Archive for the 'Baby' Category

Children Watching TV, Good or Bad?

Do you let your baby or toddler watch TV, and just what shows are they watching?  A study in the US says that children under two should not watch any TV, and if they do, it should be educational. Read more at LaCrosseTribune.com.

The research involved children younger than 3, so TV is mostly a no-no anyway, according to the experts. But if TV is allowed, it should be of the educational variety, the researchers said.

Every hour per day that kids under 3 watched violent child-oriented entertainment their risk doubled for attention problems five years later, the study found. Even nonviolent kids’ shows like “Rugrats” and “The Flintstones” carried a still substantial risk for attention problems, though slightly lower.

On the other hand, educational shows, including “Arthur,” “Barney” and “Sesame Street” had no association with future attention problems.

Interestingly, the risks only occurred in children younger than age 3, perhaps because that is a particularly crucial period of brain development. Those results echo a different study last month that suggested TV watching has less impact on older children’s behavior than on toddlers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children younger than 2 and limited TV for older children.

Car Seats have Expiration Dates

Did you know that car seats have an expiration date on them?  You may want to check that date, and have your car seat inspected.

And, just like milk and eggs, car seats can expire. The date can be found on the back of the seat.

Inspector Ashley Marchese says there are a couple of reasons why manufacturers put expiration dates on their car seats.

One is the effect that heat can have on the plastic.

“There could be a breakdown to the plastic that you don’t know,” said Ashley Marchese. That can affect the stability and durability of the seat.

Second, car seats continue to evolve.

There is no research that connects the dots between expired car seats and injuries, but the trauma program director at All Children’s Hospital says anything that affects a car seat’s performance could be dangerous.

If you can’t find the expiration date on the car seat, call the manufacturer with the model number.

Breastfeeding makes Children, smarter.

Did you know that if your baby has a FADS2 gene, and if you breastfeed your baby, they may score 7 points higher on their IQ test.  But the best thing is that 90% of children of children, have this gene, so there is just another reason to breastfeed.

Safe Toys for your little one

ParentDish has a list of safe online toy stores, for your little ones.  If you have bought any toys from these company, please tell us, your thoughts on them.

Babies not as innocent as they pretend

It seems that children learn at an early age to see just how far they can go with their parents and other adults, this is according to study at University of Portsmouth’s psychology department. Read more at Telegraph.co.uk.

Behavioural experts have found that infants begin to lie from as young as six months. Simple fibs help to train them for more complex deceptions in later life.

Until now, psychologists had thought the developing brains were not capable of the difficult art of lying until four years old.
Infants quickly learnt that using tactics such as fake crying and pretend laughing could win them attention. By eight months, more difficult deceptions became apparent, such as concealing forbidden activities or trying to distract parents’ attention.

By the age of two, toddlers could use far more devious techniques, such as bluffing when threatened with a punishment.

Dr Reddy said: “Fake crying is one of the earliest forms of deception to emerge, and infants use it to get attention even though nothing is wrong. You can tell, as they will then pause while they wait to hear if their mother is responding, before crying again.

“It demonstrates they’re clearly able to distinguish that what they are doing will have an effect. This is essentially all adults do when they tell lies, except in adults it becomes more morally loaded.”

She added: “Later it becomes more sophisticated by saying, ‘I don’t care’ when threatened with a punishment – when they clearly do.”

Dr Reddy thinks children use early fibs to discover what kinds of lie work in certain situations, and also learn the negative consequences of lying too much.

Rickets in Children

With the study by UAE University, I thought we should look at what happens when children are deficient in Vitamin D. This what the Mayo Clinic has to say about Rickets (name for children’s deficiency in Vitamin D).
Introduction

Rickets is the softening and weakening of bones in children, usually because of an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is essential in promoting absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the gastrointestinal tract, which children need to build strong bones. A deficiency of vitamin D makes it difficult to maintain proper calcium and phosphorus levels in your bones.

Your body senses an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in your bloodstream and reacts by taking calcium and phosphorus from your bones to raise blood levels to where they need to be. This softens or weakens the bone structure, resulting most commonly in skeletal deformities such as bowlegs or improper curvature of the spine. Osteomalacia is the adult version of rickets.

If a vitamin D or calcium deficiency causes rickets, adding vitamin D or calcium to the diet generally corrects any resulting bone problems for the child. Rickets due to a genetic condition may require additional medications or specialized treatment. Some skeletal deformities caused by rickets may need corrective surgery.

Signs and symptoms

Vitamin D deficiency begins months before physical signs and symptoms of rickets appear. When rickets symptoms develop, they may include:

  • Skeletal deformities. -These include bowed legs, abnormal curvature of the spine, pelvic deformities and breastbone projection in the chest.
  • Fragile bones. -Children with rickets are more prone to bone fractures.
  • Impaired growth. -Delayed growth in height or limbs may be a result of rickets.
  • Dental problems. -These include defects in tooth structure, increased chance of cavities, poor enamel and delayed formation of teeth.
  • Bone pain. -This includes dull, aching pain or tenderness in the spine, pelvis and legs.
  • Muscle weakness. -Decreased muscle tone may make movement uncomfortable.

Causes

Vitamin D acts as a hormone to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in your bones. You absorb vitamin D from two sources:

Sunlight. Your skin produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. This is the most common way for most adolescents and adults to produce the vitamin.

Food. Your intestines absorb vitamin D from the foods you eat or from supplements or multivitamins you may take.

In the past, dietary vitamin D deficiency was the most common cause of rickets in the United States. Now, with the increased use of vitamin supplements and the variety of foods fortified with vitamin D (such as orange juice and breakfast cereals), vitamin D deficiency cases of rickets have fallen.

Currently in the United States, conditions that impair vitamin D absorption such as the surgical removal of all or part of the stomach (gastrectomy) and celiac disease, in which the small intestine doesn’t absorb certain nutrients from food, cause most cases of rickets.

Other causes of rickets include:

Hereditary rickets (X-linked hypophosphatemia), an inherited form of rickets caused by the inability of the kidneys to retain phosphorus, or a complication of renal tubular acidosis, a condition in which your kidneys are unable to excrete acids into urine.

Lack of exposure to sunlight, which stimulates the body to make vitamin D

Risk factors

Children 6 to 24 months old are most at risk of rickets because they’re growing rapidly, and vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus play a major role in the growth process.

Risk factors for rickets include:

Lack of vitamin D. Breast-fed infants who don’t receive supplemental vitamin D are at increased risk of developing rickets. While exposure to sunlight could produce the necessary amounts of vitamin D, sunburn and skin cancer are real dangers for young children. Sunscreens also markedly decrease vitamin D production.

Lack of calcium and phosphorus. Children who don’t get enough calcium and phosphorus in their diets are at increased risk of rickets. The availability of milk and other products that contain these minerals make this cause a rarity for rickets in the United States and other developed countries.

Screening and diagnosis

Your doctor or your child’s doctor may diagnose rickets by:

Physical examination. Your doctor will check if the pain or tenderness is coming directly from the bones, instead of the joints and muscles surrounding them.

Blood tests. These measure calcium and phosphorus levels to see if they’re normal.

X-rays. Your doctor may take images of affected bones to look for softening or weakness.

Medical history. Kidney problems, celiac disease or diagnosis of a sibling with rickets may help lead your doctor to a rickets diagnosis.

Complications

While easily treated once it’s diagnosed, rickets has a severe list of complications if left untreated. Untreated vitamin D deficiency rickets may lead to:

Delays in your child’s motor skills development

Failure to grow and develop normally

Increased susceptibility to serious infections

Skeletal deformities

Chronic growth problems that can result in short stature (adults measuring less than 5 feet tall)

Seizures

Dental defects

Treatment

The aim of treatment for rickets is to solve the underlying disorder. If deficiencies in vitamin D, calcium or phosphorus are at fault, replacing vitamin D and those minerals generally eliminates the signs and symptoms of rickets, such as bone tenderness and muscle weakness. Improvement may occur within weeks.

Your doctor may prescribe a vitamin D supplement or ask you to increase your intake of vitamin D-fortified foods, including fortified breakfast cereal, orange juice, fish and processed milk. Your doctor may also recommend that you get a little sun. Remember that moderate exposure is the safest, and don’t expose infants under 6 months to direct sunlight.

Getting a sufficient intake of calcium is crucial to maintaining healthy bones. Your doctor can suggest an appropriate level of calcium intake depending on your age and whether you have absorption problems. The combination of increased vitamin D intake with calcium may be enough to eliminate the effects of rickets entirely.

Treating complications

For some cases of bowlegs or spinal deformities, your doctor may suggest special bracing to position your child’s body appropriately as the bones grow. More severe skeletal deformities may require surgery.

Prevention

Although most adolescents and adults receive much of their necessary vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, infants and young children need to avoid direct sun entirely or be especially careful by always wearing sunscreen.

Vitamin D supplements

In light of these factors, and because human milk contains only a small amount of vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breast-fed infants receive 200 international units (IU) of oral vitamin D daily beginning during the first two months of life and continuing until the daily consumption of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk is two to three glasses or 500 milliliters (mL).

Vitamin D supplements for infants generally come in droplet form. Use only supplements that contain up to 400 IU of vitamin D per mL or tablet. Avoid supplements containing a higher concentration of vitamin D (some forms come in levels of up to 8,000 IU/mL), because they’re unsafe for children.

Getting enough calcium

Calcium and phosphorus consumption are also important for bone formation in childhood. Breast milk is the best source of calcium during a child’s first year of life. Most commercially available formulas also meet calcium requirements. Because of these factors, infants in the United States generally achieve 100 percent of their recommended intake of calcium. Unfortunately, this trend stops as children grow into adolescents and adults, and many fail to take in enough calcium, an essential component of skeletal formation. This lack of calcium may lead to osteomalacia, a form of rickets in adults.

Recommended daily intake of calcium is as follows (serving sizes vary with age):

1 to 3 years of age. 500 milligrams (mg) (two servings of dairy products a day)

4 to 8 years of age. 800 mg (two to three servings of dairy products a day)

9 to 18 years of age. 1,300 mg (four servings of dairy products a day, as most bone mass production occurs during this period)

19 to 50 years of age. 1,000 mg a day (three servings of dairy products a day)

Milk accounts for three-fourths of the calcium in the food supply of the United States. If you’re not drinking milk, be sure to find another source. Remember that low-fat can still mean high-calcium. Other sources of calcium include leafy green vegetables (spinach), fortified orange juices, fortified breakfast cereals and calcium supplements.

Children ‘put at risk of rickets’

BBC Health News:

Children are being put at risk of rickets because policies on vitamin D supplements are not been adhered to, experts have warned.
Doctors in Dundee write in the British Medical Journal that they recently diagnosed five infants with rickets – which can stop bones forming properly.

The government recommends that pregnant women should use vitamin D supplements.

Babies from Asian, African, Afro-Caribbean or Middle Eastern backgrounds are particularly at risk.

The paediatricians at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee said none of the mothers of the five children they had recently diagnosed had received vitamin D supplements.

They warned parents were unaware of the risk because it was rarely mentioned by GPs or health visitors.

Government recommendations state that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should take vitamin D supplements.

They are also recommended for infants in high-risk groups.

The main source of vitamin D is through ultra-violet radiation in sunlight, although it can also be found in certain foods.

It is crucial for the absorption of calcium, which is key in the formation of healthy bones. Deficiencies can lead to rickets, poor tooth formation, stunted growth and general ill health.

People with darker skin are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiencies because increased pigmentation reduces the capacity of the skin to manufacture the vitamin from sunlight.

‘Ignorance’

Dr Scott Williamson, specialist registrar at Ninewells hospital, said there was a lack of awareness in primary care.

“If you try to find official government advice, it’s not that easy to find,” he said.

“It may be the government needs to better disseminate the guidance.

“There does seem to be a bit of ignorance – for instance people don’t realise you’re more at risk of getting rickets if you’re breastfed.

“Also we’re failing ethnic groups by not reinforcing the public health message.”

Vitamins are provided for free under the Healthy Start initiative, which is aimed at low income families on Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Child Tax Credits.

They are also provided free to pregnant women under the age of 18 years but Dr Willamson said GPs should be prescribing the vitamins (which can also be bought from the chemist) for all pregnant women.

Dr Tony Williams, consultant in neonatal paediatrics at St George’s Hospital in London, said that when rickets occurred in babies, it was a sign that the mother was deficient in vitamin D during the last few months of pregnancy.

“The policy for many years has been that women should receive vitamin D supplements during pregnancy but hardly any do,” he said.

But he said antenatal guidance from the government’s drugs watchdog NICE had concluded that it was not necessary and this had added to the confusion.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recently published advice supporting supplementation.

Breastfeeding while flying

The other day I received an email asking if I knew if it was okay to breastfeed on Emirates Airlines, and I did not know the answer. So after calling and asking what was the policy on breastfeed, during a flight, I was told that it was okay. The mother just needs to make sure that she is well covered, and then there should not be a problem. What I would do, while flying any airline, is to call a couple of days before the flight and let them know that you will be traveling with a infant that has to be breastfeed. Take down the name of the person you spoke to and then you should not have any problems, but if you do, please let us know here. Breastfeeding is one of the most important things you can do for your child.

Early baby sex test over the web

There is a very interesting article going round the Internet about parents being able to find out the sex of their baby, at six weeks. It seems all you have to do is buy online this kit from the UK, take some of the mother’s blood, and send it back to this lab in the UK. With in a short time you can have the sex of your baby, but people are upset about this. They believe that people will abort the baby, if it is not the sex that they want.

What do you think? I would like to know about the sex of the baby, but I am not sure I would like to know that early. As I have learned, a lot can happen that early into the pregnants and to know that I not only lost a baby but what I lost, would make it that much harder. Truth be told I am not sure what I would do. How do you feel about this, and would this be something that you would do?

Read more at BBC News.

Eating more fish good for your baby.

Eating fish during your pregnancy is good for your baby’s development, says a new study. The study says that women should eat more than 12oz. of fish each week. By eating more fish you maybe able to help your child’s verbal IQ development, and in turn help in their social development as well. Read more at CNN Health.