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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
January 2016
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Increasing trend of high cholesterol levels in kids

A recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics found that one American child or adolescent out of five has at least one abnormal cholesterol level. This includes low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “good” cholesterol, and high total cholesterol levels. The study focused on children ages six to 19.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children and adolescents should have a total cholesterol level of less than 170. Total cholesterol levels ranging from 170-199 are considered borderline and levels totaling more than 200 are considered high.

In 2011, the AAP issued updated recommendations that children ages nine to 11 should be screened at least once for high blood cholesterol levels. The increasing trend of child obesity was a major factor for issuing the updated recommendations. Earlier detection of high cholesterol levels means earlier identification of children who are at risk for heart disease and the creation of a plan by a pediatrician.

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Ask the pediatrician: Does my teen need a babysitter?

Dear Dr. C.,

My thirteen-year-old daughter does not want a babysitter anymore. She feels that she is old enough to stay home alone for a few hours after school. Do you have a recommended age for letting kids stay home alone?

This is a question I’m asked often by parents. Kids ages 10 years and younger should not be left alone because they typically do not have the skills and maturity level to take care of themselves. For the most part, older teens are responsible enough to handle being home alone. But for younger teens, there is no black and white answer. If you want to determine whether your teen is ready to stay home alone, consider these factors:

  • Can your teen handle an emergency?
    • Does your teen know what is considered an emergency?
    • Does he/she know how to call 911?
    • Do he/she know basic first-aid procedures?
  • Is your teen responsible?
    • How well does he/she manage homework?
    • Can he/she successfully complete chores around the house?
  • What is your teen’s maturity level?
    • Does he/she understand and follow household rules?
    • Does he/she make good decisions?
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Safety in and around the home

A child’s home is supposed to be a safe place, away from all the dangers of this world. Unfortunately, the home can also be a hazardous place if parents don’t take the necessary precautions to keep their kids safe. This also goes for grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who routinely have children in their home.

The following are the top five dangerous items that should either be removed from the home or dealt with in a planned, safe way.

  1. Firearms: Adolescent suicide and gun violence are often in the news, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about two million children live in homes with loaded guns that are not locked up. Simply removing guns from the home is one of the best ways to protect children and teens from gun deaths. If removing the firearms from the house is not an option, they should be stored unloaded in a locked cabinet, with keys or combinations made inaccessible to children.
  2. Poisons: Based on statistics from the CDC, over 300 children in the United States are treated for poisoning each year in an emergency department, and two children die every day as a result of being poisoned. Keep toxic products in their original packaging and stored where children can’t see or reach them. Put the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ (AAPCC) phone number, 1.800.222.1222, on or near every telephone in your home, and program it into your cell phone. Call that number if you think a child who is still awake and alert has been poisoned; the AAPCC can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 911 if you have a poison emergency and your child has collapsed or is not breathing.
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Enter the 2016 Children’s National Dental Health Month poster contest

Calling all 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students! Break out your creativity by participating in the Children's National Dental Health Month poster contest and show us how you swat the sugar out of your mouth! Submissions are due by February 29, at 5:00 pm. All winners will be displayed at Mount Nittany Medical Center’s art gallery in April.

Winners will be eligible for the following prizes:

  • First prize - $100 Amazon gift card
  • Second prize - $75 Amazon gift card
  • Third prize - $50 Amazon gift card

Download the flyer here for submission guidelines and contest rules. For more details, call 814.231.3710 or email



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.

Click here to read a special hoverboard update from the U.S. CPSC.


Name of product: Zulily children’s pajamas

Hazard: The pajamas do not meet the federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear, posing a risk of burn injuries.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Description: This recall involves six styles of Lilli Lovebird girls’ two-piece, long-sleeve, striped pajama sets. The pajamas are 95 percent cotton and 5 percent elastane, and were sold in sizes four through 12. The long-sleeve pajama tops have a sewn-on pocket in the shape of a heart located on the center front. The pajamas came in pink and white stripes with a red heart; dark pink, gray and white strips with a pink heart; green, red and white stripes with a red heart; light purple and white stripes with a pink heart; steel gray and white stripes with a red heart; and Christmas red and white striped with a green heart.

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Table of contents
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