Safe storage of firearms and ammunition

gun and ammunition storageOne out of three homes in the U.S. with children has guns. Unfortunately, many of those are not stored properly.

As physicians invested in the care of children in our communities, my colleagues and I wondered what factors contribute to the problem. It turns out that part of the reason for improper storage may be that parents looking for information about firearm storage don’t have access to complete information.

When a parent searches the internet to learn about how to store guns and ammunition, what information do they find?

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Should I “redshirt” my child for kindergarten?

kindergarten redshirtingRedshirting is a term originally used to describe a college athlete who does not compete for a year in order to grow in size, strength, and/or skill in order to give him or her an extra year of eligibility.  The term is now frequently used in discussions about whether or not to start a young 5 year old in kindergarten.  To redshirt a child means to not enroll him in kindergarten even though he is 5 years old by the cut off date, September 1.

While growing in popularity, the data on redshirting is fairly consistent — there does not appear to be any long-term advantage.  A redshirted kindergartner may sail through the first few years of elementary school ahead of the class, but the rest of the class has caught up by middle school and at that point may even surpass the redshirted child.

Studying the Issue

One of the most extensive studies on redshirting was published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis in 2006.  Continue reading

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

mottblog - kindergarten readiness imageChildren who are 5-years-old on or before September 1, 2016, are eligible to enroll in kindergarten this fall in the state of Michigan. Is your child ready? Kindergarten readiness is a popular topic especially as it relates to children who do not turn 5 until the summer. While you probably get no shortage of “advice” from friends and family, there are some evidence-based guidelines that might help you decide.

Reading, Math, Social Skills 

The three areas we typically look at for kindergarten readiness are reading, math, and social skills. While there are general guidelines around these, it’s not as simple as testing a child. It’s about looking at the total picture.
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12-year-old girl with arthritis makes “arthritis animals” to comfort other kids

Star Wars' Darth Vadar, Chewbacca and R2-D2 among creations that bring joy to patients at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

arthritis animalsA red patch of yarn dons the limbs of a stuffed Star Wars’ Chewbacca, pink dragon and polar bear lined up around 12-year-old Juliette Harrison.

The spots on Juliette’s handmade, crocheted animals represent the condition they share with their young creator: arthritis.

“They are like friends that kids can take to appointments, someone who is like them,” says the sixth grader, of Saline. “It makes me feel good that I can help other kids that are going through hard things too.”

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Palliative Care: Our Team and Partners

If you think palliative care is only about end-of-life care – you need to read our story.

palliative care erinne williamsWhen she was 14 months old, my daughter, Erinne, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Essentially, SMA is the pediatric version of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

We were told that she wouldn’t live past 8 years old. She’s clearly blown right past that prediction – she is 18 now, and is an incredibly positive, optimistic young woman.

I’d love to say she hasn’t slown down a bit, but the truth is – she has. Erinne used to walk with the assistance of a walker, but the disease has progressed and limited her physical abilities. She now she uses a power wheelchair, needs assistance to feed herself and breathes with the help of a ventilator while she’s sleeping.

One of the challenges with this disease is managing Erinne’s pain. She has four rods in her spine and a dislocated tailbone that causes severe pain. We tried many avenues to manage the pain without much success until our care team suggested a referral to palliative care services.

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A brighter Christmas for Hannah, first teen to be saved by 3D printed airway splint

14-year-old girl with autism who last Christmas was tethered to hospital bed celebrates happier holiday season with family

Last Christmas Eve, after more than 20 days spent at daughter Hannah’s bedside, Marsha and Tommy Coulter were called into a Texas hospital conference room faced with an unimaginable decision.

“The doctor asked us to consider taking Hannah off the vent and letting her go,” Marsha Coulter remembers. “It was one of the worst days of our lives. The worst Christmas Eve we could imagine. We cried all day and night. I begged God to keep this from happening. We were just hoping for a miracle.”

For 14-year-old Hannah, every breath was a battle. A lethal combination of a small chest cavity, an artery pushing up against her trachea and a rare, life-threatening disease that weakens the windpipe called tracheobronchomalacia had made breathing and eating increasingly difficult for the teen, who also has autism. Other surgeries hadn’t helped and few options were left.

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