Child Health & Safety News 9/24: France’s School Smartphone Ban

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: It’s Absolutely Not Safe To Let Your Baby Sleep In A Car Seat After the Ride is Over– Here’s Why

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 social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15 events & stories.

  • International medical graduates embrace care of underserved U.S. kids 2018-9-23
  • How household cleaners could be impacting your child’s health 2018-9-23
  • Trump admin moves $260M from cancer research, HIV/AIDS programs to cover custody of immigrant children costs 2018-9-22
  • 10 things a pediatric oncologist wants you to know 2018-9-21
  • 7 Ways to Curb Obnoxious Behavior Fast 2018-9-21

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week
France Bans Smartphones in Schools Through 9th Grade. Will It Help Students?

  • Safe Kids 2018 Ultimate Car Seat Guide 2018-9-21
  • Stop, Look & Paws: Fantastic New Innovation That Teaches Kids How to Be Safe Around Dogs 2018-9-21
  • Excess Weight Gain or Loss During Pregnancy Tied to Child’s Heart Health – The New York Times 2018-9-21
  • ‘Clear and present danger to child’: Pediatricians urge parents not to buy baby walkers 2018-9-20
  • 5 Things Not to Say to Your Tween Daughter – Thurs Time Capsule – 09/11 2018-9-20
  • The New, Improved World of Infant Care high tech advances that are helping to avoid a range of illnesses by early detection and prevention 2018-9-18
  • New Guidance for Pediatricians for Care of Transgender Children, Teenagers 2018-9-18
  • Few teens with chronic health problems have plans to take charge of their own care and transition to seeing doctors who treat adults 2018-9-18
  • New Pediatric Online Community for Parents of Children with Kidney Disease 2018-9-17
  • How to Make Back to School Feel Safe? a Pediatrician Perspective 2018-9-17
  • Reward Systems Can Motivate Kids to Change These Behaviors Fast 2018-9-17

Best Dental Hygiene For Your Child, From Baby to Teenager

A smile is important at every age, but especially for children. The health of a child’s smile today can affect his or her oral health decades down the road.

Here are a few important things that your dentist wants you to know in regard to helping children of all ages have healthy teeth for life.


Pediatricians and pediatric dentists recommend scheduling your baby’s first dental visit by age 1, or when the first teeth erupt. Before your baby gets teeth, clean his or her gums with a soft damp washcloth after every feeding.

Once teeth start to erupt, use a small toothbrush to clean your child’s teeth with tap water or a rice-sized smear of fluoridated toothpaste (recent ADA recommendations have change from introducing fluoride toothpaste at a later age, to a much younger one).


Until your child can tie his or her own shoes, he or she needs your help brushing his or her teeth. While it’s fine to encourage independent tooth brushing, be sure to go back behind your child to get a “good” clean in at least twice daily.

Start to watch for teeth touching side-by-side. If they do, use a handheld floss pick to clean these areas, too.

School Age Children

By now, your child is likely brushing his or her own teeth and starting to learn how to floss. Adult molars will be erupting somewhere around the age of 6 (first set) and 12 (second set). Boys tend to get theirs around the same time or slightly later. When they do, talk to your dentist about getting protective sealants to prevent cavities before they start.


The day finally arrives when your child has a full set of permanent (adult) teeth. Encourage daily flossing, since these teeth will be with him or her for life.

During dental appointments, have your dentist evaluate your teen’s bite for possible orthodontic needs along with developing wisdom teeth. Because your teen’s oral anatomy is still developing, it’s the best time to intercept any orthognathic (skeletal) needs. By the time your teen reaches 18 or early-college age, his or her oral anatomy will be nearly completely formed.

Schedule a Dental Checkup Twice a Year

Be sure to take your child for a dental checkup and cleaning every six months. These regular visits allow your dentist to screen for common issues that can leave a lasting impact on your child’s smile. With great preventative care and oral hygiene starting at a young age, your child can enjoy a confident smile that lasts for years to come.

Stop, Look & Paws: Teaching Kids How to Be Safe Around Dogs

We’ve all seen or heard about horrific instances of dog bites to children. I think most of us believe it will never happen to us. Until I became a dog trainer and was doing research on children and dogs, I didn’t realize the alarming statistics of dog bites to children.

According to the CDC and Humane Society of the United States:

  • Annually there are 4.5 million dogs bites in the U.S., with over half to children
  • 77% of the bites are from dogs that are familiar to the child
  • Children ages 5-9 have the highest rate of dog bites

In my role as a dog trainer, I work with families that have children and dogs. When I meet with families, I often discover they are unaware of the potential risks when interacting with dogs, and, what dogs are trying to communicate. Specifically, almost without exception, the children really had no idea how to read their dog’s body language or the situations in which the dogs were engaged. Depending on the child’s interpretation of the dog’s actions, they could easily put themselves in harm’s way. For example, let’s say a child sees a dog, and assumes that the dog looks “lonely”. Many times people confuse cautiousness/fear with loneliness. If the child tries to approach and pet the dog to comfort her, the dog may react with a nip to communicate “stay away.” This is especially true when a dog is hiding under an object or piece of furniture.

To fill this critical gap, I searched for tools and activities that would help teach children about dog body language and safety. As a former elementary school teacher, I knew the best way to help children learn is to use an interactive activity that is fun and simple to use. Unfortunately, after months of looking, I couldn’t find anything that had these elements for learning. So, I decided to create my own learning activity called Stop, Look & Paws.

Stop, Look & Paws is a dog safety activity that children play by sorting stickers. Children look at images of dog stickers which either show a common situation (e.g., eating from a dog bowl), or exhibiting specific body language (e.g., tail tucked down between legs). The goal is to ask children to sort the stickers onto an activity board into either the “safe to pet” or “not safe to pet” categories. Children love the hands on part and stickers. A “Dog Sticker Guide” is included to assist parents with background knowledge on each dog sticker. There is productive dialogue between the child and adult while playing the activity. This allows for understanding why the child chose the category they did, and how to correct their decision if needed. Given the stickers are reusable, they can change their mind, and play the game more than once to benefit from repetitive learning.

Since 2017, when Stop, Look & Paws was introduced to the public, hundreds of parents have used this with overwhelmingly positive feedback. In addition, veterinarians and educators have been extremely supportive of Stop, Look & Paws™ to effectively teach dog safety to children between the ages of 4 – 10. While each comment I receive is slightly different, the message is the same: If kids can have fun while learning the all-important lessons about dog behavior and safety, there is a better chance of preventing future dog bites.

My hope is that families use Stop, Look & Paws to educate their children before a dog bite occurs. Help your child understand that every dog is unique, and that it’s best to be thoughtful when interacting with them. I believe it’s very important to begin reducing the 4.7 million dog bites that happen each year.


Educate yourself about dog body language and how dogs communicate so you can share this information with your child.

Here are the Top 6 Dog Safety Tips that every child should know:

  1. Ask permission of the owner before petting a dog, and pet calmly. Model this for your child.
  2. Try the 3 second rule. If you pet a dog, stop after 3 seconds and pull your hand away. If the dog then moves closer to you, you can continue to pet!
  3. Don’t approach an unfamiliar dog.
  4. No hugging. Hugging is a sign of love in the human world, but not in the dog world.
  5. Don’t pursue a dog that is trying to move away.
  6. If a dog is pursuing your child, have your child stand still, tuck their arms and hands and look away until the dog moves away. Then they can walk away slowly.

Child Health & Safety News 9/17: 8 Easy-To-Miss Car Seat Hazards

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Horrific New Playground ‘Stunt’ – Roundabout of Death – Left 11 Year Old Boy with Serious Head Injuries

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 social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 20 events & stories.

  • The Art and Science of Raising a Sensitive Boy (Without Crushing his Spirit) 2018-9-16
  • This One Trick Can Save Parents $2,000 a Year On Day Care parents – check on Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DCFSA)2018-9-16
  • Virtual reality app could lessen anxiety for pediatric patients during MRI 2018-9-16
  • Parents, take note: Kids, teen, college student mental health problems on the rise 2018-9-15
  • Brief psychotherapy benefits women caring for children with severe health issues 2018-9-15

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week
8 Easy-To-Miss Car Seat Hazards That a Child Safety Tech Wants You to Be Aware Of and Keep In Mind

  • This Girl Was Hospitalized After Getting Her Ears Pierced, & Parents Are Freaked 2018-9-15
  • When Parents Are In Jail, Their Kids’ Health Suffers here’s a pilot program to change that 2018-9-15
  • How To Teach Kids Storytelling To Improve Their Friendships 2018-9-14
  • The Problem With Parents and Social Media 2018-9-13
  • But Mom, what if it’s not just a sprain? Thurs Time Capsule 09/11 2018-9-13
  • There’s A Reason Babies Stop Crying When You Stand Up there is a science behind this 2018-9-12
  • How To Prepare When You Are Expecting Healthy Twins 2018-9-12
  • EMS Providers Recall 9/11 A day of remembrance and gratitude. We honor those who bravely gave their lives coming to rescue all who had fallen. 2018-9-11
  • Do your children know what you do? Eat dinner together and tell them. 2018-9-11
  • Parenting Tips for Raising Happy, Healthy Preschoolers 2018-9-11
  • American Academy of Pediatrics: Children 6 years and older should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Active play is the best exercise for younger children. Learn more here: 2018-9-10
  • Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences (2018) | Common Sense Media 2018-9-10
  • The nation’s ‘first safety-demonstration home’ will break ground in KC 2018-9-10
  • How to Keep Kids From Getting Bit Helping with Dog Training 2018-9-10

How to Make Back to School Feel Safe? a Pediatrician Perspective

It is certainly understandable, given the amount of press and official and unofficial commentary through law enforcement, social media discussions, and easily seen news programs, that fear should arise in the minds of both children attending school and parents of those children about their safety in what has traditionally been a bastion of safety, their schools.

This publicly available information, easily seen by children, has always been centered around the person responsible for the shootings occurring in schools and other public places. The information made available in the news media is repeated ad infinitum after the event occurs and only later is there information about the victims.

This public, news-related, policy needs to be changed to include minimal information, if any, about the perpetrator and immediate coverage about the victims and their families.

The American Academy of Pediatrics refers to the situation surrounding school shootings as “a public health threat to children” and has shared their perspective on the general health of the Pediatric population with such statements as: “We can start by working to advance meaningful legislation that keeps children safe….We also call for stronger background checks, solutions addressing firearm trafficking, and encourage safe firearm storage….children and their families (should) have access to appropriate mental health services.”

As a Pediatrician, I absolutely agree with their statements.

This is an issue that should be taken up by the public as a whole, through local involvement in both federal and local government. This is only one method by which fear is spread. The fact that domestic terrorism has occurred at all promotes the initial terror also seen repeatedly on television and written forms of news media in all its gory details. Your child is exposed to this every couple of months in our society. It’s no wonder there is some fear of the school environment.

To balance my professional opinion with my personal experience, I have three grandchildren who live in Connecticut, not far from Newtown where the Sandy Hook killings took place. I am probably biased, but I consider them to be stable, “normal” children, with good, close ties to their parents compared to the general population.

Although there has been no clinical PTSD, they have certainly become more aware and somewhat fearful of their surroundings. I consider the awareness to be a positive result of this episode, as every person in America has become more aware of their surroundings since 9/11. A fact that has possibly contributed to the absence of further attacks of this magnitude having taken place. They have also become much more tolerant and even thankful for the occasional practice drills in their school.

What can be done to decrease and hopefully eliminate such events and fearsome coverage of those events?

  • The ultimate answer to this is involvement by you and your children in local, civic activities. The Federal government can only do so much and every time it tries there is resistance from many sides. The real power lies in local and state governments who can exert a lot of power if supported by their constituency, something that changed in this respect after 9/11.
  • Get involved. There is much improvement possible at the local and state levels, but it must arise from the grassroots. To start, sale and ownership of assault rifles and large magazines capable of carrying large volumes of ammunition should be limited. There is always pushback on this and officials are slow to act as a result. We must push such acts, as statistics do not necessarily show either side to be correct on this issue.
  • You must answer your children’s questions honestly in an age-appropriate format and up-play the quality and determination of those people in their schools who are there to protect them from harm: from teachers to any law enforcement officers in place. If your child can grasp the concept of statistics, you might point out to them that 56 million students attend US elementary and secondary schools, and only a relative handful (159, less than 3/1000 of one percent) have been affected by such school tragedies, and many of these involved single episodes. Try to relate those numbers to things in their personal lives that at that statistical rate they clearly would not be involved.

  • In the extreme, especially if such events have occurred near to your home and school districts, your child might require a short period of counseling. Although child psychiatry services are not readily available in many smaller communities, a parent can ask his/her Pediatrician, the local medical society or the nearest large children’s medical center for such references.

Understand their fear and as parents there will be no trouble empathizing

The bottom line is, as always, good communication with your children is of paramount importance! Never stop talking to your children, keep all the channels open, and you will be greatly rewarded as your children grow to maturity.

How To Teach Kids Storytelling To Improve Their Friendships

Thinking, speaking or acting impulsively without planning or thinking things out poses social challenges for children. We can help children better manage their impulsive thoughts, words, and actions by using a storytelling activity we call The Thought Bubble Technique. In this visual conversation activity, we help children think, write, draw, and talk about what characters in a story might be thinking, feeling, saying or doing. The Thought Bubble Technique encourages children to use their imaginations while building their thinking skills.

Here is how you do it…

Open a book with vivid imagery such as a Dr. Seuss book. Let your child or student turn the pages until he discovers a page he finds interesting. Tell your child, “We’re going to use our imaginations. We’re going to imagine a thought bubble is over the head of each of the characters on the page. Then we’re going to imagine what they might be thinking.”

By looking at the images on the page ask your child to make up a story about what’s happening on the page. What are the characters thinking? What are the characters saying? What are the characters doing? How are the characters feeling?

Help the child “THINK OUT” how is the thought, feeling or action helpful or not helpful? How might the other characters respond? How can the characters shift their thoughts, words, feeling or actions so that each story has a happier ending?

The key is to use the creative exploration of images to help the child thoughtfully reflect on how words, thoughts, feelings, and actions are prosocial, facilitating relationships or challenging causing others to feel uncomfortable, unhappy or withdrawn. Use your own creative license, adapt the “Cognitive Conversation” with the child to help him or her see things in a new way. Thoughtful exploration leads to the mindful development of new thinking skills.


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