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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
October 2018
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Six tips to keep your teen safe behind the wheel

Teenage years are filled with many milestones. One of most noteworthy milestones is when your teen starts driving. Teaching your teen to drive can be stressful for both parties, but it’s important to know that you play an important part in helping your teen become a successful driver.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. To help your teen stay safe behind the wheel, teach and enforce the following safety behaviors:

  • Always wear a seat belt. Each person riding in the car should buckle up. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than half of teens killed in car crashes weren’t wearing their seat belt.
  • No texting and driving. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that texting while driving increases the risk of a crash or near crash by 23 times. Also, make sure you lead by example. If you text and drive, your teen will think it’s okay for him or her to do the same.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the car. Too many passengers increase the likelihood of distractions in the car and can double or even triple the risk of a crash.
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What we know about acute flaccid myelitis

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) has made headlines recently as an influx of cases have been confirmed across the country, including in Pennsylvania. In 2014, I wrote about a mysterious, polio-like illness, now known as AFM, that was affecting children in California. Here’s what we know four years later.

While AFM was originally compared as a polio-like illness, it is not polio. Enteroviruses, rhinoviruses and environmental toxins have been identified as causes in some of the recent diagnosed cases, but not all. And while this illness is not new, the increase in recent cases and the mystery surrounding the illness is still new.

AFM affects the nervous system specifically and causes muscles and reflexes to become weak. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of AFM include:

  • Facial drooping/weakness
  • Difficulty moving eyes
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Ask the pediatrician: Fear of needles

Hi Dr. Collison,

My five-year-old son is scared of needles. I know he needs his flu shot this season, but he gets so worked up that I don’t want to put him through it again. Do you have any tips to help alleviate his fear?

It’s not uncommon for children to be afraid of needles. Here are a few things you can do before, during and after your trip to the doctor:

Before: First, don’t promise your son that he won’t get a shot. If you lie to your son, his trust in you will be broken. Next, don’t joke about your son getting a shot as a punishment. Doctors and nurses are there to help your child and keep them healthy. Lastly, let your son talk about his fear and listen to him. Validate his fear instead of brushing it off.

During: Let your son’s doctor know that he is afraid of needles. Doctors often deal with kids who are afraid of needles and will most likely have a couple tricks up their sleeves to help your son relax.

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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: Boy Story Mason & Billy action dolls and Mason & Billy HeForShe special edition action dolls

Hazard: The joints on the vinyl dolls can break, creating broken pieces that pose a choking hazard to young children.

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Table of contents
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Mount Nittany Pediatrics
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