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2019 Back to School Update





Back to school means back to the classroom, backpack and school friends. Sometimes teens find out that their school friends learned something new over the summer - vaping or juuling.


A way to start a conversation with your teen/preteen about vaping is found here:


There is an abundance of information on the internet about underage vaping and its consequences. The evidence is mounting that it is not a safe product by any means.


         E-cigarette aerosol is NOT harmless “water vapor.”

         The e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:

o   Nicotine

o   Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs

o   Flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease

o   Volatile organic compounds

o   Cancer-causing chemicals

o   Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead1

      The aerosol that users inhale and exhale from e-cigarettes can expose both themselves and bystanders to harmful substances.

       It is difficult for consumers to know what e-cigarette products contain. For example, some e-cigarettes marketed as containing zero percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.


More information about the health effects of vaping can be found in our Clinical information links:


Internet safety


The Internet can be wonderful for kids. They can use it to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games.


But online access also comes with risks, like inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and online predators. Using apps and websites where kids interact, predators may pose as a child or teen looking to make a new friend. They might prod the child to exchange personal information, such as address and phone number, or encourage kids to call them, seeing their phone number via caller ID.


Parents should be aware of what their kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves.


Talk with your kids - this is a good starter:


·      How many social media platforms do you currently use? Which ones?

·      Do you use any live video streaming apps such as live me, cake, keek or YouNow?

·      Are your friends on social media people that you know in person?

·      Have you ever broadcast video to people you do not know in person?

·      Have you ever been asked to send or share anything on social media or any app that made you feel uncomfortable?

·      If this did happen to you, what would you do?

·      Has anyone ever threatened you on social media?

·      Has anyone ever asked you to communicate with them on a different messaging application?


Ways to protect them:


·      How many social media platforms do you currently use? Which ones?

·      Introduce smart devices slowly

·      Introduce media platforms slowly

o   Use “friending” and “mirroring”

o   Restrict app installation

o   Do not allow the use of apps/social media you do not understand

o   Educate on the risk of lesser known messaging applications and why offenders want to use them

·      If choosing to allow social media usage, pick one

·      Understand how the social media app works

·      Set rules governing the use of the app:

o   Only people you know in real life

o   No use in school

·      “Mirror” the account

o   An account can be logged into from multiple different devices

o   If logged in, the parent will receive all private message and public posting notifications

·      “Friending”

o   When giving more trust, demand you as the parent are always on friends list

·      Keep an eye on their activities

o   House Rules – No devices in bedrooms or bathrooms.

o   Devices are collected at the end of every evening and kept in parent’s bedroom.

o   Home Wifi – Use built-in device restriction policies for Verizon, AT&T, Linksys and Comcast

o   Cellular Service - Use services provided by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to restrict data usage during time periods or days. (Note: This is a paid service for Verizon)

o   Use iPhone and Android parental controls

o   Restricts NSFW (Not Safe for Work) content

o   Sets time limits (“you may use this phone for x more minutes”)


For more information on reviewing and controlling these activities, please see the links below:


Mobile Phone Operating Systems:


·      iPhone

o   Walkthrough -

o   From Apple -


·      Android Family Link -




·      Comcast -

·      Verizon -

·      AT&T -!/u-verse-tv/KM1045382?gsi=1SMzAVw


Note: All these links allow disabling certain devices during specified days, times of day and types of activities.


(Courtesy of Special Agent Dan Johns, Violent Crimes Against Children Unit, Philadelphia Division)


Backpack safety


Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. And when used properly, they're incredibly handy. But some kids have backaches because they're lugging around their entire locker's worth of books, school supplies, and personal items all day long.


When a heavy backpack is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight's force can pull a child backward. To compensate, the child might bend forward at the hips or arch the back. This can make the spine compress unnaturally, leading to shoulder, neck, and back pain.


To help kids prevent injury when using a backpack:


        Lighten the load. No matter how well-designed the backpack, less weight is always better. Use the bathroom scale to check that a pack isn't over 10% to 15% of your child's body weight (for example, the backpack of a child who weighs 80 pounds shouldn't weigh more than 8 to 12 pounds).


        Use and pick up the backpack properly. Make sure kids use both shoulder straps. Bags that are slung over the shoulder or across the chest — or that only have one strap — aren't as effective at distributing the weight as bags with two wide shoulder straps, and therefore may strain muscles. Also tighten the straps enough for the backpack to fit closely to the body. The pack should rest evenly in the middle of the back and not sag down to the buttocks.


Healthy breakfast


Breakfast is a great way to give the body the refueling it needs. Kids who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier overall and are more likely to participate in physical activities — two great ways to help maintain a healthy weight.

Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless, or irritable. In the morning, their bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. Their mood and energy can drop by midmorning if they don't eat at least a small morning meal.


Breakfast also can help keep kids weight in check. Breakfast kick-starts the body's metabolism, the process by which the body converts the fuel in food to energy. And when the metabolism gets moving, the body starts burning calories.


Also, people who don't eat breakfast often consume more calories throughout the day and are more likely to be overweight. That’s because someone who skips breakfast is likely to get famished before lunchtime and snack on high-calorie foods or overeat at lunch.


Breakfast Ideas to Try

The morning meal doesn't have to be all about traditional breakfast items. You can mix it up to include different foods, even the leftovers from last night's dinner, and still provide the nutrients and energy kids need for the day.


Try to serve a balanced breakfast that includes some carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Carbs are a good source of immediate energy for the body. Energy from protein tends to kick in after the carbs are used up. Fiber helps provide a feeling of fullness and, therefore, discourages overeating. And when combined with heathy drinks, fiber helps move food through the digestive system, preventing constipation and lowering cholesterol.


Good sources of these nutrients include:

        carbohydrates: whole-grain cereals, brown rice, whole-grain breads and muffins, fruits, vegetables

        protein: low-fat or nonfat dairy products, lean meats, eggs, nuts (including nut butters), seeds, and cooked dried beans

        fiber: whole-grain breads, waffles, and cereals; brown rice, bran, and other grains; fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts

Updated 9.30.2019

Pediatric Medical Associates of Abington
1077 Rydal Road Suite 300
Rydal PA 19046
Phone 215-572-0425
Fax 215-572-5929
Pediatric Medical Associates of Norristown
160 West Germantown Pike Suite D2
East Norriton, PA 19401
Phone 610-277-6400
Fax 610-275-8861
For after hours help, call