This month's postings, August 2008

Big letdown

A troubling new study finds that hospitals aren’t doing enough to encourage breastfeeding in new moms — and some may even be undermining it! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention checked out 2,700 hospitals and birthing centers across the country. It found that 70 percent of the facilities give new moms gift bags that include formula samples. And 45 percent give newborns pacifiers, which experts say can hinder breastfeeding in newborns. Moms, if you’re breastfeeding, know that you can say “no” to other nipples!

That’s bunk!

You might want to consider saying “no” to that beloved bedroom basic, the bunk bed. A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that more than 36,000 kids a year are hurt by bunk beds — no surprise, mostly from falling off the top bunk. Bunkers 10 and younger are the most likely to get hurt; kids younger than 6 account for more than half of the injuries. Put a toddler on top and they’re most likely to get a head injury (40 percent more likely than older kids). If you’ve got a bunk in the house, check those guardrails — and never let a kid younger than 6 sleep on top, no matter how much they beg. Oh, and talk to your teen about drinking and bunking. Drunk bunking accounts for hundreds of teen injuries every year.

Buzzkill mom

Speaking of teens, stop buying them alcohol! Researchers say as many as 40 percent of drinkers ages 12 to 20 get their alcohol directly from an adult — often a parent. The analysis found that 650,000 kids were given alcohol by their own parents in the test month, and 30 percent were in their own home when they had their last drink. Alcohol helps kill thousands of kids every year. Never buy alcohol for kids under 21! Can I get an amen?

Road worrier

While we’re on the subject of teens, here’s a little something to ponder as you dart about on the freeway: Your kids will probably drive just like you do! A new study in the journal Risk Analysis (yes, I know!) finds that kids of risk-taking drivers will probably also be risk-taking drivers — at least at first. Interestingly, while daughters are influenced by the driving styles of both parents, sons are only influenced by their fathers. Risk-taking behaviors include speeding, talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device (never!) and driving for too long without a break. Think about it! They’re always watching … always … watching.

Chubby bubbly

Quick note: Kids are drinking more sugary drinks than ever. Now, juice boxes and soda account for a whopping 10 percent to 15 percent of some children’s daily calories! Most (70 percent) of those drinks are being served at home — not at school — so you can fix the problem! Experts say limit kids younger than 7 to 4–6 ounces per day; older kids can have as much as 12 ounces. Make it 100 percent fruit juice — and don’t give kids soda. They just don’t need it!

Vacuuming sucks

When it comes to housework, moms do all the heavy lifting, according to a new survey. Of the more than 350 responses, 42 percent of moms say they do about 75 percent of the housework. And a whopping 23 percent — nearly a quarter of all Seattle-area moms — say they do it all, and they’re not happy about it! That 50/50 split remains elusive; less than 10 percent of local couples have found that balance. One delightful surprise: Twelve percent say their man actually does more around the house than they do!

— Kristen Dobson

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