Monthly Archives: March 2012

Heat Entrapment

Warmer weather is fast approaching and with it comes the seemingly inevitable news that a child has died from heat stroke while trapped in a vehicle.  It has been known to happen in February if the temperature reaches the low 70’s.  But typically around the middle or end of March we hear of the first event of the year – a disturbing, horrific incident of an infant or toddler dying from being trapped in a sweltering car. The risks and causes of these hyperthermia deaths are well-known, and this tragic mishap occurred 33 times in 2011. 

An examination of media reports about the 494 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths for a thirteen year period (1998 through 2011) shows the following circumstances:

  • 52% – child “forgotten” by caregiver (253 Children)
  • 30% – child playing in unattended vehicle (150)
  • 17% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult  (86)
  • 1% – circumstances unknown (5)

Children that have died from vehicular hyperthermia in the United States (1998-2011) have ranged in age from 5 days to 14 years.  More than half of the deaths are children under 2 years of age, and about two thirds are children under the age of 6.  Parents running quick errands may think their cars will remain cool; but even on mild days, temperatures inside vehicles can rise to dangerous levels in just minutes. A young child’s core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult, causing permanent injury and even death.

The family car parked in the driveway can also be dangerous. Unlocked cars pose serious risks to children who are naturally curious and often lack fear. Once they crawl in, young children often don’t have the developmental capability to get out. About one-third of heat-related deaths occur when children crawl into unlocked cars while playing and become trapped.

Here are some tips on protecting your children:


  • Never leave your child in an unattended car, even with the windows down, even for a few minutes.
  • Check to make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination, particularly when loading and unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping infants.
  • Make sure you check the temperature of the child safety seat surface and safety belt buckles before restraining your children in the car.
  • Use a light covering to shade the seat of your parked car. Consider using windshield shades in front and back windows.

   Trunk Entrapment:

  • Teach children not to play in or around cars.
  • Keep car keys out of reach and sight.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks, especially when parked in the driveway or near the home.
  • Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
  • Be wary of child-resistant locks. Teach older children how to disable the driver’s door locks if they unintentionally become entrapped in a motor vehicle.
  • Contact your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism.
  • If your child gets locked inside a car, get him out and dial 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

Let’s make summer a fun and happy time with no tragedies of children being left unattended in parked cars

Anorexia Nervosa

When the majority of people hear the word anorexia, they automatically assume it’s a girls’ disease.  The reality of anorexia is that it’s a psychological illness that does not discriminate between boys and girls.  According to the National Eating Disorders Association, at least one million males in the United States are battling anorexia or bulimia. Yet due to the shame that often comes with male eating disorders, experts say the statistics are skewed, and many more young men are left unaccounted for.

Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents, and “It appears that the prevalence of the disorder is increasing among boys,” said Dr. James Hudson, a Harvard psychiatry professor who has been treating and researching eating disorders for more than 26 years. “It may be that boys are simply more comfortable coming forward now than in the past.”

In 2007, Hudson was the lead author of a large study on eating disorders in the United States, one of the first of its kind. The study found that 25% of the 8 to 10 million people suffering from anorexia or bulimia are male, contradicting prior estimates that only 10 percent of people with eating disorders were male.

The assumption that anorexia can only affect girls and women not only increases the stigma for young men fighting the disease, but it also means that they are often too ashamed to seek help. That leads many to become even sicker than their female counterparts.

“Boys don’t get identified,” said Dr. James Lock, a psychiatrist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California.  “They come later to treatment,” Lock said. “They have therefore had longer time to lose weight so they’re physically sicker.  Sometimes that’s allowed the psychological processes to be more reinforced in their own thinking and the behaviors.”

On top of those hurdles, most of the resources that exist to help victims of anorexia are largely geared toward females, a fact that amplifies the feelings of isolation among male anorexics.

According to Lock, it takes a certain kind of personality to develop the illness.  “It’s very unusual for someone to come into my office for an assessment of anorexia if they do not have straight A’s,” said Lock.  “This is true for boys and this is true for girls.  These kids have the desire for perfectionism and for control. And in sports, these are great athletes, usually, who drive themselves to the next level.”

While boys who participate in sports such as wrestling and girls in sports such as gymnastics may be more likely to want to lose weight, Lock warned that the desire to enhance athletic performance should not be confused with anorexia. Athletic pressure may increase the motivation to lose weight, he said, but not every elite athlete has an eating disorder.

As baffling as the causes of anorexia may be, so are the factors behind the increase in the disease among boys and young men.  Dr. Jennifer Hagman has been running the eating disorder program at Children’s Hospital Colorado since 1993, where until five years ago, it was uncommon for her to see boy patients. “Now we almost always have one to three boys in the program,” she said. According to Hagman, these boys are victims of society’s obsession with appearance and the increased focus on childhood obesity.

“The emphasis in our culture about eating healthier is no doubt the biggest factor,” she said. “In school they’re telling them to limit the fat in their diet. I hear from many kids in the program that it was after a health class that they started to limit their diets.”

While it is certainly very important to educate children to live healthy lives, said Hagman, it is also important to deliver that message in a balanced way, without triggering unhealthy habits.Just like cancer or any other disease, early detection is the key in getting help; however, only 10% of people with an eating disorder actually get help.

This information is from a report on NBC.  If you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders live helpline at 800-931-2237 (Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST).