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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
July 2015
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Dangers of sunburn art

It never fails to amaze me the different trends that teens and young adults create, especially when these trends are hazardous to their health.

Recently, I have seen stories about a new summer trend. Sunburn art is the practice of creating designs on the skin using sunscreen or stencils. These designs often leave a large part of the body unprotected from the harsh rays of the sun. The resulting effect is a combination of red skin and light patches of skin where the stencils or sunscreen was placed. Teens may think this trend is fun now, but it could lead to serious health consequences in the future.

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, with 3.5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed yearly in the United States. The Skin Cancer Foundation says a person’s risk of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, doubles after he or she has five or more sunburns.

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How to help a child that is choking

Choking occurs when something is stuck in a person’s airway, blocking the flow of air so he or she can’t breathe properly. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), food is the leading cause of choking in more than 50 percent of children’s choking events. Other objects include small toys, coins, and magnets.

A child may be choking if he or she shows the following signs of distress:

  • Turns blue or becomes unresponsive
  • Starts to cough or gasp
  • Cannot talk, cry, or make any noise
  • Grabs his or her throat

If your child is choking, here’s how you can help:

  • If your child is turning blue or becomes unresponsive, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you know cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), immediately start using it on the child. If not, wait until a trained professional can help you.
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Do the benefits of sports extend into the classroom?

Participating in organized sports provides many benefits, including regular physical activity, learning teamwork, building self-esteem, and more. A study recently published in the American Journal of Health Promotion suggests that kids who regularly participate in sports receive additional benefits in the classroom.

Researchers from the University of Montreal, Quebec, collected data for 2,694 children during their kindergarten and fourth grade school years. There were two components to the study. The first part focused on whether participating in organized sports in kindergarten could predict how much focus a child will have once he or she reaches fourth grade. The second part of the study focused on whether kindergarten “self-discipline” could predict fourth grade participation in sports.

Results of the study revealed that kids who showed positive behavior in kindergarten were more likely to participate in sports by age 10, and kids who participated in sports in kindergarten had a higher ability to stay focused and alert by fourth grade.

If your child shows an interest in participating in organized sports, introduce him or her to a variety of sports and let the child choose one that holds his or her attention.



Ask the pediatrician: When should I take my child to the emergency department?

Hi Dr. Collison,

My six-year-old recently fell while riding his bike and injured his wrist. I tried to treat his injury at home by elevating and icing his wrist, but a bruise developed and he was still complaining of pain several hours later even after giving him some ibuprofen. Since I was worried about his pain, I ended up taking him to the emergency department and the doctor did not find that his wrist was sprained or broken. His recommendation was to maintain the ice treatment and allow a couple weeks for the injury to fully heal. I feel like I overreacted to the situation. Do you have any tips on when it’s necessary to take my child to the ER?

As a parent, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when your child is sick or injured. Most of the time it is easy to determine whether you may need to take a trip to the emergency department. But for those gray-area situations, keep your ABCD’s in mind:

Airway: If your child’s airway is blocked because he or she is choking, call 9-1-1 right away.

Breathing: If your child’s breathing is abnormal, you should seek emergency medical help. This can include shortness of breath, wheezing, and asthma attacks. If your child stops breathing, call 9-1-1.

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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: School Specialty NeoRok stools

Hazard: The stool can break during use, posing a fall hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: School Specialty has received two reports of stools breaking. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves three models of Classroom Select NeoRok Stools with a tilting and rocking feature, for use by children in the classroom. Recalled stools were sold in three sizes: 15 inch tall (Item Number 1496633), 18 inch tall (Item Number 1496340) and 20 inch tall (Item Number 1496342). The Classroom Select logo/name is printed on one side of the base and the NeoRok name is printed on the other side of the base.  The stools have a round black rubber seat insert with a solid color plastic seat and black-rimmed base. The stools were sold in five colors: pistachio (green), paprika (orange), periwinkle (light blue), cardinal (red) and marine (navy blue).

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