Alcohol use in pregnancy part of a complex set of issues

Expecting quick fixes for reducing alcohol use in pregnancy is unrealistic

Alcohol use in pregnancy part of a complex set of issuesIn my work as a neonatologist, I’ve looked after many babies. I’ve seen parents of all ages, cultures and circumstances. But I’ve never seen a mother who wanted to harm her growing baby. Yet too often I still see mothers who use alcohol during pregnancy despite extensive educational campaigns about its harmful effects on the fetus.…

Canada has one of the highest rates of kids in care in the world

A more “family welfare” rather than “child safety” approach could help reduce child poverty and family violence

Canada has one of the highest rates of kids in care in the worldBy Marni Brownell Associate professor University of Manitoba What happens when authorities determine that children can't live safely with their own parents or caregivers? Thousands of Canadian children go into foster homes or other types of out-of-home care on behalf of child welfare agencies. But we don’t know how many, nor do we know how well they are…

Liberals must keep their promise to end income-splitting

Provides relatively little tax relief for low-income families, and skirts single parents altogether

Liberals must keep their promise to end income-splittingMore of Canada’s children are living in poverty than ever before. A new report reveals that child poverty rates in Canada remain unconscionably high. Almost one-third of children in Toronto live in low-income households. Population measures of child health in Canada are also troubling, including above average rates of infant and under-five mortality and below…

We need a radical new approach for kids in care

How far kids in care are falling behind the rest of the school age population is shocking

We need a radical new approach for kids in careBy Marni Brownell Assistant professor University of Manitoba Six advocates for First Nations children have gone on a symbolic hunger strike at the Manitoba legislature to raise awareness about Manitoba’s broken child welfare system. Why? More than one in five First Nations children in Manitoba spends some time in care before their 15th birthday. And kids…

Pharmacare is for kids too

What do you do if your child is sick and you must decide between buying prescribed medicine or food?

Pharmacare is for kids tooBy Avram Denburg Canadian Doctors for Medicare and Steve Morgan University of British Columbia You are the parent of a sick child. You have a limited budget and you must decide to buy the medicine the doctor prescribed for your child or provide food and shelter for your family instead. What do you do? Sadly,…

Eye exams for school-age children should be mandatory

Most Canadian children never have their eyes examined, yet one in six may have a vision problem

Eye exams for school-age children should be mandatoryOne in every six Canadian children may have a vision problem that makes it difficult for them to learn and read, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO). For this reason, the CAO strongly recommends a comprehensive eye examination for every child before entering school. The medical journal The Lancet concurs. It recently published…

Unknown effects from medications putting Canadian children at risk

A small effort could make a big difference in child drug safety

Unknown effects from medications putting Canadian children at riskBy Terry Klassen University of Manitoba and Martin Offringa University of Toronto Almost a year has passed since an important report was released on ways Canada can improve medicines for children. The report was commissioned, by Health Canada and undertaken by the Council of Canadian Academies, after experts sounded alarms because there wasn’t enough knowledge…

The reality, rhetoric and ‘rithmetic of childcare

We need to understand – and measure – the problem before we dive into expensive fixes

The reality, rhetoric and ‘rithmetic of childcareAs summer winds down, we can count on at least two topics to attract an increasing share of Canadians’ attention: their children – yes, the new school year is just about upon us – and the federal election to be held on October 19th. These two subjects converge in the parties’ campaign promises related to…

Young students with diabetes should get equal treatment

A supportive school environment is critically important for keeping children with diabetes safe and healthy

Young students with diabetes should get equal treatmentFor parents of kids with diabetes, the beginning of each new school year brings not only the usual preparations, but also fears for their child’s health and safety. This is especially true if their school or school district does not have a policy to ensure staff are knowledgeable about diabetes, know how to prevent emergencies,…

Canada needs to rethink approach to early childhood development

Supports children receive in infancy have a profound influence on their intellectual and social development

Canada needs to rethink approach to early childhood developmentUNICEF recently released a report card ranking child well-being in the 29 richest countries on earth. Canada came 17th, placing us in the bottom half of the pack on factors such as child poverty, emotional well-being and life satisfaction. Clearly, we can do better. It’s time to have a frank conversation about how our country…