The American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition took place Oct. 2 to 5 in San Francisco and attracted over 8,000 participants from around the world. The conference focused on advances in the health, safety, and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.
Several studies presented at the conference focused on external factors impacting the parent-child relationship. In one study, Robert Sege, M.D., of the Boston University Medical Center, and colleagues found that higher levels of unemployment were associated with an increased incidence of child maltreatment due to stressors on the family structure; each 1 percent increase in unemployment was associated with at least a 0.50 per 1,000 increase in confirmed child maltreatment reports one year later.
"From a clinician's perspective, there is a great deal of change in the degree of family stress when a family member becomes unemployed, which can lead to child maltreatment," Sege said.
In a study evaluating disaster relief efforts, Shawn David Safford, M.D., of the National Naval Medical Center in North Potomac, Md., and colleagues found that pediatric medical response to a major disaster such an earthquake should focus on protection of life and limb, continuing care, and humanitarian aid. The physicians evaluated their medical response efforts on the U.S. Naval Ship Comfort responding to the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, treating over 931 critically injured patients, 35 percent of whom were children.
"The response in Haiti differed from other humanitarian efforts, as it resembled a wartime/military response [rather] than a humanitarian effort. During the first few days, we were dealing with injuries that were life threatening. During days of continuing care, we were dealing with patients that required recovery and management care," Safford said. "However, in the later days, beyond days 10 to 14, we were making a real humanitarian effort, serving as a tertiary care center, as we were the only site who could deal with high-level care. It was at this point that we needed to be able to transition care back to the home country."
In another study evaluating disaster relief efforts in Haiti, Cathy Burnweit, M.D., of Miami Children's Hospital, and colleagues found that responding to a major disaster in a highly populated area requires the development of a pediatric field facility with child-specific medical and surgical subspecialists. The researchers studied the creation and evolution of a pediatric field hospital, finding that, during the first five days of the facility's operation, 93 percent of pediatric patients were surgical specialty admissions, with 40 children undergoing operations, mostly for fractures and wounds. However, over time, the facility changed from a disaster relief facility to a pediatric hospital with intensive care capacity, which required changes in equipment and medical staffing.
"As time passed, the facility evolved to more closely emulate a children's hospital, with 80 percent of patients requiring general pediatric and neonatal care and only 20 percent requiring admission for surgical issues," Burnweit said in a statement.
In a study presented by Raylene M. Phillips, M.D., of the Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in California, the investigators found that mothers who received support and encouragement during the first two months after childbirth were more likely to prolong their duration of breast-feeding and unlikely to return to smoking.
"This study, which focused on mothers who had quit smoking during or just prior to pregnancy and had newborns admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, found that, during the first eight weeks postpartum, interventions to support mother-infant bonding during their newborn's hospitalization -- by giving mothers information about normal newborn behaviors and encouraging skin-to-skin holding -- are associated with significantly reduced rates of smoking relapse and longer durations of breast-feeding," Phillips said.
The data revealed that mothers in the intervention group were more likely than mothers in the standard-of-care group to remain smoke free (81 versus 46 percent) and more likely to continue breast-feeding (86 versus 21 percent) at eight weeks postpartum.
"The hospitalization of a newborn provides an opportunity to support mothers in bonding with their newborn infants during a time of significant stress," Phillips added.
Addressing the common theme of child safety at the conference, Nicole M. Hackman, M.D., of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and colleagues found that only a small percentage of preteen babysitters receive babysitter safety training, which could result in an unsafe environment for the babysitter and the children under their care. The researchers administered a questionnaire to a sample of children, aged 11 to 13 years, to assess previous babysitter safety training, knowledge of emergency contacts and location of emergency equipment, and personal experience with emergencies requiring 911 activation while babysitting.
"It is important to have the discussion with preteen babysitters regarding safety for themselves and the children they care for. Parents and physicians can review safety knowledge with preteens, such as not leaving a child alone and unattended, gathering contact information for parents, and knowing who to call in case of emergency," Hackman said. "It may even be good to have a preteen babysitter enroll in a babysitter training class. Different organizations, including Safe Kids and the American Red Cross, have one-day programs to train babysitters. The goal is to educate preteens about providing a safe environment for child care and to give them the tools to respond to an emergency if one should arise."
AAP: Racial Disparities Exist in Breast-Feeding Decisions
MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- African-American/black (AA/B) women are less likely to initiate and continue breast-feeding than women of other races because of lack of desire to do so, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, held from Oct. 2 to 5 in San Francisco.
AAP: Interactive Video Games Tied to Range of Injuries
MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- New interactive gaming devices appear to be associated with more abrasions and injuries of the shoulder, ankle, and foot than traditional gaming devices, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, held from Oct. 2 to 5 in San Francisco.
AAP: Clinician-Recommended Care Forgone Due to Cost
MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- About one in eight parents report that his or her child has not received health care as recommended by a pediatrician during the previous 12 months due to concerns over cost and payment, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, held from Oct. 2 to 5 in San Francisco.
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