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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
 
Holiday decoration fire and injury tips
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that each holiday season, thousands of consumers are injured and millions of dollars in property losses are reported as a result of falls, fires, and incidents associated with holiday decorations.

The CPSC states that common scenarios for damage or injury involve fires from dried-out trees, burns from candles, and falls while attempting to hang holiday decorations.

Here are the CPSC's safety tips:
Trees and Decorations

  • Buying live trees? Check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, its needles are hard to pull from branches, and its needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • Setting up a tree at home? Place it away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators. Because heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, be sure to monitor water levels daily, and keep the tree stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of foot traffic, and do not block doorways with the tree.
  • Buying an artificial tree? Look for the label: "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean that the tree will not catch fire, it does indicate that the tree is more resistant to catching fire.
 
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Are your child’s toys too noisy?
 
Written by Leslie Purcell, AuD
 
 
 
   
 
 
Leslie Purcell, AuD, Mount Nittany Physician Group
 

Sure, it's always funny to see the look on parents' faces when their child opens the coolest drum set or the newest guitar on the market. What about the race track with 12 'real racetrack sounds'? Children love noisy toys. They love to sing and dance along with the music of that new guitar, and boys especially love all the sound effects that go along with a new car or truck. But have you ever stopped to think about how loud those toys really are?

Annually, the Sight & Hearing Association publishes a list of the most Noisy Toys of the Year. I am always surprised that the 'Top Toys' of the season typically appear on that list. You can find the 2012 list here: ata.org/NoisyToys2012.

 
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Can swimming make your child smarter?
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

As a parent, I've always been a proponent of teaching kids to swim at an early age for safety reasons. Now there is research that states that swimming can help with a child's development as well.

Researchers from The Griffith Institute for Educational Research surveyed parents of 7,000 children under five years old in Australia, New Zealand and the United States and followed additional children, ages 3-5 over three years, to develop the most comprehensive study into early-age swimming.

Professor Robyn Jorgensen, lead researcher in the study, says that results show that children who participate in early-years swimming achieve certain skills earlier than the normal population - skills that help children transition into formal learning in pre-school and school.

The results also state:
As well as achieving physical milestones faster, children also scored significantly better in visual-motor skills such as cutting paper, colouring in and drawing lines and shapes, and many mathematically-related tasks. Their oral expression was also better as well as in the general areas of literacy and numeracy.

Swimming is also a great sport for long-term exercise as it is easy on the joints. Get your kids involved with swimming early - and why not join them! - and see dividends as they grow and develop.

 
 
 
Ask the pediatrician: Introducing eggs, peanuts, and other allergenic foods in children's diet
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Dr. Collison,

What are the current age guidelines for introducing eggs, peanuts, etc? I think they have probably changed since my 8 ½ year old was little but not sure what they are now. My babysitter apparently gave my 13 month old some peanut butter today - no reaction thankfully but I would love a list that I could pass on. It's amazing how many "rules" have changed in the past eight years! Thanks!


This is a good question, one that there is no consensus on. I will give you what I typically have people do but this isn't necessarily what all pediatricians would recommend.

I put kids into a high risk or a low risk category. High risk for allergies are those that have a family history of food allergies or allergic response to components of formula or even to things in the maternal diet that come through in breast milk. Any of these children should be considered high risk and the allergenic foods such as eggs and peanuts should be introduced after age 3.

 
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Are bounce houses worth the fun?
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

It sure seems like everything we used to look at as fun is being shown to be dangerous.

A recent report on NBC News by Jeff Rossen is pointing fingers at bounce houses - those fun, inflatable toys that are a staple at birthday parties and are increasingly found in backyards throughout our neighborhoods - and that the injuries they cause are becoming an epidemic, some doctors say.

"More than 30 children are treated in a hospital emergency department every day in this country for an injury associated with an inflatable bouncer," says Gary Smith, MD, of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH, who was interviewed for the NBC News story. "Thirty kids a day, and that equals a child every 45 minutes."

In addition to being part of this news story, Dr. Smith is a senior author of a new landmark study in the journal Pediatrics that, for the first time, looks at bounce house injuries nationwide over the past 20 years.

 
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Recent product recalls announced
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 

Here are just a few recent product recalls as announced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. For the most up-to-date recall information, please visit www.cpsc.gov and click on the Recalls tab from the home page.

Name of Product: Dream On Me Bath Seats

Hazard: The bath seats fail to meet federal safety standards, including the requirements for stability. Specifically, the bath seats can tip over, posing a risk of drowning to babies.

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC and Dream On Me have received five reports involving these bat seats, including a report of a near drowning involving a 12-month-old baby girl. The baby did not require medical treatment.

 
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Table of contents
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Do you have a question you would like answered by Dr. C.?
Please submit your question to parentsNTK@yahoo.com and look for the answer in future months for Parents Need To Know.
Mount Nittany Pediatrics
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