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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
June 2015
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Preventing summer learning loss

Now that the school year is over, many kids look forward to sleeping in, playing with friends, and nights free of homework. With all the work and activities that are packed into the school year, it’s no wonder why they’re excited for summer to start.

However, the time out of the classroom can catch up with them in the fall. It is estimated that a majority of kids lose around two months worth of learning from the previous year, which causes them to spend the first few weeks of school relearning lost information. Math, reading and science are often the subjects that take the hardest hit.

The following tips can help prevent summer learning loss without feeling like school is back in session:

Visit the library. Many community libraries offer summer reading programs for kids. Make library trips a family affair by taking turns reading to each other or creating suggested reading lists.

Limit screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting screen time to one to two hours per day for kids and teens. When your child does spend time in front of the TV or computer, encourage them to watch educational content. 

Send your child to summer camp. Summer camp is a great way for your child to experience new activities and meet new people. If your child is interested in a particular subject, summer camps that are interest-focused (such as science camp) are a great option to let them explore their curiosity further. Learn tips on how to choose a safe summer camp here.

Take field trips. Everyone loves a good field trip. Keep learning fun by exploring local museums and state parks. If you’re not sure where to start, check your local visitors’ center for different places to explore.

Cook dinner together. Measuring and weighing ingredients can be a great way to keep those math skills from getting rusty.

Read Entire Article ›


Is your child drinking enough water?

In a study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers reported that more than half of U.S. kids and teens are not adequately hydrated.

Now that summer is here, hotter temperatures can increase the rate of dehydration in children. If a child is thirsty, they are already beginning to dehydrate. Additional signs of dehydration can include:

  • Lethargy or playing less than normal
  • Urinating less frequently or only a couple times per day
  • Dry mouth
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Sunken soft spot on the head in an infant or toddler
  • Sunken eyes
  • Cool, discolored hands and feet

Children ages five to eight should drink five glasses of water each day; children ages nine to 12 should drink seven glasses; children 13 and older should drink eight to 10 glasses. If your child is active, he or she may need more than the recommended amount to account for water loss through sweat. 

The following tips can help keep your child hydrated, especially on hot days:

  • Give your child a travel bottle of water so he or she always has a drink nearby.
  • Make boring water more appealing by adding fruit for extra flavor.
  • Keep refreshing and water-packed snacks on hand such as watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, baby carrots, or sugar-free popsicles. 
  • If you know your child is going to be playing outside for most of the day, set an alarm on your phone to remind your child to drink water every 20 to 30 minutes.
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Staying afloat with summer boating safety tips

The cool breeze off the water… the feel of the summer sun on your shoulders… the laughter from your little ones as they help reel in a smallmouth bass… these are just some of the joys of boating—a summer staple for many families. But no matter how many times you’ve cruised Raystown Lake or the Chesapeake Bay, it’s a good idea to refresh on a few boating safety tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy:

Boating safety courses: If you operate a boat, it’s a good idea to take a boating safety course. Whether you choose a local community course or take advantage of reputable online tutorials, a boating safety course teaches you the rules of the water as well as invaluable tips for keeping everyone safe on board.

Operate safely: Never operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Besides putting yourself and your family at risk, you are also endangering others who are out on the water. It’s a federal offense to operate a boat while intoxicated, and nearly half of all boating accidents can be attributed to alcohol abuse.

Adult supervision: Whether it’s swimming, fishing, tubing, or just floating with the current, always keep a close watch on children. Never allow children to ride sitting on the side rails, on the tip of the boat’s bow (the front), or perched on the back of the boat, as sudden turns, stops, or starts could cause them to fall in. If swimming, choose a designated swim area where the boat can be anchored to shore. Make sure a lifeguard is present. Swimming directly off a boat should only be done with extreme caution and is not recommended, as strong currents or undertows may be present. Additionally, a boat’s engine should never be running with swimmers in the water, as the propellers and carbon monoxide fumes can be deadly.

Take an emergency kit: Like cars, boats can also become stranded. A good emergency kit will contain a flashlight with extra batteries, a safety whistle, a towrope, and a bailer to remove water. Additional items to keep on board include a marine radio, knife, first aid kit, compass, watch, water, and food bars, as well as a fire extinguisher and visual distress signals (flares). Becoming trained in CPR is a good idea, too.

Itinerary (Also called a float plan): Before you and your family head out onto the water, always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. The information should include who is with you on your boat, a description of your boat, and an instruction to notify authorities if you do not return when expected. 

Notice weather changes: Sudden wind, choppy water, darkening clouds, sudden temperature drops, and lightning flashes can mean that a storm is on its way. If you see any signs of bad weather, get to shore immediately. In addition, harmful materials and bacteria may migrate into waterways after a bad storm, so it’s important to avoid water-related activities for at least 24 hours after a storm. 

Get the right gear: One of the most important items to keep on board for you and your family is light jackets. Most of the people who drown in boating accidents were not wearing life jackets. There should be a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on the boat for every individual, and each jacket should be properly fitted to each person before departure. By wearing a life jacket, you and your children will be safer should your boat capsize or if you fall or are thrown from the boat. Additionally, boats should have an approved, throwable floatation device should someone need to be rescued.

Overall, boating can be a fun and safe activity for you and your family if you keep these few tips in mind.

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Ask the pediatrician: Growing pains

Dear Dr. Collison,

My nine-year-old son has been complaining of pain in his legs at night. Is this growing pain? What can I do to help him?

That is a great question. While there is no evidence that growing pains are caused by the actual growth of bones, a child’s pain is a real issue. It is suggested that a child’s muscles can get sore after a hard day of running, climbing, and normal play. Pain is common on a child’s knees, calves, or front of their thighs.

Children ages three to five and eight to 12 often experience these pains the most. The frequency of the pain is often off and on, and intensity of the pain can vary from child to child. To help ease the pain, you can massage the muscle or use a heating pad. Many children also feel better when they are cuddled. You may also give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Do no give your child aspirin as it has been linked to Reye syndrome, a rare but serious illness.

If your child’s pain persists and they have other symptoms such as fever, swollen or red joints, limping, loss of appetite, or other changes in behavior, contact your pediatrician.

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Mount Nittany Medical Center now offering a cord blood donation program

Mount Nittany Medical Center is now offering a cord blood donation program through the Dan Berger Cord Blood Program.

Cord blood is the blood that is left from the umbilical cord after a woman gives birth. Rich in stems cells, this cord blood – along with blood from the placenta – can be collected and stored to help save lives.

Instead of having the blood discarded after a baby’s birth, families may choose to have this blood collected and placed into a public bank, where doctors may use it in the future to help treat those with serious, life-threatening diseases. Another option is to have the cord blood stored privately for the donating family.

Cord blood is used to help treat cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma, life-threatening blood disorders, and more. Additionally, cord blood is used regularly for research purposes. One of the biggest benefits of cord blood is the fact that it does not have to be a direct match with the recipient’s tissue type.

There is no cost to donate to a public bank, but private storage requires a fee.

“We are literally saving lives with this new program,” said Linda Solano, RN, BSN, program coordinator for Mount Nittany Medical Center. “After a baby is born, the blood from the umbilical cord is no longer needed. Rather than discarding the blood, this blood can be stored and used to help save lives.”

Jennifer Gilbert, DO, pain management, Mount Nittany Health, was actually the first mother to donate her cord blood at Mount Nittany Medical Center with the birth of her son, Max.

“I’ve previously worked on labor and delivery units and I’ve seen firsthand how impactful cord blood can be, especially to a young child facing a disease like leukemia,” said Dr. Gilbert. “It was an easy decision for me to make, especially since my baby nor I no longer need it, and it has the ability to make another child or family healthy again.”

Dr. Gilbert says the process of registering as a donor is quite easy, only taking a few moments to fill out an online or physical form.

“I’m excited to see this program take off, and I’m happy that I was able to be the first donor. I would like to think that if my child needed help, there would be a family out there who is generous enough to donate,” she said.

To learn more about the option of cord blood donation, women should speak directly with their OB/GYN team during pregnancy or visit

The cord blood program is named for the late Dan Berger, a Pittsburgh attorney who had a successful unrelated stem cell transplant to overcome cancer. In July of 2006, Dan’s heart failed. During the course of his treatment, Dan and his wife, Carol, recognized the lifesaving potential of umbilical cord blood.

Read Entire Article ›


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: Nest booster seat

Hazard: The stitching on the restraint straps can loosen which allows the straps to separate from the seat, posing a fall hazard to children.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received five reports of the stitching coming undone releasing the straps following a child pulling on the strap or an adult tightening the straps. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves the Nest booster seat sold in green (model 6367200), pink (model 6367300), taupe (model 6367500) and orange (model 6367400) with a white base. A sticker affixed to the underside of the seat reads “Nest Booster Seat” with the model number and manufacture date. The manufacture date code represents the month and year in MMYY format and recalled units have the code: 0714, 0814, 0914, 1014, 1114 or 1214. The formed plastic seats are about 13 inches wide by 14 inches tall by 12 inches deep and have a grey three-point child restraint strap system. The OXO logo is embossed on the restraint system’s buckle.

Sold at: Buybuy Baby, Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us and independent specialty stores nationwide and online at from September 2014 through April 2015 for about $55.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the Nest booster seats and contact OXO for a free repair kit with redesigned safety straps and installation instructions.

Consumer contact: OXO at 800.545.4411 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm ET Monday through Friday, email at or online at and click on Customer Service under the Contact Us tab at the bottom of the page for more information.


Name of product: BRP Youth Model Can-Am All-Terrain Vehicles

Hazard: The youth ATVs fail to meet performance requirements of the federal ATV standard for maximum unrestricted speed and parking brakes, posing a crash hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported 

Description: This recall is for model year 2008 through 2015 Can-Am Mini DS ATVs. The recalled vehicles are youth model ATVs and have engines sizes of 70 cubic centimeters and 90 cubic centimeters. They were sold in the colors black and yellow. "Can-Am DS" and the engine size is on both sides of the vehicle's fairing. "Can-Am" appears in white letters on both sides of the seat.

Model year 2008 through 2014 DS 70 ATVs fail to meet requirements pertaining to the unrestricted maximum speed of the vehicle. Model year 2008 through 2015 DS 70 and DS 90 ATVs fail to meet requirements pertaining to parking brakes.

Sold at: Can-Am dealers nationwide from July 2007 through January 2015 for between $1,800 and $2,800.

Manufactured in: Vietnam

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ATVs and contact a BRP dealer to schedule a free repair. BRP is notifying registered consumers directly.

Consumer contact: BRP toll-free at 888.272.9222 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm ET Monday through Friday, or online at and click on Owners, then "View Details" for Safety, then "View Notices" for Safety Recalls.


Name of product: Pali Design children’s furniture

Hazard: The plastic restraint strap used to attach armoires, combos, dressers and hutches to a wall can break and allow the unit to tip over. Falling furniture can result in a wide range of injuries to young children, from soft tissue bruising to broken bones, head injuries and death by suffocation when a child is pinned under a heavy piece of furniture.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received one report of a restraint strap on a Wendy Double Dresser breaking and allowing the unit to tip over. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Pali Design armoires, combos, dressers and hutches sold separately or in the following collections: Karla Collection, Mantova Collection, Milano Collection, Salerno Collection, Volterra Collection, Wendy Collection and West Point Collection. The recall also includes a separate bookcase/hutch available in finishes to match the collections. The recalled furniture was manufactured from January 2006 to September 2010. Combos combine drawers and a cabinet in one unit.

The model number, product name and manufacture date are printed on a white sticker on the back of the units. The manufacture date is in the YYYY-MM-DD format. Units in the following collections, with the following model numbers and product names are being recalled: 

Collection Name

Model Number/Product Name


Milano Collection

101 Milano Combo

Mocacchino, Natural/White

107 Milano Armoire

Salerno Collection

201 Salerno Combo

White, Mocacchino, Sienna

205 Salerno 5-Drawer Dresser

206 Salerno 5-Drawer Dresser

West Point Collection

705 West Point 5-Drawer Dresser

Vintage Cherry, White


706 West Point Double Dresser


707 West Point Armoire


709 West Point Hutch

Wendy Collection

801 Wendy Combo

Distressed Amber, Distressed White, Chocolate, Cognac


805 Wendy 5-Drawer Dresser


806 Wendy Double Dresser


807 Wendy Armoire


809 Wendy Hutch

Mantova Collection

1004 Mantova 4-Drawer Dresser

Chocolate, White


1006 Mantova Double Dresser

Volterra Collection

1203 Volterra 3-Drawer Dresser

Vintage Cherry, Mocacchino, White

1205 Volterra 5-Drawer Dresser

1206 Volterra Double Dresser

Karla Collection

1504 Karla 4-Drawer Dresser


1506 Karla Double Dresser


 5555 Bookcase/Hutch

Vintage Cherry, Chocolate, Mocacchino, Sienna, White, Cognac



Sold at: Independent specialty stores nationwide, at Pequeno Angelito in San Juan, Puerto Rico and online from January 2006 to September 2010 for between $420 and $750. The Karla collection was sold exclusively in Babies R Us stores.

Manufactured in: Vietnam

Remedy: Consumers should immediately place the recalled armoires, combos, dressers or hutches out of the reach of young children and contact Pali Design for a free retrofit kit that contains newly designed restraint straps, mounting hardware and installation instructions.

Consumer contact: Pali Design toll free at 866.840.4140 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm ET Monday through Friday, email, or online at and click on “Safety Notice for more information.


Name of product: Bunnies by the Bay Bud and Skipit Wheely Cute pull toys

Hazard: Hubcaps on the wheels can break or come off the wheel, posing a choking hazard for young children.

Incidents/Injuries: No incidents have been reported.

Description: Bud, an 8-inch high soft brown puppy with a blue and white pull cord, stands on red wooden wheels with blue hubcaps. There is a red, blue and white soft ball at the end of the pull cord. Skipit, an 8-inch high cream-colored bunny with an orange and white pull cord, stands on blue wheels with orange hubcaps. There is a soft cloth carrot at the end of the pull cord. Lot code YM5/14 is on the label sewn on the back leg of each toy. The item number for Bud Wheely Cute Toy, found on the lower right-hand corner of the original packing, is #401101. The item number for Skipit Wheely Cute Toy is #401103.

Sold at: Gift and specialty stores nationwide and online at and from February 2015 through April 2015 for about $30.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should take the toys away from young children immediately and return the item to where it was purchased for a full refund.

Consumer contact: Bunnies by the Bay toll-free at 866.763.8869 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm ET Monday through Friday, email or online at and click on “Contact Us” at the bottom of the homepage for more information.

Read Entire Article ›


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