Phthalates may be harming your little girl’s health, says study
Recent research may make you grab that phthalate-free sippy cup the next time you're out shopping. Published in the journal Environment International, the study found that early childhood exposure to phthalates was linked to lower thyroid function in girls, reported Time. (The thyroid produces hormones that help control proper brain development.)
Researchers looked at data collected from 229 women when they were pregnant and their children once they grew to 3 years old. They found that exposure to a common group of phthalates was linked with lower levels of active thyroid functions in the preschool-age girls.
“I think the message to consumers is be careful of the products they use,” study author Pam Factor-Litvak, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told Time. “Depressed thyroid hormones are associated in many studies with feelings of depression, anxiety and behavior problems in children as well as metabolic issues later in life.”
Phthalates are chemicals that can be found in a variety of household items including plastic toys, electronics, plastic containers and even toiletries like shampoo. If you want to lessen the phthalates your family comes in contact with, consider ditching products with “fragrance” on the label. It almost always points to the presence of the chemical, according to Huffington Post. When picking storage containers for food, avoid plastic and never reheat food in them especially if they don't have a microwave-safe label. Opt for stainless steel, silicone or glass food containers instead.
Almost half of kids killed in car crashes aren’t properly restrained in their seats
For those who have doubted the usefulness of a car seat for babies or always let their 5-year-olds get away without wearing a seat belt, a new report has a compelling reason for you to be more vigilant in making sure your children buckle up.
Published in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers examined the factors that increased the likelihood of a child dying in a car accident in the U.S. One big factor: a child who was unrestrained or improperly restrained while in a vehicle, reported Huffington Post.
The study involved analyzing four years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Researchers looked at more than 18,000 children below 15 years old who were involved in fatal car crashes -- 16 percent of whom were killed. Results showed that 43 percent of those who died were not buckled up or were buckled up poorly. Plus, 13 percent, who were all below 13 years old, were seated in the front seat.
According to the latest guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years of age. See the rest of the recommendations here.
A few more findings from the study are notable. Of the children involved in a fatal car crash, 9 percent were riding in a vehicle driven by someone under the influence of alcohol. Though vans can give added protection to its passengers, these vehicles posed an “increased threat of injury to pedestrians and occupants of smaller vehicles,” wrote the researchers.