Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sunscreen Allergies

Uncommon but not rare, allergic reactions to sunscreen ingredients can happen, and I have a child that is allergic to some ingredient in sunscreen. His face breaks out in a rash. We are trying some with alternate ingredients to see which one doesn't have whatever he is allergic to. Some children have been reported as having severe allergic reactions with large hives and blistered rashes.

"Over the past 20 years, the dangers of sun exposure have been recognized, from sun-damaged skin to skin cancer. As a result, the use of sunscreens has become a routine part of our daily lives. This has led to various allergic reactions to the chemicals found in sunscreens. Most of these allergic reactions represent contact dermatitis."

Birthmark Warning/Neurofibromatosis

I just happened to have the Today show on late one day, not paying attention, until it finally registered what they were talking about. The parents were discussing the little girl's disease, neurofibromatosis. It is a common disease, 1 in 3000 children, that it seems nearly no one has heard about. It has severity from so mild a person doesn't know they have it (and are a carrier) to severe. They said the first sign was the presence of brownish "birthmarks" by the age of 2 called "cafe au laits." That up to 3 was normal, more than 3 they needed to keep an eye on, and more than 5 were a nearly positive indication that the child had the disease. The show had been discussing how the little girl's marks looked like ladybug spots. I still wasn't paying much attention. Then they said that they could be pretty much any size or shape.

My mother and I just happened to have been discussing one of my 2yo childcare kids' large jagged-edged birthmarks and how he had gotten more over the last year, so it was fresh in my mind. I ran over to him and pulled the top of his diaper down. The 3 "birthmarks" on his tummy, now had two additional showing up below them, and another one was on his knee. He had 6 cafe au lait marks. His parents got on it immediately and have a referral from an optomologist, since the disease causes nodes to form on the eyes around 3, and a dermatologist to set base lines. They are also thinking about genetic testing, but aren't sure of the need, since he shows the signs and there is no cure or preventative measures to take.

If your child, or one that you know, has brownish birthmarks, you may want to check out the internet information on this disease and discuss the possibility with your pediatrician. It is also important to have a child,s eyes checked at 3, as this will also show progression if the disease is there.


When I first began doing childcare, I used Ready-Set-GO! I realized at some point that this was a finite sequence with no expansion opportunity or relationship to our learning objectives. I changed it to 1-2-3!

1-2-3 is the fundamental building block of math, and reinforces the A-B-C of reading. It teaches the rule of sequence/order. Even the 1YOs "get" 1-2-3!

I expand this by changing the number, having the children take turns choosing the number (up to 20 because they like million and trillion), and giving them the option of count down rather than count up, always stating that we go on zero. Now a 5 minute game of back and forth racing a few times a week reinforces several concepts at several cognitive levels in a fun way.