Greetings! In the news: Groundhog, “Punxutawney Phil” did not see his shadow, so winter will soon be gone! Hard to believe after the record-breaking snowstorm that hit the northeast two weeks ago and another storm that came across the Midwest last weekend! Hope everyone is warm and looking forward to a snow–free Valentine’s Day weekend and of course, a warm week in March for the NAPNAP conference in Atlanta!
As the news puts the weather into perspective, it also offers some grim reality stories about challenges faced by our children. On Tuesday, in my neighborhood, two schools received calls about bomb threats. There have now been three weeks of threats, targeting Delaware, Maryland and Virginia schools. School officials and police take the calls seriously, but all of the calls are taking their toll on our children. How do you explain evacuation practices to a five-year-old without causing significant anxiety? Each of these events compromises children’s mental health, as the place our kids consider safest away from their homes is not so safe anymore.
From news to policy in the news: Nurse practitioners are not being supported in efforts to allow them the ability to treat patients with addiction. Currently, more people are addicted to heroin and prescription drugs than ever before. More infants are also being born with neonatal abstinence as a major risk factor. There is a national initiative to address this issue, but the basics are not being managed. In addition, the Affordable Care Act is in jeopardy as details of the program are being questioned in the House and Senate. The promise of continued health care for all children is not a guarantee.
On the positive side of the news, President Obama signed the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act into law on January 28, creating a safer environment for children and protecting them from another potentially toxic hazard. One positive for three negatives, what does this mean to pediatric healthcare providers? We are continually facing new and different concerns regarding children’s health. Ultimately, disturbing issues threaten children’s physical and mental health every day, and it is up to us to support initiatives that create the best opportunities for legislation promising health promotion, disease prevention and ongoing care for our society’s smallest members.
As we look toward the spring in less than six weeks (we hope!), I encourage you to continue to be involved locally and nationally in advocacy that supports child health!
I look forward to seeing everyone at the NAPNAP National Conference next month!