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When Texting May Save Your Child’s Life

(Scott Abelman/Compfight) (Scott Abelman/Compfight)

If your child needed two doses of the flu shot this year, you’re not alone.  Yet research finds that less than half of those kids don’t get the necessary second shot.

A new study published online today in the journal Pediatrics explores a texting program to help parents remember to visit the doctor for that second dose.

Parents of 660 Latino children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years were randomly selected to receive one of three different messages.  These children, all patients in three New York City health clinics, needed to return to the for an additional dose of the vaccine. Messages given to the patients included one “conventional text message,” which simply provided the next appointment date and clinic hours, an “educational text message,” which included the appointment date, clinic hours, and health literacy information and finally a written-only reminder.

Children who received the “educational texts” were more likely to receive a second dose by the due date (72.7%) versus those receiving the “conventional text” (66.7%). Continue reading

Parents, Hold The Phone: Study Finds Teens Talk To You While Driving

(Lord Jim via Compfight/Flickr)

(Lord Jim via Compfight/Flickr)

Veronica Thomas
CommonHealth Intern

To prevent distracted driving, parents can get mobile apps that track their teen’s every driving behavior, from speeding to texting friends. But what happens when parents themselves are steering kids in the wrong direction?

More than half of teens are actually talking with their parents when they’re using their cellphones behind the wheel, according to a new study presented at this week’s American Psychological Association’s annual convention.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens, and distracted driving is often to blame, causing 10 percent of fatal crashes. Nearly all teens admit to using a cellphone while driving, but they’re not the only group of drivers who try multi-tasking while operating a two-ton machine.

Studies have found that parents use their cellphones while driving just as much as their kids. Just as in the “Like Father, Like Son” anti-smoking PSA from the ’60s, mom and dad are modeling a driving behavior that at least quadruples the risk of crashing.

This new study, led by Parallel Consulting, finds that parents also promote distracted driving by calling and texting their kids to check in or catch up.
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