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Road to Healthy Middle-Aged Brain May Begin in Childhood

MONDAY, May 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Could having heart disease risk factors in childhood sow the seeds of thinking declines in middle-age?

It looks like it might, new research claims.

"I think it was not so big of a surprise for us, but maybe for the scientific community who have been focusing mainly on the midlife risk factors and old-age cognition," said st...

How Summer Camps Can Shield Your Kids from Allergies, Asthma & COVID

As kids get ready for summer camp, parents might be fretting about exposure to COVID-19, but a doctors' group says they also need to make sure their campers will be protected from allergy and asthma triggers.

"The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has issued guidelines for keeping campers and staff protected from COVID-19. At the same time, camps still need to make sure measur...

Could Your Child Have a Heart Defect? Know the Warning Signs

Heart defects are often – but not always – detected at birth, so it's important to pay attention when a child gets dizzy, passes out or says her heart is "beeping."

These and other warning signs, such as an apparent change in fitness, shouldn't be overlooked, an expert says.

Evaluating a child who has these symptoms is important to ensure nothing is missed that could becom...

Poll Finds Many Parents Hesitant to Get Younger Kids Vaccinated

As U.S. health officials prepare to authorize Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in younger children, a new poll shows that less than a third of parents would get their child vaccinated as soon as the shots are approved for kids.

Only 29% of parents of children under age 18 said they would get their child vaccinated "right away," according to data published Thursday by Ka...

Air Pollution Can Harm Kids' Hearts for a Lifetime

Air pollution isn't hard on the hearts of adults only, suggests a new analysis that found it can raise blood pressure in kids as young as 5.

Children experienced increases in blood pressure if they had short-term exposure to air polluted with coarser particles or long-term exposure to finer airborne particles, and that also happened with long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide, an air poll...

ADHD Meds Can Help Preschoolers, But Effects Vary

WEDNESDAY, May 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of preschoolers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be advised to give their child medication to help them concentrate, sit still and/or control impulsive behaviors.

A new study comparing two classes of medications might help them arrive at a decision.

While stimulants are often first in line,...

5 Steps to Protect Young Athletes' Eyes

As children begin to return to their favorite sports, parents need to ensure that their youngsters use protective eyewear, a leading group of eye specialists says.

Nearly 30,000 people suffer sports-related eye injuries every year in the United States, but 90% of emergency room visits for such injuries could be prevented by protective eyewear, according to the American Academy of Ophthalm...

Few Kids Seeing a Dentist Have COVID-19, Study Finds

Just 2% of young dental patients without COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to a new study.

Kids with COVID-19 are typically asymptomatic but can carry high levels of SARS-CoV-2 and spread it to others, University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) researchers noted.

Their study included 921 patients, aged 2 to 18, who had emergency dental procedures at UIC ...

Breathing Dirty Air Could Raise a Child's Risk for Adult Mental Illness

THURSDAY, April 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Kids exposed to air pollution may be at risk for mental illness in early adulthood, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that young adults in Britain who were exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollutants during their childhood and teen years were prone to develop symptoms of mental illness later. Nitrogen oxi...

Being Bullied Often Leads Teens to Thoughts of Violence

Bullied and mistreated teens are much more likely to fantasize about hurting or killing others, a new study warns.

"One way to think about fantasies is as our brain rehearsing future scenarios," said lead author Manuel Eisner, director of the University of Cambridge Violence Research Center in the U.K.

His research included more than 1,400 young people in Zurich, Switzerland, who we...

Pandemic May Be Upping Cases of Severe Complication in Kids With Diabetes

A U.S. hospital has seen a surge in the number of kids with a life-threatening complication of type 2 diabetes.

The trend at Children's Hospital Los Angeles highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic may be affecting kids' health in unexpected ways, according to a new study led by Dr. Lily Chao, interim medical diabetes director.

Her team noticed in March 2020 that an increasing number of...

Brain Study Suggests Autism Develops Differently in Girls Than Boys

Autism appears to develop differently in girls and boys, so the findings of research conducted mainly with boys might not apply to girls, a new study suggests.

Autism spectrum disorder is four times more common in boys, which may help explain why there's far less research about autism in girls.

"This new study provides us with a roadmap for understanding how to better match current...

Unexplained Drop in Resting Heart Rate in Youth 'Not a Good Thing'

Children who have a sudden lowering of their resting heart rate as they move into young adulthood may be at increased risk for heart disease later in life, researchers report.

For their new study, they assessed data from 759 Black and white participants in the Augusta Heart Study, which was designed to evaluate the development of risk factors for heart disease. It followed young participa...

Strike Out Kids' Overuse Injuries This Baseball Season

Young baseball players are at risk for overuse injuries, but there are ways to play it safe and prevent such problems, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) says.

"Overhead athletes, such as baseball players, place significant repetitive stress on the shoulder and elbow joints," orthopedic sports surgeon Dr. Nima Mehran said in an academy news release.

Between overuse ...

Americans Still Avoiding ERs in Pandemic, But Uptick Seen in Mental Health Crises

FRIDAY, April 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- While ER visits have stayed below normal levels as the coronavirus pandemic continues, the number of people showing up in the emergency department with mental woes is increasing, new federal government data shows.

Between March 29 and April 25, 2020, visits to emergency departments dropped 42%, researchers from the U.S. Centers...

Later School Start Times Mean Better-Rested Kids: Study

Starting the school day a little later helps middle and high school students get more and better sleep, according to a new study.

The research is based on annual surveys of about 28,000 elementary, middle and high school students and their parents. The surveys were completed before and two years after school start times were changed.

Changes to sleep cycles during puberty make it ha...

Some Kids Snore, and It Could Affect Behavior

Snoring just isn't for adults, and behavior problems in kids who regularly snore may be due to changes in their brain structure, researchers say.

Prior studies have found a link between regular snoring and behavior problems such as inattention or hyperactivity, but this connection isn't fully understood.

And a few small studies have reported a link between sleep apnea -- prolonged b...

Most Parents OK About School Rules for Kids' Return to Sports: Poll

Though playing youth sports comes with new pandemic-era precautions and some experts are linking these activities to community spread of COVID-19, many kids are still participating, according to a parent survey.

In the survey, about three-quarters of parents said their child's teams mostly did the right thing while resuming sports during COVID. Thirteen percent said officials were too str...

Kids With Autism Can Really Benefit From Exercise

FRIDAY, April 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Being active is good for most everyone, and new studies now show it can help kids with autism manage common behavioral issues.

"Exercise goes beyond health-related benefits and increased levels of fitness for those with autism," said David Geslak, a pioneer in using exercise to help kids with autism. "Research shows that exercise can increase foc...

Do You 'Wolf Down' Your Food? Speedy Eaters May Pack on More Pounds

Are you the type to linger over a meal, or do you tend to eat quickly without giving it much thought?

New research confirms that you're better off going the slow route, because fast eaters tend to consume more and be more vulnerable to gaining weight and becoming obese. And it uncovers a new wrinkle: If you grew up with siblings, where you probably had to compete for whatever was on the t...

Why Are ER Wait Times Getting Longer for Kids in Mental Health Crisis?

U.S. children commonly wait hours in the emergency room for help with a mental health crisis -- a problem that has worsened over time, a new study finds.

Researchers found that between 2005 and 2015, prolonged ER stays became ever more common for children and teenagers in need of mental health help. By 2015, nearly one-quarter of kids were in the ER for at least six hours -- up from 16% a...

About 40,000 U.S. Children Have Lost a Parent to COVID-19

More than 40,000 U.S. kids have lost a parent to COVID-19 and the long-term impacts could be severe, experts warn.

Americans under age 65 account for about 1 in 5 COVID deaths. Of those, as many as 15% involve someone in their 40s and 3% someone in their 40s.

"In these younger age groups, substantial numbers of people have children, for whom the loss of a parent is a potentially dev...

More Kids With Autism May Be Doing Well Than Thought

School-age children with autism may be faring better than commonly thought, with most "doing well" in at least some aspects of development, a new study suggests.

The study, of 272 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), found that nearly 80% were doing well in at least one of five developmental areas by age 10. Nearly one-quarter were doing well in four of those areas.

The res...

C-Section Babies Have Microbiome Deficit, But Catch Up Over Time

Infants born by cesarean section initially have less diverse gut bacteria than those delivered vaginally, but they catch up within a few years, new research reveals.

The researchers also found that it takes a long time for these bacteria colonies — known as the gut microbiome — to mature.

"Our findings show that the gut microbiota is a dynamic organ, and future studies will have...

When Will America's Kids Get Their COVID Vaccines?

Kids will be kids, and that's exactly why Holly McDade plans to get her three young children the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them.

"Little kids can't help but touch their mouths and their noses and touch other things," said McDade, 32, of Strasburg, Va. "They just don't think about it. It's not where their brains are at yet."

McDade isn't concerned so much ab...

What Will Summer Camp Look Like This Year?

Splashing in a pool. Hiking through fresh green forests. Making macaroni art. Stitching together a leather wallet. Knocking a kickball around.

It's nearly time for summer camp, and the experience is expected to be especially important for America's children because of the pandemic.

"We really feel like summer camps are a huge opportunity for kids to disconnect from screens that they...

Adding in Stem Cell Therapy Helps Beat a Common Childhood Leukemia

Combining stem cell transplants with cutting-edge immunotherapy prevents leukemia relapses in young people and improves their chances of survival, new research suggests.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common childhood cancer.

This study included 50 patients (ages: 4 to 30) with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who received CAR T-cell therapy. The treatment genetically modifies...

1 in 4 Parents Won't Vaccinate Their Kids Against COVID-19: Poll

More than one-quarter of U.S. parents don't plan to vaccinate their kids for COVID-19, and roughly as many oppose school-required coronavirus shots, a new study finds.

This opposition was more common among moms than dads, and was especially common among white mothers who identified as Republican/Republican-leaning, the researchers said.

"Women tend to serve as family health managers...

Boys Who Spend Lots of Time Online More Likely to Cyberbully

Here's yet another reason to keep your teenager from spending countless hours online and on popular social media: New research suggests it increases cyberbullying, particularly among teen boys.

"There are some people who engage in cyberbullying online because of the anonymity and the fact that there's no retaliation," said lead investigator Amanda Giordano. She is an associate professor...

He Watched His Hospitalized Son Battle COVID-Linked Illness

In January, the coronavirus swept through Brian and Maria Padla's family of seven in Philadelphia, starting with their oldest daughter, 16, and then infecting Brian, Maria, and their four younger children.

The virus seemingly came and went without much fanfare for the family. During their two-week-long quarantine, the kids spent a day or two with runny noses and low-grade fevers. Brian an...

Most Parents Skip Child Car Seats When Using Uber, Lyft

Many U.S. parents don't use child safety seats when they take ride-share vehicles like Uber or Lyft with their young children, a new study finds.

"Our results are concerning, as ride-share services are increasingly popular," said senior study author Dr. Michelle Macy, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

"Car accidents rem...

Even in a Pandemic, Child Vision Tests Are Crucial

It's critical for parents to maintain their children's vision checkups during the COVID-19 pandemic, an expert says.

"All children should have their eyes checked by their pediatrician at regular intervals, even if they don't have any symptoms," said Dr. Samantha Feldman, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the Krieger Eye Institute in Baltimore.

"Part of the reason that vision screenin...

Why Are Half of U.S. Kids With Mental Health Issues Not Getting Treatment?

Over half of high-risk children in the United States are not receiving behavioral health services critical to their mental, emotional and physical well-being, new research warns.

"It's a pretty simple and kind of widely agreed upon finding that there are a lot of at-risk kids, when you look at it in terms of adversities or symptoms, who aren't getting mental health services, behavioral he...

Secondhand Smoke Is Sending Kids to the ER

Nonsmokers usually try to avoid secondhand smoke, but many kids have no option, and now a new study finds tobacco smoke exposure puts them at higher risk of hospitalization.

Compared to other kids, those exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to have had an urgent care visit over a one-year period, and to incur higher costs for such visits. They also were nearly twice as likely to b...

Whatever the Language, Babies LOVE Baby Talk

There's a reason you may choose to talk in singsong tones and with exaggerated sounds when you're talking to babies -- they're more likely to listen.

New research shows that babies pay more attention to baby talk than to regular speech. The finding held in many languages, and even when the baby was bilingual.

"Crucially for parents, we found that development of learning and attent...

When Coal-Fired Power Plants Close, Kids With Asthma Breathe Easier

Fewer children end up in ERs for asthma attacks if nearby coal-fired power plants are shut down, a new study finds.

"When these power plants close, we see a reduction of somewhere between 12% and 18% in emergency department visits for asthma," said senior researcher Emily Pakhtigian, an assistant professor of public policy at Pennsylvania State University. "When the plants close down, chi...

Nearly Half of U.S. Schools Now Offer In-Person Learning

Nearly half of the public schools in America are now holding in-person classes, with white children far more likely to be in those classrooms than Black, Hispanic or Asian students, the first federal data on the state of education during the pandemic shows.

The survey, released early Wednesday, suggests the nation is moving toward a goal set by President Joe Biden for a reopening of ...

Wildfire Smoke Can Send Kids With Asthma to the ER

The smoke from forest fires is sending children to emergency rooms with respiratory problems at higher rates than ever before, a new study finds.

"Kids are particularly vulnerable to pollution from wildfires, so they can have asthma exacerbation and other respiratory problems," said senior researcher Tarik Benmarhnia, an associate professor of family medicine and public health at the Univ...

Pandemic Has Many Kids Struggling With Weight Issues

Kids and teens are already struggling to learn outside the classroom during the pandemic, but lockdowns and quarantines are also making it hard for them to control their weight, child health experts say.

Lost routines, economic insecurity and grief are making things more challenging for children who struggle with their weight, whether it's with obesity or anorexia, according to doctors at...

CDC Says 3 Feet of Social Distancing Now OK in Most Classrooms

In a move that should make reopening schools an easier task, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday lowered its social distancing recommendation for most classrooms to 3 feet.

That should enable many schools to keep all students enrolled in a class within the same room.

"[The] CDC is committed to leading with science and updating our guidance as new evidence...

Does Too Much 'Screen Time' Have Your Preschooler Acting Out?

Preschoolers who spend a lot of time watching movies and shows on TVs and other screens are more likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems by age 5, a Finnish study warns.

But despite their reputation, video games did not appear to promote any emotional problems in youngsters, researchers concluded.

"We found that high levels of screen time at the age of 1.5 years is relat...

Virtual Learning Has Taken a Toll on Kids' & Parents' Mental Health

A new government report confirms what many moms and dads already know: Parents and kids are struggling mightily to cope with the stresses of distance learning.

A survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of parents of children aged 5 to 12 found that parents of kids receiving in-person instruction were less likely to suffer from stress than those whose school...

Kids' ER Visits for Swallowed Magnets Soared After U.S. Lifted Sales Ban

Calls to U.S. poison centers about incidents involving children and high-powered magnets surged more than 400% after a court overturned a ban on the magnets, a new study finds.

"Regulations on these products were effective, and the dramatic increase in the number of high-powered magnet related injuries since the ban was lifted - even compared to pre-ban numbers - is alarming," said Dr. Le...

School Dental Care Program Could Cut Cavities in Half: Study

School-based dental care cut cavities in half among thousands of elementary students, a new study says.

"The widespread implementation of oral health programs in schools could increase the reach of traditional dental practices and improve children's oral health -- all while reducing health disparities and the cost of care," said senior author Dr. Richard Niederman. He's chair of the depar...

She Barely Survived a Severe Form of COVID-19 Hitting Kids

Like many people this past year, teenager Tyona Montgomery began experiencing a sore throat and a loss of sense of smell and taste in November that suggested she might have COVID-19.

A positive test confirmed it, but she quickly felt better.

Then, just two weeks later, new symptoms surged. She was disoriented, with a headache that was so bad she called an Uber to take her to a hospi...

Social Media, Binge Eating Often Go Together for Kids

Could endless hours spent scrolling through social media and watching TV trigger binge eating in preteens?

Apparently so, new research suggests.

"Children may be more prone to overeating while distracted in front of screens. They may also be exposed to more food advertisements on television," said study author Dr. Jason Nagata. He is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Unive...

Could ADHD Raise Odds for More Serious Psychiatric Ills?

As if attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) isn't already tough on a child, new research suggests the condition might also raise the odds for a psychotic disorder later in life.

But parents should not panic.

"I would say that this finding should not be an alarm for parents and people who have ADHD, because the absolute risk for psychotic disorders remains low," sa...

Stressed and Distracted, Kids and Their Teachers Say Virtual Learning Isn't Working

For Morgan Compton, 7, who has attended school remotely for nearly a year, the stress of the pandemic manifests itself in meltdowns.

On one particular day, Morgan "threw a fit and decided to go upstairs," said her mother, Tracy Compton. Hearing the sound of his daughter's tears, Compton's husband, John, who also works from home, got involved.

Meltdowns are familiar to any paren...

Even for Preschoolers, Healthier Hearts May Mean Healthier Brains

The link between heart-lung fitness and brain health may begin at an early age, new research shows.

The study revealed that 4- to 6-year-olds who could walk farther during a timed test also scored higher on tests of thinking abilities and other measures of brain function.

Most studies of the link between brain health and heart-lung ("cardiorespiratory") fitness have focused on older...

Kids' Robust Immune Systems May Shield Them From COVID-19: Study

Children have largely been spared severe COVID-19 infection, and new research hints at why.

In the study, children's immune systems attacked the new coronavirus faster and more aggressively than adults' immune systems did, the findings showed.

The researchers analyzed blood samples from 48 children and 70 adults who lived in 28 households in Melbourne, Australia, and who were infect...

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