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Posts for: October, 2019

What Every Parent Needs To Know About The Dangers Of Vaping & E-Cigarettes 

 

Over the past couple years, E-cigarettes have been exploding in popularity among both youth and adults. But E-cigarettes and vaping are creating a growing concern about teen health and safety among parents and healthcare professionals. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports actions to prevent youth and children from using or being exposed to vaping and E-cigarettes. We’ve gathered the facts parents need to know about this dangerous trend so you can discuss these risks with your teens. 

Vaping Is Not A Healthy Alternative To Smoking 

 

Although E-cigarettes have been promoted as being a safer alternative than cigarettes, it is important to know that vaping devices are still unhealthy and dangerous. Traditional cigarettes contain up to 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. While it is possible that E-cigarettes expose you to fewer toxic chemicals, we do not yet know how many toxic chemicals the vapor is made up of. We do know that the solution used in E-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals like antifreeze, diethylene glycol, and cancer causing carcinogens. Additionally, E-cigarettes have not been on the market long enough for the long-term effects to be studied effectively. 

Vaping Is Causing A New Generation To Become Addicted To Nicotine 

 

Another major concern surrounding vaping devices is that it is leading to a new generation of youth becoming addicted to nicotine. Most E-cigarettes still contain nicotine – a highly addictive, toxic substance that causes the craving to smoke and withdrawal symptoms when those cravings are ignored. Nicotine is known to raise blood pressure, cause spikes in adrenaline, and increase heart rates – all of which can lead to a heart attack. Nicotine is also harmful to the development of the brain – which isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. Additionally, E-cigarette users are also often exposed to higher doses of nicotine than they would be with a traditional cigarette because the cartridges can be bought in extra-strength doses and the voltage of the vaping device can be increased. Finally, there is also a major concern that vaping acts as a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes and using illicit drugs.

Many Teens Hide Vaping 

 

Vaping devices are known by many names, including: E-cigarettes, E-cigars, vape pens, personal vaporizers, E-hookah, and pod systems. Additionally, teens often use code language when speaking about vaping products. For example, teens may say they are “Juuling” – a term that derives from the brand name of a vaping product. Vaping devices may also be easy for teens to hide as they don’t always look like a cigarette. Vaping devices can look like a pen, a flash drive, a key fob, an inhaler, or a flashlight. It can also be difficult for parents to detect when their children have been using vaping products because they do not leave behind a smell like traditional cigarettes do. 

Discuss Vaping Concerns With Your Child’s Pediatrician 

 

Talk to your child’s pediatrician about how to discuss the risks and dangers of vaping with your teen. If you are concerned your teen is already vaping, discuss your concerns with their pediatrician. Your child’s pediatrician can help you explain the dangers to your child and provide resources to help prevent and stop the use of vaping products. Contact Children’s Medical Center to schedule your child’s next annual wellness visit today. 

 

For many families Halloween signals the start of the holiday season. But many parents worry about keeping their children safe while also allowing them to have fun trick or treating. Knowing a few simple safety tips can help you ensure this Halloween is full of spooky good memories and not frightening trips to the emergency room. To help keep your family safe while trick or treating, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following

 

Costume Safety 

Halloween safety begins long before the night of. You should already be thinking about your child’s safety when you are choosing Halloween costumes. Some costumes add safety risks that can be avoided. Here are a few costume safety tips:  

  • Make sure all costumes, wigs, and accessories are fire-resistant. 
  • Apply reflective tape to your child’s costumes and treat bags. 
  • Try to make costumes bright by choosing light colors and incorporating glow sticks into costumes.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses. Doing so without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal.
  • If using Halloween makeup, ensure makeup is non-toxic and test on a small area before fully applying. 
  • Choose costumes that are short enough to prevent tripping hazards. Children should wear their normal tennis shoes and be comfortable walking in their costumes.
  • Avoid face masks as they can obstruct the senses. Face masks can obstruct a child’s vision or hearing. They can also block the nose or mouth and obstruct their breathing. 

 

Using Street Smarts 

Here’s a scary fact: children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year. Here are a few safety tips for the street: 

  • Avoid running. 
  • Stick to the sidewalk. 
  • Everyone, both adults and children, should carry a flashlight. 
  • Avoid distractions. Using a cell phone while walking creates a distraction and can be dangerous. 
  • Children under the age of 12 should always be accompanied by a responsible adult. It is best to stay in groups for greater visibility and safety. 
  • If older children are going out alone, make sure they stay with a large group of friends, know an approved route, and check-in frequently. 
  • Cross the street safely. Always use street corners and crosswalks. Never cross in-between parked cars. If there is a car coming, make eye contact with the driver before crossing. 

 

Skip The Tricks, Go Straight For Treats 

It might be called trick or treating, but you want to ensure your children make it through the night without encountering any tricks that put their safety at risk. Here are few safety tips to keep in mind when it comes to treats: 

  • Children should never enter someone’s home or car. 
  • Only go to homes that have their porch light on. Try to stick to homes you know.
  • Eat dinner before going trick or treating so children aren’t tempted to eat their candy before they get home.  
  • Encourage children to wait until they get home and you inspect their treats before eating any. A responsible adult should always check for any signs of tampering and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, home-made, or other suspicious items. 
  • Keep food allergies in mind when accepting and inspecting treats. Children should be encouraged to take non-food treats when they are available. 

 

Discuss Safety Concerns With Your Child’s Pediatrician 

If you still have any additional concerns about your child’s safety this Halloween, discuss them with your child’s pediatrician. The board-certified pediatricians at Children’s Medical Center are happy to address any concerns parents have about protecting their children all year long. We can help you come up with a safety plan that will meet your child’s unique needs.

 

Whether we were the one being bullied, the one who was the bully, or the one who stood by and didn’t do anything when someone else was being bullied – almost all of us have some story of bullying we can look back on and remember from our childhood. It’s common for the victim being bullied to be a child who is physically smaller or weaker, shy, and generally feels helpless against the situation. But there are things we can do as parents to help our children prevent and address bullying. 

 

Facts About Bullying 

Before we can address bullying, we need to know the facts: 

  • More than 1 in 4 children in America says they have experienced being bullied. 
  • Of those who have experienced being bullied, only about 20-30% have reported it to an adult. 
  • Both girls and boys can be the victim of bullying and can be bullies.
  • Bullying can take the form of physical violence, verbal threatening or teasing, and social isolation or exclusion. 

 

Talk To Your Child About Bullying 

The first step in helping your child prevent and address bullying is to talk about it with them. Even if you don’t think your child is involved with bullying as a victim, bully, or bystander, talking about bullying with them can help prepare them to recognize and address situations that occur later on. Here are a few questions you can ask your child that can alert you to signs of bullying: 

  • “Who did you sit with at lunch today?” 
  • “Who did you play with on the playground?” 
  • “What do you think of the other kids at school?” 
  • “Are there any kids who get picked on or bullied?” 

 

Teach Your Child How To Respond To Bullies 

Your child’s first defense to preventing and addressing bullying is knowing how to respond to the bully. If the bully doesn’t get the response they desire from their actions, they will be less likely to continue the behavior. Teach your child to first remain calm and walk away. When ignoring the bully doesn’t work, teach your child how to stand tall, hold their head high, remain calm, look the bully directly in the eye, and firmly respond to the bully by saying something like “I don’t like what you are doing” or “Do NOT treat me like that.” It is important to let your child practice these responses frequently so if they are faced with a bullying situation, they are able to respond naturally. 

 

Teach Your Child When To Tell An Adult About Bullies 

Sometimes standing up to a bully isn’t enough to stop the behavior. You need to teach your child that bullying is never ok, and they should always feel comfortable bringing it to the attention of a trusted adult. Let your child know they can always come to you if there is a problem with a bully and encourage them to speak up if they are a witness to bullying. They should also have at least one adult identified at school that they feel comfortable going to such as a teacher, counselor, or administrator. Any time your child notifies you of a situation involving bullying, address it with the school in writing.

 

Your Child’s Pediatrician Can Help You Combat Bullying 

Pediatricians are responsible for protecting your child’s whole health. Pediatricians are trained to screen for and recognize signs of bullying in children. Your child’s pediatrician can help ensure your child doesn’t need additional mental health support such as a therapist and can give you a referral if they do. Pediatricians are also sometimes able to identify bullying that parents miss. Contact Children’s Medical Center to schedule your child’s annual wellness visit with one of our board-certified pediatricians today!