instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Health blog

Toddler Milestones

Toddler Milestones

Is my child developing normally? Many of us ask that question point during our child’s early years. Waving bye-bye, crawling, walking – these are all important milestones in a child’s development. Children develop at their own pace so it's impossible to tell exactly when a child will learn a given skill.

 Read More 
Post a comment

Baby Talk

Baby Talk

Babies love to “talk” and parents love to talk back. Long before babies can speak clearly, they understand the general meaning of what you're saying. They also absorb emotional tone. It’s easy to encourage your baby's communication skills. All you need do is smile, talk, sing, and read to your baby.  Read More 
Post a comment

Does Your Child Need Vitamins?

Most parents want to do what’s best for their children. In many cases, that includes giving them a vitamin and mineral combination to ensure good nutrition. Nearly half of American three-year-olds take multivitamins.

Do children even need multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplements? Are MVMs helpful? Useless? Possibly harmful? With so many children taking  Read More 
2 Comments
Post a comment

Child Car Seats

All parents want to do what’s best for their children, and that includes selecting the correct child car seat. Even though motor vehicle accident deaths have declined in recent years, 148,000 children between birth and thirteen years old were injured in car accidents in 2011. Another 650 died. Using the correct child car seat in the  Read More 
Post a comment

Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks Are Not for Children

A Note from the Nurse

Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks Are Not for Children

By Connie Goldsmith, RN, BSN, MPA


Your eight-year old daughter just finished soccer practice and she’s hot and sweaty. Your ten-year-old son scored a home run and he’s as hot and sweaty as your daughter is. They come to you for something to drink and you hand them each a nice, cold sports drink. After all, they need to rehydrate and to replenish electrolytes lost in exercise. That’s a good thing, right?

Not according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Sports drinks, which contain water, carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes, and flavoring, are generally unnecessary for children. In the face of today’s burgeoning childhood obesity, most children don’t need the extra calories that sports drinks contain. Additionally, they may promote tooth decay. Sports drinks are inappropriate for meals and in the school lunchroom as well. Instead, provide water after sporting activities – about four to six ounces for every fifteen to twenty minutes of exercise. Offer water, low-fat milk or 100% juice with meals. Save the sports drinks for teen athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities.

And how about those popular caffeine-filled energy drinks? The AAP recently released a report about the danger that high energy drinks pose to children and teens. These drinks are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. beverage industry, topping $9 billion each year in sales. Between 30% and 50% of young people say they drink energy drinks, and marketing is often directed at this population.

So what’s wrong with a little caffeine pick-me-up? A standard eight ounce cup of coffee contains between 100 and 200 milligrams of caffeine, with colas and soft drinks having about half that amount. Energy drinks typically contain a large amount of caffeine. The energy drink NOS has about 260 mg of caffeine while a drink called 5150 Juice has 500 mg. Monster Energy has 160 mg of caffeine in a can, and Red Bull has 76 mg. The Food and Drug Administration requires beverage makers to put the caffeine content on labels, and manufacturers are compliant.

However, caffeine is not the only stimulant in energy drinks. They also contain various herbal additives such as guarana, taurine, ginseng, gingko, and others. The FDA does not require the caffeine or stimulant properties of these additives to be on labels. According to the AAP, this means the actual amount of caffeine or stimulant in an energy drink is unknown. The additives may also interact with each other in unexpected ways that make the drink potentially more hazardous than if it only contained caffeine.

When consumed by children and teens, these products have caused seizures, heart problems, high blood pressure, behavioral issues and even sudden death. The sugar in such drinks can interfere with blood sugar control in young diabetics. The caffeine and additives may interact in unexpected ways with prescription medications. The AAP report cites one case where four middle grade students shared one can of Redline energy drink and had to be transported to the emergency room with heart problems, low potassium, and high blood sugar.

The AAP concludes that energy drinks have no benefit to children and may put young consumers at risk for serious health problems. Does all this mean that your teen can’t have any caffeine? The AAP recommends caffeine intake for adolescents and children should not exceed 100 mg per day. That equates to one cola or very small cup of coffee per day. Every parent should decide whether or not even a small amount of caffeine is appropriate for their child.  Read More 
2 Comments
Post a comment

Organic Foods for Your Children: worth the extra money?

Most parents want to do what’s best for their children. A controversial question parents often debate is whether or not they should be feeding their children organic foods. People cite health concerns, environmental concerns and financial concerns when they talk about organic foods. The market for organic foods and beverages is nearing $30 billion  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Whooping Cough on the Upswing in California

California reported more than 9,100 cases of whooping cough in 2010, making it the biggest breakout since 1947. While cases declined over the next two years, pertussis is once again on the rise. By December 31, 2013, doctors had reported more than 1,900 cases of whooping cough to the California Department of Public Health. According to the Centers for Disease  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Children Not Getting Enough Exercise

Each year the prestigious C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital analyzes the health of the nation’s children. The National Poll on Children’s Health surveys the American public about child health issues across the country as a way to help set priorities in pediatric medicine and public health. The report also helps officials  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Child Dental Health

Tooth decay affects more children in the United States than any other chronic infectious disease. Untreated tooth decay causes pain and infections that can lead to poor nutrition and early tooth loss. The good news is that these problems are largely preventable with proper dental care, including early brushing, fluoride, sealants,  Read More 
Post a comment

Finding Reliable Pediatric Health Information on the Internet

Many parents routinely surf the web for information about their children’s health, researching such topics as teething, toilet training and toddler tantrums. A trial Google search on teething brings up more than ten million entries, ranging from physician-sponsored websites to Wikipedia, parenting blogs and sites selling teething-related products. How can busy parents distinguish  Read More 
Post a comment