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Health and Wellness Archive

The Not So Angry Vitamin

Natrol offered CarSeatBlog a chance to review some vitamins, and given my kiddo is usually down to try just about anything, I took them up on the offer.

A few weeks later a package with two bottles arrived in the mail. Liam was jumping up and down because of course he loves playing Angry Birds on the iPad and these vitamins just so happen to be Angry Birds themed.

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I got two different bottles, one containing vitamin gummies and the other containing vitamin chews.
The gummies came in a red bottle with 60 gummies per bottle. It retails for about $5.99 at Amazon.com. Kids are to chew 2 gummies a day, which of course Liam had no problem with. They taste great (yes, I had to try them too!) and don’t stick to teeth as much as your run of the mill gummy treat so I like that aspect since anything gummy related usually makes me cringe. I typically avoid gummy vitamins altogether but these really weren’t bad as far as stickiness goes! They don’t contain as many minerals as the chews do, but have higher amounts of the ones they do contain. They are sweetened and colored with fruit juice extracts. They do contain tree nuts (from fractionated coconut oil) but are free of egg, fish, shellfish, wheat, peanuts, soy, yeast, and artificial colors or flavors.

The chews came in a big blue bottle with a count of 180. They retail for about $6.95 at Amazon.com. These are the more classic chewable vitamin, with a light berry flavor. They have more of the typical vitamin taste- I believe it’s probably the iron, which the gummies do not contain. Liam ate them no problem, and I didn’t find them offensive in the least. The instructions are to chew 3 tablets daily, which is quite a bit considering they are on the larger side in the first place. Plus 180 seems like a lot but you have to remember you’re taking 3 a day. However, it’s still about 60 days worth of vitamins for just over $20 so that’s still pretty darn good for a quality multivitamin! The chews contain additional B1, B2, B3, K, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum, all of which the gummies do not contain. They also contain beet root powder, artichoke extract, bilberry extract, carrot powder, and cranberry extract. They are free of milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, yeast, and any artificial colors or flavors. They do contain wheat, but are a good choice for those with peanut or tree nut allergies!

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All in all, we liked them. I do wish they contained more whole food additives since we try to avoid most synthetic vitamins but they were much better than typical mainstream vitamins you pick up at the drugstore. I also wish the B12 was methylcobalamin instead of synthetic cyanocobalamin, but to be fair, it is very difficult to find methylcobalamin in most supplements. They tasted great, are fun for the kids (who doesn’t like an Angry Bird?), won’t empty your wallet, and are easy to obtain. Plus they came with a fun little bird prize that unfortunately had to go live on top of the refrigerator so our vacuum, I mean baby, doesn’t suck it into his esophagus.

Thank you to Natrol for the sample bottles and the chance to review the vitamins! This review and all opinions are entirely my own and myself or CarSeatBlog were not provided any monetary compensation from Natrol.

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Mythbusting: Infant seats are bubbles of protection

Next time you’re standing on that wiggly kitchen stool, changing yet another lightbulb…don’t forget what Sir Isaac taught us. So what do you think—does gravity find babies attractive, too? CONFIRMED? PLAUSIBLE? BUSTED? Ten pounds of feathers, ten pounds of bricks, or ten pounds of baby—gravity doesn’t discriminate.

Earlier this year, Home Depot employee Chris Strickland was launched to notoriety when his quick actions saved an infant from a three-foot tumble off of the top of a shopping cart. Unfortunately, not all babies have a guardian angel like Mr. Strickland looking out for them. The Internet is full of stories from parents and on-lookers about children falling from carts. In 2011, a three month old infant died after falling from a shopping cart. While we know that carseats save lives, it’s easy to understand why parents believe that their children are also protected while “clicked” in their infant seats into place on the top of a shopping cart. And while videos of people pouring ice water over their heads to avoid donating to charity explode on the Internet, stories like Kristin Auger’s barely garner public attention.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.01.26 PMWhen we think about children being injured or killed in carseats, we typically think about car crashes. Researchers in British Columbia collected 5 years of child restraint-related injury data (N=95), published in this 2008 Pediatrics International article, that should have you re-evaluating this exclusive assumption. While this article was intended to address carseat misuse, it does so in the context of out-of-vehicle use. The authors concluded that “among all infants, falls were a common mechanism of injury resulting from CRS misuse” and urged for preventative efforts to help educate parents and caregivers on out-of-vehicle child restraint injuries. In this study, 6% of subjects had been injured in falls from shopping carts…all of which were completely preventable.

I took a field trip to a local Target to snap a photo of the warnings parents see on each and every cart, warning them against placing carseats on carts…

Shopping Cart "Warning"

Shopping Cart “Warning”

….is it any wonder parents are still confused?

 

Myth…BUSTED!

 

 

 

 

Watch the shocking Home Depot video where not only does the carseat tip from the cart, but the infant wasn’t buckled in the carseat:

Tamiflu and You. Can it protect you from the bug the kids got at school?

Tamiflu is a prescription medicine used to treat the flu (influenza) in people 2 weeks of age and older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 2 days. Tamiflu can also reduce the chance of getting the flu in people 1 year and older. Tamiflu is not a substitute for an annual flu vaccination.”

Our 7-year old picked up something at school recently.  He was pretty sick two weeks ago and missed both Friday and Monday at school.  At the worst, he had nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and felt lousy.  Minor symptoms persisted a couple days longer.  Then our older kids got it.  They also missed a 2-3 days of school last week and reported aches, pains and chills as well and didn’t fully recover for about 5 days.  Last Wednesday, my wife got hit pretty bad with “flu-like symptoms”, including fatigue that kept her in bed most of the day.

That morning, I ventured out to stock up on additional supplies.  Gatorade, ginger ale, Tylenol, soup, bread, etc.  While I was driving to the store, I happened to talk to Kecia and she mentioned I should inquire about Tamiflu, as it is apparently prescribed as a preventative.  Great idea!

So, I called my doctor’s office and talked to a nurse.  I stated I was wondering if it was still early enough for my wife to have Tamiflu or if it might be given as a preventative for me, as I was the only one yet to get it.  Apparently, even though they readily give antibiotics if you complain of a sneeze, doctors are not as lenient with Tamiflu.

The nurse grilled me about symptoms and other details, apparently skeptical that our family even had the flu.  Maybe they didn’t, though absent a blood culture, I’m not sure how they would completely rule it out.  She sounded doubtful, but said she would call be back.  I lingered in the store, hoping that the pharmacy could fill it while I was there.

A few hours later, back at home, she returned the call.  She was unconvinced and asked more about my wife’s symptoms.  So, I roused her from her death-like state and forced her to croak at the nurse about her condition.  The nurse said she doubted any pharmacy had any, since the flu season was over, but said she would talk to the doctor again and call back (my wife uses another physician at the same practice).

The call never came.  But on Friday, two days later, I got a call from the grocery store pharmacy that the prescription was ready.  Doh!  By that time it was too late for my wife, so I began taking it as a preventative.  It may have been too late for prevention, also, as I began to have symptoms just hours later.  Apparently, Tamiflu itself can cause similar side effects, so that’s a possibility, too.  Also, for any type of stomach flu or gastroenteritis, Tamiflu is not likely to be effective at all:-(

I had mild symptoms for about an hour or so.  A week has now passed and since then, nothing at all.  I figure that I must have been exposed in that time, but it’s now been two weeks since my youngest son first started exhibiting serious symptoms.  Perhaps it worked as advertised?

In any case, it made me wonder.  Here we have this drug that may help prevent or lessen the symptoms of the flu if taken soon enough.  Great.  But, it has to be taken just before or very early after you show the first symptoms.  Given that, just how likely is it that your doctor will actually prescribe it for you in time for it to be of any use?  With the way a lot of physician’s offices work these days, I’m thinking not very often!

Have any of you taken Tamiflu?  Do you think it helped?  How difficult was it to obtain?

What Are The Risks?

Parents worry.  We worry about the latest flu bug.  Worry about keeping household cleaners and other poisons out of the reach of our young kids.  Worry about a child getting a hold of matches.  Worry about SIDS.  Worry about falls on stairways.  Worry about handguns and assault weapons at schools or even from under a mattress at home.  Most parents spend the necessary time protecting their babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers from a host of potential dangers.  Unfortunately, for some children, the amount of time worrying about traveling in a car literally stops when the caregiver buys a carseat and quickly belts it into their vehicle.  Even then, perhaps only because it’s required by law, up to age 8 in most states.  Should they care more, or is it just another case of nanny state interference?

I did a quick inquiry of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISQARS database on the leading causes of death.  For the most recent decade of data, 2001- 2010, I took a look at the top killers of children ages 1 to 8 years old.  Here’s what I found:

#1 cause of death overall: Motor Vehicle Traffic, 8,640 deaths

#2 cause of death overall: Malignant Neoplasms, 7,745 deaths

#2 cause of death from unintentional injury: Drowning, 5,697 deaths

Some Other causes of untintentional fatal injury combined:  Fires/burns (3,123), suffocation (1,682) , falls (520),  poisoning (438) , influenza (1,651), firearms (278 unintentional + 859 homicide).  Total = 8,551 deaths.

ALL other causes from unintentional injury combined, other than motor vehicle crashes, drowning and fires: Total = 6,692 deaths.

As you can see, car crashes take more lives than many other causes of fatal injury, combined!  The numbers are staggering in comparison, yet we never hear about outbreaks, sprees or epidemics of car crashes.  Sadly, the #1 killer claims its victims quietly, one, two or three young lives at a time.  There are rarely front page stories.  There are no headlines on the six o’clock national news.  Yet, this killer continues to claim the lives of more children each year than all the causes that mainstream media fear mongers place daily into every worrying parent’s mind.  Most of these deaths are to children who are not using an appropriate child restraint at all.  Misuse contributes to injuries for many of those who are using a child restraint system.

The vaccine is proven.  The CDC calls the fight against this killer, “A winnable battle.”  The effectiveness of this vaccine varies from 54% for children to 71% for infants.  So, why do many parents choose not to protect their children, according to best practices set by the pediatricians that  they trust?  We wish we knew!  Some argue against these safest practices, citing a variety of reasons why the burden is simply to great.  We think the burden is essentially nothing at all in terms of time, hassle or money, especially compared to the burden of having a child become a statistic.

What do you think?  Possible cure to a quiet epidemic?  Or is your freedom to parent your child being unfairly restricted by the government?  Is keeping your toddler rear-facing too expensive or too time-consuming?  Or do you try to follow the advice of major organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the NHTSA or Safe Kids USA?  When you are with other moms or dads, does talking about carseat safety elicit the same interest as school shootings or the latest flu strain?