One more very good source for safety tips to help ensure a Happy Halloween for everybody is the National Safety Council.
This is a lengthy list, but it's worth looking over before you start your festivities tonight. In all the excitement it's easy to forget a few basics such as telling your children not to eat any candy until you get home and inspect it; and to look out for candles and flames, since many costumes are long and/or cumbersome. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Friday, October 31, 2008
One more very good source for safety tips to help ensure a Happy Halloween for everybody is the National Safety Council.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
In August the FDA issued a report saying the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, is safe at current levels found in plastic baby bottles and canned foods. Now an FDA subcommittee of science experts is challenging that conclusion.
The panel is criticizing the way that the FDA handled the issue because they relied on industry-funded studies which contradicted over 100 other studies suggesting that BPA is harmful to humans. Shouldn't we be able to trust the people who are supposed to be our country's watchdogs? Unfortunately, we have to gather our own information and draw our own conclusions, not wait for someone else to make a "final" decision on these types of health issues.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sherwood Brands Pirate’s Gold Milk Chocolate Coins coins are being recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency because they contain melamine, the ingredient that has caused many infant deaths in China. These candies are sold at Costco and many bulk and dollar stores. Please check your children’s Halloween candy.
To help expectant moms and new moms make sense of the latest medical and scientific research, the March of Dimes is offering daily pregnancy and baby tips via Twitter.
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send and receive text-based messages, known as "Tweets". Using the latest technology, you can glance at the daily update at your convenience, on your cell phone via text message, through instant messaging and online. Pretty neat!
Amy Poehler and husband Will Arnett welcomed their first child, son Archie Arnett, on Saturday.
Poehler has said that she won't return to SNL once her maternity leave is done. She is expected to star in her own NBC sitcom.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I have always hated clothing tags and my children do too, as a result I've cut countless numbers of tags out of our clothing. So when some manufacturers came out with tag-less labels in their clothing I was very excited, and thought "finally". Well, according to a recent press release, there can be a problem with these heat transferred labels for children's sensitive skin.
"The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Carter's, Inc., of Atlanta, Georgia, are advising parents and caregivers that they have received reports that a small percentage of babies and infants have developed rashes on the upper back after wearing Carter's clothing with heat transferred, or "tag-less", labels".
The CPSC website has photos of the tag-less labels and garments involved and information regarding what to do if your child develops such a rash.
To ensure a safe experience for your kids this Halloween, here are some links with safety tips from trusted authorities including the Red Cross, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
Also useful, at the bottom of the CPSC page is a hotline for reporting a dangerous product, or a product-related injury.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Does the scary news ever stop? Products that children use should be the safest and most well-tested products on the market, yet every time we turn around there seems to be more evidence that they are not. Today Health Canada announced that thousands of toys and children's costume jewelry are being pulled from shelves because they are loaded with lead.
The items include a baby pacifier and a scrapbook charm that is so poisonous that a child could die from swallowing it.
I may not live in Canada, but I know this concerns us in the United States as well, because some of those products could also be on our shelves. For now, a list of toys that have been recalled can be found at http://www.healthycanadadians.ca/ .
Among other items, the list includes:
"My Baby" brand pacifier twin pack and silicone pacifier
Children's Charm craft kits ("Super Dooper Charms" and "Shoelace charms")
"GTZ Kool Charmz" charm gift bracelet
"Pop Pop Toy Boats," specifically, the 13-inch versions of the "Titanic" and "Hut"
"Fairy Dust Pendants" and "Candle Charms"
Researchers have concluded that pregnant women with depression symptoms have a higher risk of premature delivery, according to the Journal of Human Reproduction. The study recommends that doctors analyze expectant women for their emotional condition. This is important because babies who are born early are at higher risk of being hospitalized, having long-term health problems and dying, than those born full term.
Finding a caring and concerned doctor to take care of you during your pregnancy can be a challenge. However, it is a vital part of having a successful pregnancy and ensuring the health of both yourself and your child. Your physician should ask questions about your emotional well-being as well as your physical state, since they effect each other on many levels, as evidenced by this report.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Many of today's toys are made of flexible plastic such as vinyl, from dolls to rubber duckies. The vinyl is made flexible by the addition of a phthalate plasticizer during fabrication of the material. For years concerns have been expressed about possible developmental effects as well as possible chronic liver and kidney toxicity from human exposure to these phthalates. In August of this year, president Bush signed into law a bill that bans lead paint and phthalates in products intended for children under the age of 12. The law bans six different kinds of phthalates, which can be found in many baby and child products, including bath toys and baby lotions. However, restrictions on phthalates don't take effect until 2009, causing stores and manufacturers to discount their stock of these toys and causing a high number of them to flood the market.
The rising tide of prescription drug use brings with it an awful problem - accidental ingestion of those medications by children. In fact prescription drugs are a top cause of child poisonings now, second only to carbon monoxide. The skyrocketing rate of prescriptions for painkillers is alarming by itself, but the fact that it brings this possibility with it is very upsetting. No matter what reason you have for having powerful prescriptions in your house, it is imperative that no child has a chance of getting to them. Medication packages can not be counted on to keep a child safe. Child-resistant caps are just that - resistant, not child-proof. All medications should be well out of a child's reach and best of all, in a locked cabinet. This story is a scary example of what can happen when a child accidentally ingests a prescription medication: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27168078
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Gillian Anderson welcomed a baby boy, Felix Griffiths, into the world on October 15 in London, her representative has confirmed. Her new son joins older brother Oscar, 2 and Gillian's daughter Piper, 14, from a previous relationship.
The controversial issue of whether or not bisphenol A is dangerous, to whom and in what amounts, continues with seemingly no end in sight. Today the Canadian government announced their bold decision to ban baby bottles with BPA. Meanwhile, in the US, the FDA is in the process of reviewing BPA's safety. An FDA advisor committee takes the topic up again On October 31. Interestingly, Canada is not banning BPA in other products and us telling the general public not to be concerned.
Bisphenol A is a plastic chemical found in some polycarbonate bottles and the lining of canned goods.
Two new strides in the fight against breast cancer have appeared on the scene recently - good news in the areas of both diagnosis and treatment for many patients.
The diagnosis tool is called molecular breast imaging, and can detect small tumors which were previously unseen. This is a valuable procedure for alerting your doctor to changes that can indicate early stage breast disease (in adjunct to mammography). The latest advance in treatment comes from studies which indicate that a shorter duration of higher-level radiation treatments may work for some patients.
Being as informed as possible and taking responsibility for your health through self-exams and regular mammograms remain the best weapons for early detection, however, every medical advance offers a new level of hope and should be investigated and discussed with your physician.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Lil Wayne has been graced with 12 BET Hip-Hop Award nominations and has enjoyed a hot career as a rapper, but at this year's BET Awards he announced his latest blessing - that he is expecting a son any day now. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20234422,00.html
Lil Wayne dedicated this latest award to his 9 year old daughter Reginae Carter.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Throughout the journey that is "parenting" there will be many occasions when your children will not feel well, whether it is a rash, sore throat, or general feeling of malaise . . . so a simple checklist of symptoms and solutions can come in handy. Here is one from Parenting magazine's website that is easy to follow and has some common sense solutions for parents http://www.parenting.com/Common/childhealthguide.jsp
I printed out the first aid list and made copies to keep in my car, purse and kitchen.
Also, whenever I look for health information online, I only use official websites such as the American Academy of Pediatrics www.aap.org and http://www.webmd.com/ . There are many sites with people's opinions and wacky ideas from non-professionals, all that can do is lead you to more worry and misinformation when you are consulting your own doctor.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Pregnant women have had the choice to test for Down syndrome in their unborn child for generations, but the tests are risky and invasive, making that a very hard decision. Now researchers at Stanford University have come up with a simple blood test for the pregnant mother, which finds the extra chromosome that indicates Down syndrome. http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20081006/safe-blood-test-for-down-syndrome
The choice whether to have these types of tests remains a very personal one. Furthermore, understanding why you are testing and what you will do with the information is much more complicated than the act itself. However, the ease of this new test can make all the difference to mothers who don't want to take any chance at all in harming their unborn child.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Apparently, some state politicians disagree with the FDA's tentative conclusion that BPA is safe and they are now taking the matter into their own hands. Attorneys general from 3 states sent letters to 11 companies that make baby bottles and formula containers, asking they no longer use the chemical bisphenol A in their manufacturing. The Federal Food & Drug Administration declined to take action when a preliminary study last month drew a possible connection to BPA and risks of heart disease and diabetes.
Although this is a positive step against a potentially harmful chemical in infant products, there is a long way to go before we can be sure the products on the shelves are safe for our children. The only way to protect our families right now, is to buy only BPA-free bottles and containers for our children's foods. Hopefully, these companies will comply with the state attorneys' requests and then it should become much easier to shop for BPA-free products.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
A baby doll by Fisher Price, called the "Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle & Coo" doll, has stirred up some controversy over what some are claiming is not cooing sounds but instead saying "Islam is the light."
Fisher Price is insisting that the doll isn't programmed to say anything of the sort, and that people are hearing something that isn't there. Watch the Associated Press video on YouTube (video & link above) and decide for yourself!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Just one week after federal authorities said they had little data on the benefits of cold medicines for very young children, four drug companies are now recommending the medications not be given to children under age 4.
Apparently, many pediatricians support the ban, which they hope will prevent the serious side effects and accidental overdoses which send about 7,000 children to the emergency room each year.
From my own experience I can say that these medicines don't solve the most difficult children's cold symptoms, which my family has found to be stuffed noses (not able to breathe when lying down to sleep) and coughs which interrupt sleep. These two symptoms are best treated with raising the child's head while he sleeps (with a towel under their pillow, or if no pillow, then something to slightly raise the head of the mattress altogether). And rinsing and suctioning the nose to clear the clog. A gentle saline nasal wash works well, such as Simply Saline or one of the nasal mists from Ayr. Oh, and lots of TLC too! : )
Monday, October 06, 2008
Here is a startling piece of recent news that somehow makes quite a bit of sense. Researchers have discovered that a simple house fan can help reduce the chance of SIDS.
According to this article, using a fan to circulate air seemed to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in a study of nearly 500 babies. A baby's sleep position (on their back) still remains the most important factor, however keeping air circulating would seem to make perfect sense in light of information that re-breathing your own exhaled air lowers the amount of oxygen you take in. (Ever try to sleep with your head under a blanket? - I can't)! It can't hurt to take one more precaution with your precious child.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Earlier this year the FDA recommended that children under the age of 2 not receive any OTC medications. Now they are meeting with the public to determine if children of any age should be getting OTC drugs. In their recent announcement the FDA said it will take it's time to determine whether to ban over-the-counter medications, or if that move may possibly cause some parents to give adult medications to their kids and therefore cause an even bigger problem. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/02/AR2008100201275.html
This is a very serious problem which I can relate to. I remember the first time my oldest child had a cold and wouldn't sleep, he couldn't breathe through his nose and would not stop crying. A relative recommended children's cold medication even though the baby was only 6 month old. I was guilt-wracked about estimating a dosage for my son, since none was given. All I wanted was relief for the baby. This is a terrible choice for parents to make - they need clear cut guidelines and their doctor's approval. I just think that banning these medications will cause many more problems, since situations like this occur across the nation every single day.
Friday, October 03, 2008
My children just had their annual check ups and this year the pediatrician recommended flu shots for all of them. This is something new, since in past years we were told that low-risk children were not recommended to have flu shots. My take on this is that the spread of flu needs to be halted, and vaccinating even low risk people will help prevent that spread. http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/09/24/flu.vaccine/
But a little bit of research reveals some more interesting news about the vaccine - that a flu vaccine given to a pregnant woman can help shield her newborn against the infection as well, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/sept08flushots.htm
This is all news to me! Once again, it pays to "stay up on things" when it come to your family's health and well-being.
The latest news about contaminated foods is that more imported-from-China candy has been found to be tainted and it was here in Connecticut! That really is close to home for me! And with Halloween coming up, we have candy on our minds over here.
This is becoming more frightening by the day as the reality is that we don't know where everything we eat is manufactured or what foods will be found to be contaminated next. Also announced today, the FDA has issued an interim safety and risk assessment of melamine and melamine-related compounds in food. The conclusion is that there is no level of melamine in infant formula that does not raise public health concerns. However in other foods which constitute a significantly smaller percentage of a daily diet, compounds below 2.5 parts per million do not raise concerns. Is this comforting? Do we really want to chance having any melamine in our food?
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Water anywhere can be a potential drowning hazard. While pools are an obvious risk, parents should not let their guard down around other hazards such as bathtubs and buckets. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents that children need to be supervised around these common but sometimes hidden drowning dangers.
After pools, more children drown in bathtubs than in any other product in and around the home. From 2002 through 2004, CPSC has reports (pdf) of 221 children younger than 5 who drowned in bathing-related incidents. Most of these children were younger than 2 years old. Often these incidents involve caregivers leaving the room momentarily to answer the phone/door or to retrieve an item like a towel. In other incidents, an older sibling was left to watch a younger sibling.
Reported drowning incidents received by CPSC confirms another drowning hazard – buckets. CPSC has reports of 94 bucket-related drowning or submersion fatalities from 1999 through 2006. All but one of these deaths were to children less than 2 years old.
“A child can drown very quickly in only inches of water,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Bathtubs, buckets, and other containers in and around the home pose drowning hazards all year long.”
CPSC recommends parents and caregivers follow these safety tips when children are around bathtubs, buckets, spas, or decorative ponds or fountains:
- Never leave young children alone even for a moment near any water. Young children can drown in even small amounts of water.
- Always keep a young child within arm's reach in a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you. Never leave to answer the phone, answer the door, get a towel or for any other reason.
- Don't leave a baby or toddler in a bathtub under the care of another young child.
- Never leave a bucket containing even a small amount of liquid unattended. Toddlers can fall headfirst into buckets and drown. After using a bucket, always empty and store it where young children cannot reach it. Don’t leave buckets outside where they can collect rainwater.
- Prevent children from gaining access to spas or hot tubs when not in use; always secure with safety covers and barriers.
- Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). It can be a lifesaver when there are only seconds to act.
Found in various rooms of the home, large furniture such as TVs, chests, armoires, and appliances are staples in our homes. But these items can tip over and crush children, causing injury or death. Last year, CPSC identified this issue as one of the “top five hidden home hazards.” A new data report (pdf) from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff shows at least 180 tip-over related deaths between 2000 and 2006, 80 percent involving children younger than 10. The report also indicates that between 2005 and 2006 there were at least 40 reports of television or television and furniture related tip-over deaths.
These deaths and injuries frequently occur when children climb onto, fall against or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests and stove oven doors. Televisions placed on top of furniture can tip over and cause a child to suffer traumatic and sometimes fatal injuries.
“Tip-over related deaths continue to be a problem. These tragedies can be prevented by taking precautions,” said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord.
To help prevent tip-over hazards, CPSC recommends the following safety tips below:
- Verify that furniture is stable on its own. For added security, anchor all entertainment units, TV stands, bookcases, shelving and bureaus to the wall or floor using appropriate hardware, such as brackets, screws, or toggles.
- Place televisions on sturdy furniture appropriate for the size of the TV or on a low-rise base.
- Push the TV as far back as possible from the front of its stand.
- Place electrical cords out of a child's reach, and teach children not to play with the cords.
- Remove items from the top of the TV and furniture that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls.
The following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.
Name of Product: Wood Abacus
Units: About 6,000
Distributor: LTD Commodities LLC and ABC Distributing, of Bannockburn, Ill.
Manufacturer: Taizhou Orient Toys Co. Ltd., of Shanghai, China
Hazard: The wooden rods on the abacus can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.
Incidents/Injuries: LTD Commodities has received four reports of small parts detaching from the wood abacus. No injuries have been reported.
Description: The recalled wood abacus is a multi-sided activity center that has a chalkboard, movable block letters with pictures, sliding shapes, a fun maze with gears, and a blue and yellow clock on the side of the activity center with two pink moving hands. Product code E7A is printed on the packaging near the UPC bar code.
Sold by: LTD Commodities and ABC Distributing catalogs nationwide and Web site from December 2006 through February 2008 for about $12.
Manufactured in: China
Remedy: Consumers should take the abacus away from children immediately and contact LTD Commodities for instructions on receiving a product credit.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact LTD Commodities toll-free at (866) 736-3654 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.ltdcommodities.com or www.abcdistributing.com