Accidental drowning is the second leading cause of death for U.S. children under age 5, after birth defects. For youngsters under 15, only traffic accidents are responsible for more deaths by injury. And while drowning rates have declined slightly since the turn of the century, African Americans continue to die from drowning at considerably higher rates than whites.
Faced with such stubborn figures, public health advocates and researchers complain that state and local governments aren’t doing enough to prevent drowning deaths. Critics say most states don’t have sufficient laws or don’t enforce laws that could lessen the chances of drowning, such as requirements for fencing around private pools and the presence of trained lifeguards. And, they say, too little is being done to make sure that children have swim lessons and water safety skills.
“There is so much that can and should be done,” said Andrea Gielen, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Injury Research and Policy. Continue reading →
New immunization rates show many toddlers across the state aren’t getting vaccinated for certain diseases on time, if at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Immunization Survey.
The trend means more children are at risk of getting measles, whooping cough, or other preventable diseases.
The trend means more children are at risk of getting measles, whooping cough, or other preventable diseases.
The annual survey reports that children between 19 and 35 months of age weren’t any more protected against serious and potentially fatal diseases than the year before. About 67 percent of toddlers in 2014 were fully vaccinated by 3 years of age.
This overall rate is about 3 percent lower than 2013, but statistically the two rates are not significantly different.Washington’s immunization rates for 2014 did not improve for most recommended vaccines for young children.
The lone exception was the dose of hepatitis B vaccine given at birth. Coverage rates for the hepatitis B birth dose vaccine exceeded national coverage rates, increasing to almost 80 percent.
“The data show that we’re not protecting all of our kids as well as we should,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “We’re disappointed that our rates aren’t higher. When kids aren’t fully protected, it puts those kids and the wider community at risk of disease. The recent spike in measles cases and the ongoing whooping cough outbreak highlights the need for high vaccination rates.” Continue reading →
By T. Christian Miller and Jeff Gerth ProPublica, Aug. 12, 2015, 8 a.m.
The Food and Drug Administration has endorsed the use of a safety device for bottles of children’s medication containing liquid acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.
Called a flow restrictor, the device fits into the top of a bottle to prevent kids from inadvertently squeezing or sucking out too much liquid. In high doses, acetaminophen can result in liver damage and even death.
While the FDA guidance released earlier this month does not require use of the devices, it is a strong signal to manufacturers that flow restrictors are considered an important safety feature to help reduce accidental overdoses.
“This is definitely significant,” said Dr. Dan Budnitz, a scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who is leading an effort to make children’s medicine safer.
The move comes 20 months after ProPublica and Consumer Reports reported on the devices, which have been shown to greatly reduce the liquid dose that children can accidentally remove from a bottle.
About 10,000 children each year visit the emergency room for overdosing on liquid medicines, many of them containing acetaminophen, studies show.
Join us at Seattle Children’s Hospital to discuss best practices to successfully manage type 1 diabetes through the next school year. This event includes a panel of knowledgeable professionals that will address your questions and concerns from a variety of perspectives. Please RSVP by August 14.
Our panel includes:
Lindy MacMillan, JD — Attorney with the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership
Paul Mystkowski, MD–Endocrinologist, Clinical Faculty, University of Washington
Cathryn Plummer, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C–Former school nurse and T1D mom
Seattle Children’s Hospital, Main Campus–River Entrance
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Students need adequate sleep for their health, safety, and academic success
From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Fewer than 1 in 5 middle and high schools in the U.S. began the school day at the recommended 8:30 AM start time or later during the 2011-2012 school year, according to data published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Too-early start times can keep students from getting the sleep they need for health, safety, and academic success, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
CDC and U.S. Department of Education researchers reviewed data from the 2011-2012 Schools and Staffing Survey of nearly 40,000 public middle, high, and combined schools to determine school start times.
Schools that have a start time of 8:30 AM or later allow adolescent students the opportunity to get the recommended amount of sleep on school nights: about 8.5 to 9.5 hours. Continue reading →
It’s family vacation time, and I’ve taken the kids back to where I grew up — a small plot of land off a dirt road in Kansas.
For my city kids, this is supposed to be heaven. There are freshly laid chicken eggs to gather, new kittens to play with and miles of pasture to explore.
But we’re not outside.
At a Minecraft camp in Shaker Heights, Ohio, kids trade secrets about making their virtual worlds come to life. (Photo by Sarah Jane Tribble/WCPN)
I’m sitting in my childhood bedroom watching my 7-year-old son and his 11-year-old-cousin stare at a screen. The older kid is teaching the younger the secrets of one of the most popular games on Earth: Minecraft.
“You can’t mine ores unless you have a pickax,” explains my nephew to my son. “You need a wooden pickax to get stone, and you need a stone pickax to get iron, and you need an iron pickax to get gold,” and so on.
Minecraft is the megapopular video game that ranges from simple to complicated. But the basics are that players enter a world that looks sort of like Legos on a screen and build anything they want. Think houses, mountains and farms. Continue reading →
Immunization update time for kids is now — beat the back-to-school rush
From the Washington State Department of Health
While kids across Washington are squeezing every ounce of fun out of summer, many parents are already looking forward to the beginning of the school year and planning for all that must be done before the first day of school.
Now is the time to get kids in to see their health care providers for required immunizations, yearly well-child checks, and sports physicals. Families can cut down on back-to-school stress by getting the right immunizations for their students well before school starts. Students who aren’t in compliance with required vaccines may be kept out of school if a disease epidemic occurs.
Parents can find the immunization requirements to start school and attend child care online. There are new changes to the requirements this year for the chicken pox vaccine. It’s also important that kids are current on their whooping cough shots. The disease is spreading in Washington and everyone can play a part in stopping it. Continue reading →
About half of young children brought to hospitals with injuries indicating that they have been abused were not thoroughly evaluated for other injuries, and the use of proper care is less likely to happen in general hospitals than in those that specialize in pediatrics, a study released Monday found.
The researchers examined whether hospitals are adhering to guidelines from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that all children younger than 2 years old suspected of being victims of child abuse undergo skeletal surveys, a series of X-rays used to identify broken bones that are not readily apparent, called occult fractures.
The results, published in the journal Pediatrics, reveal a significant variation in hospitals’ evaluation of occult injuries, despite the AAP’s recommendations.
“In the young population, medical providers can miss important injuries. … Skeletal surveys can help identify them,” said Dr. Joanne Wood, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and senior author of the study. Continue reading →
For years health care providers and pharmacies have sold ear drops that contain ingredients like benzocaine and hydrocortisone that have not been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Now the FDA notifying companies to stop marketing 16 unapproved prescription drugs labeled to relieve ear pain and swelling.
FDA wants to make sure that the next time your child has ear pain requiring a prescription drug, the product has been approved by FDA as safe and effective.
“If we don’t know whether these drugs have any benefits, we should not accept any possible risk of side effects,” says FDA’s Charles E. Lee, M.D. Continue reading →
Swimming pools, beaches, lakes, and streams provide an opportunity to cool off during a summer that’s warmer than usual.
Yet germs in the water can make people sick, especially young children, elderly people, and people with weak immune systems.
Chlorine in swimming pools kills most germs, but some types of germs can resist chlorine for many days.
Germs that can cause waterborne illness include Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, E. coli, and norovirus. In the past three years, three outbreaks of waterborne illness have been reported to state health officials – two in lakes and one in a swimming pool.
“It’s important to do all we can to protect ourselves and others from waterborne diseases when we take a dip into local pools, lakes, and rivers,” said State Epidemiologist for Communicable Disease Dr. Scott Lindquist. “Stay out of the water if you’re ill or have recently had diarrhea.” Continue reading →
By Tara Bostock Public Health – Seattle and King County
It turns out that encouraging students to make healthier choices in the lunchroom can be accomplished affordably and without a major overhaul of the cafeteria.
Research shows that small changes like making the salad bar the highlight of the lunchroom, displaying fruit in attractive baskets, or placing healthy foods by the cash register can influence what students select to eat.
In Washington State, the Kent School District is leading the way by changing their cafeterias to
How the Kent School District is bringing behavioral economics principles to their lunchrooms.
Symphonie Dawson was 23 and studying to be a paralegal while working part-time for a temporary staffing agency when she learned that the reason she kept feeling sick was because she was pregnant.
Living with her mom and two siblings near Dallas, Dawson worried about what to expect during pregnancy and what giving birth would be like, not to mention how to juggle having a baby with being in school.
There have been a total of 387 cases of whooping cough reported statewide so far this year, compared to 85 reported cases during the same time period last year, the Washington State Department of Health reports.
Newborns and infants, who cannot be immunized against the disease, are at greatest risk of serious complications. To date, 25 infants under one year of age were reported as having whooping cough and six of them were hospitalized. Of these hospitalized infants, five (83%) were three months of age or younger.
How to protect infants from whooping cough – CDC
Because the disease can make babies so sick, and they can catch it from anyone around them, they need protection. These are the three important ways you can help protect them with vaccines:
If you are pregnant, get vaccinated with the whooping cough vaccine in your third trimester.
Surround your baby with family members and caregivers who are up-to-date with their whooping cough vaccine.
Make sure your baby gets all his doses of the whooping cough vaccine according to CDC’s recommended schedule.
Whooping cough fact sheet from the Department of Health
A new study presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies conference in San Diego, California, suggests that placement of “Green Smiley Faced” emoticons at healthy foods and awarding small prizes to children purchasing nutritious foods could be an alternative way to avoid poor food selection in school canteens, an identified cause of childhood obesity.