriculum we thought that very brief physical activity breaks might be an interesting way to approach DPA,” Dr. Brendon Gurd, lead researcher and professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University told PsychCentral. ”We were particularly interested in what effects a brief exercise bout might have in the classroom setting.”

Researchers evaluated small groups of second and fourth graders in their classrooms, giving them either 10-minute breaks with no activity in between or 4-minute “FUNtervals” within their 10-minute breaks that consisted of “a high-intensity interval protocol.”

Activities included lunges, squats, and jumps as part of a fun “task” like imagining making s’mores, PsychCentral reports, with “a 20-second storyline of quick, enthusiastic movements followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight intervals.” None of the activities required extra equipment; all took place inside the classroom.

The study found that fidgeting, drawing, and restlessness decreased significantly after the activity.

Check out these easy and fun ways to get your kids to exercise here.

We Need More Physical Education in Schools
We Need More Physical Education in Schools
We Need More Physical Education in Schools

Photo of kids at recess courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Baby Talk: How Moms and Dads Differ When Speaking to Newborns

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Study Examines How Mothers and Fathers Converse With Their Infants

Hey, new dads: When it comes to talking to your infant, it’s time to speak up! A new study published Monday online in Pediatrics shows that mothers are much more likely to baby talk with their children in their first few months.

That may not come as a big shock, but the same study also found that moms appear to talk more to their baby daughters, while dads appear to talk more to their sons.

The study analyzed 16-hour sets of audio recordings collected from 33 late preterm and term babies’ communication with their parents: during the birth hospitalization, at 1 month old, and again at 7 months. reports:

Somewhat surprisingly, the researchers found that moms interacted vocally more with infant daughters rather than sons both at birth and 44 weeks post-menstrual age (equivalent to 1 month old.) Male adults responded more frequently to infant boys than infant girls, but the difference did not reach statistical significance, say the researchers.

The study also found that mothers responded to their babies’ vocalizations 88 to 94 percent of the time, while dads only did 27 to 30 percent of the time, according to

By the time a baby is born her ears and the brain area that responds to sound are well-developed, and previous studies have shown that the more you talk with an infant the earlier she is likely to talk.

“It seems to me that adults talking to children is absolutely the most cost effective intervention a family could do to improve children’s language,” Dr. Betty Vohr, study co-author and professor of pediatrics at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School told “The more we learn about it, the more we can inform parents of the power they have in just talking and interacting with their infants to improve the long term outcomes for their child and their school readiness.”

Is your little one just learning to talk? Track her development in our month-by-month timeline

Baby Development: Age 6 Months
Baby Development: Age 6 Months
Baby Development: Age 6 Months

Photo of mother with baby girl courtesy of Shutterstock.

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