Stories about: AAP

What does the new AAP policy say about screentime for babies?

Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Children’s Hospital Boston’s media expert and director of Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Take a look at his blog archive or follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a revised policy on media for kids two and younger. The recommendations for this age group are much the same as they were in 1999—that it is best for their developing brains and bodies to avoid both screen use (such as placing a toddler in front of a TV or video) and background media (such as leaving the TV on in the same room where a baby is playing)—but there is new scientific evidence to support these recommendations. An infant’s brain triples in volume in the first two years of life and research suggests that brain development during that time can benefit the most from:

We already knew that newborn brains develop in response to whatever is in their environment. New research from the past 12 years suggests that interacting with people, exploring the physical world (like stacking blocks or “reading” board books), and playing in open-ended ways are great for that development. And no matter how “educational” their content, screen media can’t provide that kind of environment.

That said, screen media aren’t toxic for babies—they’re just not really what they need. And other kinds of media, like music and books, can be great for kids of this age group. The updated AAP policy statement also recognizes that there are good screen media options for preschoolers, whose brains have developed to the point where they can learn from electronic screens.

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AAP releases guidelines for young athletes with hypertension

Young Player Waiting to BatEarlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new guidelines concerning young athletes with mildly elevated blood pressure. The guidelines state that youth with high blood pressure are safe to participate in sports, but notes that kids with more serious blood pressure problems need to make training and lifestyle changes before taking part in high-intensity sports or workouts.

“The decision on when an athlete with high blood pressure can safely participate in sports is based on the sport they play and the severity of their blood pressure,” says Bridget Quinn, MD, of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Sports Medicine Program.

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Stricter rules for ATV safety

Lois Lee, MD, MPH
Lois Lee, MD, MPH

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 16 not operate All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), many children still ride them—and some are killed or seriously hurt. Lois Lee, MD, MPH, who specializes in pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston, spoke out yesterday in support of a Massachusetts bill that would raise the legal age requirement to drive an ATV. Current laws mandate that a child as young as 10 can ride an ATV with adult supervision, but the new bill would increase the minimum ATV driving age to 14.

Click here to see Lee discussing ATV safety for kids on Channel 5 News.

Lee’s support of stricter age restrictions on ATV operational laws isn’t new. Click here to read a 2009 Thrive post, where Lee and David Mooney, MD, MPH, talked about the dangers of younger children driving ATVs.

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My thoughts on federal health reform

MandellEarlier this week, we shared on our Thrive blog some comments about the new health reform legislation by Judy Palfrey, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a long-time pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Reactions to the post were both positive and negative when it was shared on our Facebook page, with some people wondering why we would share our “political” views. First let me say that I think it’s important to distinguish views about political candidates and political parties from “policy” views about things that are good or bad for children and the providers who care for them. I also think it’s important to recognize and give voice to the incredible breadth of knowledge and expertise we have here at Children’s. Dr. Palfrey has spent her entire career working on child advocacy issues and is nationally recognized on the subject, and we’re fortunate to be able to share her knowledgeable voice on our blog.

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