I recently changed up the format of reporting I do with my local NBC affiliate station KING5 News. I’m doing more of a weekly roundup of pediatric studies, current events and newsworthy topics that I think are important for parents to know about. For those of you who aren’t able to tune in, I wanted to share a brief synopsis of what I’m covering. Let me know what you think! What topics would you want me to talk about?
1. 13 Reasons Why: Netflix released the second season of “13 Reasons Why” a popular show about a high school student’s suicide. A recent Pediatrics study that found hospitalization rates are increasing for suicide attempts and ideation (doubled between 2008-2015), so this show’s release was particularly untimely. I really appreciate the HealthyChildren.org page with strategies for parents to discuss the show with their teens. These portrayals in media matter: using Google Analytics, data found that there was a significant increase in online searches for suicide, including searches for how to kill oneself, in the days after 13 Reasons Why debuted. This increase reflected as many as 1.5 million more searches than expected, with a 26% spike in searches for the phrase “how to commit suicide.” Reminder that all teens should be screened every year for depression starting at age 12. Here’s a fantastic piece with 13 Things All Pediatricians Should Know About 13 Reasons Why but I think all parents should, too.
2. Kids In Hot Cars: The weather is heating up and so are our cars. Remember it doesn’t have to be record heat outside to be dangerous inside the car. Especially for children. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s does. In just 10 minutes, your car can rise 20 degrees in temperature. So, for example, if it’s 80 degrees outside your car can heat up to 123 degrees in an hour. TIP: Put your cell phone, bag, or purse in the back seat, so you create a habit in checking the back seat when you arrive at your destination.
3. Marijuana Makes 2nd Hand Smoke, too: A recent study out finds that marijuana use is increasing among parents who have children in the home. This means children’s exposures are changing. Cannabis use is nearly 4x more common among cigarette smokers. Because of this, second-hand smoke comes into focus again for big reasons: the combined use of cigarettes & marijuana ups 2nd hand exposure for children. Both are bad for little lungs.
4. Don’t Focus On Only 1 Sport Prior To Age 16: Your child is unlikely to become a pro athlete (harsh reality for us all) and drilling down on one sport likely won’t ever help. Parents have falsely been guided that specialization and mastery in a single sport early in life is GOOD for their children. Indeed focusing early and often on one single sport may discourage, not improve skills, and leads to overuse injuries, burnout, isolation, and less love of lifetime sports play. I encourage parents to keep their children from specializing in a single sport until age 16. Here’s a post, podcast, and infographic that spells it all out with tips on how to take breaks and how to grow a life-long athlete who loves it!
5. Do You Co-Sleep With Your Baby Because You’re Sooooo Tired? A recent NPR article opened up the door for discussing how impractical sleep guidelines for newborns can feel to new parents. Tired moms and dads may be co-sleeping and bed-sharing with their babies and not want to tell pediatricians. This is a complex challenge that involves not just infant risk for SIDS but parental risk with bed-sharing if parents are sleep deprived. I hate thinking parents don’t feel comfortable telling their pediatricians what they’re really doing. Closes down the opportunity to reduce risks in the reality. We don’t do a good job supporting families with paid extended maternity and paternity leave and it’s making us tired! Really tired mamas and papas shouldn’t be bed-sharing if they are sleep deprived, especially if dealing with the demands of full-time work at the same time. Here’s a post, “Is Co-Sleeping Safe?” where I mention a bit more and explain how I’m working with the head of our Sleep Center to think on some ways to help tired families more practically. Please do the poll!
Like this? Too basic? Good? If so, I’ll try to keep it up weekly. Please opine in the comments…