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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Protect young athletes from lower back injuries

Lower back injuries are often thought of as happening only to older adults, but they also occur in young kids and athletes. In fact, lower back injuries are the third most common injury suffered in athletes under age 18, according to a recent study presented by Loyola University Medical Center sports medicine physician Neeru Jayanthi, MD. The study showed that lower back injuries make up 15 percent of what they see in a sports medicine clinic, with only knee injuries (31 percent) and ankle injuries (16 percent) seen as more common.

That number even surprises me, as I would have thought less back injuries would have occurred. But back injuries do occur in children and many injuries are severe enough to sideline adolescent athletes for about one-to-six months. If these injuries are not properly treated, they can even cause future, long-term back problems.

To help reduce the risk of injuries in your child, here are some tips that Dr. Jayanthi presented:

  • If there's pain in a high-risk area such as the lower back, elbow or shoulder, the athlete should take one day off. If pain persists, take one week off.
  • If symptoms last longer than two weeks, the athlete should be evaluated by a sports medicine physician.
  • In racket sports, athletes should evaluate their form and strokes to limit extending their backs regularly by more than a small amount (20 degrees).
Read Entire Article ›


Help lower your child’s risk of injury while playing organized sports
  baseball team  

Organized sports can provide many benefits to young athletes, including learning teamwork, but kids who over-train are more likely to get injured.

Athletes ages 8 to 18 who spend twice as many hours per week in organized sports than in free play – especially in a single sport – are more likely to be injured, according to a recent study, “Risks of Specialized Training and Growth for Injury in Young Athletes: A Prospective Cohort Study.” The study also found that athletes who played more hours per week than their age (for example, a 10-year-old who played more than 10 hours per week) are more likely to become injured.

I always suggest moderation with all activities, especially in the youngest of athletes. Make sure your kids are not training too much and that their proportion of sports and free play is not extremely drastic.




MRSA skin infections are on the rise
  Rising chart  

Pediatric musculoskeletal Staphylococusaureus (MRSA) bacterial infections are on the rise. The percentage of musculoskeletal infections in children caused by MRSA increased from 9 percent to 29 percent, and the length of stay for pediatric MRSA patients increased from 8 days to 13 days, according to a study conducted by Eric Sarkissian, BS, of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

MRSA, a type of skin infection, is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that is resistant to most antibiotics. MRSA typically starts out as small red bumps (that can look like pimples, boils or spider bites) that turns into deep, painful sores.

The results of this study is a good reminder of the prevalence of MRSA, and we need to do everything we can to prevent exposure and the spread of this bacteria. To help prevent MRSA, remember to follow general hygiene practices, including:

  • Wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer containing at least 62 percent alcohol.
  • Keep all cuts clean and covered with a bandage until they are healed.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment.
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Whopping cough vaccine in adolescents may reduce infant hospitalizations

Immunizations are arguably the best tool we have to fight disease, and a new study published in the journal Pediatrics helps to showcase the effectiveness of the pertussis (or whopping cough) vaccine. The study found that more adolescents being vaccinated for pertussis seems to result in fewer pertussis-related hospitalizations in infants.

Whopping cough is a highly contagious disease that is preventable through vaccination; however, newborns can’t get the first dose until they are 2 months old, making them most vulnerable to the disease. To help protect infants from whopping cough, it is extremely important that people who are around young children are vaccinated.

In 2005, a booster shot called Tdap was developed for adolescents and adults to build immunity against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. It is recommended that 11- and 12-year-olds receive the Tdap vaccine at their regular check-up appointment. Adults can receive a Tdap shot every 10 years, but can get it earlier if needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that 13-18-year-olds who haven’t gotten the Tdap shot should talk to their parents and physician about getting vaccinated.

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Recent product recalls

Here are 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: Step2® Whisper Ride Touring Wagon™

Hazard: The removable blue seat backs can detach and allow the child in the wagon to fall out, posing a fall hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: Step2 has received 29 reports of the seat back detaching – 28 of which resulted in children falling out of the wagon. Fourteen of these resulted in bumped heads, and nine resulted in bruises, scratches or lacerations.

Description: This recall involves Step2 Whisper Ride Touring Wagons. The two-seat plastic wagon is 25-inches wide by 41.25-inches long by 20-inches high with blue seats, a tan wagon base and a red canopy.The “Step2” logo appears on the canopy and on the side of the wagon base.

Sold exclusively at: Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at from February 2013 to August 2013 for about $130.

Manufactured in: USA

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the wagon and inspect it to determine if the seat belt is attached to the removable blue seat back.If so, the wagon is included in this recall. Consumers with the recalled wagons should contact Step2 to obtain a free repair kit.

Consumer contact: Contact Step2 toll-free at 866.860.1887 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at and click on “Product Recall” for more information.

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