April 25, 2009

DT Freakout Friday: Was, Uh, Yesterday Edition

Sorry I'm late. I hope these alarmist, hyperbolic, or way-too-early-to-say stories from the news will still be able to ruin at least half your parenting weekend:

  • Can't really top the headline: "Pregnant woman hit by car while running from bear" [Co. Spr. Gazette via obscurestore, thanks dt reader ponch]

  • Meanwhile, this headline all but calls me out by name: "SURVEY SHOWS PARENTS STILL USING PEDIATRIC OVER-THE-COUNTER COUGH/COLD MEDICATIONS EVEN WHEN THEY KNOW ABOUT THE POSSIBLE DANGERS" Actually, most of the "dangers" I'm aware of are accidental overdosing from combination medicines. Read the label, people, and ask when the kid last got doped up. The survey was conducted for Bionorica, a maker of "natural remedies," which everyone apparently wants more of. Naturally. [press release via bionorica's pr folks]

  • A third of Canadian teens, meanwhile, prefer an "Herbal Remedy." An in-depth survey of teen potsmokers found that a third were using weed as "an alternative medical treatment" for such maladies as "emotional problems (including depression, anxiety and stress), sleep difficulties, problems with concentration and physical pain." Just file that one away for a decade or so, eh? [sciencedaily; abstract at substanceabusepolicy.com]

  • I'd never heard of this "myth," but the ladies on this British wedding website, swear it's true:
    Flat coke for a dicky tummy? Fact or fiction?

    I have a churning stomach and keep burping up sulphur. Mr G swears by flat coke. Do I need to haul my sorry frame out to the shops for coke, or is there a better way? ...

    The GP at our surgery recommends it for children with the trots.

    Alas, the BBC's GP does not agree. [hitched.co.uk, bbc, via dt freakout correspondent sara]

  • At first I thought the problem with the "German mother abandons kids in Italian cafe" story was that the couple had actually gone out for a smoke and abandoned the kids [6, 4, 8mo] together. I wish. The real problem is that they were flat broke, eating out of garbage cans, the kids' dad is in jail for killing a fourth sibling, and the boyfriend is supposed to be in jail but didn't return from weekend leave, and just now he tried to hang himself. Sheesh. The kids are now with the grandparents. [bbc, foxnews/ap]

  • Whoops, missed this last week: "The New Epigenetics" says that prenatal nutrition causes genetic changes that persist after birth. Says Gerald Weissmann, M.D., the soundbite-happy editor of FASEBJ, "The new 'epigenetics' has taught us how nature is changed by nurture. The jury's in and, yes, expectant moms really are eating for two." [sciencedaily; abstract at faseb.org]

  • OK, not to get nitpicky on a new blogger's facts or anything, BUT. Thursday Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood blogged about how his freshly ordered review of car seat safety regulations found "that half of all children between the ages of zero and seven-years-old, who were killed in motor vehicle crashes, were not in child safety seats at all." Which is horrible, but hopefully completely wrong.

    The latest published NHTSA numbers in the 2006 Traffic SafetyFacts on Children and Crashes Report [pdf] says car seat use in 2006 was 98% for <1yo, 89% for 1-3yo, and 78% for booster age, 4-7yo.

    Though 45% of the 6,983 kids under 14 in fatal crashes in 2006 didn't use restraint, the vast majority of them were kids 8-14yo without seat belts. Only 14% of <1yo fatalities, 16% of 1-3yo, and 25% of 4-7yo's were unrestrained. Too high, sure, but not half.

    Meanwhile, this NHTSA report from 2007 makes it sound like 37% of kids 4-7 grow out of the booster seat requirements before they age out of it, but booster and/or belt use was still 74%. [nhtsa.gov, childtrendsdatabank.org]

3 Comments

Actually, I find it _more_ alarming that so few of the less-than-seven-years-olds who were killed in car crashes were un-restrained.

If only kids who weren't restrained died, then we could try and make sure that everyone who transported children (a) had a car seat and (b) used it.

The stats you provide on car seat use suggests that we're well on our way there. Room for improvement, to be sure, but the basic strategy seems sound.

However, if most kids killed in fatal crashes are in car seats, than that suggests (to me anyway) that current standards for car seats are inadequate.

Funding the research to figure out what the standards should be and then overcoming the baby industrial complex to get them enacted seems like a big job - and leaves me anxious about my children's safety in the meantime.

My mother, who gets terrible migraines, swears by flat Coke as something that a) she can keep down and b) settles her stomach somewhat. My aunt the physician's assistant recommends it also. Also, a lot of drugstores stock "cola syrup" as a nausea medicine. Emetrol is basically the same thing, high fructose corn syrup. I guess there's something about very sweet stuff that helps the stomach.

I know that this is totally wrong but am somewhat relieved to read a horrible child abuse story that involves EU countries, not the US. I know, that is WRONG.

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