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Lawn Mowers May Be Even More Dangerous for Rural Kids

FRIDAY, Oct. 25, 2019 — Lawn mowers are always a hazard around children, but a new study suggests that kids in rural areas are at the highest risk.

Each year, more than 9,000 children in the United States are treated in emergency departments for lawn mower-related injuries.

“Despite efforts within the health community to highlight how easily children can be injured by lawn mowers, we still see thousands of children in emergency departments each year for lawn mower-related injuries,” said researcher Ronit Shah, a medical student at the University of Toledo in Ohio.

In this study, researchers analyzed data on patients under the age of 18 with lawn mower-related injuries who were seen at 49 U.S. hospitals from 2005 to 2017.

Rural areas had much higher rates of such injuries, younger patients, and higher rates of amputations, surgical complications and infections.

Injury rates were 7.3 injuries per 100,000 cases in rural areas, compared with 1.5 injuries per 100,000 cases in urban areas.

By region, the highest injury rate was in the South (2.7 injuries per 100,000 cases), followed by the Midwest (2.2 injuries per 100,000 cases) and the Northeast (1.3 injuries per 100,000 cases). The Western United States had the lowest rate at 0.6 injuries per 100,000 cases.

Lawn mower-related injuries in rural areas required longer hospital stays, had higher rates of surgical complications (5.5% vs 2.6%), and occurred in younger patients.

Amputation rates were 15.5% in rural areas and 9.6% in urban areas, with rural patients being 1.7 times more likely to have an amputation.

In rural areas, children younger than 10 had a higher rate of more severe injuries, longer hospital stays, and greater health care costs than children older than 10.

The findings will be presented by researchers on Sunday at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting, in New Orleans. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Our research shows young children in rural areas are more likely to be severely hurt,” Shah said in an academy news release.

More public education about children and lawn mower safety is needed and “should be specifically targeted for rural communities, especially in the Southern and Midwestern United States,” he added.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more on lawn mower safety.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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Weight-Loss Surgery Often Overlooked for Kids, Teens

SUNDAY, Oct. 27, 2019 — Weight-loss surgery should be more widely used to treat severely obese children and teens, a leading pediatricians’ group says.

Severe obesity is a serious and worsening public health crisis among U.S. youngsters, and weight-loss surgery is one of the few effective ways of treating it, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in its new policy statement, published Oct. 27.

“Children with severe obesity develop health problems earlier than those with lesser degrees of obesity, including diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and sleep apnea,” said policy statement lead author Dr. Sarah Armstrong, a member of the executive committee of the AAP Section on Obesity.

“While lifestyle changes remain the mainstay of treatment, medical care is unlikely to significantly change the trajectory for most children with severe obesity,” she said in an academy news release.

Current rates of severe obesity are 7.9% in children, 9.7% among 12- to 15-year-olds, and 14% among 16- to 19-year-olds, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows.

Recent research suggests that weight-loss surgery is safe and effective in youngsters, but significantly underused, according to the AAP.

“The last decade of evidence has shown surgery is safe and effective when performed in high-quality centers, with the primary care pediatrician and family in a shared decision-making process,” said Armstrong.

“Unfortunately, we see significant disparities in which patients have access to weight-loss surgery. Surgery needs to be an option for all qualifying patients, regardless of race, ethnicity or income,” she said.

Studies have found that weight-loss surgery in youths leads to long-term reductions in weight and weight-related diseases. For example, a study that followed teens for up to 12 years after weight-loss surgery found an average 29% decrease in BMI (body mass index — an estimate of body fat based on height and weight) for those who had one type of surgery, and significant reductions in diabetes and high blood pressure.

The policy statement will also be presented Sunday at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting, in New Orleans.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on weight-loss surgery.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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One-Third of Kids Too Sleepy to Succeed in School

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Here’s a finding that should prompt parents to crack down on their kids’ screen time at night: New research shows that close to one-third of American children don’t get sufficient sleep.

That lack of sleep makes it harder for kids to learn and to behave well when challenged.

“It’s important for parents to recognize the widespread impact of not getting enough sleep, and the impact on a child’s flourishing. Sufficient sleep can help enhance child development,” said study author Dr. Hoi See Tsao. She’s a pediatric emergency fellow at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, in Providence, R.I.

What qualifies as sufficient sleep? It’s probably more than you think. High schoolers should get between eight and 10 hours a night, while kids aged 6 to 12 should clock in between nine and 12 hours of shut-eye nightly, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Tsao said the researchers used the minimum number of hours for each age group to define a sufficient night of sleep in the study.

The study team looked at a nationally representative sample of nearly 50,000 kids and teens. Parents or caregivers were asked about the kids’ sleeping habits. They were also asked about markers that indicate if a child is flourishing in certain areas, such as expressing interest in learning new things or being able to calm down.

The researchers adjusted the findings to account for other factors that might impair a child’s ability to flourish, such as poverty, TV time, time with computers, phones, video games and other technology, abuse or neglect, and mental health conditions.

Just over 36% of 6- to 12-year-olds didn’t get enough sleep, and 32% of high schoolers also came up short on sleep, the investigators found.

Not getting enough sleep had a number of negative consequences. The researchers found that compared to their well-rested peers, kids aged 6 to 12 who didn’t get enough sleep, have:

  • 61% higher odds of not showing interest or curiosity when learning new things.
  • 45% increased odds of not caring about doing well in school.
  • 44% higher odds of not doing all of their required homework.

Continued

In those aged 13 to 17, the sleepier children were more likely to have:

  • 36% higher odds of not doing all of their required homework.
  • 34% increased odds of not showing interest or curiosity when learning new things.
  • 34% increased odds of not staying calm and in control when faced with a challenge.

Dr. Suzette Oyeku, chief of the division of academic general pediatrics at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, in New York City, said she was surprised to see that only one-third of kids weren’t getting enough sleep.

“Insufficient sleep is pretty common. A huge part of that is screen time and technology use. At least 30 minutes to an hour before bed, all screens need to be off or kids will have trouble falling asleep,” she said.

Oyeku said the study gives parents a different way to explain the importance of sleep. For example, if a child is repeatedly having trouble calming down, “it’s helpful for parents to be able to say, ‘The way you feel is tied to how much sleep you’re getting.'”

So, how can parents get their kids to get a better night of sleep?

Tsao agreed that screens need to be off at least 30 minutes before bed. She also said to try to get rid of any screens in the bedroom. Both experts said it’s good to have a regular bedtime, and for younger kids, Oyeku said that a bedtime routine is important.

With any age group, Oyeku said to make time to connect and have conversations with your child. A good conversation might alleviate any concerns your child might be having that could keep them up.

Both experts also suggested seeing your child’s pediatrician for sleep advice, if needed. And Oyeku noted that sometimes medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, may be keeping a child from getting quality sleep.

The findings were to be presented Sunday at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, in New Orleans. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Hoi See Tsao, M.D., pediatric emergency fellow, Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, R.I.; Suzette Oyeku, M.D., chief, division of academic general pediatrics, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, New York City; Oct. 27, 2019, presentation, American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting, New Orleans

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Halloween Can Be Frightful for Kids With Allergies, Asthma

SATURDAY, Oct. 26, 2019 — Allergies and asthma can turn Halloween into fright night, so parents must be vigilant.

Some fun-sized candy bars have no labels to alert about possible food allergens, such as peanuts, said Dr. Todd Mahr, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

But food allergens aren’t the only potential concerns.

“Halloween happens in the fall, so trick or treating involves being aware of fall allergies,” Mahr said in a college news release.

Ragweed and other types of pollen can trigger fall allergies. Keep pollen out of your house by leaving shoes at the door, and having children shower, wash hair and change clothes after they’ve been outdoors. Kids who take allergy meds should continue their medications for two weeks after the first frost, Mahr advised.

A sudden change in weather can trigger an asthma attack. If it’s cold on Halloween, consider an extra layer under or over the costume for children with asthma.

Dry, windy weather is bad for people with allergies, because the wind spreads pollen and mold. Monitor pollen forecasts to see if there will be high levels of pollen in the air on Halloween. If so, consider taking allergy medications.

Be cautious about haunted houses if your child has asthma. Fear and other intense emotions can disrupt normal breathing patterns, which can trigger asthma.

Many haunted houses also have smoke machines, and smoke of any kind is dangerous for those with asthma. If you do go to a haunted house, bring inhalers, Mahr recommended.

Better yet, instead of going to a haunted house, consider hosting your own Halloween party.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on allergies and asthma.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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Sweetened Drinks Still Top Sellers to Kids

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Drinks marketed to children often contain loads of unhealthy sugars and sweeteners, and they come in packages that deliver too-large servings, a new report finds.

None of 34 sweetened drinks aimed at the youth market meet nutrition recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), according to University of Connecticut researchers.

“Sweetened drinks are about two-thirds of children’s drink sales, compared to 100% juice-and-water blends,” said lead researcher Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives for the university’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity in Hartford. “Parents may be surprised to know that pediatricians, dentists and other nutrition experts recommend against serving any of these drinks to children.”

Sweetened drinks have been identified as a major source of excess calories for kids.

Added sugars account for 17% of the total caloric intake of children and teens, and sugary beverages contribute almost half of those added sugars, according to AAP.

For this study, Harris and her team looked only at products marketed for children, ignoring sodas, sports drinks and iced teas that are promoted for a wider audience.

They identified 67 products from 23 drink brands. About half contained added sweeteners; the others didn’t.

The sweetened drinks made up 62% of the $ 2.2 billion in children’s drink sales in 2018, researchers said. Pure juice or juice/water blends accounted for 38% of sales.

One serving of many of the highest-selling fruit drink brands — Capri Sun, Hawaiian Punch, Sunny D and Minute Maid Lemonade — had more than 50% of the recommended amount of daily added sugars for kids, researchers said.

Two-thirds of sweetened fruit drinks and flavored waters contained no fruit juice at all, the report said. Most that did have some fruit juice contained just 5%.

Even ostensibly healthier 100% fruit juice came in packaging that made the drink potentially unhealthy to kids, researchers found.

The AAP has recommended that 1- to 3-year-olds have at most 4 ounces of pure fruit juice per day, and older preschoolers, no more than 6 ounces.

Continued

“They don’t need juice, but if they’re going to drink it, they should drink it in limited amounts,” Harris said.

But most single-serving 100% juice boxes and pouches contain more than 4 ounces, exceeding the recommended daily amount for toddlers, researchers found.

And some juice boxes and pouches even exceeded the 6-ounce serving recommended for preschoolers.

“We found a very small number of products that would be appropriate for a child under 3,” Harris said. “Most of the juice boxes and pouches are bigger than a toddler should be drinking.”

Experts recommend that children over a year old drink only plain water or milk, she said.

“They don’t need any other kind of drinks,” Harris said. “If you’re going to give them juice, look for 100% juice in small servings.”

Packaging often confuses rather than enlightens. Brands offering both sweetened drinks and drinks without added sweeteners often used similar-looking packages, flavor names and fruit images, researchers said.

For example, about 85% of sweetened drinks contained images of fruit on their packaging, but only 35% contained any juice at all, researchers said.

Parents have to look closely to figure out exactly what a drink contains, Harris said.

“You can’t trust the front of the packages to know what’s inside the drinks,” she said. “You have to look at the Nutrition Facts panel to see what ingredients are in there.”

Sweetened drinks are marketed heavily to children, the researchers also found.

Children between 2 and 11 see more than twice as many ads for sweetened drinks as for healthier alternatives, researchers said. These kids also see four times as many ads for sweetened drinks than their parents do.

The American Beverage Association (ABA) responded to the study in a statement.

“America’s beverage companies agree that it’s important for families to moderate sugar consumption to ensure a balanced, healthy lifestyle, and this is especially true for young children,” the statement said.

“Our companies strictly follow guidelines established by independent monitors that limit the marketing of beverages to children to 100% juice, water or dairy-based beverages and monitor TV, radio and digital advertising to confirm compliance,” the ABA added.

Continued

Kristi King, a national spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, also reacted to the report.

It “may not be what we wanted to see, but it definitely is useful in that we can take this report and hopefully come up with a plan that helps the health of the children,” she said.

Health care and industry will need to work together to help reduce kids’ access to excess sugar, said King, a senior dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

“I don’t think this is something that health care can do on its own by working with parents,” she said.

The Rudd Center report, released Oct. 16, recommends several steps to reduce kids’ consumption of sweetened drinks, including:

  • Packaging that clearly indicates on the front whether a product contains added sugars, as well as the percentage of juice inside,
  • State taxes on sugary drinks,
  • A ban on direct advertisements to children for drinks containing added sugars.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Jennifer Harris, Ph.D., M.B.A., director, marketing initiatives, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, University of Connecticut, Hartford; Kristi King, M.P.H., R.D.N., senior dietitian, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston; statement, American Beverage Association;Children’s Drink Facts 2019, report, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, University of Connecticut, Oct. 16, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Hospitals Work to Better Spot Deadly Sepsis in Kids

Marnie Doubek, MD, primary care doctor, Maplewood, NJ.

Niranjan Kissoon, MD, professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine, University of British Columbia; vice chair,  Global Alliance for Sepsis; Sepsis Alliance advisory board member, Vancouver, Canada.

Lauren Hess, MD, pediatric counselor, Texas Children’s Hospital; co-lead, Sepsis Quality Improvement Project, Houston.

Terri Brown, registered nurse; clinical specialist, quality & safety, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston.

Michael Bell, MD, chief of critical care medicine, Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C.

Charles Macias, MD, chief, division of pediatric emergency medicine, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, OH.

Sepsis Alliance.

Children’s Hospital Association.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

CDC.

National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Health Affairs: “Preventing Sepsis By Reimagining Systems And Engaging Patients.”

JAMA Pediatrics: “Cost of Pediatric Severe Sepsis Hospitalizations.”

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A Parent’s Guide to Managing Kids’ Asthma During the Fall

SATURDAY, Oct. 12, 2019 — Fall can be a challenging time of the year for kids with asthma, an expert says.

“Although asthma can flare up for a number of reasons, a lot of people with allergies also have asthma, and asthma can be triggered by allergies. So the fall is a tough time for asthmatic sufferers,” said Dr. Gaurav Kumar, a pediatrician at LifeBridge Health in Baltimore.

While many kids do well with their asthma during the summer, problems often accompany the return to school.

“You go from taking these outdoor summer vacations to now being in a classroom again,” Kumar explained. “So now you’re in contact with people in closed spaces. And of course, what happens is germs are more likely to spread that way. So you could get colds from friends who have colds, and then that becomes a trigger for asthma.”

Parents need to make sure their child’s asthma is under control. If a child stopped taking preventive asthma medications regularly during the summer, they should resume daily use now, Kumar advised.

Children with asthma should have checkups at least once a year, and in some cases as often as three or four times a year.

“An asthma checkup is an opportunity for us to reassess how the year has gone and to make plans in anticipation of what might happen,” Kumar said in a LifeBridge Health news release.

A flu shot is also important, because kids with asthma are at high risk for serious flu-related complications. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with the flu.

Flu vaccine is “very safe” in children with asthma and “will not cause any negative effects to trigger asthma attacks,” Kumar said.

More information

The American Lung Association offers advice for parents of children with asthma.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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Aspirin, Antihistamines: Kids Often Use OTC Drugs in Suicide Attempts

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — More teens are attempting suicide by overdosing on drugs, and new research suggests they are often turning to over-the-counter (OTC) medications like ibuprofen and aspirin in their efforts.

Antidepressants, antipsychotics and antihistamines were also common choices, the researchers added.

“What we were seeing was youth increasing suicide attempts using medications readily available in the home,” said study author John Ackerman, suicide prevention coordinator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“People think that youth are thinking deeply about which medicine to take, but when someone is in crisis, it’s what’s in the medicine cabinet. These drugs are having very serious medical outcomes for young people,” Ackerman added.

Girls were much more likely than boys to attempt suicide by what is known as “self-poisoning,” and suicide attempts by self-poisoning in children and teens were higher in rural communities. These types of suicide attempts occurred more often during the school year, the study found.

When people survive a self-poisoning suicide attempt, they may have heart problems or seizures afterwards. Ackerman said that the drugs may have an impact on brain function as well.

“This paper is a call to action for parents to increase their safe storage practices and talk to kids about their mental health concerns,” he added. “Ask your kids how they’re doing.”

Parents may think it’s impossible to keep kids away from all medicines. “But, if you’re adding barriers — like a lock box or safe, and counting medication — those seemingly simple tasks can help. They can be a bridge to a child or teen seeing other options,” Ackerman explained.

From 2000 to 2018, more than 1.6 million young people between the ages of 10 and 25 attempted suicide by self-poisoning. The rates of these suicide attempts in young people aged 10 to 18 started to increase in 2011, the study found.

Almost one-quarter of those attempts resulted in a serious medical outcome. The drugs most used in these attempts were OTC pain relievers, antidepressants, antihistamines and antipsychotics. Opioids were only involved in 7% of cases with a serious medical outcome.

Continued

ADHD medications were more commonly used in the younger group — 10- to 15-year-olds.

Less densely-populated states were more likely to have reported cases ending in serious medical outcomes.

“Rural communities are more at risk. It might be social isolation, lack of access to mental health care and economic factors,” Ackerman suggested.

In kids 18 and younger, suicide attempts by self-poisoning occurred more during the school months of September through May. This pattern wasn’t seen in the 19- to 21-year-old age group. The 22- to 25-year-old group had an increase in the summer months.

“Younger people seem to be more vulnerable during the school year,” Ackerman said. Although the study didn’t look at causes behind the findings, he said that school stress, peer behaviors, bullying and social media likely play a role.

Daniel Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, reviewed the study and said, “In an acute suicidal crisis, people turn to the quickest, most easily available means.”

He said there are usually signs before someone reaches a crisis level. “People might be struggling with sleep; their appetite might be off; they might talk about aches and have other complaints about physical problems. They don’t want to go to school. They don’t want to interact with their friends,” Reidenberg said.

Of even greater concern is when someone talks about being a burden or says they have no hope for the future. They might start to look for ways to die or talk about suicide.

Reidenberg said a huge red flag is if someone just can’t sleep for a few days. “Anxiety and agitation become worse as someone gets sicker. It’s very, very important that anyone who might be at risk of suicide be monitored for sleep. It can be hard to notice disrupted sleep patterns in teens, but if there’s one, two or three days without sleep, you need to have a conversation, and hopefully get some professional help.”

Reidenberg added that connections are crucial: “The more connections that people have, the better off they are. A sense of aloneness increases the sense of distress and the risk of suicide.”

Continued

If you find your child has attempted self-poisoning, Ackerman said it’s important to get them to the ER immediately. The sooner they get help, the better the chances for a good outcome.

The findings were published Oct. 7 in Clinical Toxicology.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: John Ackerman, Ph.D., suicide prevention coordinator, Center for Suicide Prevention and Research, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Daniel J. Reidenberg, Psy.D., executive director, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, and managing director, National Council for Suicide Prevention, and general secretary, International Association for Suicide Prevention; Oct. 7, 2019,Clinical Toxicology

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Cause of Paralyzing Illness in Kids Remains Elusive

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — There is still no clear cause for a mysterious paralytic condition that has been striking U.S. children over the past five years, government health officials report.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspect that a virus of some kind is the culprit. But the specific germ causing the outbreaks remains unknown, according to the report published online Oct. 7 in the journal Pediatrics.

For several years, the CDC has been investigating the condition, called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). It’s a rare disease that attacks tissue in the spinal cord, causing muscles and reflexes to weaken.

AFM mainly affects the arms and legs but can also impair muscles needed for breathing, and some patients end up on a ventilator. At least half of AFM patients do not fully recover, the CDC has said.

Sporadic cases of AFM — sometimes linked to various viral infections, but not always — have long been recognized. The CDC began closely monitoring the condition in 2014, after an unexpected surge in cases: 120 people in 34 states over a few months.

Since then, the United States has seen AFM outbreaks in a clear pattern — every two years, between August and October, almost entirely among children. In 2018, the CDC said that 235 cases were reported; so far this year, 20 are confirmed — in line with the pattern.

Based on what’s known about all three seasonal “surges” so far, the leading hypothesis is that a virus is to blame, according to Dr. Janell Routh of the CDC’s division of viral diseases.

One virus, called enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), has been considered a prime suspect, Routh noted. It’s one of a large group of viruses that are usually harmless or cause only cold symptoms. However, in 2014, the United States saw an outbreak of more-severe respiratory illnesses caused by EV-D68, coinciding with the first AFM surge.

As of now, though, there’s no “smoking gun,” Routh said.

In the new report, she and her colleagues describe the cases of 193 U.S. children who had confirmed cases of AFM between 2015 and 2017.

Continued

Most children had samples of spinal fluid taken, but only one showed evidence of a virus — coxsackievirus A16. Blood samples from another child showed evidence of EV-D68.

The CDC researchers found more microbes when they looked at mucus and stool samples, but there was no clear single cause. Overall, 28% of those samples tested positive for an enterovirus or rhinovirus (another cause of the common cold).

Many of the respiratory samples — 69% — did turn out to be positive for EV-D68, though.

“I think it’s fair to say it’s still the leading suspect in the biennial surges we’re seeing,” said Dr. Samuel Dominguez of Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Aurora.

Dominguez wrote an editorial published with the study.

Like other viruses, EV-D68 has a season, circulating in the summer to fall. In addition, there are year-to-year shifts in the types of enteroviruses in circulation in the United States, Dominguez explained. That fits the every-other-year pattern of AFM surges.

It’s not clear why the surges began — or, at least, were first recognized — in 2014, Routh said.

Researchers are looking into other questions, too: If a viral infection is driving the AFM outbreaks, how does it cause the condition? Is it through a direct assault on nerve cells, or does the virus trigger an abnormal immune response that damages nerve cells? And what makes some children vulnerable to developing AFM, while most do not?

If EV-D68, or another virus, is pinpointed as the cause, that would raise the question of what comes next.

Dominguez said, “If you know what the pathogen is, and this (AFM) is becoming more common, would it be worth developing a vaccine?”

For now, he and Routh said that while AFM remains relatively rare, parents should be aware of the signs: sudden weakness in the arms or legs; loss of muscle tone; and, in some cases, a “droop” on one side of the face or the eyelids.

“If you notice those symptoms, see a doctor right away,” Routh said.

And, she added, it’s always wise to avoid contracting or spreading any viral infection. Some preventive steps include regular hand-washing, staying home when you’re sick, and coughing or sneezing into your arm rather than your hand.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Janell Routh, M.D., M.H.S., medical officer, division of viral diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Samuel Dominguez, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and medical director, clinical microbiology lab, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora; Oct. 7, 2019,Pediatrics, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

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Train Tracks Deadly for Kids, But Many Parents Underestimate the Danger

TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2019 — Think the chances that your kid could be hit by a train are slim to none?

New research suggests you should think again.

Issued to coincide with “Rail Safety Week,” the Sept. 23 report finds that, on average, a child dies of a train-related injury somewhere in the United States every five days. And for every death, another three children are injured.

The finding indicates that many parents may not realize the importance of addressing railroad safety, said Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide.

“In fact, fewer than half of parents we surveyed say they have talked with their children about it, and half of parents admit to taking risks around railroads,” Creppy added.

“We want to help parents get the little-known, but lifesaving information they need to protect themselves and their kids,” she added in a Safe Kids news release.

The Safe Kids Worldwide report highlights two key reasons people get hit by trains: car collisions and trespassing.

The report warns that collisions occur when drivers aren’t paying attention, ignore track safety barriers, or race to cross over the tracks before an oncoming train. The latter is a big mistake, Creppy and her colleagues noted, because even if a conductor spots a problem it’s impossible to stop a hurtling train on a dime. It can take upwards of a mile of advanced warning to bring a moving train to a full stop.

Trespassing on foot alongside tracks is both illegal and dangerous, they added. For one, modern trains aren’t as loud as one might expect. And they’re also considerably wider than the track itself — at least three feet wider on either side — which means being near, but not on, a track is no guarantee of safety.

In concert with Union Pacific Railroad, Safe Kids Worldwide offers some safety tips:

  • Only cross at designated track crossings.
  • Never try to beat a train across the tracks.
  • Always wait for trains to completely clear the crossing.
  • Don’t play, stroll or take photos anywhere near a train track.
  • Avoid distractions, such as cellphones or music, when preparing to cross a railroad track.

More information

There’s more on railroad track safety at Safe Kids Worldwide.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

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All That Screen Time Won’t Hurt Your Kid’s Grades – Maybe

By Dennis Thompson        
       HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Parents can relax a little about how much time their kids spend in front of screens, new research suggests.

A large review of the scientific evidence on the topic concluded that media time overall is not associated with the academic performance of children or teens.

But the more time kids spend watching TV or playing video games, the more likely their grades will suffer, the international team of scientists led by Mireia Adelantado-Renau, from the University Jaume I in Castellon, Spain, found.

It makes a funny sort of sense, once you take a step back and realize how pervasive TVs, smartphones and laptops have become in modern society, said Dr. Victor Fornari, vice chair of child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

“This study just clarifies for me that life in the 21st century is so vastly different than it was 50 years ago. Tasks we used to do unrelated to a screen now involve a screen,” Fornari said. “Reading a book is on a tablet now, and reading a magazine in on your laptop, and playing a game is a video game, and connecting with friends means you’re on social media.”

This evidence should prove reassuring to parents, said Fornari, who was not involved in the review.

“It’s important for parents to know there’s no real data to suggest that a large amount of screen time interferes with function,” Fornari said. “These studies show it’s really not the amount of the screen time, but the quality of the screen time.

“If you watch more television, then you’re not studying or reading,” Fornari said. “We know many kids find themselves addicted to video games and are playing hours and hours a day and not devoting their time to reading a book or studying for an exam.”

For this new report, Adelantado-Renau and colleagues reviewed 58 studies on screen time from 23 countries, involving more than 480,000 kids aged 4 to 18. They also combined the results of 30 studies involving 106,000 children to delve deeper into the potential effects of screen time on learning.

Continued

It turns out that it’s not the total screen time that matters, but what the kid does with the screen.

Television viewing was linked to lower academic scores as well as math and language skills, the researchers found, while video gaming was linked to poorer grades. The researchers did say the study only found an association — it didn’t prove one causes the other.

The new review was published Sept. 23 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

In the future, researchers will need to do a better job breaking down exactly what kids are doing with their screens, said Janis Whitlock, a research scientist with the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Passive screen activities appear to be more harmful to grades, as well as activities like video gaming that can prove a powerful distraction, said Whitlock, who wrote an editorial accompanying the review.

“I also suspect we’re talking about a lot of TV,” Whitlock added. “We’re not talking about a couple of shows a night, I don’t think. These are kids who are spending huge amounts of time passively watching television.”

The same goes for video games. “Video games can become a really major time suck,” Whitlock said. “Gamers have a really hard time stopping. You can go on for hours and hours.”

Parents should monitor their kids’ screen use to make sure they use the devices in beneficial ways and keep distractions to a minimum, she said.

“Don’t assume your child can self-regulate,” Whitlock said. “They can’t. They really can’t. It’s a rare young person who can do that. Parents need to be aware and they need to provide pretty strong guidelines about when and where and how devices will be used, and for what.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Victor Fornari, M.D., vice chair, child and adolescent psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y.; Janis Whitlock, Ph.D., M.P.H., research scientist, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Sept. 23, 2019,JAMA Pediatrics

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

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Make Learning Fun, and Kids Learn More

FRIDAY, Sept. 20, 2019 — Make it fun, and they will learn.

That’s the conclusion of a new Canadian study that analyzed a kindergarten teaching program that favors playful activities and socializing over sit-down lectures. In the end, the innovative program appeared to give kids a leg up on reading, writing and arithmetic.

At the same time, the approach appears to cut back on bullying, while helping to promote better social skills, the study authors said.

Called “Tools of the Mind,” the program was initially created in 1993 by two American researchers, Dr. Elena Bodrova and Dr. Deborah Leong.

Their goal: to make learning more fun, and more productive, for both teacher and student.

“Before children have the ability to sit for long periods absorbing information the way it is traditionally presented in school through lectures, they need to be allowed to be active and encouraged to learn by doing,” said study author Dr. Adele Diamond.

Diamond is a professor in the University of British Columbia’s department of psychiatry. Her team’s findings were published Sept. 17 in the journal PLOS One.

For the study, Diamond’s team tested out the curriculum in 351 kindergarteners in 18 public schools across Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia.

“Social dramatic play” is at the heart of the program, which aims to promote learning while also improving a child’s self-control and ability to get along with others, as well as their ability to pay attention, remember things, reason, make plans and stay mentally flexible.

Such “executive functioning skills are necessary for learning, and are often more strongly associated with school readiness than intelligence quotient (IQ),” Diamond said in a university news release.

Prior research had indicated that the approach helps improve reading and math scores. But the latest study is the first to indicate that the curriculum also boosted writing skills.

In addition, kids fostered stronger social and emotional skills, such as feeling a greater inclination to help others and a greater sense of community.

And it turns out that teachers benefit, too, said Diamond, who is also a Canada research chair in developmental cognitive neuroscience. Because while the program helped kids find a greater joy in learning, it also helped teachers feel more excited and energized about teaching.

More information

Here’s more on the Tools of the Mind program.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

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New Kids’ Drink Guidelines: Avoid Plant-Based Milks

By EJ Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Four of America’s biggest health organizations are banding together to urge parents to better monitor the drinks their young kids sip each day.

The take-home message from the new “Healthy Drinks, Healthy Kids” guidelines: Cut down on sugary sodas, juices and the like, and favor breast milk or cow’s milk for youngsters instead of trendy plant-based milks.

“As a pediatrician, I know what a child drinks can be almost as important as what they eat, in terms of a healthy diet. This is especially true for very young children,” said Dr. Natalie Muth, who represented the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on the expert panel. Muth spoke in a news release that accompanied the new guidelines.

“We know that children learn what flavors they prefer at a very early age — as young as 9 months — and these preferences can last through childhood and adulthood,” she added. “That’s why it’s important to set them on a healthy course, and this guide will help parents and caregivers do that.”

The recommendations were created by experts at the AAP, the American Heart Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

With an epidemic of childhood obesity firmly in place in the United States, anything parents can do to cut down on empty calories and boost nutrition is crucial.

From birth up to age 5, the recommendations are:

  • 0-6 months: Breast milk is best, or use infant formula.
  • 6 to 12 months: Stick with breast milk or formula, and as baby starts to take in solid foods, try introducing water so your infant gets used to the taste. Avoid fruit juices — it offers no nutrient boost compared to whole fruit, the experts said.
  • 1 to 2 years: Now’s the time to add in whole milk, and more water, to your child’s diet. Fruit juice — and only 100% “real” juice — can be given in small amounts, although, again, whole fruit is better.
  • 2 to 5 years: Stick with milk and water, and move kids to skim or 1% milk. A small amount of 100% juice is OK.

Continued

Noticeably absent from the recommendations are plant-based milks such as rice, soy or almond milks.

“In the last five to 10 years there has been an explosion of interest in plant-based milk. More and more parents are turning to them for a variety of reasons and there’s a misconception that they are equal somehow to cow or dairy milk, but that’s just not the case,” Megan Lott, deputy director at Healthy Eating Research, explained to CNN.

Lott, who helped devise the new guidelines, stressed that plant-based milk products simply don’t have enough of the crucial nutrients — such as vitamin D and calcium — that children can gain from cow’s milk. So the only exceptions to the guideline might be if a child is lactose intolerant, or if a family is strictly vegan or has religious rules against cow’s milk.

Also a no-no for kids: Any drink with caffeine in it. Besides coffee and tea that also includes many sodas, of course.

Sodas, even the artificially sweetened kind, are out generally, the panelists said, “as these beverages can be big sources of added sugars in young children’s diets and provide no unique nutritional value.”

Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, stressed that the heart troubles and diabetes currently plaguing millions of Americans often have roots in habits that began in early childhood.

“Nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. die each year from heart problems due to overconsumption of sugary drinks,” she noted in the news release. “This is unhealthy and unacceptable, and the seismic shift in our culture needed to change this status quo must start with our kids.”

And don’t forget kids’ teeth, either, said Dr. Kevin Donly, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

“Choosing drinks wisely for your child is crucial to good oral health; that’s why we talk about it during the age-one dental visit,” Donly said in the news release. “A child with a healthy smile can eat, speak, play, and learn more easily than a child suffering from tooth decay.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Healthy Eating Research, news release, Sept. 18, 2019;CNN

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

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Don’t Let Kids Wander Alone in Parking Lots

FRIDAY, Sept. 13, 2019 — Many children walk through parking lots without adult supervision, putting them in great danger, a new study warns.

Researchers watched 124 kids, ages 2 to 10, and their adult companions as they crossed a parking lot at a community recreation center.

The team found that 67% of the children lacked adult supervision at some point during the walk and nearly 90% were beyond an adult’s arm reach.

More than half of kids got out of the vehicle before an adult, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham study. It was published recently in the Journal of Safety Research.

“Children are unpredictable,” study author and associate dean for research David Schwebel said in a university news release. “The safety risks in parking lots are already dangerous. We observed that parents pay less attention to their children in these parking lots, even further elevating the risk.”

Every year in the United States, vehicle-pedestrian accidents in places such as parking lots, driveways and on private property cause about 5,000 injuries and 205 deaths among kids 14 years and younger, according to a U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.

Study co-author Jenni Rouse, a doctoral student in psychology, said adults and children may overlook the high level of danger in parking lots because vehicles are moving slowly. But she said drivers may not be paying close attention due to distractions such as cellphones, so pedestrians must be extra-vigilant.

“As adult supervisors, we are responsible for teaching children basic pedestrian safety practices and leading by example,” Rouse said in the release.

She recommended that adults hold a child’s hand in parking lots; make sure kids remain in the car until an adult opens the door; have children exit from the passenger side when being dropped off near a building; and limit distractions as kids are guided through a parking lot, including cellphones and talking with others.

Adults should also teach children to look both ways for traffic before crossing the parking lot; make them aware of the dangers of moving vehicles, and to use sidewalks when available.

More information

Connecting for Kids has more on parking lot safety.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

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Haruworks, Zodiaks Kids Team Up for ‘Worst Best Friends’

With Cartoon Forum around the corner, Finnish production company Haruworks has struck a distribution deal for its pitch project Worst Best Friends. Zodiak Kids, part of Banijay Group, has come on board to secure co-production partners for the property and will hold worldwide distribution rights to the completed series.

“We’ve been looking to work with Zodiak Kids on a suitable project for several years,” said Haruworks Producer and CEO Nick Dorra. “I’m super happy we ended up partnering on this one. Our creative goals match really well, and now we’re set to conquer the market circuit!”

The deal follows 18 months of heartfelt development work on the 52 x 11’ series, which is based on the kids’ novel by Finnish author Miikka Pörsti. South Africa-based Lucy Heavens (Space Chickens in Space) has written the bible and two sample scripts, and Brink Helsinki has created the fresh visual style. Finnish public broadcaster YLE2 wrote the sponsoring letter to help the project get selected for this year’s Forum.

Benoit di Sabatino, CEO, Zodiak Kids commented, “We are so pleased to be partnering with Nick and Maija on this great comedy show about friendship, it has been love at first sight and an unanimous decision from the team at Zodiak Kids to join forces.”

At Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, Haruworks will be looking for broadcast partners to line up production financing, as well as an animation studio to shoulder the production work.

A surreal coming-of-age sitcom, Worst Best Friends is a digital 2D animated show for kids 6-11 which follows the day-to-day adventures of five tweens — – Fox-Peter, Cheese-Moutard, Pomps, Vicky & Mo — navigating the charms and perils of elementary school relationships; their deepest dreams, desires and fears represented in funny moments of magical realism.

Haruworks is based in Helsinki and is focused on building international character brands with a Nordic flair. The company embraces a Scandinavian style of storytelling and Nordic design heritage, taking inspiration from the works of Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson. Approaching properties with a multi-platform strategy, the team has a deep understanding of apps, games and digital distribution and a commitment to engage audiences wherever they are.

Led by Benoit di Sabatino, Zodiak Kids is a global independent leader in kids’ entertainment, combining Banijay Group’s dedicated kids production company, consumer products, digital and TV sales division. Its dedicated international sales and consumer products teams representing programming from Zodiak Kids Studios and third-party producers. This catalog includes animated hits LoliRock, Totally Spies!, Floogals, Magiki, Kody Kapow and Lilybuds.

Animation Magazine