Health Buzz: Child Abuse on the Rise, Especially for Babies

Curbing teen driving dangers; how to plant a juice garden

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Study: Child Abuse Is on the Rise, Particularly Against Infants

More kids were hospitalized due to child abuse injuries in 2009 than in 1997, according to a report published today in Pediatrics. After Yale researchers analyzed records of more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals, they found that the number of serious physical abuse cases among children rose 5 percent between 1997 and 2009. Serious abuse cases include head injuries, burns, and fractures. Babies, specifically, received the most abuse. In the 12 years preceding 2009, researchers found a nearly 11 percent increase in serious injuries to babies under age 1. "Infants tend to be hospitalized at a much higher rate than older children, and I think it's because the injuries they sustain are much more serious," study author, John Leventhal, a pediatrician from the Yale School of Medicine, told Fox News. A slap to the face, for example, may bruise a 6-year-old, but cause internal injuries to an infant, he explained. Why the uptick in child abuse? Leventhal suspects the financial stress of a tough economy might be setting off more parents. For parents who feel they might hurt their child, he suggests: "Step back, walk away, get help."

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  • Curbing Teen Driving Dangers

    Angst isn't just for teenagers. Their parents get to go along for the ride—especially when their teen's behind the wheel. The fear that a young driver will be anything short of conscientious while operating thousands of pounds of machinery is well warranted. Car crashes are the leading killer of American teens, and everything from speeding and alcohol-use to the distractions of cell phones or friends in the car contribute to this sobering statistic. Teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than all other drivers, with first-year drivers at the greatest risk, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

    With that in mind, several groups are making use of the back-to-school season to teach teens safe driving. Last week, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson pronounced Sept. 19 "No Text on Board Pledge Day," urging Americans to vow never to text and drive. He was joined by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has made the fight against distracted driving a hallmark of his tenure, along with George Washington University President Steven Knapp and Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. The "No Text on Board Pledge Day, which, notably, occurred two days before the release of the iPhone5, is part of AT&T's broader "It Can Wait" campaign, which has a bevy of partners targeting teens to stop texting and driving. Through the website, www.itcanwait.org, AT&T has made available resources such as posters, fact sheets, online texting-and-driving simulators, and a documentary called "The Last Text" about teens whose lives were ended or upended by texting while driving. AT&T also provides a cell phone "drive mode" that alerts others that the user is driving and will respond later to texts and E-mails.

    Yet, while teens are the most distracted of all drivers on the road, the reasons for their car accidents go far beyond the diversions of cell phones. They result from "inexperience and immaturity," which show up in a range of risky behaviors, according to NHTSA. In response, the agency has prioritized promoting seat belt use, restricting teenage access to alcohol, and supporting graduated driver's licenses, which ease teenagers onto the road. Tips for parents on setting rules for their young drivers and other resources are available at www.nhtsa.gov. [Read more: Curbing Teen Driving Dangers]

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    • How to Plant a Juice Garden

      If your day has you on the run (and whose doesn't?), you may have discovered that liquid lunches are the way to go—and I'm not talking martinis here, writes U.S. News blogger Daron (Farmer D) Joffe. I'm talking kale, carrots, apples, and a whole slew of other healthy goodies pressed through a juicer or perhaps just blended, poured into a travel cup, and taken here, there, and everywhere. "Delicious, nutritious, and makes you feel ambitious," as the mother of a friend of mine likes to say.