Smoking Before Fatherhood May Raise Asthma Risk in Kids: Study

Men who smoke before becoming a parent may put their children at increased risk for asthma, a new study suggests.

Smoking Before Fatherhood May Raise Asthma Risk in Kids

Researchers analyzed the smoking habits of more than 13,000 men and women, and then looked at the incidence of asthma in their children. The results showed that asthma was much more common in children whose fathers were smokers before conception. A child’s risk of asthma increased if the father smoked before age 15, and the risk grew the longer the father smoked.

While the finding showed an association between a man’s smoking history and asthma risk in his children, it did not prove cause-and-effect.

There was no association between a mother being a smoker prior to conception and a child’s risk of asthma, according to the study that was to be presented Monday at the European Respiratory Society meeting in Munich, Germany.

“This study is important as it is the first study looking at how a father’s smoking habit pre-conception can affect the respiratory health of his children,” Dr. Cecile Svanes, of the University of Bergen in Norway, said in a European Lung Foundation news release.

“Given these results, we can presume that exposure to any type of air pollution, from occupational exposures to chemical exposures, could also have an effect. It is important for policymakers to focus on interventions targeting young men and warning them of the dangers of smoking and other exposures to their unborn children in the future,” Svanes added.

Animal studies have suggested that a father’s exposures before becoming a parent can harm his offspring, the researchers noted.

Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: health day

TV again tied to poor sleep among kids

In another blow to kids’ pleas to watch more television before bed, a new study suggests increased TV time is linked to less sleep. What’s more, black, Latino and other minority children slept less when they had TV sets in their bedrooms.

“Inadequate sleep in childhood is associated with health outcomes, including attention problems, school performance and an increased risk of obesity,” Elizabeth Cespedes told Reuters Health. Cespedes is the study’s lead author from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

“We wanted to know if television viewing may be associated with shorter sleep duration in children,” she said. For the new report, she and her colleagues used data from an existing study of mothers and children who lived in the Boston area. The study included 1,864 children who were born between 1999 and 2003. Mothers reported how much television their child watched at six months old and then every year until age seven.

Mothers also reported whether children slept with a television in their bedroom every year starting midway through the study.

The average time children slept each day decreased from about 12 hours at six months to about 10 hours at seven years, and total TV viewing increased from about one hour per day to 1.6 hours.

The proportion of children who slept with a TV in their bedroom increased from 17 percent to 23 percent between ages four and seven years, too. Children typically sleep less as they get older, the researchers noted. Still, each extra hour of TV watching added to their lifetime average was tied to a seven-minute decrease in daily sleep.

That association was stronger for boys than girls, according to findings published in Pediatrics. “I think in our case it’s possible that the content of the television watched may be different for boys than girls,” Cespedes said. “The content may be especially disruptive.”

She and her colleagues also found that sleeping with a TV in the bedroom was tied to 31 fewer minutes of sleep per day among racial and ethnic minority children. The effect of a TV in the bedroom was not as strong among white, non-Hispanic children.

Cespedes said it’s hard to know why minority children would be more affected by having a TV in the bedroom. “At all time points, racial and ethnic minority children in our study were sleeping a bit less and watching more television,” she said.

Dr. Heidi Connolly, a sleep specialist who was not involved with the new study, said the research is one of several recent papers that point toward a negative effect of TV on sleep.

“This doesn’t seem like very much, but if you think about it, seven minutes every night by the time you get to the end of the week you’re already a half hour short on sleep,” Connolly, from the University of Rochester Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in New York, said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against children younger than two years old watching any television. It also recommends limiting older children’s screen time to no more than one or two hours per day.

“I think it’s unreasonable to expect that kids aren’t going to watch TV,” Connolly told Reuters Health. “It’s pervasive in our culture. But you do want to limit screen time to less than two hours per day.” Connolly also said people sometimes say their children need the TV on to sleep, but that’s not the case.

She said consistent bedtimes, regular bedtime routines and a TV-free comfortable sleeping environment are good sleep behaviors.

Source: orlando sentinel

10 things you should think about before buying for your baby

So your new born has arrived and you have made a comprehensive shopping list to get all the baby essentials at one go. But before you start to splurge, wait and think. Does your baby need all that is there on offer at the baby store? If you don’t have a definite answer read on to know about things you should never buy for your newborn or at least limit its usage. These products though make life a lot easier but come with some perils.

Here goes your ‘not-to-buy’ list.

Walkers: Did you know that prolong use of walkers can hamper the bone development in the legs and hips of your growing baby? ‘Your baby doesn’t need a walker but instead vitamin D from the sun and calcium from foods to develop strong bones and limbs to start walking soon. Babies start to walk without any support by 13 months of age. From around nine months onwards they can stand holding on to the sofa or the bed and take their first baby steps with some help. Parents often rush to buy a walker at this stage to make the process easy and fast. But putting your child into a walker is going to cause harm than any good as mentioned before,’ cautions Dr Rohit Agarwal, past president of the Indian Association of Pediatrics attached to Chandrajoyti Children’s Hospital, Mumbai. In fact due to the hazards these walkers pose to baby’s natural development many countries in the west like UK, Canada has banned the use of walkers for babies.

Pacifier: ‘They can lead to nipple confusion; hinder development of the oral cavity and teeth alignment in future, lead to colic and a host of other infections,’ says Dr Agarwal. Before you pick up this product just ask yourself why you need it. If you are picking up a pacifier because you want to free yourself from the demands of comfort suckling or soothe baby during teething it isn’t a very bright idea. A pacifier can help your baby soothe the aching gums and suckle for comfort but it has some hidden dangers attached to it with those instant solutions

Feeding bottles: Mommies don’t freak out at this. But believe us feeding bottles do a lot of harm to your baby than any good. Though there are recent studies that suggest that they aren’t as harmful as thought by the experts, but they still aren’t the best substitute of your breast. ‘One reason that you should not give the bottle is that your baby would suckle in large amounts of air along with the feed, which can then lead to colic. Also there is always a chance of infection with bottle feeding in case the bottles aren’t sterilized properly or the feeding nipple is contaminated,’ says Dr Agarwal. If at all you need to use feeding bottles make sure they are BPA-free and limit the usage to one or two feeds while you are out with your baby.

Electronic gadgets: They can cause damage to the cells in the brain. Sure you are not going to buy your newborn a mobile but limit its exposure to your baby. For the same reasons don’t use a tablet or iPad to read poems or short stories, invest in baby books. Limiting your own usage of gadgets at home especially around your baby will help them learn more from the environment sans the interference of harmful rays.

Gripe water: Many parents swear by this but not all doctors recommend using gripe water, even for a baby with colic. ‘Parents should refrain from using gripe water for babies, the ingredients used in the gripe water or also janam gutti, a traditionally used mixture for treating colic can in fact irritate the baby’s innards,’ says Dr Agarwal. If you are still optimistic on using gripe water for your baby talk to your pediatrician before buying one over the counter. Try not to give newborn babies gripe water unless advised by your pediatrician.

Kajal or kohl: Whether applying thick kajal or kohl under your baby’s eyes will ward off evil spirits is not known scientifically but it can cause those delicate orbs great damage. ‘Chemicals in these cosmetic products can cause allergic reactions in the eyes and interfere with your baby’s eye health,’ says Dr Agarwal

Diapers: Wondering how another of the baby essential item made it to this list? Well what experts suggest is that it would be ideal to keep baby off diapers and toilet train naturally. The mess would be bothersome for mothers, but being off diapers will help baby breathe easy and help keep painful diaper rashes at bay. ‘Practically this isn’t possible. So at least keep your baby off diapers while at home,’ says Dr Agarwal.

Stuffed toys: We aren’t telling you to ban them totally. But keep it off your newborn at least. The fur shed by these toys can give rise to breathing problems in babies and can also lead to SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome). Keep stuffed toys away from your toddler while sleeping to avoid any incidence of suffocation by accident.

Expensive fancy clothes: Cotton jhablas are the best bet for your babies. Do not get tees or dresses that need to be worn over the neck of your new born. Even with all your care and attention there can be unavoidable accidents.

Baby toiletries: Babies smell good by birth naturally. Don’t lather baby lotion or be tempted to use too much baby powder. The powder, if inhaled by your baby can reach the lungs and result in breathing troubles or irritation. Similarly lotions even with herbal ingredients can trigger skin rashes or allergies. As a thumb rule stay away from baby products that are high on fragrance, they are bound to be heavy on chemicals and allergens.

source: the health site

Removing playground benches may help parents be more active

Getting adults to be more active on visits to children’s playgrounds could be as simple as removing the temptation to sit, a small new study suggests.

Inspired during his daily lunchtime walks by the sight of parents sitting on playground benches, a U.S. researcher has shown that moving the seating away from the area increased the amount of exercise that parents and caregivers got as they watched their kids.

“For such an easy and inexpensive change, we were able to shift many adults from sitting to standing and that alone promotes health,” said lead author James Roemmich, a supervisory research physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, focused on a single playground in Grand Forks, where parents tended to congregate at eight picnic tables with benches and watch their children. The researchers observed playground activity by adults and children for a week with the benches present, and for another week after they were taken away, then again for a week when the benches were returned.

When the benches were removed, the adults were as much as 23 times more likely to engage in moderate to vigorous activity, the researchers found.

With benches gone, the parents were “walking around following their child, watching them play, swinging or pushing children on swings, walking around and socializing with other parents, walking through the splash pad to cool off, playing with the kids/lifting kids up to monkey bars and other play equipment,” Roemmich told Reuters Health in an email. “A couple times they brought a Frisbee or football and threw them around with the kids.”

Removing the benches did not affect the amount of time adults were willing to let the children stay and play at the park, the researchers point out in their report.

They also found that removing the benches did not make the children more active.

“That’s because children are already very active when they’re at the playground, running from swings to slides, climbing and jumping,” Roemmich said. “Increasing their activity level is more challenging.”

The one thing that did tend to increase children’s activity level, Roemmich said, was if they arrived at the park with a friend or sibling. That “social facilitation,” he said, upped kids’ activity level because much active play typically requires partners.

Research also suggests that children play more if their parents aren’t hovering too close, Roemmich notes. “I’m not advocating leaving kids at the playground unsupervised, just give them some space,” he said.

The 17-acre park where the study was conducted is across the street from Roemmich’s office, so he passed by it daily.

“I saw a terrific playground there, and I noticed that the parents or adult caregivers were sitting while kids were playing,” he said. “I thought, ‘Wow, what a terrific opportunity for parents not to be sitting.'”

Roemmich said the study is an example of a “micro-environmental” change – a small alteration that can sometimes change behavior. Other micro-environmental changes include painting portions of the playground in bright colors and adding playground equipment – both of which have been shown to increase activity levels in children.

James Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, said one of the virtues of this study is that “it could really be done in virtually any park or playground.”

Sallis, who was not connected with the study, is director of Active Living Research, an organization that supports research designed to promote physical activity in children and families.

“There’s a lot of applicability,” Sallis said, noting that removing benches is easy and inexpensive. “People are always looking for something you can do that’s cheap.”

“You could argue that it’s just a little bit of activity,” he said. “But that’s how we got to be an inactive society to begin with, with a million tiny little decisions like that. Who decided you needed benches in every playground?”

When asked if parents objected to the removal of the benches during the study, Roemmich said the parks department got “three or four complaint calls” from parents unhappy with the removal of the benches. “But once it was explained that it was a study, they were okay with it,” he said.

Sallis said he wishes the study had gone a step further and looked at whether removing the benches facilitated social activity among the adults.

“People tend to go to their own separate seat,” he said. “But if you’re standing up and wandering around, you may be more likely to have some social interaction – that could be an additional benefit,” he said.

Sallis also suggested that a next step to encourage adult activity might be to put adult exercise equipment on the periphery of the playgrounds.

Source: Fox news

Shopping cart danger: 66 kids hurt a day, study finds

The combination of kids and shopping carts is never easy, as any parent of a squirmy toddler knows, but a new study confirms it’s also dangerous, with an estimated 66 children a day in the U.S. hurt in falls and spills.

That’s one child injured badly enough every 22 minutes to go to the emergency room, or more than 24,000 children a year, according to research from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

And the problem hasn’t gotten better since voluntary shopping cart safety standards took effect in 2004. In fact, since then, the annual number of concussions tied to shopping carts in children younger than 15 jumped nearly 90 percent, according to a new analysis of data from 1990 to 2011 by Dr. Gary Smith, director of Nationwide’s Center for Injury Research and Policy.

“This is a setup for a major injury,” Smith said. “The major group we are concerned about are children under 5.” His study is published in the January issue of the journal Clinical Pediatrics.

Kids ages newborn to 4 accounted for nearly 85 percent of the injuries. More than 70 percent of the harm was caused by falls out of shopping carts, followed by running into a cart or carts tipping over.

It only takes a moment for a parent to look away for a shopping cart accident to happen, Smith said. A wiggly baby in an infant seat or a toddler reaching for a bright box of cereal can easily cause a fall that results in serious injury. Children’s center of gravity is high, their heads are heavy and they don’t have enough arm strength to break a fall, Smith explained.

Just last week, a 19-year-old worker at an Alaska Home Depot caught a baby in mid-air after she fell out of a shopping cart. Christopher Strickland of Anchorage rescued the girl seconds before her head would have hit the concrete floor.

Part of the problem is that the U.S. lacks stability standards for shopping carts that have been adopted in other countries, Smith said.

Parents should opt for carts that seat kids low to the ground, like those with toy cars or fire engines, he said. Otherwise, they should avoid carts, if possible, or remain vigilant while their children are using them.

Source: nbc news


Paracetamol can slow brain development in kids

A new study has found that paracetamol can interfere with the brain development of children, and can even be dangerous for unborn kids.

Researchers at Uppsala University examined paracetamol, one of the most commonly used drugs for pain and fever in children, by giving small doses of it to ten-day-old mice. They later carried out tests on the behavioural habits of the mice in adulthood.

They found that the mice could be hyperactive in adulthood, could display behavioural disturbances, and could have lower memory capability compared to the mice that weren’t given the dose.

Researchers said that the exposure to and presence of paracetamol during a critical period of brain development can induce long-lasting effects on cognitive function and alter the adult response to paracetamol in mice.

They added that parents should be careful in administering the drug.

Researcher Henrik Viberg told the Upsala Nya Tidning newspaper that this shows that there are reasons to restrict the use of paracetamol at the end of pregnancy and to hold back from giving the medicine to infants.

The study was published in the online Toxicological Sciences journal.

Source: Zee news

Temporary Fever May Occur When Kids Under 2 Get 2 Shots at Once

Young children who receive flu and pneumococcal vaccines at the same time are at increased risk for temporary fever, a new study reports.

While parents should be told about this risk, the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks of fever, the researchers said.

The study included 530 children, aged 6 months to 23 months, who were followed for a week after receiving flu and pneumococcal vaccines either separately or at the same time. The annual flu shot is recommended for healthy people over 6 months of age, and the pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for children younger than 5 years old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly 38 percent of the children who received the vaccines at the same time had a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher on the day of or the day after vaccination, compared with 9.5 percent of those who received the pneumococcal vaccine only and 7.5 percent of those who received the flu vaccine only, the investigators found.

For every 100 children, there were an additional 20 to 23 cases of temperatures of 100.4 F or higher in those who received the vaccines together, compared to those who received only one of the vaccines, the findings showed. There were also 15 additional cases per 100 of temperatures of 102.2 F or higher among children who were given the vaccines at the same time, compared to those who received the flu vaccine alone, but not compared to those who received the pneumococcal vaccine alone.

Rates of fever among the different groups of children did not differ in the two to seven days after vaccination, according to the study published online Jan. 6 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

“While our data suggest that giving children the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines together at the same visit increases the risk of fever, compared with getting only one of the vaccines at the visit, these findings should be viewed in context of the benefit of vaccines to prevent serious illness in young children, as well as the recognized need to increase vaccination rates overall,” study first author Dr. Melissa Stockwell, an assistant professor of pediatrics and population and family health at Columbia University, said in a university news release.

“Parents should be made aware that their child might develop a fever following simultaneous influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations, but that the benefits of these vaccines outweigh the risk of fever and, in most cases, the fever will be brief,” Stockwell said.

“For the small group of children who must avoid fever, these findings provide important information for clinicians and parents,” she added in the news release.

Study co-author Dr. Philip LaRussa, a professor of pediatrics at Columbia and specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, pointed out that “these findings are a first step; the next step is to figure out if there are any measurable biological markers, such as findings in a blood sample, that are associated with increased risk of fever after vaccination.”

Source: web md

Too much exposure to TV can stall preschoolers’ cognitive development

A new study has suggested that preschoolers who have a TV in their bedroom and are exposed to more background TV have a weaker understanding of other people’s beliefs and desires.

Amy Nathanson, Molly Sharp, Fashina Alade, Eric Rasmussen, and Katheryn Christy, all of The Ohio State University, interviewed and tested 107 children and their parents to determine the relationship between preschoolers’ television exposure and their understanding of mental states, such as beliefs, intentions, and feelings, known as theory of mind.

Parents were asked to report how many hours of TV their children were exposed to, including background TV. The children were then given tasks based on theory of mind. These tasks assessed whether the children could acknowledge that others can have different beliefs and desires, that beliefs can be wrong, and that behaviours stem from beliefs.

The researchers found that having a bedroom TV and being exposed to more background TV was related to a weaker understanding of mental states, even after accounting for differences in performance based on age and the socioeconomic status of the parent.

However, preschoolers whose parents talked with them about TV performed better on theory of mind assessments.

“When children achieve a theory of mind, they have reached a very important milestone in their social and cognitive development. Children with more developed theories of mind are better able to participate in social relationships. These children can engage in more sensitive, cooperative interactions with other children and are less likely to resort to aggression as a means of achieving goals,” lead researcher Nathanson said.

The study is published in the Journal of Communication.

Source: Deccan Chronicle