June 2013

Autism and Flying

With the upcoming summer vacations, I'm fielding a lot of questions in my developmental pediatrics clinic about flying. Flying can generally be a stressful experience for any traveler but especially so for some of my patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families. The crowds, changes in routine, and unpredictable events can have a way of triggering anxieties and possibly behavioral difficulties for children with ASD (along with other developmental disabilities).

Repair the World or Stop It From Breaking?

The three-year old boy had a low grade fever and runny nose. Mom was sleeping in the corner of the room when I came in and barely awakened when I knocked on the door. Our conversation was short and to the point as I went through my routine “it’s a virus, tincture of time” talk. Leaving the room, the mom asked me for a taxi voucher. She did not want to call Freddie’s father for a ride back. With one more question, easily skipped, I learned that she and the child’s father had been fighting about their son’s cough keeping him awake. Freddie’s father had kicked them out of the house to find a doctor to “fix him or I will fix him, and you.” Turns out that Freddie and his mom were living in a house of fear and uncertainty. We see kids like Freddie each day. Sometimes we can sense that something is off but are afraid to ask that next question. Oftentimes, we cannot see the problem until we ask the right questions. Emergency medical providers may not feel that learning about these issues is their role. The first part of addressing a “chronic illness” is recognizing it. The next time you get “that feeling” see what a few straightforward, respectful questions can reveal.

Students Making An Impact

Great things are happening here at CIRP. With strong mentorship, lots of talent, and hard work, our student trainees are making significant contributions. We currently have 30 undergraduate, graduate, and post-doc students working at our Center, with nine participating as part of our National Science Foundation Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

Reaching the Remaining 35 Percent of Sub-optimally Restrained Children

One in three U.S. children ages 4 through 7 years are still not riding in a child restraint system when they are passengers in motor vehicles, according to the 2011 National Survey on Use of Booster Seats. To better protect these children, we developed and evaluated Boosting Restraint Norms, a community-led social marketing campaign that emerged from a multi-phase line of research conducted at CIRP.

#TeenSummer! Twitter Chat on Adolescent Summer Safety

CIRP@CHOP's Flaura Winston MD, PhD and Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE (@safetymd) will be special guests for an upcoming Twitter Chat on Adolescent Summer Safety! For many teens, summer is just getting underway. But increased time spent outdoors also comes with increased safety concerns: Sun exposure, swimming, biking, and hiking can all increase the risk of various adolescent injuries. 

Research in Action: A Nurse's Role in Injury Prevention

Earlier this month, I was fortunate to attend the 2013 National Meeting of the Safe States Alliance and the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR) , along with colleagues from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) and the University of Pennsylvania. At the Safer Today Safer Tomorrow Conference, researchers, educators and practitioners in the field of injury prevention came together to discuss new research and programs, as well as strategies for effective advocacy.

New Resource Alert: Teen Driver Safety Toolset

The CIRP team has developed a toolset of the charts and graphs found in Miles to go: Focusing on Risks for Teen Driver Safety, an annual teen driver safety research report that provides a yearly snapshot of teen driver safety for the nation.

Can You Train the Teen Brain to Drive?

CIRP@CHOP recently welcomed Robert Isler, PhD, an associate professor of Psychology at The University of Waikato in New Zealand, for an extended visit. He has spent over the past two decades researching physiological psychology and human performance, road safety, and driver training and education to help prevent teen driver crashes. Dr. Isler created eDrive, an engaging gaming platform to train teens on higher order driving skills (i.e., visual search, situation awareness, hazard perception, insight training, and risk management). Results are so promising that the New Zealand government now offers it for free to all learner teen drivers.