Wednesday March 12, 2014
In this week's Safety Roundup, stories of:
- a 3-year-old in Eureka, Texas who died after he was shot in the head at close range with a 20-gauge shotgun in a shed next to his home. It seems likely that his 8-year-old cousin unintentionally shot the toddler.
- a 2-year-old in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma who dies after he unintentionally shot himself with a handgun.
- a 5-year-old in Nuevo, California who died after he was unintentionally shot in his home.
- a 7-year-old in Mobile, Alabama who died after what was likely an unintentional shooting in his home.
- a 17-year-old in Monte Vista, Colorado who grew up hunting and who was shot in the neck while likely playing Russian roulette with a group of teens and young adults. He didn't know the gun they were playing with was loaded.
- a 3-year-old in Indianapolis, Indiana who required surgery after she unintentionally shot herself in the hand after finding a gun under some couch cushions in her home.
- nearly 2-year-old twins in Sunrise, Florida who are in critical condition who nearly drowned after they were found floating in the community pool of an apartment complex.
- a 3-year-old in Somerville, Alabama who drowned in the family's in ground swimming pool after slipping out the back door. His 2-year-old cousin nearly drowned and is in critical condition.
- a baby in Evergreen, Colorado who is in critical condition after he was attacked by the family dog - an American Bulldog which bit the baby on the head.
- a 19-month-old in Lorena, Texas who was hospitalized after he was bitten on the face by the family dog - a mixed breed dog.
- a 5-month-old in Walcott, Iowa who was hospitalized with burns, along with her mother, after her 3-year-old unintentionally spilled a hot liquid on them.
- a 13-year-old in Vinton, Louisina who died when he was hit by a train.
- a 17-year-old in Chicago, Illinois who died when he was hit by a train while walking to school. He was wearing earphones while crossing the tracks.
- a 14-year-old McKeesport, Pennsylvania who died when she was hit by a dump truck while crossing a street with a group of other students after school. They were not in a designated crosswalk.
- a 17-year-old in Kane County, Illinois who was critically injured while working at the Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park. His arm was severely crushed after it got caught in the roller brush that cleans snow from a ski conveyor lift.
- a 6-year-old in Unicoi County, Tennessee and his grandmother who were seriously hurt after they were hit by a car that had ignored the flashing lights of a stopped school bus.
- a 6-year-old in Suitland, Maryland who died after she became entwined in the pull cords attached to window coverings in her home.
Keep your kids safe. Not all, but many of these types of accidents can be prevented.
Many of the accidents and tragedies are ones that we see week after week, especially drownings, dog bites, falls, ATV accidents, unintentional shootings, and even lawn mower accidents.
Spread the word about child safety to help save lives and reduce these types of accidents and tragedies.
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Wednesday March 12, 2014
Not surprisingly, the measles outbreak in New York City is already growing, bringing the total case count to 19.
Most people will likely remember that New York City was the site of a large measles outbreak just last year when 58 people developed measles in what ended up being the largest outbreak since the endemic spread of measles was eliminated in the United States.
Fortunately, this outbreak doesn't seem to be growing quite as fast as the 2013 New York measles outbreak, when an initial five cases in Borough Park, Brooklyn quickly grew into 34 cases in just over five weeks. In a few more weeks, 58 people had been diagnosed with measles. As in most of these outbreaks, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene concluded that the "outbreak began in a few extended families of vaccine refusers, and it was propagated by children whose vaccinations were delayed. No confirmed measles cases had documentation of vaccination at the time they were exposed to measles."
The timeline of this new outbreak in NYC is fairly similar, including an initial six cases, although it doesn't seem from the measles alert that they are related. Of these first cases, we know that:
- two were exposed to someone with measles who was visiting from outside of the New York area (the report doesn't say if the person was from out of the United States though)
- four had no known exposures, which is concerning because it suggests that there are other people in the community with unrecognized and uncontained cases of measles that are exposing even more people
- one child was not vaccinated because of "parental refusal," which is typically a code word for a parent who is against vaccines
- two children were too young to have gotten their first dose of the MMR vaccine, which is typically given once you are twelve months old (but can be given as early as six months if you are going to be traveling out of the United States)
- three adults who are between the ages of 34 to 63 years and who thought they had been vaccinated, but did not have any documentation of their immunization status
A month later, the outbreak had grown to 16 people, including 6 more children and 4 more adults.
The additional cases include two more children who were too young to be vaccinated and another child who was not vaccinated because of "parental refusal." There were also three toddlers between the ages of 13 to 15 months, who would be partially vaccinated if they had gotten an MMR vaccine already.
Two of the adults had received two doses of the MMR vaccine and other two thought they had.
Did they though? It is important to remember that some adults may not have had an MMR booster if they were born before 1990, when getting a booster dose of MMR became routine.
Adults might also want to double-check their vaccine records to see if they were vaccinated with the original inactivated measles vaccines from 1963 to 1967, which was not as effective as the newer MMR, and should be repeated.
So what is happening now? Three more adults have developed measles, with new cases in Brooklyn, even though the outbreak still seems to be concentrated in northern Manhattan.
In addition to the fact that five of the cases required hospitalization and that measles is a life-threatening disease, it is very concerning that after almost six weeks, the source of this outbreak still isn't known. In previous large outbreaks, there is a link that ties the cases together, like the Texas measles outbreak that was tied to a large church or the previous NYC outbreak that was tied to some members of the Orthodox Jewish community. So even though most people are vaccinated, pockets of unvaccinated people in these communities kept the outbreaks going.
Let's not keep this outbreak going. Take steps now to avoid measles.
Get Educated. Get Vaccinated. Stop the Outbreaks.
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Monday March 10, 2014
Yearly flu vaccines were once recommended only for high risk children. It wasn't until the 2002-03 flu season that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices begin encouraging vaccination of healthy children between the ages of 6 and 23 months when feasible.
They then made a formal recommendation for flu vaccines:
- for healthy children between 6 and 23 months for the 2004-05 flu season
- for healthy children between 24 and 59 months for the 2006-07 flu season
- for flu vaccines for healthy children between 5 and 18 years for the 2008-09 flu season
Still, even with these recommendations and with flu vaccines being a part of the childhood immunization, unlike most other vaccines, flu vaccines aren't usually required for kids who attend school or daycare.
That is unless you live in Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York City, all of which do require children between the ages of 6 and 59 months to receive at least one dose of a flu vaccine each year to attend a licensed day care.
Is the requirement effective?
We are getting our first evidence in a new report from the CDC, "Impact of Requiring Influenza Vaccination for Children in Licensed Child Care or Preschool Programs -- Connecticut, 2012-13 Influenza Season,"and it looks like good news.
After instituting the new rule in 2010, among young children, Connecticut has seen:
- a large increase in vaccination rates (from 67% to 84%)
- a decrease in hospitalization rates (12%)
And since most flu deaths in kids are typically in those who have not been vaccinated, anything to help boost vaccination rates seems like a good idea. Also, in addition to being at high risk for catching the flu, young children are often thought to be among the groups who are most likely to transmit the flu virus to others.
Less flu in young kids might also mean less flu for everyone. And that is what these laws are about. According to Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., a medical ethicist, these flu vaccine laws are about "trying to prevent infected kids from killing or making other kids sick, especially those with asthma or immune diseases. It is trying to prevent killing grandma by infecting her, killing pregnant women's fetuses or striking dead the neighbor who is getting chemotherapy or is post an organ-transplant who encounters an infected baby or child at the supermarket, train station or movie theater."
Is your state or city planning on making the flu vaccine a requirement for attending day care or preschool?
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Monday March 10, 2014
Parents often complain about their kids spending too much time playing games on their iPads and texting with their cell phones.
Are parents using them too much too?
A new study that will be published in the April issue of Pediatrics, "Patterns of Mobile Device Use by Caregivers and Children During Meals in Fast Food Restaurants," observed caregivers eating with their children and found "a large proportion of caregivers who were highly absorbed with their hand-held devices."
This absorption with their mobile device seemed to lead the caregivers to:
- have decreased responsiveness to the child
- have decreased conversation with a passive child
- ignore their child's behaviors until it escalated and they eventually raised their voice
So while "some children accepted the lack of engagement and entertained themselves; others acted out in a bid for attention."
Have you ever seen these parents and kids in a restaurant? Has it ever been you?
The researchers do warn that "we should not draw conclusions about relationships between mobile device use and caregiver-child interaction from our results," but the study is a good reminder for all of us to take a good look at our own use (or overuse) of cell phones and other media (screen time), especially when we are with our kids.
Limiting Screen Time
Take the Pledge to never txt and drive
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Kids and Cell Phones