Warm Wishes for a Wonderful, Safe Holiday Season and Happy New Year!
Go PVC-Free for the Holidays
At the annual Convention in
November, NYS PTA adopted a resolution calling for the phasing out
of PVC vinyl products in schools (click
for details). The
Center for Health, Environment and
offers these tips for creating a PVC-free environment
for children on holidays and all year round.
- Look for toys and infant products labeled PVC-, phthalate- or
here to find out whether a toy contains PVC; look in CHEJ’s
guides for PVC-free products.
- Avoid electronics like smart phones and computers that contain PVC.
Greenpeace’s Greener Electronics Guide.
- Always check the packaging of potential gifts. Avoid the three-arrow
“recycling” symbol with the number 3 and/or the letters V or PVC,
indicating it’s made with PVC. If no symbol is present, call the
manufacturer’s question/comment line to find out what it’s made of.
- Most artificial Christmas trees are made with PVC and may contain
lead. Purchase vintage aluminum trees, potted live trees (intended
for post-holiday planting) or local, sustainably-grown organic
New Terms for Autism
The American Psychiatric Association reports changes in the upcoming
2013 edition of the DSM
, a manual used by professionals for patient
diagnosis. One of the major changes is to the diagnosis of autism,
in which the specific diagnoses of Autism, Asperger’s and Pervasive
Development Disorder will no longer exist. In their place, the
umbrella term “autism spectrum disorder” will include the entire
range of mild to severe autism. For more information, click
Note: Recent news coverage of the tragedy in CT has spread the idea that autism is linked to violence. It is important for us as child advocates to share the message that there is no such link and any such allegations are unfair and unfounded.
Health and Wellness in the USA
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) have established a
about the health and well-being of children and
adolescents. Within it is a section on
Training Tools for Healthy Schools
: a resource for improving
school health policies, programs and curricula.
The 2012 Shape of the Nation Report: Status of Physical Education in
the USA has been published. The survey notes “areas of both
improvement and decline since the 2010 Shape of the Nation Report.”
While 38 states “mandate physical education in elementary,
middle/high and high school,” most of them “do not require a
specific amount of instructional time and more than half allow
exemptions, waivers and/or substitutions.” The complete report can
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that
(sildenafil) not be prescribed to children (ages 1
through 17) with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH, high pressure
in the blood vessels leading to the lungs). Recent studies link use
of this drug by children to an increased risk of death from
pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. For more information,
: The NYS Department of Health has posted
a YouTube video on the efforts to reduce and monitor the effects of
seasonal influenza. To view the video, click
can be stressful times for children with
disabilities and their families, but there is help available for
parents/caregivers to make them more enjoyable and less stressful.
Youth and Alcohol
The Underage Drinking Enforcement Training
Center (UDETC) has released a report on the “Effects and
Consequences of Underage Drinking on Adolescent Brain Development.”
The results indicate that brain development continues until about
age 25. But for youth who abuse alcohol before that age, the
hippocampi (memory and learning) part of the brain is 10% smaller
than normal. See the report
The UDETC also has a number of new National Electronic Seminars
on underage drinking available to the public. Click
here to register.