Raising Healthy Kids

Study: Children Unintentionally Take Wrong Medication

Errors are inevitable, but what will you do if the error involves giving your child the wrong medicine?

child wrong medicationA study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital revealed that while parents and caregivers have the best of intentions, about 63,000 children below six years old have received the wrong medication from 2002 to 2012.

Dr. Huiyun Xiang, who works at the hospital’s Center for Pediatric Trauma Research, said that the figures in their study are still conservative. “The numbers we report still underestimate the true magnitude of these incidents since these are just cases reported to national poison centers,” said Xiang in a news release.

According to the study released via the online journal Pediatrics, the medication error happen in areas where children usually stay: the school, a friend’s house, or the child’s own home. Many of the reported cases involved unintentional ingestion of painkillers, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Meanwhile, the error usually happens because the child receives the drug multiple times as a result of the caregiver’s error or memory failure. Other reasons include following an incorrect dosage or giving the child a wrong medicine for the ailment.

In addition, Xiang said that younger kids prove to be the most vulnerable in these cases. “We found that younger children are more apt to experience error than older children, with children under age one accounting for 25 percent of incidents,” Xiang added.

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Teenage Moms Less Depressed and Drug-Dependent Through In-Home Sessions

Teenage pregnancy is a very difficult issue for the young moms, and it’s easy for them to succumb to depression and drug use. The good news is that with early and persistent intervention, the pregnant teen’s likelihood to be depressed and drug-dependent becomes lower.

pregnant teens interventionA study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed that pregnant teenagers who are exposed to in-home educational sessions are less likely to fall into behavioral issues, use illegal drugs, or become depressed. According to a news release, the study involved more than 300 American Indian pregnant teenagers who were assigned to either of two treatments: the standard care that includes medical checkups and childcare, or the same care but with an additional program of in-house sessions under the Family Spirit intervention. The study ran until the children reached age 3.

The teenage moms who underwent the Family Spirit program were found to have better dispositions than those who received standard care. In addition, their children were also observed to have better future behavioral patterns.

Dr. Allison Barlow, who is the lead author of the study and works at the school’s Center for American Indian Health, shared that the default mode of treatment for teenage pregnancy cases is inclined towards medical techniques, but the study proved that proper intervention works just as well, if not better. “Now the burden is in multi-generational behavioral health problems, the substance abuse, depression and domestic violence that are transferred from parents to children. This intervention can help us break that cycle of despair,” Barlow said.

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Virginia School District Wants Teenagers To Sleep More, Proposes Late School Time Start

If your kids are studying in a Fairfax County high school, they’re probably going to love what the superintendent wants to propose.

high school start time alarm clock teenagers more sleepKaren Garza, superintendent of the high schools in Fairfax County, presented a proposal to delay the start of school time so as to give students more time to sleep. The proposed start time is 8:00 in the morning or later. Although this does not sound like a significant amount of time — high school classes usually start at 7:30 A.M. — this gives teenagers enrolled in the Fairfax County schools an extra 30 minutes of sleep.

The proposed change was made in partnership with the Children’s National Medical Center, which hopes that the time change will afford teenagers with more sleep time to improve mental health and academic capacity. Should the proposal be approved, Fairfax County will be one of 73 school districts that start high school classes later than 8:00 A.M., according to a news release.

Cost implications, however, may hinder the proposal. The change in the schools’ start time would require additional school buses, which may amount to $5 million among other miscellaneous expenses. The need for new buses stems from the fact that these transport vehicles serve multiple schools at the same schedule.

The Fairfax County School Board is set to decide on the matter by October, for possible implementation by the next school year.

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August Pegged As “Kids Eat Right” Month

If you are having a hard time letting your children get the right nutrition, this month is the best way to start doing so.

children eating together with familyAugust has been assigned as “Kids Eat Right” month, a campaign to highlight the importance of nutrition education as a way to teach children how to live active and healthy lives. This program is being spearheaded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The initiative targets the following objectives, as posted in the Kids Eat Right website:

  • Educate children, families, communities and policy makers on the importance of high-quality, nutritional foods in childhood obesity prevention efforts.
  • Advocate on behalf of a quality nutrition approach to promote growth and development.
  • Demonstrate the food and nutrition expertise of registered dietitians through educational programming and advocacy.

The campaign revolves around the concept of healthy eating habits for children by shopping the right kinds of food, cooking for optimum nutrition, and eating together with family. The latter has become a widespread campaign not only for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics but also for other family-centered organizations. In fact, one of the most famous initiatives named The Family Dinner Project emphasizes the advantages of eating together as a family unit.

For more information about Kids Eat Right month, check out the campaign’s press release.

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Excessive Social Media Use Linked To Higher Risk for Substance Abuse

Spending too much time in front of the computer or TV screen may lead to a greater chance for kids to become dependent on drugs and other illicit substances.

teens using social mediaPartnership for a Drug Free Iowa, a group of experts who devise strategies to combat drug use in teens, said that youngsters are susceptible to substance abuse if they spend much of their time playing video games, logging in social media sites, or other non-social activities. The Partnership’s president Peter Komendowski said that “social media can be a very antisocial experience when it reduces actual time spent in activities with friends and family members.”

As a result of spending much time on antisocial activities, teenagers may be tempted to go down the spiral of depression and insecurity. “Excess social media and ‘screen time’ can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, setting the stage for substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors,” Komendowski said in a news release.

Furthermore, the Partnership revealed that an average teenager spends about 55 hours on social media and video games on a weekly basis, with the figure increasing during summer vacation. The group is advocating more parental intervention for teens engaged in excessive antisocial behavior.

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Study: Same-Sex Couples Produce Healthier Kids

Skeptical about raising kids within the LGBT community? A recent study found out that kids raised by same-sex couples eventually lead grow up healthier and better adjusted in society that children growing in traditional heterosexual couples.

kids raised by same-sex couplesLead study author Simon Crouch of the University of Melbourne said that their study suggests that the social stereotype against gays and lesbians may not affect the children too much. “It’s often suggested that children with same-sex parents have poorer outcomes because they’re missing a parent of a particular sex… But research my colleagues and I published in the journal BMC Public Health shows this isn’t the case,” Crouch said in a news item.

The study involved a survey of families to report the health of their children. The results revealed that kids raised by same-sex couples were six percent better in terms of health than those living in traditional family settings.

Crouch attributes this to the dynamics happening in same-sex couples. “It is liberating for parents to take on roles that suit their skills rather than defaulting to gender stereotypes, where mum is the primary care giver and dad the primary breadwinner,” he said.

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