Page 10 - Alaska Parent Spring 2021
P. 10

health & wellness
Eyes on health
DO YOU WONDER HOW EXTENDED SCREEN TIME IS AFFECTING YOUR CHILD’S EYES?
Health news for the whole family
     Due to the increasing hours of virtual learning and time spent focusing on small screens, Myopia (nearsightedness), has become one of the fastest growing eye issues among children, both in the US and globally. In 2020, in the US, it was reported that approximately 40 percent of the population is myopic compared to only 28 percent in 2000. “The incidence of myopia has increased more than 60 percent in the past three decades,” says Dr. Kevin Chan, OD, MS, FAAO, “and the condition is worsening rapidly.”
To help protect children’s eyes and vision, the American Optometric Association (AOA) advises encouraging kids to engage in eye-hand coordination activities (such as puzzles and painting) and outdoor activities (playing sports, going for walks, riding bikes, etc). The natural outdoor light also helps lower the risk of myopia. And people of all ages should follow the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes of reading, computer or close work take a 20-second rest break by looking at things at least 20
feet away. It is also advised to hold books and devices at the Harmon working distance, which is the distance from the elbow to the fist. Having an annual comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist is the best way for all adults and school-aged children to know what will be best for each of them, the AOA advises.
To find an optometrist in your area, or for additional information on children’s eye health and vision, visit aoa.org.
   ANCHOR IT! Toppling TVs, furniture can injure or kill kids
It only takes a second. Experts are warning that unsecured televisions, bedroom dressers and other heavy furniture can crush, maim and even kill curious children, and the risks may only worsen during stay-at-home lockdowns. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), between 2000 and 2019, 451 kids aged 17 years and younger died in tip-over accidents. And an average 11,100 per year were treated in hospital emergency rooms
for tip-over-related injuries from 2017 through 2019. About eight in 10 tip-over deaths involved kids under age 6, and 75 percent of fatalities for children involved a TV, according to the new report.
A CPSC survey last year found that
many parents and caregivers considered anchoring furniture and TVs unnecessary as long as they watched their children — a potentially deadly misconception.
The CPSC offers these safety tips:
• Anchor TVs and furniture, such as bookcases and dressers, securely to the wall.
• Always place TVs on a sturdy, low base, and push the TV back as far as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible.
• Avoid displaying or storing items such as toys and remote controls in places where kids might be tempted to climb up to get them.
• Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers. If you buy a new TV, consider recycling older ones no longer in use.
• If you move the older TV to another room, be sure it’s anchored to the wall properly.
• Keep TV and cable cords out of kids’ reach.
Even in rooms with TVs and furniture anchored, adult supervision is recommended, the agency said.
The CPSC has more tips, including instructions on anchoring TVs and furniture properly, at anchorit.gov.
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