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Bullying Prevention

Two school girls whispering and laughing at another girl, a form of bullying.

Have your kids ever been bullied? Is your own child a bully? Learn more about bullying and bullying prevention.

Pediatrics Spotlight10

Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013

Wednesday April 9, 2014

The Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013 (S. 1700) was introduced in the United States Senate and in the House as HR. 3481 last November.

The bill "amends the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to extend, enhance, and revise the provisions relating to collection, use, and disclosure of personal information of children, to establish certain other protections for personal information of children and minors, and for other purposes."

Do you have questions about the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013?

Join Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) today for a #AskKidsPriv Q&A at 2pm EST today and ask them your questions, such as:

  • @MarkeyMemo @RepJoeBarton What can we do to make this bill law? #AskKidsPriv

In addition to the AAP, organizations that support the Do Not Track Kids Act Act of 2013 include the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Common Sense Media, and the Parent Teacher Association.

You can take action to help protect your kids online by supporting the Do Not Track Kids Act Act of 2013. Contact your senators and representative and urge them to become a cosponsor of the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013 (senate bill: S. 1700 and house bill: H.R. 3481).

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Protect Our Kids From Online Tracking
Markey: Facebook Privacy Policy Changes for Teens Highlight Need for Do Not Track Kids Act
Parental Controls
High Tech Parenting Gadgets

World Health Day 2014

Monday April 7, 2014

World Health Day - Photo courtesy of the WHOIt's World Health Day and the focus this year is on vector-borne diseases, or diseases that can be transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and water snails.

Unfortunately, while the CDC states that "vector-borne diseases account for 17% of the estimated global burden of all infectious diseases," it is important to remember that there are no vaccines to help prevent most of them. These diseases include dengue, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Chagas disease, and malaria, which remains "one of the most severe public health problems worldwide."

The World Health Organization, which was founded 66 years ago, states that "more than 50% of the world's population is at risk from these vector-borne diseases."

In addition to being to possibly being a problem where you live, for many of us, these vector-borne diseases become even more of a threat when we travel.

This year, on World Health Day, learn what you can do to protect yourself and others from these vector-borne diseases.

According to Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, "A global health agenda that gives higher priority to vector control could save many lives and avert much suffering. Simple, cost-effective interventions like insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor spraying have already saved millions of lives. No one in the 21st century should die from the bite of a mosquito, a sandfly, a blackfly or a tick."

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CDC - World Health Day - Vector-Borne Diseases
Protecting Americans from Chagas Disease, an Emerging Health Threat
Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases
Choosing an Insect Repellent

Update on New Meningitis Vaccines

Monday April 7, 2014

While there are more than a few meningitis vaccines already available, some recent outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis and meningococcemia highlight the fact that at least one is sorely missing.

In addition to many sporadic cases, last year, eight students and one prospective student at Princeton University developed meningococcal disease in an outbreak that began in March 2013. At University of California, Santa Barbara, there were four confirmed cases in November 2013, including one student who became so sick that he had to have both of his feet amputated. Both outbreaks were caused by different strains of the serogroup B meningococcal bacteria, which isn't included in our current meningococcal vaccines (Menactra and Menveo).

Students at these universities were able to get a serogroup B or MenB vaccine though. Bexsero, a vaccine that isn't approved in the United States, but is approved in some other countries, was given to students under the FDA's expanded access program for investigational products.

But what about students at other universities who might want to get protected against this bacteria?

When a student at Drexel University died of meningococcal disease a few weeks ago after having contact with students from Princeton,  some parents and students likely wanted to get a MenB vaccine, even though the CDC said they weren't at high risk.

While a MenB vaccine isn't available to everyone outside of the DA's expanded access program for investigational products, one or two will hopefully be available soon. The FDA has announced that both Bexsero and a new MenB vaccine from Pfizer have been given breakthrough therapy designations, "a process designed to expedite the development and review of drugs that are intended to treat a serious condition."

Keep in mind that since neither company has actually submitted their Biologics License Application to the FDA and even the faster review with a Breakthough Therapy designation can take up to 60 days, it may still be some time before these vaccines are widely available. We are certainly a big step closer though.

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FDA - Vaccine Testing and the Approval Process
FDA - Expediting Availability of New Drugs for Patients with Serious Conditions
Vaccinations Given to Control Meningitis Outbreaks
History of Vaccines

Walking to School Safely

Monday April 7, 2014

Walking to School - Photo by Getty ImagesPeople often bemoan the fact that it doesn't seem like as many kids walk to school like they used to in the 'good old days.'

It would certainly be good if they did. Most kids need more physical activity, especially those who aren't involved in youth sports.

While some people consider safety a barrier to letting their kids walk to school, a new study that will appear in the May issue of Pediatrics, "Motor Vehicle-Pedestrian Collisions and Walking to School: The Role of the Built Environment,"concluded that "pediatricians can counsel parents to encourage children to walk to school as a healthy lifestyle choice."

They found that any increased risk of injury for kids walking to school was strongly associated with built environment features of the area, such as multifamily dwelling density, traffic light, traffic calming and 1-way street density, school crossing guard presence, and school socioeconomic status.

Do you want more kids to walk to school and to walk to school safely? Then we need to do more work on the walkability features of our neighborhoods and on "minimizing or mitigating road crossings."

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Road and Traffic Safety for Kids
Safe Routes to School
Walking School Bus
AAP - Eliminating Street Crossings Can Make it Safer for Children to Walk to School

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