Tag Archives: doctor

Booster Seats Saves Lives

Booster seats save lives. I know that first hand. I’ve seen it. I’m thankful that my wife and I continue to put our 9-year old son in a booster seat.

Climate change is important to me. Helping promote a better understanding of evolution is important to me. But this is the most important story I have ever written. See that picture below? My wife and son were in that car when it was struck last week.

Two people inside this car survived because of a seatbelt and a booster seat.

Two people inside this car survived because of a seatbelt and a booster seat.

My wife was wearing her seatbelt and my 9-year old son was in a booster seat (CARS theme, you know Lightning McQueen and friends). The firefighters at the scene, the paramedics, and his doctor all said it would have been a very different story had he not been in a booster seat. The point of the booster seat is to raise the child up so the seatbelt does not go across their neck or face and that it rests in the lap, not on their stomach. I’ve known some parents of similar aged kids who do not use a booster seat. I can’t say why. Maybe they think their child is too cool for it, maybe they think their child is too old for it, maybe they just don’t know better.

Well, this should help. Go to this link. It’s from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and has all kinds of advice for using a booster seat or car seat for the younger kids. My son is nine, this is what they say about his age:

8 – 12 Years

Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snugly across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Remember: your child should still ride in the back seat because it’s safer there.

Here’s more. These come courtesy of the CDC.

Restraint use among young children often depends upon the driver’s seat belt use. Almost 40% of children riding with unbelted drivers were themselves unrestrained.

More of the older children (45% of 8-12 year olds) were not buckled up compared with younger children (one-third of 1-7 year olds; one-fourth of infants under 1) in 2011.

Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged 4–8 years when compared with seat belt use alone.

In the United States during 2011, more than 650 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes.

Of the children who died in a crash in 2011, 33% were not buckled up.

Look at these pictures, imagine what happened inside this car during the wreck. I can’t even think about what could have happened had my son not been in a booster seat or worse, been sitting in the front seat.

Put your child in a booster seat. Put your child in the back seat. Don’t think, ‘It won’t happen to me.’ Don’t pretend your child is too good for a booster seat. Don’t fool yourself. 

Your child’s life depends on it.

 

How to Spot the Woo

It seems every day a news organization is doing a story on the latest health craze. That wonder drug to give you more energy, get rid of the cricks in your knees, or even fight off cancer. So how do you know if it’s real or some form of woo? The Skeptic’s Dictionary defines woo, by the way, as “…ideas considered irrational or based on extremely flimsy evidence…”. 

Headline Is A Trap

First off, ignore the headline. “Doctors say it’s a Miracle Cure”, fat chance. “Wonder Drug Stops Cancer”, uh-no. The headline is just a sexy invitation to get you to read or watch the story. Clickbait is what the kids call it these days.

Patient Doesn’t Know Best

Next, take a look at who the story is about. Is it about the patient who suffered some ailment or is it about someone with a vested interest in the product? If the story is focused on the patient pay close attention to what they say was wrong. Do they have a specific name of the problem or are they just saying that even their doctor didn’t know what was going on? Chances are if they can’t say exactly what was wrong…”I was tired all the time” or “my back was sore in the morning” or “I just felt icky”…then they possibly never even went to a medical doctor. If they say their doctor didn’t know what was wrong…well, that’s a possibility. Contrary to popular opinion doctors do make mistakes and can misdiagnose. The question is what did the patient do after that? Did they go see another doctor or did they go straight to the wonder drug? While one doctor might overlook something, the chances of others doing it are slim. If the patient went straight to the wonder drug then you know they didn’t give medicine a chance.

Expert or Pseudo-Expert?

Now let’s look at the so-called expert in the story. The person who, on the surface, knows all there is to know about this amazing treatment. Are they a real doctor? Not a doctor of chiropractic medicine. Not a naturopath. Not a homeopath. Not an acupuncturist. A real, honest to goodness, doctor of medicine. An MD. If they’re not, take everything they say with a grain of salt. (Actually, a grain of salt may do just as good what they want you to do.) I encourage you to click the links and read for yourself from people much smarter than me about why those so-called treatments are bogus.

Cha-Ching

But wait there’s more…does anyone in the story have a vested interest in the product? Are they trying to sell you something? Do they say the drug changed their life so much that they’re now selling it themselves. If so, giant red flag. I think it’s easy to see the conflict here.

Just cuz someone “says” something doesn’t make it true

Another question to ask, is there anyone in the story who takes a critical look at the treatment? The story must have an outsider, someone not connected with the wonder drug who also has a credible science-based medical background. If that person is not part of the story then the reporter either didn’t think to examine the treatment to see if what’s being claimed is true or they just didn’t want to include any critical information. Think about it like this, say a reporter does a story about you. They talk to your neighbor who says you’re a drunken slob and accuses you of going on midnight crime sprees. What does the reporter do next? They should talk with you and police to confirm or disprove the claims. The key word is “says”. Your neighbor can say anything they want but that doesn’t make it true. If the reporter doesn’t mention whether they tried to confirm what is said about the treatment you should question all of those claims.

Research, Research, Research

The best thing after reading such story is to do some research yourself. Below are some websites I use to wade through the woo.

Science Based Medicine

QuackWatch

What’s the Harm

Finally, here’s a fantastic song by the talented Tim Minchin that should help put it all into perspective.