« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Not so yummy in their tummy... a PSA

I was wandering around the kitchen the other day looking for something to eat when I noticed the jar of our youngest's multivitamins sitting on the counter.  I've always been a bit uncomfortable with pushing these vitamins, but our son is a fussy eater and, well, we wanted to spare him the embarrassment of being the only kid in his gan with scurvy or beriberi.

The reason we give him these particular vitamins is because they look and taste exactly like those gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins that you see in the weeks leading up to Hanukkah (Hanukkah gelt). Seriously, the boy would trade either of his parents for two of these chocolate coins.  Think I'm kidding?  It wouldn't even be close.

Now before any of you get all preachy on me, please take your hands off your hips and sit a spell.  You see, unless you are giving your kids cod liver oil, chopped liver and fresh fruits and vegetables EVERY SINGLE MORNING, chances are you have also resorted to rounding out their nutritional needs with a multivitamin masquerading as candy. 

Whether you give your children Flintstones Chewables or some knock-off, let's face it, your kids are taking them because they look and taste yummy... like candy. 

Here's the rub:   If your kid finds your stash of Sweet Tarts and Snickers a week before Halloween and eats every last one of them, the worst that can happen is that bedtime gets pushed back by a few hours while you wait for the little darlings to come crashing back to earth in a drooling, woozy puddle of insulin.

But if they happen to find and take a handful of those tasty multivitamins that most of you have in your homes... and you don't find out in time... it is you who will come crashing to earth as you stand staring down into the yawning, bottomless chasm that is your child's grave. 

Of course, most of the vitamins and minerals found in those innocent-looking chewables are just that; innocent.  By this I mean that if your kid takes a mega-dose of almost any of these things, their bodies will treat them like most of the other unwanted/un-desirable crap they eat and will just pass it out in a day or two.  No hard feelings... no harm done. 

But one of the common ingredients in children's multivitamins, while nutritionally important, isn't Innocent at all.  I'm talking about iron. 

Unless your kids eat a lot of Iron-rich foods (see the list below)*, either by chance or at your pediatrician's urging you are probably giving them a multivitamin containing Iron.  And while iron is an essential part of your child's nutritional intake - primarily to prevent anemia - it can be fatal in surprisingly low doses. 

For example... most children's vitamins that contain iron have between 10mg - 20mg (Flintstones Complete has 18mg).  Now, let's say a kid finds a full bottle of 100 (or worse, 250!) tablets... we're talking about ingesting anywhere between 1000mg and 5000mg of iron.  To put this in context, in very young children, death can occur after ingesting as little as 200mg of iron!**

Just in case you were wondering, here are some useful factoids I found on a few medical websites just now:

1.  If you suspect your child has taken anything containing iron (multivitamin, iron supplement, etc.), take them (the kid, not the vitamins) to the hospital immediately... there is no home remedy for iron poisoning!

2.  Do not induce vomiting with Ipecac or your finger.  Just call poison control and get the kid to a hospital.

3.  You only have about 4 hours after a kid ingests iron to perform chelation.

So getting back to my little stroll around the kitchen in search of a snack.  I picked up the jar of vitamin-enriched Hanukkah gelt and noticed that it didn't have a child-resistant cap (Note: There is no such thing as child-proof!).  As I stood looking at the laughing clown on the label and the clear depiction of yummy gold coins that our three-and-a-half year old could easily get to, my skin got very cold. 

Later, while reading up on the horrors of overdoses involving children's multivitamins, I called Zahava and asked her to check the label for iron... and sure enough it was there.  I explained what I'd found out and told her to put the jar well out of Yonah's reach (instead of on top of the counter where it had been).

All's well that ends well, right?  So why am I telling all of you?  I'm telling you because I consider myself a pretty well-informed parent, and yet I didn't know this stuff.  So now I'm giving you a small job to do.  Pass this along.

While I'm normally a stickler when it comes to the distribution of my writing, I'll gladly make an exception in this case.  Link to this post if you like... copy it onto your own sites if you prefer... email it to everyone you know who has kids.  I don't need credit... really.  Just pass it around.  If even one parent reads this and has the chilling epiphany that I just had it will be worth it.

Iron rich foods include: liver, lean red meats, seafood, beans, collard greens, spinach, and turnip greens, tofu,  broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, blackstrap molasses, egg yolks and dried fruits, such as raisins, prunes, dates and apricots.

** Source

Posted by David Bogner on October 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Pina Chama Update

As of Saturday Night, the donations received here on the site now total $3,006.50  almost $4000 USD (not counting checks that people have promised to send in). Keep up the good work people... we're about 1/3 of the way there!!!

So once again, here's your chance... take a few seconds and help set a bad thing right.  Send your donations to:

The Pina Chama
8/2 Rechov Haziporen
Efrat, 90435

Or click here:

The honor Roll so far (not including the anonymous donors):

The Eastmans
Josh Weinstein
Russ Gold
Gershon Dubin
Michael Harbater
Shlomo Argamon
Alice Jonsson
yonah lloyd
Elan Rieser
VV Ramras
Judy Keiner
Jane Hartman
Abby Breitstein
Janet Fuchs
Andrew Cooper
Elliot Ganz
Karl Newman
Andy Lang
Maya Sprague
Sarah Schwartz
Redsugar muse
Devri Ehrlich
Michael Gartenberg
Ilana Marcus
Jesse Kelber (x2)
The Adlers
Meyer Halpern
Mark G Jorgensen
Alex Schajer
Johnny <3  :-)
Rebecca Landes
randall wolf
Paula Riemer
lewis wienerkur
Steve Bogner
Beatrice Brecher
Raz & Debra Haramati
Selvin Family
Yaron Steinbuch
Ben Niderberg
Hili Hamer
Josh Nachtigal
Barry Farkas
Val Bogner
Ken McDonald
Barry Weiss
Marcy Zwecker
Daniel Hensley
Dan Matkowsky
Dvora Matkowsky
Matthew "Jethro" Thull
Dina Saenz
Peter Bienzeisler

Thank you again to everyone who has participated in this important project.

Posted by David Bogner on October 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack