Hello, friends! I’m sorry to have been entirely absent this last month. My full-time job went into overdrive, and unfortunately something had to give. It was really important to me that my family get what was left of my free time, so PureBebe had to take the back seat. My apologies to all of you.
Life is still a bit hectic, and as I’ve been thinking about how I can better use my time to keep up with PureBebe, I’ve decided to change it up with our weekly highlights post. Don’t worry, we will still keep you in the know – Just hop on over to our Facebook page and follow us there.
On our timeline, Heather and I will share the latest health and safety news, research, and recalls as well as other fantastic reads and pinterest-worthy finds too. And we encourage you to do the same. We want to know what you’re reading and what interests you. Ask us your questions and share with us your knowledge.
If you miss our recall notices on Facebook, you can also find them now in our right sidebar. We’ve added continuous feeds which will always be up to date with the latest recalls of children’s products and toys, car seats, and foods.
And now my time spent on weekly highlights will be dedicated to research and writing on other child health and safety topics as well as great family recipes. I’ve got some fantastic ones coming up!
Every year, U.S. poison centers take over 2 million calls related to poison exposures in people, and over 50% of those calls are for children under the age of 5. The most common substances involved are painkillers, cosmetics and personal care products, and household cleaning products; and overwhelmingly, poison exposures occur in the home (over 90%).
Most incidents are resolved over the phone, but there are occasions where a child may need to be taken to the ER. For instance, more than 60,000 children under age 5 are treated in the ER each year due to accidental medication poisoning.
My little sister was one of those children years ago. Nana was visiting and had put her purse away in the bedroom closet where she’d been staying, but when little sis went down for her nap one afternoon she got into what she thought was Nana’s “candy” instead. My poor little sister ended up in the ER getting charcoal treatment and her stomach pumped. Fortunately, she came away from it unscathed, but I’m sure everyone was terrified and scarred.
This type of occurrence happens more often than you might think, and so often pills are indistinguishable from candy. I came across this cute and catchy little video that may help our kids learn that they should always STOP and ASK FIRST before they want to touch something or put something in their mouths that doesn’t belong to them:
Of course, ultimately, we don’t want our children to ever find themselves in these situations, and so poison-proofing our homes is the best prevention tool. Below are helpful tips for poison prevention as well as treatment if you suspect poisoning has occurred.
What are the potential dangers in your home?
Any of these common household products could seriously harm a child if ingested:
Bath and kitchen disinfectants and sanitizers, including bleach
Household cleaning or maintenance products, such as drain cleaner, paints, or glues
Automotive products stored around the home, such as anti-freeze or windshield washer fluid
Health or beauty care products such as medicines, mouthwash, hair and nail products
Roach sprays and baits
Rat and other rodent poisons
Products used to kill mold or mildew
Flea and tick shampoos, powders, and dips for pets
Indoor or outdoor plants
Swimming pool chemicals
What can you do to prevent accidental poisoning?
Regardless of the item of concern, keep it UP, AWAY, and OUT OF SIGHT. Even if you have items in an upper cabinet, it’s a good idea to use a cabinet lock to keep your little climbers or older children out.
Be prepared in case of emergency. Program the Poison Control Help number, 1-800-222-1222, into your home and cell phones. If you suspect your child has ingested something dangerous, contact Poison Help right away.
Ensure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.
If you live in an older home, particularly a home built before 1978, have your home and children tested for lead.
Do not keep poisonous plants in your home or yard.
Teach your child to STOP and ASK FIRST before they touch something or put anything in their mouths that does not belong to them.
Put medicines and vitamins away every time, even between dosing.
Always relock the safety cap. Twist until you hear the click.
Explain to children what medicine is and that only you can give it to them.
Never tell a child that medicine tastes like candy in an attempt to get them to take it.
Never give a child medicine in the dark. Turn the light on and read the instructions to ensure proper dosing.
Ask house guests and visitors to keep their coats and bags out of reach when they are in your home. Don’t put it past kids to get past child-resistant packaging (not child-proof, mind you).
Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically, and safely dispose of any medicines such as prescriptions when no longer needed. Check with your locality as many hold take-back events as an alternative to flushing pharmaceuticals down the drain.
Don’t throw medications away in open trash containers where a child might be able to get to them.
Pesticides and Household Chemical Products
Use the safest possible pesticides and cleaning products. There are many natural and nontoxic alternatives that can be found with a simple search online.
Always store them in a locked cabinet, preferably out of reach.
Place Mr Yuk stickers on potentially poisonous products to help your kids decipher undesirables. Information to request a free sheet or purchase more is available here.
Remember the BEFORE, WHILE, AFTER rule: BEFORE using a product, read the instructions. WHILE using a product, never leave it alone. AFTERusing a product, lock it up.
If a spillage occurs, clean it up immediately.
Do not transfer products to other containers, particularly containers that could be mistaken for food or drink. You will want to have the original label and instructions in the case of accidental poisoning.
Remove children, pets, toys, bottles, and pacifiers from the area before applying pesticides inside or outside the home. Follow label directions to determine when it is safe for children and pets to return to the area.
Choose nontoxic art supplies.
Keep the dishwasher door closed, and only fill with detergent when ready to use.
What if you suspect your child has been poisoned?
If you suspect your child has been poisoned, you need to act quickly.
Signs of Poisoning
An open or spilled bottle of pills or cleaning product, or suspicious stains on your child’s mouth or clothing
A burn or rash on the lips, mouth or skin
Burns, stains, or smell of chemicals on your child or his or her clothing
Unexplained nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Inexplicable amounts of drooling
An unusual odor on his or her breath
Headache, dizziness, confusion, or blurred vision - your child can’t follow you with their eyes
Bluish lips, coughing, throat pain, or difficulty breathing
Seizures, convulsions, or unconsciousness (in extreme cases)
What to do
If you suspect that your child has been poisoned, do not wait for symptoms to appear. Even if your child has no symptoms, it can’t hurt to call poison control. Better safe than sorry.
If your child is having serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, seizures, or is unconscious, call 911 immediately.
If your child is awake and stable, take certain measures first and then call the poison control hotline: 1-800-222-1222.
Swallowed poison - Do not try to make your child vomit. You may do more harm bringing the poison back up. Sweep your child’s mouth and remove any visible poison. Rinse out and wipe your child’s mouth with a cloth. Call poison control.
Poison on the skin - Remove contaminated clothing, while avoiding any more contact with the chemical. Flood the skin with lukewarm running water. Wash gently with soap and water and rinse. Call poison control.
Poison in the eye - Wrap your child in a towel with arms placed at his or her sides under the towel, and place them on a flat surface so you can control them safely. Hold the eyelid open, and drip room temperature water or normal saline over the bridge of the nose for 15 minutes. Call poison control.
Inhaled poison - Get your child to fresh air. Open doors and windows if safe to do so. Begin artificial respiration if they’re not breathing. Call 911.
Stings and bites - Remove the sting if present, and wash the affected area with soap and warm water. Pat dry. Call poison control.
When you speak with poison control or 911, be prepared to provide the following information:
your child’s age, height, and weight
existing health conditions
substance and label information
how the substance entered the body
first aid given
has your child vomited
your location and distance to the nearest hospital
Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. If you see anything you think we should feature, please send it to email@example.com. Thanks, and we hope your week is off to a great start! - Jasmine
In the News:
Help for Postpartum Depression – The nation’s first inpatient unit for moms who suffer from postpartum depression at UNC Chapel Hill allows hospitalized moms to be with their babies, offers weekly therapy for mom and baby, as well as partner-assisted therapy for dad to learn how to be most helpful. The center has been open since August and sounds as if it has been a resounding success. If only more women could have access to this kind of therapy and support.
FDA to Decide on BPA by Week’s End - By the end of this week, the FDA is set to take a position on BPA in food packaging in response to a court order after ignoring a petition by the National Resources Defense Council. We’ve seen more research emerging as of late showing effects at even low doses. I’m with the NRDC – we need to get BPA out of our food, but we also need to ensure a safe replacement.
Sugar Takes Corn Syrup to Court - Sugar producers are taking on corn refiners as they accuse the corn industry of false advertising in its latest campaign that argues corn syrup is “nutritionally the same as table sugar.” In fact, corn industry reps are hoping to change the name from “high fructose corn syrup” to “corn sugar” in an attempt to improve its image. Call it what you want, but ultimately our society needs to reduce its overall consumption of sugars and sweeteners if we’re going to have much impact on the obesity epidemic.
Maryland Senate Proposes Ban on Smoking in Cars with Young Children - After a lively debate on the Senate floor, the Maryland Senate voted to send a bill to the House that would ban smoking in cars with children under the age of 8. While many opponents argue the intrusion of privacy, the dangers of smoking are well-established and in this case, I think the pendulum swings in favor of protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
Early Exposure to Germs Does a Body Good – Some scientists think they’ve figured out the key to the “hygiene hypothesis”, the hypothesis that exposure to germs at an early age helps build immunity whereas a super clean environment increases susceptibility to allergic and autoimmune diseases.
In a recent study, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital compared the immune systems of mice living in “germ-free” and normal environments and found that immune cells (invariant natural killer T cells) accumulated in the lungs and colon of the mice in germ-free environments and caused symptoms resembling asthma and colitis. When young mice were exposed to microbes during the first weeks of life (but not later as adults), on the other hand, they grew up with stronger immune systems protected from immune cell accumulation and disease.
The researchers caution that additional research in humans is needed, but the findings fall in line with years of research showing that exposure to microbes and parasites in childhood reduces the risk of autoimmune disease.
This week, we’re featuring pocket-size activities for your little ones – small enough to tuck away in your purse or diaper bag for a little entertainment on the go. The first feature comes from Made by Joel, an ingenious site that is full of DIY activities to do with your children. LOVE this site! I came across the second feature on Pinterest, and it comes to us from Etsy. I think I need to invest in some altoid tins. FYI – do a search for altoid tin crafts on google, and you’ll be amazed what else you might find.
In honor of the 43rd anniversary of the publication of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we thought we’d repost one of our favorite posts on the subject. I adore children’s books, and this is one of my very favorites.
Every time I sit down to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar with my children, I can’t help but think that the author, Eric Carle, is a genius. At every stage of my little ones’ development, there is something in it for them.
It started with the beautiful and striking illustrations and the sound of Mommy’s voice when they were infants…
Then it became tactile, as my little girls began to follow the caterpillar through his food adventure with their little fingers…
Now my 1 year old is learning to speak, so we focus on the objects – “sun”, “apple”, and “orange” for example.
And then we’ll begin to follow the path of my now 3 year old. With each day of the week, the very hungry caterpillar eats a growing number of fruits…an excellent tool for early counting skills.
And if she’s anything like her sister, which her growing love of books is a sure indication, she’ll have this book memorized by the age of 2. We have a pocket version of this book that went EVERYWHERE with us, and she and I both knew the entire story by heart. How we loved to hear her little voice reciting its words. I can still hear it in my head now, “One Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and POP! out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar”. And my favorite part as she recited the array of junk food the caterpillar consumed on Saturday in her adapted vocabulary – “one piece of chlocate (chocolate) cake…one slice of solomami (salami)…one shaushage (sausage)…”.
Of course, at the end of this day of indulgence, the poor little caterpillar has quite a tummy-ache, which is subsequently cured by eating through one “nice green leaf”. The perfect opportunity to teach my little one about eating healthy!
Now my 3 year old and I are learning the days of the week.
Mommy: “On Monday, the caterpillar ate through one apple, but he was STILL hungry. What is the next day?”
Little J: “Tuesday!”
And I’m sure it won’t end there…One darling idea I came across recently focuses on fine motor skills. Using a green ribbon, your child can imitate the caterpillar as he or she threads the ribbon through the holes the caterpillar has left behind with each bite.
And then there is the science behind it all – the life stages of a caterpillar who begins his life as an egg and ultimately becomes a beautiful butterfly! One mom who reviewed the book on Amazon ordered caterpillars online and followed the stages of their development with her little one along with the book until they released them as butterflies in the spring…The learning opportunities with this book are endless!
I love collecting children’s books, and this is absolutely a must-have for your child’s collection.
One piece of advice? I recommend getting it as a sturdy board book or purchase more than one. We have three of them, and each shows just how much it has been “loved” by my little ones.
We hope you had a wonderful weekend. Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. Enjoy! - Jasmine
In the News:
Is it Safe to Play Yet? Going to Extremes to Purge Household Toxins- The article is a bit hypocritical as it highlights legitimate reasons why we should be concerned, but then paints concerned mothers as neurotic and portrays a PhD’d father as unconvinced based on his common sense. Even so, the message is that parents are going to great lengths to determine what is safe and protect their children from what they feel is not.
This is one of the many reasons that Heather and I do what we do – research and write in an effort to put helpful information at your fingertips. Despite what the article says, there is plenty of science on some toxic threats with more emerging daily. It’s becoming harder to deny the science on BPA when even small doses are showing adverse effects.
Concern over toxins in our daily lives can be incredibly overwhelming, paralyzing even. But we do have to be careful not to let toxic green guilt take over our lives. I’m guilty of that feeling sometimes, but I’ve learned to move in baby steps knowing that every step gets us closer to a healthier family. In the end, though, there’s only so much we can all do to protect our families, and ultimately we need chemical reform.
Schools Can Just Say No to ‘Pink Slime’ - In response to public uproar, the USDA is now giving schools the option to purchase ground beef sans ‘pink slime’. While many say it may not be unsafe, everyone seems to agree that there is a definite yuck factor with ‘pink slime’.
Herbal Danger: You’ll Rue Taking Rue - Consumer Reports highlights important points to consider before using herbal treatments, in particular detailing concerns over rue which can cause uterine contractions and miscarriage in pregnant women.
No More Annual Pap Smear: New Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines- New guidelines on cervical cancer screenings from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advise women to reduce the number of tests they receive over their lifetime. Recommendations now suggest that women under 21 should not be tested, and those over 21 should only receive a pap smear every 3 years.
Low Doses, Big Effects: Scientists Seek Fundamental Change in Regulation and Testing of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
A team of 12 scientists are calling for a paradigm shift after spending 3 years reviewing hundreds of studies on the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals. In what is likely to be a controversial paper, they have concluded that there is plenty of evidence that hormone altering chemicals have effects at low levels, and those effects are often different than what may be seen at high doses. The researchers argue that we need to change from the current regulatory system where chemicals are tested at high doses and then safe levels are determined at lower doses while never actually being tested; instead, chemicals need to be tested and regulated at low levels akin to human exposures.
Common Antibiotic Linked to Asthma
A recent study out of Canada has concluded that a widely used antibiotic, vancomycin, when used early in life can increase the risk and severity of asthma. In experiments done on rodents, the researchers found that the antibiotic wipes out beneficial gut in the bacteria that play an important role in shaping a healthy immune system. The ongoing research is investigating specifically which microbes are affected, as consideration for how the bacteria might ultimately be used in treatments in the future. While the research is not yet proven in people, the researchers are working on a national study in 5,000 children.
You Are What Your Mother Ate
This article provides a good overview of the theory of epigenetics. A lot of the studies that I’ve been reading and that we’ve been highlighting fall under this theory – that the foods we eat and the environment we expose ourselves to can affect the expression of our genes and the traits that we pass on to our offspring, but we and our children also have the ability to modify gene expression with our behaviors. For instance, where certain factors have put us at increased risk for a particular disease, we can counter that risk with healthy behaviors and possibly turn the tide for the next generation. Much of today’s research is focused on epigenetics, and it is truly fascinating.
CafeMom, a social gathering site for moms, recently hosted a photography challenge by Me Ra Koh, a professional photographer, in which she provided recipes/detailed instructions for capturing memorable images and moments and then users reported back with their images. Her first recipe invited moms to capture the fleeting hair swirl of their newborns.
We hope you had a wonderful weekend. Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. We’ve added a new feature this week, thanks to a suggestion from one of our loyal readers (thanks, Andrea!): Pinterest-Worthy Finds will now highlight some of our favorite images from the web. Enjoy!
In the News:
Berenstain Bears Creator Dead at 88 - Jan Berenstain, creator of the beloved Berenstain Bears, passed away Friday. Her books were a significant part of my child, and some of those same books are now in my children’s library. Thank you, Jan, for a wonderful legacy.
First 4-in-1 Flu Vaccine Approved by the FDA - The FDA has now approved the first flu vaccine to protect against 4 strains of the flu, resulting in the addition of another Influenza B strain to the mix. The new spray vaccine is approved for ages 2 to 49 and is expected to improve the likelihood of protection from vaccine, particularly in young children who are affected by Influenza B more than any other population according to the FDA.
Pediatricians Say Breastfeeding is about Public Health, Not Just Lifestyle - Last week, the AAP updated its guidelines on infant nutrition and in it recognizes breastfeeding as a public health issue based on a wealth of new data on the benefits of breastfeeding. Previously, the AAP was divided on the recommendation to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, but now there is consensus from the entire academy. The new policy calls for exclusive breastfeeding for “about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.”
The study followed 340 women in Bangladesh, half of which were given the flu vaccine and the other half were given the pneumococcal vaccine as a control. During non-flu season, there was little difference in birth weights, but during flu season, women who received the vaccine came down with the flu less than half as often as the other women and their babies were born at healthier weights. Four other studies have shown similar results, and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has granted the researchers additional funding to perform a larger, similar study in Nepal.
Exercise in Pregnancy Safe for Baby
A recent study finds that moderate exercise during pregnancy is safe for baby, even for women who were not regular exercisers before pregnancy. The study also found that even high intensity exercise is safe for women who were previously active before pregnancy.
In the study, 45 women between 28 and 32 weeks pregnant walked or jogged on a treadmill for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity. Those who were regularly active before pregnancy were assigned an additional 30 minutes of high intensity exercise on the treadmill. The fetuses were monitored before and after each session. While the fetal heart rate rose after the exercise, the babies’ heart rate, blood flow, and biophysical profile remained within normal range.
The Peaceful Parenting Approach to Kid’s Conflicts - I’ve been enjoying reading tips lately on positive parenting and teaching children conflict resolution as my kids are getting older and more interactive. I thought this was a great read with practical tips for teaching yourself and your children empathy and problem-solving. To read on, go here:
(you may need to copy and paste the URL in your browser because the apostrophe seems to be causing a problem with the hyperlink)
How fun is this?!? Last year, a neighbor of ours arranged an Easter Egg Hunt at dusk and the kids searched by flashlight, but what a great twist – Give it to PlayatHomeMom for another fantastic idea: glow-in-the dark easter eggs courtesy of mini party lights. If you’re going to pin this, be sure to hop on over to her site and give her the credit. Or if you’d like to follow me on pinterest, find my newly created Purebebe profile here.
Happy Leap Day! Sorry for the delay this week, as I managed to land myself with crutches after a rough spill and a badly sprained ankle. Nevertheless, welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. Enjoy!
In the News:
Baby Born with Cancer is a Medical Mystery - In the rarest of medical occurrences, a baby was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma shortly after her birth. Earlier this month, her mother lost the battle with the same cancer that they believe she passed on to her baby in utero. Now baby Addison is fighting the cancer and being treated with an experimental FDA-approved medication approved only for her and not covered by insurance. To help the family with the cost of care, donations can be made to the “Cox Family” donation account at Arizona Federal Credit Union. Account #826604.
California Bill Would End Use of Toxic Flame Retardants - A new bill was introduced Friday seeking to change the state’s outdated flame retardant standard. While the new bill doesn’t require the phasing out of toxic flame retardants, it does set a standard that most furniture items could pass without the use of toxic chemicals, and that is a step in the right direction.
CPSC Adopts New Federal Standard for Portable Bed Rails- Bed rails intended to keep children from rolling out of an adult bed have entrapped young children and killed infants. The CPSC has adopted a new standard requiring testing and improved warnings stating that rails should never be used with children under 2. Portable bed rails must also not create a dangerous gap with the mattress or contain hazardous edges or small parts.
That New Car Smell is Toxic
That new car smell is actually the smell of chemicals off-gassing from interior auto parts like the steering wheel, dashboard, seats, and trim. It’s amazing how the smells we’ve been conditioned to associate with new and clean can be so toxic to our health. Over 275 different chemicals have been identified in vehicles interiors, including bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers); lead; and heavy metals. These chemicals have been linked to a variety of health problems such as allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer.
Healthystuff.org has tested over 900 vehicles since 2006 for these chemicals, and in its latest release the 2012 Honda Civic topped its list as the least toxic whereas the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander was the organization’s worst pick. Some general observations to note: Honda has virtually eliminated PVC from its fleet, with 83% of 2011/12 models free of PVC. North American-produced vehicles lag behind Europe- and Asia-produced vehicles in PVC and brominated flame retardant use, as the U.S. has the weakest regulatory system for chemicals in consumer products and provides the fewest incentives. How does your car stack up?
Memo to Pediatricians: Screen All Kids for Vitamin D Deficiency, Test Those at High Risk
As numerous studies have shown the fundamental role of Vitamin D on health and disease, which often develop in childhood, pediatricians are recommending that children be screened for risk factors and tested when at high risk. The AAP recommends 400 IU daily for breastfed infants under one and 600 IU daily for toddlers. I give my girls, one of whom refuses to drink milk, Carlson Labs Vitamin D supplement which comes in the form of liquid drops of vitamin D3 in fractionated coconut oil. It’s tasteless, so they don’t notice a few drops added to their water.
Kids Get More Added Sugar From Foods Than From Drinks
While soda is still the single largest source of added sugar in children’s diets, new government data shows that processed and packaged foods are the leading source in their diets with 63% of calories from added sugars consumed at home. “Soda consumption is high, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the added sugars in foods such as muffins, cookies, sugar-sweetened cereals and pasta sauces,” says Cynthia Ogden, senior author on the report and an epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics.
Getting Kids to Eat Veggies Can Be Sticky Business
A recent study found that rewarding children with stickers increased their affinity for a previously disliked vegetable. In the study, 173 families were assigned to three different groups: one that rewarded tiny tastes with stickers, another that rewarded with praise, and a control group that used no special tactics. Over the course of 12 days, the researchers found that the children rewarded with stickers gave higher yum factor ratings to vegetables they’d previously disliked and the results seemed to last, whereas praise seemed to have little effect. While rewards can be controversial as may lead to an expectation of reward, the researchers suggest that it about 10 days was enough to change a child’s attitude toward the vegetable.
Solutions for Siblings from Positive Parenting - I’m fortunate that my children get along most days, but sometimes they and I need a little help diffusing a situation. This article provides some great ideas for minimizing sibling rivalry and creating an environment where children can feel safe, loved, and valued.
We hope you had a fantastic long weekend! This week’s highlights was delayed a bit so I could devote some time to the arsenic and rice news that came out late last week. Here’s a little more of what I’ve been reading this past week. - Jasmine
In the News:
Johnson & Johnson Recalls Infant’s Tylenol - In case you missed it on our Facebook page, Johnson & Johnson has issued a nationwide recall of all infant tylenol on the market due to reported difficulties using the new dosing syringe.
No adverse events have been reported, but if you’d like a refund you can visit their website or call for a refund. Consumers can still use the product if the flow restrictor remains in place. The instructional video below issued by McNeil demonstrates how to use the syringe.
Maine Groups Press for BPA Ban After Chemical Found in Baby and Toddler Food - 11 out of 12 major brands of jarred baby food tested positive for BPA in the lids, and tests also showed that the BPA had been found in the baby food. Levels were 1 to 3 parts per billion, but the physiology professor cited in the article says that’s enough to be concerned. Levels in toddler canned foods were found up to 134 parts per billion. Just one of the many reasons I chose to make my own baby food. If you’re interested, you can find tips here: Homemade Baby Food - As Easy as 1-2-3.
EPA Issues Long-Awaited Dioxins Report - After working on the report for decades, the EPA has released the first half of its assessment on the toxicity of dioxins, the most toxic of all man-made chemicals. The first release addresses the noncancerous effects, while the second half of the report is expected to address evidence of the chemical’s cancerous effects.
While the report concludes that dioxins are seriously toxic at low levels, it says that exposures have declined so much over the past few decades that most people should not be concerned. As one scientist put it, though, that statement is “very odd” as it ignores people who are exposed to higher levels or more sensitive to the effects, like fetuses and young children.
BPA’s Obesity And Diabetes Link Strengthened By New Study
To date, studies have suggested a link between BPA and metabolic problems, but no one was really sure why until now. A new study released last week has determined that BPA fools a specific receptor into thinking that it is estrogen, an insulin regulator, and triggers the release of almost double the insulin actually needed to break down food. When that specific receptor was removed from the subject mice, the effect disappeared.
According to the author of the study, Angel Nadal, “When you eat something with BPA, it’s like telling your organs that you are eating more than you are really eating.” And surprisingly, the effects were seen at very low levels of exposure - a quarter of a billionth of a gram was enough to do the trick. What is most concerning is the impact on pregnant women and developing fetuses, who are particularly sensitive - ”The fetus is not only exposed to BPA but also to higher levels of insulin from the mother, making the environment for the fetus even more disruptive,” says Nadal. “This is a very delicate period.”
Children at Risk for Ingestion of PAHs from Pavement Sealant
Coal tar sealants, commonly used in the Central, Southern, and Eastern U.S. to refresh driveways and parking lots, are a source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, some of which can cause cancer. Researchers from Baylor University and the U.S. Geological Survey have found that children living next to driveways or parking lots coated with coal tar are exposed to 14 times the amount of the chemicals than those living near untreated asphalt. Exposure is primarily through contaminated dust tracked into the home, rather than food as once thought. Coal-tar-based pavement sealant has PAH concentrations 100 to 1,000 times greater than most other sources.
Over the 112 years the study covered, age-specific recommendations for sleep and actual sleep duration of children has declined at similar rates.
Over that same period, children have lost about 75 minutes of shut-eye with overstimulation and modern technology to blame.
There’s not much evidence behind sleep recommendations; they’re pretty subjective. Kids consistently get at least 30 minutes less than the recommendations.
Different countries have different standards, but American children sleep less than nearly all other children.
How to Get Rid of Facebook Timeline, Bring Back a Simpler View - Anyone else struggling to get used to the new timeline view? It seems cluttered and messy to me. LifeHacker just published an article with a plugin that can be used to adjust your browser’s Facebook view for a cleaner look. I’m definitely going to try this out.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. –Leo F. Buscaglia
Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day and a great opportunity to teach our children how to pay it forward. Here are some excellent ideas of acts you can do with small children:
Hand out treats to children at your local playground – ask parents’ permission first.
Pick up trash at your local park.
Write thank you notes and/or deliver treats to a service provider or public servant: fireman/woman, teacher, police officer, postal worker, or military serviceman/woman.
Choose some toys or books to donate to a local charity, shelter, or hospital.
Leave paper hearts or kind notes on the windshields of parked cars somewhere.
Buy some balloons or fun stickers at the grocery store, and hand them out to children as they leave.
Read a children’s story to children at your local library or bookstore.
Look around wherever you are to see if someone needs help (i.e. just a helping hand, a smile, etc). Teach your children to recognize someone in need.
Wipe rainwater off of shopping carts (My kids love to play with rags, so this would be right up their alley).
We hope you had a wonderful weekend! Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. Enjoy! - Jasmine & Heather
Home Birth Advocate Dies in Child Birth - A home birth advocate passed away after going into cardiac arrest during childbirth bringing into question the safety of home births as their popularity rises. I found this article a really refreshing take on home vs hospital births.
Qantas Flight Grounded by Dirty Diaper – Yes, you read that right. A plane was forced to land and passengers removed by forklift 5 at a time due to a foul odor coming from a dirty diaper stuffed in the airplane toilet.
Why Spanking Doesn’t Work
A new analysis of two decades of research on the long-term effects of physical punishment finds that it doesn’t work and can have serious long-term effects. While it may work in the moment, it leads to increased aggression in children in the longer term and can harm the relationship between parent and child as well as affect a child’s sense of self-worth. Later in life, it’s associated with mental health problems as neurological analysis has found that it can affect brain chemistry.
Parents Cheat on Booster Seats, Despite Safety Risks
A new survey in this week’s Pediatrics found that more than half of parents carpool children other than their own, but they don’t always use booster seats for children who should be in one. Only about half of parents who carpool require their own child to ride in a booster, even when their friends are not. And 21 percent would allow their child to ride boosterless in someone else’s car.
Breastfeeding Tied to Stronger Lungs, Less Asthma
Two new studies out this week on the effect of breastfeeding on lung function: The first followed 1500 UK children from their birth in the mid-1990s and tested for lung function and allergies between the ages of 8 and 14. Two out of the three tests showed that babies who were breastfed by asthmatic moms for at least four months may get more benefit from breastfeeding than babies of asthma-free moms, countering previous studies which suggested asthmatic moms may put their babies at risk with breastfeeding. The second study followed 1000 children in New Zealand and concluded that each month of exclusive breastfeeding was tied to a 9% drop in asthma risk.
Word! from An Inch of Gray – Touching words on coping with grief and what almost was before the tragic loss of her child in the floods of VA last year. Pray for those who have loved and lost that they will be comforted through such grief and pain.
No child safety seat recall announcements this week.
A number of recalls below are driven by the recall of hard-cooked eggs produced by Michael Foods which have been sold to retail/institutional establishments and may be contaminated with listeria. Be cautious purchasing products containing hard-cooked eggs.
PureBebe focuses on everything safe, healthy and pure for babies and young children. We conduct extensive research on baby topics and products. This site is about sharing that knowledge as well as the crying, laughing, and wincing that accompany being a parent.
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-Heather & Jasmine