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Family F.Y.I. (May 2011)

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Kid-Friendly Nail Polish

Most girls love gorgeous, freshly painted nails. However, most don’t love the smell of the harsh chemicals that can leave you feeling light-headed. And if the idea of painting your daughter’s nails with these chemicals and then watching her inevitably stick her fingers in her mouth makes you cringe, these water-based, eco-friendly and fabulous polishes may be perfect for your family!

Piggy Paint is made especially for kids and is entirely biodegradable and hypoallergenic. It has little odor and is available in a range of bright, cheery colors. Products are available online at www.piggypaint.com. A new line for adults is coming soon.

Another fun alternative to solvent-based polishes is Hopscotch Kids. Like Piggy Paint, Hopscotch Kids was founded by a mom who was concerned about the strong chemicals in nail polish and their effect on her children and the environment. Hopscotch Kids’ Watercolors are available online at www.hopscotchkids.com, sold individually and in gift packs.

– Sarah Niss


Study Slams Kids’ Medicine Dosing Instructions

The instructions that are supposed to help parents deliver a correct dose of over-the-counter (OTC) liquid medications to kids are confusing to the point of being slipshod, leaving children vulnerable to either overdose (which can be fatal) or under-dose, new research has found.

A study published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at 200 top-selling pain reliever/fever reducer, cough/cold, allergy and gastrointestinal children’s liquid nonprescription medicines, and found the following:

• 26 percent of the products did not include a cup, spoon, syringe or other dosing device;

• 24 percent of dosing devices did not have markings indicating the exact dose to be delivered; and

• In 89 percent of the dosing devices, the units of measure (i.e. milliliters, teaspoons, etc.) on the device did not match the units of measure listed on package instructions.

Worse, manufacturers of these medications can’t seem to agree on a standard unit of measure. The study found milliliters, cubic centimeters, teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces and drams on various packages they examined.

In a JAMA editorial accompanying the study, Darren A. DeWalt, M.D., compared the behavior of drug companies – which spend billions of dollars developing, testing and marketing medications with unclear dosing instructions – to a gymnast who performs a perfect routine and then botches the dismount.

“Everyone in research, education, and clinical care must refine and test their dismount routines with the expectation that patients will have a chance to experience the benefit of medicine’s discoveries,” he writes. “It is time to learn to stick the landing.”

Until that happens, what can you do as a parent? Take care when giving your child medication. Make sure that you have a measuring device in the package or from your pharmacist, and that its markings match your dosing instructions. And if you have any doubts about how much medication to give, ask your doctor.

– Christina Elston

Updated 4:48 pm, May 30, 2012
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