“Children’s Health”

Crib Bumpers Continue to Cause Increase in Infant Deaths

A new study from The Journal of Pediatrics has revealed a jump in infant deaths due to crib bumpers – those pads that are wrapped inside a crib.  They’re marketed as keeping baby safe from hitting the crib slats, or getting an arm or leg caught between them.  The reality?  Researchers attributed 77 infant deaths to them from 2008-2011 — and think the actual number is much higher.

Both the thick/plush and thin (touted as being “safer”) bumpers were associated with infant death and injuries – proving that there is no such thing as a “safe” bumper.

I remember when I was shopping for my own baby – the bumper and sheet sets were so cute – polka dots and stripes! Plus I got a hard sell from the bedding salespeople about the importance of bumpers for my baby’s safety, how the thin ones were so safe, and why they were necessary for the perfect nursery.  I’ll admit it was tempting! But, I knew the dangers and didn’t get them – yet often see them in cribs of my friend’s infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC, and the NIH all recommend against using bumpers in the crib.  Crib bedding manufacturers recommend using them.  Who are you going to believe for your child’s safety?

Study: NJ Scheers, Dean W. Woodard, Bradley T. Thach. Crib Bumpers Continue to Cause Infant Deaths: A Need for a New Preventive Approach. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.10.050

Busy Woman’s Guide: Germs You Don’t Need to Worry About

Things my toddler put in her mouth this week:
– the dog’s soccer ball
– her foot (how does she even DO that)
– a cracker that fell on the kitchen floor (hey, it was cleaned that week…)
All in the name of a strong immune system, I say. Germs are everywhere, and at last check, wrapping a bubble around your child isn’t feasible. The fact is children depend on exposure to some germs for immune system development. But there are bugs like the flu, MRSA and C. difficile which you do want to avoid. So, when can you “5 Second Rule” it and when does your child need a full-scale hose-down (or at least a thorough washing of hands)?
Don’t Worry
While I don’t recommend seeking out exposures simply for the sake of reducing allergies, you needn’t run for the sterilizer in these cases:

Squeezing fitness into your already packed calendar – The Busy Woman’s Guide to Health…and Sanity

It was 6 a.m. and I was talking myself into getting on the treadmill. As much as I wish I were a morning workout person, let’s just say I’d prefer a cappuccino at that hour. But sometimes the only way to fit in a workout is to, well … fit it in. Which is how I found myself pressing the Start button, willing my feet to move and hoping my stomping didn’t wake the baby.

Between working in the ER, at Sharecare and raising a family, I can find an excuse or two to not work out.  I’m sure you can, too. Yet, no matter what my week looks like, I squeeze it in. Why? Exercise benefits me far more than the 30 minutes it takes. My runs energize me, help me think better and be more productive, and give me a great way to release tensions and frustrations (which my family will tell you makes me more tolerable). So instead of being a time sink, it’s really more of an investment in my day.

But research has shown that how and when you exercise matters — both in terms of benefits gained along with your ability to stick with it. Here are the things shown to help you both find the time and make your workout “work” for you.

  • Use exercise to break through a problem. In addition to its effect on mood and brain health, exercise gives an immediate boost to memory, attention and even creativity. Studies have demonstrated increased brainwave activity in the area of executive functioning, increasing people’s ability to find more solutions.
  • Break it into chunks. Too busy for a full workout? Breaking it up through the day works just as well. In trials comparing people who did multiple short workouts to those who did single long ones[i], those in the multiple, shorter group stuck to their workout better and even worked out more total time. Not surprisingly, they had better weight loss as well. Shoot for a total of 20-40 minutes of exercise per day, four to five days a week.
  • Get to the root of your pain. I’ve had many patients who limit their workouts because of pain. Whether it’s your back, knees or feet, work with a physician to get off the sidelines. I’d suggest starting with either a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist or an orthopedic surgeon who may, in turn, refer you to a physical therapist. Women often have knee pain due to weaker muscles cradling the knee –- but a few key exercises can strengthen those muscles and resolve that. Other problems such as tight muscles, back pain and plantar fasciitis can also be addressed.
  • Don’t do it for your thighs. Really. Few of us have enough willpower to drive long-term exercise simply “to look good.” In fact, studies have shown that body-related motivations (such as appearance ) are not associated with sticking to a regimen[ii]. What are? Enjoyment, competence (building a skill) and social interaction. Which is why the “do what you enjoy” dictum is crucial to making fitness stick.
  • Make it social. After a long day of work, I want to catch up with friends and still spend time with my baby. So, I find ways to exercise with them. I’ll push my baby in her stroller or take her for a walk with a friend. Finding a workout buddy or fitness group of other women is also shown to increase adherence – they’ll rally you, push you to work harder and, well, just get you to show up.   Plus, they make it fun.

We all need more time in the day –- and exercise is one of the best ways I know to not only find it, but to make yourself ready to take on the world!

From one busy woman to another,

Dr. Darria