Ensuring Safe Sleep for Babies

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month, but parents should remember two things year-round to keep babies safe during sleep: babies should sleep alone and on their backs, a CHOC Children’s community educator tells CHOC Radio.

In podcast No. 36, Amy Frias outlines tips for parents to ensure their child stays safe while sleeping:

  • How to create a safe sleeping environment
  • What to do if the baby rolls onto their tummy

Printable tip sheets with information to keep children safe while sleeping are also available on CHOC’s website.

CHOC Radio theme music by Pat Jacobs.

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The Right Car Seat for Your Little Passenger

Just in time for Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 13-19), check out the following guidelines from OC Keep Kids Safe, an injury prevention program of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to make sure you are choosing the right car seat for your child.

Rear Facing Infant and Convertible Seats

  • Never in front of an airbag
  • Rear facing to upper weight or height limit
  • Harness snug at or below shoulders
  • Chest clip at armpit level
  • Attach to car with seat belt or lower anchors
  • Add nothing to or behind harness
  • Rear facing 5 times safer between ages 1 and 2 years

Forward Facing Seats

  • Up to 40-65 or 80 pounds
  • Lower anchors to 40-48 pounds
  • Harness snug at or above shoulders
  • Chest clip at armpit level
  • Attach to car with top tether strap and seat belt or lower anchors
  • Use a 5-point harness to upper weight or height limit of seat

Booster Seats

  • Until 4’ 9” and 8 -12 years
  • Always use lap/shoulder seat belt
  • Never put shoulder belt behind back or under arm
  • Use highback booster for vehicle seat without headrest

Adult-Size Seat Belts

  • Back straight against vehicle seat, and knees bent at seat edge
  • Shoulder belt across chest, not neck or throat
  • Lap belt low and snug across upper thighs, not stomach
  • Children younger than 13 should always ride in the back seat

As a reminder, rear facing is always safer and be sure to always read your car seat and vehicle manuals for specific directions.

Visit CHOC’s community education page for more on child passenger safety.

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    A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), showed children from more stimulating home reading environments had greater activity in brain areas supporting narrative comprehension and visual imagery. The authors ...
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    A recent survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed teens now see fewer risks in smoking marijuana. Marijuana use continues to exceed the use of cigarettes. Further, marijuana ...

Study Shows Reading to Children has Positive Effect on the Developing Brain

A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), showed children from more stimulating home reading environments had greater activity in brain areas supporting narrative comprehension and visual imagery.

The authors studied 3- to 5-year old children to examine the relationship between shared parent-child reading and brain activity. Participants underwent an MRI scan while listening to pre-recorded stories read in a female voice through headphones. Results showed a strong association between a measure of home reading environment (involving access to books, frequency of reading, and variety of books read) and brain activation during story listening.

Children who enter kindergarten with poor emergent literacy skills are unlikely to catch up with their peers if not addressed early. The authors hope that these findings will help guide early interventions, resulting in improved academic achievement and health.

Encourage reading in your home. To help keep reading fun and enjoyable, check out these simple tips:

  • Read to your child every day. You can read to babies even before they can talk. Let your child see and touch the book. Point out important features, as well as fun textures, shapes and colors in the book.

 

  • Play with voices and the sounds of words. This can be fun, especially when different characters are involved.

 

  • Set aside a family reading area and/or a family reading time. Encourage children to look at books on their own. Take your family to the library and make a fun day out of it.

 

  • Sing with your child. Try songs with rhymes and word play. Make up a rhyming game, for example – What words sound like “ball?”

 

  • Use everyday tasks to encourage reading. While grocery shopping, have your kids help you search for specific names of products. While cooking, have your kids help read a recipe out loud. Try this on a road trip with signs and brands of cars, too.

 

  • Model positive reading behavior. Let kids see you reading. They are more likely to read if they see you read. Encourage writing, too. Try fun writing tools such as chalk, markers and crayons. Related posts:

Marijuana Edible Use Increasing Among Youth

A recent survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed teens now see fewer risks in smoking marijuana. Marijuana use continues to exceed the use of cigarettes. Further, marijuana edibles are on the rise. These popular edibles are sold in fun, colorful packages and flavors that are appealing to kids.

We spoke to Orange County Sheriff Deputy Angela Andrade, who works with our community’s schools on drug prevention, and she shared the following tips for families:

Q: What are marijuana edibles?
A: Marijuana edibles are food items that are infused with marijuana. Edibles can be made at home with readily available recipes and are also sold pre-packaged. Along with any marijuana use, these edibles may cause negative effects on a youth’s brain, including loss in IQ and poor learning outcomes. Kids usually make them at home or get them from friends. Some marijuana dispensaries are known to carry the pre-packaged edibles.

Today, marijuana has THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects) levels that are 15-25 percent higher than what was found in marijuana in previous years.  Reprocessed substances, known as “concentrates,” are also on the rise and can reach THC levels as high as 99 percent. Marijuana concentrates are usually found in four categories, which look like gooey or wax-like substances: hash oil, honeycomb wax, budder, as well as kief (crystals). Concentrates are made by separating the active cannabinoids from the plant by friction or using a solvent such as butane. With these THC increases, users are more susceptible to overdosing. There are also higher incidences of accidental ingestion by children since many of these edibles are in the form of sweets, cookies, cakes and candies.

Q: What are kids’ attitudes today about the risks of marijuana?
A: Kids falsely believe that edibles are fun and exciting. They seem less harmful to kids because they taste like a special treat or dessert. With the legalization movement in some states, many kids misconstrue the risks involved with recreational marijuana. Our federal law, however, considers marijuana a dangerous illegal drug, and you can be charged with a misdemeanor and pay a fine up to $1,000 and/or one year in jail if found possessing marijuana.

Courtesy of blogs.denverpost.com/eletters
Courtesy of blogs.denverpost.com/eletters

Q: What consequences can kids face if caught with these edibles?

A: Most school districts have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the possession of drugs on campus. Students can be suspended or expelled for possessing any controlled substance. See federal law consequences above.

Q: What tips do you have for parents who suspect their kids are using edibles, or other drugs?
A: One in six teens who experiment with marijuana become addicted. It also increases their probability of becoming addicted to other illicit drugs.  It is important for parents to create and maintain a clear zero tolerance rule for any drug use. Boundaries help teenagers make better decisions and reinforce acceptable behaviors. Above all, communication is key. Be involved with your teen and his activities and get to know his friends. Help to provide a safe and fun environment.

Learn more about drug prevention education, including upcoming community presentations.

Or, call the Drug Use Is Life Abuse program at 714-647-4133.

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August is Heatstroke Awareness Month – 5 Tips You Must Know

It’s Heatstroke Awareness Month and CHOC Children’s would like to remind everyone never to leave a child alone in a car. Sadly, there have been 11 vehicular heatstroke deaths in the United States, this year alone.

Heatstroke occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Symptoms can quickly progress to seizures, organ failure and even death. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. More importantly, these injuries are completely preventable.

Keep your little ones safe with these tips:

  1. Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. No exceptions.

 

  1. Teach kids not to play in cars. Keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own. Remind kids that trunks are for transporting cargo and are not safe places to play.

 

  1. Create reminders by putting something in the backseat of your car next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse or cell phone that is needed at your final destination.

 

  1. Go a step further – create extra reminders. Develop a plan with your daycare so that if your child is late, you’ll be called within a few minutes. Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off children at daycare.

 

  1. Take action. If you notice a child alone in a car, call 911. If your child is missing, get help and check swimming pools, vehicles and trunks. If your child is locked in a car, get him out as quickly as possible and call 911 immediately.

Download this important tip sheet.

Check out this video for more information.

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