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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
 
Our region takes strides against child abuse and neglect
 
 
 
   
Craig Collison, MD, pediatrics, Mount Nittany Physician Group

Child abuse and neglect is a significant issue in our culture, bringing physical and emotional damage to children and their families. This abuse was brought to the forefront locally as news broke with the Sandusky scandal, and Centre County became inundated with national media attention for these heinous crimes. These cases are just the tip of the iceberg when looking at national rates of child abuse and neglect. Using US statistics for calendar year 2010, approximately 350,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse and neglect.1

  • 78.3 percent of these children were victims of neglect (274,050)
  • 17.6 percent were physically abused (61,600)
  • 9.2 percent were sexually abused (32,200)
  • Young children under age four represent 33 percent of the victims and 79.4 percent of the estimated 1,560 fatalities from abuse and neglect in 2010
  • It is believed that one in four girls and one in six boys are molested at some point in their lifetime

What is perhaps most dreadful about the statistics above is that these are only the reported cases, and as we all intuitively know, many cases go unreported because children either are afraid to talk about crimes committed against them, or can’t comprehend these horrific crimes.

 
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How can parents tell if their child has a broken bone or just a sprain?
 
 
 
   

Unless you are blessed with the powers of Superman and his X-ray vision, you won't be able to determine whether an injury to your child involves a broken bone or if it is just a sprain. That being said, there are many clues that can help steer you toward a probable diagnosis.

  1. Location: Pain and swelling that occur in the middle region of a bone (away from either joint) are more likely to indicate some type of fracture. Pain and swelling at a joint can be either a fracture or a soft-tissue sprain.
  2. Deformity: Any sign of deviation from the normal anatomic structure of a body part is a clear sign of fracture or dislocation. Swelling at a joint that doesn't alter the normal direction of a body part can be a fracture/dislocation or a soft-tissue sprain.
  3. Mechanism of injury: Injuries occur from several different mechanisms, most commonly a direct impact or a twisting injury. Fractures are more likely to result from a direct impact, and twisting injuries more often produce soft-tissue sprains or tears; however, it's important to note that fractures can sometimes occur from twisting action.
  4. Weight bearing and use of injured body part: If the child is unable to bear weight on the injured leg or unable to have any use of an upper body part, that increases the likelihood of a fracture. The ability to bear weight or use a body part with pain lowers the chance of a fracture.
 
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Delaying solid foods may prevent childhood obesity
 
 
 
   

American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state that solid foods should not be given before a baby is 4-6 months old. Many parents push these recommendations by feeding infants cereals or other solids earlier than that 4-6 month time line.

While some parents don’t feel this is a hard-and-fast rule, a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism finds that consumption of high carbohydrate foods too early in a child’s life can lead to lifelong increased weight gain and obesity.

The research, done in rats, shows that feeding infants solids too early creates standard, so to speak, for what the body expects to be fed and this programming is difficult to reverse as a child reaches adulthood.

“During this critical period, the hypothalamus, which regulates appetite, becomes programmed to drive the individual to eat more food. We found that a period of moderate caloric restriction later in life cannot reverse this programming effect,” said Mulchand S. Patel, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and associate dean for research and biomedical education in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

 
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Ask the pediatrician: Is your child's cough due to illness or asthma?
 
 
 
   

Hi Dr. Collison,

How can you tell if your child's cough is due to illness or asthma?

Coughs vary greatly and can be caused by many different issues. In trying to determine the cause of the cough, we have to look at many different characteristics in order to figure out the cause and then formulate the appropriate treatment.

Coughs caused by illnesses, such as a cold, allergies, or even pneumonia, tend to sound wet, mucusy and productive. Coughs you would describe as dry and tight are more likely to be caused by asthma. Coughs caused by croup can also be a tight, dry cough but is caused by a viral illness. This cough is usually described as barky or sounding like a seal. It is not always this simple to diagnose but just the sound of the cough can be a good clue as to what might be causing the problem.

If a patient already has a diagnosis of asthma, then the question would be whether the asthma is contributing to the cough or not. Asthma is a chronic condition caused by inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This causes constriction of the airways and leads to wheezing and coughing of varying degrees. Wheezing is a noise heard in the lungs with a stethoscope, although at times can be heard by the unaided ear. It sounds like the whistling noise of air trying to get through a constricted tube. If we hear wheezing during our exam, then we can feel pretty confident that asthma symptoms are contributing to the cough.

 
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Recent product recalls
 
 
 
   

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: Imaginarium Activity Walkers

Hazard: The small bolt and spacer that attaches each front wheel to the walker can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

Incidents/Injuries: Toys R Us has received five reports of the front wheels detaching. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The recalled Imaginarium Activity Walkers have a round wooden push handle on the top of a curved triangle-shaped wooden walker base with four wheels. There is a multi-colored metal xylophone with two triangle mallets, one multi-colored abacus and one scratch noise maker on the front of the walker. The walkers have multi-colored wooden, disc-shaped wheels. The walkers measure about 19 inches tall and about 13 inches wide. The recalled walkers have model number “Toys ‘R’ Us 5F5E972” printed on the bottom of the activity walkers. Barcode number “3700217300319” is printed on the bottom of the activity walker box.

Sold at: Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at www.toysrus.com from August 2011 through January 2013 for about $30.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled walker immediately, put it out of reach of young children and return it to a Toys R Us store for a full refund or store credit.

Consumer Contact: Toys R Us at 800.869.7787 from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm ET Monday through Saturday and from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm Sunday, or visit the firm’s website at www.toysrus.com and click on Safety Information and Recalls for more information.

 
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