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Monday, November 10th, 2014
If 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.
Photo of laundry detergent pods courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Monday, July 14th, 2014
How safe is your baby’s sleep?
A new study examined the biggest sleep risks for babies under 1 year of age and found that younger and older infants faced different risk factors for sleep-related deaths. In the study, which was published online today in the journal Pediatrics, researchers analyzed more than 8,000 sleep-related infant deaths from 24 states between 2004 and 2012. Of those deaths, the study found that for infants up to 4 months of age, the biggest risk factor for sleep-related death was bed-sharing with either a parent or pet. In fact, in roughly 74 percent of the cases studied, the infants had been bed-sharing at the time of their death. About 50 percent of those cases happened when the child was sleeping in an adult bed or on a person.
But for infants ages 4 months to 1 year, the largest risk factor associated with death was different: rolling into objects, including blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, and bumpers, during sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their care providers, but not in the same bed. The crib or bassinet should be within arm’s reach, free of any loose items, including toys and soft bedding, and covered with a fitted sheet.
Despite those safe-sleep recommendations, a whopping 73 percents of the 4,500 respondents in a recent American Baby magazine survey admitted they placed at least one item the crib with their baby.
Image: close-up portrait of a sleeping baby via Shutterstock
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AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics, babies, baby sleep, infant sleep, Pediatrics, safe sleep, SIDS, sleep-related death | Categories:
Child Health, Must Read, New Research
Monday, July 29th, 2013
The number of children diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is rising about 2 percent each year, and the disease is escaping the notice of many pediatricians who do not expect to see it in their young patients, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. More from ABC News:
Melanoma makes up 5 percent of skin cancer diagnosis but a majority of skin cancer deaths.
In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimated, 76,690 new melanomas will be diagnosed and 9,480 people are expected to die from the disease.
Children make up a tiny fraction of these cases, but a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics found that cases of pediatric melanoma are increasing. Between 1973 and 2009, the study found, cases of pediatric skin cancer rose, on average, 2 percent each year.
Melanoma is also the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults between 15 and 29 years old, according to a 2007 study from the National Cancer Foundation.
Unfortunately, pediatric melanoma can be very difficult to diagnose because the warning signs are often very different than those for adult melanoma. In addition, experts say, testing biopsies in a pathology lab can be inconclusive and occasionally these cancers are only definitively diagnosed after they’ve grown or spread.
A major factor in surviving a cancer diagnosis is early detection, but the early signs of pediatric melanoma often masquerade as inconsequential skin problems….
….Dr. Ashfaq Marghoob, director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s regional skin cancer clinic in Hauppauge, N.Y., and spokesman for the Skin Cancer Foundation, said melanoma presents very differently in children versus adults.
“You’re asking these doctors to look for zebras,” said Marghoob. “If you usually see horses you’re not looking for zebras. Their mind is not in tune with looking for these melanomas. The morphology of melanoma in kids is different from adults.”
A 2011 study presented at the Pediatric Dermatology Annual Meeting found that 60 percent of children between the ages of 0 and 10 in the study with melanoma did not meet the common melanoma-detection criteria. The criteria is broken down by the “ABCDE warning signs,” which stands for Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation and Diameter over six millimeters, and Evolution of the lesion.
For children between the ages of 10 and 20, approximately 40 percent did not strictly meet the ABCDE criteria.
Instead, many children in the study had tumors that were symmetrical and amelanosis (lacking pigment). The differences were so significant that the study’s authors proposed creating alternative ABCD criteria for pediatric patients, where A is for amelanosis, B for bumps or bleeding, C for uniform Color, and D for various Diameters or de novo (or new) Development.
Image: Dermatologist examining child, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
Parents who are concerned that their children watch too much television often try different approaches to solve the problem, from removing televisions from bedrooms and living areas to setting strict time limits on viewing. But the best predictor of whether kids will have healthy TV viewing habits, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, is whether parents have good habits themselves. More from Time.com:
According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, what’s most important in children’s viewing habits is how much TV (or DVDs or online entertainment) parents watch. The researchers interviewed 1550 parents with children 17 or younger about both their own and their children’s screen time, and when possible, they also asked the adolescents about how much television they watched.
The amount of TV the parents watched predicted the kids’ screen time, and this association was even stronger than that linked to parental restrictions on TV viewing, where the TVs were placed in the home, or how much television parents and children watched together.
On average, parents spent about four hours a day in front of a screen, and those who watched more media had kids who watched more. In fact, every hour that parents viewed TV was linked to nearly an additional half hour of screen time for their kids. There were some differences according to age, however. Restrictions on viewing had some effect for kids aged six to 11, and adolescents reported watching an hour more a day than their parents estimated.
For over a decade, pediatricians have been recommending less screen time for kids (a maximum of 2 hours a day for non-educational TV) because heavy viewing is linked to obesity, inactivity, poor sleep, and poor academic achievement. “Lots of parents are concerned about how much TV their kids watch,” says Amy Bleakley, lead author of the study and a senior research scientist at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania. “We wanted to raise awareness of how their own media habits may be affecting that of their kids.”
Image: Child watching TV, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
A boy who is diagnosed during childhood with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has a greater risk of developing obesity as an adult, twice the risk of a child without ADHD, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. The findings are, at first glance, counter-intuitive because children with ADHD are known for being active–overly so. But the study identifies a number of factors that contribute to the elevated obesity risk. More from NBC News:
These findings, published in Pediatrics, may be surprising to parents because drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall used to treat ADHD can suppress appetite, said Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos, the study co-author and a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University.
“It’s not uncommon for kids treated with ADHD medications to be fairly thin,” Castellanos said. Because parents often worry that thinner boys won’t grow as tall, “sometimes [they] will encourage their boys to eat more.”
Instead, to help avert weight problems down the road, parents should be alert to poor eating habits. “If anything, you have to pay attention to how many times they’re having fast food, how many times they’re having fried food, whether they’re getting meals supersized,” Castellanos said.
The study comes at a time when ADHD rates are rising. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that ADHD is the most common mental health issue in children ages 3-17, with nearly 7 percent of kids receiving a diagnosis.
The NYU researchers followed 222 boys — 111 with ADHD and 111 without, for an average of 33 years — hoping to better understand the disorder’s effects on the brain. The boys with ADHD, all from middle-class, white families, were diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 12.
Decades later, when some of the men returned for brain scans, many of the now 40-something adults who had ADHD as children had gained so much weight they barely fit into the fMRI machine, Castellanos said.
Image: Boy eating, via Shutterstock
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