Child Health & Safety News 10/29: US Childcare Nearing $10k/Yr

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Google Is Teaching Children How to Act Online. Is It the Best Role Model?

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.

  • Establish Rules That Will Help Your Child Become a Responsible Adult 2018-10-28
  • Parents learning SIDS prevention for free thanks to Central Texas EMS agencies 2018-10-28
  • Air pollution is the ‘new tobacco’, warns WHO head. And children and babies developing bodies are at greatest risk. 2018-10-27
  • Halloween costume tips to keep kids safe from the American Academy of Pediatrics 2018-10-27
  • Study sheds light on sextortion, fastest-growing form of teen cyberbullying – The Daily Cardinal 2018-10-27
  • First study of its kind identifies differences in pediatric mortality after motor vehicle collisions The goal: to determine if changes to medical services can impact outcomes 2018-10-26
  • Adenovirus Outbreak Leaves 6 Children Dead at N.J. Pediatric Center 2018-10-26

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week
Child-care costs in America are getting close to $10,000 per year

  • Check out our latest issue of our Kids Who Care newsletter, “Compassion Through Creativity”… (via @revue) 2018-10-26
  • Why Your Kid’s Daydreaming is Not All Bad 2018-10-25
  • Kids don’t need a cellphone; they need a digital diet! A media diet is just like a regular diet. If you’re not consistent in the first few weeks and months, you will fail 2018-10-25
  • How to Talk to Your Kids About…Difficult Subjects – Thurs Time Capsule 10/12 2018-10-25
  • 4 Things Your Toddler Should be Learning at Daycare 2018-10-24
  • It’s Not Always Postpartum: The Truth About Prenatal Depression 2018-10-24
  • Halloween oral health tips 2018-10-24
  • Goosebumps 2: is Sensory Friendly Twice at AMC (10/13 & 10/27) 2018-10-24
  • Pediatric research: Scientists developing probiotic biofilms to help smallest preemies 2018-10-23
  • Don’t ignore incest: advice from an incest survivor 2018-10-23
  • Study says working on your ‘dad bod’ before fatherhood can help your future kids’ health 2018-10-23
  • The Techniques of a Predator Part 1: Trust and Romance 2018-10-22

Uncommon Halloween Safety Tips: What EMS Wants You to Know

Little TigerHalloween time is an exciting time for parents and kids. Halloween means parents and children decorating houses and lawns, picking out costumes and planning the inevitable trick or treating. Halloween time and specifically Halloween night is an exciting time for EMS and hospitals …but not in a good way. Exciting to us means BUSY and there are things that we bring into the ER every year that makes us and the ER staff members shake our heads …things that hopefully – with these safety tips – parents will now think twice about.

  1. Candy and food allergies: We all know we should check the candy our kids get and make sure it looks safe, but did you know you should also check for contents that could cause allergic reactions. Many candies have nuts and they get missed.
  2. Costumes and face paint irritants. Face paint is great and looks cool but the time to test it is not on Halloween night when it’s dark and you can’t see any reactions like a rash or breathing problems caused by full costume. Colored contact lenses should be added to this list. Kids like to wear them with costumes and if doing so should be made aware of what to watch for like irritations and damage to their eyes and taught how to put them on and take them out properly.
  3. Real Props. Cuts, pokes, scrapes and real trauma from kids and adults using REAL PROPS. Using a plastic knife or pitchfork is ok. Using real knives and pitchforks should not happen at all but especially around children. A no brainer…but it happens.
  4. Letting kids wander alone. Letting your child wonder alone is your choice, all I can add to this is please think about who is going to speak for your child in the ER if YOU are not around.
  5. Broken Bones. Kids should have costumes they can move in and enjoy themselves in. If your child cannot walk correctly or has trouble with then it should be changed so as to avoid trip, falls and possible broken bones.
  6. Carving Pumpkins. Many children end up in the ER every year with serious cuts from carving pumpkins with sharp objects that are not meant for carving or were left unattended. Make sure kids are supervised and tools put away.
  7. Using Real Candles in Decorations. Real candles add a certain effect to the decoration but also bring a danger of surrounding objects catching fire if decorations are bumped or knocked over or left unattended. There are many brands of colored lights that can be put in decorations that bring a great effect and pose no threat to any one or home.
  8. Hayrides. Every child loves a hayride and they are great but like any ride and everyone should be secure, not just children. Injuries are mostly from falls and can be serious. Security, proper seating and slow speed should be requirements.
  9. Home Decorations. Decorating your home for Halloween can involve dark or no lighting and lawn inflatables. A dark home with ropes all over the place securing decorations do not mix well with trick or treaters that will trip and fall and possible injure themselves. There is nothing wrong with decorations, just try to make sure you don’t create a hazard at the same time.

All of the things outlined above can be avoided with planning and supervision. However, all of the things above become more possible when drinking and alcohol are involved. AAA and State Farm consider Halloween night one of the biggest drinking nights of the year and the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians with the rate of pedestrians struck by cars doubling. So please be careful and have fun!


How to Talk to Your Kids About…Difficult Subjects

As parents, we will have numerous opportunities to talk to our children about tough subjects. Topics like death, drugs, bullying and sex…it can be intimidating to know how to engage in these types of conversations.

To make it even more challenging – talking to your children about drugs is a very different conversation than talking to your kids about death. That’s why we created the “How to talk to your kids” series – to give you the advice and tools you need as a parent to handle each subject – no matter how tricky (or uncomfortable) it gets.

On a positive note, although each situation will be different, there are some key points to remember that we can use with our children to help any and all tough conversations run more smoothly.
  • Start the Conversation-Early: Naturally, we want to put off the “tough topics” until we have to. But instead of waiting for these tough topics to find you and your family, start early and talk to your children first. For example, instead of waiting for your child to tell you they have been approached by a stranger, reference the “How to talk to your kids about strangers” post and prepare them first, so they know what to say and how to handle the situation long before it happens.
  • Create an open environment: Provide opportunities for your children to talk about how they feel, what they are worried about, what they are hearing and seeing at school and through the media. We do this by not judging, not over-scheduling our children (so we have time to be with them), and being available at the crossroads to listen. Spend one-on-one time together and build trust.
  • Listen to your child: Determine when your children like to talk. Maybe it is right after school, or at night before bed. Be available during those times. Then let go of your own agenda and really hear your child. Don’t just listen so you can talk. Get to their level, look them in the eyes, and talk less than they do. Don’t ever shut them down and remember that you don’t have to comment on everything.
  • Be honest: Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers to their questions. Be honest and tell the truth. We see this a lot with the topic of death. Parents don’t know how to talk to their children, so they might say “grandma is just sleeping.” This just causes more stress and confusion and now you have to answer more hard questions, like “when is grandma going to wake up?” (Keep reading the “How to talk to your kids” series to learn more tips on how to handle specific conversations such as death, sex, drugs, and even what to do when mommy is sick).
  • Be patient: Tough conversations take time. Don’t worry about saying it all the first time you converse. Listen more than you talk, and be patient and hear the entire conversation.
  • Stay on their level: Answer your children’s questions on a level that they can understand. Simple words and explanations work best. Keep the facts appropriate for their age and don’t include more facts than necessary.
  • Use everyday opportunities to talk: Did you just watch a movie where a child was bullied? Use it as a lead-in, to a conversation about bullying. Keep your eyes and ears open for the opportunities that present themselves everyday. They can be natural “openers” for the tough topics. Dr Michele Borba, recognized expert in parenting, bullying, youth violence, and character development, offers some wonderful advice to parents on how they can recognize bullying at any age. As she says “the more we know about bullying, the better we will be able to parent our children”
  • Revisit: Talking about the “tough stuff” once is not enough. Revisit the topics and make yourself available when they have questions they want to revisit.

As parents, if we want to successfully talk to our kids about tough topics, we have to first develop a trusting and comfortable relationship with them. The above 8 suggestions can help us set the stage to better prepare them, and you, for the tough conversations and situations to come.

Child Health & Safety News 10/22: Polio-like Illness Paralyzing Kids

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Therapy Dogs May Help Kids With ADHD, Study Suggests

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.

  • Safe Kids – Halloween Safety 2018-10-21
  • Avoid Making Discipline Mistakes That Make Behavior Problems Worse 2018-10-21
  • In Syria, A School Helps Children Traumatized By War – Budget cuts mean funds will dry up in January 2018-10-21
  • The Problem With the ‘Gifted’ Child Diagnosis 2018-10-21
  • Water wars: The ‘cult-like’ efforts to get fluoride out of America’s drinking supply 2018-10-19

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week
‘Polio-like’ illness paralyzing children remains ‘mystery’ to health officials as CDC
confirms cases in 22 states

  • Number of Children Missing Critical Vaccines Continues to Rise First case of flu-related pediatric death in unvaccinated child comes as CDC issues reports on overall vaccination coverage 2018-10-19
  • How Can a Cookie Teach My Child to be Calm? 2018-10-19
  • Electric cars let kids drive themselves from the ward to the operating theater to make surgery less scary 2018-10-18
  • Should Kids “Motor Mouth”? (do they need an electric toothbrush?) Thurs Time Capsule 10/12 2018-10-18
  • Webinar: Are You Concerned About Your Child’s Irritability? November 7th – hosted by the NIH 2018-10-18
  • 6 Simple Ways to Ease Children’s Fears at the Doctor 2018-10-17
  • Caring for child refugees: 4 things you need to know 2018-10-17
  • Sidelined children’s health official says EPA inaction means “kids are disposable” 2018-10-16
  • England falling behind peers on child health – 2018-10-15
  • A Family Home Fire Drill is For ALL Ages 2018-10-15
  • What to Do if Your Child Is Scared of Halloween 2018-10-15
  • Collaborative aims to accelerate immunotherapy development for pediatric cancers 2018-10-15
  • When Should I Get My Child a Dog…and What Should We Get?? With updated recommendations from our Kids & Canines Expert… 2018-10-15

Pediatric Safety Announcement: Welcome Joe Yeager!

Please join us in welcoming our new Cybersafety Expert Joe Yeager to the PedSafe Expert Team!





The Techniques of a Predator: Part I – Trust and Romance

Potentially, the most dangerous risk associated by minors going online is the risk of being groomed or attacked by a sexual predator. Online predators are very well-versed at knowing what to say in order to get what they want from their targets. They approach minors on frequently used apps, often pretending to be a minor themselves. They also find them while using popular online games, including Roblox, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and others.

“It’s an unfortunate fact of life that pedophiles are everywhere online,” warns FBI Special Agent Greg Wing, who supervises a cyber squad from the Bureau’s Chicago field office. Special Agent Wesley Tagtmeyer, who also works out of the Chicago office in undercover operations, states that in his experience, about 70 percent of kids will accept “friend” requests regardless of whether they know the requester.

Examples of interactions with online predators:

In one of the best known cases of online predators, Amanda Todd, a 15 year old girl from British Columbia, Canada, was targeted by a man in the Netherlands. As this video explains, the man who came after her knew exactly what young Amanda wanted to see and hear and he gave it to her. The result was the suicide of a young woman who was taken from us far too soon.

His arrest in this case showed that he was similarly attacking at least 39 victims. In some cases, predators do more than engage with their targets online. Apps like Whisper or Tinder include geographic features designed to let people find others nearby to attempt meeting them in person. While some consenting adults might choose to use this for casual sex, predators use them to find nearby victims.

In suburban Philadelphia earlier this year, a man started talking with a 14 year old girl on Whisper. She mentioned that she was depressed and had been fighting with her mother. He convinced her to give him her address so that they could watch a movie together because in her words, he seemed “nice”. Police reports indicate that he arrived within five minutes, took the girl into her bedroom and raped her, leaving immediately after.

The basics:

Many online predators are very patient and will stalk prey the way a lion goes after a gazelle, going after the young and possibly (emotionally) vulnerable.

There are several techniques that predators use to get images or videos from their targets. In many cases, they entice the minor to send the images and parents would be surprised to find out how often the juvenile sends the requested pictures, without realizing the risks involved. In other cases or if enticing doesn’t work, the predator simply demands/threatens the child to get what they want.

In the case of Amanda, her attacker befriended her at the beginning. In the case of a family I know personally, her attacker took the opposite approach and almost immediately threatened to attack her family if she did not send him naked pictures. Worried for her family’s safety, she complied.

In part one of this two part series, we will focus on how online predators coerce their prey through trust and romance and what we, as parents, can do to make these tactics less effective. In part two we will go on to discuss how when these appeals fail, predators will often shift to bribery or even threats.


Predators know that it will take time to earn someone’s trust. They create an elaborate online presence, often using multiple accounts. These accounts often interact with each other to create the appearance of a genuine person who has been online for a long time.

Often, predators find a boy or girl who may not be popular or socially adept and treat them very well. The predator takes time to develop a trusted bond with their victim. They ask for a very safe picture, such as headshot. They compliment them and tell them how pretty or handsome they look.

They ask what kinds of music or books they like. Remarkably, they say that they like the exact same things, creating a bond that the victim sees as finding someone who finally “gets” them. Eventually, they ask for racier pictures until they finally get what they want. This technique can often lead to threats to get more pictures or videos if they stop sending the images, a routine known as sextortion.


Similar to the trust process, the parties may actually be involved in an actual relationship, either in person or just online. Eventually, trust is earned and perhaps it exists both ways, but if/when the relationship ends, the problems can begin in the form of Revenge Porn, the distribution of intimate images from former lovers to embarrass or otherwise cause them harm.

In some cases, the person who wants the other person to send racy pics will start simply by asking for a fairly tame picture, such as picture of a girl wearing a bikini or in her underwear. While both essentially show the same amount of skin, there is a stigma often associated with the later. Either way, such pics often involve a pose that might be embarrassing if seen by the general public, family members, teachers, etc.

One middle school guidance counselor in my county explained that what she often hears from students who send such pictures is, “If I say no, they may not like me.”

If even racier pictures are requested and denied by the other person, predators might say something like, “You’d send it if you really loved me,” or “I just want something to look at when you’re not with me.” This approach can be very effective to someone who is in a relationship and doesn’t want this issue to cause a problem &/or end the relationship.

Preventing the Trust or Romance Approaches from Working

Schools focus on the hard skills: reading, writing, etc. While some teachers may put emphasis on soft skills, it is often left to the parents to encourage these skills. These skills are now collectively referred to as emotional intelligence. In his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, Dr. John Gottman does an excellent job at not only helping parents raise emotionally intelligent children, he specifically discusses how marriage, divorce and death can impact children. Traumatic events such as those often leave children vulnerable to outside influences, including online predators.

The best thing that parents can do to help prevent these approaches from working on their children is to promote your child’s self-esteem.

This will make the predators less likely to be able to trick them into believing that they are really their friends.

But it doesn’t stop there. Nobody should ever send intimate pictures to anyone. Even assuming that the recipient would never use them against the person, devices do get hacked or stolen. Imagine the trauma when a romantic rival of your child finds the opportunity to “borrow” your child’s phone and sends images from the phone to others? It’s just not worth the risk – ever!

In part two of this discussion, additional techniques used by predators will be explained. Also included will be shocking news from a new study on sextortion, conducted by the co-founders of the Cyberbullying Research Center, so keep an eye out for it.