Archive for the ‘Hot Topics’ Category

Graco® adds 1.9 million infant car seats to recall

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

A few months ago, Graco recalled about 4 million toddler convertible car and booster seats because of a problem with the seat belt buckles. Now, Graco is including another 1.9 million infant car seats with the same buckle problem to the recall.

The belt buckle on the car seat can get sticky and hard to release when food or dried liquid gets into the buckle. This makes it difficult to unbuckle a child from her car seat. Some parents said they had to cut the car seat straps to get their child out of the car seat. My child uses one of the recalled car seats and I, too, have had trouble unbuckling her from time to time.

The recall now includes Graco’s infant car seats made between 2010 and 2013. The models include:

• SnugRide
• SnugRide Classic
• SnugRide 30
• SnugRide Classic Connect 30
• SnugRide 35
• SnugRide Classic Connect 35
• SnugRide Click Connect 40
• Aprica A30

If your child uses one of the recalled car seats, you can order a free replacement buckle online. I used the online order form and it was quick and easy. You also can contact Graco at consumerservices@gracobaby.com or call (800) 345-4109.

For more information about the 2014 Graco car seat recall, visit the Graco website. Learn more about car seats.

It’s good – no, great – to read to your baby

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

readingRead to your baby- it’s fun for both of you. And now the AAP says it is important for your baby’s language and brain development, too. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Someone once asked me how old my children were when I started reading to them. Honestly, it was not like I flipped a switch and then pulled out a book. I read to them as soon as they could open their eyes. I remember my son being on my lap and barely able to hold his head up as I read him a soft “baby book” with huge, colorful shapes and pictures. He sat there enthralled, gazing at the colors with wide eyes. Sometimes he would lunge forward to touch the colors. He was barely three months old.

When I gave birth to my daughter two years later, I would sit on my large blue chair with my son on one leg and my daughter nestled on my arm on my other leg. My son would turn the pages and I would read to both of them. I treasured our special time together, and my kids absolutely loved it. Even though my kids are in their twenties now, I still have the “reading chair” and just sitting in it evokes the sweetest of memories for me. But, perhaps the best part of this bonding ritual was that both my children grew to love reading at a very early age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is actively urging pediatricians to tell parents to read to their child from infancy. Reading aloud helps to promote language skills – vocabulary, speech, and later reading comprehension, literacy and overall intelligence. The AAP suggests that pediatricians extol the virtues of reading to children at each “well child” visit. Reading to your child is right up there with proper nutrition and vaccinations. Yup – according to science, reading aloud to kids is good for them.

Where to get books

You don’t need to own a large library to read to your child. Kids love repetition and will ask to hear the same story over and over again. (How many times did I read Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman?!!!). But if you just can’t pick up that same book again, head to your local library where the children’s section is sure to bring out your inner child. As your baby gets older, make reading interactive – have him point to the truck when you say the word. Then have him repeat the word or say it with you. Watch as his vocabulary begins to grow. You can practically “see” the connections being made.

Another place to acquire books for a home library is at second hand stores or even recycling stations. The “dump” in the town where I raised my kids has a book shed where you can drop off or pick up used books for free. And don’t forget, garage or yard sales are great places to get books for nickels. Having a mini-library at home has been shown to help children get off on the right academic foot.

When your little one is a toddler, check out library story hours for parents or caregivers and children. It may soon become the highlight of your week.

Bottom line

It is never too early to start reading to your baby or too late to start reading to your child. Not only will reading aloud help to boost language skills from an early age, but it will promote bonding and closeness between you and your child. Who knows what world a book may open up to you and your baby?

So, grab a book, snuggle up and start reading. You’ll never regret it.

 

Note:  This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January 2013 and appears every Wednesday. While on News Moms Need and click on “Help for your child” in the Categories menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date (just keep scrolling down). We welcome your comments and input. Email AskUs@marchofdimes.com.

 

Eat fish during pregnancy

Monday, June 16th, 2014

When you’re pregnant, it’s important to make healthy food choices. This is especially true when it comes to fish. Fish are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that can be good for your baby’s health.

The Food and Drug administration (FDA) is changing their guidelines for eating fish during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, the FDA now suggests you eat at least 8 and up to 12 ounces a week of fish that are low in mercury. This includes fish like shrimp, salmon, pollock, catfish, canned light tuna, tilapia and cod. It’s OK to eat up to 6 ounces a week of albacore (white) tuna.

However, FDA still says to avoid eating raw fish, like sushi, as well as fish that can be high in mercury, like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. And always check with your local health department before you eat any fish you catch yourself.

The new recommendations on eating fish during pregnancy are open for public comment. Share your thoughts! Learn more about eating healthy and foods to avoid or limit during pregnancy.

Video monitor recall

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Summer Infant® is expanding its video monitor recall to include nearly a million video baby monitors. The problem is that the rechargeable batteries in the handheld video monitor can overheat and break, putting consumers at risk for burns. The recall, first announced in 2011, now includes over 15 models:
• Baby Touch®
• Baby Touch® Plus
• Best View®
• Best View® Choice
• Complete Coverage®
• Dual Coverage™
• MultiView™
• Peek® Plus
• Private Label Baby Sight
• Safe Sight™
• Secure Sight®
• Sleek & Secure®
• Slim & Secure®
• Slim & Secure® Plus
• Slim & Secure® Plus Power Pack

The video baby monitors were sold online and in department stores and baby gear stores nationwide from 2010 through 2012.

If you have one of the recalled Summer Infant video baby monitors, remove the battery and contact Summer Infant for a replacement battery at (800) 426-8627 or visit the Summer Infant website. In the meantime, the monitor can still be used along with the A/C adapter power cord that plugs into a wall electrical outlet. For more information, visit the Consumer Products Safety Commission website.

Could Aspirin help prevent preeclampsia in some women?

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Could Aspirin help prevent preeclampsia in some women? That’s what a panel of experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is suggesting in this month’s Annals of Internal Medicine. The panel reviewed research and evidence and found that low doses of Aspirin may help prevent preeclampsia in women who are at risk of developing the condition.

Preeclampsia is condition that happens when a pregnant woman has both high blood pressure and protein in her urine. With early and regular prenatal care, most women with preeclampsia can have healthy babies, but it can cause severe problems for moms. Without treatment, preeclampsia can cause kidney, liver and brain damage. It also may affect how the blood clots and cause serious bleeding problems.

No one knows what causes preeclampsia. But some women may be more likely than others to have preeclampsia. Some risks include:
• Having your first baby
• Having preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
• Having a family history of preeclampsia
• Being pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets or more)
• Being older than 35
• Being overweight or obese

If you’re pregnant and at risk for preeclampsia, talk to your health provider. While the research may be promising, more needs to be done. In the meantime, don’t take any medicine during pregnancy without checking with your health provider first. Learn more about preeclampsia.

C-sections, scheduling births and why healthy babies are worth the wait

Friday, April 4th, 2014

We’ve written a lot of posts about labor and, that if your pregnancy is healthy, it’s best to wait for labor to begin on its own. We’re glad that more moms know that having a healthy baby is worth the wait. But sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder – not just for moms-to-be, but for everyone.

Both of my babies were late, especially my son. (He’s a true mama’s boy and I sometimes get the feeling that he would climb back in if he could!) I remember all of the frustration and discomfort I felt as I reached and went past my due date. But as uncomfortable as those last weeks were, it was a small sacrifice to make for my baby’s health.

If there are no medical reasons for either you or your baby to have a c-section or schedule your baby’s birth, then it’s best to wait for labor to begin on its own. And unless you have a medical reason for having a c-section, it’s best to have your baby through vaginal birth.

A c-section is major surgery that takes longer to recover from than a vaginal birth. And you’re more likely to have complications from a c-section than from a vaginal birth. A c-section can cause problems for your baby, too. Babies born by c-section may have more breathing and other medical problems than babies born by vaginal birth.

All this is to say that if your pregnancy is healthy and you’re thinking about scheduling your baby’s birth, consider the risks. And even though those last weeks can be very uncomfortable, your baby’s health is worth the wait.

E-cigarettes, liquid nicotine and poisoning

Friday, March 28th, 2014

E-cigarettes from CDCMany things in this day and age have gone digital – even smoking. The latest trend is the fast-growing use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. They look like regular cigarettes, but can be used more than once because they use rechargeable batteries. E-cigarettes have nicotine that comes as a liquid and can be refilled. Nicotine is a harmful drug that is found in cigarettes.

There’s been many reports of people, especially children, being poisoned from being in contact with liquid nicotine, either by accidentally drinking it or by spilling it and absorbing it through the skin. Liquid nicotine has powerful toxins and a small amount may be very harmful, even deadly. Liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes is sold in small vials that may be bright and colorful. Sometimes, liquid nicotine may have added flavors, like cherry or bubble gum. All of these things can make it appealing to children and may lead to accidental poisoning.

There isn’t enough research to know if e-cigarettes are safe. If you use e-cigarettes, be sure to keep them and any items used with e-cigarettes, like liquid nicotine, away from children. Store them in a secure place to keep everyone safe.

Health insurance registration deadline running out

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Open enrollment for health care coverage in 2014 through the Health Insurance Marketplace ends this Monday, March 31st. Affordable plans are still available. Across the country, 6 out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or even less – some for a lot less.

If you haven’t registered for a plan yet, start by gathering important information – like birthdates and Social Security or document numbers – for everyone who will be on the application.

You can sign up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at HealthCare.gov (which is working smoothly now). You can also sign up in Spanish at CuidadoDeSalud.gov. Confused? Need help? You can call 1-800-318-2596, any time, any hour, and a trained representative will help you enroll.

Moms and babies need health coverage, so be sure to choose a plan now. If you choose a plan by March 31, you’ll avoid tax penalties for 2014.

Laundry pods can be dangerous

Monday, March 17th, 2014
Tide Pod

Tide Pod

Laundry pods are those prefilled pillows of super-concentrated laundry detergent designed to make your life nice and easy. (Pods are made for dishwashing, too.) They have become quite popular since 2012. But, since early 2012, poison-control centers nationwide have received reports of nearly 7,700 pod-related exposures to children age 5 years and younger. Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, is now warning the public of this health hazard.

These pods are sometimes pretty, looking a bit like candy, and are enticing to little folk. Some toddlers have swallowed the pods and gotten seriously ill (excessive vomiting, trouble breathing) requiring hospitalization. Others have gotten the concentrated detergent in their eyes causing severe irritation.

Parents and caregivers, it is extremely important to keep this detergent well out of reach of children. Make sure the container they are in has a safety latch and that it is stored on an upper shelf outside the reach of curious tots.

If a child does chew on a pod, call the poison-control helpline immediately (800-222-1222).

Is your baby’s sleep machine on too loud?

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Sleeping babyWhen I was first pregnant with my baby girl, my boss at the time gave me a sleep sheep, a sleep machine that attaches to the crib and looks like a cute little sheep. I remember when I opened the box, she said, “Everyone says this is THE BEST thing to give new moms.” Boy, was she right! My sleep sheep is heaven-sent! I’m still using it for our second baby, who is really more of a toddler now. He knows that when the sheep is on, it’s time to sleep. And while my kids drift off to sleep, I can begin cleaning up the disaster area they left throughout the house without tiptoeing around and worrying that I’ll wake them.

If you use sleep machines for your babies, too, here’s something you want to hear. A study in this month’s Pediatrics journal found that using a sleep machine at high volume can damage your baby’s hearing. The researchers found the volume on some baby sleep machines can be too high for adults! The researchers recommend you place the sleep machine as far away as possible from your baby, never place or attach it to the crib and keep the volume low.

I’ve often wondered if our sleep machine is on too loud. Just to be on the safe side, I think I’ll be making some changes!

Learn more about safe sleep for your baby.