Top Five Newborn Tests and Procedures That Are Overused

Overuse and waste are a persistent and significant problem in the United States health care system, accounting for roughly a third of all health care spending. In fact, the cost of overtreatments, or treatments that don’t help the patient, were estimated at between $158 billion and $226 billion in 2011. In a special report in the August 2015 Pediatrics, “Choosing Wisely in Newborn Medicine: Five Opportunities to Increase Value,” published online July 20, an expert panel analyzed a national survey of over 1,000 newborn medicine providers to identify five areas of overuse. These included routine uses of anti-reflux medications, antibiotic therapy beyond 48 hours, pneumograms (breathing studies), daily chest radiographs and term-equivalent brain MRIs. A review of research found that two of the five items may cause harm—anti-reflux medications and antibiotics beyond 48 hours. Report authors conclude that this top five list will apply variably to different hospitals and physicians, but they are hopeful that the health care community will increasingly focus on identifying and eliminating their own low value practices.

When Kids Call the Shots + Rookie Moms

Sean Grover, author of When Kids Call the Shots.
How to seize control from your darling bully and enjoy being a parent again.
Issues: Understanding the root causes of your child’s bossy behavior; how your own insecurities and history have shaped your parenting choices; types of parents who are more susceptible to being bullied by their kids; three most common bullying styles that kids use–and strategies you can use to restore your leadership.

Heather Flett, coauthor of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook.
Motherhood, fatherhood, the changing landscape of parenthood.
Issues: How motherhood has changed over the last 10 years; the mom blogging community; resources for new moms; the importance of letting the dad do things his way; the role of social media in creating communities of moms.

Dog and Babies

baby and dog

baby and dogDear Mr. Dad: I’m pregnant with our first child and I’m due in about four moinths. One of the things I’m worried about is our dog, a 150-pound male mastiff, who is truly a part of our family and not just a pet. Some friends of ours say that it’s dangerous to have a giant dog around a newborn and that we should start looking for a new home for him. Is it? And is there some way to prepare our dog and keep our baby safe?

A: There’s no way to predict with 100 percent accuracy how animals are going to react in any given situation, but you can get some hints by asking yourself these questions: What is the dog’s personality? Is he aggressive or territorial? Does he growl or bite? Does he jump on you, the furniture, or guests? Has he spent time with children? Does he like children? How protective is he of his toys? Could he possibly confuse a neatly wrapped up baby with a chewable toy? Does he bark when he wants attention? Does he understand and obey basic commands? I’m sure you can figure out which questions need a Yes answer and which need a No.

But no matter how wonderful your dog is, there’s always some risk. According to Michael Wombacher, author of “Good Dog, Happy Baby,” of the 4.7 million people who get bitten by dogs in the U.S. every year, 80 percent are children under five. Eighty percent of those bites are to the face and happen during feeding, petting, or playing. Most of those dogs live in the victim’s home and have no history of biting.

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Minions and Dinos: Separated at Birth?

At first glance, you wouldn’t think that Minions and dinosaurs have very much in common (aside from being the subject of summer blockbuster movies). But they’ve both been around since the dawn of time. In fact, according to the story, Minions evolved long before the dinos did. If the success of those movies is any indication, both will be around for another hundred million years or so. Here are a few of our favorites.

minion kevin storage chestMinions Movie Kevin Storage Chest (Jakks Pacific)
When playtime’s over, it can be a real chore to get the kids to help put their toys away. One approach that tends to make things easier is to turn clean-up into a game. And Jakks Pacific’s new Minions Storage Chest is just the ticket. The chest itself is a giant (well, 20 inches high) Kevin, decked out in his denim overalls and gloves. But despite his size, he manages to retain his cuteness (and what would a Minion be without cuteness?). Pop open his head and your kids can stuff Kevin with all of their other Despicable Me and Minion Movie toys and gear. Or they can use the inside shelves to display things in a more organized way. But either way, those slightly crossed eyes and wry smile make him hard to resist. Ages 3+. $54.99 at Amazon and other retailers.

minion beach partyDespicable Me Minion Beach Party set (MEGA BLOKS)
We’ve already established that Minions are cute .But how’d you like to take a crack at designing your own? Well, now you can. MEGA BLOKS has a whole series of delightful mini-scenes that feature Minions in a variety of environments. The Beach Party set includes one Minion, a beach blanket, parasol, plant, table, glass, and an ice cream cone. But by far the coolest feature is that all the pieces of the Minons are interchangeable, meaning you can swap their shorts, goggle, arms, feet, and accessories. Want two eyes, a hula skirt, a Mohawk, and a crown? Easy. One eye, a winter coat, a pirate bandana, and a sword? Okay too. Ages 5+.

dino silicone molds habaDinosaur Silicone Cake Mold (HABA USA)
Getting kids into the kitchen—and giving them something productive to do—has always been a challenge. But these silicone molds from HABA will get even the most reluctant food preparer interested. This cute silicon T-Rex mold lets little kids get in on the Jurassic craze, even if they’re afraid of big dinos. And who could be afraid of a smiling T-Rex—especially when she’s made of cake? Comes with booklet with three easy-to-make recipes. Ages 4+. $19.99 at

Dinosaur Parade Silicone Chocolate Lollipops Mold (HABA USA)
If you’re into baking, your favorite cupcake recipe (or one of the ones in the included booklet) will let you make adorable, fun cake pops. But if you’re looking for a way to cool off, you can just as easily use these molds to make adorable, fun popsicles. And what’s especially great about these silicone molds is that whatever you make pops out incredibly easily and leaves almost no mess behind. Ages 4+. $11.99.

interactive t-rex animal planetInteractive T-Rex (Animal Planet)
Tyrannosaurus Rex was a 40-foot-long, eight-ton package of vicious, carnivorous ferociousness. But this Interactive T-Rex is anything but ferocious. Yes, he roars, swings his tail and his head, stomps his feet, gnashes his teeth, and his eyes light up. But if you scratch him in the right place, he purrs. Touch somewhere else, and he snores, burps, or farts. And if you touch two places at the same time, well, we’re not going to give that one away. Ages 3+. Available at Toys R Us.

Sure, Winning is Great, but Good Sportsmanship is More Than That

Z backstroke

We often hear that “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” In a perfect world, that might be true. But we don’t live in a perfect world. And there’s no question that it feels a lot better at the end of a game to have won rather than lost.

But there’s a big difference between “winning” and “winning at any cost.”

Z backstrokeMy 12-year-old daughter has played softball, basketball, volleyball, and been a competitive swimmer for several years. And I’ve been involved in competitive sports for as long as I can remember, playing Little League, lettering in swimming and baseball in high school, competing in martial arts, and playing in adult softball leagues. Over that time, I’ve seen plenty of examples of good—and bad—sportsmanship.

In one basketball game this past year, my daughter’s 6th-grade team was getting slaughtered by a taller, faster, older, and more skilled team. We were down something like 20-4 at the half and there was clearly no way we were going to make it close. So I was surprised that at the start of the second half, the opposing coach continued to play his starters. His players kept stealing the ball, blocking shots, running plays, picking and rolling, and widening their lead. I honestly don’t remember what the score was at the end—and I honestly don’t care.

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