Archive for April, 2011

Allergy shots for kids: Is there a better way?

Georgia is beautiful in the spring time – the azaleas, the dogwoods, the God-awful tree pollen!

I suffered through many a lovely spring with terrible allergies that only grew worse with each of my pregnancies. I slogged through the haze with a Zyrtec prescription and finally started allergy shots. I wanted to hit the maintenance level quickly so I took three shots, twice a week for several months.

And while I think the allergy shots did help my symptoms, I am wondering at what point parents are willing to put their kids through all those shots?

A study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology showed children who get allergy shots had lower health care costs over 18 months than otherwise similar children. The cost of their shots, about $600, was more than made up by drug savings and fewer doctors’ visits and hospitalizations, according to an article in USA Today.

So doctors are trying to come up with ways to make immunotherapy more appealing with non-shot …

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Is J. Crew confusing kids about their gender identity?

Boys with long hair? Girls wearing boys’ clothes? Boys wearing nail polish?

Did I just cross a line?

Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor, thinks so and is criticizing J. Crew and parents for confusing their kids about gender identity.

He writes on Fox

“A recent feature in J. Crew’s online catalogue portrays designer Jenna Lyons painting her son Beckett’s toe nails hot pink. The quote accompanying the image reads, “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.” (Click on the link above to see the ad.)

“Yeah, well, it may be fun and games now, Jenna, but at least put some money aside for psychotherapy for the kid—and maybe a little for others who’ll be affected by your “innocent” pleasure.”

“This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity—homogenizing males and females when the outcome of such “psychological …

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Schools vs. parents: Who decides what’s for lunch?

We often talk about helping kids eat better and what role schools and parents should play in that process. Well the internet is buzzing about a public school in Chicago where the principal said kids had to buy the school lunch, assuming it would be healthier than anything they brought from home.

I’ve read multiple versions of the story and here are some facts and quotes that strike me as the most interesting:

1.       The no-sack lunch rule has been in place for six years so why is everyone just noticing it now? Where has the uproar been for six years?

2.       Another Chicago school handles it a different way – they just take junk food away from the kids and return it at the end of the day. (I think this would be an administrative nightmare for the teachers or lunchroom ladies. Can you imagine returning the food: “No! That’s my Twinkie!”)

3.       This point was made in The Chicago Tribune story:

“This is such a fundamental infringement on parental responsibility,” said J. …

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Are your young kids making you fat?

Mothers of young children were heavier and ate more calories, sugary drinks and fatty foods than childless women, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Dads were also less active than their child-free peers.

According to the AP:

“The study involved 1,520 adults aged 25 on average, including parents with children younger than 5 years old. They were among more than 4,000 Minneapolis-area public school students enrolled in a study in their teens; the new study includes those who responded to two follow-up health surveys and answered questions about their diet and activity.”…

“Mothers ate more fatty foods and drank about seven sugary drinks weekly, versus about four among childless women. Moms also had an average of 2,360 calories daily, 368 calories more than women without children. With that many calories, women that age would need to be active to avoid gaining weight, walking more than 3 miles daily at a moderate pace.”

“But mothers got on average a …

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Cobb mothers and fathers: Save your public libraries!

I was outraged to read that the Cobb County Commission chairman has proposed closing 13 of the 17 public libraries in the county to help make up for the budget shortfall! (Read the whole plan here as well as some alternative ideas.)

From the AJC story:

“A plan by Cobb County’s Commission chairman would include a tax increase, close all but four of the county’s libraries and require across the board cuts in county departments to close a $31. 5 million budget gap.”

“Chairman Tim Lee’s plan includes a millage rate increase for the fire fund, which would move the county’s overall rate from 9.6 to 10.1. The .5 mill fire-fund increase would equal an additional $40 in taxes on a $200,000 house.”

“The plan also calls for all county departments to cut their budgets by 3.5 percent, for a $9 million savings. Another $2.6 million would be saved by closing two pools, two senior centers and most of the county’s libraries. Only the four regional branches — Central, Mountain View, South Cobb …

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What’s too sexy for your kids?

The recent outcry and removal of a padded bikini top for young girls from Abercrombie Kids’ line has AJC reporter Nedra Rhone looking at the “Sexy Lolita” fashion phenomenon.

From the story:

“ ‘It has been going on for the last 10 years,’ said Meenakshi Gigi Durham, assistant professor at the University of Iowa and author of ‘The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It’ (Overlook, $24.95). ‘Abercrombie & Fitch has been nailed before for this sort of thing. They have always been pushing the sexualization of little girls, so I can’t say I was surprised.’ ”

“It was surprising to see the product disappear — presumably in response to public pressure.”

“ ‘I do know that in many places, there are conversations about this sort of thing and there is a lot more public discourse about it and that is encouraging that there is some push back,’ Durham said.”

“Public opinion on the topic is pretty clear. Two recent polls on an opinion website, …

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Are cavities contagious?

Sweets are often blamed for kids getting cavities, but the real culprits are actually bacteria — Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus.

Time reports from AOL Health:

“Particularly, the easiest way to catch a cavity is when a mother is feeding a child,” Dr. Irwin Smigel, creator of Supersmile, told AOL Health. The mother will taste the food to check the temperature and then continue feeding the child. “Immediately, that’s how kids get cavities,” he says.”

“Kissing between couples can also cause the spread of harmful bacteria. Smigel has seen many patients, particularly women, who have clean, healthy mouths, discover a cavity or two after entering into a relationship with a man who has cavities, gum disease or hasn’t been to the dentist in several years.”

What? Kissing spreads cavities? Sharing food with your kids spreads cavities? I understand that it’s the bacteria eating away at the tooth but it just really goes against all that you are told – don’t eat sweets, …

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Top 20 Most Unhealthy Food for Kids!

What are the worst foods to give your kids? has put together a photographic list of recrimination so you too can feel crappy about what you feed your kids. (I love that the photos on the food page below this list are of cupcakes and sweet coffee drinks. They need to make up their minds.)

At any rate, I am guilty of some on this list. Click the link to see your feeding sins.

What are you giving them on the list? Can you justify occasionally serving them? Do you have healthier versions for less guilt?

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Are kids getting too much radiation from CT scans?

WebMD has an eye-opening story about more children getting CT scans when they go to the ER, and some doctors are concerned they are being exposed to too much radiation.

From WebMD:

“We found that abdominal CT imaging went from almost never being used in 1995 to being used in 15% to 21% of visits in the last four years of [our] study,” Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati researcher David B. Larson, MD, MBA, says in a news release.

“From 1995 to 2008, Larson and colleagues found a fivefold increase in the percentage of emergency department visits in which children received a CT scan. Nearly 90% of these scans were done in ERs that did not specialize in pediatrics.”

” ‘The performance of CT in children requires special oversight,’ Larson and colleagues note in the June issue of Radiology. ‘It is possible that non-pediatric-focused radiology departments may be less likely to consistently tailor the CT technique to the body size of the pediatric patient.’

Children are far more …

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New HOA rule: No kids playing outside!

A homeowners association in Edgewater, Fla., has created a new rule that “children will not be permitted to run, play tag, or act boisterously on the association property.”

It also states that there is no playing in common areas or parking lots including driveways and no playing in front of the rear of units.

If kids are found to be playing outside on common areas the parents will be fined $100.

From Fox 35 News in Orlando:

“…Rule number four starts by saying children will be under the direct control of adults at all times. “Children will not be allowed to run, play tag, or act boisterously on the association property”. It also states that there is no playing in common areas or parking lots including driveways and no playing in front of the rear of units. …”

“FOX 35 stopped by one of the HOA board members homes asked why they’re trying to stop kids from playing outside. All she would tell us. “It’s been blown out of proportion,” said one board member. Then she told us to leave …

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