Archive for the 'Toddler' 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.

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.

Back to Basics with the Activity Cart

Here is a great gift idea for your Toddler, that will keep them busy for a long time, with the Activity Cart.

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.

Toy Fair

There will be a Toy Fair in Dubai on 13-15 of May. I have not received the timing of the event, or prices, but when I know, I will post them here.

Ear tubes not needed to promote learning, study shows

For a long time it was believed that if a child had many ear infections or had a severe infection, had to get tubes put in their ears. Now a new study says that may not be necessary. The study done by Pittsburgh-based researchers says that the tubes made little differences in language development, hearing lose, and damage to the eardrum.

Implanting ear tubes in most toddlers with frequent infections will make no difference in their learning or behavior through primary school, according to a study challenging one big reason for these common procedures.

Repeated ear infections — even some colds — can leave a fluid buildup that specialists long feared would dampen hearing and slow language and other learning. However, it now appears the hearing loss is too short-lived and mild to interfere with learning, at least in the vast majority of children.

“Children are basically pretty resilient and can withstand … that little amount of problem,” said study leader Dr. Jack L. Paradise, a pediatrician at the University of Pittsburgh.

The children in the study were tested for skills in hearing sounds, reading, writing, socializing, conduct and intelligence. Children who got ear tubes quickly did no better than those who waited up to nine months to check if the fluid remained — and only then got implants if needed.

The plastic tubes — with a diameter the size of a pencil lead — are implanted in the eardrum to ventilate the middle ear, cut down on future fluid, and drain it when infections develop. The surgery has small risks, including those of general anesthesia and possible hearing loss from damage to the eardrum. Ear tubes generally fall out after a year or so.

There are no reliable current estimates on how many ear tubes are implanted each year. About 550,000 were placed in 1996 — about half in toddlers. It has been the No. 2 surgery in the nation, after circumcision. Today, the surgery can cost $3,000 or more.

Berman believes tens of thousands of surgeries could now be considered unnecessary each year. However, a minority of children with severe hearing loss will remain candidates for the surgery. Also, many tubes are implanted to cut down on the infections themselves, rather than fluid. They can reduce pain, and that justification remains valid.

The study was backed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and drug makers GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.

Read more at CNN Health.

Emirates Airline has changed their bag of goodies

Emirates has changed their bag of goodies for the children on long haul flights. It seems that Emirates is really trying to cater to the families that fly with them. You can find more about what they offer at business.maktoob.com.

Emirates has a surprise for children traveling on board their long haul flights. From the beginning of January, they will find a brand new bumper bag of goodies to make flying fun, in addition to the airline’s extenstive inflight entertainment package.

The new toys come in one of two must-have bags: a colourful rucksack (presented on flights outbound from Dubai) and a cool bag (presented on inbound flights). Each one comes in five different colour combinations.

Among them is a new soft toy exclusive to Emirates and sure to become a favourite. It’s called a Querk. The Querk is an animal that loves to travel and can take on the guise of various animals from destinations around the world. This lovable character comes in a soft fabric bag with one of five costumes: Salaam the Lion, Yorkie the Eagle, Sydney the Koala, Paris the Rabbit or Delhi the Elephant.

Children will have fun dressing up the Querk and will be eager to collect the whole set. For babies and toddlers, the Querk comes in the form of a glove puppet dressed in one of the five animal costumes.

The Querk, from German manufacturer Simba Toys, will be exclusively available on Emirates flights for the next two years. It will then be retailed by the makers but the costumes given on Emirates will continue to be exclusive to the airline.

The classic stories from Dr. Seuss will also feature onboard in paperback, the result of an exclusive deal between Emirates and the publishers. Emirates will rotate 10 of the classic children’s stories.

Along with the book, there’s a fun and colourful magazine –e-kids – produced exclusively for Emirates’ young fliers. Half of the activity book will be dedicated for readers under five and half for six to 12-year-olds. The pack includes games, colouring pencils and a cool child-size eye shade.

Terry Daly, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Service Delivery, said: “We are constantly enhancing our onboard product. For our young passengers, we have created a completely new range of toys, games, puzzles and reading material and will rotate the items so that children enjoy much more variety on every flight.”

Everything has been designed in brand new colours. The new product gives children their own livery of purple, green and yellow which is applied to cutlery, tray mats, snack boxes, headset bags as well as the toy bags.

In addition to new toys, mealtime will be a special treat with a children’s menu specifically designed as part of the new product.

For babies and toddlers on all routes there’s a toiletry kit with wet wipes, cream, bib, teething ring and tissue pack. A more child-friendly liner for the bassinet has been designed. Baby food, formula, feeding bottles and diapers are always available, as before. For entertainment via the personal seatback television screens, children on Emirates still have their own CTV & Skysurfers channel with comedy and cartoons, movies and music; and an interactive channel offering 50 games.

Emirates’ A340-500s, all Boeing 777-300ERs and almost all Boeing 777-200s offer inflight entertainment on ‘ice’. In addition to the Skysurfers channel, this state-of-the-art entertainment and communications system features new release family movies, Disney Classics, child-size entertainment on the World Cinema, Arabic and Comedy channels, and musicals such as The Lion King and Rudyard Kipling stories on the audio channels. Ice-equipped aircraft also feature 41 games.

To complete their enjoyment, children can listen and watch with specially-designed kiddie-sized headsets available in bright colours.

Juggling Children and Work

The Gulf News has a story from The Christian Science Monitor, Juggling Children and Work. This story is about parents juggling their child’s after school activities. My question to you, do you have this problem here in the UAE. Do you have a hard time finding a good balance for after school time for your older children?

It seems that they did a study about Parental Concern over After School Time (PCAST), and found that it does affect your work, and your productivity? This went for Mothers and Fathers. Do you believe that you have that problem here in the UAE and what would help you?

Despite progress, many communities still face a serious shortage of affordable, high-quality after-school programmes.

Researchers call this challenge Parental Concern over After School Time (PCAST). It affects workers from the factory floor to the executive suite, mothers and fathers alike.

“They may be called at work or have to leave work for any disruption of their after-school care arrangements,” the Catalyst report explains. “Just worrying about [that] possibility may affect productivity – and thus the employer’s bottom line.”

In one study, more than half the women and almost a third of the men said work/family stress affected their ability to concentrate on the job.

Parental concern is greater when children are older – from grades 6 through 12 – because this age group is more likely to be unsupervised. “Researchers find that teenagers don’t like to go to after-school programmes,” says Sabattini.

Supervised programmes for teens often do not even exist, says Celsi, a single parent. Those that do exist, she finds, often serve at-risk children. “At some point my kids became aware of that and wouldn’t go. They were perceived as at-risk kids, poor kids.”

Child Development and Parent Information

This is a really nice website, to help parents to understand, the different developmental milestones that their children are going through. Child Development and Parent Information is brought to you from Child Development Institute. They cover speech or Language Development, ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Education, Parenting Issue, Child/Teen Health and Safety. I hope you enjoy the site, as it can really help you understand your child.