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Opioid Overdoses Triple Among Kids & Teens – How to Protect Your Kids

By Lisa Pecos

The Journal of the American Medical Associating (JAMA) Pediatrics recently published an alarming report stating that the number of young children and teens hospitalized in the U.S. for opioid overdose has almost tripled in recent years.

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Report Finds Medicine is Over-Prescribed for Young Children with ADHD

Attention disorder medicines

By Jamell Andrews

Though behavior therapy is the recommended first line of treatment for young children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a report has found that more children are being treated with medication instead.

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How Much Sleep Do Your Kids and Teens Really Need?

Sleeping Teen in class AVV

By Lisa Pecos

Chances are that you’ve long been told that you should be aiming for 8 hours of sleep every night, but does that go for your children too? And if you struggle to get in a full 8 hours on most nights, is it realistic to expect that your child or teen can? Experts report that more than one third of the American population doesn’t get enough sleep and this includes children and teens.

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Protecting Your Kids from Ticks

ticks and kids

By Jamell Andrews

With the warm weather and coming summer vacation, children will be spending more time outdoors. The warmer weather at this time of year also means that that tick season is in full swing. A tick bite can put your child at risk for different diseases, with Lyme disease being especially concerning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the United States yearly.

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Summer Child Care: What to Do with Older Kids this summer

daycare with teacher

daycare with teacher

By Jamell Andrews

Along with trying to combat the dreaded summer vacation boredom that’s bound to rear its ugly head on an occasion or two, parents of older children also find themselves scrambling for child care solutions when school’s out but work isn’t.

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Dads: Your Long Commute Could Have a Negative Effect on Your Kids

By Lisa Pecos

We all know that the commute to work can be stressful and the longer the commute, the more of a pain it is. Past studies have looked into the impact that long commutes have on your health and have found that those with longer commutes are more likely to be overweight, have high blood pressure, and develop cardiovascular disease. Long commutes have also been associated with lower life satisfaction and a higher risk of marital issues, including marriage breakdown.

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Puberty Woes or PCOS: Know the Signs

By Jamell Andrews

As a parent of an adolescent daughter, it’s easy to brush off acne and irregular periods as normal parts of puberty. While missed or heavy periods and acne are certainly common at this stage of a girl’s life, they can also be signs of a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

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Unusual Causes for Asthma Attacks

Odd Things that May Trigger Asthma Attacks

Asthma is an ongoing breathing disorder characterized by difficulty breathing, coughing and sometimes wheezing. About half of all asthma attacks are produced by various allergens, which irritate and inflame the airways; the rest can be caused by factors that have nothing to do with allergies, but which still irritate the airways and cause them to constrict.

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Drinking in Movies and Teenage Drinking

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Teenagers Who Watch Actors Drinking Alcohol in Movies More Likely to Drink Themselves

A study published earlier this year in the journal Pediatrics found that young European teens who watched more scenes of actors drinking in Hollywood movies were more likely to binge-drink and otherwise abuse alcohol.

Researchers gave questionnaires to more than 5,000 15-year-olds from England, and found that youths who had watched the most minutes of drinking scenes in different movies were twice as likely to have problems relating to alcohol as teens who had watched the fewest minutes. Those who had watched the most minutes were also almost 2.5 times more likely to drink at least once a week and 70 percent more likely to binge-drink (that is, drink 5 or more drinks in a single day).

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Can Vaccines Cause Peanut and Other Food Allergies?

Boy and vaccine syringe

Do Vaccines Cause Peanut and Other Food Allergies in Children?

No child health topic is being more hotly debated in the United States right now than mandatory vaccinations — and the side effects, sometimes quite serious or deadly, that many parents believe are a direct result of vaccines given to infants and young children.

Greater numbers of children than ever before are developing food allergies in the U.S., and parents are wondering if heavy vaccine schedules are to blame.

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Reducing Exposure to Environmental Allergens

Child's Allergies

Control Your Child’s Allergies Naturally

Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of our allergy prevention report, we discussed the importance of feeding our children foods that are known to strengthen the immune system and cleanse the body, which will help prevent or lessen allergy symptoms. That is preventing allergies from the inside out, which is essential. But it is also important to prevent them from the outside in — to limit the allergy triggers to which an allergic child is exposed.

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Natural Children’s Allergy Prevention

Children Flu Sneeze Elbow Sick

Natural Ways to Prevent Your Child’s Allergies

Part 1 of 2

Spring is upon us. Flowers — and allergies — are in full bloom.

Are there natural steps that parents can take, to prevent or lessen children’s seasonal allergies? Yes, there are many.

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Diabetes in Young Children

SONY DSC

More White, American Children Getting Type 1 Diabetes

Cases of type 1 diabetes are increasing among white American children, especially among 5- to 9-year-olds, according to a study published recently in the journal Diabetes.

Almost 6,000 new cases of the disease were diagnosed in the United States among white teenagers and children, ages 19 and younger, between 2002 and 2009. Most new cases were in children between 5 and 9 years old; smaller increases were seen among children and teens 10 to 19 years old. No increase was seen in cases in children 4 years and younger. Boys were slightly more likely to develop the illness than girls.

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Cigarette Vapor Damages Children’s Lungs

Young man exhaling smoke from electric cigarette

Children’s Lungs Could Be Especially Vulnerable to E-Cigarette Vapor

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, have become popular in the last few years among many people trying to quit regular cigarettes; they were heralded when they were introduced as a much safer way for people to get the nicotine they want, without the thousands of chemicals that are often present in conventional cigarettes.

But new studies are beginning to show that e-cigarettes may not be as safe as consumers were led to believe. One new study has found that vapor from these cigarettes may increase young people’s susceptibility to respiratory infections, including infection by rhinovirus, the most common cold virus.

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Hearing Damage from Loud Music

girl with headphones

Warn Your Children About Hearing Loss from New Music Players

Many young children and teenagers got MP3 players as holiday gifts last month; doctors want to urge parents to caution their children not to play their music too loud, to avoid noise-induced hearing loss.

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‘Rat-Bite Fever’ from Pet Rats Can Sicken or Even Kill, Says CDC Report

rat in kitchen

As pets go, most parents would agree that rats are not among the cutest (though we know some kids might disagree). It turns out there is a good reason not to cave in and get your child a pet rat, if that’s what he or she wants.

A 10-year-old boy from San Diego, CA died in 2013 after being scratched by his pet rat, highlighting the risks from handling the pet rodents, according to a report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Most U.S. Teens Are Sleep-Deprived

Teen_Sleep

Almost All U.S. Teenagers Are Not Getting Enough Sleep, Says Study

A full night’s sleep is one of the best things a teenager can do for his or her physical and emotional health, mental alertness and performance at school or sports. Yet, a new study found that more than 90 percent of American teenagers aren’t getting enough rest during school nights, with only 7 percent of girls and 8-9 percent of boys getting 9 or more hours of nightly sleep.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Children Healthy — Naturally!

Happy family cooking together

It’s good to know that in our day and age, medical knowledge and the ability to obtain information have increased so vastly, compared to even just a few decades ago. But even now, prevention is a fundamentally important way to maintain our health and that of our children, so that we won’t need medical interventions too often.

And what are some of the most essential ways to keep our children healthy the natural way? Here are five that should be on every family’s list.

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Family Meals Keep Kids Slim?

Fight Childhood Obesity

Could Pleasant, Peaceful Family Meals Help Fight Childhood Obesity?

You might not think of it, but having peaceful, pleasant family meals could help maintain children at a healthy weight, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota gave 120 families iPads to record mealtimes for 8 days; half the families had overweight or obese children, and half did not.

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Use of Synthetic Growth Hormone by American Teens More than Doubled in a Year

Synthetic Growth Hormone

The Internet has made shopping for so many goods a lot easier and more practical. For parents, it is important to remember that teens may also avail themselves of the ease and convenience that shopping online affords. And unless parents educate and are vigilant over their teens, youths may be getting their hands on some products that could do them a lot of harm.

Such is the case with products that contain the synthetic human growth hormone hGH. This drug is used by doctors in injection form to treat a few medical conditions, such as diminished production of human growth hormone by a person’s pituitary gland, and to treat children whose doctors have determined will not achieve a normal height, unless there is medical intervention.

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‘Little League Shoulder’ Increasingly Common in Youths Who Play Sports

Youth ball player throwing ball

Summertime means thousands of American children are honing their pitching skills on baseball mounds throughout the land. But as always, it is important to start a new sports or fitness regime with plenty of warm-up and cool-down exercises, stretching, appropriate strength-training, and to not go overboard too quickly. Also, having long breaks from playing a given competitive sport in the course of a year helps decrease the risk of repetitive-use injuries.

Insufficient strength training, combined with bad form, can result in “Little League shoulder,” an overuse injury from repetitive overhead ball-throwing, especially pitching. The condition produces shoulder pain, swelling and decreased ability to move the arm — and doctors are seeing it more frequently nowadays.

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Eating Lots of Fortified Foods, Plus Taking Vitamin-Mineral Supplements Could Be Bad for Your Child

The smiling girl holds a medicinal capsule in a hand

A report released recently by the Environmental Working Group cautions parents to watch out for their children getting too many vitamins and minerals in their diets from fortified foods.

According to the report, the problem could arise when children eat lots of servings of fortified foods, such as ready-to-eat breakfast cereals and nutrition bars, especially when these children also take daily multivitamin + mineral tablets or ‘gummies’.

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Parents Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep May Increase Their Children’s Risk for Obesity, Says Study

sweet dreams

A new study has found that parents who regularly don’t get enough sleep at night are more likely to have young children who, likewise, don’t sleep enough. Lost sleep in turn puts these youngsters (and the parents) at higher risk for being overweight or obese.

The study, done by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, assessed the weight of 337 preschool-age children and their parents, also examining factors known to help protect adults and children from becoming overweight or obese.

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Energy Drinks and Sports Drinks Linked to Unhealthy Behaviors in Teenagers

Teenage_behavior

A new study has found that teenagers who regularly consume energy drinks and sports drinks are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors. Teens who often drank energy drinks like Red Bull and ROCKSTAR were more apt to smoke, use illicit drugs and drink alcohol. And teens who drank either energy or sports drinks regularly tended to spend more hours watching TV and playing video games.

The study was published online recently in the Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behavior; it’s one of the first studies to show that consumption of these drinks may be part of an overall pattern of unhealthy behaviors for growing numbers of teenagers.

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Natural Remedies for Children’s Allergies

Children's Allergies

If you are the parent of a child who suffers from allergies, eczema or asthma, you look for ways to bring relief and comfort to your son or daughter — but you want natural, better alternatives to antihistamines, skin-altering cortisone creams, chemical inhalers, or even nasal rinses (the latter could be too much to expect a young child to be able to do, in any case).

Thankfully, there are many natural, hands-on, more pleasant remedies that you can try for your child.

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Rising GI Infections in Children Linked to Heavy Antibiotic Use: CDC

Washing Hands

Antibiotics prescribed by doctors are linked to rising numbers of serious bacterial infections that can cause severe diarrhea in children, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, recently published in the journal Pediatrics, found that 71 percent of Clostridium difficile infections in children 1 to 17 developed soon after the children took antibiotics prescribed in doctors’ offices to treat other conditions. Most of the children had gotten antibiotics to treat ear, sinus and upper respiratory infections.

Previous studies had shown that 50 percent or more of antibiotic prescriptions are given to treat upper respiratory infections, which do not require antibiotics, according to the CDC.

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Autism Rates Increasing Rapidly: CDC

Angry girl

Autism rates in the United States rose by 30% between 2008 and 2010, and by 120% between 2000 and 2010, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in 68 8-year-old children had been diagnosed with autism by 2010, up from 1 in 88 two years earlier, says the report. These are staggering statistics, compared to the 1 in thousands ratio of American children who had been diagnosed as autistic in 1970.

The study, published online in late March, 2014, found that five times as many boys as girls are being diagnosed with autism. The CDC estimates that 1 in 42 boys has autism, and 1 in 189 girls. Caucasian children are diagnosed most frequently, followed by Hispanics, then African-Americans. The average age at which children are diagnosed has fallen, but remains above age 4 (diagnosis is possible by age 2).

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Overweight Teens’ Life Expectancies Not Increasing?

Overwieght_teen

It’s common knowledge that people’s life expectancies in developed countries have increased in the last 50 years, as science has uncovered new ways to prevent, treat and cure illnesses. But a study has found that people who were obese or overweight as teenagers are not living longer than similar people did five-plus decades ago.

The life expectancy of an American born in 2011 was 78.7 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the average lifespan has increased by more than 10 years since 1950. But the death rate for people in the study who had been obese or overweight as teens did not show improvement during that time.

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September Is the Worst Month for Asthma Attacks in Children

Little girl with the flu using nasal spray

A study published in the April, 2014 print edition of the journal Pediatrics found that September is the worst month for asthma attacks for children who suffer from the condition.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel did a retrospective, population-based study where medical records for a period of five years were reviewed, for more than 900,000 children between the ages of 2 and 15. These children had all received primary medical care between 2005 and 2009; close to 9 percent had been diagnosed with asthma by a physician. About half of the asthmatic children were between 2 and 5; just under one-quarter were between 6 and 9, and just more than one-quarter were between 10 and 15.

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Natural, Safe Asthma Remedies for Children

Child_Asthma

Doctors believe that we are in the middle of asthma and allergy epidemics, as the numbers of children and adults who suffer from these conditions continue to grow, with no concrete explanations for the increases. Asthma is now the leading chronic (or ongoing) illness in children. More than 1 in 10 American kids now have asthma. While it can start at any age, most children have had their first symptoms by age 5.

The causes of asthma appear to be varied. While the condition is a mystery to many doctors, some health professionals believe that more children are getting asthma nowadays because they’re being more exposed to air pollution and other toxic chemicals.

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Childhood Cancer Cases Continue to Rise in the United States

Childhood_cancer

Plus: 25 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Cancer in Children

Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society published its yearly report, “Cancer Facts & Figures.” For the first time, the report included a special section on statistics about the prevalence of childhood and adolescent cancers. The separate section may be indicative of the fact that cases of childhood cancer continue to rise in the United States, despite much progress. According to the report, approximately 15,780 new cases of childhood cancer will be diagnosed in 2014, and 1,960 patients 19 and younger will die from this disease.

Current cancer rates among youths are 19 cases per 100,000 children. About one in 530 young adults aged 20 to 39 is a childhood cancer survivor.

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Caffeine, Energy Drinks and Children

Energy drink

With all the sugar and toxic chemicals in sodas, we should be pleased to know that children are drinking fewer caffeinated sodas these days. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children, teens and young adults have decreased their caffeinated-soda consumption considerably: in 1999, 62 percent of kids to young adults named caffeinated sodas as their main source of caffeine. By 2010, that number had decreased to 38 percent.

But there is bad news: youths are now consuming more energy drinks and coffee than they were in 1999, with coffee consumption more than doubling since then.

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7 Healthy, Quick, Easy-to-Make School Lunches!

Primary School Pupils Enjoying Packed Lunch In Classroom

For parents who opt out of school-meal programs and prefer to prepare their kids’ lunches, the following are useful tips, plus some healthy, quick and easy lunch ideas.

Choose Your Bread Carefully!

A good lunch sandwich starts with good bread. Unless you bake your own bread (and most of us don’t), good bread choices at most supermarkets are unfortunately few and far between. A bread may have a wonderfully soft texture and even taste great … but the first thing you should look at before deciding whether to buy it is the ingredients label.

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Heart Disease Begins in Childhood

Child_Heart

Most people think of heart disease as something that only middle-aged or older folks have to worry about. But long-term studies from the last several decades have shown that heart disease sometimes begins in childhood. Therefore, preventing heart disease later in life begins with eating a healthy diet and developing healthy habits in childhood.

Coronary artery disease, or CAD, is more commonly called heart disease. In truth, CAD can develop into heart disease. CAD is the development of plaques on the walls of arteries that feed the heart muscle. As more plaque is deposited, blood and oxygen flow to the heart are restricted, which can lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and heart attacks later on.

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Cheerios Cereal Will no Longer Have GMO’s … but that Still Leaves the Toxic Chemicals!

Cheerios

In January, 2014, General Mills foods announced that it would no longer use genetically modified organisms (GMO’S) to make its original cereal, Cheerios. While Cheerios has never contained GMO oats, the company will now use non-GMO cane sugar, instead of GM beet sugar.

Growing numbers of consumers and advocacy groups are raising concerns about the safety of using genetically altered crops in our food supply; consumer pressure is behind the decision by General Mills.

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Healthy After-School Snacks for Children

Offering sandwich

When aiming to keep your kids healthy or addressing problems of excess weight, the snacks that you feed your children are more important than many parents realize. It’s not enough to work at feeding kids healthy meals, only to let them munch on candy bars, candies or store-bought cookies and Hawaiian Punch after they get home from school. And kids are usually pretty hungry when they arrive home.

The best strategy for a parent is to keep in the house healthy foods that are quick and easy to eat. Kids will eat whatever is handy, tasty and ready to be eaten. It is just as easy to pick up a basketful of whole, natural foods at the grocery store as it is to get junky, unhealthy foods. But in the long run, making good food choices will go a long way towards insuring that your kids are healthy, so, healthy foods are the only kind of food you should have inside your home.

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Today’s Children Are Less Fit than Their Parents: Study

Fit_Kids

A review of global studies measuring fitness levels among children found that today’s kids have become progressively less fit than children from the last previous decades. The studies, which examined the fitness levels of 25 million youths, found that modern kids can’t run as fast or as far as kids from as recently as a decade ago.

The study, which was led by Grant Tomkinson, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Australia, reviewed 50 previous studies on running fitness, a key measure of cardiovascular health and endurance. The children were aged 9 to 17 and were from 28 countries; the studies had been done between 1964 and 2010; 20 million children were from Asia.

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Losing Sleep Linked to Higher Blood Pressure in Youths

Medical examination.

A new study has found that losing as little as one hour of sleep a night is associated with higher blood pressure in pre-teens and teenagers. Frequent or ongoing sleep loss, which can result in higher blood pressure, could put sleep-deprived youths at greater risk for cardiovascular disease in later years.

Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong recruited 143 children ages 10 to 18, who had participated in an earlier study on sleep apnea. The participants were healthy, neither overweight nor obese, and they did not have sleep apnea. (Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by interrupted or shallow breathing when a person is sleeping; the disorder has been linked to higher blood pressure.)

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Overuse Injuries

sports_injuries

How to Prevent Overuse Injuries in Your Young Child or Teenager

The benefits of participating in sports for school-age children are almost too many to count: sports help keep children healthy, trim, away from drugs; they help children develop social skills, discipline, a sense of fair play, self-esteem, and so on.

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Keeping Your Kids’ School Lunches and Game-Time Snacks Safe from Bacteria

Two cute boys laying on ground in nature and happily eating heal

You are a mom who understands that we are what we eat; you want to be sure that your children eat healthy, fresh, wholesome foods. Because these foods do not have toxic, artificial preservatives or non-nutritious fillers in them, you know that many of them spoil much faster.

A tummy ache, or worse, can happen in a snap, if the food has excess bacteria — and bacteria can multiply very quickly when the food isn’t kept cold enough or hot enough.

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To Get Your Child and Teenagers to Listen About Health Dangers, Try Using Positive Messages

Teenage Couple Taking Drugs At Home

A new study found that when it comes to getting through to young people, you may be better off focusing on the positive, rather than using scare tactics.

If you’re a parent, you may at times get frustrated by how hard it is to get your children to listen to you when you warn them about the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol, speeding when driving, or whatever the possible danger is.

The study, done at University College London in England, involved participants between 9 and 26 years old, who were asked to estimate their risk of suffering certain bad events, like being in a car accident or getting lung disease (from smoking). They were then told the actual statistics for those events.

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Is Vitamin D Important for Reducing Ear Infection Risk in Young Children?

Ear Infection

A growing number of studies shows that vitamin D is an important tool for preventing ear infections in young children. Vitamin D, found naturally in some foods and in enriched foods, and made by the skin when exposed to sunlight, is used by our immune systems to fight disease — the vitamin D receptor (VDR) is present in many types of cells that the immune system manufactures when it’s under attack by invading microbes.

Ear infections are very common among babies and younger children; because they have the potential to damage a child’s hearing when they’re untreated or when they’re recurrent, it is essential for parents and caregivers to take all steps possible to avoid them.

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Does Drinking Sodas Cause Problem Behavior and Aggression in Young Children?

Soda-Kid

We’ve all heard the warnings: soda pop is bad for us. Many studies have linked moderate-to-heavy soda-drinking to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal cancers and other serious illnesses. Even light soda-drinking (defined as 2 or more sodas a week) was found in one study to be linked to pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest and hardest-to-cure cancers. Diet sodas are also bad; they have been linked to even more disease than regular sodas, by some estimates; which makes sense, since they have an even greater number of toxic chemicals than regular sodas.

The fact is, for those of us who aim to eat natural diets and be conscientious consumers, sodas are a complete no-no. The ingredients are more times than not a long assortment of artificial chemicals and preservatives that don’t belong in anyone’s body — least of all, a child’s.

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Getting Your Child Off to a Good Start with a Good Breakfast!

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Before we knew it, summertime was over, and it was time for our kids to go back to school. We may no longer be able to fix elaborate breakfasts before the kids rush to school; but there are certainly plenty of breakfast choices that are healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare.

We all know by now that eating breakfast is important, as it fuels our bodies and minds for the day ahead. But what kind of breakfasts are nutritious and healthy?

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Do Eyes Need to Be Protected from the Sun?

We all know by now that it’s important to protect our skin from excessive Sun exposure, to avoid skin cancers that can be caused by the Sun’s ultraviolet rays.

But besides our skin, other organs that need protection from the Sun are our eyes.

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Sunshine, Tanning Beds and Suntans — What Are the Healthy Options for Your Teen?

Peer pressure being as strong as it is in the teenage years, a lot of adolescent girls and boys may want to head outdoors as the weather heats up and get a suntan. But with all that we now know about excessive sun exposure and skin cancers, some fans of tanning may opt instead to use tanning beds to achieve a golden glow.

But are tanning beds any safer? Scientific opinion runs the gamut.

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Prescription Drug Abuse by American Teens Up One-Third in Five Years

Prescription drug abuse by teens appears to have increased by 33 percent in a scant five years, according to a survey launched in 2012 and published in 2013 by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, in conjunction with the MetLife Foundation.

The survey interviewed 3,900 teenagers in grades 9-12, who attended public, private and parochial schools. Eight hundred parents were also interviewed at home. The survey covered the period between 2008 and 2012.

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Safety Facts About Insect Repellents – and Choosing the Best Brands

As millions of American children head off to summer camps or outdoor family get-togethers, many parents may wonder how to protect their youngsters from the varieties of insects that might be found at camping grounds and parks.

These days, we all have even more reason to worry about bugs than normally, as infestations from the potentially deadly West Nile virus continue to occur in different parts of the country.

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Things to Think About when Signing Up Your Child to Play Sports

The benefits of playing organized sports are well-established. They include giving children the opportunity to interact with peers and coaches to reach a common goal. This can help foster leadership skills as the child learns to get along with others and follow instructions, while working to improve their personal best.

Team sports can also help a child learn new skills. A young person can learn about the thrill of challenging oneself, and the importance of practicing a skill until it is mastered.

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Important Steps to Prevent Sports-Related Injuries

The following is a break-down of what parents need to know, to help their children remain free from sports-related injuries.

Education

Doctors treat around one million sports-related injuries in American school-age children every year. For parents, it is important to learn basic ways to avoid injury when their children practice sports, whether it’s at school or around the neighborhood.

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The Hygiene Hypothesis — Is a Little Dirt Good for Your Child?

You may have heard the term human microbiome or microbiota, which refers to the thousands of species of microscopic organisms that inhabit the bodies of both healthy and diseased humans. These beneficial or “friendly” bacteria and fungi play vital roles in keeping us healthy and helping with normal processes such as digestion of the foods that we eat. Friendly flora can be found on our skins, in the skin’s deeper layers, our mouths, parts of our eyes, and our gastrointestinal tract.

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Child Brain Development

Astounding Facts About the Amazing Human Brain!

  • The brain is one of the first organs to develop in a human embryo, and it continues to change and mature for a person’s entire life!
  • All 100 billion nerve cells present in an adult’s brain have been made by the time a fetus is six months old!
  • A newborn’s brain weighs 25 percent of its adult weight at birth. By two years of age, a toddler’s brain has reached 75 percent of its adult weight!
  • Sixty percent of the human genome (a person’s genetic makeup) — or 60 thousand genes — is dedicated to brain development!

While the brain’s different parts develop on different timelines for different individuals, the stages of development are the same for all of us. Below are some developmental milestones of the human brain, beginning with its formation in utero.

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If Your Child’s Pediatrician Asks Whether You Smoke Cigarettes, He Is Not Being Nosy!

Compared to years past, today’s pediatricians are more apt to ask parents about their smoking habits. And while some parents might take offense to that, your child’s doctor is only trying to help keep your youngster healthy.

In our modern day, American society has largely accepted that cigarette smoke poses some of the very same dangers to those who are around a smoker as it does to the person who smokes.

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Are Hand Sanitizers Dangerous?

Many of us heard the sad story recently about the Klamath Falls, OR 12-year-old girl who received second- and third-degree burns to one-fifth of her body while inside a hospital, after static charge sparks ignited the hand sanitizer she had just used to clean her hands and a bedside table. The sanitizer then burned olive oil that was on the girl’s scalp and T-shirt, making the flames burn more fiercely.

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New Guidelines to Fight Type 2 Diabetes in Children

The current childhood obesity epidemic has led to the American Academy of Pediatrics publishing new guidelines, for the first time ever, for doctors to follow in managing type 2 diabetes in patients between the ages of 10 and 18.

Type 2 diabetes affects 90 to 95 percent of the 26 million American adult diabetics, but it had been rare in children and adolescents. As childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed, one in three children younger than 18 diagnosed with diabetes is now diagnosed with type 2.

Few doctors have been trained to More »

Should Children Take Antidepressants?

While this decision is one that parents of minors should ultimately weigh carefully and decide upon, many of us are hesitant to put too many artificial chemicals inside our bodies. These chemicals often come with undesirable side effects, sometimes dangerous ones, and never is the case more so than with antidepressants.

The ongoing, tragic series of mass shootings by children and young adults that the United States has experienced recently, has brought the subject of youths and antidepressants to the forefront once again. Some of the children and young adults who committed these crimes are now known to More »

Nerves in Kids: The Brain-Gut Connection

We as parents try our best to buffer our children from stimuli or situations that could cause them undue psychological stress.  We keep an eye out on what they watch on TV, the Internet, what video games they play. We strive to prevent  them from witnessing situations that could emotionally traumatize them or make them fearful, which could lead to nightmares or generalized anxiety.  In short, we do the best we can to protect our children’s minds — their brains — from undue stressors.

But until recently, not a lot of attention was placed in More »

Helping Your Child Lose Weight

Because we love our children unconditionally, it is very easy for parents to become blind to any physical problems their kids may have. When a child becomes overweight, parents tend to think he or she is just a little plump or that it is just a passing phase that will end at the next growth spurt. Children do indeed go through phases and their bodies are constantly involving, so in many cases there is nothing to worry about when a child has a couple of extra pounds. But parents do need to watch closely, because weight problems can get out of hand faster than you may think.

There are countless reasons why parents need to keep an eye on their children’s weight. First, there are the basic reasons of health. Children who are overweight can develop health problems that may plague them for life. Second, children set many of their lifelong habits during these years, and teaching your kids to eat well and exercise turns into a great gift later on. Meanwhile, there are also social factors; kids who are obese or even just overweight often face teasing and bullying, which raise a whole additional set of issues.

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Should I Give My Child Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements?

If your child is not eating a meal of fatty fish like salmon or sardines at least once a week then it is a good idea to give him a daily fish oil supplement. Oily fish includes salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, eel, pilchards and fresh tuna and if your child eats a meal with one of these fish once or twice a week then he will probably receive the level of omega-3 fatty acids his body requires. Popular fishy meals that kids like are More »

Help! My Child Is Sleepwalking!

If you are shocked to find your child sleepwalking rest assured that it is fairly common in childhood and not usually anything to worry about. It can be triggered by stress, illness or not enough sleep but with most sleepwalkers it is not a sign that they are psychologically disturbed. There are risks associated with a child wandering around the house whilst asleep as they could fall down the stairs or wander out of the front door. There are precautions that can be put in place which I will discuss later. Sleepwalking is most common in children aged between More »

Should Kids Be Allowed to Have Caffeine?

Many parents have strange approaches to giving their kids caffeine. On one hand, we do not think of coffee and even tea as being appropriate beverages for young children, yet on the other hand, many parents allow their children to drink soft drinks practically to their hearts’ content. And while soft drinks are lower in caffeine than coffee, they have a good amount of it, and they deliver all the caffeine-related effects that coffee does. So while caffeine More »

Early Childhood Teeth Care: The Basics

Much confusion surrounds the issue of how to help young children achieve good dental care. Because we know that those early teeth are going to fall out after a couple of years, many parents assume that early childhood dental care is not a priority and that kids do not need the kind of brushing routine that adults have. But on the contrary, there are some very good health-related reasons to pay close attention to your child’s dental care from a very early age, and it is never too early to begin instilling good habits.

Very early dental care
What many people do not realize is that babies More »

Children’s Growing Pains: What Can Parents Do?

That kids experience growing pains is no myth. At times of growth (and kids do grow at uneven rates), to feel actual pain in the bones, muscles, and joints is quite common. Its prevalence is difficult to measure, but it is believed that as many as half of all children experience growing pains regularly. As grownups, we may not remember just how uncomfortable these pains can be, but they are significant enough to disrupt sleep, make it hard to focus in school, and cause irritability.

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Parenting Tactics That Damage Your Child’s Self Esteem

Be aware that even though you feel you are doing your very best raising your child, sometimes your parenting strategies can be damaging to your child’s self-esteem and the parent-child relationship. Your child needs to grow up with a healthy level of self-esteem to be more resilient to the lessons learnt and the knocks taken in life. A good self-esteem enables your child in decision making, having confidence in the judgements she makes, knowing what is right and wrong and having an ability to ‘bounce back’ after a knock. Healthy self-esteem is especially important during your child’s adolescent years when the chances are she will experience peer pressure to experiment with cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.

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Does My Child Have OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterised by repetitive and unwanted thoughts. These obsessions create actions made by the sufferer as they try to eradicate the anxious thoughts which are compulsions. OCD cases vary from mild to severe and manifest in different ways. With children suffering from OCD their obsessive thoughts can cause high levels of distress and anxiety often dominating their time and ability to focus and hold their attention on things. Research carried out estimates that 1.9% to 3% of children have OCD so out of 1000 children in a school 19 to 30 of them will probably have this disorder. OCD does not discriminate between ethnicities or social groups.

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Is My Child A Bully?

In the UK alone approximately sixteen children a year commit suicide because of the trauma they endure due to bullying. The offending children who have tirelessly bullied their victims know exactly what they are doing but it seems that sometimes, the people in authority such as school teachers claim they did not know the bullying was taking place. Friends of the bullies also probably knew what was happening. Before a child has to have medical treatment or dies, people need to speak up if they suspect such bullying.

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Sibling Rivalry: What Can Parents Do?

Sibling rivalry can take many forms over the years. When the second child is first born, it can take the form of acting out, regression, and fussiness on the part of the older child. And as the kids grow up, it can turn into arguing, physical fighting, and deep feelings of jealousy and resentment. Most sibling rivalry is more of an annoyance than a serious problem, but it can become emotionally taxing to parents who had hoped their children would get along and love each other.

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Amber Alerts – What to Do in Case Your Child Goes Missing

It is one of every parent’s worse nightmares. You take your eye off your child for a minute only to find her gone when you turn around. Or one day he does not get home from school at the normal time. Or she goes outside to play and does not come back in. Scenarios like these are fortunately uncommon, and when they do happen there is usually a good explanation, and it is usually pretty easy to find the temporarily missing child. But what about those very rare cases where the child is not easily found?

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Should Kids Get Their Own Cell Phones?

By Marc Courtiol

Although it may sometimes be hard to imagine life without cellphones, most grownups can recall a time when we were not all in constant touch with one another, and when every household shared a single stationary phone. And because most of today’s parents grew up in that world, many have a somewhat traditionalist attitude when it comes to whether to give their own kids cellphones. Many feel there is no reason a child needs a cellphone, while some take a more modest approach, allowing that it may be a good idea to provide their kids cellphones at, say, 14 or 15, when the social life picks up.

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How to Get a Child Off the Couch and Active

By Jamell Andrews

Getting kids away from their TVs, computers, and gadgets is one of the greatest challenges today’s parents face, and it is not getting any easier. Many parents understandably want their kids to be up to date with all the modern technology, but for every gadget and game our children gain, something is lost. Today’s kids are losing interest in the simple enjoyment of outdoor activities and sports. If we do not push back against this trend, we may be raising a generation of overweight and unhealthy grownups.

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Leaving Your Child Home Alone

By Lisa Pecos

In the early years of a child’s life, parents are forced to do whatever they have to do to make sure the child is supervised at all times. But once the child reaches a certain age, the issue starts to become fuzzier. Most well-behaved kids reach a point-generally in their preteens or thereabouts-where they are responsible and self-guided enough to look after themselves for a few hours. Yet considering whether to leave a child home alone raises all sorts of issues, and many parents are reluctant to face up to these issues until a little later. In the end, it is up to each family to decide on their own, but in any case there are some important factors to keep in mind.

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Should I Vaccinate My Children

Childhood vaccines are used to protect children from a range of serious illnesses such as polio, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, and meningitis. Practically everyone in the medical community unequivocally advocates vaccination for young children, but the issue has become complicated in recent years. For new parents, it is difficult to ignore the recent controversies generated by those who are opposed to vaccinations. A few high-profile celebrities, along with a growing grassroots movement, have made their vaccine refusal a big issue in the media, and this has many new parents wondering what they should do.

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How To Keep The Internet Safe For Your Kids And Home

By Liz Krause

When it comes to the internet, gone are the days when parents know more than the kids – or so it seems. The fact of the matter is, although a child may know how to use the internet faster and quicker, it is the parents’ responsibility to protect them from the dark side of the web.

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How To Cope With Sibling Jealousy

Sibling jealousy is incredibly common. To the older child it can be an overwhelming and confusing feeling when confronted with a young sibling and parents need to be patient and understanding.

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Developing Your Child’s Important Motor Skills

Many parents do not realise how important the development of their child’s fine and gross motor skills are in terms of their academic and physical performances. There are lots of games and activities which parents can do with their children to enhance their motor skills.

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How Safe Are Sunscreens Ingredients?

When people go to the store to buy sunscreen, they assume that the products they purchase are safe and effective. Whether you purchase sunscreen for trips to the beach, lounging poolside, or for everyday protection against the sun’s rays, you probably expect to be able to rely on your sunscreen to protect you from sun damage.

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Summer Problems Caused By Nature

The sun is shining, the days are longer and you have waved goodbye to coughs and colds but summer brings its own little irritations. Here are some tips to help.

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Understanding Asthma in Children

Asthma affects the small tubes (airways) that carry air in and out of the lungs, also known as the bronchi. The airways of the lungs are more sensitive in children with asthma. Something that irritates your child’s lungs is a called a trigger. Triggers cause the airways to narrow, inflame the lining of the airways and tightens the muscles. Also there is an increase in the production of sticky phlegm. The symptoms are wheezing, coughing (especially at night) and shortness of breath making the child’s chest feel tight.

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Can an Herbal Remedy Stop the Sniffles?

In my household, winter time usually means one thing–runny noses. My children’s noses are like a faucet that never turns off–and if it does, it just starts running again a few days later. I don’t think much of this until I get a bad cold. Like right now–I’ve been perpetually sick for the last two weeks–and I’m miserable. So my poor kids, who have been dealing with this since the day winter hit, they really must be miserable. What’s a mom to do? (Especially since cough and cold medicines are not advised for children under 2, according to the FDA.)

The Canadian company Afexa Life Sciences wants to change this and give moms an option, herbal remedy. More »

Understanding Kids with Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a condition that is often associated with diabetes. It is characterized by low blood sugar (glucose) levels. Hypoglycemia itself is not a disease, but an indicator of some other health problem. It is a very dangerous condition for kids simply because our brains need a steady supply of glucose in order to function properly.

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A Parent’s Guide to Cyberbullying

By Lisa Pecos

There have always been bullies, but the internet has given mean kids a whole new platform to bully others, and this new platform comes with some serious concerns that parents need to be aware of. Many people tend to think that being on the receiving end of occasional bullying is a normal part of childhood, and that it might even build character. But as recent events have shown, cyberbullying is a serious matter and needs to be treated as such.

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Dyslexia in Children

By Jamell Andrews

Dyslexia is an impairment of the brain that causes difficulty with translating written images into language. It is one of the most misunderstood learning disabilities in the United States, and it is also the most common one. It is believed that dyslexia affects approximately 15% of the United States population, though everyone who is affected by this disorder is not properly diagnosed.

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How to Beat the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

By Marc Courtiol

According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 20 percent of American children between the ages of 6 and 11 are now obese, and 18 percent of young people between ages 12 and 19 meet the criteria for obesity. These numbers are startling enough on their own, and they do not even take into account the children who are officially overweight but not obese. All in all, one third of American children are bigger than they should be.

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Toxic Materials and Toys: What to Watch For

As if we need one more thing to worry about these days, the LA Times recently published an article on watching out for toxic toy materials. Although regulations on toxic materials in toys do exist, there are  many harmful substances that aren’t regulated at all. You probably remember when Mattel made headlines in 2007 for having to recall millions of toys because they contained lead paint–both the toy industry and parents where in a huge uproar about exposing their children to harmful chemicals. As a result, changes were made, regulations were put in place, but a ton still needs to be done.

The article reports, “One of the main problems is that children, particularly those younger than 3, often put toys in their mouths or otherwise use toys in ways that they were not intended. But even older children can be at risk due to behaviors such as sucking on a necklace. Experts agree that until a comprehensive U.S. policy is in place to identify and disclose all toxic ingredients, consumers should (A) not panic and (B) do some research before joining the throngs of holiday shoppers.”

The LA Times put together a list of what to watch for. It’s long, which gives you one more reason to start your holiday shopping now–it’s going to require some homework if you you want to keep your mini-me’s out of harm’s way. More »

Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Foods

By Lisa Pecos

According to the USDA, kids between the ages of 9 and 13 require at least six servings of fruits and vegetables per day, with each serving being either a half cup of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables or a medium-sized fruit. Kids between 4 and 8 need about five servings per day, while teenagers need the recommended amount for adults-seven or eight servings per day.

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Safest Booster Seats Revealed

By Jamell Andrews

As parents, one of our most important jobs is to make sure that our children stay safe at all times. Even if you consider yourself to be an exceptionally safe driver, accidents can happen to anyone. To be prepared for this event, security experts recommend that parents use booster seats for school-aged children who are still too small for automobile safety straps.

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Study: Parents at Risk of Postnatal Depression

By Jamell Andrews

A study just released by the Medical Research Council in the U.K. reveals that postnatal depression (also known as postpartum depression), which has been well documented among women, also affects a substantial percentage of new fathers. Looking at a group of 86,957 families, the study found that 39% of mothers experience at last one episode of depression within the first 12 years of being a parent, while 21% of men experience an episode. These findings raise new questions about the emotional effects of parenting and highlight the importance of mental health treatment for young parents of both sexes.

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Signs of Depression in Children and Teens

By Marc Courtiol

While childhood depression can be triggered by events such as changing schools, divorce, moving, or a death in the family, there is a genetic component to depressive mood disorders, and some children are more predisposed to these feelings than others. In past generations childhood depression was often dismissed as normal growing pains, but now that we know more about the causes, symptoms and long-term effects of depression, early detection and treatment of depression have become important concerns.

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Your Family and Understanding Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection that results from inflammation around the brain and spinal cord coverings (or membranes). It occurs most often in children (including teenagers) and young adults, though it can pose a risk to some older adults who have weakened immune systems.

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Understanding your Child’s Temperament

By Jameel Andrews

When children have personalities that are drastically different from their parents or siblings, it frequently causes a bit of frustration for everyone else, particularly the parents. If you find yourself becoming frustrated because you do not understand the temperament of your child, there are some steps you can take that will help your household to run smoother and experience more calm.

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Risk, Adventure, and Your Child – LifeJackets

By Brendan Madden

A rogue gust capsized the small sailboat, sending the Farley-McSorley family tumbling into the waters of Lake Fairlee. As their lifejackets bobbed them back to the surface, 10-year-old Madison took charge.

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Easing the Pain of Family Springtime Allergies

By Jamell Andrews

For many of us, springtime brings a lot more than warm weather and extended hours of daylight. It also brings chaotic allergies because of pollen, dry air, and gusting winds that blow everything around even more than usual.

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What to do if your Child is being Bullied

By Anna Rekal

Bullying can come in a variety of different forms, and it can start as early as preschool. Children may be picked on or teased, or they may be forced into certain behaviors or activities in order to avoid being beaten up or have their lunch money stolen.

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Understanding and Fighting Childhood Obesity

Over the past 30 years, childhood obesity has been steadily on the rise among children aged 6 to 19. In children between the ages of 2 and 5, about 14% of them are now classified as being overweight. Approximately 20% of kids aged 6 to 11 are overweight and 19% of kids between the ages of 12 and 19 are overweight. All of these figures are up significantly from statistics that were obtained in the early 1970s, with all of them more than doubling in a relatively short amount of time.

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Are You Aware of Eating Disorders in Adolescence

By Wendy Wood

Do you suspect that your child has an eating disorder? By watching your child’s eating habits you will soon find out if he or she, in fact, has an eating disorder. Here are is a list of tips, tricks and methods for learning more about your child’s eating habits in hopes that we can help your with your situation or to keep if from happening all together.

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Old and New Natural Ways to Prevent Colds

By Marc Courtiol

If you are a parent to a baby or toddler, you are undoubtedly used to your little one having several colds each year. In fact, it may even seem like as soon as your child has finally gotten over a cold, another one mysteriously appears not far behind. While your first instinct might be to reach for the nearest over the counter cold remedy for children, many doctors are now advising against it.

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Parents! Rid your Home of Harmful Allergens

For those of us who suffer from allergies, sometimes getting through the day can be a daunting task. Symptoms ranging from itchy, watery eyes to a constantly runny nose contribute to making our lives miserable when our bodies are assaulted by allergens that they simply cannot deal with.

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Soy and Health Issues in Children

Many people have turned to soy alternatives in the belief that these foods and beverages are healthier for their children. However, consistent research over the past several years has indicated that soy products may ultimately cause more harm than good.

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How to Lose Your Mommy Tummy

One of the hardest things that new mothers face is figuring out how to lose their mommy tummy.  The outer abdominal muscles become so stretched out during pregnancy that even once you have given birth and your uterus has shrunk back down to its normal size, it is very difficult to get those muscles back into pre-baby shape.

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My Baby Has Reflux – Now What?

By Cyndra Neal

You’ve just come back from your pediatrician with a diagnosis of reflux for your baby and a prescription for an acid reflux medication in your hand. Now’s the time to do some research into the different types of reflux medications prescribed for infants, how they work and are they safe for your infant.

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