AHA: Defibrillators Can Help Kids Survive Cardiac Arrest, Too

FRIDAY, Nov. 9, 2018 (American Heart Association) — Sudden cardiac arrest — when the heart stops beating — is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. To help save lives, automated external defibrillators, which shock the heart back into a regular beat, have been placed in many public places.

Now, these portable AED devices may improve the chance of survival among children and teens, according to a new study presented Sunday at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago.

The researchers analyzed statistics in a national database on 971 cardiac arrests in children ages 18 and under that occurred outside a hospital between January 2013 and December 2017. An AED was used 10.3 percent of the time, but rates varied across age groups. For infants, defibrillators were used to help 2.3 percent. But AED use became more common as children got older: 8.3 percent among kids ages 2 to 5; 12.4 percent among those 6 to 11; and 18.2 percent among 12- to 18-year-olds.

Older kids may be more likely to have a bystander use a defibrillator because they may be more likely to go into cardiac arrest in a place, such as a school, that has an AED, said the study’s lead researcher Dr. Heather Griffis, director of the Healthcare Analytics Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Bystanders might also be afraid to use a defibrillator on infants and preschool-age children out of fear of injuring them, said the study’s senior researcher Dr. Joe Rossano, a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“If a child has an arrest, it’s a scary thing,” Rossano said. “People don’t want to do something wrong. But anything you do is going to be helpful.”

Children treated with an AED by a bystander had a survival rate of 29.1 percent, compared to 23.7 percent for children who were not. The rates varied by age and race, with children who were 12 to 18 years old or white having better outcomes than younger children or those who were black or Hispanic. Griffis said similar racial differences also are seen in adults.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re still seeing these disparities across race, ethnicity and neighborhoods,” Griffis said. “But this is a great opportunity for education and to increase availability” of AEDs in neighborhoods that don’t yet have them.

More than 350,000 Americans — including about 7,000 children — experience cardiac arrests outside of the hospital each year. AEDs come with step-by-step instructions that make it possible for people without specialized training to use them.

Dr. Alson Inaba directs pediatric advanced life support classes at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu and said the study added important new information on the use of AEDs in children.

Inaba, who was not involved in the research, said that bystanders should start CPR on a cardiac arrest victim of any age after calling 911.

“The bottom line is that starting CPR immediately is your first priority,” Inaba said. “Don’t be afraid.”

Then, send someone to get a defibrillator. “When you combine CPR with an AED, the survival rates increase,” he said.

Indeed, a separate study published earlier this year in the AHA journal Circulation found that survival rates doubled when bystanders used a defibrillator to help an adult who had experienced cardiac arrest before emergency responders arrived.

“Defibrillators work,” Rossano said. “It’s something anybody can do, and the more that are available, the more opportunities there are to save lives.”

Posted: November 2018

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Study finds alcohol advertising rules may fail to protect Australian kids

Regulations introduced to restrict the placement of alcohol advertising are unlikely to reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing in Australia, new research led by Curtin University has found.

The research, published in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal, critically reviewed the placement rules added to the industry-run Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Scheme in November 2017 and evaluated their ability to effectively regulate the placement of alcohol marketing in Australia.

Co-author Ms Julia Stafford, from the Alcohol Programs Team at the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA (PHAIWA) based at Curtin University, said the placement rules do not meet the criteria for effective self-regulation and do not appear to have introduced any additional safeguards for young people.

“The placement rules were introduced to put some restrictions on where alcohol companies could market their products. The rules include requiring advertisers meet other industry codes that apply to the placement of alcohol advertising, market their products to audiences that are at least 75 per cent adults, and ensure alcohol advertising is not placed within programs aimed at minors,” Ms Stafford said.

“We found that they are unlikely to reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing as they are very narrow in scope, exclude key forms of promotion, and place minimal restrictions on marketers. All but one of the 24 placement-related determinations published in the first six months of the placement rules were either dismissed or found to be ‘no fault’ breaches.

“The rules allow alcohol advertising to be broadcast during televised sport on weekends and public holidays, and do little to limit outdoor advertising. Alcohol ads placed in shopping centres, at sports stadiums, on public transport vehicles, and at bus stops or train stations outside of a 150m radius of a school are all consistent with the placement rules.”

First author Ms Hannah Pierce, also from the Alcohol Programs Team at PHAIWA, said the review also identified substantial flaws in the regulatory processes of the placement rules.

“The alcohol and advertising industries were heavily involved in the development of the rules, but there was no evidence of consultation with other stakeholders. There are also no penalties for marketers who breach the rules,” Ms Pierce said.

“Our findings support existing evidence that industry-managed systems fail to effectively regulate alcohol marketing and government intervention is needed if young people’s wellbeing is to be a priority.

“It has now been 12 months since the placement rules were introduced and our research shows that a comprehensive, independent review of the ABAC Scheme is needed.”

The research was also co-authored by researchers from the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA and the School of Psychology at Curtin University and Cancer Council WA.

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This 1 Hack Completely Saves My Sanity While Traveling With My Kids During the Holidays

Holiday travel is always crazy, but it’s especially chaotic and stressful when you have kids. The traffic, the crowded airports, the rest-stops, the long lines, and did I mention the traffic? No matter how you get around during the holiday season, it’s usually never entirely pleasant. When I was a kid, it was all about long road trips to visit family. And since I never enjoyed being in the car for long stretches of time, my mom came up with a genius idea to keep me entertained; every hour — if my brothers and I behaved — we would each get one mystery bag with some little activity inside that would hopefully keep us occupied until the next bag, and the next, until finally, we’d arrive at our destination. While I give my mom full credit on this one, I’m far too lazy to make individual bags for each of my kids for every hour we’re in the car, so I came up with my own hack to keep them happy: road trip baskets.

My family and I mostly travel up and down the East Coast by car, but this one big travel hack could work for planes and trains as well. It keeps my kids occupied, keeps me from hearing the dreaded “Are we there yet?” question a thousand times, and ultimately keeps me sane on the usually dangerous roads full of other holiday travelers. Each child gets one basket, and inside are crafts, books, activities, and snacks to keep them busy for hours. I put them in an easy-to-reach spot and my kids can take out whatever they want whenever they want without having to ask me. The first time I used these baskets on a six-hour road trip with two kids, it was the easiest trip we’d ever taken. Since that trip, I’ve made countless baskets and am currently working on a few for the upcoming holidays.

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How to Teach Your Kids That Voting Matters — but So Does Compassion

Look, we know. We really know. It’s 2018, and you don’t know what to tell your kids about the actual state of the union anymore. Your Facebook feed is clogged with politics and nasty word wars about immigration and border control. You’re dreading Thanksgiving dinner because it’s pretty much a given Uncle Frank will get drunk and talk about arming preschool teachers and rabbis while your sister and her wife rage-cry into the mashed potatoes. Some mornings, you can’t remember why you thought it was a good idea to bring kids into this world. 

And that’s exactly why your vote matters today more than ever. Take your kids. Slap on an "I Voted" sticker. Just keep caring, OK? Caring is a revolutionary act when you’re slipping into a CNN or Fox News coma and all seems hopeless.

And no matter what your politics are, no matter what your religion is, you can choose to care — actively. Even if you’re feeling like your vote doesn’t count for much, your compassion still does. And there are many ways to help create a world for our children that is kinder and far better than this one. But it takes action — and one simple rule most of us were taught as children: Treat others as you would want to be treated. 

So on this voting day, put yourselves in the shoes of parents who are fleeing appalling, dangerous conditions in Central America. Whatever you feel about immigration, remember the caravan you’ve heard about is made up of families just like you and yours. Like you, these are parents who love their children more than anything. They are trekking hundreds and thousands of miles to try to keep their children safe and out of harm’s way. They are trying to escape poverty, violence, hunger and homelessness and find a better life for their families. 

Will the U.S. grant them asylum? It seems doubtful. But you can help these families. You can choose nonpartisan kindness today. Because kindness isn’t red or blue. 

Make compassion your platform. 

Here’s how:

Educate yourself & your kids 

Read about the caravan and reject xenophobia and fearmongering. Our country is better than that. Our kids deserve better than that.

Donate together 

Here are just a few nonprofit humanitarian organizations offering assistance and care on the frontlines. 

  • Save the Children’s Border Crisis Children’s Relief Fund: This fund provides emergency services and legal aid and works to reunite families.
  • UNICEFThis organization is working with the government of our neighbor Mexico to provide safe drinking and bathing water, hygiene essentials, sunscreen, access to support and much-needed training to authorities on child welfare, protection and nutrition.
  • Amnesty International Americas: Amnesty International is working overtime to document and monitor the situations and devastating conditions the families in the caravan are fighting against.
  • Pueblo Sin Fronteras: This immigrant rights group organized the caravan.

Help your kids call or email your congressperson or senator

If you’re not sure where to start, go to the U.S. House of Representatives website and enter your zip code. Looking for a senator? Just choose your state here. These sites will provide your elected officials’ names and contact information. 

Another route: Identify your reps at Democracy.io, and email with ease.

Voting matters. But compassion might matter even more these days. Make kindness your platform, and you’ll raise kids who care too. 

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Smartphones, Summer Birth Could Raise Kids’ Odds for Nearsightedness

TUESDAY, Nov. 6, 2018 — Kids with summer birthdays, especially those who spend long hours playing on smartphones and tablets, might be at greater risk for vision problems, a new study suggests.

Nearsightedness, also called myopia, is on the rise worldwide. It’s what eye doctors call a refractive error, meaning the eyes can’t focus light properly. The result: Close objects look clear; distant ones, fuzzy.

It’s most often caused by continuously focusing on close objects while the eyes are still developing — as in reading, for example. But the growing use of electronic devices seems to be making the problem worse, researchers report.

“As ever, everything should be done in moderation,” said lead researcher Dr. Christopher Hammond, chairman of ophthalmology at King’s College London in England. He urged parents to limit kids’ use of electronic devices.

That appears to be especially important for kids born in the summer, the study suggests. That’s because they start formal schooling at a younger age than kids born in winter so they are exposed to more reading sooner. And that increases myopia risk, the researchers said.

The researchers added that, while their study doesn’t prove smartphones, tablets and computer games cause nearsightedness, those devices may lead kids to spend less time outdoors. And less time outdoors also appears to increase myopia risk.

“We know that time outdoors is protective, and so kids should spend probably up to two hours a day outside,” Hammond said.

Myopia can be corrected with glasses, laser surgery or contact lenses. Later in life, however, sufferers are more likely to develop sight-robbing conditions such as cataracts or glaucoma, the researchers said.

Experts predict that by 2050, nearly 5 billion people worldwide will have myopia. That compares to about 2 billion in 2010.

Genes have been linked to a person’s risk for the condition, but even if it has a genetic component, that doesn’t account for the dramatic increase, Hammond said.

For the study, his team collected data on nearly 2,000 twins born in the United Kingdom between 1994 and 1996.

The researchers reviewed results of eye tests, as well as social, economic, educational and behavioral data on the twins between the ages of 2 and 16. They also had questionnaires completed by parents and teachers.

On average, children started wearing glasses for myopia at age 11. About 5 percent had amblyopia (“lazy eye”), and about 4.5 percent had a squint. Overall, 26 percent of the twins were nearsighted, the study found.

Kids who had college-educated mothers, those who were born in summer months and those who spent more time using electronic devices had a higher likelihood of nearsightedness, the study found.

The findings were published online Nov. 6 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Tien Wong, medical director of the Singapore National Eye Center, is co-author of an editorial that accompanied the study.

“Evidence supports a link between device screen time and myopia, which includes time on phones and tablets,” he said.

This is concerning in view of how many young kids have access to these devices, Wong said. Evidence shows 2-year-olds spend up to two hours a day using digital devices.

“Managing your child’s device screen time and increasing their outdoor play can help reduce the risk of developing myopia,” Wong said. “We must better monitor our children’s device activities, even during their preschool years.”

Surprisingly, the researchers said children born as a result of fertility treatment had a 25 percent to 30 percent lower risk for myopia. They said that may be because many are born premature and have developmental delays, which could account for shorter eye length and less myopia.

More information

To learn more about myopia, visit the U.S. National Eye Institute.

Posted: November 2018

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The Pros & Cons of Co-sleeping With Older Kids

It makes sense to sleep with your child within their first few years of life. Your kids might be scared of the dark — which is a pretty common fear — and they could also be looking for attachment and safety. Yet at a certain point, your kids need to grow up and learn to sleep on their own.

“Children typically are taught to sleep in their own beds between ages 5 and 8 years old. Some parents need education on how to successfully do that, which is why they never teach their children or teach them too late,” licensed marriage and family therapist Katie Ziskind tells SheKnows. “I recommend parents start their child around age 5 in the child’s bed to teach their child that their bed is safe,” she says.

Not only will this improve your own quality of sleep (and probably your sex life!), but also, it’ll create a sense of independence for your child and help them learn to feel comfortable on their own.

If you’re struggling to say no — which can be hard when your kids are so darn cute — consider these pros and cons of letting older kids share your bed.

Pro: It fosters closeness

Co-sleeping does provide that bonding experience between parent and child — on both ends. Kids feel safe throughout the night. If a kid starts in the parents’ bed, the child will consider that bed to be theirs all the time. So, if a nightmare happens, the child can spend the whole night in the parent’s bed and feel protected, Ziskind explains.

If the kids start in their own beds but have a nightmare in the middle of the night, letting them join you could be the only way to mitigate their anxiety. “Kids need comfort. If your child wakes up crying, absolutely offer comfort, soothing and support by bringing them from their own room into your bedroom and into your bed for some cuddles,” she says.

Likewise, sometimes parents need some extra comfort. “For instance, if a parent has recently lost their spouse, they may want their child or teen to sleep with them for their own comfort, but this may not be in the best interest of the child,” says Ziskind.

Con: It also fosters dependence

It’s OK for your kids to feel dependent on you when they’re young; however, once they reach a certain age, it’s time to learn to take care of themselves. This isn’t to say they should be thrown on a subway or start walking home alone — they’re still young! — but learning how to clean up after themselves and withstand a night of darkness and potential terrors would be beneficial for both parents and child.

“Children need to learn independence and that they can be OK on their own and in the dark,” Ziskind says.

Con: It wreaks havoc on your sex life

Womp-womp. If you’re wondering why sexy-time has diminished, you can look to your co-sleeping habits with your children. “When kids sleep with parents, the parents lose out on intimate time. Children can weave their way into a marriage and cause parents to miss out on important alone time as adults,” she says.

Parents need to have firm boundaries about their bed being theirs and theirs alone. “If parents are struggling and are in conflict in their marriage, I often see one parent be passive-aggressive by bringing a child into the parent’s bed to block intimacy,” Ziskind adds. This will only exacerbate the sexual drought and cause tension in the relationship.

Con: It causes you to skimp on sleep

Co-sleeping can also mess with your shut-eye and prevent you from getting those 7 to 8 hours of sleep you need each night to wake up feeling restored. (And as busy parents, you really need those!)

Kids can be noisy, take up room on the bed to limit space for parents and be needy when scared. These distractions can make bedtime hard for parents, explains Ziskind. What’s more, since you’re missing out on regular sex, you’re not able to active feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin, the love hormone, to help you snooze faster and soundly throughout the night.

The takeaway? If your kid is really struggling at a young age, it’s OK to bend the rules. However, once kids turn 5, it’s smart to create some rules, educating kids on sleeping alone and prioritizing alone time for your and your S.O.

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