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Getting Your Child Their Vaccine?  Some Tips on Easing Needle Fears

If your child gets upset when it’s time to get a shot, you know how challenging that experience is -- for both of you.

Yet, vaccines are an essential fact of life, especially in the age of COVID-19. Children aged 5 and up are advised to get the COVID vaccine or, depending on their age, a COVID booster. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Pfizer

  • Cara Murez
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  • January 4, 2022
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  • Full Page
  • Parents Underestimate How Much Time Teens Spent Online During Pandemic

    Parents, think you have a good handle on how much time your teens are spending on social media?

    Don't bet on it. New research suggests your best guesstimate is likely way off.

    Parents significantly underestimated their teens' social media use — especially girls' — during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the study showed.

    "Although most parents and their teens spe...

    Pandemic Brought Big Rise in New Cases of Anorexia

    A new study confirms yet another consequence of the pandemic for children and teenagers: Eating disorders, and hospitalizations for them, rose sharply in 2020.

    The study of six hospitals across Canada found new diagnoses of anorexia nearly doubled during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the rate of hospitalization among those patients was almost threefold higher, versus pre-pa...

    Another Benefit to Asthma Control for Kids: Less Bullying

    Kids can be cruel, and bullies often zero in on kids they view as weak or different, including those with asthma.

    One in 10 children with asthma say they have been bullied or teased as a result of their condition, but tight asthma control seems to keep bullying at bay, a new study suggests....

    Reading With Your Toddler? Books May Beat Screens

    Parents who want to read to their toddlers and give them a developmental boost ought to pick up a traditional paper book rather than an e-book on a tablet, a new study reports.

    Toddlers are more likely to interact with their parents when they're sharing a paper children's book rather than a tablet, University of Michigan researchers found.

    Parents also tended to talk more to their c...

    Many Kids, Teens Think Girls Don't Care About Computer Science

    The misconception that girls are less interested than boys in computer science and engineering begins at a young age in the United States.

    And it's one reason for the gender gap in those career fields, according to a new study.

    In surveys of more than 2,200 U.S. children and teens in grades 1 through 12, researchers found that half 51% believed girls are le...

    Pot Use in Pregnancy May Harm the Fetus

    Marijuana use in pregnancy may increase your child's risk for stress and anxiety, a new study suggests.

    Although some moms-to-be use pot hoping to relieve morning sickness and anxiety, they should know it may cause genetic changes in the uterus that result in children becoming anxious, aggressive and hyperactive, researchers say.

    "People are saying that cannabis is benign, and take ...

    Adult 'Picky Eaters' on What Parents Did Right and Wrong

    As many parents know, children can be notoriously picky eaters. In some cases, their chronically fearful approach towards food amounts to what is considered a serious psychiatric condition.

    But a new survey of adults who were, and continue to be, finicky eaters suggests that rather than forcing a child to eat foods they don't like, parents will probably make more headway by embracing a no...

    U.S. Pediatricians, Psychiatrists Declare 'Emergency' in Child Mental Health

    Fear, grief, uncertainty and isolation during the pandemic have triggered a national state of emergency in the mental health of America's youth, leading child health care groups warned Tuesday.

    Youngsters already faced significant mental health challenges, and the pandemic has made them worse, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolesc...

    State Spending on Poverty Really Pays Off for Kids: Study

    When states spend money on programs that reduce poverty, fewer children are abused and neglected, fewer end up in foster care and fewer die, a new study reveals.

    Researchers found that for every additional $1,000 that states spent on federal, state and local benefit programs per person living in poverty, there was a 4% reduction in substantiated child abuse, a 2% reduction in foster care ...

    Nature Helped Many Kids Cope During Lockdown: Study

    Children who spent more time in nature during pandemic lockdowns suffered fewer behavioral and emotional problems, British researchers say.

    The investigators also found that children in wealthier families tended to increase their connection to nature during the pandemic more than those from poorer families.

    The new study included 376 families in the United Kingdom who had children a...

    Fruits, Veggies a Recipe for Mental Well-Being in Kids

    Teens who eat lots of fruits and vegetables are likely to enjoy better mental health.

    That's the key takeaway from a new study that also tied a nutritious breakfast and lunch to emotional well-being in kids of all ages.

    "This study provides the first insights into how fruit and vegetable intake affects children's mental health and contributes to the emerging evidence around 'food an...

    For Boys, Sports Key to Mental Health

    Trying to fit soccer or Little League into your son's busy schedule? Canadian researchers offer some compelling reasons to do so.

    Little boys who play sports are less apt to be anxious or depressed later in childhood and more likely to be active in their early teens, according to the University of Montreal study.

    "We wanted to clarify the long-term and reciprocal relationship in sch...

    New Tricks to Turn Your Fussy Eater Around

    If your children are picky eaters, bribing or pressuring them will probably backfire.

    But there are other steps you can take to help them get over their fussiness, researchers report.

    Australian scientists reviewed 80 studies to find out more about fussy eaters.

    They found that pressuring a child to eat, offering rewards for eating and stricter parenting methods didn't help. B...

    Childhood Trauma Linked With Higher Odds for Adult Neurological Ills

    Kids who suffer abuse, neglect or household dysfunction are more likely to have neurological problems like stroke or headaches as adults, researchers report.

    "Traumatic events in childhood have been linked in previous studies to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, riskier health behaviors like smoking and drug use, and decreased life expectancy," said researcher Dr. Adys Mendizabal,...

    Witnessing Abuse of a Sibling Can Traumatize a Child

    Seeing a parent abuse a sibling can be as traumatizing as watching a parent hurt another parent, a new study finds.

    And it can lead to depression, anxiety and anger, researchers say.

    "When we hear about exposure to family violence, we usually think about someone being the victim of direct physical abuse or witnessing spousal assault," said researcher Corinna Tucker. She is a profess...

    Intervening in Infancy Might Help Prevent Some Cases of Autism: Study

    Infants may show early signs of autism, but a diagnosis usually isn't made until age 3. Now, a new study suggests that jumpstarting therapy might stave off that diagnosis altogether.

    Researchers say their preemptive, parent-led intervention could have a significant impact on children's social development and longer-term disabilities.

    "What we found is that the babies who received ou...

    Neighborhood Gun Violence Means Worse Mental Health for Kids

    Living within a few blocks of a shooting increases the risk that a child will end up visiting the emergency department for mental health-related problems, researchers say.

    The new study found significant increases in mental health-related ER visits in the two weeks after a neighborhood shooting, especially among kids who lived closest to it and those exposed to multiple shootings.

    "...

    Eczema Can Take Toll on Child's Mental Health

    Eczema doesn't just irritate kids' skin. The often disfiguring condition may also be tied to depression, anxiety and sleep difficulties, new research warns.

    A study of more than 11,000 British children and teens found that those with severe eczema were twice as likely to become clinically depressed as eczema-free kids.

    "Eczema is an itchy red skin disease," said study author D...

    Pandemic Has Depression, Anxiety Rates Among Youth Climbing Worldwide

    If you think the pandemic hasn't taken a toll on the mental health of young people, ponder these two facts from a new review: one in four are suffering from depression, while one in five are struggling with anxiety.

    "Being socially isolated, kept away from their friends, their school routines and extracurricular activities during the pandemic has proven to be difficult on youth," said lea...

    Remote Learning Hurt High School Students Academically, Emotionally

    There were academic, social and emotional consequences for U.S. high school students who attended classes remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, new research shows.

    The study included more than 6,500 students in Orange County Public Schools in Florida, who were surveyed in October 2020, when two-thirds were attending school remotely and one-third were attending in person.

    On a 100-p...

    School-Based Mindfulness Program Gives Big Boost to Young Kids' Sleep

    Children tend to sleep less as they approach early adolescence, perhaps because of the pressures of homework and the presence of social media.

    Now, new research suggests that loss of precious slumber is not inevitable.

    The researchers found that a school-based program in mindfulness training -- which involves being present in the moment, deep breathing and yoga movements -- helped ...

    More Evidence Spanking Kids Doesn't Work, Can Cause Harm

    Is spanking good for parents? Is spanking good for kids? Is spanking good for anyone? No, no and no, according to a big new review of prior research.

    "Zero studies found that physical punishment predicted better child behavior over time," said study co-author Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

    She and her t...

    When Is Your Very Earliest Memory?

    Your earliest memories may stretch back to a younger age than previously thought, new research suggests.

    The study found that people can recall back to an average age of 2½ years old, which is a year earlier than suggested by previous studies.

    The findings from the 21-year study were recently published online in the journal Memory.

    "When one's earliest memory occurs,...

    Gun Suicides Are Rising Steeply Among American Youth

    A rising number of young Americans, including children, are taking their own lives using firearms, a new study finds.

    Researchers found that between 2008 and 2018, gun suicides showed an "alarming" increase among Americans aged 5 to 24. And while those suicides remain rare among children, the rate among kids under 15 quadrupled during the study period.

    It's well known that youth sui...

    ADHD Meds May Help Keep Some Kids From Thoughts of Suicide

    ADHD medications might help lessen the risk of suicide in children with serious behavioral issues, a new study suggests.

    Researchers found that medications like Ritalin and Adderall, commonly prescribed for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), were linked to a lower risk of suicidal behavior among 9- and 10-year-olds with substantial "externalizing" symptoms.

    That includ...

    Even Preschoolers Want to Be in the 'In Crowd,' Study Finds

    People aren't born understanding social norms, but kids do have a desire to fit in with the crowd from an early age, according to a new study.

    Researchers from Duke University in Durham, N.C. found that when 3-year-olds were asked to behave in a certain way and did so, they weren't conforming just to obey an adult, but were going along with the group.

    Kids begin to pick up on societ...

    Breathing Dirty Air Could Raise a Child's Risk for Adult Mental Illness

    Kids exposed to air pollution may be at risk for mental illness in early adulthood, a new study suggests.

    Researchers found that young adults in Britain who were exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollutants during their childhood and teen years were prone to develop symptoms of mental illness later. Nitrogen oxides were a particular problem, the study authors reported.

    Is Empathy Born in Mom's First Hugs?

    Show your baby your love, and you'll get a kinder, gentler adult child as your reward, a new study suggests.

    More than 20 years ago, researchers in Israel began studying the impact on newborns of time spent in physical contact with their mothers.

    The investigators followed these infants, born in the mid- to late-1990s, for two decades.

    Now, their latest results -- based on n...

    Boys Who Spend Lots of Time Online More Likely to Cyberbully

    Here's yet another reason to keep your teenager from spending countless hours online and on popular social media: New research suggests it increases cyberbullying, particularly among teen boys.

    "There are some people who engage in cyberbullying online because of the anonymity and the fact that there's no retaliation," said lead investigator Amanda Giordano. She is an associate professor...

    Why Are Half of U.S. Kids With Mental Health Issues Not Getting Treatment?

    Over half of high-risk children in the United States are not receiving behavioral health services critical to their mental, emotional and physical well-being, new research warns.

    "It's a pretty simple and kind of widely agreed upon finding that there are a lot of at-risk kids, when you look at it in terms of adversities or symptoms, who aren't getting mental health services, behavioral he...

    Whatever the Language, Babies LOVE Baby Talk

    There's a reason you may choose to talk in singsong tones and with exaggerated sounds when you're talking to babies -- they're more likely to listen.

    New research shows that babies pay more attention to baby talk than to regular speech. The finding held in many languages, and even when the baby was bilingual.

    "Crucially for parents, we found that development of learning and attenti...

    Pandemic Has Many Kids Struggling With Weight Issues

    Kids and teens are already struggling to learn outside the classroom during the pandemic, but lockdowns and quarantines are also making it hard for them to control their weight, child health experts say.

    Lost routines, economic insecurity and grief are making things more challenging for children who struggle with their weight, whether it's with obesity or anorexia, according to doctors at...

    Virtual Learning Has Taken a Toll on Kids' & Parents' Mental Health

    A new government report confirms what many moms and dads already know: Parents and kids are struggling mightily to cope with the stresses of distance learning.

    A survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of parents of children aged 5 to 12 found that parents of kids receiving in-person instruction were less likely to suffer from stress than those whose school...

    Is Your Teen Unmotivated at School? That Might Change

    If your teen seems disinterested in school, new research suggests there's a good chance that things will get better over time.

    "Our results point to a more hopeful picture for students who start out with lower levels of motivation," said study senior author Kui Xie, a professor of educational studies at Ohio State University in Columbus

    The study included 1,670 students at 11 public...

    Social Media, Binge Eating Often Go Together for Kids

    Could endless hours spent scrolling through social media and watching TV trigger binge eating in preteens?

    Apparently so, new research suggests.

    "Children may be more prone to overeating while distracted in front of screens. They may also be exposed to more food advertisements on television," said study author Dr. Jason Nagata. He is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Unive...

    Could ADHD Raise Odds for More Serious Psychiatric Ills?

    As if attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) isn't already tough on a child, new research suggests the condition might also raise the odds for a psychotic disorder later in life.

    But parents should not panic.

    "I would say that this finding should not be an alarm for parents and people who have ADHD, because the absolute risk for psychotic disorders remains low," sa...

    Stressed and Distracted, Kids and Their Teachers Say Virtual Learning Isn't Working

    For Morgan Compton, 7, who has attended school remotely for nearly a year, the stress of the pandemic manifests itself in meltdowns.

    On one particular day, Morgan "threw a fit and decided to go upstairs," said her mother, Tracy Compton. Hearing the sound of his daughter's tears, Compton's husband, John, who also works from home, got involved.

    Meltdowns are familiar to any paren...

    Strep Throat Doesn't Worsen Tourette But May Affect ADHD: Study

    Strep throat doesn't appear to aggravate Tourette syndrome and other chronic tic disorders in youngsters, according to a new study.

    But it did find an association between strep infection and increased hyperactivity and impulsiveness among kids with ADHD.

    People with chronic tic disorders have unintentional repetitive movements and vocalizations. Previous research has suggested a lin...

    Mental Illness in Childhood Could Mean Worse Physical Health Decades Later

    As if suffering from a mental illness as a child isn't tough enough, new research suggests it could predict higher odds for physical ills in later life.

    There was one silver lining to the findings, however.

    Knowing that childhood mental illness is a factor, "you can identify the people at risk for physical illnesses much earlier in life," explained study lead researcher Jasmin Wertz...

    U.S. Schools Can Reopen, With Safeguards in Place: CDC

    It may be safe for many of America's kids to head back to classrooms, experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday.

    According to the agency's new operational guidance, schools can safely reopen if they employ five key "layered mitigation" strategies based on the level of COVID-19 transmission in their communities. Those strategies include steps such ...

    When Kids Misbehave, 'Verbal Reasoning' Can Sometimes Backfire

    Most parents know that child behavior experts recommend against spanking, but new research suggests that so-called "positive" discipline methods don't always work either.

    For example, the common tactic of "verbal reasoning" with an unruly child "was associated with a mixed bag of outcomes, some positive and some negative," said study author Andrew Grogan-Kaylor. He's a professor of socia...

    How Divorce Harms Kids, and How to Lessen That Harm

    Kids who see their parents bicker during a separation or divorce are more likely to develop a fear of abandonment, new research warns.

    And even if a youngster feels close to one or both parents, that fear can still undermine his or her mental health down the road.

    The findings stem from interviews with roughly 560 kids between 9 and 18 years of age. Parents and teachers were also in...

    Coping With Anxiety, Fear During a Rocky Presidential Transition

    The nation is in a state of shock and outrage over Wednesday's riotous siege on the U.S. Capitol Building by supporters of President Donald Trump, and there could be still worse to come before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

    So, taking care of your mental and physical health will be important in the coming days of trial and tribulation in the United States, American...

    Kids With Congenital Heart Disease Face Higher Odds of Mental Health Issues

    Kids born with heart defects may be more likely to develop anxiety, depression and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), regardless of the severity of their heart condition.

    Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting about 40,000 babies a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The defects...

    AHA News: Can Video Games Help You Level Up Your Health?

    You might assume that portraying video games as bad for your health would be as easy as shooting ducks on an old Nintendo.

    Even a professional gamer like Noah "Nifty" Francis, 22, admits players aren't known for having great habits. Francis, who plays Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the Dallas-based Team Envy, knows people who play 14 hours at a time, so focused on the game that they...

    Parent's Skin-to-Skin Hug Does Ease a Baby's Pain, Brain Study Suggests

    Infants may feel less pain when held by a parent with skin-to-skin contact, a new U.K. study suggests.

    "We have found when a baby is held by their parent with skin-on-skin contact, the higher-level brain processing in response to pain is somewhat dampened. The baby's brain is also using a different pathway to process its response to pain," said study co-author Lorenzo Fabrizi. He's wi...

    Mom-to-Be's Pot Use Linked With Higher Odds for Kids' Mental Woes

    Expectant mothers who smoke pot in pregnancy could increase their baby's risk for mental or emotional problems later in childhood, a new study finds.

    Marijuana use during pregnancy was associated with a host of problems in the preteen years, researchers report.

    Children exposed to pot in the womb were more likely to experience internalizing disorders such as depression and a...

    Time Spent in Nature Boosts Kids' Well-Being

    Whether camping, hiking or gardening, connecting with nature has many benefits for children's well-being, a new study suggests.

    "There is strong evidence that children are happier, healthier, function better, know more about the environment, and are more likely to take action to protect the natural world when they spend time in nature," said researcher Dr. Louise Chawla, professor em...

    Cyberbullies and Their Victims Can Both Develop PTSD

    Both cyberbullies and their victims can suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new British study finds.

    Cyberbullying is bullying online rather than in person. It's so pervasive that pediatricians should routinely ask their patients about it as part of psychological assessment, the researchers said.

    "Parents, teachers a...