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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Let your kids talk about their asthma symptoms

During a doctor’s visit, some parents think that they should do all the talking; however, a study in the July issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), found that children with asthma say they have a better quality of life in terms of activity limitation than their parents think they have.

The results show that it’s important for physicians to ask both parents and children about the effects asthma is having on the child’s daily life.

This study looked at how children feel based on their asthma, and at the role the child’s perspective plays in guiding the allergist, pulmonologist or pediatrician and how they gear their treatments.

To help make sure your child is receiving the best treatment for their particular symptoms, the ACAAI put together a list of topics that parents and children should discuss with their physician:

  1. “I can/can’t play sports or take part in other physical activities.” If your child cannot play sports or participate in gym class due to their asthma symptoms, it’s important to discuss this with your physician. If your child can partake in these types of physical activities, make sure to also make note of this as well to reinforce that their condition is being well managed.
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A new way to get your child to eat their veggies?

One of the most common questions I get in the office is, “How do I get my child to eat more vegetables (and fruits)?” It is a question that I don’t have easy answers for, so I’m encouraged by a new study showing that educating children on nutrition can increase their vegetable consumption over time.

The results of the study were published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, and found that having an overarching, conceptual framework for nutrition encourages children to understand why eating a variety of foods is ideal, causing them to eat more vegetables by choice.

Young children are naturally curious and want to understand why and how things work, so teaching them the importance of nutrition and eating vegetables increases the likelihood that they’ll eat vegetables voluntarily.

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Do you know if you’re still vaccinated against whooping cough?

Cases of pertussis – or whooping cough – are on the rise in the United States and have recently reached their highest level in 50 years. Pertussis can be serious – even fatal – to newborns who have not yet received vaccinations.

The disease can be prevented by a vaccine, but the vaccine protection wears off over time. A new poll by the University of Michigan shows that 61 percent of adults don’t know when they were last vaccinated against pertussis. Only 20 percent of adults reported that they received the pertussis vaccine less than 10 years ago (the recommended time frame), while 19 percent said they were vaccinated more than 10 years ago.

Adults are the carriers of pertussis in our society, so it’s extremely important for them to keep up with their vaccinations, especially those around newborns. Mount Nittany Medical Center offers vaccination to all moms and dads at the time of their baby’s birth, but all adults need to be immunized to prevent the spread to infants before they can be protected by immunization.

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Ask the Pediatrician: Trampolines – recommend or avoid?

What's the "real deal" on kids using trampolines – recommend or avoid?

Answer: Thanks for your question. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends never using trampolines in a home or even in a routine physical education environment due to the huge number of injuries that involve them, and the severity of those injuries. Here is the policy statement from the AAP:

ABSTRACT. Despite previous recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics discouraging home use of trampolines, recreational use of trampolines in the home setting continues to be a popular activity among children and adolescents. This policy statement is an update to previous statements, re?ecting the current literature on prevalence, patterns, and mechanisms of trampoline-related injuries. Most trampoline injuries occur with multiple simultaneous users on the mat. Cervical spine injuries often occur with falls off the trampoline or with attempts at somersaults or ?ips. Studies on the ef?cacy of trampoline safety measures are reviewed, and although there is a paucity of data, current implementation of safety measures have not appeared to mitigate risk substantially. Therefore, the home use of trampolines is strongly discouraged. The role of trampoline as a competitive sport and in structured training settings is reviewed, and recommendations for enhancing safety in these environments are made.

So the answer is definitely AVOID, no matter how much the kids love them.

Thanks, Dr. C



Ask the Pediatrician: Bounce houses and jumping pillows
  bounce house  

Where/how do bounce houses and jumping pillows rate compared with trampolines? Are they also dangerous?

Answer: I cannot find any stance from the AAP on them. In theory, they are safer because you can't fall off of them and there are no metal or spring parts; however, they do still provide an opportunity to twist ankles and/or legs.

The biggest problem with bounce houses and jumping pillows is when multiple kids are in them and run into each other or fall on top of one another. This can cause many types of injuries ranging from contusions to head injuries.

Therefore, if they’re used in uncrowded situations, they are safer – but not accident-proof.

Thanks, Dr. C



Recent product recalls

Here are just a few of the recent product recalls announced by the U.S. 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: Thermobaby Aquababy Bath Ring Seats 

Hazard: The bath seats fail to meet federal safety standards, including the requirement for stability. Specifically, the bath seats can tip over, posing a risk of drowning to babies.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recall includes Aquababy Bath Ring Seats in pink or blue designed for children five months to ten months old. The seat is made of white plastic with blue, pink or green trim and has four suction cups on the bottom. An oval-shaped arm rail runs from the seatback and connects two side posts and the seat front post. There are three spinning toys on the front of the seat rail above the front post. “Thermobaby Z.I. De Kerbois,” “Aquababy” and “Ref. 1953 Made in France” is engraved underneath the bath seat.

Sold exclusively at: from June 2012 through January 2013 for about $35.

Manufactured in: France

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bath seats and contact the firm for instructions on returning the bath seat and receiving a $35 refund.

Consumer contact: Call SCS Direct Inc. toll-free at 888.749.1387 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm ET Monday through Friday. You may also email or visit and click “Recall Notices” for more information.

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