New York City: Four Year Old Sued…

If you have a child that rides a bike on the sidewalk you need to read this.

A four-year old and his family are being sued in New York City.

Synopsis: The child was riding his bicycle on the side-walk and accidentally hit an elderly woman with a “walker”. She fell and broke her hip had to be hospitalized and died shortly thereafter.” Now the family may be trying to recoup some of the medical costs of this accident and this may be the way to do that…somewhat understandable given medical costs these days. But, seriously!

As parents we need to teach our children to respect others. Our expectations of our children of course need to be age appropriate.

Can a four-year old be sued for running into an elderly person on the street? Apparently, the answer is YES.

What are the huge ramifications of a story like this one in New York City? It would be impossible to write about all of them in this blog.

But suffice to say, that as a parent or even nanny you need to be aware of your responsibility to keep your child safe and those around you and your child safe from harm.

My guess is that means, you need to be a “helicopter parent” of sorts. Try to stay off your cell phone and away from other distractions, such as engaging in conversations with other parents. Now if you have more than one child to watch you are in a REAL bind here.

Parents, you may want to check the laws in your city and community and see if your child in fact is legally responsible for any “accidental” harm he may cause to anyone else.

Then, you have some other choices…work to change the “law” or move to another more child friendly community. When you find one let us all know.


Whooping Cough



Update on:

Whooping Cough

Vaccinations  of children are decreasing for various reasons ….according to recent reports 11 children have  died in California from pertussis or “whooping cough”.

Vaccinations of children begin at about 2 months of age and continue on specific regular intervals agreed upon between the parents and their pediatrician. Booster shots are recommended throughout life…booster shots begin at around 11 years old and then should be given every 10 years as adults.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing. The coughing can make it hard to breathe.  A deep “whooping” sound is often heard when the patient tries to take a breath.

“Whooping cough” is a bacterial infection which is very serious especially in infants. It can lead to death. However, it can be treated with antibiotics and often children especially infants will need to be hospitalized in order to receive oxygen and moist humid air along with intravenous fluids.

DTaP vaccination is one of the recommended childhood immunizations it protects children against pertussis infection.  Five DTaP vaccines are recommended. The suggested vaccination schedule is 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years.

The Tdap vaccine should be given around age 11 or 12, and every 10 years thereafter.

Some health care organizations strongly recommend that adults up to the age of 65 years receive the adult form of the vaccine against pertussis.

Complications of pertussis are serious, these are:

  • Pneumonia
  • Convulsions
  • Seizure disorder (permanent)
  • Nose bleeds
  • Ear infections
  • Brain damage from lack of oxygen
  • Bleeding in the brain (cerebral hemorrhage)
  • Mental retardation
  • Slowed or stopped breathing (apnea)
  • Death


  • Call 911 or get to an emergency room if the person has any of the following symptoms:
  • Bluish skin color, which indicates a lack of oxygen
  • Periods of stopped breathing (apnea)
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • High fever
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Dehydration

SIDS…Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

SIDS…this is one of the most frightening topics for any parent to think about much less discuss. But since The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that infants be put to sleep on their backs and not on their stomachs there has been quite a dramatic reduction in deaths from SIDS. In 2004 the incidence of SIDS was 1 in 1,800 babies would succumb to “sudden infant death” which was a drop from 1984 when it was 1 in 700.

SIDS is defined as the death of a healthy child before his first birthday. What is currently worrisome is the infant death rate from SIDS has remained fairly stable over the last several years and that the rate now is similar to that of 1998. There is uncertainty as to why this is…perhaps a difference in how these deaths are reported . One of the reasons is thought to be an increase in co-sleeping.

No matter what the reason, the fact that the rate is stable is not something that can be tolerated without taking some action.

It is thought that some babies are not able to arouse normally from sleep and then become oxygen deprived as they rebreathe their own carbon dioxide. This occurs more often when babies sleep on their stomachs. Increases in carbon dioxide slows down the heart rate and eventually leads to a respiratory then cardiac arrest.

So what are some of the things that a parent can do to prevent this from happening?

Here a few of the recommendations that appeared in an article in the January 2010 “Parents Magazine”

  • Babies are safest in their own sleeping space, crib, bassinet, or a co-sleeper attached or near to the parents’ bed.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics advises against bedsharing.
  • Put your baby to sleep flat on his back, babies put to sleep even on their sides tend to roll onto to their tummies thus increasing their risk for SIDS
  • Keep the crib free of soft objects, pillows, quilts and toys for the entire first year of baby’s life
  • If you need crib bumpers use ones with breathable holes only
  • Stop smoking during pregnancy and do not smoke after the baby is born…this increases a baby’s risk for SIDS
  • Do not share your bed with your infant for the entire first year of your baby’s life
  • Keep your baby in your room …there has been research that has found a decrease in the risk of SIDS when the mom is nearby at least in the first 6 months of life.
  • Give baby a pacifier…babies who suck on a pacifier do not sleep as soundly therefore reducing their risk of SIDS by two thirds compared to babies who sleep without a pacifier.
  • Breastfeed…in some studies done recently breastfeeding has been found to be protective but the reason this is so is still unclear.
  • Keep baby’s room cool at around  68 degrees. A fan on in the room has also been found to be SIDS preventative as it keeps air flowing in the room and therefore less carbon dioxide will build up around the baby’s face.
  • Avoid wedge-shape sleep positioners…baby can slide off and suffocate against it.
  • Involve caregivers….this is very important as it is found that baby’s who are used to sleeping on their backs are more prone to SIDS if put to sleep on their stomachs, as they are not used to the build up of carbon dioxide around them. Well meaning caregivers may think they are doing a good thing by letting baby sleep on their stomachs. Make sure to inform them of the importance of back sleeping.

Hopefully this has been informative and taken some of the fear and worry from you by becoming aware of what you can do to help prevent SIDS.