Monday, November 28th, 2011
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning that Bumbo chairs, which are designed to help support young babies as they learn to sit upright, have been responsible for at least 45 serious head injuries, including skull fractures, when parents have placed the seats on elevated surfaces like chairs, countertops, or tabletops.
The new warning comes despite an October 2007 voluntary recall of the seats, which were subsequently re-released with notices printed on the products instructing parents to refrain from placing the seats on elevated surfaces.
The Bumbo website’s homepage currently features a prominent warning that reads, “Never use the Bumbo baby seat on any elevated surface. The seat is not designed to be totally restrictive. Use of the seat on any elevated surface may result in serious injury. Never leave your child unattended.”
But the CPSC and the product company, Bumbo International, says that too many parents are ignoring the warnings as well as good safety practices, at great risk to their children. From a joint statement issued last week:
CPSC and Bumbo International are also aware of an additional 50 reports of infants falling or maneuvering out of Bumbo seats used on the floor and at unknown elevations. These incidents include two reports of skull fractures and one report of a concussion that occurred when babies fell out of Bumbo seats used on the floor. These injuries reportedly occurred when the infants struck their heads on hard flooring, or in one case, on a nearby toy.
The Bumbo seat is labeled and marketed to help infants sit in an upright position as soon as they can support their head. The product warnings state that the seat “may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.” Infants as young as 3 months can fall or escape from the seat by arching backward, leaning forward or sideways or rocking.
Bumbo seats are not currently under a new recall, though parents are urged to heed safety warnings, and not leave children unattended in the seats.
(Image via: http://bumbo.com/)
Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Leading pediatricians are warning parents to keep children out of the boxing ring. The risk for injuries to the brain and face is too great, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Canadian Paediatric Society said yesterday in the journal Pediatrics.
The damage from boxing injuries may be long lasting, Claire LeBlanc, M.D., the lead author of the statement in Pediatrics told CNN.com. From that report:
The main concern is serious head injuries among kids and teens. Young boxers have been known to suffer concussions, just like the pros, but the data on head injuries is scarce, LeBlanc says. The limited government records in the U.S. suggest that the rate of head injuries among 12- to 17-year-olds, as well as older boxers, is about 3 for every 1,000 participants.
Perhaps even more alarming to pediatricians is the creeping possibility, based on studies of professional boxers, that young boxers could develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition caused by repetitive blows to the head that can lead to dementia-like symptoms later in life.
But youth boxing organizers say they make an effort to keep the sport safe. CNN.com continues:
Minor injuries such as bloody noses, tennis elbow, and cuts are not uncommon, but thanks to protective headgear that covers most of the face and padded boxing gloves that absorb punches, serious injuries are highly unusual, says Joe DeGuardia, the owner of the Morris Park Boxing Club, in the Bronx.
Moreover, sparring makes up only a fraction of training. Young boxers spend most of their time stretching, conditioning, and practicing punch combinations outside the ring, where injuries are “very rare,” says DeGuardia, who is also the president of the Boxing Promoters Association and has been training young boxers for more than two decades.
More to the point, DeGuardia adds, the benefits young people derive from boxing — such as confidence, motivation, physical fitness, and especially self-discipline — “certainly outweigh the risks.”
What do you think? Would you let your child box?
(image via: http://www.hgboxing.com)
Monday, August 22nd, 2011
A new report from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio has found that more than 5,000 American children are injured by falling from windows each year, The Associated Press reports.
Many fall from first- or second-story windows, the AP says:
“Two-thirds of these injuries occurred among children younger than 5. This is the age group that’s mobile, curious and does not recognize the danger of falling from a window,” [senior author Gary] Smith said.
The study, appearing Monday in the journal Pediatrics, is the first nationally representative study of such injuries. Researchers analyzed data from emergency departments from 1990 through 2008. An estimated 98,415 children were hurt during that time.
Fewer than 1 percent of the cases led to deaths, but the researchers said the tally likely underestimated fatalities because not all children who die from their injuries are brought to the hospital.
Summer months, when windows are left open, saw the highest number of injuries. One- and two-story falls made up 94 percent of the cases where the height of the fall was recorded.
Parents are urged to install window guards, which are bars that allow windows to open but prevent children from climbing out. The guards cost $20 to $40 per window. Parents should also move furniture or climb-able objects away from windows to prevent children from being tempted to explore near an open window. Researchers also recommend opening windows from the top, if possible.
Monday, August 1st, 2011
The Boston Globe is reporting on new rules in Massachusetts aimed at protecting schoolchildren from potentially serious head injuries that can come on the football field or during other sports activities. An estimated 136,000 concussions occur in the course of high school sports each year in the United States, the article stated. The National Federation of State High School Associations has a training program specifically on concussions and head injuries, training coaches (who are then urged to train their student-athletes) to recognize slurred speech, confusion, nausea, fatigue, or dizziness as symptoms of a concussion.
Under a law passed by the Legislature last year, everyone involved with school teams – coaches, volunteers, players, parents, and other officials – must be trained annually in how to recognize concussions and get the appropriate care for students who suffer one.
Any student suspected of having a concussion now must be removed from play immediately and cleared by a doctor before returning. The law also calls for students diagnosed with a concussion to have a written plan for gradually returning to both athletics and academics.
What exactly is a concussion? It is not a bruise on the brain. Nor does it involve swelling or bleeding. A concussion can occur when an athlete collides with another player, a goal post, or the ground, causing the brain to rattle or twist in the skull.
That prompts what is referred to as a “metabolic cascade,’’ a series of changes in which the brain’s nerve cells stop functioning as they should and blood flow is slowed. The process is not fully understood, in large part because researchers aren’t able to probe the brains of people who have suffered a concussion. And the effects are not visible on imaging tools, such as CT scans or MRIs.
If a person rests properly – meaning no physical activity beyond walking, and little cognitive activity – the brain can recover in almost all instances, said Dr. Robert Cantu, a Boston University professor of neurosurgery who has been studying concussions and advocating for better prevention among athletes for decades.
But if a concussed athlete keeps playing and suffers further trauma to the head, the situation becomes very different.