Stories about: parenting

Laundry pods pose serious harm to young children, study finds

Laundry packetBright colors and interesting shapes make some cleaners appealing to children. But these products can be deadly if swallowed.

A recent study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, says childhood exposure to the brightly colored packets jumped 17 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Poison Data System for children under age 6 and found 62,254 reported pediatric exposures to dishwasher or laundry detergents, of which over 21,00 (35.4 percent) were laundry detergent packets and approximately 15,000 (24.2 percent) were dishwasher detergent packets.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a laundry pods soft and colorful exterior can easily be mistaken by a child as candy, toys, or a teething product and once mixed with saliva, the packets dissolve quickly and release the highly concentrated toxic liquid. If a child ingests a highly concentrated single-load liquid laundry packets, she will experience excessive vomiting, wheezing, gasping, sleepiness and difficulties breathing.

Dr. Lois Lee,  of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department Injury Prevention Program, shares suggestions for preventing accidental poisoning.

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‘It’s our job to create a safe environment’: Mark Schuster on the bullying of gay youth

Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, chief of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, led a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study on the bullying of gay, lesbian and bisexual young people.

Fourteen-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn, 15-year-old Jadin Bell and 18-year-old Tyler Clementi were all teenagers who committed suicide after being bullied for being gay. There have been many similar stories reported around the country, but until now, little research has existed to help understand the backdrop to tragic outcomes like these.

A new study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine and led by Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, chief of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, who is also the William Berenberg Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, sheds light on the bullying and victimization experiences of sexual minority youth (that is, youth who are lesbian, gay or bisexual) from elementary school to high school. Bullying is generally defined as the intentional and repeated perpetration of aggression over time by a more powerful person against a less powerful person. The study, the only one on this topic to follow a representative sample of young people in the United States over several years, surveyed 4,268 students in Birmingham, Houston and Los Angeles in fifth grade and again in seventh and tenth grades.

Schuster and his colleagues found that girls and boys who were identified in tenth grade as sexual minorities were more likely than their peers to be bullied or victimized as early as fifth grade, and this pattern continued into high school.

We sat down with Dr. Schuster to discuss this important study and its implications.

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The Nurse’s Throw-Up Guide

Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN, is a mother, writer and nurse. She worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for nearly a decade, in both the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Pre-op Clinic.  She is a regular contributor to Thriving.

Meaghan_OKeeffe_1When it comes to common childhood illnesses, few wreak havoc on the entire household like the dreaded stomach bug (or viral gastroenteritis).

No parent likes it. Most siblings can’t take even the slightest thought of it. And often, the last person to get sick is the poor caretaker.

But there’s some hope. With these nurse-approved throw-up tips, you might get through this unscathed. Even if you don’t, it can be less disastrous than you might have initially imagined.

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When your child is the patient: A nurse’s perspective

Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN, is a mother, writer and nurse. She worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for nearly a decade, in both the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Pre-op Clinic.  She is a regular contributor to Thriving.

Meaghan_OKeeffe_1I have always prided my nursing style as being deeply rooted in compassion. I put myself in the shoes of the families that walk through the rotating doors of Boston Children’s Hospital and acted accordingly as their nurse.

But now, after a brief health scare with my oldest child, I better understand that truly identifying with the parents of sick children is much harder than I thought. It’s difficult to really appreciate how crushing it can feel.

I think I get it now. At least a little more than I did before. And while my Sophie’s recent health issue was only a brief scare that eventually turned out fine, the whole experience gave me a better understanding of what “worried sick” truly means.

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