Postings for April 2011

Germs on shopping cartsCart blanch
Do you walk right by the wipes posted near most grocery-store shopping carts? This story might change that. Researchers from the University of Arizona swabbed shopping-cart handles looking for bacteria and hit the mother lode. Seventy-two percent of the carts had a marker for fecal bacteria — and half had E. coli contamination. Ewwww, gross! However, scientists say this level of exposure probably won’t make your child sick. But here’s another thing to remember: Wash those reusable shopping bags. Scientists say they also harbor bacteria.

Thanks again, Barbie
Those cultural stereotypes that tell girls they’re no good at math just won’t quit! Fascinating new research by our friends at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) finds that those messages are alive and well, and messing up little girls, beginning as early as second grade. They’re still getting the message that “math is for boys.” According to I-LABS, “Our results indicate the math-gender stereotype develops early, prior to ages at which differences in math achievement emerge.” Link to more on this study at Moms with daughters: We have work to do!

Ear infections in childrenEar, ear!
Great news about ear infections: They seem to be on the wane. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a 30 percent drop in ear-infection-related doctor visits over the past 15 years. One reason for this may be a decrease in smoking by parents, which has been linked to ear infections in children. There also is a vaccine that can help kids who suffer from recurrent ear infections.

Facebook safety
There are two new weapons in the battle to keep kids safe on Facebook. The social-media giant just rolled out two new features designed to combat online bullying. First, a brand-new tool will allow children to report upsetting content to the site privately — and to parents, teachers and others. And for adults, an enhanced “safety center” will offer information created by bullying experts, including videos and articles. The new features were announced in conjunction with last month’s White House summit on bullying.

Marriage optional?
Young adults want to have kids, but don’t see marriage as mandatory, according to a huge new survey of so-called “millennials” (Americans younger than 30). Fifty-two percent of them said Marriage help, John Gottmanthat being a good parent is one of the most important things in life, but only 30 percent said that marriage is. When asked the same question by the Pew Research Center years ago, Gen Xers ranked marriage a tad higher, at 35 percent. Still, 75 percent of millennials do admit it’s easier to raise a family while married.

Stay married!
Sure, it takes some work, but if you’re looking for tools to make your marriage stronger, who better to turn to than über-expert and marriage whisperer Dr. John Gottman? ParentMap is bringing his sure-fire sell-out marriage lecture back to Town Hall in May, along with the brilliant and funny Dr. Laura Kastner and the wonderful Julie Metzger. Learn more and get tickets at

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