Articles Posted in Children’s Health

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operation-1389104-m-5.jpgThe government is cracking down on hospitals with the highest rates of infection and complications by docking Medicare payments. Those hospitals with the worst rates of infections and complications are going to lose 1% of each Medicare payment for one year starting this fall. Federal officials have released a preliminary analysis that identifies 761 hospitals that may be assessed based on poor performance. The estimated sanctions total $330 million over the year, although there may be some changes to assessments before the end of the year. Infections at hospitals are on a decline, but they are still extremely common.

The penalties will hit some types of hospitals especially hard. Penalties are more likely to be imposed on hospitals that are publicly owned or that treat substantial numbers of low-income patients. Major teaching hospitals will likely also be affected.

In calculating a hospital’s infection rates, the government will consider the hospital’s size, location, and affiliation with any medical school. One of the factors that contribute to a high scores were high rate of urinary and bloodstream infections among Medicare patients being treated in intensive care. Another factor is a high rate of surgery-related complications. Certain type of hospitals, such as rehabilitation clinics, children’s hospitals, psychiatric facilities, cancer centers, and critical-access hospitals are exempt from the penalties, as are hospitals with too few patients to be properly evaluated.
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skating-3-814220-m.jpgA recent case arose when a Maine thirteen-year-old boy was seriously hurt after skateboarding out of a driveway and getting hit by a car. The boy lived with his parents, but spent time at another couple’s house in the same town. He often hung out in the other couple’s garage and smoked cigarettes they gave him. His parents did not know about the couple.

In May of 2009, the boy went to hang out in the garage during the day with a friend. Although the young boys left, they returned to the couple’s home a little later, at a time when the couple had been consuming alcohol. The husband said the boys could come in to watch television. A little later, the boys asked for permission to sleep over. Later the wife agreed that, because of her drinking, she should have said no since she was not in a condition to supervise the boys.

The boy phoned his mother and claimed he wanted to spend the night at another friend’s house. The woman phoned the mother and lied that she was the other friend’s mother. The boy’s mother consequently agreed, not realizing the boy would be spending the night with the couple, essentially complete strangers. The couple subsequently fell asleep, and the boy left the house at 1:00 a.m., returning a few hours later.
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%22Baby Car Seat%22 by kdshutterman, FreeDigitalPhotos.net.jpgWe are pleased to join the U.S. Department of Transportation and Safe-kids in their effort to promote Child Passenger Safety.

This Sunday marks the beginning of “Child Passenger Safety Week” (September 15th-22nd) .

Car crashes remain the primary cause of death for children between the ages of 1-13 within the United States. The most effective way to protect children within the car is to ensure that they are secured in a properly installed car seat or booster seat for age, height, and weight requirements. In other words “put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it in the right way”.

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file00047256199.jpgEveryone knows, but few truly appreciate, how chaotic the life of a new mother becomes. The phrases of “multi-tasking” and “divided loyalties” take on whole new meaning as parents struggle to assimilate and prioritize the expected and unexpected daily occurrences, in the life of their family. A recent study proves that these events can carry over to distracted driving for the life of a new mother, or parent, culminating into dangerous driving behavior, and increased accident risks. The study, polling 2,396 mothers with children under the age of two, produced some surprising–and some not so surprising results.

The survey, conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide and the American Baby Magazine shows that new mothers may engage in some of the same dangerous driving behaviors as teens when on the highway, and may experience similar crash rates as a consequence.

The study found that new mothers engage in risky cell phone behavior, on par with teens; do not get enough sleep and often drive drowsy, are tempted to speed to make time commitments, and experience an increased accident rate due to the number of distractions they face.
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Toyphoto.jpegDecember is “Safe Toys and Gift Month”. As many shop to find the perfect gifts for their favorite little ones this year, consumer safety groups are urging purchasers to consider safety before they snap up those holiday items.

U.S. Customs Border Control in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission has already intercepted over 2 million shipments of dangerous toys and prevented their distribution to retail shelves this year. In addition, the CPSC has issued recalls for 38 toy products.

Here are some tips for choosing the right toys

  • Look for choking hazards with small or detachable parts.
  • Check for strangulation dangers, opening sizes as compared to head size, or long strings or cords.
  • Look for sharp edges or points.
  • Check to ensure that toys meet noise standards (90 decibels from 25 cm).
  • Ensure that no dangerous chemicals or metals are used.
  • Be aware of potential heat or electrical shock issues as well as suffocation issues with toys or children’s products.
  • Review all product safety labels on outer and inner packaging and take the time to show your child how to use the product. If there are safety concerns, it may be wise to choose a different toy.

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A1A3_1_20121112_88403886.jpgWe certainly hope so. News reports this morning are stating that safety officials are calling for legislation requiring the presence of carbon monoxide detectors in schools after seven adults and 42 children became ill at an Atlanta, Georgia elementary school yesterday, prompting a full school evacuation and emergency room care for those affected by the deadly gas.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless and tasteless gas produced by inefficient fuel combustion. Indications of carbon monoxide poisoning tend to resemble the flu with symptoms such as nausea, malaise, headache, dizziness and fatigue. If not recognized in a timely manner, toxicity can cause death. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.” The EPA website listed below offers a wealth of information regarding the dangers and prevention of CO poisoning.

Carbon monoxide detectors are not required by law, in most schools, within the United States. Shouldn’t they be required by law, or building code, in any public place using fuel as a heating source? What about our hospitals, nursing homes, day-care facilities and workplaces?
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file000627785797.jpg The Food and Drug Administration exercised its right to suspend a company’s registration for the first time last Monday, when it shut down the New Mexico based Sunland Peanut Butter Plant, after months of contaminated product recalls and a month-long sight investigation. This action was possible because of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which was signed into law last year. According to the FDA, the act constitutes the most significant reform to food safety law in nearly a century. This act enables the FDA to become more proactive, as opposed to reactive, to threats to our food supply chain.

Sunland, Inc. processes, manufactures and distributes multiple nut and seed products, including nut spreads. Peanut butter manufactured and distributed by the company has been linked to Salmonella Bredeney contamination, which has sickened 41 individuals in 20 states. Sixty-three percent of those affected by this foodborne illness have been children.

In addition to the recent peanut butter recalls, it has become clear that Sunland has had a history of food safety issues, no doubt contributing to the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to halt business production and distribution by suspending its registration.
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Halloween.jpegAs parents, and grandparents, we worry a lot don’t we? At Halloween, our thoughts turn more sinister as we worry about pedestrian safety, abductions, vandalism, poisoning, and personal injury. Scary stuff, and yet, we love the holiday don’t we?

As with the monster under the bed, a witch’s spell, or alien invasion, it’s best to be prepared. Here are a few tips to help make your Halloween safe:

Keeping Your Children Safe

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Thumbnail image for Codine1.jpg.pngCodeine is a commonly prescribed medication, of the opiate family, used for pain management in a variety of situations. It is widely used in combination with other drugs such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to treat everything from back pain to broken bones and to relieve post-operative discomfort. Codeine is also routinely used in combination with promethazine as a cough suppressant. However, its’ use post-operatively in young patients, has recently been called into question by the Food and Drug Administration after 3 deaths and one near death have been reported in children receiving a tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy to treat sleep apnea.

It is estimated by the American Sleep Apnea Association, that approximately 1 to 10% of the childhood population suffers from Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. This condition causes snoring and breathing difficulties or lapses, due to airway constriction during times of rest. If left untreated, it has also been linked to behavioral issues within young children. Often a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy; considered to be minor surgeries, are used to treat this condition. Approximately 500,000 tonsillectomies are performed annually within the United States, making it the third most prevalent surgical procedure for children. Until now, codeine was often prescribed to relieve post-operative pain in these circumstances.

Following three deaths of pediatric patients, aged 2-5, the Food and Drug Administration has launched a safety review of the products’ use post-operatively for young children. Currently, it is unclear whether factors such as age, other anesthetics, or medical conditions also contributed to their deaths however; in each of these cases, initial testing indicates that these adverse reactions to codeine can be linked to a genetic condition that causes certain patients to metabolize codeine at a faster rate than their similar peers.

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1254341_86270097.jpgThe owner of a house declared by the state to have hazardous amounts of lead is not liable for a tenant’s lead poisoning, according to a Maine jury. Although state regulators declared the house to be hazardous, and state health officials confirmed that the child had lead poisoning, the jury concluded that the plaintiffs had not shown that the lead in the house was the proximate cause of the child’s damages. Lead is a common component of paints used in residences prior to 1978, and nearly all old houses in Maine have some amount of lead. Exposure can cause illness and, in sufficient amounts, developmental problems in children. Maine strictly regulates residences that contain lead, imposing disclosure duties on landlords and duties on contractors performing renovations to contain and mitigate lead contamination.

The plaintiffs rented a house in Solon from the defendant, Halsey McDonough, beginning in 2004. Their son, Levi, was born after they moved in. When he was about three years old, he was diagnosed with lead poisoning. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services and Levi’s pediatrician confirmed the diagnosis. The state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention declared an “environmental lead hazard” in the house in November 2008 and issued a plan to abate the contamination. Levi and his two siblings reportedly suffered behavioral and developmental issues.
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