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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.



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.

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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: 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.

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