Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 07-23-2012 to 07-29-2012

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 25 news-worthy events.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Safety and etiquette of posting kids’ photos online
…how can we share AND keep our kids safe??

Summer Hazards 2012: Part II – Insects & Spiders & Snakes Oh My!

Summer Hazards Part I focused on counteracting the effects of the sun: remaining well hydrated during the time of the year when fluid loss through activities can cause significant problems and minimizing the potential harm that can be caused by direct exposure to the sun. Part II focuses more on keeping your family healthy and safe this summer from the pests that come around summer – the insects, spiders and snakes – and the problems that often come along for the ride.

Insect bites: Most insect bites are benign unless one is allergic to that particular insect. Unfortunately it is not possible to tell who is allergic prior to the first episode of reaction, however, most reactions are of a minor nature, e.g.: hives, general itchiness and red itchy eyes. These can easily be treated with an antihistamine by mouth such as Benadryl and cold compresses to the skin or the eyes. Of course the more serious reactions (usually due to vespids- bees, wasps and hornets) can be fatal but fortunately, they are rare, and usually do not occur with the first reaction. If you are one of the unfortunate few who are known to have serious reactions you will carry with you medicines that can significantly change the outcome of the reaction, e.g.: epipen or epipen jr. which is a form of epinephrine injected just under the skin for maximum (what can be life-saving) effect.

Other insects known to produce reactions or painful side effects include spiders and small insects such as ants. There are certain species of ants, such as fire ants, that are responsible for a painful bite that usually occurs after someone has stepped on a nest. Cold water or ice on the area along with such antihistamines as Benadryl, will help the stinging sensation. Certain large black ants can also bite but are usually not found in this country.

Only 2 spiders in this country should be avoided: Black widow, notable for an hourglass orange imprint on the abdomen, is responsible for a very painful bite that can cause muscle spasm notably in the abdomen- usually not deadly but very painful. The other spider of note is the brown recluse spider which although looking very benign to the naked eye yields a very painful and tissue destroying toxin that can cause problems over the next several weeks. Ideally, the best treatment is avoidance as is true of everything discussed prior to this point.

Snake bites also tend to occur when a human being inadvertently steps on or disturbs the animal. Although most snake bites are non-venomous in this country all bites can be painful and if you plan to spend any prolonged time outdoors (camping etc.) It would be well worth your while to study up on types of snakes and animals indigenous to the area and be prepared for a plan of action if an incident occurs. In general, an imprint consisting of two rows of teeth are usually from a non-venomous snake while 2 prominent puncture wounds are produced by a fanged snake usually producing a toxin of some kind. These bites tend to be very painful from the onset and only get worse with time. Other side effects can be very nasty and at times life-threatening. This person needs medical attention as promptly as possible.

How to Talk to Your Kids About…Bullying

With a new school year quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to talk to your children about bullying.

All of our children will be faced with confrontation. Whether it is in school, their neighborhood, college, work, even in marriage, as they are older. It is important to prepare them to deal with confrontation now.

  • Start talking to your children when they are young. When appropriate, find ways to bring up the subject of bullying so conversations can ensure.
  • Don’t just talk, listen. Our children will drop little hints when there are bullying problems. We will miss the cues if we don’t actively listen to what they are saying.
  • Role-play with your children. THIS IS A MUST! Give your children different scenarios and teach them how to handle the situations. (“What do you do if someone calls you a name…takes your backpack…etc)”. Answers to these questions are going to be slightly different for each family, depending on how you want to handle things in your own house. There are some things about the answers that will be the same:
  • Responses should be confident, direct, and void of emotion. (Emotion conveys weakness). Children should speak with their bodies as well as their mouths. Shoulders back, standing straight and tall, using a firm voice.
    • Instead of “…that hurts my feelings… the response should be “…knock it off”.
    • Instead of “I don’t like that…the response should be…quit it”
  • So much of successful response to bullying is in the delivery. Practice directness, confidence, and strong body language.
  • Go through each situation and teach them what to say and do. It will empower them, and when they are faced with bullying they wont be as intimidated because they will have had experience and practiced what to do. They will know just how to respond if necessary. This also gives your family the opportunity to teach your morals and values when handling these types of situations.
  • Talk to your children about conflict resolution. Talk to them about managing their anger, communicating, compromise and being patient. This is done through role-play and everyday situations. As conflict happens in your home between siblings, use it to teach. Be sure that as adults, we are being good examples of conflict resolution also.
  • Talk to your children about violence. Fighting is not the answer. Teach your children that it is not okay to fight, UNLESS there is a need to stand up for them selves in self-defense. They should know that if they need to defend themselves because they are being, or going to be physically attacked, then they do. And, that if they do have to fight in self-defense that you will understand and not get mad at them because things turned physical.
  • Talk to your children about empathy. We need to teach our kids to try to understand other’s points of view and to feel compassion towards others. We need to be good examples and demonstrate empathy ourselves.

Research teaches us that helping our children build their self-confidence is one the best defenses against bullying. By talking to our children about conflict and role-playing challenging situations, we can build our children’s self confidence so they feel more prepared when faced with bullying

The Truth About Cyberbullying

Would you know if your kid was being cyber-bullied?

The reality is we may think we know what’s going on when our kids are online, but we don’t always see everything …and unfortunately, in today’s digital society, ignorance can’t be an option. Cyberbullying is dangerous… A child’s life is stressful enough without being told by an anonymous “friend” that they would be better off dead.

It may just be that by being nosy, by asking, by knowing and by interfering when needed, you could just save your child or another child’s life.

So know the facts…get involved…be a parent… and know that YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Why Are There So Many Recalls on Kids’ Products?

I’m checking my email on my iPhone 4S (don’t you love Siri?) and click on “an important message” from Build-A-Bear Workshop. I think it has something to do with my daughter Kate’s online game account. Nope. It says that one of the stuffed animals I bought has been recalled because parts of it present a choking hazard and that I should bring it back to the store for an exchange. I look at the picture, and sure enough, I have seen that bear before … on Kate’s bed.

I’m actually trying to decide whether I should kidnap the bear and return it to the store (will she ever miss it among the pile of other teddies?) when I scroll further down my email. More bad news: Pottery Barn Kids sent me an email about the bed I bought for Kate three years ago. It says several canopies have fallen down on children and urges me to remove it immediately while I wait for replacement parts. What the heck! I think she’ll notice that the top of her bed is missing!

I appreciate getting recall notices. I really do. I don’t want my daughter playing with dangerous toys, sleeping on a hazardous bed or eating contaminated food. But, geez, why couldn’t they get it right the first time? I vent to Nychelle Fleming of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the agency that tracks all the nonfood recalls and advocates for stronger safety standards: “How widespread is the problem?”

Fleming shoots me off a list of the recalls for the last month: rattles (choking hazard), lunchboxes (problems with the cool gel), desk chairs and stools (lead paint), gas grills (fire hazard), even bike helmets (don’t meet standards to prevent injury). In the first three weeks of January, in fact, there were nearly 20 different types of products recalled, representing almost 1/2 million items sold. Honestly, with as much stuff as we have in our house (send me your de-clutter tips!), it’s no wonder I don’t own more recalled items. Fleming actually thinks I might. “Do you check regularly for recalls?” she asks.

I confess; I don’t. I knew about the stuffed bear and the canopy because the companies sent me emails. More and more businesses, she says, retain purchase records and alert consumers to a problem. In addition, Fleming thinks I should also fill out product information cards on items I buy. I often resist doing this — I get plenty of junk mail already — but she says a recent law prevents companies from doing anything else with the info except contacting you if something goes wrong. Of course, she says the CPSC also posts all the recalls on its home page, And for food recalls, you can look at

The CPSC doesn’t think there will be a drop in recalls anytime soon — standards are higher, and reporting of injuries is better than ever — so it’s just something we’ll all have to deal with. Grrr. But at least so far in my experience, companies are trying to make things right. Kate got a cute new bear, and Pottery Barn Kids is sending a repairperson to my house to fix the hardware on the canopy. And with the millions of dollars recalls must be costing big businesses, it’s certainly in their best interest to make their products safer the first time around.


PedSafe Editor’s Note: If you’d like to check if a product you’ve purchased for your child has been recalled, we have a “Recalled Product Search Tool” that we host on our Innovations page that will enable you to search the CPSC database

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 07-16-2012 to 07-22-2012

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 20 news-worthy events.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:

Food Choking Risks in Young Children: What Every Parent Needs to Know