It’s not a pleasant subject but we must all be aware of the dangers and the signs to look for – they are not the ones we would expect. And it’s not always the places we expect either. When my brother was 6, we were on holiday in Paris and he sat on the stony edge of a fountain in one of the parks. His back was to the water and there were several other people including kids doing the same thing. I was a teen at the time, just 3 feet away watching him turn his body to straddle the stone then in one flowing movement he lifted his other leg over and slid down into the water. I was rooted to the spot and couldn’t even shout out. Luckily the man sitting right next to him turned his head , saw what was happening and at the same time reached down with his hand and pulled my brother out by the collar just as he sunk completely under water. He didn’t even realise what was happening and thank God that man had reflexes! We did not make too much fuss aware that our reaction would affect him. For the next 2 yrs my brother would not go near water. He had spent at most 5 seconds totally under water.

Source: Mario Vittonne

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”

How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life. (more…)


It’s a simple manifesto for eating healthily and in moderation. Don’t lift a fork until you’ve read Michael Pollan’s new book

Source: Times Online

Human beings ate well and kept themselves healthy for millenniums before nutritional science came along to tell us how to do it. Eating in our time has become complicated — and needlessly so. Experts of one kind or another tell us how to eat, from doctors and diet books, to the latest findings in nutritional science, to government advisories and food pyramids. But for all the scientific baggage we have taken on in recent years, we still don’t know what we should be eating. Sorting through the long-running fat versus carb wars, the fibre skirmishes and the raging dietary-supplement debates, the picture is actually very simple. There are, basically, two important things you need to know about diet and health:

Fact one: Populations that eat a so-called western diet, consisting of lots of processed food and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits and wholegrains, invariably suffer most from western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Fact two: Populations eating a remarkably wide range of traditional diets, from diets high in fat, to those high in carbohydrate or protein, generally don’t suffer from these chronic diseases. What this suggests is that the human omnivore is exquisitely adapted to a wide range of food and diets. Except, that is, for one: the relatively new (in evolutionary terms) western diet that most of us are now following. (more…)

Source:  Times Online

Raf Sanchez, David Rose

Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who triggered the MMR vaccine scare, has been struck off the medical register.

After nearly three years of formal investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC), Dr Wakefield has been found guilty of serious professional misconduct over “unethical” research that sparked unfounded fears that the vaccine was linked to bowel disease and autism.

Parents were advised yesterday that it was “never too late” to give their children the triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella, as the case drew to a close.

The decision marks the culmination of the longest medical misconduct hearing in the GMC’s 150-year history, which has been going on since July 2007.

A fitness to practise panel has already found Dr Wakefield and two other doctors guilty of a series of charges over the way they conducted research on 12 children, published in The Lancet medical journal in 1998. (more…)

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a major recall of cribs today. Manufacturer LaJobi is recalling 217,000 Drop Side Cribs due to a malfunction that can pose a risk of suffocation and strangulation—an issue that the CPSC has recently cited in other brands of drop-side cribs as well.

Recall Date: April 29, 2010

Name of Product: Graco®-branded drop side cribs made by LaJobi

Company/Brand: LaJobi Inc., of Cranbury, N.J.

The Hazard: CPSC is aware of 99 reports of drop-side incidents, including hardware breakage and drop-side detachment, which can create a hazardous gap between the drop side and the crib mattress where infants and toddlers can become wedged or entrapped, putting them at risk of suffocation and strangulation. In addition, children can fall from the cribs when the drop side detaches or fails to lock. In two of the reported incidents, children became entrapped in the gap created by the detached drop side (both children were freed by their caregivers). There were also six reports of children falling due to drop-side failure, including one report of a mild concussion.

The baby sling has enjoyed great popularity as a popular baby accessory – chiming perfectly in recent years with birthing and parenting choices focusing on so-called “natural” approaches – that can mean anything from giving birth in water to ensuring bottles are bpa-free. (I put natural in quotes here because my daughter was born in a hospital by c-section and, frankly, I found nothing “unnatural” about her safe birth at all.) Sales of slings have boomed in recent years and they are essential kit if you want to do a spot of attachment parenting.

Now the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning that slings may pose a risk of suffocation. It has posted diagrams to show how to safely carry a child in a sling – make sure the face and nose are visible and that the chin isn’t tucked into the neck to restrict breathing.

It’s a good point to make: that there is a smart way to use slings and just because women have used them Africa or other cultures less corrupted by the mountains of baby products than we are, parents need to use good judgment. This means making sure your baby isn’t so cuddled down and squished into the sling that it’s can’t breathe.

Let’s keep it in perspective – the CPSC pointed out that the 14 children whose deaths were associated with sling-style carriers over the past 20 years (yes, you read that right) were either a low birth weight twin, were born prematurely, or had breathing issues like a cold.

No need to chuck yours out. Check out the diagrams. Perhaps wait until your baby is a bit older with better control of its head, one expert advised. But if your child is sniffling and coughing, is small, or his or her head is being put at an angle that reduces airflow, be on the safe side and skip the sling.

The safety of baby slings has been in the news recently and I found one specific product recall of the above type that was issued yesterday in USA. Here is the full article on iVillage in the link below:

Infantino Infant Sling recall

This linked page is also a list of the Biggest Children’s Product Recalls.

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