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Children's Health

everydayfamily.com

Michigan has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a new effort is underway to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

The vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

“As parents prepare to send their children back to school….it is important they make sure each child is up to date with their immunizations,” says Dr. Kenneth Elmassian, the president of the Michigan State Medical Society.

More than a hundred children in Washtenaw County have been treated for Whooping Cough this year. There were nearly 850 cases statewide last year. One 3 month old child died. 

Cases of other preventable diseases are also on the rise in Michigan. State health officials blame Michigan’s declining child vaccination rate. 

Courtesy of Children First

Michigan has the highest rate of child poverty in the Great Lakes region, according to a report released Monday morning.

As Michigan Radio’s Jake Neher reported, data from the 2013 Kids Count survey, a nationwide study that ranks states based on child well-being, shows that about 560,000 children in Michigan live in poverty.

That statistic has increased by 6% over the last several years.

In other areas, the state does show some signs of improvement.

Only 4% of kids in Michigan are uninsured. Nationwide, about 7% of children lack health insurance.

user herval / flickr

Our State of Opportunity project focuses on kids and what it will take to get them ahead. At the most basic level, that means ensuring children are healthy. But as Michigan Radio’s Jennifer Guerra reports, nationwide drug shortages could threaten even that most basic task.

We called every neonatal intensive care unit in Michigan, and all but one got back us. Each one has experienced or is experiencing a wide variety of drug shortages in the NICU.

Medical diagnostic equipment
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

  More than a dozen insurance companies want to be part of a health care exchange that provides coverage to Michiganders under the new federal health care law.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, McLaren, United Healthcare and ten other insurance companies have applied to be part of the new health care exchange.

Beginning in October, Michiganders will be able to use a federally run exchange to compare the health care plans.  It’s all part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," which takes effect in 2014.

textinganddrivingsafely.com

A new University of Michigan survey finds many parents are distracted behind the wheel.

The U-M researchers surveyed more than 600 parents to find out what distractions they face while driving with their children.

Drugsonline.com

University of Michigan researchers say more than forty percent of parents are making a serious mistake when they try to treat their toddlers for a cough or cold.

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be used in children under age of four. The drugs have not been proven effective for young children and may cause serious side effects.

But a new poll by U of M researchers says more than 40% of parents are using the medicine to treat their toddlers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal judge has ruled that Blue Cross must pay hundreds of Michigan families who were denied coverage for behavioral therapy for children with autism.

Blue Cross contends the therapy is experimental, but doctors disagree.

The ruling may cost Blue Cross about five million dollars.

Urping: It's just what babies do

Apr 1, 2013
kbohn216 / MorgueFile

Babies spit up -- a lot. It often happens when they eat too quickly  or too much. It's normal, but it sure can scare parents.

A University of Michigan study says doctors should be careful about using labels to describe babies with upset stomachs.

Dr. Beth Tarini, an assistant professor of pediatrics at U-M, says when doctors use terms like gastroesophageal reflux disease -- or GERD -- the only thing most parents hear is "disease."

"It can transform the way the parent views the child's health. It can take a parent who has a healthy child, and have that parent start to believe that that child is actually sick," Tarini says."Parents come into the office, understandably distressed that their baby is spitting up."

Tarini says sometimes physicians, in trying to help the parents, will reach for anything they can do to help, which can lead to the overuse of antacids, like Zantac.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

A new survey shows your health may depend on where you live in Michigan.

The University of Wisconsin puts out an annual assessment of the health of the nation’s counties. The survey compares different factors, including access to clinical care and personal habits, like smoking.

As you may expect, counties surrounding Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids score high on the survey, but so do several counties in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

UM Study suggests insurance biggest factor in doctor selection

Feb 19, 2013
Courtesy: C. S. Mott Children's Hospital

A new University of Michigan study suggests recommendations by friends and family are more important than online reviews when selecting a doctor.

Dr. Matthew Davis is a pediatrician at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s  Hospital, and director of the National Poll on Children's Health.  He says location and whether a doctor will accept your insurance are the top two factors for parents.   He added, “the fact that it so far outranks, the type of practice that a Doctor provides, is a major commentary on the importance of how expensive health care is in the US and how it can really influence a family’s decision-making.”

flickr user Southworth Sailor

Today, I reported for State of Opportunity on some alarming new statistics on child abuse and neglect in Michigan.

You can click here to get the full story.

There is some debate about how to interpret a few of the statistics in the story.

One of the things I discovered while reporting the story is that it's actually hard to get good numbers on abuse and neglect in Michigan.

The state Department of Human Services provides a monthly fact sheet that includes the number of cases that were investigated, and how many were confirmed. But the numbers only cover two months worth of reports, and there's no detail on the nature of the cases, or where they occurred.

The Michigan League for Public Policy worked with the DHS to publish some more detailed measures of abuse and neglect in the latest Kids Count report.

From my perspective, even this report leaves as many questions as answers. 

That said, the statistics we do have are cause enough for concern.

Here are four to keep in mind: 

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Michigan authorities say four people are dead in two separate incidents of what may have been accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Flint police say they found a man and woman dead early Christmas morning and say a child is hospitalized as a result of an apparent accident, and a gas utility truck has been called to the scene.

Mlive.com says police aren't able to confirm that the deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning but say no foul play was involved.

Project in 23 Michigan schools seeks healthy approach

Oct 27, 2012

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan education officials are launching a pilot project in 23 high schools that aims to boost academic achievement by incorporating physical, emotional and social health programs.

The effort dubbed "think.respect." is funded through a $24 million federal grant and will be administered by the Michigan Department of Education. Schools were selected based partly on persistently low achievement.

child's drawing on chalkboard
iRon leSs / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Michigan's Department of Human Services (DHS) is piloting a new program designed to keep "at risk" kids in their homes instead of handing them over to foster care.

The program will target families with children younger than five years of age.

From DHS:

How to avoid burnout and help more people

Sep 19, 2012

Health insurance is such a political issue, talked about all the time and so dispassionately, that it can be easy to forget just how important it is to some families. But, last year the Census estimated paying for health care pushed at least 10 million Americans into poverty.

insipidlife / flickr

Kids don't get enough exercise, and it's really bad for their heath. That's what many adults told a national survey. Lack of exercise was number one on the list of top-ten child health concerns according to the survey conducted by C. S. Mott Children's Hospital. Obesity and smoking rounded out the top three health concerns for kids.

user kahle / MorgueFile.com

People in the United States are more concerned about the physical fitness of their community's children than any other health issue.

That was the finding of a University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital poll on children’s health.

When asked about the nation's most pressing childhood health concerns, 39 percent of adults listed "not enough exercise," trailed by "childhood obesity" with 38 percent.

Michigan Dept. of Community Health

The Snyder Administration has outlined its plan to reduce infant mortality in Michigan, but some say the plan needs more state funding to work.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan has issued medical marijuana cards covering 44 children. Most are teenagers, but three of them are under 10 years old.

A new University of Michigan study finds most parents are hesitant to insist their young children use booster seats when they carpool.  

Public service announcements remind us that children between 4 and 8 years old,  under 4 feet 9 inches tall, must be in a booster seat when riding in a car.    But that message is not convincing most parents to insist on a booster seat when their kids carpool with other children.

Class Warfare

Jan 25, 2012

I started listening to the state of the union address last night, which I thought was one of President Obama’s better speeches.

But I lost my concentration some distance into the speech, when the president was talking about fairness. He said, “Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay as least as much as his secretary in taxes?

CreativeCelebrationsMagazine.com

Twice as many children die in car-pedestrian accidents on Halloween than on an average day the rest of the year. That’s according to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.   

Michelle Macy is a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the U-M Medical School. She says adults should be more cautious than usual when taking young children trick or treating in busy neighborhoods. 

"While they’re in elementary school, kids don’t have the ability to judge the distance that a car is or the speed that it’s approaching at…they need to be told to wait and stop and let the cars go past before they try to run out ahead of it," said Macy.   

Macy urges parents to make sure their children dress in costumes that don’t restrict their vision this Halloween.

Courtesy of Children First

A new poll from the University of Michigan shows parents have a growing concern about childhood obesity and illegal drug use.    The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has been asking parents for five years what’s their greatest health concern when it comes to their children.   

Obesity has topped the list since it started.  But this year illegal drug use tied for the top spot.

The largest long-term children’s health study in United States history has launched in Michigan.   Wayne County is the Michigan county participating in the National Children’s Study. Genesee, Grand Traverse, Lenawee and Macomb will also join over the next several years.   The study aims to document how social and environmental factors affect children’s health.   Dr.

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