Posted on Aug 20, 2014 in News
Know the Stages:
- Birth up to Age 2 – Rear-facing car seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
- Age 2 up to at least Age 5 – Forward-facing car seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seat they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat, in the back seat, until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of their seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual and/or labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
- Age 5 up until seat belts fit properly – Booster seat. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat they should be buckled in a belt positioning booster seats until seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Remember to keep children properly buckled in the back seat for the best possible protection.
- Once Seat Belts Fit Properly – Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). For the best possible protection keep children 12 and under properly buckled in the back seat.
Back Seat is Safest. All children aged 12 and under should be properly buckled in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag. Buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
Posted on Aug 14, 2014 in News
Know the warning signs for suicide. 50-75% of people who attempt suicide will tell someone about their intention. Listen when people talk. Make eye contact. Convey empathy. And for the love of people everywhere, put down that ridiculous not-so-SmartPhone and be human.
Check in on friends struggling with depression. Even if they don’t answer the phone or come to the door, make an effort to let them know that you are there. Friendship isn’t about saving lost souls; friendship is about listening and being present.
Risk Factors and Warning Signs
Risk factors for suicide are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take her or his life. Suicide risk tends to be highest when someone has several risk factors at the same time.
The most frequently cited risk factors for suicide are:
- Mental disorders, in particular:
- Depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder
- Alcohol or substance abuse or dependence
- Borderline or antisocial personality disorder
- Conduct disorder (in youth)
- Psychotic disorders; psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Impulsivity and aggression, especially in the context of the above mental disorders
- Previous suicide attempt
- Family history of attempted or completed suicide
- Serious medical condition and/or pain
It is important to bear in mind that the large majority of people with mental disorders or other suicide risk factors do not engage in suicidal behavior.
Environmental Factors That Increase Suicide Risk
Some people who have one or more of the major risk factors above can become suicidal in the face of factors in their environment, such as:
- A highly stressful life event such as losing someone close, financial loss, or trouble with the law
- Prolonged stress due to adversities such as unemployment, serious relationship conflict, harassment or bullying
- Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide (contagion)
- Access to lethal methods of suicide during a time of increased risk
Again, though, it is important to remember that these factors do not usually increase suicide risk for people who are not already vulnerable because of a preexisting mental disorder or other major risk factors. Exposure to extreme or prolonged environmental stress, however, can lead to depression, anxiety, and other disorders that in turn, can increase risk for suicide.
Protective Factors for Suicide
Protective factors for suicide are characteristics or conditions that may help to decrease a person’s suicide risk. While these factors do not eliminate the possibility of suicide, especially in someone with risk factors, they may help to reduce that risk. Protective factors for suicide have not been studied as thoroughly as risk factors, so less is known about them.
Protective factors for suicide include:
- Receiving effective mental health care
- Positive connections to family, peers, community, and social institutions such as marriage and religion that foster resilience
- The skills and ability to solve problems
Protective factors may reduce suicide risk by helping people cope with negative life events, even when those events continue over a period of time. The ability to cope or solve problems reduces the chance that a person will become overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. Protective factors do not entirely remove risk, however, especially when there is a personal or family history of depression or other mental disorders.
Warning Signs for Suicide
In contrast to longer term risk and protective factors, warning signs are indicators of more acute suicide risk.
Thinking about heart disease helps to make this clear. Risk factors for heart disease include smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol. Having these factors does not mean that someone is having a heart attack right now, but rather that there is an increased chance that they will have heart attack at some time. Warning signs of a heart attack are chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. These signs mean that the person may be having a heart attack right now and needs immediate help.
As with heart attacks, people who die by suicide usually show some indication of immediate risk before their deaths. Recognizing the warning signs for suicide can help us to intervene to save a life.
A person who is thinking about suicide may say so directly: “I’m going to kill myself.” More commonly, they may say something more indirect: “I just want the pain to end,” or “I can’t see any way out.”
Most of the time, people who kill themselves show one or more of these warning signs before they take action:
- Talking about wanting to kill themselves, or saying they wish they were dead
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as hoarding medicine or buying a gun
- Talking about a specific suicide plan
- Feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Feeling trapped, desperate, or needing to escape from an intolerable situation
- Having the feeling of being a burden to others
- Feeling humiliated
- Having intense anxiety and/or panic attacks
- Losing interest in things, or losing the ability to experience pleasure
- Becoming socially isolated and withdrawn from friends, family, and others
- Acting irritable or agitated
- Showing rage, or talking about seeking revenge for being victimized or rejected, whether or not the situations the person describes seem real
Individuals who show such behaviors should be evaluated for possible suicide risk by a medical doctor or mental health professional.
What To Do When You Suspect Someone May Be at Risk for Suicide
Take it Seriously
- 50% to 75% of all people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention.
- If someone you know shows the warning signs above, the time to act is now.
- Begin by telling the suicidal person you are concerned about them.
- Tell them specifically what they have said or done that makes you feel concerned about suicide.
- Don’t be afraid to ask whether the person is considering suicide, and whether they have a particular plan or method in mind. These questions will not push them toward suicide if they were not considering it.
- Ask if they are seeing a clinician or are taking medication so the treating person can be contacted.
- Do not try to argue someone out of suicide. Instead, let them know that you care, that they are not alone and that they can get help. Avoid pleading and preaching to them with statements such as, “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.”
Encourage Professional Help
- Actively encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
- People considering suicide often believe they cannot be helped. If you can, assist them to identify a professional and schedule an appointment. If they will let you, go to the appointment with them.
- If the person is threatening, talking about, or making specific plans for suicide, this is a crisis requiring immediate attention. Do not leave the person alone.
- Remove any firearms, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used for suicide from the area.
- Take the person to a walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital or a hospital emergency room.
- If these options are not available, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for assistance.
Follow-Up on Treatment
- Still skeptical that they can be helped, the suicidal person may need your support to continue with treatment after the first session.
- If medication is prescribed, support the person to take it exactly as prescribed. Be aware of possible side effects, and notify the person who prescribed the medicine if the suicidal person seems to be getting worse, or resists taking the medicine. The doctor can often adjust the medications or dosage to work better for them.
- Help the person understand that it may take time and persistence to find the right medication and the right therapist. Offer your encouragement and support throughout the process, until the suicidal crisis has passed.
Childhood sports programs have grown significantly in recent years. Millions of boys and girls are now involved in Little League baseball, youth soccer, community basketball leagues, competitive swimming teams, and similar types of activities. Happily, sports programs are becoming increasingly available for girls, whose need for such activities and whose ability to participate is equal to that of boys. If your own child joins one or more of these programs, he will have a wonderful opportunity for fun and fitness. At the same time, however, a youngster poorly matched to a sports team—or who must deal with unrealistic expectations from a parent, a coach, or even himself—can have a very negative sports experience, filled with stress and frustration.
Before your child enters a youth sports program, evaluate his objectives as well as your own. Although both child and parent may fantasize about using this as a stepping-stone toward becoming a professional athlete or an Olympic champion, few participants have the talent and dedication to reach those heights. Even more modest goals are far from guaranteed: Only one in four outstanding elementary school athletes becomes a sports standout in high school. Only one in more than 6,600 high school football players will ever rise to the professional football ranks.
Nevertheless, there are other, more important reasons for your child to participate in organized sports. Sports can contribute to physical fitness and develop basic motor skills. Also, participation in the sports activity that best suits your child’s capabilities can develop leadership skills, boost self-confidence, teach the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship, and help him deal with both success and failure. In addition, by participating in sports, children often find exercise enjoyable and are more likely to establish lifelong habits of healthful exercise. However, not all sports meet the requirements for promoting overall fitness. Also, there are many ways for children to be fit and become active without participating in a team sport.
Talk with your child about his interest in youth sports, and what his reasons may be for wanting (or in some cases, not wanting) to participate. His goals may be different from yours. Most children—particularly the younger ones—might say that they simply want to have fun. Others may add that they want to be active and hope to spend time and share experiences with friends. You may have all of these goals, too, along with the desire that your youngster develop an appreciation for sports and fitness.
If either you or your child places winning at or near the top of your list of goals—and if you put pressure on your child to win a tournament or kick a goal—your priorities are out of line. Winning certainly adds to the fun and excitement of sports, but it should not be a primary goal.
- Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
Posted on Jul 3, 2014 in News
Pediatrics West will be closed Friday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day
Beginning Monday, June 30th we begin our summer hours:
Saturday, July 5th – Westford office only from 9am – 3pm