playing-at-preschoolby Patricia Hughes

Starting preschool or daycare can special time for kids. It is a time to meet new friends and share new and exciting experiences. It is also a time when kids are in close proximity and germs are spread. The recent swine flu scare is latest fear of parents, but there are always bugs going around where little children congregate. Fortunately, there are a few things care providers and parents can do to reduce the spread of sickness.

Some things need to be done by the staff of the daycare, such as proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques. Toys need to be disinfected on a regular basis, particularly in the rooms with younger children. This should be done daily for infants and toddlers.

Ask about daycare’s policy regarding sick children. Children should be required to stay home when sick. Some are more lenient than others. They find themselves in a sticky situation and need to balance the need for parents to work with best interests and health of all children in mind. Some will go too far in accommodating parents and don’t send kids home quickly enough. This spreads sickness. You decide if the policy is one you can live with.

Reciprocate by keeping your own child home when he is too sick for daycare. Following the policies of your daycare center is one the best things you can do to reduce sickness. Don’t be the mom feeding the child Tylenol and sneaking him into daycare in order to meet that work deadline. Switch sick time with your spouse, split the day or call reinforcements, such as grandma if too sick for school.

One thing parents can do is teach their children proper hand washing techniques. The Centers for Disease Control guidelines include washing with warm water, rubbing hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, washing both the front and backs of the hands. Rinse the hands thoroughly and dry with a paper towel. Kids can also be taught to use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. READ More on Preventing Sickness in Daycare and Preschool

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I-Dosing - Headphones and ComputerIf you’re a parent, you probably grew up in the days when marijuana was a popular drug of choice among teens. More than likely you are familiar with all the other drugs that were around when you were a kid, like cocaine, meth, and others. You may be using your own knowledge to talk to your kids about drugs to keep them from the dangers that illegal drugs can represent. However, what you may not be aware of is a new craze among today’s teens – digital drugs. Is this for real? Yes, it actually is. Today, with the technology of the internet at their fingertips, many teens are getting involved in what is known as i-dosing. Here is a closer look at this threat to your children, which can be just as dangerous as taking real drugs. As a parent, you need to be informed about this so you can keep your kids from getting involved in something that could take them on into real world narcotics.

How Does I-Dosing Work?

digital drugs - young teen i-dosingYou are probably wondering what i-dosing is and how it really work. Basically it involves your child going to a specific website, putting on headphones, and then listening to a type of music. Usually this music is loud and droning. These audio files are usually two-toned and they are designed to alter the brain waves, just like other drugs can do. All you have to do is check out YouTube and do a search of “idoser,” which brings up pages of different videos. One popular track that is often used for i-dosing is “Gates of Hades,” which is a track easily found on YouTube for free. When users listen to these tracks, supposedly it alters the mental state bringing about a “state of ecstasy.” Many times users of these tracks are encouraged to purchase a guide to using mp3s to properly get high with them.

READ More on Digital Drugs – Is I-Dosing For Real?

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Is Your Teen Obsessed About Their Weight?

Eating Disorders: Is Your Teen Obsessed by Weight?

by Stephanie Partridge

Everyone seems so focused on weight these days.  Our society is obsessed with the “perfect” body for both men and women.  The media promotes unrealistic body models and we are bombarded with it on a daily basis via television, magazines and the silver screen.

The worst part is that your teen is caught right smack in the middle of it all.

So how do you combat these wrong and potentially harmful messages?  First, realize that all this misinformation that your teen is receiving could turn them into a dangerous dieter.  A dangerous dieter is not quite a victim of an eating disorder, but they certainly aren’t pursuing a healthy lifestyle when it comes to diet and exercise.  Learn the warning signs and head them off before it is too late.

10 Warning Signs your Teen may have an Eating Disorder

  1. They seem to lose a lot of weight very quickly. In the beginning of a diet, the person may seem to lose a lot of weight the first week or so.  This is “water weight.”  It isn’t a loss of fat, but just a loss of fluids that the body has been retaining.  Healthy weight loss should be no more than 2 pounds per week.  Any more weight loss than that should be done under the supervision of a health care professional.
  2. Lack of energy. This, of course, comes from a lack of calories.  You need calories in order to create energy for your body.  If you don’t take in any calories, you won’t have the energy.  If your teen is lethargic or seems to have no energy, then you need to look into what they are eating, how much and how often.  While in and of itself this characteristic is not necessarily indicative of a dangerous dieter, when combined with other warning signs it could signal a problem.
  3. They have a distorted body image. If your rail thin daughter still claims to feel “fat” then there may be a problem.  And don’t assume that she is just seeking attention or “fishing” for compliments.  If she seems sincere in her feelings about being fat even when she isn’t, that should be a very big red flag.  This can happen to boys too. READ More on Eating Disorders: Is Your Teen a Dangerous Dieter?

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by Jennifer Shakeel

Apple vs Hamburger...Umm... What will your child choose?

Umm... What will your child choose?

When I was younger one of the things you looked forward to when you went to high school was being able to buy your lunch through the “snack line” instead of the hot lunch line. Yes you could get fries, chips, ice cream cookie sandwiches and such. That was high school a number of years ago but to us back then it was a sign of … well maturity, we weren’t little kids anymore and the proof was that they were giving us the option of what type of lunch we wanted to buy.

I am sure you are wondering which line was the longest, hot lunch or snack line. In all honesty the hot lunch line was usually longer and the majority of “kids” that went into the snack line went because they were running late or the lunch being offered was disgusting. We all remember the Salisbury steak lunch that we all opted to go hungry over instead. But the majority of students, if they were eating, were eating the healthy hot lunch.

Today there seems to be a huge controversy over the food that is being served in school and how healthy it is. Some communities are going as far as banning vending machines and junk food from schools and quick marts that are close to the school in an effort to put a kabash on kids eating junk. I have yet to figure out why. Not why are people upset over kids consuming too much junk food, I think everyone should be concerned about that especially in our obese nation where childhood obesity is on the rise reaching numbers it has never seen before. READ More on Junk Food and Schools – Who is Responsible for What Kids Are Eating?

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by Stefanie Zucker and Dr Kim

Mom with Her Sick Child

Flu Season has arrived and there is nothing worse than a sick child

Part I: On Tuesday October 6th, the very first doses of swine flu vaccine started to arrive in doctor’s offices around the United States. These doses however will arrive in extremely limited quantities and initially are targeted for those considered to be “in high risk”. Soon however, as supply becomes more readily available, there will be some very important decisions to be made by every individual – and more important to us here at Pediatric Safety – by every parent. Not surprising, there are some difficult questions that need to be answered for each parent to feel comfortable making these decisions. That’s what our goal is…over the course of this post and the one following.  There’s an incredible amount of information out there about the swine flu…along with a lot of mixed messages.  What we hope to do is pull together some of the best, most reliable information currently available from some of our best sources and provide you with some “real world” answers to some very important questions.  AND THEN…we will let you make your own decision about what’s right for you and your child.  So to start us off…a little background…

What exactly is the “swine flu” and how is it different from the regular or “seasonal” flu?

CDC:  Swine flu is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new flu was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009.  It was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes were very similar to flu viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America (note:  that theory didn’t actually pan out – but the name stuck). READ More on Swine Flu for Parents: Real World Answers

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by Jennifer Shakeel

Doctor Examining Baby

Doctor Examining Baby

Each and every new parent’s worst nightmare is not being able to tell when they should call the doctor. You don’t want to be the hypochondriac parent who calls the doctor or rushes to the ER for every sneeze, but you also don’t want to be the parent that should’ve called the doctor when your child wouldn’t stop crying.

Unfortunately children do not come with instruction manuals. Raising kids is really a trial and error process. You try what you think will work based on your past experiences… or based on what you have seen other parents do or not do. While I cannot tell you the best way to raise your child, or how to avoid the many pitfalls of childrearing (because that would take away all of the fun of parenting)… what I can do is atleast help you know when you need to call the doctor.

First, as a parent and a nurse, my motto is that it is always better to be safe than sorry. But if your little munchkin starts to experience any of the following, pick up the phone and call your pediatrician: READ More on When Do I Call the Doctor?

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Healthy Eating by Example

Healthy Eating by Example

by Jennifer Shakeel

The best way to do that is by setting a good example. There is the old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do…” but our children like to emulate us. Whether we want to admit it or not, they are more likely to do what they see us doing then they are to do what we tell them to do. With school starting and the current debate going on about health care… now is the time for all of us to step back and re-educate ourselves and our children on healthy eating.

Nutritionists have stated that in order for a child to try a new food they need to see it four or five times, possibly even 10 times. This means that just because the avoided the broccoli at dinner tonight, doesn’t mean that in a week or two they won’t try it if you keep showing it to them at meals. This also means that you shouldn’t take the first, “bluck!” as an “I will never eat this again.” You can also try making a rule, similar to what we have in our home, and that is called the “No Thank You Bite.” READ More on Teaching Our Kids Healthy Eating Habits

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by Jennifer Shakeel

Does Your Toddler have ADHD?

Does Your Toddler have ADHD?

The first thing I want to address here is that no one will test your child when they are a toddler for ADHD. The reasoning… whether I agree with it or not, is that the testing that is done to diagnosis children with ADHD would not be accurate if done on children at that age. This doesn’t mean that you, the parent, can’t figure it out on your own. The first thing I want you to do if you are worried that your toddler may have ADHD is read another post I did on what ADHD, called Is ADHD Genetic.

Now, you need to know this. There are certain behavioral traits that if you pay attention to your child, you will pick up that will tell you that your child may have ADHD. I say may because there is a chance that what you are seeing is simply part of the growing process for your child. So you really are going to need to know your child, what is normal for them, what is normal in general at their age and what seems… obsessive to you.
From my personal experience, I can look back and tell you the fact that my 3 year old was anal about the way his toys were put away was a sign of ADHD. I would help him clean his room, put the toys in the toy box and his books on shelves… he would then go through all the toys in the toy box, take out each car and truck that he had and line them up against the wall around his room bumper to bumper… by size and type. That is not normal 3 year old behavior, and while it was normal for my son to do that… at 3 it was an early sign of ADHD. READ More on Toddlers: How Do You Know Your Child has ADHD?

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gardasil vaccine - is it right for your daughter?

by Jennifer Shakeel

As nurse I my first reaction is yes, this is a vaccine that I believe all young females should get. As a mother, I can understand the hesitation that many mothers have over getting their daughter vaccinated. I will say for the record that my oldest daughter did get the vaccination, and it was a decision that she and I made together.

I am going to address this issue as a both a nurse and a mother, why, because it is important. First, let’s start with what the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil does. The vaccine will help protect women from a variety of ailments, ranging from minor to serious. The most talked about is cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. Understand that there are 100’s of different HPV strands, and they are responsible for everything from cold sores, to warts to yes cervical cancer.

The vaccine is designed for adolescent girls, and what is causing many parents to pause is the fact that what the vaccine protects them against is a sexually transmitted disease. There it is… sex. That is the name of the battle that goes on in every parents head. We don’t want our children to have sex until they are an adult, many parents don’t know how to talk to their children about sex, and many believe that if you talk about it then they are encouraging their children to do it.

READ More on Gardasil – What Every Parent Should Now

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ants on a log - celery, peanut butter and raisinsHow do our kids know that food is good for them? It seems that they can uncannily pick out the most nutritious item on their plates to turn up their noses at. That is especially true at our house! Whatever it is that gives them the inside scoop, as parents we need to find ways to counteract it.

While their may be kids who love their veggies, they seem to be few and far between… at least, none of them live at my house. Instead, we try to make things interesting enough so the kids will eat more of what is good for them and less of what isn’t.

After many years of fighting with our kids about eating, sneaking vegetables into something where they wouldn’t be noticed, and just about pulling my hair out, I have come to a couple of conclusions. Are you ready? Presentation is important. Yes, it’s true. Kids like to see something nice on their plates. I don’t mean to arrange food like you’d get at a high end restaurant… I mean it should be colorful and preferably bite size. This is why the original concept of fruit cocktail got the reputation of being great for kids… it was bite size and full of color and different shapes. READ More on Making Healthy Foods Fun for Kids

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