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Posts from the ‘NPR’ Category

TV-Tipping: An Avoidable Accident

Do you have your flat screen television mounted to the wall securely? If you still have an older model, is it secured by brackets or tethers? Parents regularly take precautions such as tethering large bookshelves or dressers to walls or locking cabinets, but television safety is often overlooked.

An annual average of 17, 313 children are injured by tipping or falling television sets each year, one study finds. The median age of children hurt was 3-years-old. Kids this age are very probing and don’t quite grasp cause and effect. Climbing on top of an entertainment system or standing on the edge of a table to reach the television can lead to disaster.


NPR recently highlighted the dangers of young children pulling televisions down on themselves, noting that “every 30 minutes a child ends up in the emergency room with injuries caused by a television.”

Head and neck injuries are very common with television accidents, as TVs are generally set up high… just out of an inquisitive child’s reach. Most of the children in the study suffered from bumps, cuts and bruises but some even ended up with concussions, which can be very dangerous to a young child.

A 2012 report by Safe Kids Worldwide said that one child dies every three weeks from a television-tipping related injury. This is shocking considering there are so many ways to prevent this type of tragedy.

Caregivers know that a determined child will make persistent attempts to touch or grab things even when they are told not to. To keep children safe we must take extra safety precautions. Mounting hardware and tethering kits are available at almost any store that television sets are sold as well as many baby stores. The extra effort it takes to install safety straps is well worth it when there are curious climbers in the house!

After drafting this post, I actually found a blurb about this problem in the new issue of Parents Magazine. I snapped a shot of it because it has helpful tips for keeping your child safe. is also an excellent resource for simple solutions!



NPR: Can Your Saliva Prevent Allergies in Your Child?

I was pretty astonished listening to NPR’s Morning Edition. The story was: “Parents’ Saliva On Pacifiers Could Ward Off Baby’s Allergies.”

Can spit really be good for your baby? It may, shows a small study of Swedish babies in the Journal of Pediatrics.

A new study in Sweden has shown that sucking, yes – by parents!, could be the most beneficial way to clean your baby’s dirty pacifier.

They explain that “microbiomes” describe the collection of bacteria that live in and on our bodies. A child’s exposure to microbes early in life can affect their health because it influences their “microbiome.”

Parents who clean their child’s pacifier by sucking on them changes their child’s microbiomes. The study shows that children were significantly less likely to have allergies if their parents cleaned the pacifier this way.

This is true not only for allergies, but asthma and eczema as well – both caused by allergic reactions.

The study followed how parents cleaned their child’s pacifier when it fell out of their mouth. Did they rinse with water, boil them, suck them, etc.? Apparently sucking it and giving it back is a common way to clean a paci.

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There was a significant difference between kids whose parents used this method of cleaning to those who didn’t. Overall, “scientists think that when parents suck their child’s pacifier clean, they transfer some of the harmless bacteria in their mouths to their child.”

These bacterias can stimulate a child’s immune system and teaches their body not to overreact to common allergens like peanuts, pollen, and cats.

The question: Are kids today growing up too clean? Not that every parent wants to suck on a paci that just dropped on the ground, but exposing your child to some bacteria may be just fine.

NPR: An HIV Breakthrough

Breaking news on March 4, 2013: A 2-year-old Mississippi toddler appears to be the second case of a documented HIV cure.

Let’s go over some basic HIV/AIDS statistics:

  • HIV is the virus that causes AIDS
  • Every year 2.5 million people join the 34 million already infected with HIV
  • 300,000 babies born with HIV each year
  • AIDS has been a world-wide epidemic for 32 years


A routine test showed that the baby girl’s mother was indeed positive for HIV, putting the child at extremely high risk for contracting it herself. Due to her high risk of infection she was transfered to a hospital under the care of an infectious disease specialist.

The infectious disease specialist put the baby on three antiviral drugs used to treat HIV at higher doses than usual.

Of course there is some skepticism from AIDS researchers and the community. She was treated very early with these antiviral drugs. Most HIV patients do not start these powerful drugs until years after infection. The baby was treated aggressively with this regimen within 31 hours of birth. Researchers believe this aggressive treatment likely cured the toddler.

Dr. Deborah Persaud, the lead on the cure report, of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center says this is “proof of principle that we can cure HIV infection.”

Also, two weeks ago in France, researchers reported 14 more cases of a “functional cure.” These 14 patients with HIV were also treated early with strong doses of medications.


Bottom line: we aren’t there just yet but this is a huge breakthrough! Further studies are being planned to test this new regimen, and the Mississippi baby will continue to be monitored for her HIV status. What about the people with established infections? Prevention is still what we need to focus on.

The real issues are still the same: cost and access to treatment and preventing mother-to-child transmission.

Read further into this case in NPR’s report.

NPR: Pesticides – Pediatricians take a stance!

It’s your right to make informed decisions about what you feed your children and family because, bottom line – you have the right to know what’s in your food!

This recent NPR article caught my eye because with all the political hype lately regarding food labeling and genetically modified foods, where do doctors weigh in on this?

NPR brings up the issue that for the first time, pediatricians are taking a stance in the controversy over whether or not organic food is better for your child. If a doctor tells you, as a parent, to shop organically to reduce your child’s exposure to pesticides, would you?

Buying organic helps avoid or even eliminate pesticide residue. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, purely relying on federal standards for pesticide residue is not always safe.

This is because the toxins from pesticides affect our children more than a typical adult. Pesticides are more harmful to children because they are rapidly maturing. Their internal organs are still developing. Also, their excretory system isn’t fully developed so they cannot fully rid their body of pesticides.

The EPA states the facts: children are especially sensitive to pesticides. They can even block the absorption of necessary nutrients in food, thus hindering healthy and proper growth.

There are major links to autism, ADD, and brain issues due to the high level of these toxins. Also there is a correlation with mental health disorders in children like: depression, memory problems, and attention deficit disorder. Even mild symptoms like nausea and dizziness can occur from pesticide exposure.

Mercury, a key ingredient in pesticides, is actually linked to the first cases of autism! There’s a lot of controversy about Mercury, especially in regard to vaccines. There’s an interesting book called, ‘Evidence of Harm’, written by David Kirby. It’s a New York Times Bestseller and raises quite a medical controversy.

NPR discusses a significant study that may have been the cause for pediatricians to take this stance. In a study of female farm workers, their babies showed developmental and motor delays when their mothers were exposed to pesticides. The level they were exposed to is the same as what the FDA deems acceptable.

This has become a brewing controversy between pediatricians and Stanford University scientists after Stanford’s report last month saying buying organic isn’t important. Stanford thinks foods usually don’t exceed the federal limits of pesticide residue and that there are no nutritional benefits to eating organic.

Now that’s a very strong statement. Please feel free to share your opinions on eating organic. Especially after all the links to problematic health issues in our kids. You can read more on our guest blog here, about the benefits of organic food and the link between pesticides and poor children’s health.

It’s important to be extra cautious with children because their bodies cannot handle what we can as adults. Their immune systems can become compromised fairly quickly. You have to understand that our kids are vulnerable and chemical exposure is never good for a developing body and brain.

NPR also shares a great resource all parents should review below:

The Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

NPR: Food Allergies Affect 1 in 13 Kids!

A recent national survey of 40,000 families has shown food allergies in children are on the rise. Nut allergies are the most common and can have scary symptoms. For example, a child’s airway can close up.

Teens are the highest at risk for food allergies, reported by NPR. They are the most prone to having bad reactions.

Statistics show 1 in 13 children are allergic to at least one food. That adds up to 5.9 million kids in the US! In the wake of this survey, Reuters Health suggests that we need to “Develop policies for schools and sporting events and any activities that kids participate in to make it clear that everybody is looking out for these kids.”

There is excellent information at “My Allergy Survey,” a Web site dedicated to helping parents prepare before going to a doctor regarding allergy issues. You can take the allergy survey here with your child or complete it on behalf of your child.

Kids were most commonly allergic to peanuts, milk, and shellfish. The types of common children’s allergies are hayfever, seasonal and perenial allergies. These all involve issues in the nasal airways like inflammation and dripping.

By percentage:

Childhood allergies are often be linked with asthma. This causes a child’s airway to be restricted and their blood pressure to drop. This is a pretty severe reaction for any child. It is important our kids are monitored by parents and caregivers to make sure they stay away from potential allergy triggers.

On a positive note, there are plenty of food allergy cookbooks and new substitutes.

For example, peanut butter replaced with sunflower butter. Sunflower butter is made from sunflower seeds and is peanut free = a healthy peanut butter alternative. There are ways to get around food allergies and not always say “NO” to your kids.

NPR: Baby’s Skin

NPR recently posted an article on baby’s skin. Summer is a beautiful time of year to be outdoors and also time to order new sun protection. The harmful effects of the suns rays on a baby’s skin are the most damaging but all parents should be proactive about child skincare. There are new issues when it comes to protecting your child’s skin, specifically with the type of sunscreen used on your child.

Pediatric journals have all said baby’s skin is much different from adults since it is thinner, holds more water and less pigmented. Melanoma is also associated with early on sun exposure, so it is imperative that parents begin using skin protection young. Now sunscreens should protect from both UVB radiation which causes sunburn and UVA radiation which causes wrinkles and aging.

Many sunscreens are made with potentially harmful chemicals. A new study by the CDC shows that almost every American is contaminated with oxybenzone, a chemical primarily used in sunscreen (also lip products, perfumes, others). Oxybenzone is linked to cell damage, allergies, hormone disruption and recently to low birth weight from mothers exposed while pregnant.

Many sunscreens also cause rashes and irritation, which babies are more prone to. Thankfully there are new chemical-free formulas. Some of our favorites are Aveeno Baby Sunblock Lotion and Avalon Organics Baby Natural Mineral Sunscreen.

Mustella is another excellent company for baby and child skincare. Also a plus – they sell sunscreen for the ultra-sensitive.

Stay safe this summer and keep beautiful skin glowing!

NPR: Circumcision Up For Vote

NPR reports that this fall, voters in San Francisco may approve the first-ever ban on male circumcision in the United States. If this measure does pass, anyone circumcising a male minor would receive a misdemeanor offense. They could face a $1000 fine or up to a year in jail.

This brings up a religious debate. The only exemption would be cases of medical necessity, not religion. This poses a problem to the First Amendment rights, which is sure to come up in court. Many believe this ban has no ability to pass due to this violation. Americans rely on freedom to exercise whatever they choose.

Many feel circumcision physically hurts and mutilates your child. It is comparable to the issues faced in the past regarding female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is forbidden by law but remains a tradition for many religious and cultural groups. Even if the practice is forbidden, would circumcision continue despite the risk?

Since it is not necessary, why not wait and let the child decide once they turn 18? Then they can make the decision to circumcise if desired.

Listen to the NPR broadcast here on “All Things Considered.”

Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT