Posts Tagged ‘ child safety ’

Another Reason Why Buying Breast Milk Online Is Not Safe

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Milk in bottleThere is no disputing that the benefits of feeding an infant breast milk are huge, but not all mothers are able to produce enough milk to feed their newborns. This has caused many mothers (approximately 55,000!) to turn to the internet to purchase milk from other nursing moms.

However, new research conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital has proved that this is a potentially harmful decision.

Researchers found that what was being advertised as pure human milk wasn’t at all. “We found that one in every 10 samples of breast milk purchased over the Internet had significant amounts of cow’s milk added,” said Sarah A. Keim, Ph.D., lead author of the study and principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. This is especially dangerous for infants under 12 months who lack the ability to digest cow’s milk properly, and for breastfeeding kids who may have a milk allergy or dairy intolerance.

“We don’t know for sure why cow’s milk was in the milk that we purchased, but because this milk was sold by the ounce sellers may have had an incentive to add cow’s milk or formula to boost the volume,” Keim told Parents.com. It’s likely that some sellers are profit-driven as breast milk is typically sold for $1-$2 per ounce.

And this is not the first time mothers have been warned against purchasing breast milk over the internet. In 2013, Keim and her team found that 75 percent of breast milk samples that had been bought online contained high levels of bacteria that could make an infant ill.

The only way to avoid contaminated, and possibly dangerous, breast milk, is to not purchase it at all. Mothers who are having trouble breastfeeding or pumping should seek the advice of a medical professional. “They should work closely with their pediatrician to come up with a plan for feeding their baby that meets their unique needs, in terms of how well they are growing, and if there are any medical conditions or allergies,” said Dr. Keim. “For mothers who want to breastfeed, early and high quality lactation support can be very helpful for many women in addressing problems that come up.”

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

Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know
Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know
Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know

Image: Bottle with milk via Shutterstock

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Are You in Denial About Your Child’s Weight Gain?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Overweight boyWe’ve all heard it before: obesity is a problem worldwide, especially in the United States and especially among children. If an individual is already overweight as a child, they are at a much greater risk for premature mortality and diseases—like type 2 diabetes and heart disease—as adults.

When a child is struggling with their weight, parents can face the problem early and avoid greater problems in the future. But what if parents don’t recognize the problem in the first place? New research suggests that many parents don’t even realize when their child is overweight.

The research, published in the British Journal of General Practice, examined 2,976 families with children ages 4-5 and 10-11. The children were divided into three categories based on their Body Mass Index (BMI): normal, overweight (above the 85th percentile), and obese (above the 95th percentile). Parents were also asked which BMI category they believed their child fit into.

The findings were startling. “Of the 369 kids who were very overweight, only four parents thought they were,” reports Forbes. “When the researchers analyzed the numbers further, they saw that for a given child with a BMI in the 98th percentile [obese], a whopping 80 percent of parents would say that the child was normal weight.”

It’s important to note that BMI is not a diagnostic tool for weight because it does not account for muscle mass; in order to come to a definitive conclusion for obesity, further tests should be performed by a doctor.

But if a parent is in denial about their child’s weight, it’s likely that their attitudes will be passed onto their children — who will also have a skewed perception of their own weight, which may encourage unhealthy eating habits and necessary interventions.

Take Our Quiz: Is Your Child at Risk of Being Overweight?

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: Overweight child via Shutterstock

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Letting Kids Sip Alcohol May Lead to Heavy Teen Drinking

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Girl grabbing alcoholAllowing your child to sip a glass of Chardonnay at the next family gathering may not be as harmless as you once thought. The latest research suggests that children who are allowed occasional tastes of alcohol are more likely to start drinking once they’re in high school.

Research was collected from 561 Rhode Island students who were periodically surveyed over three years, beginning in sixth grade (approximately 11 years old). At the start 26 percent of the children said they had sipped alcohol, and that it was commonly provided to them by a parent. And about 40 percent of kids were first introduced to wine while 35 percent were introduced to beer.

The study, which was conducted by Brown University and published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, concluded that children who had sipped alcohol by sixth grade were five times more likely than their peers to consume a full alcoholic drink in ninth grade, and four times more likely to have binged on alcohol or been drunk. Surprisingly, even when variables like problematic child behavior or a parent’s heavy drinking habits were controlled, the same patterns still existed.

The US has one of the highest binge drinking rates in the world, while Europe has a more casual, social attitude toward drinking. Experts usually chalk this difference up to cultural differences, but these findings clearly dispute the European-based beliefs that introducing alcohol in a calm, family setting at a young age will lessen the forbidden-but-tempting nature of alcohol later on.

Professor David J. Hanson, who has researched alcohol-consumption behaviors for over 40 years, told TODAY, “It isn’t the fact that alcohol went down their gullet [that caused teen drinking]. It’s what meaning the alcohol has to them and what their expectations are about it. These are really important things.”

If you do let your kid sample your drink in the future, avoid being too lenient about experimentation, which can lead to mixed messages and confusion. Instead, deliver very clear and consistent messages about alcohol by asserting that kids follow the rules for drinking legally at age 21.

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 Talk to Kids About Alcohol
How to Talk to Kids About Alcohol
How to Talk to Kids About Alcohol

Image: Girl grabbing alcohol via Shutterstock

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Don’t Make This Medication Mistake! The AAP Clarifies Dosage Guidelines for Kids

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Liquid medicineOne of the most common medication mistakes parents make is measuring the incorrect amount of medicine. Thankfully, the latest dosage guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that parents should never use spoons (including teaspoons and tablespoons) as a measurement tool for children’s medicine.

Instead, cups or syringes labeled with clear metric measurements in milliliters (mL) are the only way to ensure that children consume the correct dose of medication.

The smallest error in measurement can be toxic to a young child. “Each year more than 70,000 children visit emergency departments as a result of unintentional medication overdoses,” states the AAP’s press release. “Sometimes a caregiver will misinterpret milliliters for teaspoons. Another common mistake is using the wrong kind of measuring device, resulting in a child receiving two or three times the recommended dose.”

Many over-the-counter medications cause confusion because labels recommend metric dosing, but measuring devices are also included that may be marked in teaspoons. Now, with the latest guidelines, “we are calling for a simple, universally recognized standard that will influence how doctors write prescriptions, how pharmacists dispense liquid medications and dosing cups, and how manufacturers print labels on their products,” said Ian Paul, MD, pediatrician and lead author of the AAP statement.

In order to decrease confusion and a child’s risk of potential overdoses, the AAP’s 2015 policy statement includes the following updates to increase accuracy:

  • Standard measurement language should be adopted, including mL as the only appropriate abbreviation for milliliters. Liquid medications should be dosed to the nearest 0.1, 0.5, or 1 mL.
  • The dose frequency should be clearly stated on the label. Common language like “daily” should be used rather than medical abbreviations like ‘qd’, which could be misinterpreted as ‘qid’ (which, in the past, has been a common way for doctors to describe dosing four times daily).
  • Pediatricians should always review mL-based doses with families when they are prescribed.
  • Dosing devices should not have extra markings that can be confusing; they should not be significantly larger than the dose described on the label, to avoid two-fold dosing errors.
  • Drug manufacturers should eliminate labeling, instructions, and dosing devices that contain units other than metric units.

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 Give Your Baby Medication
How to Give Your Baby Medication
How to Give Your Baby Medication

Image: Liquid medication via Shutterstock

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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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