Fascinating story in this morning’s paper by my colleague, Jessica Yadegaran, about the rising epidemic of obesity among infants. Yup, those dimpled cheeks and chubby thighs have gone far beyond what’s healthy.
“Ten years ago,” Jessica writes, “pediatrician Gary Bean began noticing a trend in his Oakland practice. Babies were increasingly bigger, and they weren’t thinning out by the time they were crawling and walking. Toddlers came to appointments clutching Jack in the Box bags, and when Bean asked parents what else their youngsters ate, they rattled off processed foods.”
Even more troubling, a new national study, published this month, has found that a third of the infants born in the U.S. are already obese or at risk for obesity. Check out the full story here.
It’s no secret that these have been a bad couple of years for baby cribs. Eleven million drop-side cribs have been recalled since 2007, after hundreds of injuries and 32 fatal accidents in which babies became wedged or fell out of their beds. More have died because of faulty hardware. It’s absolutely horrifying. Now, for the first time in 30 years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has released new mandatory safety standards for baby cribs. Details in a sec. But frankly, we’re not sure what this will mean to you. Yes, crib manufacturers must abide by the new regulations. But what will you do about the crib you already have?
The new crib regulations, which go into effect June 2011, will halt the manufacture and sale of traditional drop-side cribs, strengthen mattress supports and hardware, and increase safety testing. By June 2013, cribs in child care facilities, hotels and motels must adhere to the new rules – in other words, by the time your newborn no longer sleeps in a crib anyway, there won’t be unsafe cribs at day care.
Now we’re curious. What will you do with this information right now?
There have been at least 17 cases involving Heritage cribs, including three in which babies were bruised or incurred scrapes to the neck, back and legs after becoming entrapped. There have also been at least five incidents involving Ethan Allen cribs, including one in which a baby became entrapped, two in which the babies fell out and two more that resulted in mild injuries.
If you’re worried about the safety of your crib – and you should be, because CPSC, which has received reports of at least 30 crib-related deaths and hundreds of injuries, calls cribs “a leading cause of nursery product-related deaths” – check out “Safe Sleep for Babies.” It’s a new crib safety video narrated by Joan Lunden and released by CPSC and three child safety groups at NewYork Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.
Every pregnant mom wants the best for her baby, but how much weight gain is “normal”? My colleague, Jessica Yadegaran, explores that topic in this morning’s Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times, and says: bottom line, “normal” depends on the mom. How much weight gain is appropriate depends on whether you’re slim, average or overweight to begin with. Ditto on the workouts. That said, the the American Congress of Obstetricans and Gynecologists recommends an average gain of 25 to 37 pounds during pregnancy. But if mom was carrying excess weight when she got pregnant, the guideline drops to 15 to 26 pounds. But it all depends on the woman – and her doctor. Read more about the whys and hows here, then tell us, how much weight did you gain with your babies?
Interesting story in the New York Times on Monday about a dramatic drop in circumcision rates in the U.S. According to a CDC researcher who spoke at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna last month, just 32.5% of the baby boys born in U.S. hospitals in 2009 were circumcised, compared with 56% in 2006, and two-thirds in the ’80s and ’90s. (CDC is investigating the data further, but the numbers are based on statistics from Pennsylvania’s SDI Health, which analyzes health care figures. These numbers do not include, for example, Jewish ritual circumcisions conducted outside hospitals.)
Circumcision is an issue that has sent pediatricians swinging this way and that. The current position by the American Academy of Pediatrics is neutral, and it’s a procedure that’s not covered by several state Medicaid programs. But the World Health Organization began advocating circumcision in 2007 as “an important intervention to reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired H.I.V.” And the new AAP guidelines, due out in 2011, are expected to back away from the neutral stance and lean more toward encouragement of the procedure.
Still, nothing’s clear on this issue. Circumcision doesn’t seem to protect gay men, and even the studies in Africa, which found that the procedure seemed to lower the risk of infection for heterosexual men involved with HIV-positive women, did not find it beneficial the other way round.
None of this is terribly unusual, says Laura Wattenberg, founder of BabyNameWizard.com. The 1960s and early ’70s saw a sudden rise in the popularity of “Bewitched” names – hello, Tabitha! And there are a bunch of Buffys and Pipers running around today. But, says Watternberg, “If you want the really hard-core ‘Twilight’ fans who were really inspired by the book and not just the name, there were 17 baby girls last year named Renesme (pronounced Ruh-NEZ-may). That’s not a name that you say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve always liked that name.’”
Renesme?? Seriously? OK, take the poll and tell us what you think.
The federal consumer safety folks and Baby Matters just issued a recall for 30,000 Nap Nanny Recliners in the wake of the death of a 4-month-old girl from Michigan. The baby was napping in the recliner, which had been placed inside her crib – which you are not supposed to do. The recliner is supposed to be used on the floor only. In this case, the baby was still in the harness, but had fallen out and become caught between the Nap Nanny and the crib bumper. The photograph above shows a re-enactment of the tragic accident. This is the second such crib incident – but there have been 22 other cases of babies hanging or falling out of the Nap Nanny, despite being buckled in.
If you have a Nap Nanny, stop using it immediately and visit www.napnanny.com/recall for information on the harness issue. And bear in mind that any product of this type, whether it’s a recliner, a baby seat or whatever, should be used on the floor - not atop a table or countertop, where falling out could lead to serious injury; nor in a crib or playpen, where the child risks entrapment or suffocation.
The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission just recalled 45,000 of these cheap Karino Baby Pacifiers, sold for 25 cents each, because they violate pretty much every safety standard for pacifiers. The nipple separates from the base, the handle is too long, the mouth guard too small and there are no air holes on the mouth guard. The only thing one can say in favor of these things is that they don’t seem to have been dipped in lead paint or cadmium. If you think you have one, look for the word “Kariño” on the handle side of the mouth guard, and “Mygra” on the handle. And here’s another bizarre thing. The nipple, says the CPSC, is filled with corn syrup. Um, is that normal?
All righty, campers, in today’s baby crib recall news … Pottery Barn Kids just recalled 82,000 drop-side cribs to the usual round-up of ghastly hazards – entrapment, suffocation and falls. In this case, the sides detach when the hardware breaks, or if the crib has been improperly assembled, or if it’s an old, much-used crib. PBK has had 36 reports of drop side malfunction, including 7 minor injuries. One child’s head was caught between the mattress and the drop side, but was not injured. Parents were sure freaked out, though. There are several models implicated in the recall, so follow the link to see if yours is one – then contact PB for a conversion kit to immobilize the drop side.
Ah, yes, another crib recall. Eight of them, actually, and they’re just the latest in a long, long line.
Look, here’s the deal. If you’ve got a crib of any kind made by anyone. anywhere, check for missing, broken or loose parts. Tighten the hardware. Give it a good shake. And if the crib is 10 or more years old, its safety is questionable. Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s crib safety website for more details on what to look for. More on the specific cribs in this recall in a moment, but first this…
A number of readers have suggested that people aren’t putting the cribs together correctly, and that a couple of DIY failures have prompted an overreaction. But it’s far more than “a couple,” as you’ll see in a moment and in at least one case, the problem is a design flaw that leaves consumers unable to tell – literally – which way’s up. The finished crib looks just like the picture in the instructions, but it’s wrong. And dangerous.