Premature birth is a serious and very common health issue. In the US alone, almost half a million babies are born prematurely each year—that's around 1 in every 8 babies. Figures in Canada are also staggeringly high.
What you may not know is that with prematurity comes a greater risk of a myriad health and developmental problems. Since these teeny babies can't speak for themselves, it's up to us to advocate for them. November is designated as Prematurity Awareness Month.
As a preemie's lung volume is around half of that of a full-term infant, the latter is more susceptible to pneumonia and/or bronchiolitis (swelling of the lower airways).
A contagious respiratory virus called RSV can compromise a baby's lungs and breathing passages, resulting in hospitalization for infants under the age of one. This condition is especially dangerous for preemies whose lungs haven't been totally developed at birth.
Though RSV can be contracted year-round, it tends to spike in the winter before dropping in early spring.
Preemies with RSV can develop further complications, including chronic lung disease of prematurity (CLDP).
When we think of Remembrance Day, we tend to think of the past. Past wars, past heroes...But this November 11th, I urge you to cast your mind beyond your own backyard and beyond your own preconceptions.
I urge you to remember those we frequently forget about, those whose lives are arguably the most ravaged by war: children.
War Child Canada's mission is to rebuild the 'pillars of stability' in a child's life–education, opportunity, justice—which are destroyed by conflict. The charity's latest campaign features a powerful video shot by pro-bono partner and award winning advertising agency, john st.
“If childhood is taken away and replaced with the brutality of war, the chances of a society becoming trapped in a cycle of violence and poverty are greatly increased," said War Child’s CEO, Dr. Lorna Read, in a release. "War Child’s intention is to restore the opportunities for emotional, intellectual and social development that a stable childhood brings and thereby breaks that cycle."
War Child hopes the video will not only get people talking but also remembering their duty to protect and restore its "most precious of resources."
Shot in South Africa, the video was directed by Henry Lu, and partly funded by Aeroplan’s Beyond Miles Program.
Makes me recall the lyrics to the Cranberries song:
War child, victim of political pride.
Plant the seed, territorial greed.
Mind the war child,
We should mind the war child.
Who's the loser now? Who's the loser now?
We're all the losers now. We're all the losers now.
As parents, it's the conundrum of our generation. Technology: the double-edged sword. It's the future, and our kids need to be fluent in its dialect as early as possible. Yet, on the flip side, how much exposure to 'gadgetry' is acceptable?
Like most moms, I'm fairly conflicted. The new iPad mini is the perfect size for my junior kindergartener. However, does a JK really warrant owning a computer? I tend to think not.
He attends two and a half hours of school a day and every week he has lessons in both computers and Smartboard. Excessive? Probably. Would I prefer he spent at least one of those sessions doing drama or art? Damn right. There is plenty of time to hone his keypad skills but the window for developing his imagination seems to close a little every day.
Already it seems there is this mad scramble going on to ensure that our kids are equally if not more tech-savvy than their peers. Seriously, it's akin to the Reagan-era arms race but for little leaguers. Sure, some apps are educational. Then again, so are conventional toys. I have no objections to my son playing on my husband's phone while we are out at a restaurant or cafe. But does my 4-year-old need his own phone or iPad?
Though I can understand the rationale behind wanting kids to become well versed in the technology of the day, mostly it shines a great big spotlight on the folly of our thinking as parents. And to the mom who admits to spending the equivalent of $1,500 on smartphones for her six kids. Might be just me, but isn't this a tad excessive?
We don't know the full extent of the health implications cell phones have on children's developing brains. But we do know just how much bullying goes on by children on social media sites. And try as we might, the only way to truly protect them is to keep them offline until they're ready to protect themselves.
Then there's the weight connection. Recent studies confirmed that having electronic devices, including smartphones, in the bedroom led to kids getting fewer hours' sleep which in turn led to a greater risk of obesity. In cases where there were three devices, that risk was up to 2.5 times greater.
I don't know about you but I'm happy for the future to slow down just a little while I catch up, and my kid has a chance to grow up.