KEEP TV OUT OF TEENS' ROOMS
Pediatricians and child development experts have repeatedly warned parents that putting a television set in a young child's bedroom is associated with a host of undesirable outcomes, including poorer school performance, behavior problems and obesity. But what about teenagers? Epidemiologists at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health wondered whether the undesirable outcomes of bedroom television might be blunted at this age.
Apparently not, according to a federally funded study of 781 adolescents between 15 and 18 published in the April issue of Pediatrics.
Daheia J. Barr-Anderson and her colleagues found that the two-thirds of youths who had a bedroom set watched more TV, moved less and had poorer diets and lower grades than those without one.
Those with a personal TV also ate fewer meals with their families, according to questionnaires the students completed in 2003 and 2004.
Boys were more likely to have bedroom TVs than girls (68 percent vs. 57 percent), and there were variations among ethnic groups: Eighty-one percent of black youths had a set, compared with 66 percent of Hispanics, 60 percent of whites and 39 percent of Asians.
Parents who are considering whether to put a television in a teenager's room should refrain from doing so, the authors recommend.
Determine your kid's camp style
School ends soon and that means parents are now trying to find the right summer camp for their children. But are you still trying to tell which of those myriad camps is right for your child? Take this handy-dandy personality quiz to narrow your choices.
1. When shooed into the back yard, your child:
a. Runs nonstop and climbs the highest tree
b. Pulls out a magnifying glass and looks for bugs
c. Paints a watercolor of the flowers
d. Organizes a baseball game
2. When it comes to getting wet, your child prefers:
a. A dunk out of a canoe
b. A puddle full of microbes
c. A hot shower
d. A regulation swimming pool
3. Of the following Wii games, your child prefers to play:
a. My Horse and Me
b. Endless Ocean
c. Guitar Hero III
d. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
4. If handed a blank piece of paper, your child:
a. Folds it into a paper airplane
b. Works out a math problem
c. Starts a novel
d. Sketches out a football play
5. Your child's musical taste runs to:
a. Little Bunny Foo Foo
b. The theme from Star Wars
d. Team fight songs
If your answers were mostly:
a: Your child is suited to a traditional summer camp, with horseback riding, singing around the campfire, arts and crafts, swimming and lots of other outdoor activities.
b: Experiment with a science, computer or other learning camp, at the zoo, a museum or a local college.
c: You have an artistic child whose talents can be honed at camps for the visual arts, theater, ballet or rock 'n' roll.
d: You've got a sports nut on your hands. Try camps for swimming, soccer, baseball, football, track, gymnastics, basketball, golf or tennis.
'R' for recycle at Toys 'R' Us
Toys "R'' Us has recently introduced a "green'' toy line just in time for Earth Day, which is Tuesday. The toys, wooden building blocks and pull toys, and dolls made with organic cotton, will all be labeled with a green "R" logo bearing the words "Recycle, Renew, Reuse, Re-think."
The spate of toy recalls last summer and fall, some of which involved high lead levels in painted and plastic toys, created a demand for natural, or chemical-free toys. A growing number of toymakers have rushed to fill that niche. Toy manufacturers also are looking at the profitable trend in organic foods, and reason that parents who spend more for organic baby food will spend more for organic cotton dolls and natural wood trains.
The Toys "R" Us eco-friendly line represents a dramatic departure from most of the brightly colored plastic toys sold in Toys "R" Us stores. The wooden toys use natural, unpainted wood, and the toys are packaged in beige and earth-tone boxes. The packaging will be made out of materials that are at least 70 percent recycled.
Put safety first around the swimming pool
Spring is here and as the temperatures begin to soar, there will be a lot more activities around the pool. So remember these safety tips when children are present:
• Never leave children alone in or near the pool.
• Never assume someone else is watching your child. Designate a pool lifeguard at swimming parties and cookouts.
• Make sure adults watching young children in the pool know CPR and can rescue a child.
• Surround your swimming pool with a sturdy fence.
• Make sure the gates self-close and self-latch at a height children can't reach.
• Keep rescue equipment and a telephone near the pool.
• Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties." They are not a substitute for life vests.
• Remove steps from above-ground pools and spas when not in use.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics and Florida Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition
Compiled from Times staff, wires