Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘Health and Safety’

Seattle Children’s Sees Early Spike in Fall Mental Health Visits to ED

An autumn uptick in mental health visits to the ED is normal as school begins and days darken. This year the surge began unexpectedly early at Seattle Children’s, in August, with about 20 more visits to the ED for mental health concerns than in the previous year. September and October ED numbers are holding steady so far compared to prior years. The difference is the acuity. More kids are arriving with mental health concerns who require admission.

“We all feared the effect that isolation, the pandemic and general societal stress would have on kids,” says Russ Migita, MD, clinical director of Emergency Services. “It’s because of the great work PCPs are doing to support kids and their families that we aren’t seeing even higher numbers in the ED yet. But the busy season is just beginning. We all need to work together to advocate for more resources and options for patients and families in the community.” Read full post »

How to Talk About Firearm Safety

A Q&A With Drs. Mark Del Beccaro and Fred Rivara

A child or teen is killed by a firearm every nine days in Washington, and firearms are the third leading cause of injury-related death in our state behind poisoning and falls – and ahead of motor vehicle crashes. In 2016, 3,155 children and teens in the United States died of firearm-related causes.

Most of these shootings occur in or around the home. One out of every three homes with children in the United States has a firearm. Many of these firearms are kept unlocked or loaded.

Children and teens are at the greatest risk of unintentional death, injury and suicide by firearm. Young children are naturally curious. They explore in drawers, cabinets and closets. Some older children and teens view firearms as signs of power. Others struggle with depression and thoughts of self-harm and live in households where firearms may be accessible.

Physicians may not always feel comfortable screening for the presence of firearms in the homes of caregivers or places where the child visits due to lack of training and perceived parent discomfort when discussing the subject.

A 2016 study found that fewer than 15% of physicians regularly ask caregivers screening questions about firearm safety. Yet, with national attention on recent school shootings, ongoing political dialogue and the opportunity to protect families with safe storage, pediatrician interest in discuss the subject with families may be changing. Read full post »