Shopping Carts and Little Kids

Little kids and shopping carts can be a bad combination, especially if a child doesn’t understand the dangers of standing up in or trying to climb Rainy day shoppingout of a cart. It only takes a few seconds, while a parent or other adult is intent on picking a product off the shelf, for an accident to happen. The following news release states that new, U.S. research finds a child is being seen in an emergency room every 22 minutes because of an injury related to shopping carts.

Falling from shopping carts caused 70 percent of the injuries, followed by running into/falling over a cart, cart tip-overs, and fingers, legs, or arms getting trapped in a cart.

The study in the January issue of Clinical Pediatrics, found that more than 500,000 children under the age of 15 were treated at emergency rooms for shopping cart-related injuries between 1990 and 2011, an average of more than 24,000 a year.

Seventy-eight percent of the injuries were to the head. Soft tissue injuries were the most common type of head injury, but the annual rate of concussions and internal head injuries rose by more than 200 percent during the study period, from 3,483 in 1990 to 12,333 in 2011. Most of this increase occurred in infants and toddlers.

Voluntary shopping cart safety standards introduced in the United States in 2004 have done little good, the researchers noted.

“The findings from our study show that the current voluntary standards for shopping cart safety are not adequate,” Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said in a hospital news release.

“Not only have the overall number of child injuries associated with shopping carts not decreased since implementation of the safety standards, but the number of concussions and closed head injuries is actually increasing,” Smith said. “It is time we take action to protect our children by strengthening shopping cart safety standards with requirements that will more effectively prevent tip-overs and falls from shopping carts.”

Suggestions include improved restraint systems, placing child seats in shopping carts closer to the floor, teaching parents about shopping cart safety and having stores promote the use of cart safety belts.

Researchers added that there is even more that parents can do to keep their children safe around shopping carts. These include not using carts that lack safety restraints or have broken wheels, staying with the cart and child at all times, and not putting infant seats on top of shopping carts. Parents would be better off putting their infants either in strollers or in carriers that strap to the front or back of the parent’s body.

“It is important for parents to understand that shopping carts can be a source of serious injury for their children,” said Smith, a professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University College of Medicine. “However, they can reduce the risk of injury by taking a few simple steps of precaution, such as always using the shopping cart safety belts if their child needs to ride in the cart.”

SOURCE: Nationwide Children’s Hospital, news release, Jan. 21, 2014

 

Restrictions on Cold Medications Results in Fewer ER Admissions

medicationsA new research study demonstrates that there has been a drop in children being admitted to the ER since drug manufacturers voluntarily withdrew cough and cold medications for infants and young children from the market in 2007, and after labeling changes advised that  over-the-counter cough and cold medications were not for use in children under 4.

Manufacturers of over-the-counter oral infant cough and cold medications voluntarily withdrew these products from the market in 2007 amid concerns that the drugs were causing significant numbers of emergency department visits — and in rare cases, infant deaths.

“The change [in ER admissions] was associated with those two events,” said study author Dr. Lee Hamilton, a medical officer in the division of healthcare quality promotion at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We saw that in children under 2 years old, adverse events from cough and cold medications dropped from one in 25 of all emergency department visits for adverse drug events to about one in 40 [such visits],” Hamilton said. “In the 2- to 3-year-olds, adverse events from cough and cold medicines dropped from one in 10 of all emergency department visits for adverse drug events to about one in 15.”

Parents need to be vigilant about where medications are stored. Dr. Bradley Berg, medical director of Round Rock Pediatrics at Scott and White Healthcare, in Texas shared about accidental ingestion of these medications, saying, “ Over-the-counter medications may seem benign to the average person, but they can be dangerous, especially in small children.

The highest number of unsupervised ingestions seen in our study was in 2- to 3-year-olds. These are kids that are beginning to be mobile and may start climbing and getting into more. And, these medications are sweet and good-tasting. This is the age group that parents really need to be monitoring,”

As for the parents who still choose to give their young children cough and cold medications, Dr. Allison Bartlett, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago, said “Many people think these medications are safe because they’re sold over the counter, and many parents may have taken these drugs when they were young, or they may have older children that to whom they gave the medications.

Kids get so many colds; it’s a frustrating problem. The temptation is there to give them over-the-counter medications that promise to make your kid feel better. But, under the age of 4, these medications are no better than giving a placebo and they carry a number of additional risks.

While these medications can ease symptoms in adults and older children, the nasal passages and airways in young children are so small that the slightest bit of inflammation from a cold or respiratory illness makes it harder to breath, and it also makes it harder to make an impact with any treatment.”

Texas pediatrician Berg shared that for children over 1 year of age, a teaspoon of honey several times a day can help quell a cough. “You can put it in tea or in water with lemon juice;” he advised. “The reason that children under 1 year old can’t have honey is a risk of botulism in infants,” he added.

Results of the study were released online Nov. 11 in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: Womenshealth.gov.

High Chair Safety

The following study is geared towards those who have a young child using a high chair. If you don’t have child in this age group, you might want to share it with someone you know who does.

A new safety study documents that high chair accidents have increased 22 percent between 2003 and 2010; U.S. emergency room physicians are seeing almost 9,500 high chair-related injuries each year. Most of the children seen are under one year of age.

high chairIn the study, published online Dec. 9 in Clinical Pediatrics, the authors analyzed information collected by the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The data concerned all high chair, booster seat, and normal chair-related injuries that occurred between 2003 and 2010 and involved children 3 years old and younger. Data demonstrated that high chair/booster chair injuries rose from 8,926 in 2003 to 10,930 by 2010.

“We know that these injuries can and do happen, but we did not expect to see the kind of increase that we saw,” said study co-author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“Most of the injuries, over 90 percent, involve falls with young toddlers whose center of gravity is high, near their chest, rather than near the waist as it is with adults,” Smith said. “So when they fall… they topple, which means that 85 percent of the injuries we see are to the head and face.”

“Because the fall is from a seat that’s higher than the traditional chair and typically onto a hard kitchen floor, the potential for a serious injury is real,” he added.”This is something we really need to look at more, so we can better understand why this seems to be happening more.”

Roughly two-thirds of high chair accidents involved children who had been either standing or climbing in the chair just before their fall, the study authors noted. Their conclusion: Chair restraints either aren’t working as they should, or parents are not using them properly.

“In recent years, there have been millions of high chairs recalled because they do not meet current safety standards. Most of these chairs are reasonably safe when restraint instructions are followed, but even so, there were 3.5 million high chairs recalled during our study period alone,” said Smith. “However, even highly educated and informed parents aren’t always fully aware of a recall when it happens,” he noted.

According to the study, the most frequent ER diagnosis after a high chair fall is a concussion or internal head injury, otherwise known as a “closed head injury.” This type of head trauma accounted for 37 percent of high chair injuries, and its frequency climbed by nearly 90 percent during the eight years studied.

Nearly six in 10 children experienced an injury to their head or neck after a high chair fall, while almost three in 10 experienced a facial injury, the study found.

Injuries related to falls from traditional chairs were more likely to be broken bones, cuts and bruises.

“For now,: Smith said, “the top three things parents can do to ensure their child’s safety: Use the restraint, use the restraint, use the restraint!”

“The tray is not meant to be a restraint. Children need to be buckled in,” he added.

“Also, supervision is a must. Stay with your child during meal time and make sure he or she doesn’t defeat the restraint,” he said. “Even if a chair does meet current safety standards and the restraint is used properly, there’s never 100 percent on this . . . Parents will always need to be vigilant. Also, if the high chair has wheels, lock them in place. Make sure the high chair is stable, and position it away from walls or counters that the child can push against.”

SOURCE:  HealthDay News, 2013 Clinical Pediatrics, online

 

Facts About Christmas Trees

trees

History of Christmas Trees

  • The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.
  • The first decorated Christmas was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.
  • The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
  • Nineteenth century Americans cut their trees in nearby forests.
  • Christmas trees have been sold commercially in the United states since about 1850. Until fairly recently, all Christmas trees came from the forest.
  • The first Christmas tree retail lot in the United States was started in 1851 in New York by Mark Carr.
  • In 1900, large stores started to erect big illuminated Christmas trees.

Christmas Trees and the Environment

  • Growing Christmas trees provides a habitat for wildlife.
  • Recycled trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelter.
  • Christmas trees remove dust and pollen from the air.
  • Artificial trees will last for six years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill.
  • 59 percent of real Christmas trees harvested are recycled in community programs.
  • An acre of Christmas trees provides for the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.

Artificial / Fake Trees

  • In 2002, 21% of United States households had a real tree, 48% had an artificial tree and 32% had no tree.
  • Most fake (artificial) trees (85%) in the U.S. are imported from China.
  • Real Christmas trees are involved in less than one-tenth of one percent of residential fires and only when ignited by some external ignition sources.

Christmas Tree Numbers

  • Thirty-four to thirty-six million Christmas trees are produced each year and 95 percent are shipped or sold directly from Christmas tree farms.
  • 28 million Christmas trees were sold in 2001.
  • More than one million acres of land have been planted in Christmas trees. The industry employs over 100,000 people. Many Christmas tree growers grow trees on a part-time basis to supplement farm and non-farm income.
  • More than 2,000 trees are usually planted per acre. On an average 1,000-1,500 of these trees will survive. In the North, maybe, 750 trees will remain. Almost all trees require shearing to attain the Christmas tree shape. At six to seven feet, trees are ready for harvest. It fighting heavy rain, wind, hail, pests and drought to get a mature tree.
  • Christmas trees take an average of 7-10 years to mature.
  • 100,000 people are employed in the Christmas tree industry.
  • 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms.

Source:www.pickyourownchristmastree.org

Survey Finds Dangerous Toys On Store Shelves

toys

The following news release, on dangerous toys, is from U.S. PIRG, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Washington, D.C., Nov. 26, 2013 –Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report.  The survey of hazardous toys found that despite recent progress, consumers must still be wary when shopping this holiday season.

The report reveals the results of laboratory testing on toys for toxic chemicals including lead, cadmium, and phthalates, all of which can have serious adverse health impacts on the development of children. The survey also found small toys that pose a choking hazard, extremely loud toys that threaten children’s hearing, and toy magnets that can cause serious injury if swallowed.

“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys,” said Jenny Levin, U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate.

For 28 years, the U.S.PIRG Trouble in Toyland report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children and provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards.  The group also provides a quiz to help educate parents and others about toy-related hazards.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves. We found several toys with high lead levels including a toddler toy with 29 times the legal limit of lead (2900 ppm), and play jewelry for children with 2 times the legal limit (200 ppm). We also found an infant play mat with high levels of the toxic metal antimony, and a child’s pencil case with high levels of phthalates and cadmium.
  • Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under three, we found toys available in stores that still pose choking hazards.
  • We also found toys that are potentially harmful to children’s ears and exceed the noise standards recommended by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
  • We discovered small powerful magnets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed.

Over the past five years, stronger rules have helped get some of the most dangerous toys and children’s products off the market.  Improvements made in 2008’s Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act tightened lead limits, phased out dangerous phthalates, and required independent third party testing.  However, not all toys comply with the law, and holes in the toy safety net remain.

“The CPSIA gave new authority to the CPSC to protect children from unsafe products.  Mandatory toy standards, lower lead limits, independent third party testing, and increased port inspections stop more dangerous toys than ever before from reaching toy shelves,” stated Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and senior counsel at Consumer Federation of America.  “Parents and all consumers should have more confidence in the products they may own or consider purchasing but should also continue to do the right research to select the safest and most appropriate gifts for the children on their gift lists.  Manufacturers should ensure they comply with the law.  Continued CPSC enforcement and adequate funding is necessary to further protect our nation’s children.”

Patty Davis, a spokesperson for the CPSC who attended the event, stated, “Toys are safer now than they have been in the past.  Seizures of defective toys at U.S. ports are up. Nearly 10 million units of toys have been stopped at ports over the past five years.  These were potentially dangerous toys that did not make it into our stores or into the hands of children.”

“Our leaders and consumer watchdogs need to do more to protect America’s kids from the hazards of unsafe toys – no child should ever be injured, get sick, or die from playing with a dangerous toy,” said Levin.  “Standards for toxic chemicals like lead, cadmium, and phthalates remain too weak to protect kids from potentially dangerous exposures.”

U.S. PIRG, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. www.uspirg.org