Mercury in retrograde
State officials have temporarily loosened the rules on the level of a mercury preservative allowed in certain vaccines, including the swine-flu shot. The preservative, thimerosal, has never been linked to any health problems, but a very vocal minority believes it could be connected to autism. The use of thimerosal makes it possible to manufacture the vaccine much more quickly; health officials say that’s crucial, as the H1N1 pandemic could sicken more than one-third of our state’s residents. Pregnant women are considered at high risk for swine flu (see our story on page 16). The good news is thimerosal-free vaccines will be available, just much harder to find.
Pants on fire
Speaking of hard to find, how about a parent who never, ever lies to the kids? A new study turns up proof of what most moms and dads already know: Parents often use deception to get their kids to behave. Researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of California, San Diego polled thousands of parents and turned up thousands of lies. (Study on parental lying) Many parents say they tell their kids that bad things will happen if they don’t behave (“Finish your dinner or you’ll get pimples!”). Others make up magical creatures to change behavior (“Let’s leave your pacifiers for the pacifier fairy!”). The conclusion: Parents often lie to their kids — even as they tell them that lying is wrong. Parents: Stop the lies — or the Tooth Fairy gets it!
Do as I say . . .
Whether you lie or not, you sure don’t want your kids to lie! A big new poll by Parents Magazine asked mothers to rank 10 traits they’d like to see in their kids. The number-one priority: health, which 98 percent of moms ranked as “very important.” A very close second place goes to “happy,” then “secure,” “caring,” “confident,” “moral” (no lying!), “resilient” and — coming in at no. 8 — “smart”! Bringing up the rear were “social” and “spiritual.” “It’s no surprise that healthy and happy topped the list,” says parenting expert Michelle Borba, Ed.D., who conducted the poll. “What is interesting is that more moms rated secure, caring, confident, and moral as ‘very important,’ [ranking those higher] than they did smart.”
Got a television? Keep it off if you’re not watching it, and your kids will be better off. A new study in the journal Child Development finds that having a television set on — even for “background noise” — cuts down significantly on interactions between parents and their tots. According to the study, more than one-third of all American infants and toddlers live in homes where the TV is left on pretty much around the clock. When that’s the case, parents spend about 20 percent less time talking to their kids — and when they do talk, they’re less attentive and responsive.
Nearly one out of five Americans have passed up a chance to have sex because there’s something good on television! A recent sex survey by Consumer Reports revealed the top six reasons sexually active Americans sometimes avoid sex. No surprise to the Postings Posse, 53 percent said they skip sex when they’re too tired; another 49 percent say “no” when they’re not feeling well. Just not in the mood? Happens to about 40 percent of Americans. And lots of people skip sex to meet the needs of kids or pets (30 percent), or to put in extra hours on the job (29 percent). Interesting fact: The poll shows that the economy isn’t hurting people’s libidos: Seventy-nine percent said the downturn isn’t resulting in a downturn in sex.
— Kristen Russell Dobson