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Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Alert

On Sunday, April 26, 2009 US health officials declared swine flu a public health emergency.  As of Sunday, 20 cases had been confirmed in the US and as of Monday, April 27, the number of cases reported in the US had doubled to 40. Only 26 cases of swine flu in Mexico have been confirmed, though over 1300 people are in hospitals with flu symptoms, and over 100 have died.

So far, cases in the US have been relatively mild, and no one has died. But children, and their parents, should keep their eyes open for signs of swine flu virus, and try not to contract it.
Look for these symptoms in children:
  • Fever with a rash
  • Dehydration
  • Fast breathing 
  • Bluish skin coloration
  • Slow to wake or sluggish interaction
  • Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return and cough worsens
  • Severe irritability
Look for these symptoms in adults: 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting 
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or stomach
To prevent the spread of swine flu, or any other flu, the US Center for Disease Control recommends:  
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth--places where germs enter your body
  • Try to avoid contact with sick people
  • If you are sick, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Booster Seat Booster Lesson

Our patients often ask, what's the Michigan law on booster seats?


As of July 1, 2008, that law changed.  Under the old law, all children under 4 were required to ride in an infant or child car seat.  Under the new law, all children who are under 8, or less than 4' 9" tall, have to be "properly" secured.  So the new rules, as set up by the National Highway Traffic Administration, together with the State of Michigan, say this:


  • Infants under 1 year old, and up to around 20 pounds, must use rear-facing car seats, placed in the car's back seat.
  • Children from ages 1-4, weighing roughly 20-40 pounds, must use front-facing car seats, also placed in the car's back seat.
  • Children from ages 4-8, who are less than 4' 9" tall, must use either booster seats—no-back or high-back—or child safety seats with harness straps, again in the car's back seat.  No-back boosters are recommended for seats with head rests, and high-back boosters for seats without head rests; both must be secured with BOTH lap and shoulder belts.
  • Children 8-12 must use safety belts, and should ride in the back seat.


All safety systems must be used in accordance with both the seat manufacturer's and car manufacturer's standards.  Noncompliant drivers can be fined $25, for a civil infraction. 


Booster Seat Law (pdf document)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on child passenger safety


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Baby Bottles and Bisphenol A

Even heard of bisphenol A?

It's an organic compound used to harden clear plastics in, among other things, thermoses, food containers, sippy cups and baby bottles.  As of today, Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass), and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced legislation to ban BPA from all food and beverage containers.  BPA has been used for half a century, in what were considered safe doses; but recent studies have linked it with early onset of puberty, obesity, breast cancer, brain disorders, heart disease and diabetes.  Canada banned the sale of BPA baby bottles last October; and in the US, bottles have been given BPA-free labels lately.  Attorney Generals from Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey have asked 6 major baby bottle manufacturers--Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr Brown, Playtex and Evenflow--to stop using BPA, and they've agreed.

Contemporary Pediatrics: No more BPA in baby bottles

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