Parenting Guild
Parenting Guild | AAP Index | April 1999

Pediatric News Update

"Pediatric News Updates" are reported from actual news sources, but do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Families United on the Net, For the well-being of all children, parents should not try to diagnose their children, but should seek the advice and care of a pediatrician or family physician.

Almost one and four low-income homes with children have less than 10 books of any kind, according to a recent study.

In addition, the study of nearly 200 parents of children ages 1 to 5 found that over half of these parents rarely read books. However, when asked open-ended questions 28 percent of parents said that sharing books with their child was one of their three favorite activities together. There is a desperate need to improve national literacy levels for school-aged children.

The authors site that only 25 percent of fourth graders, 28 percent of 8th graders and 34 percent of those remaining in school in the 12th grade could read at their expected grade level as established by the US Department of Education.

The AAP strongly recommends daily reading to children beginning by 6 months of age, and currently supports the Reach Out and Read program as well as the Read Me a Story campaign.

A recent survey of pediatricians indicates that more than 70 percent of the doctors want to become more involved in school health programs.

Most of the 1602 doctors who responded to the survey by the AAP supported comprehensive school health education, such as pregnancy prevention (82 percent) and violence prevention (77 percent). A majority supported the idea of health services in the schools, such as counseling (76 percent), nutrition (65 percent) and school-based primary care (58 percent).

The AAP released new recommendations on the diagnosis, treatment and evaluation of urinary tract infections (UTI) in infants ages 2 months to 2 years of age.

Children in this age group who experience a UTI are more likely than older children to suffer kidney damage if the condition goes undetected and may present few recognizable signs or symptoms other than fever.

The AAP gave pediatricians eleven recommendations, starting with considering unexplained fever to be potentially caused by an UTI. Other recommendations hinge upon a pediatrician determining how ill a child is and whether antibiotic treatment must be started right away or if treatment can be safely delayed until urine culture results are available.

A new policy from the AAP recommends the development of universal newborn hearing screening programs nationwide.

The policy establishes parameters to ensure that all newborns with hearing loss are identified prior to hospital discharge and that these newborns begin the care they need by 6 months of age.

"Significant hearing loss is one of the most common major abnormalities present at birth and, if undetected, will impede speech, language and cognitive development."

Significant loss of hearing in both ears is present in about 1 to 3 per 1,000 newborn infants in the well-baby nursery, and in about 2 to 4 per 100 infants in the intensive care unit population. Currently the average age that hearing loss is detected is approximately 14 months of age.

Regardless of the age of onset, all children with hearing loss require prompt identification and intervention by appropriate professionals with pediatric training and expertise.

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