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Child Health and Safety Archives

Parenting and Child Anxiety

Thank you to Allan Gonsher for this guest post.

Parents want their children to thrive and make every effort to help them grow and succeed. Every year brings new milestones and experiences, and of course, challenges. They can happen at home, daycare, or school and can cause family or relationship difficulties, school issues, and behavioral problems. Sometimes parents feel overwhelmed and frustrated, often seeking additional to help sort out how to tackle these problems.

Even without outside challenges, some children may have difficulty expressing their feelings and emotions. As a parent, it is hard to see your child struggle and the cause may not be clear. In the following Q&A, you will see my response to a parent whose child is dealing with anxiety, which is a common disorder that strikes millions of adults and children worldwide.

My 7 year old son seems to be struggling with anxiety and panic…any suggestions that can help the little guy? He is smart and a bit of a thinker, which I think is leading him to over-think. He is not one for relaxing and winding down which isn’t helping him. I have put him in touch with the school psychologist and of course we love him to pieces and support him, but he seems to lack confidence and has a low self esteem. I have gotten him into Karate, which he loves and is very good at, and he enjoys playing baseball in the spring. Are there any books, movies, or websites that would provide me with some tried and true coping skills for a young child?

ANSWER– provided by Allan Gonsher, LIMHP, LSCSW, RPT-S

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Is it the Food?

I am fortunate that neither of my kids have a food allergy.  My youngest finished Kindergarten this year with 3 out of 21 classmates with serious peanut allergies.  There is an “approved” school snack list (mostly highly processed packaged junk), mandatory hand washing (a plus), and separate lunch area.

Last week’s blog “Are Your Kids Allergic to Food – or What’s in it?” by Healthy Child Healthy World highlighted some interesting points.  Like the WebMD report that 8% of children have at least one food allergy. Wow, that seems high to me!  The article linked to the Huffington Post reporter who questions whether this increasing rate is related to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Do you know that ~75% of the food on the supermarket shelves contain a genetically modified ingredient? Could the increase we see in ADHD, autism, asthma, or allergies be related to what we eat and drink?

Want a peek at the brands that may be using GMOS’s? Check out the lists by Raw Wisdom or Dr. Mercola

These are brands I don’t purchase: Kraft/Nabisco, Nestle/Libby’s, Post, General Mills, Kellogg and Coca-Cola, just name a few! I know these mega-brands offer the best “value”. You can find tons of coupons and sometimes get products for virtually free. But is the health of our children worth it? Yes, healthier products usually cost more. But we have cut back on other areas of our budget to purchase healthier food.

Do you have a child with ADHD, autism, asthma, or allergies? Do you think diet is related?  What changes have you made in feeding your family? Comment below or join our conversation on Twitter by following gailsscoop and using hashtag #noGMOs or find the thread on our Facebook Page

Read last week’s blog “Are Your Kids Allergic to Food – or What’s in it?” by Healthy Child Healthy World.

Do the Kids have Colds? What to do at Home

This is a guest post from Cindy Daugherty, M.D.

If it seems like your children constantly have a cold, you’re not just imagining it. Most children have 8-10 colds per year, and because they can last 2 weeks or more and occur mostly in the winter, kids are sick more days than they are well from November through March.

In 2007, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association announced OTC cough and cold medicines would need to state “do not use” in children under 4 years of age. Many pediatricians feel these medicines should not be used under 6 years of age. Part of the reason for this recommendation is the lack of evidence in clinical trials that these medicines work at all.

So what has been shown to help? What can be done for these symptoms?
The oldest advice is still the best advice: fluids and rest. Increasing fluids will thin secretions which improves some coughs and prevents dehydration. Chicken soup is widely believed to improve cold symptoms.  A 2000 study claimed chicken soup had anti-inflammatory properties.

Gargling with saline has recently been shown to help symptoms. If your child is old enough you can have them gargle with 1/2 tsp of salt dissolved in a glass of water. Saline nose drops are safe and effective for infants.

Cool mist vaporizers add moisture to the air which can help nasal membranes and coughs. They must be cleaned according to manufacturers directions to prevent mold from growing. Warm humidifiers are not recommended because of the risk of burns. You can boil a big pot of water on the stove to add moisture to the air in your home as well. Want to more about humidifiers? Check out the recent blog post at Healthy Child Healthy World

Honey can be given for coughs. Children ages 2-5 can be given 1/2 teaspoon, 6-11 one teaspoon and age 12 and up 2 teaspoons. Buckwheat honey was used in a 2007 study but you can use any honey. Darker honeys do have more antioxidants. Honey cannot be given to infants under 1 year of age because of the risk of botulism.

Menthol rubs can ease coughs. A small amount can be applied to the chest of babies older than 3 months. Be sure to keep the jar out of reach of kids.

Of course if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s symptoms, or if you are not sure if it is a cold check with your child’s doctor.

Cindy Daugherty, M.D.

Cindy Daugherty, M.D. received a B.A. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and her M.D. from The University of Kansas School of Medicine.  She completed a residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Hospital.  She is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  She has fourteen years of experience in pediatric urgent care.  She is married with three children in the BV School District.

How Often Do Your Kids Eat Fast Food?

Last month my daughter invited me to have lunch with her in the elementary school cafeteria. My Kindergartner informed me that “you have to bring McDonald’s – that’s what all the parents do”.  And me, a 46 year old well-educated mom, succumbed to peer pressure. I want my kid to fit in right? All day I was kicking myself for my poor decision. What kind of example was I setting?

Now, don’t misunderstand, we have certainly purchased our share of fast-food over the years and have dined on it in the car in between activities. But I can happily say we have made big improvements over the last two years.

Flash back six months ago….At a networking luncheon a business person who sells health and wellness supplements had a fast-food hamburger and fries on her table. She asked me when I thought it was from and I ignorantly replied something like “2 days ago?”. She told me it was from 6 years ago. I really thought this was impossible. I mean the bread would be moldy, the food disintegrated, right? I must admit I put the thought out of my head.

Read the articles “You Want Flies with That? McDonald’s Happy Meal Shows No Sign of Decomposing after SIX MONTHS” from Daily Mail and “In Heated Debate, McDonald’s Insists Happy Meal Can Grow Mold” from the Atlantic Wire or heck do your own experiment.

I know about childhood obesity, additives and preservatives, etc., etc. But this is just gross and disturbing.  Not to point fingers at McDonald’s I can’t imagine any other fast food is any better.

It will be a long time before I hit the drive through. What about you?

RECALL: Britax Infant Car Seats

23,000 Infant Car Seats Recalled

Britax Chaperone infant car seats with model #s E9L95P2 (Red Mill), E9L95P3, E9L95P5 (Cowmooflage), E9L69N9 (Moonstone) manufactured between April 2009 and May 2010. The white serial label with the seat’s S/N, model #, and manufacture date can be found on the underside of the car seat.

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