When the Reality of Safety Helmets Hits Home

Dr. Lee Faucher and Connor

Dr. Faucher and Connor

Wearing a bike helmet is second nature to my kids. So much so that they often just leave them on to shoot baskets or play around the house. That’s probably not typical of most kids, but I’m a trauma surgeon and my wife is a nurse practitioner, so NOT wearing a safety helmet has NEVER been an option.

Last Spring, that “second nature” may have saved my son Connor from serious injury. Connor, who was 6 at the time, was riding bike with his older sister when she heard a crash behind her. (She told us the noise was “terrifying” to her.) When she stopped and turned around, she saw Connor on his back with blood all over his face. When she ran back to him, he didn’t respond at all. So she ran a block back to our house, to tell my wife.

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Sweet Dreams for Preschoolers

Sleeping ToddlerMany of us are sleep deprived these days including our children. One of the common culprits of too little sleep and often disrupted sleep is television.

A recent study found that sleep problems were more common in 3 to 5 year olds who watched more television after 7pm. According to the study, about 20 percent of the 112 children involved had sleep problems almost every day of the week. Their issues included difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, nightmares and being sleepy during the day. The children who watched violent television at night had the most sleep problems.

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Who Wants to Stay Inside?

School’s out and with the beautiful weather, who wants to stay inside? But, did you know that research by pediatricians and sports medicine experts at UW Health showed that kids were actually more sedentary during the summer?

We’ve heard it all over the news, and it’s true – obesity, including obesity in kids, is a very real health crisis in the U.S.:

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A Safer Generation of Cribs

New Crib GuidelinesAround the time my twin sons turned one, we learned their cribs had been recalled because there were reports the drop side could break and injure or entrap an infant. Our emotions ranged from panic – oh no, they’ve been sleeping in dangerous cribs – to anger – they’ve been sleeping in dangerous cribs! After that, we began following the recall notices published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (they have a handy sign up so you can receive email notices when new recalls are announced). It seemed like in the few years following our own experience, many more drop sided cribs were recalled for being unsafe. So it was no surprise when the CPSC announced new crib safety standards.

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Are there “safe” fireworks?

One of my favorite memories as a child was staying up late to watch the 4th of July fireworks display. Now, as a father, I get to re-experience these memories through my children’s eyes. Unfortunately, as a pediatric emergency medicine physician, I also see the darker side of this American tradition.

Each year there are thousands of emergency department visits for fireworks related injuries in the United States. Almost all are due to private use (not public displays) and kids, especially between the ages of 10-14 years old, are commonly injured. The majority of injuries are burns to the hands and face and eye injuries; however, every year there are sadly several deaths due to fireworks.

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