As many of you know I was in Washington D.C. last week attending the Hope Awards presented by the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. It was a very moving evening filled with inspirational stories of children fighting for their lives. One award recipient was Mary Katherine Smart, the sister of Elizabeth Smart. Many of you may remember Elizabeth Smart from her kidnapping in 2002. She was taken from her bedroom in the middle of the night and held for nine months before her eventual rescue. At the awards ceremony we heard the story from the perspective of her younger sister, Mary Katherine. Mary Katherine was sleeping in the bed next to Elizabeth on the night of the kidnapping. She did not get a good look at the man’s face but was able to remember his voice. She eventually recognized the voice as a man she had met before, and was able to give a desciption of him to a sketch artist. This sketch was eventually recognized by the kidnapper’s family members and Elizabeth was brought home.
One of the biggest things I took away from my weekend in D.C. was the need of all of us in our entire community to participate in protecting our children. This may be through the Amber Alert system, keeping an eye on kids in our neighborhood, participating in community watches, providing support to children in our lives and providing them a safe place to go to talk about abuse, or any other countless ways.
One way that we as a clinic are committed to keeping children safe is by spreading the message about the dangers of drugs: illegal, over-the-counter, and prescription. We all know about the dangers of illicit drugs, but many time we ignore the dangers of the drugs sitting in our own medicine cabinent. The culture we live promotes drugs as a way to solve our problems: you have a fever take a Tylenol, you are hyperactive take some Ritalin, you have a backache take some Motrin. Is it any wonder that both children and adults turn to drugs and alcohol when they have problems in their lives?
Unfortunately most of us are unaware of the dangers of prescription (and over-the-counter) medications, especially when it comes to children. 80% of all the drugs given to children are off label, meaning they haven’t been tested nor approved by the FDA for use in children. Every dose of antibiotics given before the age of one increases rate of asthma by 50%. We all now about the controversies about vaccines and children. The issue is this: we simply don’t know how the majority of these drugs will interact with children’s physiology. Until we do (and we know it is safe) we should avoid as much as possible giving these medications to children (unless it is absolutely necessary)!
We encourage everyone to take an active role in keeping the children in their family and community safe. Stay involved, report suspicious activity, and be there for these kids. Try to provide a safe and healthy environment. Children are lucky, their bodies respond and heal very effectively. Make sure that your kids avoid sugar, eat fruits and veggies, run and play, and avoid drugs and medications. (Remember that chiropractic can play a role in this, just ask us how).
Have a great week everyone and stay safe!