Posts Tagged ‘babies’

Hearing loss in babies

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

baby's hearing testHearing impairment is the decreased ability to hear and discriminate among sounds. It is one of the most common birth defects.

We’re not sure what causes hearing loss in babies. Some possible causes are genetics (if you or your partner has a family history of hearing loss), viruses and infections during pregnancy, premature birth, low birthweight (less than 5.8 pounds), and infections after birth.

There are degrees of hearing loss, too. A baby can have mild, severe or complete hearing loss. Other times a child can hear but the sounds are garbled. Hearing loss is a common birth defect affecting 12,000 babies in the U.S. each year (nearly 3 in 1,000). If a child can’t hear properly, he may have trouble learning to talk.

Newborn screening

Ideally, your baby should have his hearing tested as part of the newborn screening tests which are done in the hospital after your baby is born. The CDC recommends that all babies be screened for hearing impairment before 1 month of age. Language and communication develop rapidly during the first 2 to 3 years of life, and undetected hearing impairment can lead to delays in developing these skills. Without newborn screening, children with hearing impairment often are not diagnosed until 2 to 3 years of age. By then, they have lost precious time to develop speaking skills. A timely diagnosis is important!

Getting help

If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing, don’t wait – have a conversation with his healthcare provider (a pediatrician or nurse practitioner). Here are other options:

  • Every state has an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program. You can click here or call 1-800-CDC-INFO to locate your local EHDI program for services and information.
  • The CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities has a website on hearing loss in children, with specific pages for families, health care providers and others. The site contains information on prevention, signs and symptoms, screening and diagnosis, treatment of hearing loss, as well as statistical data on hearing loss. If you have any concerns about your child, start with the “Basics” and “Treatments” sections.
  • Additional resources and support networks related to hearing impairment and deaf children can be found here.
  • If your baby has a hearing impairment,  he may benefit from early intervention services, such as speech therapy. Learn how to access early intervention services in your area.

Bottom line

If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, getting help early is very important – preferably before 6 months of age.

Have questions: Text or email us at

Photo credit:  Baby’s First Test

We are thankful for all of you

Thursday, November 28th, 2013


We’re thankful for so many things, but especially for you, the great family of March of Dimes volunteers. Thanks so much to all of you who helped us spread the word this month about the seriousness of premature birth. People wrote blog posts and shared their stories at length, or in shorter posts on our Facebook pages, or sent photos or lots of tweets. We’re very grateful for your energy and support.

The efforts of our friends and volunteers are what make this organization strong and resolved to push even harder for research into the problems that threaten the health of babies. To all of you and your families, our thanks and sincere best wishes.

Look who’s walking and why

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Please lace up your sneakers and help all these wonderful people March for Babies!

Assembling those new toys

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Many of us are looking for toys that say “Made in America” this year. Personally, I think that’s a great idea, but regardless of where your tot’s toys come from there are several things you’ll want to take into consideration when it comes to safety and putting those toys together. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some good tips on toy safety that I thought I’d share before you’re all shopped out:

• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child.  Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
• Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. Boring and sometimes confusing, yes perhaps, but important.
• Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
• Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
• Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
• To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.  Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated. BUT
• Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets.  Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
• Parents should store toys in a designated location, such as on a shelf or in a toy chest, and keep older kids’ toys away from young children.

Happy shopping and good luck with those assembly instructions!

Helping moms and babies across the country

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Working with our partners, the March of Dimes strives to develop and implement local programs that will ultimately improve the health of babies. Through our network of chapters and volunteers, these programs reach over a million people across the country and Puerto Rico each year. We provide information and services designed to prevent premature birth and birth defects and to promote healthy pregnancies.

Community grants are awarded annually to fund the best programs. Local programs like Centering Pregnancy®, group prenatal care, are focused on improving the availability and quality of health care. We also support services that help promote the health and well-being of women and couples before pregnancy to increase their chances of having a healthy baby. Other programs educate doctors and nurses about reducing the rates of elective labor inductions and c-sections before the 39th week of pregnancy.

Through NICU Family Support®, we provide information and comfort to families coping with the experience of having a baby in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). NICU Family Support complements and enhances family-centered care practices in partner hospitals, addresses the needs of families and provides professional development to NICU staff.

Contact your local chapter of the March of Dimes to find out how we’re helping moms in your community.

Help for moms and babies after Sandy

Friday, November 9th, 2012


March of Dimes staff and volunteers collected $10,000 worth of diapers donated by Kmart and Kimberly Clark for New Jersey babies in need following Superstorm Sandy. The cartons, loaded by members of fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, were delivered by Farmers Insurance trucks to two locations in Hillside and Sayreville. Thank you to these wonderful people who helped so much.

More deliveries are planned for other sites in New Jersey and New York.

The March of Dimes has set up a special new baby registry at  where people can purchase diapers, formula and other essentials that the March of Dimes will deliver to infants and families in need.

“We thank Kmart and Farmers Insurance for their generosity toward the moms and babies of our region whose homes and lives were damaged by Superstorm Sandy,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “The resources we’ve gathered will take care of some of their greatest needs right now.” We’d love to have your help.

Be a Hero for Babies

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Thursday June 21st is Farmers Be A Hero For Babies Day when Farmers agents all over the country will reach out in their communities to once again help keep every baby healthy. Who are your heroes for babies?

Recycling baby clothes

Monday, June 4th, 2012

baby clothesDo you recycle baby clothes? If not, why not? Everyone is talking about going green, stopping waste, getting better mileage… why not get better mileage out of baby clothes? Little tikes outgrow them long before they can wear them out. And if you hadn’t noticed, babies and their clothes are expensive.

Chat with your friends and relatives about starting a clothes swap. Once through the washing machine, you’re good to go.  It’s very helpful to rotate clothes from a larger baby to a smaller one, especially if you live in a cold climate in the winter where snowsuits and other gear are a must.  Check with your local secondhand clothing store or resale shop.  They often have “gently used” clothes at extremely reasonable prices. Often, if you bring in clothes your tots have outgrown for sale, you will receive credit for purchasing whatever you need in the next size up.  Whatever you can’t sell at the consignment shop, you can donate to the Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters or other local charity.

For larger items like strollers, high chairs, etc. you can try looking for or listing them on one of the popular for-sale-by owner web sites. But don’t get a used car seat if you can possibly buy a new one.

Save the fancy new duds that the grandparents give you for special occasions and use the recycled ones everyday. And if you have a few special outfits that you really love and are sentimentally attached to, consider taking them apart and making them into a quilt that you can use and then pass on to your grandchildren.

U.S. infant mortality rate down

Friday, May 18th, 2012

graph-going-downMore than 1,000 fewer babies died before celebrating their first birthday between 2007 and 2008, and many of them had the benefit of a full-term pregnancy, according to data just released by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The United States infant mortality rate declined 2 percent from 2007 to 2008. The rate dropped to 6.61 from 6.75 deaths for every 1,000 live births. The NCHS report found that all of this decrease in the infant mortality rate can be accounted for by a decrease in preterm births. While infant mortality rates were relatively unchanged between 2000 and 2005, this recent improvement represents a 4 percent decline in infant mortality since 2000 and a 13 percent decline since 1995.

“This data conclusively demonstrates that preventing premature birth saves lives,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse president of the March of Dimes. “But 28,000 babies still did not live to see their first birthday. No parent should ever have to experience the pain of losing a child from prematurity, or from any other cause.”

The U.S. preterm birth rate peaked in 2006 at 12.8 percent. It has dropped for four consecutive years to just less than 12 percent in 2010. Much of this improvement can be attributed to a decline in the rate of infants born just a few weeks early, which may be linked to better hospital practices that discourage elective early deliveries that can result in premature births.

The new NCHS statistics show that the earlier a baby is born, the greater the risk of death, but Dr. Howse says it’s important to note that even babies born just a few weeks early — between 34 and 36 weeks gestation — have a death rate three times as high as babies born at full term. In 2008, nearly two-thirds of all infant deaths occurred in the first month of life, and two-thirds of all infant deaths were preterm babies, according to the NCHS.

The March of Dimes has set a goal of lowering the national preterm birth rate to 9.6 percent of all births by 2020. This goal can be achieved by a combination of activities, including: giving all women of childbearing age access to healthcare coverage and preconception and prenatal care; fully implementing proven interventions to reduce the risk of an early birth, such as not smoking during pregnancy, progesterone treatments for women as appropriate, avoiding multiples from fertility treatments, avoiding elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary; and by funding new research into prevention of preterm birth.

Thank goodness for nurses

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

nursesOur guest post today is from Mary Lavan, Associate Director of Nursing Education and Health Promotion at the March of Dimes.

It’s National Nurses Week and March of Dimes would like to thank all of the nurses who work so hard to improve the care of moms and babies.

It’s a special week to reflect on the critical work nurses do every day to help advance the mission of the March of Dimes. Nurses are the ones, afterall, who hold moms and babies in their hands. They are health care providers, educators, researchers, advisors and friends. Nurses educate women before they are pregnant about the importance of preconception care and taking folic acid. They provide safe care during labor and care for babies born too early.

Sometimes it’s an emergency room nurse who holds a pregnant woman’s hand during a preterm labor scare, or a pediatric nurse who screens a new mother for postpartum depression. Whatever the situation, nurses play an integral role in helping us get closer to achieving our mission: a day when every baby has a healthy start in life. For that, March of Dimes is forever grateful.

As a way of saying thank you for all that nurses do, March of Dimes developed an extensive continuing nursing education program to help nurses integrate the latest clinical and scientific advances into the care of their patients. March of Dimes is also proud to award several scholarships annually to nurses enrolled in graduate maternal-child health nursing programs.

For information about March of Dimes nursing program, visit or contact Mary Lavan at