Don’t Use Sunscreen Spray on Your Kids!

Those sunscreen sprays may be handy, but could they be dangerous for your kids? That’s the concern behind an ongoing Food and Drug Administration investigation, which is looking into whether inhaling the spray ingredients could be harmful to your health.

And that’s why Consumer Reports is now recommending that you don’t use sunscreen spray on the kids, until the investigation is complete. (And the American Academy of Dermatology also raises concerns.) “We now say that until the FDA completes its analysis, the products should generally not be used by or on children,” says Consumer Reports. “We have also removed one sunscreen spray — Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50 — from the group of recommended sunscreens in our sunscreen Ratings, because it is marketed especially for children.”

Another concern with sunscreen spray cited by the the American Academy of Dermatology is that it’s harder to tell if you’ve put on enough when you’re spraying it, so you may be more likely to underapply.

If you just stocked up on sunscreen spray, you don’t have to toss it out. You can safely apply it by spraying it into your own hand, away from your child, and then slather it on with your hands.

Not sure if you’re keeping your kids covered? Test your sun safety savvy. 

 

How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby
How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby
How to Apply Sunscreen to Your Baby

Image: Woman and sunscreen by racorn/Shutterstock.com

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Study: Babies Worldwide Are Strikingly Similar in Size—If Mom’s Healthy

How do babies worldwide measure up? Pretty strikingly similar, if the baby’s moms are healthy, according to a new international study by INTERGROWTH-21st, led by Oxford University.

The study, published in The Lancet, Diabetes & Endocrinology, showed that while there’s a huge disparity in newborn size that’s often been attributed to race and ethnicity, the bigger factors in determining a healthy newborn size are a mother’s health, educational level and nutritional status. In 60,000 pregnancies reviewed, from urban areas in Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, the UK and USA, only 4 percent of the growth and birth size difference could be attributed to the baby’s ethnicity. Instead, the mother’s health, nutrition and education directly impacted the baby’s growth during gestation, and after birth.

According to Science Daily: “Currently we are not all equal at birth. But we can be,” said the lead author Professor Jose Villar of the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Oxford. “We can create a similar start for all by making sure mothers are well educated and nourished, by treating infection and by providing adequate antenatal care.”

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Watch Your Baby Grow
Watch Your Baby Grow
Watch Your Baby Grow

Image: Newborn baby by  Ventura/ Shutterstock.com

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Kids Born After Fertility Treatments May Have Mental Health Risk

Thousands of children are conceived each year through assisted reproductive technologies, treatments meant to help couples who have fertility problems.  But a new study of Danish children is linking fertility treatments with an increased risk that the children will develop a mental health problem later in life.  Researchers described the increased risk as “modest,” but identifiable nonetheless when they compared children born to parents who underwent fertility treatments with children who were conceived without intervention.

The study looked at nearly 2.5 million children born between the years 1969 and 2006, most of whose parents who had no known fertility problems.  Five percent of the parents had “registered fertility problems.”  The children’s medical histories were followed until 2009, with researchers looking for any psychiatric disorders that required hospitalization.  The children born to women with fertility problems were 33 percent more likely to have a psychiatric disorder, as ScienceDaily reports:

When separate analyses were performed for psychiatric disorders diagnosed during childhood (0-19 years) and in young adulthood (≥20 years), the investigators found that the risk estimates were not markedly changed, indicating that the increased risks persist into adulthood.

Commenting on the results, Dr. [Allan] Jensen said that professionals involved in the diagnosis and treatment of women with fertility problems should be aware of “the small, but potentially increased risk of psychiatric disorders among the children born to women with fertility problems.” However, this knowledge, he added, “should always be balanced against the physical and psychological benefits of a pregnancy.”

Only a few studies have investigated the risk of psychiatric disorders among children born after fertility treatment. Although results from most of these studies do not find an increased risk, the results do show substantial variation, said Dr Jensen; this may be because of the limited size and follow-up time in most of them. This study is the first with sufficient numbers and an adequately long follow-up period to enable a realistic assessment of risk patterns into young adulthood.

Jensen added that the study did not make a conclusion on whether it was fertility treatments or the underlying cause of the infertility–possibly genetic–that was responsible for the increased mental health risk.

Image: Fertility lab, via Shutterstock

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C-Section May Raise Risk of Later Pregnancy Loss

Women who have a Cesarean section may, if they become pregnant again, face a slightly elevated risk of either an ectopic pregnancy or a stillbirth–but not a miscarriage, according to a new study of Danish mothers.

Recent research has also linked c-section delivery to an elevated risk that a child will later become obese, and found that overweight women are more likely to deliver via c-section.  On a more positive note, another recent study found that the overall rate of Cesareans performed before a woman’s due date is on the decline nationwide.

HealthDay News has more on the Danish study:

Those whose baby was delivered by cesarean section had a 14 percent higher rate of stillbirth in their next pregnancy than those who had a vaginal delivery. A stillbirth is described as the death of a fetus at more than 20 weeks of gestation.

That works out to an absolute risk increase of 0.03 percent. That means that for every 3,000 cesarean deliveries, there would be one extra stillbirth in future pregnancies, the researchers explained.

They also found that women who had a cesarean delivery for their first baby were 9 percent more likely to have a future ectopic pregnancy than those who had a vaginal delivery.

That’s an absolute increased risk of 0.1 percent, which means that for every 1,000 cesarean deliveries, there would be one extra ectopic pregnancy in future pregnancies.

In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg grows in the fallopian tubes or other locations outside the uterus. It typically results in loss of the fetus and can be fatal for the mother.

Having a cesarean delivery for a first baby did not increase women’s risk of miscarriage in future pregnancies, according to the researchers at University College Cork in Ireland and Aarhus University in Denmark. A miscarriage is generally described as the spontaneous loss of a fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnant? Keep track of your medical records in one place. 

Labor & Delivery: What to Expect in a C-Section
Labor & Delivery: What to Expect in a C-Section
Labor & Delivery: What to Expect in a C-Section

Image: Cesarean section scar, via Shutterstock

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Senator: E-Cigarette Refill Containers Should Be Child-Proofed

Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, has called on the federal government to make the containers that hold liquid refills for electronic cigarettes–the containers essentially contain liquid nicotine–to be required to have child-proof caps just like medications and other potentially hazardous substances.  Schumer cited a sharply rising number of reported accidental poisonings when children ingest the liquid, with 70 poisonings reported in New York so far this year, compared to just 46 such incidents in all of 2013.

So-called “e-cigarettes,” which contain nicotine but no tobacco tar or smoke, are getting the attention of parents, doctors, and policymakers nationwide.  The FDA is currently considering a ban on their use by minors amid findings that show the use of the products by American teenagers has doubled between 2012 and 2013.  Further, young people who use e-cigarettes have been found to be less likely to quit smoking traditional cigarettes–and more likely to start.

Examiner.com has more on why Sen. Schumer believes child-proofing e-cigarette refill containers is an important part of solving the problem:

Poisoning can result from swallowing the liquid, inhaling the liquid or absorbing it through the skin or the eyes. Liquid nicotine poisoning can bring on nausea, vomiting, seizures, heart problems and even death.

Because some e-cigarettes are refillable, liquid nicotine is available in separate containers. With flavors such as bubble gum and chocolate, it is easy to understand why the containers are attractive to children.

It is for this reason that Schumer is asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include his proposal for child-proof caps and warning labels on the containers in the final draft of the agency’s e-cigarette regulations. The draft is part of the implementation for the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that was passed in 2009.

For users of e-cigarettes, the American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends that e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine should always be locked up and out of the reach of children. They also advise anyone using the products to protect their skin from exposure to liquid nicotine.

Image: E-cigarette refills, via Shutterstock

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