Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 08-11-2014 to 08-17-2014

twitter thumbWelcome 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 and Facebook 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 not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Leaving Your Kids Alone with “Google”
DYK “porn” is the 4th most popular search term for kids age 7 and under

Have a Slacker Kid? Try These Procrastination Cures

Parenting tips I shared on TODAY for kids who procrastinate, dawdle, cut corners or just take the easy way. It’s the makeover no parent should put off!

Sound like your kid?

cure-kid-procrastinating“I don’t care! I quit – this is too hard.” “Why don’t YOU do it?”

Is his backpack a disaster, homework always a battle and everything seems to be put off until the last nano-second (“I’ll do it… just give me a minute!”)?

Do you feel like your kid’s personal organizer (“TODAY is the spelling test!”) and Big Ben (“the bus is coming in minute!”)

Does her teacher tell you: “I just know she could do better if she’d just apply herself”?

If so chances are you have a little slacker in your home, and can they be frustrating. They dawdle, put things off until the last minute, are unorganized, have poor time management skills and cut corners.


Though slackers usually have fewer ulcers and are a bit more laid back, there are clear disadvantages for kids who adopt “taking the easy way is the best way” as a life attitude.

~ Relationship and reputation downer: Siblings, friends, teammates and parents get tired of always having to be this kid’s reminder.

~ Achievement derailer: Test scores and grades are usually lower because he waits to study or turn tasks in without the effort needed.

~ Success curtailer: Because he doesn’t practice or work as long as needed to experience success he’s shortchanged.

The good news is that there are ways to help kids get more organized and motivated so they are more likely to succeed in school and in life. Here are steps for a successful “Slacker Makeover.” Your first step is to make sure your expectations are in line.


Sure, some kids just want to cut corners, but there may be other reasons for the behavior. Here are common causes of kid slacking that shouldn’t be overlooked.

1. Are expectations for your child appropriate? Could he be slacking because that violin class is over his head? Or that math class is way too easy? Meet with adult in charge to ensure expectations are realistic; alter classes and your expectations to align with your child’s actual capabilities. Expectations that boost motivation should stretch but not snap a child’s abilities. Too high of expectations cause anxiety; too low cause boredom.

2. Does your child have trouble focusing or have a problem learning that is causing him undue frustration? Discuss achievement scores and class performance with his teacher; ask for evaluation or arrange extra tutoring if needed.

3. Could your child be mimicking another family member or your slacking ways? Tune up your behavior so you model the joy of work and ensure your child has examples of those who give “their all” instead of cutting corners.

4. Is there too much going on so your child doesn’t have time or stamina to work hard? Reduce stress that you can; make time in your child’s schedule so he can focus and work harder.


Dawdling and cutting corners is usually not a phase that goes away, but becomes an even more entrenched, harder to fix habit. Here are the top slacker excuses. Identify those that apply to your child and the slacker-curbing strategy. Every strategy takes consistency and commitment, so don’t procrastinate or give up!

Slacker Excuse 1: “I can’t find my homework!”

Slacker kids are often disorganized, so they take up more time trying to locate everything that could be used studying. Homework assignments are commonly misplaced or not turned in. Solutions:

Use concrete organizers to remedy! Put a hook or box by the front door with two heavy-duty folders on the wall. Label one “To do” and the other “Done.” Teach the child to open the backpack the second she comes home, take out her homework assignments and put into “To do” folder, then hang backpack on the hook or in box.

Put away ASAP! When homework is done it goes into the backpack “Done” folder (for you to check-slackers often don’t do their “best” work – so check effort). The child then grabs “done work” and puts it into his backpack.

The practice must become a routine (practice, practice, practice) until you no longer need to be your child’s reminder.

Slacker Excuse 2: “I forgot!” “You didn’t tell me.”

Poor organizational skills are common with procrastinators who haven’t formed a habit of writing things down. so they take extra time to find out what they were supposed to do, forget sports gear, or rely on others to remind them. Solutions:

Homework Desk2Hang a white board with days of week in a central location. Teach your child to write or draw reoccurring assignments on appropriate day (Mon: soccer; Tues: spelling test; adding new tasks (field trip on Thurs) as needed. Refer child to organizer daily “What do you need to do?” until your child gets in the habit.

Use a date book or organizer. Older kids can transfer tasks into small date book with a page for each school day and store in the backpack and use alarm feature on cell phone or computer as chime reminder

Slacker Excuse 3: “I don’t know what to do first!”

Procrastinators often put off because they are overwhelmed with a project or “so many” assignments they don’t know how to get started. Teaching them how to prioritize tasks can get them started and stop postponing. Try these solutions:

Prioritize tasks: Help your child to break down a big project, report or nightly assignment into smaller tasks. Ask “What are things you need to do?” Then the child write or draw each task on Post-it notes, and then stacks them in order from the first to last thing to do As each task is completed, child rips up each Post-it until all completed. She can later learn to make checklists and cross off, but the long list can seem daunting to a procrastinator.

Set work rules! Kids who always put things off need clear work standards because they lack internal self-motivation. So establish “first things first” house rules and then reinforce consistently.“Work first, then play.” “Homework then TV.”

Slacker Excuse 4: “It’s too hard!”

Some kids are overwhelmed with tasks because it seems if never will never be able to complete them. Slackers often have difficulty sticking to a task and so they just give up or put it off. Solutions:

“Chunk” the task into more manageable pieces. Divide your child’s homework into smaller pieces and tell him to do “one chunk at a time.” Increase the size of each chunk after your child has completed a few assignments successfully. Gradually the child will learn to chunk any task into smaller more manageable parts.

“Do the hardest thing first.” The child will have more energy because it’s the first task, and once it’s done he can start on easier tasks.

Beware of rewards. Procrastinators start relying on those rewards so wean your kid from them. Instead, start reinforcing your kid’s productivity, initiative, and effort. Using the right praise that stretches effort and hard work actually stretches persistence.

Don’t rescue! Slackers often expect rescue, and so they don’t give their all knowing that someone (aka “you”) will bail them out. If you really want your child to learn how to be a self-starter and not slack off, then stop being her personal assistant. Change your role from “doer” to “guider” and start weaning “ I’ll to watch you do the first row, you do the second solo.”

Slacker Excuse 5: “I worked long enough!”

Slackers often cut corners or don’t hang into a task long enough often due to poor internal sense of time. So they think they worked longer than they did. Solutions:

kitchen-timer-330Use timing devices. Agree on set work time and post to minimize excuses: “Read 30 minutes each night.” Then provide a timing device to help child become own timekeeper: sand-timer, oven timer; Older child: a stopwatch, cell phone alarm. You’ll nag less and the timer will remind the child how much he needs to work.

Play “beat the clock.” If you need your dawdler to do something in a hurry, turn your directions into a time game. Challenge your child: “Let’s see how quickly you can finish that paper. Set the clock and Go!” Slowly reverse the role: “Did you challenge yourself to see how many problems you can finish in 30 minutes?”

Changing a slacker’s ways will take commitment so stick with it. Your goal is to gradually wean him from his old ways of putting things off and cutting corners.


Borba - book cover -parentingsolutions140x180Dr Borba’s book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research. The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is available at

What is a Fever (or High Temperature) in Children?

Sick day TLCAs a general rule, a temperature of over 37.5C (99.5F) is classified as a fever.

You can use a thermometer to find out if your child has a fever. For more information, see How do I take someone’s temperature?

Causes of fever

Most fevers are caused by an infection or another illness.

Fever helps your body fight infections by stimulating the body’s natural defences. By increasing the body’s temperature, a fever makes it harder for the bacteria and viruses that cause infections to survive.

There are many conditions that can cause fever. Most fevers are cause by a viral illness that will get better by itself without any specific treatment. Occasionally a fever may be caused by more serious infection, such as pneumonia or meningitis.

Don’t try to reduce your child’s fever by over or under dressing them, or sponging them with water. You can use paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat any distress or discomfort caused by the fever and being unwell. Read more information about treating a high temperature and giving your child paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Getting help

If you’re worried about your child, trust your instincts. Speak to your doctor or your child’s pediatrician.

If your doctor’s office is closed, contact their out-of-hours service. You will be informed about how to do this when you ring their phone line. If you’re still concerned, or if your doctor or out-of-hours provider isn’t available, take your child to the nearest hospital’s accident and emergency department (A&E or E.R).

Symptoms of serious illness

Symptoms that may be a sign of a more serious illness include:

  • being unusually sleepy
  • poor feeding
  • having a non-blanching rash (a rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is pressed firmly against the skin; this is known as the glass test)
  • a continuous or high-pitched cry
  • For more signs of serious illness and advice on when to call an ambulance for your child, see Recognising signs of serious illness.

Febrile seizures

Febrile seizures (or fits) sometimes happen in children who have a high temperature, but are a rare occurrence. Read more about febrile seizures.

Read the answers to more questions about children’s health.

Further information:

NHS Choices logo


Who is The REAL Lifeguard at Your Kid’s Pool This Summer??

Editor’s Note: It is a very common belief that lifeguards are the first line of drowning defense for children. But parents really own this job. This post from Rebecca Wear Robinson, first published in April, 2013, explains why. In honor of our 5 Year Bloggiversary, we are publishing 5 of our favorite posts – one from each year since the day we started. This is our fourth “look back” post. We are proud to have Rebecca as a member of our PedSafe Expert Team, and hope you enjoy the opportunity to read or revisit this important post.


View of pool through flotation tubeI was doing the usual mom chit-chat at Scouts while my son worked towards his water safety badge and fielded the inevitable question from the Scout leader, ‘what do you do?’. My answer, “I’m a global activist working to end child drowning. One child drowns every minute.” And then came the typical response, “Wow, I didn’t know it was such an issue, but it is certainly needed, the lifeguards need to do a much better job.” She then related a story about how she and her husband were at a pool with their baby and 3-year old son. She was sitting at the side holding the baby, her husband was in another area, and the 3-year old suddenly went past his depth and was bobbing up and down under the water, drowning. She screamed for the lifeguard, her husband screamed for the lifeguard but also managed to get to their son before any serious injury occurred. She related the story in harrowing detail and emphasized several times how the lifeguard had clearly not been doing his job well since her son had almost drowned in a crowded pool, so she understood why drowning is such a problem.

What is your initial reaction? Quite possibly the same as hers, the fault was with the lifeguard. If he had been paying attention her son never would have almost drowned. It’s an incredibly common belief, but the reality is quite different. These are excellent, diligent and concerned parents, and they believe, just as most people believe, that if you go to a pool or beach with a lifeguard on duty, you and your children will be safe. Yes, that’s true, if you swim in an area with a lifeguard, your chance of drowning is reduced to 1 in 18 million. Those are very good odds, even better when you consider that 75% of open water drownings occur when a lifeguard is not present. There are no two ways about it: if you swim in an area with a lifeguard, you are much safer, but it’s not just the lifeguard’s job to keep you safe. I do place the blame for that misconception squarely on the shoulders of those of us in the drowning prevention field. We haven’t explained what the true role of a lifeguard is, so let me start now to change how we view lifeguards.

When it comes to water and children, especially young children or non-swimmers, you, the parent, are the first lifeguard on duty. You need to be touch distance from your young or non-swimmer, meaning you can reach out and grab them at any time. Why?

First, a child can drown in 2 minutes in 2 inches of water. Even the best lifeguard, diligently scanning a crowded pool can miss seeing a small child under water, especially if the sun is glinting off the water or there are many people in the pool obscuring visibility under the surface. Plus, most people don’t even recognize someone is drowning since it’s not like in the movies. There is no flailing of arms or screaming. Click here to see what it really looks like – and don’t worry, the boy is rescued.

Second, you don’t want your child to be in a situation where they need to be rescued. You know how hard it can be to spot a small child in a crowded place. Even the fastest lifeguard will take precious seconds to spot the danger and make their way to the victim, and that can be a really frightening few seconds for a child.

Lifeguards are like police and firemen. Their job is to prevent accidents by watching for dangerous behavior and educating the public, and to perform rescues when things do go wrong….but it’s not their job to babysit or watch just one child, much less the 100 children in the water on a busy summer afternoon. Think about it, you don’t let your 3-year old walk 3 blocks to preschool just because your town has police whose job is to keep people safe, do you? The good news is that having a lifeguard on duty is like having a firefighter stand in your front yard just in case a fire breaks out. 95% of a lifeguard’s job is preventing an accident in the first place and only 5% is actually rescuing someone in distress. With you on guard, hopefully it won’t ever be your child in distress.

Now that you’re thinking, ‘great, so much for relaxing at the pool this summer’, I have some very good news. Taking a baby or young child to the pool is better than having a personal trainer and Weight Watchers combined, if you take advantage of the time in the pool with them. Trust me, I worked off two pregnancies swirling my children around in the water. I hope you’ll also check out my tried-and-true ‘fun for kids, great easy workout for mom’ plan!

Pediatric Safety Announcement: Welcome NHS Choices!!

NHS Choices logoNHS Choices is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your family’s healthcare.

NHS Choices includes more than 20,000 regularly updated articles. Top doctors and health professionals share their knowledge and advice on topics ranging from “children’s sleep” to “learning disabilities”, from “bullying” to “colds and flu”. They provide parents and other caregivers with practical answers to common children’s-health questions on subjects such as food and diet, dental health, sexual health and much more.

NHS Choices is certified by the Information Standard as a producer of reliable health and social care information.

We at Pediatric Safety are honored to be able to share this wonderful information with our readers.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 08-04-2014 to 08-10-2014

twitter thumbWelcome 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 and Facebook 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 not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 10 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Harvard Graduate School of Education releases study on teens and digital stress Worth Reading!