Cook Children’s has given us some useful tips on playing it safe around water this summer! Locally, seventy-five percent of drownings and near-drowning incidents happen in pools, with children 4 years old or under. Active adult supervision and layers of protection such as door alarms and a fence around the pool itself can lower the risk for your child.
This year, Safe Kids Tarrant County (SKTC), led by Cook Children’s, is partnering with the North Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance to promote the Play It Safer Around Water campaign. Read their tips on keeping your children safe around water. It only takes an inch of water for kids to drown and it’s very silent.
Be Informed! Drowning is a quick and silent killer.
It only takes an inch of water for kids to drown and it’s very silent.
Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional death for children 14 years and under.
Every year approximately 815 children 14 years and under drown in pools and spas, almost 300 of which are under the age of 5. Thousands more are hospitalized for related unintentional injuries.
Backyard pools/spas need fences/alarms.
Four-sided isolation fencing around home pools could prevent 50 percent to 90 percent of childhood drownings and near-drowning incidents.
When installing the fence should be at least 4 feet (preferably 5 feet) high with a self-closing/self-latching gate that only opens out.
Door and window alarms can give you the valuable seconds needed to keep your children from getting outside to the pool. Make sure to alarm any windows and doors that open directly into the pool area.
Reroute any doggie doors that have direct access to the pool area too.
Pool surface alarms are also a great option to alert you if anyone/anything falls into the pool. You can even put an alarm on your child that will alert you if they are submersed.
Pool and spa covers are another useful Layer of Protection. The covers should be sturdy enough to support the weight of a child or multiple children and latches should be properly locked whenever you are not using the area.
U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejackets save lives.
Remember that as your child grows, the lifejacket needs to meet their new weight. Get a new lifejacket if there are rips and tears or fraying of the straps. Look for the words “U.S. Coast Guard Approved” or “USCG Approved on the jacket.”
Any items filled with air (arm floaties, rafts, etc.) are considered toys and not a life saving device.
Alcohol and water activities are a bad mix.
Many boating-related drownings have alcohol involved. Reflexes and judgment can be impaired, so have a designated driver even on a boat – and especially if children are on board.
Danger zones: bathtubs, buckets, toilets, lakes, pools and spas.
Be sure to always drain or empty bathtubs, buckets, ice chests, and even inflatable pools when they are not in use.
Keep toilet seats down but preferably use a childproof latch to keep children out.
Remove any toys, slides, ladders or any other items that may attract children to the pool or spa.
Supervise with your eyes. Always be a Water Watcher.
Active supervision of children in and around water can help keep them safer.
Designate a Water Watcher when at the pool, lake or beach. In addition to parents watching their own kids, or even life guards – a Water Watcher is another Layer of Protection especially at parties.
Work in recommended shifts of 15 minutes to insure that an undistracted adult is always watching the water.
If a child goes missing check the water first!
Reach and throw – Don’t go!
Prepare for an emergency by having a pool hook, foam noodle, or life jacket available to throw out for help if needed.
If there is someone in the water in need of help try to reach to them with a towel, pool hook, foam noodle or any other device that you can safely extend to them.
If you cannot reach the person then throw them a rescue ring or another approved flotation device that they can use to remain above the water.
Do not go in the water after the person if at all avoidable!
Summer sun, water fun, if trouble comes, call 9-1-1.
Learn to swim at any age.
Drownings and near drownings are 8 times more likely to happen to children that don’t know how to swim or are being supervised by adults that don’t know how to swim.
Learning how to swim and practicing proper water safety techniques are crucial but children that know how to swim are still at risk. Knowing how to swim is just one Layer of Protection.
It is important to always use as many of the Layers of Protection as possible in order to Play It Safer Around Water.
Learn CPR for the family.
Learning CPR can be the difference between life and death while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
Check your local Red Cross and YMCA for classes.
Simple steps do save lives and you never know which step might save someone that you love.
Keep safety equipment nearby.
Be sure to always have rescue rings, pool hooks, approved flotation devices and a phone nearby.
Have the address of the pool/lake readily available in case something does happen so you can call 911.
~ All information gathered from Safe Kids USA and Pool Safely.
For more Water Safety information contact Safe Kids Tarrant County at 682-885-4244.
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute suggest five ways to help support families dealing with childhood cancer. Jane Roper, author and childhood cancer advocate, highlights these five ways:
When our five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) last summer, our world was turned upside down.
Extended hospital stays, twice weekly clinic visits, the side effects of chemo and the constant possibility of unexpected hospital admissions mean stress and exhaustion for all of us. And looming in the background of it all is the unspoken worry: will our daughter get through this?
It’s a hard time in our lives, to say the least. But the amazing outpouring of support from our friends and family has gone a long way to make it easier. If someone you know has a child being treated for cancer, there are a lot of ways to help. Here are some tips and ideas based on our experience and that of other families we’ve met:
1. Don’t just ask; do. It’s nice to say, “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But we love even more when people don’t leave the ball in our court, but make a concrete offer: “I’d like to bring a meal, if that would help. When would be the best time to deliver it?” or “I’m free this Saturday night. Want me to come babysit so you can have a night out?”
2. Give a gift card. It may seem impersonal, but it’s not. Having a child with cancer can be a major financial strain on families, between related expenses (parking, co-pays, take-out food, etc.) or a parent having to work less or not at all. Gift cards for household expenses like groceries, pharmacy and purchases at places like Target or The Home Depot can be a huge help. (Personally, I always appreciated Starbucks cards, too!)
3. Don’t forget siblings. Cancer is just as disruptive to the lives of “well” children as it is to their brothers or sisters with cancer. Siblings grapple with jealousy, fear, anger and a host of other emotions. If you want to send a gift for the child with cancer, give something equally special to his or her siblings. Not only will the siblings appreciate it; the parents will, too—trust me.
4. Help later. While it’s natural to want to help immediately after a child is diagnosed, don’t forget that cancer can be a long haul. There may be months or even years of treatment and hospital stays ahead. And while cancer quickly becomes the “new normal” for families, the emotional and financial strains remain.
I was thrilled when, just recently—a whole six months after our daughter’s diagnosis—a friend sent us a gift certificate to a gourmet Italian food store that makes amazing frozen entrees. There’s nothing like pulling a delicious, ready-made meal from the freezer after a long, draining day at the clinic.
5. Say something. We are moved and appreciative when friends send gifts, make meals, etc. But we also love getting cards (especially darkly funny ones—but that’s just us), emails, or even simply hearing “I’ve been thinking about you,” when we see friends and acquaintances. It’s a source of great comfort and strength to us to know that people are sending “good vibes” to our family.
Some friends kept their distance after they learned of our daughter’s cancer, later telling us that they “didn’t know what to say,” or thought that just sending their thoughts or sympathies wouldn’t be enough given the magnitude of our situation, so it was better to keep silent. This couldn’t have been farther from the truth. We don’t need to be handled with kid gloves just because we’ve got a sick child. If anything, we’re tougher than ever.
Of course, all of the above are based on our family’s particular preferences and experiences. But I’ll go out on a limb here and say that if you’re not sure how to support a family dealing with a childhood cancer, you probably can’t go wrong with #5.
Jane Roper is the author of a memoir, Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins (St. Martin’s Press, 2012), and a novel, Eden Lake (Last Light Studio, 2011). She received her MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her writing has appeared on Salon, Babble, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus and elsewhere. Jane lives in the Boston area with her husband and twin daughters.
CareCare offers great professional support services for anyone affected by cancer. This week, we’re learning from them how to talk to your healthy children about a sibling being diagnosed with cancer.
A cancer diagnosis has a profound effect on the entire family, especially when it is a child who is diagnosed. While you, family and friends are understandably focused on the care of the ill child, your healthy children may feel isolated and believe their needs are being neglected. Activities may be reduced or eliminated (i.e. there is simply no one to take them to soccer practice or a movie). If they complain, sometimes they are told they’re being selfish and should be happy that they’re healthy. As a result, these children may have feelings of hopelessness, anger, fear and sadness. It helps to talk to your children about their feelings.
Here are some steps you can take to ease your children’s anxiety:
Tell your children it is not their fault. Some children will believe they did something wrong and it is their fault that their brother or sister got cancer. They may have called their sibling a bad name or wished they were an only child. It is important to talk with your children to help them understand they did nothing wrong and they did not cause the cancer. Talking with children includes listening to them and being sure you understand what they are saying.
Give age-appropriate, accurate and honest information about the cancer. Trying to “protect” your children by shielding information does not work. They can sense that something is wrong and will do everything they can to find out the truth, even if it means letting their imagination fill in the blanks. Use the word cancer; do not be afraid of it. Answer all of your children’s questions honestly. You don’t have to be pessimistic or go into details or statistics about the disease to be honest. You can be realistic while remaining hopeful.
Prepare the well children for changes in the ill child’s appearance. Cancer treatment can affect the ill child’s appearance, including hair loss and weight loss or gain. These changes can be frightening for the other children. Talking about possible changes in appearance ahead of time will reduce the fear and allow the well children to be more accepting.
Ask the well children to help and be involved in the ill child’s care. Allowing a child to help is a wonderful way of letting the child feel important, but keep the tasks age-appropriate. For a young child, getting a glass of water may be enough. The older the child is the more he/she can do for the family.
Make time to be with the well children. As a parent, it is important to make time to be with all your children and to let them know that they are still special to you. You can explain that the ill child needs a lot of attention right now but that does not mean you love the ill child more then you love them. You can also ask a neighbor, relative, or school professional to be a special friend to the well child. Pick someone the child knows, and trusts, and ask that person to be there if the child needs someone when you are not available.
Although New Year’s has come and gone, we’re going to take the opportunity to reflect on what your support has meant to children diagnosed with cancer and what you helped accomplished in 2012. The TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation has awarded over $1.1 million to childhood cancer research projects across the nation.
In 2012, with YOUR help, we awarded $20,000 to a specialized patient program and $320,000 to four cutting-edge research projects that will advance the treatment and cure of pediatric cancer. Although our work to help find better treatments and a cure for childhood cancer is far from over, we see wonderful reasons to celebrate every day. We look forward to sharing many more success stories with you in the upcoming year.
Here are the projects that YOU helped fund in 2012:
1. $60,000 awarded to Dr. Richard Drissi with Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center
This grant will further Dr. Drissi’s study of telomerase (a repeating DNA sequence) as a marker and therapeutic target for pediatric high-grade glioma, a tumor found in the brain or spine. If successful, the inital impact would be directed to children with glioma, but the proof of concept could be used in the treatment of other pediatic tumors for which telomerase plays a role.
Cincinnatic Children’s Hospital Medical Center is a leading medical research institution and teaching hospital consistently ranked as one of America’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.
Above: Dr. Drissi examines lab results.
2. $100,000 awarded to Dr. Nabil Ahmed with Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center in Houston, TX
This grant will fund a Phase I/II clinical trial studying immunotherapy for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBM is a type of high-grade glimoa (brain tumor) that has a very poor survival rate in pediatric patients. Dr. Ahmed’s clinical trial will study CAR (chimeric antigen receptor)T cell therapy. A CAR is a protein composed of an antibody that can bind to a known target. The fusion partner, the other part of the CAR, contains the business end which is basically the engine the activates the T cell and tells it to kill the tumor cell that it’s bound to, and also makes the T cell proliferate. If successful, Dr. Ahmed will be able to focus this therapy specifcally for patients with HER2, a specific growth factor present in GBM, but not in normal brain tissue.
Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center is the largest pediatric cancer and hematology research and treatment center in the country. It ranks 4th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, making them the #1 center outside the northeast U.S. and #1 in Texas.
3. $60,000 awarded to Dr. Flores-Diaz with UCSF San Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, CA
This grant will support a trial using genome-wide profiling to identify novel alterations in leukemia. Dr. Flores-Diaz and his team are using drug inhibitors to see if they can stop the perturbed signaling pathway of the immune system in high-risk ALL patients, a group of patients that remains very challenging to treat.
In one of the more astonishing breakthroughs of 2012, Dr. Flores-Diaz’s team discovered that up to 35% of children with hypodiploid ALL may actually have a cancer predisposition syndrome known as Li-Fraumeni syndrome. This discovery will have immediately impacts on affected families with respect to cancer screening implications.
UCSF San Benioff Children’s Hospital is one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation, according to a ranking by U.S. News & World Report. Their expertise covers virtually all pediatric conditions, including cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders, organ transplants and orthopedics as well as the care of critically ill newborns.
Above: Dr. Flores-Diaz, Dr. Loh, and colleague
4. $100,000 awarded Dr. Andreas Lacko, Dr. Paul Bowman, and Dr. Meaghan Granger with Cook’s Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth, TX
This grant will fund the second phase of a study invovling mice and neuroblastoma tumors. The study is a pre-clinical investigation to evaluate the anti-tumor effectiveness and the unexpected toxicity of a novel fenretinide (chemotherapeutic agent) formulation in mice. The third phase of this project will be a prosed clinical trial and is anticipated to being in two years. If successful, the trial will develop a novel, enhanced chemotherapy strategy for neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid cancer found in infancy and childhood.
Cook Children’s Health Care System is one of the country’s leading integrated pediatric health care systems. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, the not-for-profit organization includes a nationally recognized Medical Center, Physician Network, Northeast Hospital, Pediatric Surgery Center, Home Health company, Health Plan and Health Foundation.
5. $20,000 Gifted to Children’s Medical Center Dallas
This grant supported a specialized art program for stem cell transplant patients in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. The program is an essential component of quality pediatric health care and aims to minimize the impact of illness on a child’s normal growth and emotiona and cognitive development.
CCBD patients often have psychological and emotional needs that arise from living with cancer and blood disorders. Due to the patient’s severly compromised immune systems, they frequently have to maintain very limit and occasionally no contact with their immediate family. This often results in feelings of isolation and loneliness. Working with art materials has proven to be very beneficial in combating these feelings and can often make the difference between a good day or a bad day in the hospital.
Researchers announced at a major cancer conference that girls who survive childhood cancer face a higher risk for breast cancer later on in life from their early chest radiation treatments. A study of more than 1,200 women who had received chest radiation for childhood cancers found 24% developed breast cancer by age 50. For Hodgkins Lymphoma survivors, about 30% developed breast cancer by age 50. That’s about 15x the normal rate. Learn more about future risks childhood cancer survivors face here.
TeamConnor is receiving new support, thanks to a grant from Northwestern Mutual.
Through its Foundation, Northwestern Mutual is awarding its Dallas office with the company’s 2012 Community Impact Award for its work with the TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation. Teamconnor raises awareness, supports families and funds research to help find a cure for childhood cancer. To honor the office’s outstanding volunteer efforts, the TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation will receive a $50,000 grant.
TeamConnor will use the grant to help take the Coins for Kids with Cancer campaign to the national level. The school-driven campaign, run within elementary and high schools, helps to raise awareness of childhood cancer and allows students to donate coins for childhood cancer research.
Northwestern Mutual’s Dallas-based office launched TeamConnor in 2008 after Managing Partner Tait Cruse’s son — Connor — was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which is one of the most common cancers affecting young children. After Connor’s passing in 2009, the Northwestern Mutual team committed to raising money to fund research into new, innovative treatments for children with cancer.
In February 2011, TeamConnor proudly provided a $75,000 grant to Nai-Kong V. Cheung, MD, PhD to further his research on bispecific T-Cell engaging antibody to target neuroblastoma. Now Dr. Cheung and his colleagues — in collaboration with investigators at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine — have identified gene mutations that are common in teenagers and adults with advanced stages of neuroblastoma.
Mutations in a gene called ATRX that commonly is mutated in tumors from patients with neuroblastoma diagnosed as adolescents and young adults might explain why tumors behave differently across age group. “We are in a better position than ever before to advance our understanding of neuroblastoma,” says Dr. Cheung. Dr. Cheung is hopeful that the findings could lead to the development of genetic tests to inform treatment decisions in children with neuroblastoma.
Read the full article from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, click here.
Whilst reading the New York Times yesterday, I came across a new post on The Time’s Well Blog. Suleika Jaouad, 23, is chronicling her return to her parents’ home, and to a life of being cared for as a result of her diagnosis of leukemia last year, and now, waiting for a bone marrow transplant, her life has become, she writes, a “slow emergency,” her world “a waiting room.”
She posts a video portrait, “Facing Cancer in Your 20s,” in which her mother can be seen in the background wiping away tears. Read her journal entries, watch the video, and know that you too will be wiping away tears. Her experience reveals the struggles of a child fighting for her life and the struggles of her parents experience hopelessness, uselessness, and being forced to watch from behind.
This story was recently reported in the Dallas, TX local news. It’s amazing how a small, simple fruit fly could have such a huge impact on rhabdomyosarcoma. For more information, click here. More Information »
This story was recently reported in the Dallas, TX local news. It’s amazing how a small, simple fruit fly could have such a huge impact on rhabdomyosarcoma. For more information, click here. More Information »