Because of all the publicity, you might naturally think that most underage drinking deaths are related to driving while intoxicated. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wants parents to know that the dangers of underage drinking are even greater off the roadways.
MADD analyzed 2010 data from the FBI, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on deaths related to underage alcohol use.
What they found may surprise you. The study showed that only 32 percent of underage drinkers died from traffic related deaths. 68 percent were from other causes. Researchers found that 30 percent died from homicides, 14 percent from suicide, 9 percent from alcohol poisoning and 15 percent from other causes.
"As parents, we are definitely aware of the dangers of drinking and driving," says MADD national President Jan Withers. "I think we're not as educated about all the dangers that drinking before age 21 can be related to. And they're very, very real."
Child health experts agree that talking with your child about alcohol use should begin before they are at the age where temptation and availability are present. That can range anywhere from pre-teen to college age. Its never too late to have that discussion.
Sometimes parents mistakenly believe that if a child is introduced to alcohol drinking in the home that its much safer for them. They believe that their kids are in a controlled environment and not on the road afterwards. But as the analysis shows, being on the road isnt the only concern parents should be thinking and talking about.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that one-quarter of people ages 12-20 (9.7 million children) reported drinking within the previous month. Among those who did not illegally buy booze themselves, 21.4 percent were supplied alcohol from parents, guardians or other adult
New research from the Harvard School of Public Health says that one in 10 Americans die from eating too much salt. . Excessive salt consumption is linked to cardiovascular disease and has traditionally been associated with older adults. However researchers noted that younger people are now showing the same health problems from too much salt such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.
The problem is that salt is used in just about all packaged and processed foods. Over the years producers have added more and more salt for flavoring,
And now a new study now shows that meals and snacks marketed to toddlers have more than the recommended amount of sodium, meaning that children as young as one are most likely eating far too much salt early in life.
There is scientific evidence that a childs salt intake is related to whether he or she will develop high blood pressure (hypertension) as an adult. Hypertension is a major risk factor of heart disease " the number one killer of men and women in the United States.
"The good news is that commercial foods for babies, when they start complimentary feeding from 4 to 12 months ... are relatively low in sodium," explains Joyce Maalouf, the study's lead author and a fellow at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"But the products marketed to toddlers were significantly higher in sodium: more than 75% of the toddler meals and snacks had high sodium content."
The research team reviewed more than 1,100 products marketed to babies and toddlers and sold in grocery stores. If a product had more than 210 milligrams of sodium preserving it was defined as high in sodium. The rating is based on guidelines by the Institute of Medicine and MyPlate.gov.
Some meals tested as high as 630 milligrams of sodium per serving. Cereals and savory snacks tested highest in sodium compared to cereal bars and frui
There seems to be a lot of articles on how to find true happiness these days. Just about everywhere I look I see how to be happy headlines, often followed by an exclamation point.
Each one basically says the same thing as the others- just addressed to a different audience. I don't know about you, but frankly I haven't gained any new insights from these types of articles in a very long time.
That's why when I saw The (Unconventional) Secrets of Happy Families in an online article by Time magazine writer, Bonnie Rochman, I was skeptical to say the least.
But guess what? It actually did offer some unconventional and interesting ideas for a happier family life.
In her article, Rochman interviews Bruce Feiler, a family columnist for The New York Times and the best-selling author of The Secrets of Happy Families. Feiler is also the father of 7 year-old twin girls. In looking for a way to balance parenting, working at a demanding job, caring for his aging parents and being a good husband with the elusive goal of having a happy family. Feiler turned to some of this country's most creative minds, outside the typical sources of family psychologists and child development experts, for new perspectives and insights.
He communicated with Warren Buffet's advisors about the connection between allowances and chores. He spoke to Green Berets on building a tight-knit family unit and to members of the Harvard Negotiation Project to help learn the best approach to resolving family conflicts. By the end of his three-year research he had a list of approaches that he says help create a happier family life.
During the interview, Rochman asks Feiler what prompted him to want to write this book. His answer was straightforward and simple- he was a frustrated parent looking for a happier family life. I was incredibly frustrated as a parent. Our life was chaotic but I was especially frustrated that so much of this space
Most of us can remember how painfully sad we felt after our first breakup. Sometimes we were told that we were too young to know what real love was, or that it was just puppy love and wed get over it, or you might have heard the ever popular theres more than one fish in the sea.
I remember my first heartbreak. I was about 14 and the love of my life moved to Alaska. Alaska!!!
I cried for days and felt like the pain would never end. Eventually my heartbreak subsided and I moved on. My mother was very understanding " she liked my boyfriend too. She didnt tell me to get over it or to try and forget about him. She just listened, held me in her arms and let me know that yes, this was going to be hard but I was going to get through it.
I don't t think things have changed that much since my first breakup. It still hurts and is difficult to get over. When you're a pre-teen, teenager or young adult you just don't have the life experience to know that these things happen to everyone and you can and will get through it.
What can parents do to help their child deal with a breakup? Experts say the number one action parents can take is to listen. Sometimes things happen that a teen doesn't have any control over like the family is transferred and has to move away. Most times I suspect the two personalities just didn't work well together.
While it may be tempting, bringing up all the bad traits of the one who is gone won't help. It's not your break-up; it's your child's. You may be thrilled that the boyfriend or girlfriend is out of the picture, but it doesn't matter. There is always the possibility that they may get back together so don't say anything that you can't take back.
Your child is dealing with emotions that they may not be familiar with. What they need now is unconditional love and someone to talk to who will listen and respect how they feel. If youre not available they will put their heart in the hands of friends, and
The holidays are filled with joy, family, friends and presents. A popular present many families give themselves is a new TV. The old TV is sometimes regulated to the bedroom or guest room. While many of the newer models are lighter than the older ones, they can still crush a young child. Too often these TVs are not anchored well and sit on an eye-level stand.
A new report issued by The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) notes that 43,000 people have been injured by falling TV sets, with 59% of injuries being children.
CPSC urges parents of young children, to anchor their TV sets properly to help prevent these injuries. "We know that low-cost anchoring devices are effective in preventing tip-over incidents. I urge parents to anchor their TVs, furniture and appliances and protect their children. It takes just a few minutes to do and it can save lives," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
Between 2000 and 2011, 349 people were killed due to TVs or furniture falling on them. Sadly 84 % of those deaths were children younger than 9 years old. Many of the injuries were caused when the television set fell directly on the childs head.
Public education had helped lower these statistics over the years, but the numbers in 2011 showed a sharp increase. In 2009 there were 27 deaths reported, in 2010 the number was slighter higher at 31 deaths and in 2011 the numbers jumped to 41. The size of televisions are also increasing, its not uncommon for sets to be 60 to 80 inches wide.
Reports show that many television related fatalities occur in bedrooms rather than living rooms. Many of the older and heavier sets are put in the bedroom and not secured.
A related study published in 2002 had found that the majority of television-tipping related accidents occur when toddlers are left unsupervised around the television sets.
New furniture and televisions are exciting and we can get in a hurry setting them up " be sure to secure
I cannot stop thinking about the horrific tragedy in Newtown Connecticut. As a parent, my heart is broken for the families in Newtown whose children, brothers, sisters and mothers were killed. There really are no words to express the emotions we all have.
At the same time, I worry about the many children who have seen or continue to see the images of this massacre. Unfortunately, there continue to be mass shootings and tragedies that monopolize the news on air, online and in print making it hard to shield young children. The news never stops and these events are all too common.
But a parent's job continues to be to try and make sure that children feel safe and secure. Although it seems to be harder and harder to do these days, parents must continue to protect their children both physically and emotionally. This means telling your child to wear their seat belt, lock the door when you leave the house, wear your bike helmet, and to never play with matches...the list goes on and on.
It also means having age appropriate discussions with your children about stranger danger, weather related disasters and now school lockdowns. The discussions surrounding this latest national tragedy should be tailored to the age of the child, but regardless of their age, I think the discussion should always end with, mommies and daddies are here to love and protect you and that will never change.
There is no way to process this tragedy nor is there a guide as to how to go forward. Despite all of the news stories there are no answers, but only questions as to why?
Hug your children, maybe grab an extra kiss and be thankful for your family. Let us also say a prayer for the community of Newtown, both those who were lost and for the living, for their grief is unimaginable.
The study was conducted by researchers at Columbia University and appears in the journal Sleep. It shows that adolescents and teens with strict bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier were less likely to be depressed and to have suicidal thoughts than their classmates whose parents allowed them to stay up till midnight or even later. Another study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health examined the sleep habits of more than 12,000 high school students and found that a mere eight percent are getting at least the recommended nine hours of sleep per night. The Columbia researchers found that bedtimes set by parents were almost as important as the total number of hours slept. Kids who were sent to bed at midnight or later were 24 percent more likely to be depressed and 20 percent more likely to have thoughts about suicide compared to teens whose lights had to be off by 10 p.m. The researchers surveyed 15,000 children in grades seven through 12 and their parents and found that more than two-thirds of the adolescents said they went to bed when they were supposed to. For 54 percent of kids, that's 10 p.m. or earlier on school nights. Another 21 percent must go to bed by 11 p.m, and 25 percent go to bed at midnight or later. The teens were also asked to fill out depression questionnaires and were asked whether they had seriously thought about suicide over the past year. Scientists have long known that there was a link between depression and poor sleep. But there has always been a question as to whether the depression caused insomnia or whether poor sleep led to depression. The fact that parent-enforced bedtimes play such a significant role suggests lack of sleep may actually be a cause, not just an effect of depression. As you know, I believe it's critical for all teens to have a firm bedtime. Begin winding down their night by turning off all electronics 1/2 hour before they head to bed. No TV on in the background and their cell phone should be
Twenty-Seven minutes of extra sleep doesn't sound like it would make much of a difference in a child's behavior, but according to a new study it could help a child be more productive and brighter.
Researchers discovered that kids who slept that extra amount each night were less impulsive, less easily distracted, and less likely to have temper tantrums or cry often and easily. By contrast, losing just shy of an hour's worth of sleep had the opposite effects on behavior and mood.
Small changes in bedtime and daily routine could go a long way says researcher Reut Gruber, PhD. She is an assistant professor of psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Conversely, one more video game and staying a little longer in a friend's house ... could add up and have a negative impact on the daytime functioning of healthy children.
The small study included 34 children aged seven to eleven who had no sleep, medical, behavior or academic problems. The children were divided into two groups. One group went to bed an hour earlier than their normal bedtime and the other group, an hour later for one week. To monitor their activity and sleep, the children wore a wristwatch-like device.
According to the study, kids who got 27.36 minutes more sleep per night showed improvements, while those who got less than that did not.
Besides being a very exact number, does 27.36 minutes really make a difference?
In daily life, if you think of the impact of short power naps, usually about 15 to 20 minutes during the day, you can see that this amount of sleep can have a significant positive impact on mood, attention, and well-being, says Gruber.
The children who were allowed to sleep more were found to be more alert, better behaved and more empathetic. Those with less sleep were determined to be less alert.
The children's teachers were asked to fill out behavioral assessments. The teachers had no idea there was an expe
Newborns are routinely screened at birth for a variety of diseases, but tests results can sometimes take up to two weeks. For some conditions that are quickly treatable time isn't as critical, but 10 to 14 days for other test results might mean the difference between life and death.
And there are thousand of genetic diseases that newborns are not tested for, that if known about early, could help doctors provide quicker and better care.
Something amazing is happening in genetic DNA mapping that could change newborn testing forever.
Scientists have found a way to decode babies' DNA in just days instead of weeks.
In a small but significant study, researchers at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri mapped the DNA of five children. While the study couldn't be completed in time to save the children, the results were very promising.
By year's end the hospital plans to begin routine gene mapping in its neonatal intensive care unit. It may also offer testing for babies elsewhere, while further studies continue, said Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, director of the pediatric genome center at Children's Mercy.
"For the first time, we can actually deliver genome information in time to make a difference," predicted Kingsmore, whose team reported the method in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Even if the diagnosis is a lethal disease, "the family will at least have an answer. They won't have false hope," he added.
The idea is to combine faster gene-analyzing machinery with new computer software that, at the push of a few buttons, uses a baby's symptoms to zero in on the most suspicious mutations. The hope would be to start treatment earlier, or avoid futile care for lethal illnesses.
More than 20 percent of infant deaths are due to a birth defect or genetic diseases, the kind caused by a problem with a single gene. There are thousands of these diseases, and most hospitals don't have the means
Sooner or later your sweet little toddler will blurt out a string of words that sounds a lot like an insult. You might hear something like, You're a do-do head. or the ever popular, You're stupid. It may stop you in your tracks and make you wonder, Did I hear that right?
Toddler rage can get pretty intense and if you're a toddler you're not really capable of saying exactly what's got your big girl or boy panties in a wad. As a parent, you might have to restrain yourself from giggling the first time or two insults are hurled, but after awhile you're really going to want to put a stop to it. First of all it's annoying when the cuteness wears off- and secondly, you don't want your child insulting everyone whenever they get the urge, and finally they need to learn how to control their impulses.
Sometimes parents, caregivers or babysitters get right down on a toddlers level and the fight begins. No one wins in this situation.
So how do you put a stop to your preschooler's name-calling and its first cousin potty mouth?
Well, there are several approaches you can try. Since every kid is different, some of these tips will help some and not others. But don't give up and don't lose your cool (too often.)
If you're having trouble getting your preschooler to sleep at night, you may want to monitor what they are watching on TV before bedtime. A new study suggests that kids between the ages of 3 and 5 years old have more trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep if they have watched violent TV shows or computer videos or age-inappropriate media content.
Kids in this age group who were exposed to non-violent and age appropriate materials, in the hours before bedtime, were 64 percent less likely to have any type of sleep disturbance.
Children this young have a more difficult time separating reality from fiction. Even an episode of the popular kid's program SpongeBob SquarePants might be considered too violent for very young children noted the study's lead author Michelle Garrison.
"Making a relatively simple change in what kids are watching is a change worth the effort," said Garrison, a principal investigator at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute. "Sometimes parents feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting rid of TV altogether, but switching shows can make a big difference."
The link between media use and children's sleep problems isn't new; other studies have had similar results using a variety of children ages and media use. This study focused on three to five year olds and the viewing of violent media or age-inappropriate content before bed.
The current study included nearly 600 children aged 3 to 5 living in the Seattle area. Families were randomized into one of two groups: One group received a home visit, follow-up phone calls and mailings with coaching about how to make better media choices for their young children; the other group simply received mailings about nutrition.
The researchers didn't attempt to reduce the total number of hours of media use. The goal instead was to reduce violent and age-inappropriate content.
Some of the programming
The lazy days of summer seem like the perfect time to engage in playtime activities. My summer months at the office are particularly busy doing check ups as everyone is out of school. This means that I seem to see a lot of children in the 5-12 year group, and I enjoy getting to talk to them about their summer fun.
I have suddenly realized that many of the children in this age group seemed to have missed some key milestones in child development, which I think most of us adults learned during the lazy days of summer. I think learning to ride a bicycle and learning how to swim are two MUSTS of child development. While not all children will want to one day participate in a swim team, or a bike race, being able to swim and pedal a bicycle are life long skills. Who knows, with the price of gas we may all be heading back to bicycles as preferred transportation, at least for short distances.
At the same time I have noticed a fair number of parents who are concerned about their young children's motor development. This is the 2-4 year old group where I am sometimes amazed when the parent of a 3 year old tells me that their child does not jump high enough. What? How about getting out the jump rope again, and drawing hopscotch on the sidewalk to practice hopping and jumping. These are free exercises that can help boost coordination while having fun together. What about learning to skip and to balance on a beam (doesn't have to be at gymnastics) a two by four in the back yard or park works just as well. Learning to pump a swing is another. I can remember how proud I was when I mastered that skill (makes me smile, even today).
So while the last days of summer are here, make a list of not only summer reading, or computer skills that your child needs to finish, but of some of those childhood milestones as well. Hop, skip, jump rope, ride a bike, learn to swim. College applications mig
If you have a college student and they are living away from home one of the first phone calls a parent often gets is when the student gets sick. Before they even get sick this winter, why don't you make them a college medicine kit?
It is a great time of year to "hunker" in the house and clean out for the New Year and that includes the medicine cabinet. It is one of the places that is often overlooked and I am even amazed at what I might find in there!
What is that hissing noise in the air? Plenty of wheezing and coughing ushering in upper respiratory season. With all this noise, I'm on the lookout for respiratory distress. As I start to see more and more sick kids, my office becomes a cacophony of coughing. While many of the coughs sound horrible, fortunately most of the children I will see do not have any real respiratory distress.
It is the time of year when I start to get many patients asking me if they have a cold or is this flu, and how can you tell? Well, it is usually fairly easy as you are so much sicker with the flu! Currently we are seeing tons of colds and I have YET to diagnose a case of flu, although there is beginning to be sporadic cases reported around the country.
I recently saw a young teenager during her well-check visit and we were discussing whether she had a cell phone or a computer, and if so, did she have rules for their use? There was a giggle as she explained to me that she and her parents had discussed the rules prior to her getting a cell phone.
From the moment your baby is born until you send them off to college, your child will be seeing his/her pediatrician for "well child check-ups". These are regularly scheduled visits which occur quite frequently when you have a baby or toddler and become a yearly visit once your child is over the age of 3. The well child visit is an extremely important part of a pediatrician's job, and is also your child's medical home.
In fact, one of the most rewarding aspects of being a pediatrician is having the privilege to observe a child from birth through their teens, in a sense, "helping to raise them". Therein lays the reason for check-ups.
When you see your pediatrician for a check-up, I'm sure you get your child's weight, height, BMI, (and blood pressure once they are older), as well as their growth percentiles.
The doctor also does a physical exam on your child, which is hopefully all normal. But there is a lot more than that to your visit. This is the time for your doctor to discuss your child's milestones; whether that is sitting up for the first time, first words or how they are performing in first grade. These conversations continue for all of your child's school years as well.
It is also the time to discuss multiple other topics which should include sleep habits, nutrition and safety which is pertinent to all age groups. As your child gets older the conversation should include discussions about school performance, bullying, studying, screen time, family meals, exercise, and the child's interests.
For the teen patient I think it is important to discuss sexuality, peer pressures, driving, and the adolescent's long term goals. The list goes on and on, but certain topics should certainly be yearly discussions which are then tailored to the age of the child.
As a child gets older it is important to have some time where the doctor may be alone with the adolescent who may want some "private time" with the doctor. It