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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Family Halloween season safety

Autumn brings a lot of family festivals and, of course the Halloween season. It's easy to get caught up in the fun of dressing up for Halloween and enjoying all kinds of treats and forget some simple rules that parents should share with their kids about trick-or-treating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some great tips - spelling out Safe Halloween - that revelers of all ages can appreciate:

S Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
A Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
F Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
E Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

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Trampolines: No place for kids

I've seen them in lots of suburban back yards - large trampolines surrounded by a safety net. Jumping on a trampoline is fun and good exercise but a growing source for injuries both minor - like ankle sprains - and major - like spinal and head traumas. The reality is that even with safety nets, trampolines have always been a dangerous place for kids to play.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cites that nearly 100,000 injuries were directly attributed to trampoline use in 2009, noting that safety nets don't seem to be improving injury statistics for trampolines.

It was reassuring to read in this recent article that I'm not alone in recommending that kids avoid using trampolines unless it is part of a supervised sport with the proper safety precautions in place.

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Ask the pediatrician: Treating a fever, silent toddler

Dr. Collison,

What should I do if my child has a fever?

No one likes to see their little ones down with a fever. Still, there's some debate about whether to treat a fever or not.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that even high temperatures are not necessarily dangerous or significant, unless the child has a history of seizures, chronic disease, or is under two months of age.

We know that a fever is a good sign that a person's immune system is kicking in to fight off an infection. My own philosophy is that a child should be as comfortable as possible until the fever passes.

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Bed bugs: FAQs

When I was growing up, I always thought that bed bugs were a myth, part of an old fairy tale or nursery rhyme. Turns out that bed bugs are real and stories of bed bug infestations have made the news a lot lately.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers this great list of FAQs - and more information - on their website:

What are bed bugs? Bed bugs (cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln's head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.

Where are bed bugs found? Bed bugs are found across the globe from North and South America, to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although the presence of bed bugs has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries, it has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. Bed bugs have been found in five-star hotels and resorts and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.

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Recent product recalls from 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.

General drowning warning issued by US Consumer Product Safety Commission

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued a report on in-home drownings and non-fatal submersions as a way to educate parents and caregivers "to look for and protect against drowning risks inside and around their homes."

The CPSC has estimated that more than 400 deaths over a five-year period are directly attributed to drownings in products such as bathtubs, buckets, bath seats, toilets, and landscaping features.

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Mount Nittany Pediatrics
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