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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
The Salt and Ice Challenge: What is it? Why is it dangerous?

What will these kids come up with next? You may be aware of a dangerous trend among kids: The Salt and Ice Challenge. If you haven't heard of it, you need to know about it. Kids apply salt to their bare skin then top it with ice cubes and see how long they can endure the pain. The resulting injuries are akin to frostbite, causing severe blistering, intense pain, and scarring depending on the duration of the challenge.

The pre-teens in this story reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette learned about the Salt and Ice Challenge through Facebook and YouTube. This is another example of teens doing something without thinking about the potential consequences.

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Even more breastfeeding benefits for moms

Add another item to the list of benefits for breastfeeding thanks to a recent British survey. Since it is the mom that has to make the decision to breastfeed or not, I am thrilled to see evidence of another benefit for women who do it. There are many benefits for baby too, but something that helps weight and body mass index (BMI) long-term for women is something really personal. The other benefits for mom include reduced risk of breast and other reproductive cancers, but this is much more timely for a mom who has just gone through a nine month pregnancy and looking for ways to get that pregnancy weight off. Breastfeed your babies and the benefits will last yours and your babies' lifetime!

Ask the pediatrician: nose bleeds, varicella vaccine

Hi Dr. Collison,

When a child has a nose bleed is it correct to have the child lean their head back to help stop the bleeding?

It is not a good idea to lean the head backwards to try and help stop the bleeding. When the head is tilted back, more of the blood goes backwards, down the throat and into the stomach. Blood is very irritating to the stomach and can lead to stomach aches and vomiting.

The recommended approach is to stuff the nostrils with gauze and keep the head upright. Once the gauze is packed into each side, then apply direct pressure and squeeze both nostrils together as much as possible. If it continues to ooze more than about 20 minutes, then I suggest taking your child to the emergency department for further assistance.

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Fitting healthy eating into a busy family schedule

This article, published in the July/August 2012 issue of Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, really hits home for me and my family. As we have four kids playing baseball and softball, we are constantly caught in the crossfire of when and what to eat. When the game starts at 6 and the child needs to be there at 5, when do you eat dinner? 4:00pm? 9:00pm? Neither time is ideal for our family. The kids need energy for their game or practice, but they aren't very hungry at 4:00 and can't eat a big meal at that point. By 9:00, everyone is famished but mom doesn't want to start cooking a meal, and it isn't healthy to eat right before bed. We too often end up eating something on the fly that isn't the healthiest choice. Concession food isn't a great option. We end up feeling stuck.

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Summer water safety

This summer has been a record-breaker in terms of heat for our area, so I know that swimming and access to water has been a big priority for people. Drowning is an unfortunately common occurrence with a high prevalence of children as the victim. Please read these facts provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and take the recommended precautions to keep your children safe in the water, both in swimming pools and natural bodies of water. Teach your children to swim and to respect the water!

Recent product recalls announced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission

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 and click on the Recalls tab from the home page.

Name of Product: Chicco Polly High Chair

Hazard: Children can fall on or against the pegs on the rear legs of the high chair, resulting in bruising or laceration injury.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm is aware of 21 reports of incidents in which a child fell against the peg and received injuries, including four laceration injuries requiring medical closure (stitches, tape or glue) and one scratched cornea.

Description: The recall involves a range of Chicco Polly high chairs with pegs on the back legs intended to be for tray storage. The high chairs have a folding metal frame for storage and a reclining seat. The recalled high chairs can be identified by the model number and date code printed on a label on the underside of the seat close to the footrest. The date code is in the format DDMMYYYY or YYYY-MM-DD. High chairs included in this recall were manufactured prior to October 13, 2010 and have one of the following model numbers on the label: 00063803430070, 00063803480070; 00063803490070; 00063803580070; 04063765000070; 04063765540070; 04063765760070; 04063803630070; 04063803860070; 04063803900070; 05063765020070; 05063803020070; 05063803220070; 05063803260070; 05063803270070; 05063803570070; 05063803660070; 05063803970070; 06063765650070; 06063765970070; 06063803650070; 06063803770070; 06063803820070; 06063803960070; 06063803970070; 07063803780070.

Sold by: Retail stores including Babies R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Buy Buy Baby, Shopko, and Toys R Us as well as online outlets including,,,,, and from January 2005 through July 2012 for between $100 and $150.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should contact Chicco for a free peg cover kit which will be mailed to them. To help prevent injuries before repair, consumers should store the tray on the pegs when the high chair is not in use.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Chicco toll-free at 800.807.8817 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at

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