March Health Notes
Soccer Injuries on the Rise
Youth soccer is one of the most popular team sports and is an effective form of exercise for many children. However, with the growing popularity of soccer, a greater number of injuries occur, as detailed in a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The report, which appeared in the February issue of Pediatrics, shows higher injury rates among younger, preadolescent players. Young females tend to suffer more knee-related injuries, compared to male soccer players, who tend to have more ankle injuries.
Concussions are common in soccer, and females tend to have a slightly higher concussion risk than males. The risk of a head injury is comparable to other contact/collision sports, though evidence does not support repeated heading as a risk for short-term or long-term cognitive issues.
Researchers suggest enforcing the rules of the game and discouraging overtly aggressive or dangerous play to reduce injuries. For details, visit www.aap.org.
Clearing Up Pinkeye
It’s painful and extremely contagious. Conjunctivitis, also called pinkeye, is a common infection, especially during cold and flu season. Because more serious medical problems can mimic the redness and itchiness that characterize pinkeye, you should always call your doctor, who will evaluate the condition and recommend an appropriate treatment.
The Nemours Foundation (www.nemours.org) offers this list of common treatments for pinkeye:
• Clean the corners of the eyes carefully with cotton balls or gauze moistened with warm water.
• Apply a warm or cool compress to soothe itchiness and discomfort.
• Ask your doctor about prescribing antibiotic ointment or eye drops for bacterial conjunctivitis. (Note: Viral conjunctivitis usually goes away on its own without treatment.)
• Manage allergic conjunctivitis with allergy medication.
• Offer over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to alleviate discomfort.
• Avoid the spread of conjunctivitis by washing hands frequently and trying to avoid touching the eye.
For more information about pinkeye, visit www.kidshealth.org.
Time for the Potty
If you’re ready to ditch your toddler’s diapers or pull-ups, the best time to start potty training may be between the second and third birthdays.
A new study suggests 27 to 32 months is the ideal window for moving your child out of diapers. Children who were toilet trained after 32 months were more likely to have urge incontinence — daytime wetting and bed-wetting — between ages 4 and 12.
Researchers also discovered that it’s important not too start potty training too soon. Potty training children younger than 27 months generally doesn’t work and simply prolongs the process.
“There are two schools of thought on potty training. One is to try to train the kids very, very early, and another says you should wait until kids are older and demonstrating signs of being ready.
But there has never been a study scientifically showing when is the best time,” said lead study author Dr. Joseph Barone, the chief of urology at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. “This study gives parents an idea of when it’s a good time to train,” he said.
If you feel like you’ve been changing diapers forever, you’re not alone. Over the last few decades, the mean age of potting training has crept up in the United States and other countries, including Brazil, Switzerland and China. In 1980, the mean age U.S. children were toilet-trained was 26 months. In 2003, it was 36.8 months.
One possible explanation for later potty training is the widespread availability and convenience of disposable diapers, the study authors suggest. The report appeared in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Urology.