Parents & Kids

Trouble with math
Gender equality does not exist in professions requiring foundations in science and math, as women make up less than one-fifth of college graduates holding either engineering and computer science degrees. A new study suggests that a major cause for this gender gap is linked to how boys and girls are exposed to elementary school math, and that there's an apparent, built-in institutional bias against girls.
With new SIDS recommendations released this week, we've seen dozens of news stories explaining how to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby. Many of them led by example -- of what not to do -- by attaching a photo of an infant in an unsafe environment. Come on guys ... we have to do better than that. 
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) falls into a larger category of "sudden uncategorized infant deaths" (SUID) alongside 'accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed' and those of 'unknown cause.' These deaths are defined as the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that have no immediately obvious cause and can be caused by suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, infection, ingestions, metabolic disease, congenital heart conditions and trauma (either intentional or unintentional.) 
Recognizing the rapid rate of technological change in U.S. households, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced new guidelines for Children's Media Use that can be applied to all kids under 18, including infants. This welcome news gives parents a roadmap for navigating the often-perilous topic of determining the right amount of time that children can spend staring at computers, smartphones and TV screens. 
Did the Earth spin off its axis?  Or, are we just dreaming that the rebirth of joy and humor and common sense and reasonableness could be the latest trend in parenting? Pinch us, please. It might just be the therapeutic intervention we need.   
In the wake of the recent FDA warning to avoid homeopathic teething gels and tablets – as well as the ongoing investigation of 10 infant deaths – Hyland's, the homeopathic company, announced it will stop producing these products. Chalk up a win for science, at least this time. 
Cow's milk allergies
In an effort to understand how cow's milk allergies (CMA) form, an interdisciplinary team of scientists investigated if there's a link between certain kinds of sugars found in a mother's breast milk and the presence of CMA in her infant.
Breakfast cereal
Here are a few takeaways from an article focusing on the 100 most popular cereals of all time: (1) cereal's heyday was roughly 40 years ago; (2) older brands, some ancient, sit atop the list, and (3) present-day concerns about nutrition and convenience are driving the young away from making cereal their preferred breakfast choice.
People often tell new parents to avoid sing-song baby talk with their new addition, because it will slow the child’s language development. But evidence shows it does the opposite; baby talk plays an important role in development -- and their precious bundle of joy prefers it to other types of speech.
Dental sealants provide an effective means of preventing tooth decay — but they're underutilized. Perhaps one reason is the fear promoted by scaremongers of the plastic component BPA. But like most of the scares perpetrated by activist groups, this one is absurd.
Some terrifying aspects of AFM, which surfaced in the summer of 2014, are that the cause is unknown, anyone can get it and it affects the nervous system. Even worse, most of the cases are in children. The only silver lining is that it's rare. In the first eight months of this year, 50 cases have been confirmed in 24 states.
A new non-profit group, The Fed Is Best Foundation, supports feeding newborns with formula in their first few days of life, primarily to reduce the possibility of jaundice and hypoglycemia. Although its message of respecting parents' choices -- no matter what feeding method is used -- is a good one, the proposed link between delayed feeding and autism takes the matter away from science and into the world of speculation.