Health Watch: Best pacifier practices

Staff reports

The pacifier is possibly the smallest item you will need for your newborn and probably the least expensive “necessity” you will buy for your baby.

Pacifier use can help babies learn how to self-soothe, aid in the development of a calmer infant and can provide vital non-nutritive sucking without interfering with breastfeeding.

Here are some pacifier selection and safety tips:

* Look for “one-piece” construction. This reduces the risk of the pacifier pieces separating from use or age, which could pose a choking hazard.

* Opt for silicone, which is the most durable material for pacifiers. Other materials break down rapidly with use and cleaning.

* Never alter the shape of the pacifier. Pacifiers are typically available in “newborn” and the larger “infant” sizes to accommodate babies at different ages and stages. If the pacifier is too large for your baby's face, do not trim, cut or alter the pacifier in any way. Instead, select a contoured pacifier that hugs your infant's face.

* Inspect and clean pacifiers frequently. Look for dishwasher-safe models and check pacifiers after each cleaning to ensure they are sound, and replace them immediately if you see tears or cracks.

* Select a pacifier with a handle designed to attach pacifier clips. Many new parents mistakenly attach pacifier clips to the ventilation holes on the sides of pacifiers. This is not only incorrect, it is a safety hazard. The holes are designed to keep your baby from suffocating in the unlikely event a pacifier is aspirated. Look for pacifiers that have a handle specifically designed to hold a pacifier clip. 

* If breastfeeding, wait to introduce the pacifier until your baby is 1 month old. By this age, your baby will have developed good latching-on and feeding techniques.

-- ARA

New Research: 2.6 billion people lack sanitation

Today, it is estimated that 2.6 billion people across the world lack access to adequate sanitation, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa (31 percent), southern Asia (36 percent) and Oceania (53 percent). If the current trend continues, 2.7 billion people will be without basic sanitation by 2015.

-- World Health Organization

Did You Know?

Many parents do not discuss bullying with their kids, but it is important to teach children not to bully others and what to do if they are being bullied.


Health Tip: How to do bicep curls

To do a bicep curl, stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in each hand, palms facing out. Bend your elbows, slowly lifting the weights toward your shoulders, but be sure to keep your elbows tight against your sides and avoid swinging the weights with momentum. The bicep curl machine at your gym will also provide a great upper arm workout. Aim for three sets of 12 curls.

-- Life Fitness

Number to Know

5: An open package of sliced deli meat can last up to five days in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below, or up to 2 months in the freezer at zero degrees or below.


Children’s Health: Car-seat recommendations change

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight per the car seat instructions. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age. Children should ride in the rear of a vehicle until they are 13 years old. 

A 2007 study in showed that children under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing.

Senior Health: Potential pancreatic cancer break-through

Researchers appear to have found a new way to significantly shrink pancreatic tumors by targeting the tissue surrounding cancer rather than the cancer itself.

The approach relies on an experimental antibody that sparks the patient's own immune system into shredding the structural "scaffolding" that holds tumors together. Although testing has so far been confined to laboratory mice and a small group of patients who have since relapsed, preliminary results caught the researchers by surprise.

"Until this research, we thought the immune system needed to attack the cancer directly in order to be effective," said Dr. Robert H. Vonderheide, an associate professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center. "Now we know that isn't necessarily so ... attacking the dense tissues surrounding the cancer is another approach, similar to attacking a brick wall by dissolving the mortar in the wall.”

-- U.S. Department of Health

GateHouse News Service