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Kids, Smartphones and Sleep

Forty percent of kids have poor sleep quantity and quality when using smartphone before bed.

Two-thirds of high schoolers sleep next to a phone or tablet--and 47% awake at least once per night to respond to messages! A meta-analysis of 17 studies finds the use of smartphones and tablets at night are a significant problem for the amount and quality of sleep kids get. These studies were not randomized, so more research is needed.

PositiveTip: Phones are a part of life today--including kids. We need to find ways to keep phones out of their bedrooms, and maybe ours, too!

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Syringes Better than Cups for Kid's Med Dosing

Eighty-four percent of parents made at least one dosing error out of 9 tries--mostly overdoses.

In a large randomized trial of over 2000 parents, researchers found dosing errors were 4.6 times more common when using dosing cups than when using syringes. When the dose was listed in teaspoons on the medication label more errors were made. More than 20% measured out twice the dose on the label! 

PositiveTip: Ask your healthcare provider to show you how to measure the correct liquid dosage using a syringe for your child.

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Non-pharmacologic Options to Reduce Kid's Pain

Hugs may help reduce kid's pain!

What can be done when a child is in pain--and medications are not the best solution? Presenters at the Pain Week conference suggested that physical  interventions, distraction, and relaxation may be very useful techniques. For an infant, a pacifier dipped in sucrose, or a warm blanket, or ice for injuries may help. Distraction may reduce pain up to 25%. For the older child, stories, games, and interacting with an electronic device maybe helpful.

PositiveTip: Being patient, loving, and creative may help kids in pain deal with the trauma without medications.

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Animal Antibiotics and Children's Health

Over 4 times as many antibiotics are sold for animal use compared to human use.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken a stand against the use of nontherapeutic antibiotics in animals. This report describes how the use of antibiotics as growth stimulants in livestock contributes to strains of resistant organism and potential infection through the food supply. Children are the most vulnerable to these infections. Physicians are urged to encourage families to purchase antibiotic-free meat and poultry.

PositiveTip: Choosing a plant-based diet will help avoid the potential exposure to antibiotic-resistant infections.

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Are Your Kids Drinking Enough?

Dehydrated kids at greater risk for heat-related illnesses.

The American College of Sports Medicine estimates that up to 2/3 of child athletes may be dehydrated during exercise. Much like an automobile radiator, children's bodies cool mostly through "dry" conduction and convection (not evaporation): the body sends warm blood to dilated surface vessels to release the heat to the skin. A dehydrated child does not have sufficient blood for cooling in the skin and the exercising muscles.

PositiveTip: The easiest way to determine hydration is the color of the urine--it should be the color of pale lemonade.

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Is the Fox Guarding the Hen House?

If the first cereal ingredient is sugar, it is not part of a healthy breakfast.

In 2009. seventeen of the largest makers of breakfast cereals and fast foods pledged to self-regulate what foods and to whom it advertised those foods. Now researchers have found while technically the food companies have fulfilled their promises, 80% of all food advertisements directed at children are still for junk foods that "taste good." Maybe actual regulation would accomplish more.

PositiveTip: Educate your children and family to better understand the importance of healthy food choices.

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Your Kids and the Internet

The average age of a U.S. child has a smart phone by age 11.5!

Did you know the average U.S. teen types over 150 texts each day? Texting consumes at least one hour of time normally used for sleep by that same teen! Are you looking for some practical tips on tech savvy parenting? Brian Housman shares realistically how parents can prevent the dangers 'out there' from waltzing in through the front door of their home! Listen to three podcasts or purchase his book.

PositiveTip: Make your home a safe, tech-savvy place for your kids.

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Choose Non-cow’s Milk Carefully for Kids

Not all non-dairy milk substitutes are fortified with Vitamin D.

A cross-sectional study of 2,800 Canadian children aged 1-6 found children exclusively using milk substitutes (i.e., soy, almond, rice) were more than twice as likely to be deficient in vitamin D than those drinking cow’s milk. This deficiency can lead to varying levels of bone weakness thus affecting children’s development. Vitamin D fortification is mandatory in cow’s milk, but is voluntary for milk substitutes.

PositiveTip: Read labels and purchase only milk substitutes fortified with vitamin D as well as get adequate exposure to sunlight.

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Physical Activity Keeps Kids Fit

Elementary school kids who did not participate in exercise gained weight.

Physical education has declined dramatically in most elementary schools. Researchers found that a 9-month, after school exercise program for 8 and 9 year old elementary school children improved their physical fitness and helped them control their weight. The control group showed no improvements. This program provided moderate to vigorous physical activity 5 times per week.

PositiveTip: Provide your children regular physical activity--even if school does not.

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They Go in Easier Than They Come Out!

Swallowing incidents of supermagnets are on the rise.

Kids have always swallowed objects not intended for ingestion! As long as the object was small, smooth, and harmless the standard physician response has been, "This too will pass." Supermagnets have changed these rules. Neodymium magnets attract each other with formidable force. One magnet may indeed be easily passed, two or more can bind across the bowel wall causing bowel ulceration, perforation, and peritonitis. Without prompt care death can result.

PositiveTip: Watch this educational video and share it with your friends. It could save a life!