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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
February 2016
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Should you let your baby sleep in your bed?

Whether or not parents choose to let their babies sleep in their bed is a personal lifestyle choice. There are pros and cons to both situations, which are explored below.

The main concern with babies sleeping in an adult bed is the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Large comforters and pillows pose a suffocation hazard, and babies may also become injured from falling between the headboard and mattress or off the bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep in the same room as parents, but not in the same bed. The safest sleeping environment for a baby is a crib with a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet. No other blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals should be in the crib.

Those who choose to co-sleep may do so to support bonding between parents and baby. The physical closeness of the parents nurtures a baby’s need to be held and touched.

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Ask the pediatrician: How do I stop my son from sucking his thumb?

Babies are born with a reflexive sucking instinct for feeding. As children grow older, sucking on a thumb or pacifier may help calm the child when he or she is upset or when falling asleep. Typically, most children stop sucking thumbs or fingers around two to four years of age.

You are right that there is concern about damage to your son’s teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that sucking on a pacifier or fingers may cause problems with the growth of your child’s mouth and alignment of the teeth. Changes in the roof of your son’s mouth may also occur. This is dependent on how hard he sucks his thumb. If he just places the thumb in his mouth, he may not have as many issues versus aggressively sucking his thumb.

To help your son break the habit, first identify what triggers the thumb sucking. Does your son do it when he is scared or upset? Or is it a habit of boredom?

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Toys can affect body image in children as young as preschool

You may have recently heard about a popular children’s toy getting a makeover. Mattel®, the maker of Barbie®, recently unveiled new Barbie dolls that come in a variety of body shapes, skin colors, and attitudes. Because Barbie has long been a toy of controversy, with young girls comparing themselves to an unrealistic beauty and body image, the new styles indicate the recognition of increased social and cultural awareness.

Research was conducted in 2006 by the University of Sussex in which 162 girls ages 5 to 8 were exposed to Barbie, a fuller-figured doll named Emme, or no doll images at all. After exposing the group to the images, the girls took an assessment on body image. The study found that girls reported higher dissatisfaction after looking at Barbie images than the girls that were shown Emme or no doll images. Additionally, girls 6 ½ to 7 ½ years of age reported the most dissatisfaction. The study concluded that young girls who play with Barbie have an increased risk of unhealthy body image or eating disorder.

Children can begin to show body image concerns as early as preschool. Other factors that can have an effect on body image include family and friends, media, and celebrities.

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Recent product recalls

Here are recent product recalls announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). For the most up-to-date recall information, please visit and click on the Recalls tab from the home page.


Name of product: Britax B-Ready Strollers

Hazard: The foam padding on the stroller’s arm bar can come off in fragments if the child bites the arm bar, posing a choking hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: Britax has received 117 reports of children biting the arm bar foam padding, including five reports of children choking or gagging on foam fragments.

Description: This recall involves Britax B-Ready strollers and B-Ready replacement top seats that were sold separately. The B-Ready strollers have a silver or black frame with a solid-colored top seat in a variety of colors. The Britax logo is on the stroller’s side hinges and footrest. B-Ready is printed on the sides of the stroller frame.  The stroller’s model number and date of manufacture are printed on a label on the stroller’s frame between the front wheels or on the inside frame that connects to the back right wheel. The replacement top seats were sold separately in a variety of colors and fit into the stroller’s frame. The replacement top seat’s model number and date of manufacture are printed on a black label on the right side tube above the adjuster button, under the fabric cover.

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