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Happy 15 Year Anniversary Pediatric Safety!

July 17, 2009

Happy Birthday PedSafeCan it possibly be 15 years since Pediatric Safety published its first story? It feels like just yesterday…yet so much has changed since then, and is continuing to change every day.

Back in 2009, our goal was to create a place where everyone who cares about children’s health and safety could get together to stay informed on all the topics that have the potential to affect them and the children in their care. We wanted to make a difference. It didn’t take long to realize that we couldn’t do it on our own.

So we reached out – to parents and doctors and nurses and emergency responders and teachers – to child safety experts around the world – and we asked them for help. And some truly amazing people stepped in to share the journey with us: a pediatrician, a character development and bullying prevention expert, a cybersafety specialist, a family dentist, an EMS safety expert, a child psychologist, a kids and canines specialist, a special needs parenting expert, and a food allergy specialist – all volunteered their time to help make this site a community where you can find answers and hopefully give answers to others when they need them.

We were also fortunate to be offered the opportunity to include NHS Choices articles on Pediatric Safety. NHS Choices is the UK’s biggest, most comprehensive health information website. The articles they have shared with us span the full range of child health and safety issues: from living with disabilities to surviving childhood bullying; from adoption and fostering to puberty and talking about sex; from asthma and allergies to health and fitness.

All told, Pediatric Safety has published almost TWO THOUSAND posts and over TWENTY THOUSAND tweets about child health and safety. And there is more to come, along with some major changes to the site, so please keep coming back and letting us know how we’re doing!

For now, we’d like you to invite you to join us as we celebrate our 15 Year Anniversary

PedSafe girls Square Button FinalWe’re going to take a “look back” at the stories you’ve told us are your favorites – the ones you’ve told us have had the biggest impact on you and your family.

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Finally we’d like to thank all of you who have taken this journey with us. At its heart, Pediatric Safety is a place where people can support each other – the village needed to raise a child. If we’ve been able to accomplish even a little of that, then this has been 15 years well spent. We look forward to sharing the days ahead. – with love and gratitude from all of us here at Pediatric Safety

Healthy Road-Trip-Friendly Snacks for Kids

Editors Note: Summer sun and holidays mean family road trips….and lots of challenges finding good-tasting but healthy snacks for your children. Check out these options which can be ordered online or obtained in most locations.

Funley’s Wholly Granolly ClustersRoad trip snacks

Kids will go crazy for the Peanut Butter Pretzel and Double Chocolate flavors, which come in mini clusters — perfect for tiny hands. You’ll love them for what they don’t have: preservatives, trans fat and high fructose corn syrup. (For a savory and healthier alternative, their Cheddar n’ Stuff Super Crackers have broccoli hidden inside.)

Funleys.com, $4.59

Buddy Fruits Pure Blended Fruit to Go

Fruit cups and applesauce tins aren’t really made for road trips. Enter these all-natural, pure fruit purees in convenient drinkable packages, which make kids eager to eat their produce. Best of all, they don’t need to be refrigerated.

Amazon.com, $18.98 (pack of 18)

Sensible Foods Crunch Dried Snacks, Tropical Blend

When your kids want something crunchy and sweet, reach for these intensely flavored dried fruit snacks. Filled with a mix of dehydrated apples, pineapples, mangos, and bananas – and nothing else — each .75-ounce pouch offers the equivalent of half a cup of fresh fruit.

Agapebabies.com, $7.55

EnviroKidz Organic Lemur Peanut Choco Drizzle Crispy Rice Barenvirokids-lemur

Moms, if you’re on the hunt for tasty organic, gluten-free treats that your kids will actually eat, look no farther than EnviroKids Crispy Rice Bars. Think of them as a healthier alternative to candy bars. If you’re going to be in a hot car for awhile, you might want to opt for the melt-free flavors, like berry or peanut butter.

HHMatters.com, $6.86

Frigo Cheese Heads String Cheese

If you’re the type of mom who packs a cooler on road trips, toss in a handful of Frigo Cheese Heads. Kid-friendly and fun, without being too messy, string cheese fills kids up with protein and calcium while on the go.

Walmart (in stores only, price varies)

Top 10 Fireworks Safety Tips – Straight from the Experts

It’s that time of year again: time to get together with friends, host backyard barbecues, cook up some hotdogs and hamburgers, sip a cool beverage and end the day gathered around watching fireworks. Sounds perfect, right? Unfortunately, according to the National Fire Protection Association in 2018 alone, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks related injuries and more than one-third of the injured (36%) were less than 15 years old.*

How and Why Do These Injuries Occur?

  • Fireworks type: Among the various types of fireworks, some of which are sold legally in some states, bottle rockets can fly into peoples’ faces and cause eye injuries; sparklers can ignite clothing; and firecrackers can injure the hands or face if they explode at close range.
  • Being too close: Injuries may result from being too close to fireworks when they explode; for example, when someone leans over to look more closely at a firework that has been ignited, or when a misguided bottle rocket hits a nearby person.
  • Lack of physical coordination: Younger children often lack the physical coordination to handle fireworks safely – even sparklers! Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. But facts are that sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals and enough to cause a serious burn
  • Curiosity: Children are often excited and curious around fireworks, which can increase their chances of being injured (for example, when they re-examine a firecracker dud that initially fails to ignite).
  • Experimentation: Homemade fireworks (for example, ones made of the powder from several firecrackers) can lead to dangerous and unpredictable explosions.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not here to talk doom and gloom when it comes to 4th of July fireworks. It really can be the perfect ending to an already perfect day…providing we’re careful and follow these key fireworks safety rules:

Top 10 Fireworks Safety Tips:

  1. Use fireworks outdoors only. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks including sparklers. Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
  3. Avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  4. Be careful when lighting the fuse. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back up to a safe distance
  5. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  6. Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them. They can kill you!
  7. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap. After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  8. Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
  9. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
  10. Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy, fun and safe 4th of July

References

  • Fireworks Safety” – National Fire Protection Association
  • Fireworks Safety” – US Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Safety Tips” – The National Council on Fireworks Safety
  • *Data referenced updated 6/30/24

Games for Building Better Family Bonds

Family laughing and playing cardsYour typical afternoon probably goes like this: Pick up kids from school or camp; shuttle to a soccer game, music class, maybe the neighborhood pool; head to the grocery store; then get back home in time to make dinner. And even though the time you spend with your kids is precious, you probably wouldn’t classify this minivan marathon as quality time.

But who’s to say that everyday experiences can’t turn into special moments that strengthen family bonds? And what better way to infuse laughter and fun than with games that draw out every family member?

“Using this time for fun activities reinforces the idea that you can take pleasure in the mundane parts of life,” says Cynthia Copeland, author of Fun on the Run: 324 Instant Family Activities. “It also teaches kids to make the most of what’s available to them.”

Check out Copeland’s kid-friendly game ideas and create memorable moments in the car, at the market and the family dinner table.

In the Car Instead of popping in a DVD, use car time to get kids to observe their surroundings.

  • For short trips Crank up the radio. Pick a common word you’re likely to hear in songs, such as “love” or “time”. As your kids listen, they can announce when they hear the key words, keeping track of how many they hear. The one who racks up the most callouts by the time you reach your destination wins.
  • On a long ride Choose a highway-related category — such as “semi-trucks,” “red cars,” “fast-food restaurant signs” or “billboards” — but don’t reveal it to anyone. Next, count out loud each time you spot the object, letting your kids guess the category. The correct guesser takes over by coming up with a new category and starting the game again.

In the Grocery Store If your kids aren’t old enough to help you find items on your list, these games will keep them entertained, learning and bonding with you.

  • For children old enough to count Engage her in a guessing or number game. Ask her to figure out which items in your cart add up to $10. Have her guess how many people will be in line, how many minutes it will take to get through the checkout or how much is the total amount of the bill. If your child can also read, turn the tables and let her quiz you! Have her read the nutrition label on a box of, say, cereal, and ask you how many grams of protein, fiber and sugar it contains. She’ll get a kick out of being the quizzer and telling you whether you’re right or wrong. (This also opens the door for you to slip in mini-lessons on nutrition.)
  • For toddlers A simple hiding game is enough to keep a little one’s attention. Pick out an item from your list, take it off the shelf and then together, find a place to hide it — behind boxes or cans — in another aisle. Throughout your shopping trip, remind your little guy about the secret place that only the two of you know about. If he can talk, ask him questions about it: What color is the box? When do we eat this kind of food? Check back periodically to see if the item is still hidden. Finally, place the item in your cart before you check out.

At the Dinner Table Besides being fun, a game at mealtime gives you a little extra face time with your kids. “Entertainment is an incentive for them to stay at the table, and inevitably, it opens up the channels of conversation,” says Copeland. You needn’t spend the entire meal playing games; play one each night as a dinner icebreaker, and your kids are more likely to chat and share toward the end of the meal.

Here are a few games to try:

  • Word of mouth A version of the old favorite telephone, this game starts with someone mouthing a sentence to the person across the table about what they did today. That person must then say aloud what they think their table mate said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, the person gets it wrong, but it doesn’t matter — each guess usually ends in a good laugh, and you get to hear about some part of a family member’s day you might not have talked about otherwise,” she adds.
  • Creative round robin Copeland likes creative storytelling games because they allow imaginations to run wild and help sharpen your memory — a bonus for kids and adults. To play, start a story with a general and true phrase, such as “I saw a dog today.” Then go around the table and have each family member contribute, repeating the previous sentences before they add on their own. Encourage everyone to be as silly as they like.
  • Would you rather Go around the table, and have each person ask another family member a question that starts with “Would you rather …?” The questions can be on any topic, serious or not. Even suggest different rounds, such as one that’s goofy (Would you rather have floppy clown feet or big Mickey Mouse ears?), one that’s more serious (Would you rather vacation by the beach or in the mountains?) or one that’s gross (Would you rather eat ants or monkey brains?). Encourage the responder to explain the logic behind the answer, and you’ll get rare insight.

After all, isn’t it better to at least discover why someone prefers monkey brains than only hearing that school was “fine”?

6 Reasons to Call the Pediatrician

sick is no funSick children at home? If they’ve got a cold, they’ll usually recover on their own within seven to 10 days, but in some cases, those sniffles can develop into a more serious condition that requires medical attention. If you notice any of the following warning signs in your kids, you’ve got reason to call the pediatrician.

Warning Sign No. 1: A high fever

A fever of 105 F or more can mean your child has another problem, like strep throat. If your baby is younger than 3 months old, you should also call your doctor if he or she has a fever of 100.4 F or more.

Warning Sign No. 2: Symptoms that persist after the fever subsides

Most kids start to perk up after their fever goes down. But if your little one still seems tired and miserable after the number on the thermometer drops, it could mean she’s dehydrated — or even has a more serious infection such as meningitis, so get a hold of your doctor’s office as soon as possible.

Warning Sign No. 3: Wheezing or vomiting while coughing

Call your pediatrician if coughing causes your child to gasp for breath or throw up. She may want to screen for asthma or whooping cough.

Warning Sign No. 4: Symptoms that don’t improve

Kids sometimes catch two colds in a row, so they can be sick for longer than the normal weeklong span. But if it doesn’t seem your child is improving and her runny nose remains consistent for more than 10 days, it’s worth calling your doctor.

Warning Sign No. 5: Rash with fever

Children can get rashes from viruses and allergic reactions. But if the rash doesn’t blanch — or fade — when you press on it, call your pediatrician immediately. It may be a sign of a serious infection.

Warning Sign No. 6: Gut feeling that something’s wrong

I’m a firm believer in a mother’s “sixth sense,” or gut intuition. You know your child best, so if something doesn’t seem right, call your doctor. It’s better to address your concerns early on, so we can catch any illnesses as soon as possible.

Summer Camp Health Tips – a Pediatrician’s Point of View

Summer camp experiencesLetting go of your child for a day, a week or even a month of camp during the summer is often a very difficult thing for parents to do, and initially, might be very difficult for the child. Most children, however, when they return from such an experience almost invariably have enjoyed themselves and gotten the first taste of living without parents. This can be an extraordinary experience for your child as he or she learns to live and be accountable for certain rules and restrictions.

Of course, you as a parent will worry the first couple of times your children go off “by themselves”. It may help to know that every camp is equipped with fairly up to date equipment and at least a very experienced nurse or Doctor. I myself did this (physician for an overnight camp for a 6 week period) just as I completed my Pediatric Residency and prepared to enter the Air Force. It was a rewarding experience for me and my family.

Most incidences of a medical nature are minor although very rarely a serious issue may occur. When you first apply for the camp for your child they will ask for a complete medical history including chronic or serious conditions that your child may have and any and all allergies, medication or non-medication related. This is an extremely important bit of information so try to be as specific as possible.

Teach your child ahead of time about the importance of such simple things as the proper use of insect repellents and sun blocks as these constitute the causes of the majority of the “problems” in the camp setting. They must also need to be taught the importance of reporting to the nurse or physician any issues they are worried about or are experiencing, as some children will do all they can to avoid seeing these people. If your child has a chronic disease such as asthma, he or she must be aware of the problems they can experience as a result of their illness and report such occurrences to the medical staff. Of course, the medical staff will also be familiar with such individual problems. They should also know about how to self-medicate (inhaler, etc.) if necessary.

Poison Ivy is also a very common occurrence as children spend more time outdoors, they should be told what it looks like and feels like so they can see the medical staff when necessary.

Other “problems” are injury-related and should be brought to the attention of the medical staff – fortunately the majority of these are also of a minor nature.

Finally, they will likely be taught about insects and other critters that can be encounter in the wild during the first days or weeks of camp; snakes, small mammals, spiders, etc. The camp staff will be very particular and complete when describing such encounters and will err on the side of conservatism while they are in charge of your child.

Wishing you and your kids a happy, healthy, and safe summer.

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