Category Archives: News

’Tis the season – for injury?

The increase in toy-related injuries primarily is due to ride-on toys and scooters. (Children's Hospitals and Clinics photo)

The increase in toy-related injuries primarily is due to ride-on toys and scooters. (Children’s Hospitals and Clinics photo)

Dex Tuttle

Toddlers have a seemingly infinite amount of energy. This isn’t news to most of you, but as a new parent my expectations of my daughter’s energy level are always a significant underestimate of the stamina of which she’s capable. On a recent weekend, Quinnlyn and her “Namma” ran more than 50 laps around our kitchen and living room with little or no signs of slowing down.

As a result of this constant source of energy, I often struggle to keep my daughter occupied. My rationale is that she’s less likely to get into trouble if she’s busy with some toys or an activity; however, that may not be the case.

Q4_mighty_buttonA new study found that, nationally, toy-related injuries are sending another child to the emergency room every three minutes.

This increase in toy-related injuries primarily is due to ride-on toys and scooters. Nearly half of the kids injured by toys are hurt falling off of them, and of those, many of them break bones.

REPORT: Avoiding dangerous toys

Now may be a time of year that some of us are thinking about getting new toys for the little ones. Whether they play with new toys or hand-me-downs, it’s not likely we’ll ever totally protect our kids from injury, but this serves as a good reminder:

  • Always read the instructions and follow manufacturer guidelines on age and appropriate use.
  • Define a safe space for kids to use these high-risk toys, and always make rules about staying away from other hazards such as traffic, obstacles and other people.
  • It’s never too early to get kids in the habit of wearing helmets. If they’re on wheels, their helmets should be on – indoors or out.
  • Make sure the toys are in good repair and check the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls.

Dex Tuttle is the injury prevention program director at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Making of “Meet Abbey, future ballerina”

We get to work with amazing kids like Abbey every day at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. And each one has a dream that’s worth reaching.

The concept of the “Give today. Support tomorrows.” fundraising campaign is built on the spirit that every child has the chance to realize his or her hopes and dreams.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the commercial featuring Abbey, the future ballerina, and her family.

You can help our kids get to “when I grow up.” Give today. Support tomorrows.

Making of “Meet Abbey, future ballerina” from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

30-second commercial:

Meet Abbey, future ballerina from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

Flu vaccination more important than ever

fluheader1121

The flu vaccination is the best defense against what can be a serious infection at any age.

The flu vaccination is the best defense against what can be a serious infection at any age.

Q4_mighty_buttonBy Patsy Stinchfield, PNP

Parents — heads up!

If you haven’t received your or your children’s influenza vaccine, now is the time. The flu has begun to circulate in Minnesota and is a strain (A-H3N2) that is known to cause more-severe illness in all ages, but especially in the very young and the very old. One child in Minnesota already has died this year from this usual, seasonal strain of influenza.

It takes about two weeks to make protective antibodies, so get in now for your shot or nasal mist before gathering with sick friends and relatives.

The flu vaccine contains A-H3N2, but the virus circulating now has changed a bit, making the vaccine not a perfect match. However, it still is critical to get a flu vaccine because there is cross-protection that will help prevent kids from ending up in the hospital or worse yet, the intensive care unit.

It’s a busy time for everyone, but right now there is nothing more important than protecting yourself (especially if you have a baby younger than 6 months who is too young to be immunized), and your children. The flu vaccine is available at most clinics and retail stores, but please call and make arrangements.

Have a happy and healthy holiday!

Patsy Stinchfield, PNP, is the director of infectious disease and prevention at the Children’s Immunization Project at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Minnesota girl, 7, writes book to help patients

Kristina Heinlein, 7, wrote the book "Beans Brave Adventures at Children's Hospital," a story about her experience at Children's.

Kristina Heinlein, 7, wrote the book “Beans Brave Adventures at Children’s Hospital,” a story about her experience at Children’s.

Kristina Heinlein knows what it’s like to go through surgery. The 7-year-old Detroit Lakes, Minn., girl has had several procedures due to microtia, a congenital deformity where the outer ear is underdeveloped.

Q4_mighty_buttonFor the past two years, Kristina has undergone surgeries to reshape her right ear in hopes of gaining the ability to hear out of it. She has faced each procedure with bravery and enthusiasm, which made her want to share those experiences with other kids in a similar position.

What came from that was the book “Beans Brave Adventures at Children’s Hospital,” a story about Kristina’s journey at Children’s and advice for kids who will might be scared about surgery.

BOOK: “Beans Brave Adventures at Children’s Hospital” on Facebook

The Detroit Lakes Tribune wrote about the book and Kristina’s experience at Children’s. WDAY-TV of Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., also featured a story about Kristina.

 

Father of cystic fibrosis patient plans concert, silent auction for Children’s

Edison Hopper was born with cystic fibrosis. (Amy Best / Amy Colleen Photography)

Edison Hopper was born with cystic fibrosis. (Amy Best / Amy Colleen Photography)

If you asked Charlie Hopper if the birth of his son was hard, you’d be off. Way off.

“To say it was difficult would be inaccurate,” Hopper said. “Any time you’re confronted with something your child has that could shorten his life shifts your perspective. We’ve done our best to take his diagnosis in stride, and the help of the team at Children’s has made that possible.”

A week after Edison Hopper was born last year, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). He has been treated at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota ever since. It was a diagnosis that will forever impact the Hopper family. Parents Charlie and Becky have not only accepted it but also pledged to help other kids like Edison and all kids cared for by Children’s.

CF is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus. It clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections, as well as obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down food and absorb vital nutrients.

After Becky became pregnant with Edison, she learned she was a CF carrier. As a result, Charlie was tested and also found to be a carrier. When both parents are carriers, children have a 1-in-4 chance of having CF. It wasn’t until after Edison was born that they learned his diagnosis.

“Emotionally, it was difficult after Edison was born, but we got to a point where everything leveled out, and it got easier and easier. We don’t know any different,” Hopper said.

Edison receives daily treatment. He takes 40,000 units of enzymes with every meal to help him maintain body weight, Hopper said. He uses a nebulizer twice a day and wears a vest during treatment to help loosen the mucus in his lungs.

He visits Children’s, specifically Dr. Brooke Moore at Children’s Respiratory and Critical Care Specialists (CRCCS) every three months for checkups. He does an annual visit with his whole CF team (doctor, nurse, dietitian, social worker, and respiratory therapist). To date, he has been healthy and hasn’t once been hospitalized.

Since Edison was born, there have been many promising developments for people with his diagnosis. Life expectancy on average for a person with cystic fibrosis is just over 37 years. Kids born today with it should live into their 50s, on average, Hopper has learned.

Q4_mighty_button“Part of why CF has advanced is because of places like Children’s,” he said.

Charlie and Becky are expecting their second child next year. Because they’re both carriers of the defective gene, their next child could have cystic fibrosis, too.

“We obviously don’t want our next child to have CF,” Hopper said. “But in the event our unborn son has CF, we’ll know how to manage it.”

Hopper wants to raise $15,000 yet this year for Children’s in honor of his son and the thousands of other kids for whom Children’s cares.

“Everything that Children’s represents is something bigger than us as individuals,” Hopper said. “They go above and beyond.”

To help raise funds for Children’s, Hopper has organized a benefit concert, featuring national touring band Blitzen Trapper at the Fine Line Music Café on Dec. 12 presented by 89.3 The Current and McTerry Music. Local standouts Farewell Milwaukee, Bigtree Bonsai and Old Desert Road will also perform. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and $50 for VIP (balcony access and $20 bar tab); doors open for the concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are selling fast and can be purchased here.

There will be a pre-event silent auction sponsored by IPR directly next door to the Fine Line at 300 N. First Ave. from 4-7 p.m., featuring live acoustic music by local musicians David and Zach Young (Down and Above, Going to the Sun) and Ray Smart (The Attley Project, Meridian Incident). Admission to that event is $10 and includes free food and drinks, as well as two complimentary raffle tickets for prizes to be given away after the concert at the Fine Line (need not be present to win). Tickets can be purchased here. People with tickets to the concert will be admitted free. If you cannot attend either event but want to support the cause, give today.

Mother of Children’s heart patient writes book

Charlie was born in 2005 with a congenital heart defect. (Photo courtesy of Mindy Lynn)

Charlie was born in 2005 with a congenital heart defect. (Photos courtesy of Mindy Lynn)

 

Charlie and Mindy Lynn

Charlie and Mindy Lynn

Embracing Charlie, a book by Minneapolis author Mindy Lynn about her son, a young Children’s patient born with a congenital heart defect, was named a finalist in the Christian Inspirational category of the 2014 USA Best Book Awards.

In the book, Mindy Lynn writes about her family’s emotional journey since Charlie’s birth in 2005.

Embracing Charlie is available in paperback; for the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and at Smashwords.

 

Healthy childhood development important for all

Mike Troy, Ph.D,

Mike Troy, Ph.D, LP, is Children’s medical director of Behavioral Health Services.

By Dr. Mike Troy

I had the honor this past week of participating in a panel discussion about the importance of early childhood development to healthy communities. Hosted by Healthy States, an initiative of American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio, the topic of the evening was “Community Responses to Toxic Stress.” As readers may know from our recent report and community engagement work, the subject of early childhood development is near and dear to my heart and a significant focus of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

My colleague and friend, Dr. Megan Gunnar, of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development presented scientific research on the essential role of a safe and nurturing social environment for healthy brain development. She also described how high levels of environmental stress in infancy and early childhood can lead to enduring problems in learning, physical well-being and social development. We know that birth to age 3 is an incredibly formative time for a developing mind, with 700 new neural connections made every second. But if a child lives in an environment with persistent challenges (toxic stress) such as poverty, poor nutrition and inadequate housing without the buffer of positive caretaking relationships, it prevents those connections from forming in an effective and efficient manner. Experience shapes brain architecture, and a poor early foundation affects development throughout the lifetime.

Q4_mighty_buttonPanelists MayKao Hang, president and CEO of the Wilder Foundation, and Sondra Samuels, president and CEO of Northside Achievement Zone, and I discussed how our organizations are helping to mitigate toxic stress and foster healthy child development. I left this lively discussion energized to continue Children’s work with community partners to help foster healthy development in children. Some of my thoughts include:

  • One way parents and community leaders can help is to encourage consistent monitoring of child development. At each well-child appointment and over time, we screen our young patients for normal development and identify challenges. Early intervention is key and can change the trajectory of a child’s life.
  • We can motivate leaders and others to action by educating them about the science of early brain development and the unequaled opportunity for healthy development that is presented during the first few years of life. Behavioral and emotional problems often have their roots in unhealthy conditions (toxic stress) in early, foundational stages of life.
  • What babies need is essentially the same across all communities: attentive and loving relationships, safe and stable environments, healthy food and developmentally appropriate activity.

Healthy development happens in the home and in the community through relationships with families, friends and neighbors. We all can play a role in supporting a strong start. Our collective focus must be on healthy development for all children.

Mike Troy, Ph.D., LP, is medical director of Behavioral Health Services at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Ebola preparedness prompts teamwork, unlikely partnership

Mary Anderson, president of the American Sewing Guild Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter; Dave Overman, Children's president and chief operating officer; Lori Clark, ASG Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter publicity chair and president-elect; and Roxanne Fernandes, Children's chief nursing officer, display prototypes of powered air-purifying respirators used for training purposes.

Mary Anderson, president of the American Sewing Guild Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter; Dave Overman, Children’s president and chief operating officer; Lori Clark, ASG Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter publicity chair and president-elect; and Roxanne Fernandes, Children’s chief nursing officer, display prototypes of powered air-purifying respirators used for training purposes.

When manufacturers and suppliers of the safety equipment necessary to treat Ebola patients announced they would be judicious with where they send it to ensure its availability to those that need it, health systems across the U.S. were challenged to use critical thinking in their preparation and training plans.

As one of four hospitals — and the only children’s hospital — in Minnesota selected to care for Ebola patients, if necessary, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota has been training while using a limited quantity of personal protective equipment (PPE) and powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) face shields to familiarize staff.

Members of the American Sewing Guild Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter work on training PAPRs at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights.

Members of the American Sewing Guild Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter work on training PAPRs at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights.

In the event of a real-life Ebola case, Children’s would be supplied with the necessary equipment by manufacturers. In the meantime, for training and simulation purposes, a cross-functional team at Children’s that included the executive team, Center for Professional Development and Practice (CPDP), Materials Management, Lab, Maintenance, Respiratory Therapy, Safety and Security, and members of the American Sewing Guild Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter launched an effort that enables staff to wear PAPRs that create a more ideal practice or simulation environment.

The idea for mocking up PAPRs for training originated from Karen Mathias, director of the Simulation Center. On Oct. 31, Roxanne Fernandes, chief nursing officer, and Lila Param, interim director for CPDP, traveled to Hancock Fabrics in Minnetonka to find material that would work for a training PAPR hood prototype. After talking with the store manager, they were given the contact information for the sewing guild.

On Nov. 3, Fernandes emailed members of the guild, which responded within 30 minutes that they were ready to help.

“When I saw it, I thought, ‘Ooh, this is one we need to follow up on really fast,’ ” Lori Clark, publicity chair and president-elect of the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter, said. “We have people in the guild who sew everything.”

Clark and guild president Mary Anderson visited Children’s – St. Paul that afternoon to see the real PAPRs and discuss a plan for creating 25 training hoods.

On Nov. 4, they, along with member and newsletter editor Emily Schroeder Orvik, enlisted nearly a dozen volunteers and set up sewing shop at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, where the guild held its annual meeting and workshop earlier this year.

“In general, community service is one of the major tenets of our organization,” Anderson said. “To me, this jumped out because my grandson had an emergency appendectomy at Children’s.”

Mary Anderson wears a training PAPR created by members of the ASG Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter.

Mary Anderson wears a training PAPR created by members of the ASG Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter.

“The fact that we can help Children’s prepare for something I hope they never have to face is a really good feeling,” Clark, whose daughter-in-law coincidentally is a pediatric nurse at another Minnesota hospital, said. “This is the most-unique request we’ve had.”

Before any sewing could be done, though, materials had to be gathered and made.

Paul Benassi, director of facilities, picked up DuPont Tyvek HomeWrap from Menards to be used as the main material for the training hoods, while Biomed engineering manager John Hendricks made 25 wooden blocks that match the weight of the air circulator worn on the belt of PPE to ensure as close-to-real-life training experience as possible.

An initial training hood was made out of the Tyvek wrap, but the material turned out to be too stiff and noisy. After making modifications to the pattern and a trip to Rochford Supply in Brooklyn Park, the group found a non-woven fabric that more closely mimics the material used for the real PAPRs.

The guild completed construction of the 25 hoods by its Nov. 10 goal.

First-year nonprofit raises more than $62,000 for Children’s pain clinic

From left: Betsy Grams, CycleHealth executive director; Andrew Warmuth, Children's physical therapist; Kristina Swenson, CycleHealth Kid Advisory Panel leader; and Tony Schiller, CycleHealth chief motivator, pose for a photo Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, during an awards banquet to recognize the $62,800 CycleHealth raised for Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

From left: Betsy Grams, CycleHealth executive director; Andrew Warmuth, Children’s physical therapist; Kristina Swenson, CycleHealth Kid Advisory Panel leader; and Tony Schiller, CycleHealth chief motivator, pose for a photo Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, during an awards banquet to recognize the $62,800 CycleHealth raised for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

The new pain clinic at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is the beneficiary of a generous group of kids.

CycleHealth, a first-year, Minnesota-based nonprofit, raised $62,800 with its first annual BreakAway Kids Tri at Lake Elmo Park Reserve in August. Four hundred forty-six kids competed in the triathlon (swim, bike, run), with 126 children raising money for Children’s.

Members of CycleHealth’s Kid Advisory Panel, which is comprised of the group’s top fundraisers, chose Children’s as its charity partner. A check was presented to Children’s for the Kiran Stordalen and Horst Rechelbacher Pediatric Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine Clinic at an awards banquet Monday night in Minneapolis.

Q4_mighty_buttonThe clinic, named after late Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher and his wife and business partner, who donated $1.5 million for the project, is scheduled to open in January at Children’s – Minneapolis.

“We wanted to be involved in a local venture,” Tony Schiller, chief motivator for CycleHealth, said of his organization. “The premise was that we’d go out and ask corporate sponsors and friends in the community to help create a new cycle of health in America by impacting kids and motivating them to do lifelong sports like running, biking, swimming – and raising money for charities. It’s not just about crossing a finish line, but serving.”

There are three spokes to the CycleHealth mission wheel: attitude, adventure and significance. Attitude represents the importance of how you think; adventure incorporates fun with fitness; and significance stresses that kids can inspire communities to solve big problems.

“We want to promote a love for sport and movement and to be healthy, as well as a kindness of heart and serving kids,” Schiller said.

Zack Novak, 11, of Minneapolis, participated in the first annual CycleHealth BreakAway Kids Tri and raised money for Children's.

Zack Novak, 11, of Minneapolis, participated in the first annual CycleHealth BreakAway Kids Tri and raised money for Children’s.

“The part that’s unique and attractive about CycleHealth is they believe in the power of kids,” said Jenna Weidner, 16, of Minnetonka, who raised $3,200 and has been fundraising for various charities since she was 8. “A lot of people are afraid to bring kids into it because of the perceived chaos, but kids are an untapped group with a lot of potential.”

CycleHealth plans to run educational, fitness and motivational programs through world-class, adventure-based events that benefit a charitable partner. Goals for the 2015 event to support the clinic include significant increases in overall participants, fundraising kids, and dollars raised.

“It was an incredible experience. Even if you didn’t win the race, it felt like you did,” said Zack Novak, 11, of Minneapolis, who raised more than $1,600 and is a member of the Kid Advisory Panel. “You feel like you did something for a purpose.”

Follow CycleHealth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Garth Brooks visits Child Life Zone in St. Paul

Country singer Garth Brooks holds a child during his visit at the Child Life Zone at Children's – St. Paul on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. (Photo by Ali Hogan / Alberta Lu Photography)

Country singer Garth Brooks holds a child during his visit at the Child Life Zone at Children’s – St. Paul on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. (Ali Hogan / Alberta Lu Photography)

Q4_mighty_buttonGarth Brooks was a hit during his visit to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s St. Paul hospital Friday. The country music superstar, who is in the middle of an 11-day, 11-show stay in the Twin Cities, signed autographs, posed for photos and visited with patients and their families to celebrate the opening of the Child Life Zone, an in-hospital play center for patients and their siblings.

Brooks stopped by patient rooms and visited with families and nursing staff before being greeted by a parade of fans that lined his walk to the Child Life Zone. Other celebrities on hand for the event included Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, former Minnesota Wild center Wes Walz, Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen and boxer Caleb Truax.

PHOTO GALLERY: Garth Brooks visits Children’s – St. Paul

The Child Life Zone at Children’s – St. Paul is one of 11 zones in children’s hospitals across the U.S. and opened in February. The first Child Life Zone was founded in Dallas in 2002 by Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman. Brooks co-founded Teammates for Kids in 1999.

VIDEO: There’s something for everybody at the Child Life Zone

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (center) and Garth Brooks are greeted by fans on the third floor at Children's – St. Paul.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (center) and Garth Brooks are greeted by fans on the third floor at Children’s – St. Paul. (Ali Hogan / Alberta Lu Photography)