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How to Make Your Child's Hospital Stay Safer, Less Stressful

THURSDAY, July 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- More than 3 million kids are hospitalized in the United States every year. Whether it's for a planned test or surgery or an injury or other emergency, knowing how to be involved in your child's care can help you get through what's often a stressful event.

The single most important thing you can do is be an active member of your child's healt...

Obesity May Boost Odds for MS in Kids

TUESDAY, July 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Obese children may be twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

And once obese children are diagnosed, they tend to have a poorer response to their initial treatment than average-weight kids do.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder caused by a misguided immune system attack on the body's myel...

Tough State Gun Laws Help Keep Kids Safe

MONDAY, July 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Over a five-year period, more than 21,000 Americans aged 21 and younger died from firearm-related injuries. But when states have stricter gun laws, fewer children die from gun violence, new research shows.

For the study, investigators examined data on gun deaths from 2011 to 2015 and compared those statistics with the Brady Campaign to Prevent...

CPR Less Likely for Black Kids in Poor Neighborhoods: Study

THURSDAY, July 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac arrest is rare in children. But a new study finds that if it does happen, kids are less likely to get life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if they're black and living in a poor neighborhood.

In fact, these kids were much less likely to receive CPR from a bystander than white children living in any type of neighborhood, th...

How to Help When Your Child Weighs Too Much

WEDNESDAY, July 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Seventeen percent of American children and teens are obese and a nearly equal number are overweight, and those who are taunted about their weight tend to gain even more in response, according to a study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

What's even worse, excess weight puts youngsters at risk for lifelong health problems. But yo...

CDC Warns of Start to 'Season' for Mysterious Paralyzing Illness in Kids

TUESDAY, July 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The "season" for a polio-like illness that mainly strikes children is about to begin, so public health officials sent out an early warning to doctors on Tuesday.

The largest recorded outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) occurred last year, with the illness debilitating 233 people in 41 states across the nation, according to the U.S. Cente...

Teens Risk Seizures, Coma When They Use 'Synthetic Pot'

MONDAY, July 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who use Spice, K2 or other synthetic marijuana products may risk medical harm, including coma and seizures, researchers report.

A review of emergency department records in the United States also found that those who mixed the manmade "marijuana" with other drugs, such as stimulants, could become dangerously agitated.

"These fi...

Reacting Against a 'Too Clean' World, Some Parents Go Too Far the Other Way

WEDNESDAY, July 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Somewhere between the Mom who obsessively wipes down every knob and toy her child might touch, and the Dad who thinks rolling in the dirt is "good" for kids, there's a healthy medium, British experts say.

"We have to find a way to protect against infectious diseases and harmful microbes, whilst at the same time sustaining exposure to the ess...

California Took on Anti-Vaxxers, and Won

TUESDAY, July 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- California's crackdown on childhood vaccination exemptions cut in half the percentage of kindergartners who didn't have their required immunizations, a new study shows.

The rate of kindergartners without up-to-date vaccinations decreased from around 10% in 2013 to about 5% in 2017, after California implemented a three-pronged strategy...

Anti-Vaccine Movement a 'Man-Made' Health Crisis, Scientists Warn

TUESDAY, July 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The anti-vaccination movement is now a global crisis, an international panel of scientists say, and everyone must do more to combat it.

"We are alarmed that the WHO [World Health Organization] this year declared vaccine hesitancy a top-10 international public health problem. This is a man-made, dangerous and wholly unnecessary crisis," said Dr...

Abuse, Injury More Likely When Child is With Male Caregiver: Study

MONDAY, July 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Young children are far more likely to suffer abuse-related injuries when left in the care of a man, versus a woman. And those injuries are likely to be more severe, a new study finds.

The study included more than 1,600 children under age 4 who were seen for injuries at a pediatric emergency department. Of those, 24% were found to have been ...

White House Immigration Proposal May Harm Health of 1.9 Million Kids

MONDAY, July 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 2 million children could lose out on vital public health care and food assistance due to a proposed Trump administration rule change related to U.S. immigration, a new study argues.

As many as 1.9 million children with specific medical problems are projected to drop out of federal health and nutrition benefit programs if the administrati...

Low Vitamin D at Birth Linked to Kids' High Blood Pressure Risk

MONDAY, July 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Infants and young children with vitamin D deficiency may have a heightened risk for elevated blood pressure later in childhood and in their teens, a new study finds.

Researchers followed 775 children in Boston from birth to age 18. Most were from low-income families in urban neighborhoods.

Compared to children born with normal vitami...

How to Foster Your Child's Imagination

MONDAY, July 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- With school, sports and assorted activities, many kids have little or no free time. That fast-paced lifestyle can actually stifle their development, making them less likely to be self-starters.

It could also limit their imagination, an important ingredient in creativity and problem-solving.

University of Colorado-Boulder researchers ...

Meet 'Huggable,' the Robot Bear Who's Helping Hospitalized Kids

FRIDAY, June 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- He sings, he plays games -- and Huggable the 'social robot' teddy bear could be good medicine for kids in the hospital.

In a study of 50 children, aged 3 to 10 years, the plush bear boosted spirits, eased anxiety and even lowered perceived pain levels, say Boston Children's Hospital researchers.

"It's exciting knowing what types of s...

How Do Kids Learn To Turn Off Troublesome Tics?

FRIDAY, June 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many kids with tics can suppress them, and learning how they do it could lead to ways to help prevent major tic disorders such as Tourette syndrome, researchers say.

At least 20% of elementary school-age children develop tics, such as excessive blinking, throat clearing or sniffing, but they don't become a long-term problem.

It w...

Many Young Men Putting Health at Risk to Bulk Up

TUESDAY, June 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Image is everything for most teens and young adults, and 22% of young men and 5% of young women turn to potentially dangerous methods to "bulk up," a new study says.

These unhealthy methods -- dubbed "disordered eating behaviors" -- include eating to gain weight and using supplements or anabolic steroids to increase muscle or body si...

How Do Birth Defects Affect Childhood Cancer Risk?

THURSDAY, June 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Children with birth defects may be at increased risk for childhood cancer, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 10 million children born in Texas, Arkansas, Michigan and North Carolina between 1992 and 2013.

Compared to children without a birth defect, those with genetic defects were almost 12 times more like...

AHA News: This Couple Did Everything Right, Then Their 3-Year-Old Drowned

MONDAY, June 17, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Nicole and Jonathan Hughes, a teacher and a physician with three young children, were acutely aware of the dangers of swimming pools and lakes. From fenced-off pools to life jackets to constant supervision, they did everything right.

Tragedy struck anyway.

Last June, as the family was about to head to an Alabama be...

Tips for Keeping Your Child Healthy at Camp

MONDAY, June 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- With thousands of kids heading to camp for the summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some tips for keeping them safe and happy.

In a new report, the group recommends that all children have a checkup before leaving for camp.

Parents should also know what health services the camp has and talk with camp officials about an...

Overweight Kids Are at Risk for High Blood Pressure

FRIDAY, June 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight preschoolers have twice the odds of developing high blood pressure by age 6, putting them at risk of heart attack and stroke later in life.

And those odds begin building as early as age 4, a new study reports.

"The myth that excess weight in children has no consequences hampers the prevention and control of this health pro...

Best Gift From Dad for Kids: More Time Together

FRIDAY, June 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Father's Day is a once-a-year celebration of the bond between Dad and his kids, but cementing that bond takes a year-round commitment.

A new study suggests the type of involvement (caregiving vs. play) and the timing (workday vs. weekend) make a difference.

University of Georgia researchers found that dads who take time off work to be w...

A Simple Way to Help Prevent Child Obesity

FRIDAY, June 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Kids who don't drink water take in nearly 100 more calories from sugary drinks every day than those who do, according to a recent Penn State study.

About one-fifth of children fall into the no-water group.

But a multi-year experiment in the New York City public schools involving more than 1 million students found that installing wate...

Type 1 Diabetes Might Affect Young Kids' Brain Development

THURSDAY, June 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at an early age have slowed growth in brain areas linked to mild cognitive deficits, new research suggests.

The study compared MRIs of the brain in kids with type 1 diabetes to age-matched children without the condition. Researchers also saw that areas of slower brain growth were associated with higher...

Foods May Taste Better If You're Sitting

WEDNESDAY, June 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Everybody eats while standing at parties, picnics and food trucks, but science suggests we'd all enjoy our food much more if we sat down.

Your posture -- that is, whether you're sitting or standing -- affects your sense of taste. And researchers at the University of South Florida say sitting makes your food taste better.

They inv...

Can Playing a Sport Foster Better-Adjusted Kids?

TUESDAY, June 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Getting a young child involved in organized sports may have a mental health payoff down the line, according to a new study.

Kids who had participated in athletic programs between ages 6 and 10 had less emotional distress, anxiety and shyness by age 12. They were also less likely to suffer from social withdrawal, researchers found.

"Th...

Concussion Often Hits Elementary School Kids, Too

MONDAY, June 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Concussions aren't only a concern for high school and college athletes -- they're also a leading injury risk for kids as young as age 5 who play sports.

That's the upshot of a new study of injury risk among 1,500 elementary school athletes in one Florida county. For the study, University of South Florida researchers focused on 5- to 11-year-o...

Chickenpox Vaccine Shields Kids From Shingles, Too

MONDAY, June 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Shingles isn't usually considered a kids' disease, but children can get this painful condition. Fortunately, the chickenpox vaccine can also protect them against it, a new study finds.

"The virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. It's pretty uncommon in kids, but we wanted to see what would happen to the rates of shingles among child...

Which Dogs Are More Likely to Bite Your Kids?

THURSDAY, June 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- No parent wants their child to suffer a dog bite, and new research offers some guidance on which dogs are the riskiest around young kids.

The body size and head shape of dogs affect the bite and injury risk they pose, the researchers found.

For the study, the investigators examined 15 years of visits for facial dog bites at two emer...

Kids Still Being Poisoned by Detergent Pods

MONDAY, June 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Liquid detergent packets or "pods" continue to poison kids years after their makers volunteered to make them safer.

Such poisonings fell just 18% between 2015 and 2017, a new study reports. From 2012 to 2017, poison control centers fielded nearly 73,000 calls about poisoning from these pods. That's about one call every 42 minutes, and almos...

Violent Video Games, Unlocked Guns a Dangerous Combo for Kids

FRIDAY, May 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Shoot 'em up video games might be making your children far too comfortable with how they approach and handle real-life firearms, a new study argues.

Kids who played a version of Minecraft featuring guns were much more likely to handle a happened-upon but unloaded firearm than kids whose Minecraft game featured swords or no weapons at all, resea...

'Controlled Burns' Better for Kids' Health Than Wildfires: Study

THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Recent forest fires in the western United States have put a spotlight on a fire-management approach called controlled burning. Health researchers are weighing in, too, saying controlled burns pose less of an air pollution risk to children than wildfires.

Controlled, or prescribed, burns are done to reduce levels of material that can feed wild...

Teasing Kids About Weight Linked to More Weight Gain

THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- New research illustrates a heartbreaking, vicious cycle: Teasing kids about their weight not only bruises their self-esteem, it also appears to trigger more weight gain.

In fact, middle schoolers who reported high levels of weight-related teasing had a 33% higher jump in their body mass index per year compared to peers who weren't teased ...

Team Sports Could Help Traumatized Kids Grow Into Healthy Adults

THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Coming from a broken home or suffering abuse can traumatize a child, but new research suggests team sports might be just the medicine these kids need.

Tracking U.S. health data from nearly 10,000 people, researchers found that teens who experienced childhood trauma and played team sports had lower odds of depression and anxiety as young adul...

How Kids Benefit From Doing Chores

THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Chores. Whether you're an adult or a child, the very word makes any job sound less than fun.

But these everyday tasks make households run, and engaging kids in age-appropriate chores from an early age teaches them invaluable life skills, instills in them a sense of responsibility and boosts self-esteem through accomplishment, according to the...

Kids of Opioid-Using Parents May Be More Likely to Attempt Suicide

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Children of parents who use opioids have more than double the risk of attempted suicide, a new study finds.

Researchers noted that along with a dramatic rise in suicides among young people in the United States in the past 15 years, opioid use among adults has spiked. This study suggests a possible link between the two.

"We theorize...

Where's the Best Place for Your Child's Sports Physical Exam?

TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Student athletes usually need a sports physical. And the best place for that exam is at their primary care doctor's office, according to updated guidelines from leading U.S. medical experts.

"Whenever possible, the sports physical should be performed in the primary care physician's office, the same place where the child receives immunizations...

Cholesterol Levels Improving Among U.S. Kids

TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Despite an epidemic of childhood obesity, the cholesterol levels of American kids have been improving over the past 20 years, a new study shows.

Researchers found that since 1999, levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol among U.S. children and teens have declined, while levels of "good" HDL cholesterol have risen.

That's the good news, resea...

Cleaner Air Linked to Lower Asthma Rates in Kids

TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Air pollution levels have been declining for years, and researchers can now show that cleaner air is linked to fewer kids developing asthma.

The new study looked at nine California communities. The researchers found that reductions in certain pollutants were tied to about a 20% reduction in the odds of children developing asthma, a chroni...

Earlier Bedtimes Help Kids Fight Obesity

TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- With childhood obesity rates high, many studies have investigated lifestyle factors that can make a difference -- which ones increase the risk and which ones reduce it.

Beyond diet, a lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain both in adults and children, so it's important that kids get enough shuteye, even with their -- and your -- busy sc...

TV Not a Good Sleep Aid for Young Kids

MONDAY, May 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many parents think that watching TV helps their young children fall asleep, but new research finds the opposite is true.

Researchers looked at 470 children aged 3 to 5 in Massachusetts and found that those who watched less than one hour of TV per day got 22 more minutes of sleep at night -- nearly 2.5 more hours per week -- than those who watch...

1 in 5 Kids Don't Strap on Helmets Before Biking

MONDAY, May 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many American kids don't don helmets when biking, skateboarding and riding scooters, a troubling new poll finds.

Among more than 1,300 parents surveyed, 18% said their kids never wear helmets while biking, 58% said their kids don't wear helmets while skateboarding, and 61% said their children don't wear helmets when riding scooters...

Suicides Increase Among U.S. Kids, But More in Girls Than Boys

FRIDAY, May 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Suicide rates are on the rise among American children, but the increase is greatest among girls, a new study finds.

"Overall, we found a disproportionate increase in female youth suicide rates compared to males, resulting in a narrowing of the gap between male and female suicide rates," said study author Donna Ruch. She is a postdoctoral resear...

Parents, Here's How to Protect Your Child During Measles Outbreaks

TUESDAY, May 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- As measles outbreaks rage in many parts of the United States, one expert has advice for parents on how to protect their children from the disease.

On Monday, U.S. health officials reported that measles cases have now climbed to 839 in 2019, the highest yearly total in 25 years. Infections have been confirmed in 23 states, with many of the case...

More Than 600,000 Opioid Abusers Raising Kids in U.S.

TUESDAY, May 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- They might be too young to abuse opioids themselves, but America's kids are suffering nonetheless because of their drug-dependent parents.

New research shows more than 600,000 American parents with kids under 18 are addicted to opioids.

That amounts to almost 1% of parents of minors, most of whom aren't getting treated, the study...

Can Medical Marijuana Help Kids With Autism?

FRIDAY, May 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Medical marijuana extracts appear to help children with autism, reducing their disruptive behavior while improving their social responsiveness, a new Israeli clinical trial reports.

Kids treated with either a whole-plant cannabis extract or a pure combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and THC experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms, co...

Fear of Dentist May Start Early for Minority Kids -- With Good Reason

THURSDAY, May 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Not many children like going to the dentist, but minority kids may have some legitimate complaints, researchers suggest.

A new study finds that poor kids, and Hispanic and Asian children, may be more likely to have bad experiences during dental visits than whites and those from wealthier families, a new study finds.

In many cases, th...

E-Cigarettes Used in 5% of U.S. Homes With Kids

MONDAY, May 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- As e-cigarettes gain fans, children may be losing out. New research suggests that vaping parents expose children to secondhand fumes that may be as harmful as tobacco smoke.

Nearly 5% of U.S. adults living with children use e-cigarettes, according to the study. And many of those kids have asthma.

"Although e-cigarette aerosols are...

Many Kids With Chronic Illness Are Still Happy: Study

MONDAY, May 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many children deal with chronic health issues -- but it doesn't mean they can't enjoy life as much as other kids, a new study finds.

Researchers found that among more than 1,200 5- to 9-year-olds, those with some of the most common childhood ills were no less happy with their lives than other kids.

They said the findings highlight an i...

Overdose Attempts Skyrocket Among Teens, Young Adults: Study

WEDNESDAY, May 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Suicide attempts by drug overdoses and other "self-poisonings" more than doubled among U.S. youth in the last decade, a new study reveals.

And attempts by girls and young women more than tripled during that time period, according to the analysis of National Poison Data System information.

Most of the self-poisonings "are drug overd...

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