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AAP Updates Child Car Seat Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued an updated policy statement in Pediatrics advising that children use rear-facing car safety seats until they reach the height and weight limits recommended by manufacturers and use forward-facing seats with harnesses until recommended limits are reached once they have outgrown rear-facing seats. The guidance also urged the use of belt-positioning booster seats for those who exceeded the limit for forward-facing seat use and said that all children younger than 13 should sit in the back seat of a car.  Read more.

Help Young Children Make Healthy Changes

A new year means a new chance to begin healthier habits. And even preschoolers can make healthier changes as they grow.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says young children can resolve to:

  • Put away toys and and clean up messes.
  • Allow parents to help them brush their teeth twice daily.
  • Always wash hands after using the bathroom and before and after eating.
  • Help parents clean the table after eating.
  • Be kind to animals, and always ask permission before petting an unfamiliar animal.
  • Be kind to other kids, especially to those who seem sad, lonely or need a friend.
  • Talk to parents or other adults they trust if they feel scared or need help.

New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

The following examples of healthy New Year’s resolutions for children are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  Click here to learn more about the APP.

Preschoolers

  • I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
  • I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones.
  • I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
  • I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help, or when I’m scared.
  • I will be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.

Kids, 5 to 12 years old

  • I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only at special times.
  • I will put on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
  • I’ll be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by asking them to join activities such as sports or games.
  • I will never encourage or even watch bullying, and will join with others in telling bullies to stop.
  • I’ll never give out private information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is okay.
  • I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.
  • I promise to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.

Kids, 13 years old and older

  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only at special times.
  • I will take care of my body through physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.
  • I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.  I promise to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.
  • I will help out in my community – through giving some of my time to help others, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
  • When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
  • I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without forcing them to do something or using violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.
  • I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs or alcohol.
  • I agree not to use a cellphone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

Make Time for Family Dinners

Getting the entire family together for dinner may be a challenge, but it’s worth pursuing, experts say.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says family dinners:

  • Reduce the risk of childhood obesity.
  • Promote healthy food habits that last into adulthood.
  • Reduce the risk of your child developing an eating disorder.
  • Improve social and emotional health.

Limit Kids’ Exposure to Media Violence, Pediatricians Say

Media violence has become a routine part of the daily lives of American children, and parents, lawmakers and the media should take steps to change that, a leading pediatricians’ group recommends.

The new policy statement, from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), calls on pediatricians to routinely ask about children’s “media diet,” and for parents to limit the violent content their kids see — whether on TV, online or in video games.

Video gaming is a particular concern, partly because of the advent of 3D technology that creates a “more immersive experience with violence,” said statement author Dr. Dimitri Christakis.

Christakis directs the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

 The policy statement points to a “proven scientific connection” between virtual violence and real-life aggression, the doctors say. Many studies have found such links, Christakis said.

Some media violence experts contend that such a link is far from proven.

However, Christakis noted that “aggression” can include “being rude,” arguing or — for those old enough — driving aggressively.

“With children, actual physical violence is, thankfully, rare,” Christakis said.

But, he added, “aggressive thoughts and feelings do precede violence.”

The policy statement advises parents to: play their kids’ video games with them, so they know exactly what the content is; shield children younger than 6 from all violent media, including “cartoon violence,” and ban “first-person shooter” games altogether.

Christakis acknowledged that most kids will not be turned into violent offenders because of video games or movies. But he pointed to “societal level” effects of widespread media violence.

Click here to read more from Healthfinder

Bullying, Excessive Internet Use Up Suicide Risks Among Teens

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that teens who are bullied or use internet excessively may be at an increased risk of suicide.

The report is based on findings from a new study that found bullying and excessive Internet use have led to suicide becoming the second leading cause of death, after road accidents and accidental overdoses, for older teens, between the ages of 15 and 19.

“Bullying has always been a major issue for adolescents, but there is now greater recognition of the connection between bullying and suicide,” said lead author of the study Benjamin Shain, MD, head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at North Shore University Health System, adding that the advent of social media has elevated the rate suicide thoughts and attempts in today’s teen generation.

“The internet is a key influence, as well. Cyberbullying, for example is as serious problem as face-to-face bullying,“ Dr. Shain added.

The study found that teenagers who spend more than five hours a day on internet are at a greater risk of trying to kill themselves.

The study also found a difference among the genders when it comes to an association between bullying and suicide risk. “Boys seem to require repeated bullying to have a substantial negative effect, whereas girls it could be one episode,” Dr. Shain said.

In the wake of fresh evidence revealing a strong association between bullying & excessive internet use and suicides among adolescents, Dr.Shain and colleagues are urging pediatricians to screen their teen patients for suicidal thoughts and other factors associated with increased suicide risk.

Based on their findings, the researchers emphasized on the role of parents and physicians when it comes to curb teen suicides.

“Pediatricians need to be aware of the problem overall,” Shain said. “They should be screening for things like mood disorders, substance abuse as well as bullying.”

“Physicians, including pediatricians, can play a critical role in identifying mental health conditions and in preventing suicide,” added Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

According to her, doctors should be trained to identify teens who may be thinking of taking their own lives.

The AAP report was published in the July 2016 Pediatrics (published online June 27)

Source: Health News Line

Kids And Screen Time: A Peek At Upcoming Guidance

Young boy in bedroom using laptop and listening to MP3 player

Adapted from NPR Ed

According to Common Sense Media, tweens log 4 1/2 hours of screen time a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. For teens, it’s even higher: nearly seven hours a day. And that doesn’t include time spent using devices for school or in school.

From babies with iPads to Chromebooks in classrooms, digital devices seem more ubiquitous every year. And one of the hottest issues today in both parenting and education circles is the proper role of electronic media in children’s lives.

There’s research to support both the benefits and dangers of digital media for developing minds. Plenty of questions remain unanswered.

But those of us raising and teaching children can’t afford to wait years for the final evidence to come in. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics plans to update its guidelines on media use later this year. Current recommendations are to avoid all screens for children under 2, and to allow a maximum of two hours per day of high-quality material for older children.

NPR spoke with David Hill, chairman of the AAP Council on Communications and Media and a member of the AAP Children, Adolescents and Media Leadership Working Group, to hear about the upcoming recommendations and to get some advice on how to use screens wisely.

Click here to read the interview