January 29, 2009

Hyper-parenting and the taste of crow?

The source of my most recent humbling is a pledge made several years ago that I would never hyper-parent my children.

Hyper-parenting, you may recall, is the term coined years ago by a psychiatrist describing parents who over-schedule their children in an attempt to enrich their lives. They drag them from one activity to another, always keeping something on the schedule.

As it turns out, experts say this is bad for both the children and their parents. I frequently belittled those parents and felt quite superior in my parenting skills. I hesitate to go so far as to call myself supercilious, but I was knocking at its door.

Full story: Dad has to eat his words about parenting … again

January 27, 2009

Salmonella Outbreak Worrisome

Nancy Shute, expert writer on all things parenting for US News and World Report, has just described the current salmonella outbreak as the ’scariest’ she’s ever seen. Her fears don’t stem from the number of people sickened (491 and counting) or killed (seven so far) or the widespread geographical scope of the outbreak (43 states and Canada). Her concern is for the extremely large number of common supermarket items that are made from peanuts, peanut butter, or peanut paste.

Many items under suspicion of contamination are common products easily kept at room temperature, don’t require cooking, and are packaged to make them so easy to keep handy. Those same characteristics create an ideal living environment for the bacteria that is making so many people so sick.

Full story: Parenting Expert Says Current Salmonella Outbreak is ‘Scariest’ Ever

January 26, 2009

Sharing Bed With Infants A Bad Idea

The rate of accidental suffocation deaths among babies increased fourfold over the past two decades, according to a new study, despite a national campaign to encourage safe infant sleeping.

Authors of the study, which appears today in the journal Pediatrics, say the nationwide increase probably is the result of more thorough investigations and changes in how deaths are classified. Nevertheless, the researchers and local medical experts said the figures reflect a continuing problem and highlight concerns about whether babies should sleep in the same beds as their parents or siblings.

“These deaths are likely preventable,” said Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza, an epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of the study. “So this problem is ongoing, and we should not divert our attention. … We need an infusion of more efforts to make them reduce further.”

Researchers have long studied Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a term that refers to infant deaths that cannot be explained after a medical investigation. Shapiro-Mendoza’s study sought to find out if a newer, more specific category of infant death – by strangulation or suffocation – was increasing.

Full story: Don’t share bed with infant, parents told

Donating Umbilical Cord Blood

Today more than 70 diseases are being treated using stem cells and the possibilities for these remarkable cells keep growing. I’m not alone when I tell you that in the future stem cells will be used to cure and treat diseases now fatal or disabling. Stem cell discoveries in the 21st century will be like the antibiotic boom in the last century.

The reason for the explosion in stem cell research is because these cells have the remarkable ability to develop into almost any type of cell in the body. It’s a complicated process, but after years of successful research, stem cells are now considered standard therapy in the treatment of many serious diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, some bone marrow diseases like multiple myeloma and some immune system diseases. And the list is growing.

Full story: Banking on cord blood

January 23, 2009

Father Lets 8 Year Old Accidently Shoot Himself

I mean, how much stupider can you get as a parent? Allowing an 8 yr old to participate in a shooting contest?

Dr. Charles Bizilj stood 10 feet behind his son this weekend at a “Machine Gun Shoot” in Westfield, where the third grader aimed an Uzi at a pumpkin in the distance.

As Bizilj reached for his camera, the boy clutched the gun in his arms and squeezed the trigger. The Uzi flipped backwards and 8-year-old Christopher Bizilj fatally shot himself in the head.

Full story: Grieving father says he gave son, 8, permission to fire Uzi