Toddler Health  &  Safety

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    Moms who do not give your kids the flu shot: It's time to stop the madness. According to the CDC, 105 KIDS DIED FROM THE FLU LAST YEAR -- and, of those, 90 PERCENT WERE NOT VACCINATED.

    Sorry for the all caps ... these new statistics upset me to my core.

    If the vision of your non-vaccinated child taking his last breath in the intensive care unit doesn't move you to do the right thing -- get your kid vaccinated! -- I don't know what will.

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    As a parent, I can't imagine anything worse than losing my child. Yet every year there are too many families that face this exact reality. Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child (SUDC) affects 1.5 out of every 100,000 children aged 1 to 5. Unfortunately, SUDC research has zero federal funding and has raised only $1 million in the last ten years

    Can you imagine waking up to find the little person ... who made your heart grow ten sizes, who took your heart out of your chest and put it on your sleeve, and for whom you would do anything to prevent even an ounce of pain ... dead for no apparent reason?

    It's hard to even contemplate, but the parents of these children live with that reality every single day. And they're looking for answers.

    That's where you can help.

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    You've gotta love how cribs keep babies penned in a safe area to sleep -- they're like jail cells but far more comfortable. Then one day, you hear a whump as your toddler pulls a ninja move and climbs out ... and this, mamas, is where the true test of your bedtime skills begins. Because once your toddler graduates to a bed, it's up to you and your wits to keep him there, and in those sleep-deprived 3 a.m. hours, parents often make a whole slew of mistakes that result in less shut-eye for all involved. Here are five errors to avoid, plus some smarter solutions to try instead. You're welcome.

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    The debate over the potential link between autism and vaccines is heating up again. The culprit? Accusations of a good old-fashioned cover-up by the CDC.

    A study published earlier this month in Translational Neurogeneration and funded by the group Focus Autism concluded African-American boys are more at risk for autism if they're given the MMR vaccine before the age of 3. Brian Hooker, the study author, claims researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knew about the link in 2004 -- but chose to keep it under wraps.

    Now, the new study has been taken down by the medical journal, and the original lead researcher at the CDC stands by his findings. What are moms of autistic kids supposed to think?

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    Most of us know of the many health and economic reasons to breastfeed for mothers and babies. We are told regularly that “breast is best,” and although there continues to be debate about the degree that not breastfeeding results in health problems for an individual dyad in a Western society, we acknowledge that whether one does it or not, breastfeeding is definitely a healthy choice. However, most mothers who continue to breastfeed beyond a year, especially those who continue to nurse at night, face backlash from an unexpected source: the dentist.

    Many families face a dentist who is adamant that they give up breastfeeding or give up night feeds due to the higher risk of cavities despite the other benefits to the families that breastfeeding may confer. What are parents to do? Give up breastfeeding or accept the risk? Or can families have their breast milk and drink it too?

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    Summer may be synonymous with pool parties and backyard bashes, but a heartbreaking story out of Columbus, Ohio today reminds us that it's not all fun in the sun. While attending an outdoor birthday party this weekend, a 4-year-old girl drowned in a pool while the guests were singing "Happy Birthday."

    While everyone focused their attention on the birthday festivities, police say Sinaia Moore fell into the backyard in-ground pool, where she was later found by her family.

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    Every year, thousands of kids under the age of 5 are hospitalized for burn injuries. Some of these incidents permanently disfigure children or even kill them. A common source of these types of accidents? The stove. "Parents should always use back burners on the stove when possible," says Kimberlee Mitchell, child safety expert and founder of Boo Boo Busters. "Additionally, they should install stove knob covers, so children can't turn on the stove."

    But stoves are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to childproofing the kitchen. Here's how to make the heart of the house as safe as possible for young children.

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    Scary fact alert: Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among kids ages 1 to 4 years old, and it takes only a few inches of water. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, bathtubs are the second most common place young children drown (the first is pools).

    The safest thing you can do? "Never leave your baby alone in the bathroom, not even for a second," says Kimberlee Mitchell, Child Safety Expert & Founder of Boo Boo Busters, Inc. "Lock all bathrooms off -- with a door knob lock  -- to keep children from getting in there alone." (If you have an older home with smaller door knobs that don't typically fit door knob locks, a hook and eye lock on the outside is okay too.)

    Obviously, there will be times when your child is in the bathroom with you (those days of showering or peeing in private are over, mom), so make sure you've child-proofed from floor to ceiling. Here's how.

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    Child safety gates are pretty high on parents' "childproofing" to-do lists. They're super handy in keeping the children off the stairs, out of rooms, and away from dangerous objects. But they do have their dangers. Boy do they have dangers! A new study released in this month's issue of Academic Pediatrics shows that baby-gate related injuries have quadrupled since 1990.

    According to researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, when used incorrectly, the gates can lead to some very serious injuries.

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    More and more parents in the United States are choosing not to vaccinate their children for religious, philosophical, health and other reasons. Anti-vaxxers, as they're called, run the gamut across the political and geographical spectrum. Overall, more than 10 percent of parents are either delaying when their children are vaccinated or not getting the shots at all.

    The decision of whether or not to vaccinate your child is a personal one, but make it a well-informed one. Ask questions. Do your research. Talk to your pediatrician. Your decision affects not only your child, but the people around them (at school, at church, on the playground, at the grocery store, and so on). Understanding the risks of not vaccinating your child is an important part of the decision-making process.

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