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March 19th 2019
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Dec 27th 2018
Don't relax watch them carefully, we dont want any accidents to spoil the festive spirit
Dec 12th 2018 Some news for Parents
Autism and ADHD 'more likely in younger siblings of children with the conditions'
Younger siblings of children with autism or ADHD have a greater risk of having either condition, according to new study.
While it has been long known that younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at higher-than-aAverage risk for ASD, there was insufficient data to tell whether they were at increased risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The study, which compared their findings with later-born siblings of non-diagnosed children, found that later-born siblings of children with ASD, were 30 times more likely to have a diagnosis of ASD.
The odds of a diagnosis of ADHD in this group were 3.7 times higher.
Later-born siblings of children with ADHD were 13 times more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis and the odds of an ASD diagnosis were 4.4 times higher.
Researchers looked at medical records of 730 later-born siblings of children with ADHD; 158 later-born siblings of children with ASD, and 14,287 later-born siblings of children with no known diagnosis.
Only families who had at least one younger child after a diagnosed child were included in the study.
Meghan Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and at the UC Davis MIND Institute who led the study said: "Despite the fact that autism and ADHD appear very different in their descriptions, this work highlights the overlapping risk.”
The study, published in in JAMA Pediatrics, supports the conclusion that ASD and ADHD are highly heritable and may share underlying causes and genetics.
Dr Miller said while there are reliable screening practices for the diagnosis of autism in very young children there were “no adequate tools” for screening for ADHD in infants.
“We are currently working on identifying early markers of autism and ADHD in infants and toddlers who have an older diagnosed sibling, since these younger siblings are at elevated risk for ASD and ADHD,” she said.
An ability to diagnose ASD and ADHD early could improve both treatment and quality of life.
Nov 22nd 2018
What's With The Food Allergy Apathy? 'People Seem To Think It's A Life Choice'
How long before the UK food industry introduces meaningful change?
On the rare occasion Lucille Whiting, 37, takes her two-year-old son Elijah out of the house to eat she now brings along a packed lunch. The toddler is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and banana, and Whiting says eating out has become impossible through her fear of restaurants making mistakes, mislabelling products or simply not knowing what is in their dishes.
At a recent family birthday, despite the restaurant where they were eating having an allergen menu to hand, the staff said they couldn’t actually guarantee no cross contamination. “He has sat in a restaurant with a bowl of broccoli before because they couldn’t guarantee anything else was safe,” says Whiting.
The family from Suffolk carry an epipen in case Elijah enters anaphylactic shock – marked by his eyes, mouth and lips swelling up – and say “severe allergies are a disability” that still isn’t taken seriously enough despite the recent deaths of two teenage girls, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and Megan Lee, from severe allergic reactions.
Whiting, who has five children, discovered her son’s allergies when she fed him cereal with milk at seven months old. From that point she put her career on hold for 18 months to try and manage his ill health, which was so unpredictable that on one occasion he stopped breathing in the middle of Sainsbury’s. Today she says the family avoid going out for family meals because of the stress.
“We’ve been to coffee shops where we’ve seen staff not cleaning equipment properly between serving cows milk and coconut milk and we’ve recently heard of a vegan customer being served potatoes with dairy butter at a local restaurant,” she says. “For us, mistakes that that could be life changing.”
She isn’t the only one. Dr Pragya Agarwal, 41, from Formby, Merseyside, has two-year-old twins April and India. Both babies, who were born prematurely, are allergic to dairy, soya, gluten, egg, berries and nuts.
Agarwal said that going out is a “real struggle” and the parents always carry Tupperware containers of smoothies, rice, pasta and other snacks, even if they are just going out of the house for a couple of hours. “I am constantly reading labels. We have to choose places to eat very carefully,” she tells HuffPost UK.
She says children’s menus are a particular problem as they often have no soya or egg-free options at all.
Stephanie Hazelwood, 25, who suffers from a dairy allergy that causes eczema flare-ups, says for her the issue is with smaller independent food outlets.
“I absolutely love eating in authentic restaurants – South East Asian being my favourite – but they never have allergen information. Fortunately they don’t tend to use dairy so I am okay. I wouldn’t go to a French restaurant if you paid me.”
London chains are not as much of a problem, she says, but as soon as she leaves the capital she struggles to locate allergen information. ”[So] I call up the restaurant beforehand or go to a chain like Pizza Express – hardly ideal.”
After the two recent teenage deaths and, in Megan Lee’s case, restaurant bosses being jailed for gross negligence, why is the food industry not making quicker progress on food allergy issues?
One woman, Helen Betham, said Pret A Manger – where Natasha Ednan-Laperouse bought the sesame-seeded baguette that led to her fatal allergic reaction – was still not listing all its ingredients on its products. Although quinoa, to which Betham is allergic, is not one of the 14 major allergens that retailers must list on their packaging, menus or websites, she says she doesn’t understand why they don’t just list all ingredients.
Aaaargh @Pret !! Had a sweet potato falafel box which lists brown and white rice, NOT quinoa, which I’m allergic to. Feeling unwell so looked up ingredients & it does have quinoa - quinoa is a grain and not rice. Please can you put the full, accurate ingredients on the products!
Agarwal believes the food industry is lagging behind public opinion on this issue because the number of customers without allergies outweighs the number with allergies. “I suppose restaurants have to consider their profit margins, and often designing a menu or having a selection of products to suit allergy sufferers takes some imagination,” she says.
Chinelo Awa, 30, London, who is allergic to several types of fish, agrees. “As allergies are not contagious and do not affect a large group of people, it’s more difficult to expedite change – these factors make them rank low in our collective awareness).”
According to a 2017 report by the Food Standards Agency only 5-8 per cent of children in the UK have a diagnosed food allergy. The percentage of adults is even lower at 1-2 per cent.
Agarwal and Whiting both believe another issue is that allergies aren’t taken seriously in the UK, but attributed to overcautious parenting or fussiness.
Whiting says: “We hear constantly that ‘allergies never used to exist’, as if it’s some modern phenomenon, made up by over-anxious parents.
“Allergies are strongly associated with fussy, faddy eaters who choose not to eat certain foods. People seem to believe that allergies are some kind of life choice like being vegan, or that people who say they have allergies have overactive imaginations,” she adds. “The attitude arises because most people don’t have even a basic understanding of allergies.”
Hazelwood says: “It would be more helpful if senior members of these big organisations had allergies themselves – then the issue might be considered a priority rather than just ‘something to address on the agenda’.” Whiting wants greater public awareness and allergies to be taught in schools as she says it would make a life-changing diagnosis slightly easier to manage.
“When I first came to the UK,” says Agarwal, who grew up in India, “there was really very little awareness around vegetarianism and it has taken so long, but now this is quite a movement. Similarly, we are now becoming more aware of how wide-spread allergies can be.”
Nov 6th 2018
Old wives' cures for common health complaints that actually work
We've all heard stories of weird and wonderful remedies to treat ailments and illnesses - but do you know how many of them are actually true?
Two in five mums use old wives’ treatments to treat their kids’ ailments, research shows – such as putting raw meat on a wart or verruca, rubbing a wedding ring on a stye, or using breast milk to clear up conjunctivitis.
But not all tricks are urban myths – and here are 13 with a solid track record for effectiveness...
Home cure: Duct tape
Use it for: Warts
Covering warts with duct tape works better than freezing them off, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
In the study, the duct tape zapped 85% of warts after two months, compared with 60% with the freezing method.
Clean the area then cut a piece of duct tape slightly bigger than the wart, and stick it on firmly.
Every three days take the tape off, file down dead skin with a pumice stone or nail file, and repeat until the wart disappears.
Home cure: Vodka
Use it for: Smelly feet
If taking your kids’ socks off causes houseplants to wilt, wipe them with a vodka-soaked dishcloth. It’s the same principle as rubbing alcohol.
Alcohol is antiseptic and drying, so it destroys odour-causing fungus.
Home cure: Listerine
Use it for: Blisters
The classic breath freshener – and powerful antiseptic – can also do a number on blisters when kids are wearing in their new school shoes.
Moisten a cotton ball with Listerine and dab it on the blister three times a day.
Home cure: Banana peel
Use it for: Bruises
On top of many other uses – including whitening teeth and easing the pain of haemorrhoids – the humble banana can also heal bruises in half the time.
Apply a ripe peel to the bruise, tie it on with a bandage or tape, and leave overnight.
The manganese, magnesium and potassium helps blood flow through the vessels under the skin, flushing away the coloured toxins.
Home cure: Torch
Use it for: Splinters
Skin is translucent, so shining a torch lets you see the angle the splinter is at and how deep it is, says Simon James, first aid trainer with the St John Ambulance.
Do it in a dark room, place a torch directly against the skin about 1cm on the other side of the splinter, get your eyes down to skin level and pull it out with sterilised tweezers.
Home cure: Olive oil
Use it for: Earache
Ear drops sold at pharmacies can soften wax, but many contain household staples such as olive oil or bicarbonate of soda, says GP Dr Fiona Sankey.
“Olive oil can do the job just as well, though don’t do this if you have a perforated eardrum because it could cause infection.”
Again, consider using bicarbonate of soda – dissolve half a teaspoon in a beaker of water before inserting it into the ear with an eye dropper, which can be bought from a chemist. Stubborn build-up may need cleaning by your GP.
Home cure: Ice cubes
Use it for: Toothache
If the pain is throbbing but the tooth isn’t tender, the nerve through the tooth could be infected.
As heat can worsen inflammation, ice might help reduce that swelling and relieve pain.
While minor infections may clear by themselves, you’ll need to see your dentist for treatment to prevent the pain becoming continuous.
Don’t put aspirin, clove oil or anything else against the gum – it will probably burn it.
Home cure: Sudocrem
Use it for: Burns and spots
Many associate Sudocrem with treating or preventing nappy rash, says Dr Hady Bayoumi, a consultant dermatologist at the Spire Bushey Hospital.
“But it can be used for all types of skin issues,” he says.
The cream is an antiseptic, inhibiting infection and keeping bacteria out of the wound.
“It’s also good for cuts, spots, minor burns, chilblains, minor bedsores and sunburn.”
A cheaper option for spots is to make a paste with bicarbonate of soda and apply to the affected area. It draws out moisture to speed healing.
Home cure: Ground pepper
Use it for: Cuts
Studies show a component of black pepper, called piperine, has strong antibacterial properties, which would suggest it is helpful for healing.
It also forms a crust over a cut to keep it clean.
“Adding ground pepper to small cuts helps blood coagulate for faster healing, while simultaneously killing lingering bacteria and reducing scarring,” says Cathy Wong, author of The Inside- Out Diet
Home cure: Onion
Use it for: Wasp stings
When a wasp stings, no doubt your child will let you know.
Rubbing a slice of onion on it will reduce the swelling and speed up the recovery time.
There are enzymes in fresh-cut onion that help break down the compounds in a sting that cause inflammation.
Home cure: Vinegar
Use it for: Swimmer’s ear
Swimming in pools on holiday often means bacteria-ridden water entering the ear canal – and children’s ears are more susceptible than adults because the opening is bigger.
Vinegar kills the bacteria that cause swimmer’s ear.
Dilute white vinegar with an equal amount of distilled water and, using an eye dropper, put three drops in the ear three times daily.
Home cure: Ginger
Use it for: Travel sickness
Motion sickness is more common in children aged three to 12.
At least two of the active constituents of ginger reduce the amount of gastric juices produced and lower acidity of the stomach which will help fight nausea.
Suck on a little slice of fresh ginger at the first signs of queasiness.
Home cure: Sugar cubes
Use it for: Hiccups
Hiccups are caused by uncontrolled spasms in the diaphragm.
It is thought sugar somehow stimulates the vagus nerve – which leads from the brain through to the diaphragm – to stop muscles contracting.
We still don’t know why hiccups occur or why they can be cured in odd ways, such as a fright or holding your breath.
The theory about why sugar works is while you swallow, you hold your breath, which would stop the reflex spasm briefly.
Nov 1st 2018
Children getting jewellery stuck up their noses and pencils wedged in their ears cost the NHS nearly £3million a year
· Jewellery, toys, pencils and cotton buds have ended up inside children's noses
· There were 8,752 nasal and 17,325 ear foreign bodies in kids from 2010 to 2016
· Curiosity and a 'whim to explore orifices' is the usual reason behind it happening
· It's a nightmare for parents, takes only seconds and can lead to hours of stress in hospital.
· And children jamming foreign objects into their noses and ears also costs the Health Service nearly £3million every year.
· Jewellery was the most common item to end up stuck but youngsters also pushed in toys, pencils and cotton buds.
· A study revealed that a total of 8,752 nasal and 17,325 ear foreign bodies were removed from hospital patients from 2010 to 2016. The vast majority of cases were children aged from one to nine.
· This averaged out at 1,218 nasal and 2,479 aural, or ear, removals each year at an annual cost of £2.8million to NHS England.
· ewellery made up 40 per cent of cases for children. For objects in the nose, paper and plastic toys were the next most common.
· Cotton buds and pencils were the other items most often put in ears. The study said youngsters did this from 'curiosity, a whim to explore orifices and accidental entry of the foreign body'.
· Author Dr Simon Morris, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Swansea, said surgeons have retrieved 'pretty much anything that fits' from children.
· He added: 'I've seen green peas, 'googly eyes' and polystyrene balls from bean-bags.'
· The study called Will Children Ever Learn? used hospital data and was published in The Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons.
Oct 12th 2018
Experts warn parents not to give children decongestant medicine
Young children shouldn't be given decongestants because there's no proof they work and they might be unsafe, experts have warned.
Researchers argue medicines used to relieve blocked noses should never be given to children under six years old, and only given with caution to under-12s.
Children should instead be told their symptoms will get better on their own. Most colds are caused by viruses which can't be treated but cure themselves.
While decongestants can help adults, there is no proof they work for children and they might instead cause drowsiness or stomach problems, a study found.
Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Ghent in Belgium, made the claim in the British Medical Journal today.
They reviewedevidence on the suitability of decongestants for children – household brand decongestants include Sudafed, Vicks and Olbas Oil, but specific brands were not named by the scientists.
Professor Mieke van Driel, of the University of Queensland, said: 'There is no evidence that these treatments alleviate nasal symptoms and they can cause adverse effects such as drowsiness or gastrointestinal upset.'
Children suffer around six to eight colds per year, the researchers said, while adults get two to four.
For adults, using decongestants for three to seven days could have a small effect on nasal symptoms.
But side effects may include insomnia, drowsiness, headaches or stomach problems.
And using them for too long can actually make the blocked nose worse and harder to get rid of.
However, trials on their effects on children are lacking, especially among those under 12 who have the most common colds.
The study authors wrote: 'Some products that contain decongestant may improve nasal symptoms in children, but their safety, especially in young children, is unclear.'
And they said: 'Do not prescribe decongestants to children under 12, as evidence of their effectiveness is limited and associated risks may exist.'
Vapour rub may relieve congestion but could cause skin rashes, the research added.
In children under two, Professor van Driel said the drugs have even been associated with convulsions, rapid heart rate and death.
She said none of the other commonly used over-the-counter and home treatments, such as heated humidified air, analgesics, eucalyptus oil, or echinacea, are supported by scientific evidence.
'If parents are concerned about their child's comfort,' Professor van Driel added, 'saline nasal irrigations or drops can be used safely, but this may not give the desired relief.'
The researchers said it was unlikely that any studies would produce evidence pointing to a treatment for the common cold.
Colds are usually caused by viruses and are mostly self limiting, with symptoms clearing in seven to 10 days.
But the illness can have a substantial impact on work, school, health services, and money spent on medications.
Paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are sometimes prescribed for pain relief, but they do not appear to improve nasal congestion or runny nose.
Professor van Driel added: 'Based on the currently available evidence, reassurance that symptoms are self limiting is the best you can offer patients, although short term use of decongestants in adults can provide some relief from a blocked nose.
Oct 9th 2018
Children are 23% less likely to become ill if they wash their hands with a sanitiser instead of soap and water
· Spanish researchers studied hand-washing in 911 infants in Almeria
· Those using hand sanitiser were the least likely to get infections like colds
· Being stricter with soap and water caused a minor reduction in illness
· Children should be supervised in case they swallow sanitiser, an expert warned
· Children are less likely to become ill if they use hand sanitiser instead of soap and water to wash their hands, a study has revealed.
· Scientists found youngsters who use alcohol-based gels and follow strict hand-washing rules are almost a quarter less likely to get a cough or cold.
· Washing hands more thoroughly with soap and water reduced the number of sick days infants had, but hand sanitisers did a better job of preventing illness.
· Experts say the hand gels are not 'second best to a sink' – despite popular belief - and could actually be a more effective way of stopping germs spreading.
· Researchers led by the Andalusian Public Foundation for Biomedical Research tested how different methods of hand-washing affected 911 children under the age of three in Almeria in Spain.
· Two groups were given strict protocols for how and when to wash their hands, with one group using hand sanitiser and the other soap and water, CNN reported.
· And a third group was given basic hand-washing advice at the beginning of the study but told to continue with their usual habits throughout the eight-month study.
· Children in the hand sanitiser group had 23 per cent fewer infections – such as the cold, flu or sinusitis – than those in the third group.
· CHILDREN HOSPITALISED AFTER DRINKING HAND SANITISER
· Between 2011 and 2014 more than 70,000 children in the US were treated for injurieS related to alcoholic hand sanitisers.
· The cases ranged from eye irritation and stomach pain to vomiting and comas, and thousands of under-12s had to be hospitalised after drinking it.
· More than 90 per cent of these severely affected children were under five years old, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
· Five children were sent into a coma, three had seizures, and two temporarily stopped breathing.
· The report warns this should not be seen as a reason to stop using the product.
· However, the authors warn parents to be vigilant about handing a whole bottle to their child.
· 'Hand sanitisers are effective and inexpensive products that can reduce microorganisms on the skin, but ingestion or improper use can be associated with health risks,' they wrote.
· But those washing their hands with soap and water were 21 per cent more likely to get an infection than the sanitiser group, and 31 per cent more likely to need antibiotics.
· Hand sanitisers often contain pure alcohol and work by destroying bacteria and virus cells by breaking down their structure.
· It reduces the amount of bacteria on skin more effectively than soap and keeps the skin cleaner for longer because the alcohol remains there, experts say.
· And whereas soap can dry out the skin, cracking it and making places for bacteria and viruses to hide, sanitisers are made with moisturiser in them to keep skin strong.
· On average, children without strict hand-washing rules missed 4.2 per cent of days they were meant to spend in day care because of illness.
· This fell to 3.9 per cent for children using soap and water with strict guidelines, and 3.25 per cent if the children used hand sanitiser.
· Janet Haas, president of the US's Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, who was not involved in the study, welcomed the findings.
· She said: 'There is a place for alcohol hand sanitisers, and the public may not be aware of how effective they can be.
· 'I think people still think of them as "if you can't get to a sink, this is second best," but in this study, it showed that it was better than the soap and water hand-washing for this group.'
· Among the 911 children, spread across 24 day care centres, illness caused 5,186 days of missed care.
· Children in the two stricter groups were told to wash their hands before and after eating, when they got home, and every time they coughed, sneezed or blew their nose.
· But Dr Haas added hand sanitisers should be used with caution.
· 'They have to be used with supervision, she said. 'The caveat here is that you can't have little kids putting that in their mouth and possibly getting alcohol intoxication.'
· The research was published in the journal Pediatrics.
Oct 8th 2018
Co-sleeping: is bed sharing with your baby safe?
We look at the evidence behind bed sharing with your newborn baby.
As a new parent desperate for some shut-eye, you might have found yourself curled up next to your newborn baby in your bed on occasion, drifting off to sleep. Or perhaps you have made the conscious decision to co-sleep with your baby right from the start. Either way, you are certainly not alone.
While the Department of Health recommends the safest place for a new baby to sleep is in a cot in your room for the first six months of their life, many a sleep-deprived mother admits to sharing a bed with their baby – either at night or for daytime naps – at some point during the first few months of parenthood.
What are the risks of baby co-sleeping?
If you have decided to co-sleep with your newborn baby (either occasionally or every night), it’s common to feel at least a little concerned about whether you’re doing the right thing – after all, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that, while sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is rare, it does happen more often when parents or carers bed share with their baby.
However, it’s important to note that the NICE guidance doesn't distinguish between co-sleeping on sofas, chairs or bed-sharing… and there is a significant difference.
Bed-sharing: unravelling the evidence
One 2014 study, published in the journal Plos One, found that yes, incidences of SIDS were significantly higher among co-sleeping babies than the controls. However, when the statistics were broken down to specific co-sleeping environments, it was found that babies sleeping next to an adult on a sofa, or next to an adult who had drunk more than two units of alcohol, carried a very high risk. Co-sleeping next to a smoker also carried a greater risk.
If co-sleeping is undertaken safely, it is not currently considered to pose a significant SIDS risk.
But the risk associated with bed-sharing without any of these additional factors was not significant at all. The authors of the study concluded that public health strategy should therefore focus on educating parents about the specific hazardous co-sleeping environments they should avoid, namely: sofa-sleeping, smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
So, the good news for parents who want to co-sleep with their babies? 'If co-sleeping is being undertaken safely, following the below recommendations, it is not currently considered to pose a significant SIDS risk,' says Liz Halliday, Deputy Head of Midwifery at Privatemidwives.com, the leading provider of private midwifery services.
What are the benefits of baby co-sleeping?
There are actually proven benefits of co-sleeping with your baby, if all the necessary safety precautions are taken, especially for mothers who are keen to breastfeed.
The rate of SIDs is 70 per cent lower in babies who are exclusively breastfed.
'Co-sleeping supports breastfeeding, and results in both parents and babies getting more rest,' says Halliday.
And breastfeeding itself is linked strongly to a lower rate of SIDs – in fact, researchers have found that the rate of SIDs is 70 per cent lower in babies who are exclusively breastfed, and 60 per cent lower in babies who have had any amount of breastmilk.
How to co-sleep safely with your baby
If you would like to co-sleep with your baby, it’s vital that you do so safely and in accordance with the following guidelines, as explained by Liz Halliday:
✔️ Parents should sleep in a bed with a firm mattress, to reduce rolling accidents.
✔️ The bed should be firmly against a wall, as a gap could cause the baby to become trapped between the bed and the wall.
✔️ Extra pillows, loose blankets or night clothes with tassels should be avoided.
✔️ The baby should not sleep under a duvet as they can easily overheat, but should have its own blanket or sleeping bag.
✔️ The baby should sleep on its back.
✔️ The baby should not sleep next to older siblings.
✔️ Never co-sleep on a sofa or armchair.
✔️ It is not advisable to sleep with your baby if you or your partner smoke, have been drinking alcohol or are taking any medications that may make you drowsy (prescription or otherwise).
✔️ It is not advisable to sleep with your baby if you are exhausted.
✔️ It is not advisable to sleep with your baby if your baby was premature, or weighed less than 2.5kg at birth.
Oct 6th 2018
Selfie deaths: 259 people reported dead seeking the perfect picture
The quest for extreme selfies killed 259 people between 2011 and 2017, a 2018 global study has revealed.
Researchers at the US National Library of Medicine recommend that 'no selfie zones' should be introduced at dangerous spots to reduce deaths.
These would include the tops of mountains, tall buildings and lakes, where many of the deaths occurred.
Drowning, transport accidents and falling were found to be the most common cause of death.
But death by animals, electrocution, fire and firearms also appeared frequently in reports from around the world.
In July this year, 19-year-old Gavin Zimmerman fell to his death while taking selfies on a cliff in New South Wales, Australia.
Tomer Frankfurter died in California's Yosemite National Park in September after falling 250 metres while trying to take a selfie.
News reports like this were analysed to compile the study.
They found that selfie-related deaths are most common in India, Russia, the United States and Pakistan and 72.5% of those reported are men.
Previous studies were compiled from Wikipedia pages and Twitter, which researchers say did not give accurate results.
The new study also showed that the number of deaths is on the rise.
There were only three reports of selfie-related deaths in 2011, but that number grew to 98 in 2016 and 93 in 2017.
However, the researchers claim that the actual number of selfie deaths could be much higher because they are never named as the cause of death.
"It is believed that selfie deaths are underreported and the true problem needs to be addressed," it says.
"Certain road accidents while posing for selfies are reported as death due to Road Traffic Accident.
"Thus, the true magnitude of the problem is underestimated. It is therefore important to assess the true burden, causes, and reasons for selfie deaths so that appropriate interventions can be made."
Oct 2nd 2018
If you teach them they will help
Bravery award for autistic children over 999 call after mother taken ill
A five-year-old boy with autism dialled 999 and guided paramedics to his home after his mother fell unconscious while unpacking shopping.
Charley-Anne Semple, 27, has praised the actions of her son, Tyler, and he has been presented with a bravery award by the National Autistic Society.
Tyler’s three-year-old sister, Annabella, who also has autism and was home at the time, was also given an award.
Mrs Semple said she was at home in Thurrock, Essex, with her two children when she collapsed on September 21.
“I was home just putting some shopping away, which was the last thing I remember,” she said. “What I’ve been able to piece together and have been told by the paramedics is I was lying on the floor unconscious.
“Tyler took my phone. He knows the pin code, he’s very clever with technology.
“He called 999. He was on the phone for a good 10 minutes, which is extremely difficult and quite surprising for Tyler as he doesn’t hold conversation very well.
“He has speech therapy. He’s verbal but keeping interest in conversation, staying on topic is difficult.
“He told them he needed an ambulance and he recited our address.
“We’ve only lived here four months. He was giving them the phonetic postcode – Romeo, Mike…
“He was also giving her directions.”
She said the call handler asked Tyler for information but that he struggled to answer direct questions.
“He said ‘She’s dead’,” Mrs Semple said. “He told her I had eaten a poisoned apple from an ugly old witch.
“We haven’t watched Snow White recently and I haven’t been eating apples so I don’t know where that came from. It must have sounded like a hoax call.”
She said Tyler went with his sister to fetch a neighbour and that paramedics, whom she described as “fantastic”, arrived and treated her.
Her collapse was the result of a pre-existing medical condition, she said, adding that she had fainted before but not recently.
She said Tyler and Annabella were “so happy with their awards” and that by dialling 999 Tyler proved to her that “he’s more capable than people give credit for”.
“I think what’s nice and what I’m really trying to push is to celebrate how fantastic I think the children did on the day and to raise autism in a positive light,” she said. “It’s nice to celebrate them.”
An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Although only being five years old, Tyler knew exactly what to do when he found his mother unconscious.
“He called 999, gave his address and followed our instructions, getting help from a neighbour until we could arrive.
“He was also was very brave and stayed calm in what must have been a very frightening situation for him.”
Oct 1st 2018
Social media could be behind rise in child sleep disorders
Increasing numbers of children are suffering from sleep problems, and the rise is being attributed to use of social media and digital devices before bedtime, as well as childhood obesity and mental health problems.
The number of hospital admissions for young people with sleep disorders has risen sharply over the last six years, according to data from NHS Digital analysed by The Guardian.
Admissions with a primary diagnosis of sleep disorder amongst under-16s rose from 6,520 in 2012-13 to 9,429 last year.
The rise in sleep problems for children is in contrast to a slight fall in admissions across all ages, from 29,511 in 2012-13 to 29,184 in 2017-18.
But some experts believe we shouldn’t be demonising social media - rather we should be teaching parents to set boundaries for their children.
“We know that blue light from screens can interfere with sleep but really these problems are down to poor parenting, not social media,” digital detox expert and author of Stop Staring at Screens, Tanya Goodin, explains to The Independent.
“If children are staying up late at night on screens and social networks the blame must be laid at the door of parents, not the social media companies.”
Vicki Dawson, founder of the NHS Doncaster-funded the Children’s Sleep Charity, also stresses the importance of parents setting strict rules around bedtimes.
“We are increasingly seeing families where both parents are out working and this can mean that bedtime becomes later; bedtime routines may be rushed or abandoned altogether,” she said.
“A good sleep routine is key in supporting a better sleep pattern. Diet can play a role too. We see children and young people who are consuming a lot of sugar and even energy drinks to try to compensate for the sleep deprivation that they are experiencing. This then has an impact on night-time sleep.”
However it’s not just social media use that is being heralded as the cause of the increase - rising obesity levels and a crisis of mental health have also been cited as contributing factors.
Obesity contributes to sleep apnoea, which is the most common sleep disorder. If a person suffers from sleep apnoea, the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing. It is a problem that’s worsened when a person is overweight.
However, research also suggests that not sleeping enough can lead to weight gain, so the two factors are closely linked.
“We have two main epidemics among children. One is obesity and the other is mental health, and underpinning both of these is sleep,” said Michael Farquhar, a consultant in sleep medicine at the Evelina Children’s hospital, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust.
“We always thought sleep was a consequence of obesity but there is an increasing understanding that sleeplessness contributes to obesity. When you are sleep-deprived, your body responds by altering the hormones that affect appetite and hunger … you crave unhealthy things when you are tired.”
Similarly, suffering from anxiety can lead to trouble sleeping, and being sleep deprived can contribute to anxiousness.
“Children need a consistent routine from early on… one that is consistent but not a straitjacket, there should be flexibility,” added Farquhar.
“Building in winding-down time at the end of the day, reducing smartphone use an hour before bedtime is important for better sleep.”
Sept 24th 2018
Three children in every classroom suffering mental health problem fuelled by social media, Barnardos chief warns
Three children in every classroom are suffering mental health problems fueled by social media, the chief executive of the UK’s biggest children’s charity has said.
Javed Khan, Barnardo’s chief executive, said children’s services are struggling to cope with a crisis made worse by the internet and social media which is exposing children to cyber bullying, sexual exploitation, grooming and gaming addiction.
Mr Khan told The Telegraph, social media was contributing to a “perfect storm” of rising demand for children’s services which have increasingly limited resources to cope with it.
A YouGov poll for the charity yesterday found 60% of social workers, education and law enforcement staff had seen an increase in number of particularly vulnerable children in the past five years.
Two thirds attributed the rising numbers to a shortfall in early intervention and said more children than ever had complex problems including trauma, grooming, sexual abuse and exploitation.
Citing an Office of National Statistics study of 7,000 children, Mr Khan warned it had become a wider issue affecting children of all classes and backgrounds. "Three children in every classroom are thought to have a diagnosable mental health problem, which is approaching epidemic proportions," he said.
“The nature of ‘vulnerability’ is changing and it doesn’t respect class or privilege.
"Across the country, there are children living in comfortable homes with their parents, who seem safe and secure but the moment they switch on their phone, tablet or computer, they enter a new realm where the usual rules, regulations and safeguards do not apply."
He added that "the risks connected with the online world, in addition to rising demand for children’s services, and limited resource, is creating a perfect storm".
With 77% of those polled saying there were insufficient resources to meet demand, Mr Khan advocated a radical new approach which included Barnardo’s delivering services for and in partnership with councils, police, the NHS and other charities.
Mr Khan also backed urgent legislation to force the tech giants to take faster and more effective action to better protect children from online harms.
“We know through our specialist services how abusers destroy children's lives and much more needs to be done to protect them,” he said. “Any delay could put future generations of children in danger,” he said.
The Telegraph has been campaigning for a new statutory duty of care on social media firms to better protect children from threats such as cyberbullying, grooming and addiction.
July 17th 2018
Parents warned over high levels of chemical in slime toys
Parents warned about high levels of chemical in some slime toys.
Parents are being warned that some children's slime products may contain up to four times the legal amount of a chemical which can cause convulsions and sickness.
Consumer group Which? tested 11 products, and found that eight of them breached EU regulations on the amount of boron they contain.
Boron is found in borax, the ingredient commonly used in slime manufacture to give the product its stickiness.
Which? said that Toysmith Jupiter Juice had more than four times the permitted level of boron with 1400mg/kg. This was followed by CCINEE Pink Fluffy Slime, which was found to contain 1000mg/kg, and Cosoro Dodolu Crystal Slime Magic Clay, which was found to contain 980mg/kg.
One product purchased on the online marketplace, Hulk Green Halloween Slime, met the standard. Slime from high street retailers, The Works and Smyths, were also found to be safe.
Large quantities of boron can be poisonous. Symptoms include skin inflammation and peeling, tremors, convulsions, headaches, diarrhoea, vomiting, and even depression.
Nikki Stopford, director of research and publishing at Which?, said: "Parents buying slime for their children should have peace of mind that these toys are safe, so they will be shocked to find that the health of their children could be put at risk by these slimes. There must be fundamental changes to the product safety system.
"Manufacturers must stop making unsafe products and the Government and retailers simply have to do a far better job of getting anything identified as a risk off the shelves and out of people's homes."
All the products which failed the tests were bought from the online retailer Amazon. All have now been removed from their UK website, although some are still available from the US site.
An Amazon spokesperson said: "All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don't will be subject to action including potential removal of their account.
"The products in question are no longer available."
follow up news
Three year-old killed in bouncy castle 'explosion' was from Suffolk
A little girl who died after a bouncy castle "exploded" in Norfolk was a three-year-old from Suffolk, it has been confirmed.
A post-mortem is due to take place into her death on Monday afternoon following the tragedy on Gorleston beach in Norfolk on Sunday morning.
Norfolk Police said: "A Home Office post-mortem is due to take place this afternoon to determine the cause of her death.
"A police cordon has been put in place at the scene whilst enquiries continue and this is likely to remain in place for the rest of the day."
uperintendent Roger Wiltshire told Sky News: "We know a girl was on an inflatable trampoline. She sustained serious injuries and died in hospital.
"She was visiting with her family. Her family are obviously distressed, we cannot imagine what they are going through and our specially trained officers are with them and will be with them for as long as they need them."
He said experts were now being brought in to examine the inflatable equipment on the beach.
"We have all the equipment sealed off and we have experts from all over the country to examine the equipment."
Sarah Allard, who was at the scene, said she heard a loud bang as the bouncy castle "exploded" and propelled a girl 20ft into the air.
She said a lifeguard did CPR for around 15 minutes at the scene before paramedics arrived.
Two inflatables had been set up and the beach was particularly busy, with weekend temperatures more than 21C.
"A lot of people hadn't known what had happened," Ms Allard said. "It was desperately horrible and sad."
A windbreaker was placed around the girl as medics fought to save her, according to Sky News correspondent Joe Tidy who was at the scene.
The East of England Ambulance Service said it received more than a dozen calls about the incident.
"Several of our teams were dispatched, with the first on scene in four minutes," they said in a statement.
"The young female was seriously injured and in cardiac arrest on our arrival, and was conveyed to James Paget Hospital. Sadly, despite all of the efforts and interventions, she was pronounced deceased."
Norfolk Constabulary, which was called to Gorleston's Lower Esplanade at around 11.15am, said a joint investigation into the incident had been set up between the Health and Safety Executive, local authority and polic
July 1st 2018
Young girl killed after bouncy castle 'explodes'
A young girl has died after being thrown from a bouncy castle in Norfolk.
Police confirmed the death after they were called to an incident on Gorleston beach at 11.15am on Sunday.
The girl was taken to James Paget Hospital but died of her injuries. Her next of kin have been informed and are being supported by police officers.
Sarah Allard, who was at the scene, said she heard a loud bang as the bouncy castle "exploded" and propelled a girl 20ft into the air.
She said CPR was performed for around 15 minutes at the scene.
"A joint investigation between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), local authority and police has been launched to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident," the police said in a statement.
"A police cordon has been put in place at the scene whilst enquiries continue."
June 13th 2018
just a little reminder, read the safety tips again and dispose of your little batteries safely.
Safety_tips_children for Room/Bedroom
Tips for Adult's Bedroom
If you own firearms:
Doors & Windows
Heating & Cooling Elements
Emergency Equipment & Numbers
Other Safety Issues
Garage & Laundry Area
April 9th 2018
Wet wipes are contributing to childhood food allergies, finds study
Wet wipes could be putting babies at risk of allergic reactions by creating a breach in the skin’s natural protective coat that makes it more sensitive to unusual chemicals, a study has found.
US researchers hailed a “major advance in our allergy understanding” after showing they can develop after repeat skin contact in an area where soaps have stripped the natural oils from the skin.
If wet wipe residues are not rinsed off, babies are then vulnerable to absorb allergy-causing chemicals when they’re picked up or touched, the authors said.
This is particularly true for children who already have a genetic predisposition for developing allergies that are also linked with conditions like eczema, which affects a third of childhood allergy sufferers.
The findings go some way in explaining how food allergies, an extreme immune response to harmless substances, start and why allergy rates have increased nearly 20 per cent in countries like the US in the past 20 years.
“This is a recipe for developing a food allergy,” said the study’s lead author, Joan Cook-Mills, a professor of allergy-immunology at Northwestern University.
“It’s a major advance in our understanding of how a food allergy starts early in life.”
Eczema is caused by when genetic mutations disrupt some of the proteins embedded in the skin that create the barrier effect.
But in a test in baby mice with these eczema mutations, exposure to peanuts alone wasn’t enough to cause an allergy in later life.
After reading about studies where drugs were delivered through the skin using soap to break down the barrier, Professor Cook-Mills said: “I thought, ‘oh my gosh! That’s infant wipes!’”.
Repeating the experiment, the team first applied sodium lauryl sulphate, a common soap also found in wet wipes, to the mice’s skin before exposing them to common food and other allergens.
They were given three or four skin exposures in a two-week period, and were then given egg or peanut to eat. The researchers found the mice developed a rash at the skin exposure site, as well as having allergic reactions and body-wide anaphylaxis – the shock response in serious allergies.
The wet wipe effect could be similar to the skin barrier breakdown with a mild rash or bad eczema, and Professor Cook-Mills said parents should go back to older ways of washing infants.
“Reduce baby’s skin exposure to the food allergens by washing your hands before handling the baby and limit use of infant wipes that leave soap on the skin.
“Rinse soap off with water like we used to do years ago.”
April 5th 2018
Babies at risk of being put in unsafe sleep positions by babysitters
Babies who died in their sleep while being watched by someone other than parents were often placed in unsafe sleep positions, a study has found.
Researchers examined more than 10,000 infant deaths from 2004 to 2014 and found that 1,375 cases (13.1%) occurred during the absence of a parent. They found infants who died of sleep-related causes under non-parental supervision were less likely to be placed in the “supine” position - lying horizontally with their face and torso facing up.
Among the babies who died under non-parental supervision, those supervised by relatives or friends were more often placed on an adult bed or couch for sleep and were more likely to have objects in their sleep environment. The researchers urged paediatricians to educate parents that all caregivers must always follow safe sleep practices.
“If someone else - a babysitter, relative, or friend - is taking care of your baby, please make sure they know to place your baby on the back in a crib and without any bedding,” said Dr. Rachel Moon of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
Dr Moon added: “It’s always best to discuss where and how your baby should sleep. You can’t make assumptions that the person with whom your baby is staying will know what is safest.”
So if you’re leaving your baby with a family member or friend for the first time, what should you ensure they know before you leave the house?
Kate Holmes, support and information manager at The Lullaby Trust told HuffPost UK: “Whether caring for your own baby, or babysitting a friend or relative’s little one, it’s important that you’re aware of the risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). While SIDS is rare, it’s important that anyone taking care of an infant knows the safer sleep practices that reduce the chance of SIDS occurring.”
The Lullaby Trust advised that parent should make sure all babysitters are aware to:
:: Place the baby on his or her back.
:: Put the baby (if aged 0-6 months) to sleep in their own cot or Moses basket in the same room as where you are for both day and night-time sleeps.
:: Avoid letting the baby get too hot.
:: Don’t cover the baby’s face while sleeping or use loose bedding.
:: Keep cot as clear as possible, with no pillows, duvets, cot bumpers, soft toys or baby products.
The charity suggested parents could pass on their Easy Read cards that encourage safer sleep.
Feb 20th 2018
What is measles? These are the symptoms you need to be looking for
Measles is now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of vaccination.
But a recent outbreak has seen more than a hundred confirmed cases of the life-threatening infection in England in the last few months after a huge rise in cases in Europe.
The news came just months after global health leaders said measles had been 'eliminated' in the UK.
Measles is still one of the biggest killers of children, with 430 deaths around the world every day.
The NHS says you should contact your GP if you suspect that you or your child may have measles.
You should phone ahead and tell the surgery you think you have measles before visiting, as they may need to make arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.
What is measles?
Measles is one of the world’s most infectious diseases.
The virus can be unpleasant to have, and can sometimes lead to extremely serious complications - that in some cases can be fatal.
The infection usually clears in around 7 to 10 days.
How do you catch measles?
It spreads when infected people cough and sneeze – it is in the tiny droplets.
People become infected by breathing in the droplets or by touching a surface that has been contaminated and then rubbing on their noses or mouths.
Measles is most common in children aged between one and four, but people who have not had it and those who have not been vaccinated are at risk.
If you've had the vaccine, or you've had measles before, your body builds up an immunity and it's unlikely you'll catch it again.
What are the symptoms?
The initial symptoms of measles can include:
A runny or blocked nose, sneezing, watery eyes, swollen eyelids, sore red eyes that may be sensitive to light, high temperature, fever, which may reach about 40C Or 104F small greyish-white spots in the mouth, aches and pains, a cough, loss of appetite, tiredness, irritability and general lack of energy
The initial symptoms of measles can include:
After a few days a red-brown spotty rash will appear, usually behind the neck, and spread across the body. There may be diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Common complications include eye infections and laryngitis.
But it can also lead to meningitis and pneumonia and some people can die.
Is there a treatment?
No, there is no specific treatment, but the body’s immune system should be able to fight off the illness within a couple of weeks.
However, in severe cases hospital admission may be required.
The NHS recommends paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve fever, aches and pains.
You should also drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and stay off school or work for four days after the rash appears
How can I prevent it?
The most effective way is the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
To prevent a measles outbreak doctors recommend that at least 95% of the population is immunised.
But only 91.9% of UK children were vaccinated against measles between 2015 and 2016, compared to 94.2% the year before.
The World Health Organisation had said people's complacency and fear of vaccines means young children in particular are more susceptible to infection.
What is the MMR vaccine?
The MMR vaccination is a combined inoculation which protects against measles, mumps and rubella and is available to all adults and children who have not completed the course.
The full course requires two doses.
The first should be given when a child is 13 months old, followed by a booster vaccination before they start school.
If you're not sure about your vaccination status, experts say you should to check with your GP.
Why have there been vaccine fears?
Shamed doctor Andrew Wakefield was struck off for discredited research claiming that the MMR jab was linked to autism.
The 1998 study caused a global scare and vaccine uptake levels fell significantly in the years after it was published.
But there is no evidence that MMR is harmful, and if immunisation levels fall, the chance of a deadly epidemic is increased.
Measles in pregnancy
If you're pregnant, catching measles can be risky for you baby. There is a chance of miscarriage, or your baby being born prematurely or underweight.
If you're pregnant, know you're not immune and think you've come into contact with someone who has measles, you should contact your GP as soon as possible.
Jan 29th 2018
How can you easily reduce the risk of cot death
Around 250 babies and toddlers still die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome every year.
Neither disease nor illness, SIDS is the diagnosis given and cause of death recorded when a baby under one year of age dies unexpectedly, and when no medical reason can be pinpointed.
In spite of ongoing research and an increased awareness of preventative measures, SIDS can occur without warning .
To help make parents further aware of the basic steps they can take to reduce the risk of SIDS, the Lullaby Trust have released a warning about the position a baby is put down to sleep in.
How to reduce the risk of SIDS.
The charity's advice came after the discovery that one in four parents believed it was safe for their little ones sleep on their sides.
The Lullaby Trust guidelines state babies should always be put to sleep on their backs, following research which found babies were far less likely to die if they sleep on their backs.
Although nearly all of the parents surveyed by the charity had heard of SIDS, almost a quarter neither agreed nor disagreed with whether a baby should sleep on their back.
Babies should also be put in the 'feet to foot' position to avoid the increased risk of SIDS due to overheating or suffocation should their head get covered by their bedding.
The 'feet to foot' position can prevent against this by stopping your baby from wriggling under the cover.
You simply place them so their feet are at the bottom of the cot, bassinet or crib and tuck the covers firmly around them.
SIDS made the news in 1991 after TV star Anne Diamond tragically lost her baby son Sebastian.
Anne went on to launch the Back to Sleep campaign, following research showing that babies were far less likely to die if they were put to sleep on their backs.
Jan 28th 2018
100-calorie snack campaign sparks debate about calorie counting for kids
A campaign advising parents to give their children 100-calorie snacks has sparked a debate about the effects of calorie counting kids’ food.
Public Health England (PHE) introduced a campaign in January 2018 calling for parents to give kids “100 calorie snacks, two a day max”, to encourage healthier snacking.
However national charity Beat believes PHE should have considered the impact the campaign may have on individuals at risk of developing an eating disorder.
“We have heard from parents and treatment providers who cite the promotion of anti-obesity messages to children as a factor in the onset and maintenance of eating disorders,” the charity said in a statement.
“While the campaign is aimed at parents, it is easy to see how it will also engage a younger audience. Encouraging excessive focus on calorie counting could be harmful for young people susceptible to disordered eating.”
However PHE argue that it is hard to tackle the problem of obesity and eating disorders at the same time.
They shared statistics that showed 34% of children aged 10 and 11 years old are overweight and obese, while 1.3% are underweight.
“Our Change4Life campaign helps millions of families make healthier choices,” said Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE. “Every campaign encourages families to eat more fruit and vegetables and use front of the pack labelling to choose healthier foods.
“This campaign responds directly to parents’ concerns and our campaigns are rigorously tested with parents to ensure they provide helpful and practical advice.
“It’s not about counting calories - it’s a simple tip for parents to help change their children’s snacking habits.”
PHE advised those who have, or are worried about others with, eating disorders should seek help from a registered health care professional.
Beat also questioned whether the campaign gave the impression that counting calories of snacks indicated how healthy they are.
“A 100 calorie drink or snack with high levels of processed sugar will not reduce feelings of hunger, whereas many healthy snacks are over 100 calories and can play an important role in a healthy and balanced diet,” Beat argued. “Focusing on calories rather than on healthy and balanced eating is unhelpful.
“We understand there are public health obesity strategies in other countries that have a positive impact on mental wellbeing and reduce the risk of eating disorders. We are investigating these to see whether they could be applicable to the UK.”
Paediatric dietitian Judy More agreed that PHE could have further emphasised the importance of nutritious snacks for children.
“100 calorie snacks will not be suitable for all children,” she said. “I think listing recommended (low sugar, high nutrients) snacks and non-recommended snacks (high sugar, low nutrients) would have been a better way forward.
“I also think one sugary snack per day is better for teeth than two sugary snacks per day. Evidence shows limiting sugar containing foods to four episodes per day (e.g. the three meals and no more than one snack) reduces the risk of dental caries. They seem to have overlooked that research funded by the WHO and carried out in England.”
However, she added that eating disorders are multifactorial and said PHE has a remit to reduce obesity in the UK population and becoming overweight or obese is linked to an excess calorie intake.
“Living in a family where parents or older siblings obsess about calories and weight is not a good environment for a child with the genetic potential to develop an eating disorder,” she told HuffPost UK. “However not every child living in that type of environment goes on to develop an eating disorder.”
Jan 13th 2018
4 Tips for Stocking a Kid-Friendly, Nontoxic Kitchen
By Molly M. Ginty
You shun Styrofoam tableware, buy organic oranges and even get your kids to eat leafy greens. But are you doing all you can to protect your children from toxic chemicals that may lurk inside their favorite foods?
"When it comes to pesticides, preservatives and other toxic chemicals, you need to set priorities for your family," said Kristi Pullen Fedinick, a staff scientist with Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) health program. "You may not be able to eliminate all potentially harmful chemicals from your kitchen, but you can work to minimize them."
Because their bodies are still developing and their neurological and endocrine systems are more sensitive than those of adults, kids are especially vulnerable to toxic chemicals that pollute food. A recent study in the medical journal Lancet concluded that "children are at high risk of pollution-related disease." Health issues that are linked to toxic chemicals found in food include asthma; reproductive deformities; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); the early onset of puberty; and learning disabilities, lower IQ and other neurological problems.
When pollutants in food are ingested by kids who happen to be going through growth spurts, it's especially risky. "The stage from infancy to age three and the pubescent phase are critical times when these chemicals' influence can be even larger because of how the body is developing," said Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a senior scientist in NRDC's Health program. "During these windows, even small exposures can potentially have long-term effects."
Here are four tips for reducing that risk at home.
1. Mix it up.
Stay vigilant about your family's menu choices. But don't allow your kids to get too fussy in turn. "Young children have a tendency to like eating only certain foods," Rotkin-Ellman said. "But there was a documented case of a kid who had mercury poisoning because of eating the same type of mercury-laced tuna-fish sandwiches day in and day out."
By exposing your children to as many flavors, textures and varieties of food as possible, you'll not only expand their horizons but also help them stay safe. "I have a three-year-old son," Rotkin-Ellman said, "and by cultivating variety in his diet, I'm lessening his chance of getting overexposed to any single toxic chemical."
2. Feed them plenty of fruits and veggies, but avoid pesticides.
When shopping for produce, it's especially important to make your selections free of chlorpyrifos. This common pesticide has been shown to delay development and cause neurological problems, yet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has recklessly approved it for continued use on our crops. To avoid exposure to chlorpyrifos and other pesticides toxic to kids, choose foods labeled USDA Organic.
"Organic food can be more expensive," said Rotkin-Ellman, "but from a health perspective, it's definitely beneficial for those fruits and vegetables your kids eat most." The Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists are helpful guides, especially when making decisions about which items to splurge on from your grocery's organic produce section. Items on the Dirty Dozen list include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes.
As an extra precaution, or when it's not possible to buy organic products, wash all produce thoroughly and carefully before eating it, and peel conventionally grown fruits and veggies.
3. Proteins are important, but stay away from those packed with mercury or raised with antibiotics.
When it comes to fish, the top concern is mercury. The toxic metal is often found in high concentrations in the bodies of fish toward the top of the food chain, such as tilefish, bluefish, grouper, king mackerel, swordfish and tuna. Children with prolonged or repeated exposure to mercury can suffer brain damage and learning disabilities. To avoid mercury contamination, serve smaller varieties of seafood, and look for mercury-free fish sticks for those who prefer finger food.
When buying meat, poultry and dairy, opt for products from animals raised without the routine use of antibiotics. This helps prevent the spread of drug-resistant bacteria in communities. Look for any of these labels: USDA Organic, USDA Process Verified Never Ever 3, Global Animal Partnership (GAP), American Grassfed, Certified Humane and Animal Welfare Approved. Note that while animal products bearing labels such as No Antibiotics Administered, No Antibiotics Added or Raised Without Antibiotics communicate the producer's commitment to responsible use, they are not third-party certified as coming from farms where routine use of antibiotics is prohibited. Fortunately, there are now more affordable options in this category, especially for chicken products.
4. Cut down on processed foods.
Scientists estimate that more than 3,000 chemicals are currently being added to foods during processing, often without safety testing first. Consider phthalates, additives that are used to make plastics soft and flexible. These harmful chemicals can make their way into food through packaging and the manufacturing process, and though they are known to disrupt hormones and impair neurological development in children, they "are used in much of the factory equipment that food goes through," said Rotkin-Ellman. "And as foods get more and more processed, their phthalate levels go up." In a recent analysis of macaroni and cheese powders by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, of which NRDC is a member, phthalates were found in all 10 products sampled. The presence of these chemicals in "kid-friendly" foods is particularly troubling given that children's phthalates levels can be double those of adults.
While NRDC, our partners and concerned consumers continue to push for stricter regulation that prohibits risky chemicals in our food, here are some simple ways to protect your family:
· Opt for simple, unrefined foods with as few additives and preservatives as possible. Think melted whole cheese and not cheese powder. "The closer you are to a product as it originated, the better off you are," said Rotkin-Ellman.
· Avoid canned foods as much as possible. An estimated two-thirds of food can linings contain bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to behavioral problems in children. And higher levels of BPA can be found in canned acidic foods, like tomatoes. Unfortunately, a BPA-free designation doesn't guarantee safety because companies often replace this chemical with related ones.
· Don't buy foods containing artificial colorants and sweeteners. It's noteworthy that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to list these additives generically on food labels without spelling out what the specific ingredients are. Not only are consumers kept in the dark about what they're eating, but, said Rotkin-Ellman, "some artificial colorants and sweeteners have been linked to cancer and ADHD in kids."
· Have a baby starting solids? Choose oatmeal or multigrain cereals instead of rice cereal. A recent report found that infant rice cereal contained six times more arsenic than other varieties of infant cereals.
Jan 9th 2018
Apple vows new parental controls amid child addiction fears
Apple said it plans to introduce new features to help parents manage their children's use of its smartphones amid two major shareholders' concerns of young people becoming addicted to the company's iPhones.
"Apple has always looked out for kids, and we work hard to create powerful products that inspire, entertain, and educate children while also helping parents protect them online," an Apple representative said in a statement late Monday.
"We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust," the Apple representative added.
The statement came in response to an open letter, published Saturday, that asked Apple to take a socially responsible approach to helping parents navigate the tricky waters of phone ownership among kids.
"By doing so, we believe Apple would once again be playing a pioneering role, this time by setting an example about the obligations of technology companies to their youngest customers," wrote Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, which together own a $2 billion stake in Apple.
"There is a growing body of evidence that, for at least some of the most frequent young users, this may be having unintentional negative consequences," the investors wrote.
A 2016 report by social agency Influence Central said that the average age for children to get a phone was 10.3. Many manufacturers make cheaper and more basic entry-level phones aimed at children, but Apple products are still highly prized by children and teenagers.
Apple didn't describe the new features it has planned, but said parents already have the ability to control and restrict content on iOS devices, including apps, movies, websites and music. "Effectively anything a child could download or access online can be easily blocked or restricted by a parent," Apple said.
Dec 27th 2017
Window blinds aren't something one generally gives much thought to, but that could change after a study showed such fixtures to be a danger to small children.
After analysing figures from 100 accident and emergency departments across America over a 26-year period (1990-2015), it was discovered that almost 170,000 injuries in children under the age of six were caused by window blinds or shades.
While the vast majority of cases (93.4%) were minor, around 271 proved fatal as a result of children becoming tangled in cords or chains.
It is clear that more precautions need to be taken to bring the number of blind-related injuries down. In a statement, the study's research team said:
"Although many of the injuries in this study were nonfatal and resulted in minor injuries, cases involving window blind cord entanglements frequently resulted in hospitalisation or death... A mandatory safety standard that eliminates accessible window blind cords should be adopted."
Safeguarding your children
To keep your kids safe at home, it is important that they know not to 'play' with blinds. Dr Gary Smith, co-author of the study from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, urged parents to be more proactive. He said:
"Kids live in a world designed by adults, for the convenience of adults, and child safety is all too often an afterthought."
The study's findings have prompted varied reactions on social media, with one user writing that "they should ban blinds, with the cords [sic]. My daughter almost died that way. I got the cord from her neck just in time," on Facebook.
For more information on child blind safety, read this factsheet from Direct Blinds or consider investing in cord safety clips.
The study was published in the journal Paediatrics.
Nov 26th 2017
A 21-year-old woman was refused a mince pie in Asda as she did not have her ID - so how boozy are these festive pastries and are they suitable for children?
The mince pie mix-up in Telford was down to a member of staff "trying to do the right thing" says Asda, where only foods containing "liquid" Christmas spirit are age-restricted.
But this week a concerned parent started a thread on Mumsnet entitled "feeding children mince pies with brandy in", asking: "Have I been getting my kids drunk on brandy?"
The consensus was "no", and as one member put it: "It's fine. It's not as if you handed them both a bottle of brandy and told them to crack on."
So how much alcohol is in a mince pie?
Chef Marcus Bean says he would be "surprised" if any shop-bought varieties
contained much alcohol.
"I wouldn't worry about my children eating mince pies," he says. "We all love them and like to make our own.
"I use alcohol in cooking for my family as it gives an overall robust flavour.
"I haven't tested them but I'd say by the time I've cooked a recipe the amount of alcohol will have reduced, leaving very little left.
"If anyone is really worried, they should just make their own mincemeat - it's pretty easy to do.
"When buying if in doubt, check the ingredients and it will say if it contains any alcohol - some don't."
Should parents be worried?
Mother-of-two Laura Butler, 31, from Shropshire, says she wouldn't lose any sleep over her children eating a mince pie.
"I am very conscious of what I feed my children, keeping sweets and snacks to a minimum," she says.
"We do a lot of baking and cooking together and when we make mince pies at Christmas we leave the alcohol out.
"But if Marley eats a shop-bought one I'm not worried. The amount of alcohol in them will be minute.
"I can't say I've ever felt tipsy after one too many mince pies."
How many mince pies equate to a glass of wine?
Well that depends on how boozy the recipe is and the size of the pie, but where is the harm in a few sums?
BBC Good Food's recipe for "boozy mincemeat" makes 3.5kg or 7lb of the festive filling.
If we copy the ratios of Sainsbury's deep-filled mince pies, each one weighs 60g and the filling accounts for 47%.
So that means we will have 28.2g of our boozy mincemeat in each pie.
Our 3.5kg of mincemeat would make about 124 pies - it's a full house this year.
The recipe asks for 125ml of dark rum and 175ml of French brandy.
Divided by the 124 pies that's roughly 1ml of rum and 1.4ml of brandy. So altogether, 2.4ml of spirits.
There is one unit of alcohol in a standard 25ml measure of each of those spirits
So in theory, you'd have to eat more than 10 mince pies to take in the equivalent of a single unit of alcohol - but, as Mr Bean says, most of the alcohol content will have been lost during cooking so you're more likely to get full before you get tipsy.Are mince pies safe for recovering alcoholics?
Some food banks ask people not to donate food that contains alcohol, like mince pies and Christmas puddings,
Sam Little at Silklife Foodbank in Macclesfield says this is because the taste of alcohol can act as a trigger for people who have experienced alcohol problems.
"The purpose of our food bank is to provide people with emergency food relief," he says.
"Our food parcels contain a wide variety of items, but we don't give out anything containing alcohol.
"This is out of respect to those people who may have some sort of struggle with alcohol addiction - we want to help people, not make life harder for them."
This story has been amended to clarify that 10 mince pies are unlikely to actually contain one unit of alcohol.
Nov 15th 2017
Grandparents pose a potential health risk to children and may even put them at risk of cancer, scientists say.
The increased risk comes from the greater likelihood that grandmothers and grandfathers will spoil youngsters with treats.
They are also more likely to expose them to second-hand tobacco smoke - a major cause of cancer, researchers say.
Despite meaning well, grandparents were found to have a harmful effect on their grandchildren's health.
Lead author Dr Stephanie Chambers, of the University of Glasgow's public health sciences unit, said: "While the results of this review are clear that behaviour such as exposure to smoking and regularly treating children increases cancer risks as children grow into adulthood, it is also clear from the evidence that these risks are unintentional.
"Currently, grandparents are not the focus of public health messaging targeted at parents and in light of the evidence from this study, perhaps this is something that needs to change given the prominent role grandparents play in the lives of children."
The findings are based on a review of the impact grandparents can have on the lifestyle factors that are thought to increase the risk of cancer.
The Glasgow team said they analysed data from 56 studies in 18 countries that examined the possible influence of grandparents on their grandchildren's health.
Poor diet, excess weight, smoking and lack of physical activity are all known to increase the risk of cancer, said the researchers.
Overall, grandparents were found to have a negative effect on children's health.
The phenomenon is coming under increasing scrutiny as social trends - such as the growing proportion of women in the workforce, rising childcare costs, and increasing numbers of single parents - result in more children being placed in the care of their grandparents.
The authors emphasised that none of the reviewed studies took account of the positive emotional benefit of children spending time with their grandparents.
Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: "Finding a doting grandparent who is confident enough to follow rules laid down by mum and to the letter is frequently a rarity.
"The thought of losing children when out in the park may result in the kids being under house arrest - sweeties on demand and woefully short on exercise.
"Unfortunately... parents increasingly need to rely on this free form of childminding."
Oct 25th 2017
With all the excitement about Halloween. Let us just settle down and look at the basics.
Oct 4th 2017
Over the summer, my husband and I looked at a few homes and we noticed that many of the styles of homes that we seemed to favor also seemed to have one thing in common: all of the children's bedrooms were on different floors than the master bedroom.
Instantly, visions of how different our life could be flashed through my mind. On one hand, um, awesomeness, after years of children filing in and out of our room at all hours of the day and night, how amazing would it be to actually have a real sanctuary away from our little blessings?
But on the other hand, visions of everything that could terribly, terribly wrong also flashed through my mind. What would happen in the event of a fire? Would we be able to hear them if there was an emergency in the middle of the night? How could I possibly make living on two separate levels work?
Before we made any decisions, I did some research and found a heartbreaking story of just how dangerous having kids on a different level can really be. Remembering Sammie Joyce Volmert is a Facebook page started by Keri Hall Volmert, who shared the tragic incident that happened with her 17-month-old daughter, Sammie Joyce.
What happened next is something out of every parent's worst nightmare. When Sammie's dad went to retrieve her from her crib, like he did every morning, only to enter the room to find his daughter already gone.
"The desperation and screeching panic in my husband's voice the next morning as he went to retrieve her from upstairs is something I will never forget," Volmert described. "I was in the kitchen making coffee and as soon as he screamed 'Keri!' I knew something was terribly wrong. I froze and he yelled my name again as he ran down the upstairs hallway."
The horrified parents tried to resuscitate their baby, unsuccessfully, and she was pronounced dead 50 minutes later at the emergency room. They would later learn that the cause of their daughter's death was a malfunctioning upstairs heater. Their house was controlled by two separate heating systems, so the parents—sleeping downstairs—were unaware as the temperature climbed during the night, eventually killing their daughter.
Volmert explained that although the upstairs thermostat was set to 72 degrees, the temperature actually reached well over 100 degrees. Doctors told the grieving parents that their daughter probably never even woke up, as children can't regulate their body temperatures like adults can.
Volmert has shared their story in hopes of raising awareness about how parents can help to protect their own children—especially if they are on different levels in their houses. As Volmert described on her page, she was heartbroken to realize, too late, that she had taken so many precautions when her babies were little to ensure they were safe while they were sleeping—sleep sacks to prevent blankets getting on their faces, no stuffed animals or pillows and keeping them in bassinets in their own rooms until they were six months old—but had never considered room temperature to be a possible hazard.
Sadly, the Volmert's aren't the only family to lose a child to a malfunctioning heating system and they, along with other bereft families, urge other parents to take simple precautions to avoid any danger. "We want others (especially those with two-story homes) to hear Sammie's story so that children can be protected and other families spared from the horrific grief we are forced to endure each day," she explains.
I have to admit that Volmert's story was incredibly difficult to read and almost overwhelming because it feels like everywhere you look, there are dangers to our kids. But reading her story, I did focus on three simple ways I could keep my own kids safe if we end up choosing a house that will have our children on separate levels of the home:
1. Get a baby monitor with a room temperature alarm. I didn't know these existed, but they might be the most effective way to prevent a death like Sammie's.
2. Have a smoke and carbon monoxide monitor in every room and hallway that are also linked to a downstairs so if one goes off, they all do.
3. Place ladders in every room in case of a fire and be sure to run through a fire drill with the entire family.
Sammie would have been three years old last month and her family honored her life by donating supplies to victims of Hurricane Harvey. They ended up taking a full Suburban and a 16-foot trailer down to Texas to drop off donations to families who had lost so much. A family who has given so much already continues to give on through their daughter's story and to other families who are grieving.
Sept 18th 2017
Protective parents at the playground who can't bear to let their little ones go down the slide on their own might be surprised to hear that it's actually the best thing to do.
For generations, adults have clambered on to the slide and put their children in their lap so they aren't injured on the way down.
But they're actually putting them at an increased risk of being hurt by doing so.
American scientists studied the 352,698 cases of slide injuries in the US between 2002 and 2015.
Toddlers had the highest casualty rate and the most common type of injury was a fracture, usually involving the lower leg.
Most surprising was that scientists found adults carrying children were largely to blame for the injuries, the Birmingham Mail reports .
Dr Charles Jennissen, from the University of Iowa, said: "Many parents and caregivers go down a slide with a young child on their lap without giving it a second thought.
"And in most cases I have seen, the parents had no idea that doing so could possibly give their child such a significant injury. They often say they would never have done it had they known."
Why is it more dangerous?
The fractures most commonly occurred when a child sitting in the adult's lap got their foot caught on the side or bottom of the slide, resulting in their leg twisting, bending backwards and breaking.
When children are on their own going down a slide, not only are they less likely to catch their feet but, if they do, they are not as heavy and so the force isn't as powerful and the child is unlikely to suffer as severe an injury.
But when they are sitting in an adult's lap, because of the greater weight the force generated by the forward momentum reaches a point where bones can easily be broken.
June 23rd 2017
Girls as young as six are risking health problems by wearing heels, experts have warned.
For research has revealed star-struck youngsters keen to copy pop idols like Taylor Swift and Little Mix are demanding fashionable shoes that are unsuitable for growing feet.
Almost one in ten girls start to wear a three quarter inch heel from the age of six which can shorten calf muscles and put pressure on the ball of the foot, The College of Podiatry said.
A fifth of parents revealed they felt under pressure from little princesses to splash out on trendy sandals, boots and shoes.
The foot specialists said sloppy flats like flip-flops, ballet pumps and plimsolls could be just as bad if worn regularly as they can cause deformed toes.
According to the organisation, the lack of support in flimsy footwear means feet slide up and down to keep the shoes on, causing damage to the toes or forcing “toes to claw to help keep the shoe on”.
Its research found a third of kids wore slip-ons like ballet pumps and a quarter had a pair of flip flops.
Worringly, the study found millions of children are in danger of suffering long term damage to their feet by wearing shoes that are too tight or unsuitable.
Dr Stewart Morrison of the College of Podiatry said problems include callouses, blisters, bruising and even joint or ligament problems in the future.
The survey of 2,000 parents revealed more than half of children have hurt their feet in ill fitting shoes.
It raised concerns that four in ten parents have delayed buying new shoes for their child despite complaints that their current ones were painful to wear.
Nine in ten parents have bought off the shelf shoes for children without a proper fitting or having the child’s feet measured.
Four in ten said they could find the correct shoe size themselves but one in ten admitted they had no idea what their child’s correct size was.
And four in ten kids were fobbed off with hand me downs without any checks made over how they fitted.
Cost was an issue with a third of parents who struggled to find cash for new shoes and more than half turned to supermarkets or budget shoe shops rather head for a store with a measuring service.
One in 20 parents said they were unaware kids could be measured for footwear and a similar number said their little darlings did not sit still long enough to have their feet measured.
Dr Morrison said: “It’s worrying that so many children are wearing shoes which either don’t fit them properly or are not suitable for everyday wear.
“Children’s feet are still growing and are more susceptible to damage than adult feet, so it’s really vital to ensure they are wearing shoes which fit them well - in width as well as length - and that are suitable for age, as well as the task they are wearing them for.
“We recommend parents have their children’s feet measured and their everyday shoes fitted by a professional.
“For a young child aged one to three-years-old, foot changes can happen very quickly and parents should have their feet measured approximately every eight weeks, and for older children, we would advise every three to four months. This would be particularly important during growth spurt.”
The College of Podiatry is now urging parents to buy sturdy shoes such as lace-ups or those with Velcro straps which “act like a seatbelt in a car, holding the shoe onto the foot”.
Leather is said to be the best material as it is flexible, soft and hard wearing while any heel should be a quarter of an inch “to provide sufficient shock absorption.”
The perfect shape to safeguard toes is “foot shaped and not pointed or excessively tapered”.
Dr Morrison said: “It is important that we raise more attention about children’s foot health and encourage parents to check their children’s feet regularly.”
June 23rd 2017
Since bursting on the scene earlier this year, fidget spinners have had mixed press.
While they've become the must-have toy of 2017, there have also been reports of them being the cause of injuries and accidents .
With this in mind, there have been numerous concerns about the propeller-shaped gadgets' safety, with several schools banning them.
But parents and teachers like could not be blamed for having concerns over the "toy" that's touted to take the place of fidget spinners.
Handheld mini-crossbows, or toothpick crossbows, have been produced as kids' toys in China, The Guardian reports.
Worried parents want them banned before they take off amid fears a child could end up blinded.
The crossbows are selling for the equivalent of as little as 80 pence, can be purchased online and are designed to fire out just toothpicks.
However, graver damage could occur if the toothpick gets substituted for a needle or nail - and could be strong enough to shatter glass.
Worryingly, according to the Shanghai Daily newspaper, the items are also selling out fast.
June 13th 2017
Trying to catch all the parents who have not read this.
April 5th 2017
Nappy Sack Safety
Experts are warning parents to be aware of the danger posed by nappy sacks - claiming they have caused at least 16 baby deaths in Britain.
The flimsy plastic bags are used for the disposal of dirty nappies but have also been responsible for a number of tragic accidents.
According to campaigners, at least 16 infants aged under 12 months have suffocated or choked on the bags.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is now calling for the industry to improve standards.
The charity also said a recent survey carried out by Trading Standards show a number of nappy sacks are not adequately labelled.
On Monday RoSPA held the Nappy Sack Safety Stakeholder event in London to bring the issue to the attention of businesses and customers.
Among those speaking was Sam Brough, who lost her five-month-old daughter Harley in 2013 when a nappy sack was accidentally knocked into her cot.
She is keen to raise awareness of the issue and ensure that everything is being done to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Sheila Merrill, public health adviser for RoSPA, said: "We want to maximise public awareness of this serious risk to young lives, and develop a code of practice for the manufacture and labelling of nappy sacks.
"Where these deaths have occurred, typically the sacks have been stored within the baby’s reach, close to the baby’s cot, including under the mattress, usually for convenience.
"The parents clearly have not made any association between the nappy sacks and any sort of risk from suffocation or choking.
"We can change this with adequate education and awareness, but we also want manufacturers to consider safety approaches such as making them unscented, producing them on a roll rather than as individual sheets, or new packaging."
For more information on nappy sack safety, see www.rospa.com/campaigns-fundraising/current/nappy-sacks.
March 23rd 2017
A four-year-old boy saved his mother’s life by calling 999 when she fell unconscious, police said.
The child from London, told the call handler that his name was "Roman" and he thought his "mummy" was dead because “she’s closing her eyes and she’s not breathing”.
He used his mother’s mobile phone to make the call.
London's Metropolitan Police released a clip of the conversation to remind parents how important it is to teach young children their address and how to use 999 in an emergency.
Roman was able to give his exact address in Kenley, Croydon and local officers and an ambulance were dispatched immediately to the family home.
Thirteen minutes after receiving the call, officers arrived and managed to force entry into the house where they found the boy, his twin brother, younger brother and their mother, who was lying unconscious on the floor.
Paramedics were able to give life-saving first aid to the woman and she was taken to hospital after regaining consciousness at the home, police said.
It later emerged that the boy used his mother's smartphone to get in touch with paramedics, after unlocking it by pressing her thumb on the phone. He then used the Siri function to ask for help and the app dialled 999, putting him through to emergency services.
Chief Superintendent Ade Adelekan said: “Hearing this call brings home the importance of teaching your young child their home address and how to call police or emergency services in an emergency situation.
”If you do nothing else today, then I'd implore any parents of young children to sit down with them and make sure they know what to do in this kind of situation and that they know how to contact police or other emergency services in an emergency. As this case demonstrates so poignantly, it could really be the difference between life and death."
He added: “It's an amazing story and thanks to his quick thinking and by asking 'Siri' for help, this little boy saved his mum's life and it means she is still here and can be extremely proud of him and his brothers.”
Don't forget to slap on the sun screen
It is a good idea to print off this list so that you can cross off the items you are satisfied with on safety_tips_children.
Safety_tips_children for Room/Bedroom
Tips for Adult's Bedroom
If you own firearms:
Doors & Windows
Heating & Cooling Elements
Emergency Equipment & Numbers
Garage & Laundry Area
It seems a lot to think about. But then nothing is more precious than your children, and we know that you will do everything you can to protect them.
If you've worked through this list and are satisfied, well done, now how about sending it to the friends that you visit with your child.
Please share it on Facebook or any other social site, make people aware, let no one die of ignorance