Posts Tagged ‘ Child Health ’

Must-Read Now: The AAP Updates Its Vaccine Schedule

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Vaccine calender scheduleThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released an updated vaccine schedule for babies and older kids.

The 2015 recommended childhood and adolescence immunization schedules comes at a time when the AAP is urging parents to vaccinate their kids against measles due to the current outbreak (which has increased to over 70 confirmed cases).

Changes to the vaccination schedule include new columns for:

  • giving babies traveling outside the U.S. a first dose of the MMR vaccine (for measles) between 6 and 11 months
  • giving kids the flu vaccine starting at age 2, with some kids needing double doses between ages 2 and 8
  • indicating double doses are no longer needed for kids ages 9 to 10

Footnotes included on the schedules have also been updated, including one about the meningococcal vaccine (for meningitis), which clarifies proper and safe dosing for high-risk babies.

The MMR vaccine update is important to note, as babies should only get two doses, the first between 12 and 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years. But an exception is now being made for babies between 6 and 11 months who are traveling outside the country; they should be receiving three doses (the first before 12 months, the second between 12 and 15 months, the third about four weeks after the second dose).

For kids older than 12 months traveling outside the country, they should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first one between 12 and 15 months and the second one about four weeks later.

See the complete updates to the AAP vaccine schedules here.

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Image: Calender with “vaccine” notation via Shutterstock

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A Happy Childhood Can Lead to a Healthy Heart

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Heart disease—the number one killer of men and women in the United States—is not something to ignore, and with National Heart Month just around the corner, the latest heart health research is coming at just the right time.

According to a new study, published in Circulation, earlier this week, a positive childhood experience could actually benefit heart health later in life. The study examined the psychosocial advantages of 1,100 participants, between the ages of 3 and 18, to determine whether certain factors had an impact on their hearts as adults, like whether they were brought up in a financially secure environment and if their families fostered positive health choices and social skills at a young age.

Each individual’s cardiovascular health was then evaluated 27 years later, and the results concluded that the adults who had been exposed to the most psychosocial advantages had better heart health. Fourteen percent of the adults were more likely to be at a normal weight, 12 percent were more likely to not smoke, and 11 percent were more likely to have healthy blood sugar levels,” according to HealthyDay.

Although this study finds a correlation between a positive childhood experience and better heart health in adulthood, it does not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Even so, the environments we’re raised in can influence our lives, so one of the keys to decreasing health disease in our country may be to provide kids with a stable and healthy childhood. And as February approaches, be on the look-out for more (and sometimes tasty!) ways to combat heart disease.

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 Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years

Image: Happy Children via Shutterstock

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Could Your Kid’s Preschool Program Help Fight Childhood Obesity?

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Childhood obesity is an issue in the U.S — the amount of children who are obese has tripled in recent years, and a quarter of preschool-aged kids are also overweight or obese. Although the White House has gotten involved in the fight against childhood obesity with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, along with many schools across the nation, a large percentage of children are actually overweight before they start kindergarten or first grade.

Thankfully, a study released in the journal Pediatrics says that the federally-funded Head Start preschool program can help in fighting against obesity, in addition to helping young children prepare for kindergarten. The study involved 43,700 Michigan preschool-age children, which included 19,000 kids enrolled in Head Start, which is free for 3- to 5-year-olds from families living in poverty. Before the study began, nearly one-third of the Head Start kids were considered obese or overweight, but they ended up with a healthier weight than the children who were not in the program.

“Even though children in the Head Start group began the observation period more obese, equally overweight, and more underweight than children in the comparison groups, at the end of the observation period the initially obese and overweight Head Start children were substantially less obese and overweight than the children in the comparison groups,” says the survey’s authors, which includes lead researcher Dr. Julie Lumeng.

A few reasons for the weight loss might be rooted in the holistic lessons that Head Start imparts to young kids at a crucial time, such as educating them on eating healthy foods and being more physically active, which contribute to making a child’s overall mental health better. All this can help decrease stress and TV time and increase sleep time. With Head Start steering children toward healthier habits and fostering structured routines, children are also more likely to make better choices in their lives.

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

How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

Image: Preschool-aged children via Shutterstock

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Falls Are the Top Cause of Head Trauma in Children

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Falls Are Top Cause of Head Trauma in ChildrenFalls are the most common cause of brain injuries for children under the age of 12, a new large-scale study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports

The study, which examined more than 43,000 children, categorized patients into three groups: younger than 2 years old, between 2 and 12 years old and between 13 and 17 years old.

It found that falls were the most common cause for injury in the two younger age groups, while teens ages 13 to 17 were more likely to experience head injuries due to assault, sports activities, and motor vehicle crashes.

The research, which was collected from the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Network, also found that 37 percent of children across all age groups had a head injury that required a CT scan, and traumatic brain injuries affected 7 percent of those children. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death among children who are older than 12 months.)

There is some good news, though: “If you look at the younger kids, the fact that motor vehicle accidents are not showing up as significant causes [of head injuries] probably means we’re doing a pretty good job on car seats and adequate infant car protection,” Dr. Mark Proctor, a neurosurgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital who was unaffiliated with the study, told NPR.

As much as you try to protect your little one, accidents can always happen. Learn more about how to handle head injuries here, so you’ll know what to do in case of an emergency.

Baby Care Basics: Baby Accidents
Baby Care Basics: Baby Accidents
Baby Care Basics: Baby Accidents

Photo of injured child courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Mom-to-Be Stress Linked to Higher Rates of Asthma

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Don’t freak out: Scentists are finding that a mom-to-be’s stress levels can have significant effects on a child’s future health, including delays in cognitive development, behavioral issues, and even an increased risk of autism. The latest link? Scientists have found that maternal stress could increase the risk that babies develop allergy-induced asthma.

The study, produced by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, focused on mice, and found that even a single stressful situation could flood the baby’s bloodstream with stress hormones like corticosterone, and lead to a greater chance that the baby develops allergy-based asthma after birth.

What’s the takeaway? Do what you can to relax, unwind, and reduce stress throughout your pregnancy, to help protect your baby’s health.

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Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

 

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