Science & News

No opinion, no snake oil. Just the science. Featured articles describing cutting edge advances in research and technology that impact your baby. From the Mozart effect to SIDS and peanut allergies, we review the most impactful recent research.

baby product recalls

Recent Baby Product Recalls

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issues product recalls across all categories of consumer goods. Every once in a while, a popular baby product will get recalled due to safety issues.

Baby product safety recalls are typically related to issues such as choking hazards, laceration hazards, strangulation hazards, tipping hazards, and other safety concerns. In this article, we list recent baby products that have been recalled in the U.S., with an emphasis on the more commonly used items.

pregnancy study covid-19 attacks placenta

Study Shows COVID-19 Attacks Placenta in Pregnancy

As if pregnancy isn't stressful enough, two new studies report that COVID-19 attacks the placenta, restricting blood flow and nutrients to the baby.

Why this matters: The placenta acts as the baby's lifeline while in the womb, delivering oxygen and nutrients, and acting as a vital organ to help the developing kidneys, intestines, liver, and lungs work effectively.

maclaren stroller recall finger laceration

Graco and Maclaren Stroller Recalls

The Maclaren Stroller Recall

This recall was bound to happen given that Maclaren performed a voluntary stroller recall a few months ago, issuing hinge covers for over 1 million strollers due to the risk of finger amputation or laceration. Basically, if your kid were standing next to the stroller while you were folding it open or closed, and he or she put their hand into the hinge, you are going to fold their fingers into the hinge and potentially cut them off.

preventing SIDS blankets suffocation risks

Preventable Infant Suffocation During Sleep: New Research

How many safety issues can you spot in the above photo? One? Two? More?

There are two very obvious problems: the loose blanket under and around the infant, and the stuffed animal in the corner. These are called soft bedding, which is a big no-no for infant sleeping areas. Another possible issue is the lack of lightweight clothing for regulating your baby's body temperature effectively during the night. 

music exposure infants toddlers

Musicality in Newborn Babies

As adults, it is pretty easy for us to detect beats in music, as we tap our fingers or feet, or dance along to the timed pulse of our favorite song. But where did this ability come from? How did we, as humans, develop a sense of musicality?

peanut allergies exposure treatment babies infants toddlers research

Peanut Allergies: Research Links Early Exposure to Outcomes

Peanut allergies have mystified scientists and physicians for many years: what causes them, how can they be prevented, how can they be reliably diagnosed, and how can they be treated?

A new study (May 2020) published in the journal Pediatrics combines decades of research with new advances to highlight some general patterns and theories, bringing us one step closer to answering some of these questions.

Starting solid foods When earlier is better

Starting Solid Foods: When Earlier is Better

Many parents wonder when to start giving a baby solid foods. Perhaps you have heard that if babies begin eating solid foods too early they might be more likely to develop food allergies. This is a common fear, but some recent research suggests that not only is this likely false, but the opposite might be true. Delaying the introduction of certain foods into your baby's diet can actually increase their chances of developing food and even respiratory allergies later in life.

baby foods heavy metals toxins

Baby Foods and Formulas Without Heavy Metals? A Few Options

A study released by the non-profit Healthy Babies Bright Future (HBBF) organization is causing concern among parents about the safety of traditional and organic baby foods and formulas. The HBBF conducted a study to test for 4 different toxic heavy metals in 61 baby food brands and 168 different food and formula products.

The group tested for lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and an additional neurotoxin called perchlorate.

The Mozart effect Music benefits premature babies

The Mozart effect: Music benefits premature babies

Like many other parents, when my son was born my husband and I bought the Baby Einstein-Mozart CD.  Can classical music really help babies? Recent research suggests that it can - especially if your baby was premature! Playing Mozart to premature babies has been shown to reduce infants' stress and decrease resting heart rate. In addition, Mozart has been shown to increase oxygen saturation, nonnutritive sucking, and weight gain in premature infants.  Findings from a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that some of the weight gain benefits experienced by these babies may be due to a decrease in resting energy expenditure (the amount of calories burned during non-active periods) during Mozart exposure.

teething necklaces babies toddlers safety

Are Teething Necklaces Safe? Amber, Rubber, vs Silicone

Are teething necklaces safe? The answer is NO. Any teething necklace worn by a newborn, infant, or toddler is unsafe. There are two primary risks here. The first risk is that necklace beads will break apart or pop off the necklace itself, posing a major choking hazard. The second risk is that anything worn around the neck poses a strangulation hazard.

No association between MMR vaccine and autism

No association between MMR vaccine and autism.

A previous study by Wakefield and colleagues claimed that the measles virus (introduced in the body by the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine) could lead to the development of autism. Although the Wakefield study is highly controversial and criticized for unethical research practices, it has led to widespread fear about the safety of vaccines and an increase in the number of parents who opt not to vaccinate their children. However, results of a recent study by Mrozek-Budzyn and colleagues suggests that the link between MMR vaccine and autism is unfounded.

inclined sleepers safety risks babies

Safety Alert! Over 50 Infant Deaths due to Inclined Sleepers

Every parent wants their baby to have a special sleeping place that is nearby, comfortable, and safe. This desire leads many parents to purchase a bassinet, co-sleeper, bedside-sleeper, or moses basket. Many of these options offer a sleeping surface inclined between 10-30 degrees that is intended to help babies with reflux or colic fall asleep more easily and stay asleep for longer periods of time.

New Growth Chart for Premature Babies

New Growth Chart for Premature Babies

A recent scientific paper gathered the results from several studies examining the head circumference, weight, and length (height) of premature babies. This is an excellent resource for predicting a baby's weight, length and head circumference before birth, and also tracking the appropriate growth of a premature baby through the first several weeks of life.

The growth chart for premature babies is below. Note that weight in kilograms can be multiplied by 2.2 to convert to pounds (so that 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds, 2 kilograms equals 4.4 pounds, etc).

chemicals in baby oatmeal cereal glyphosate

Full List of Kids Foods Containing Cancer-causing Herbicide

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published results of a new study demonstrating that 43 of the 48 cereals, oatmeals, and snack bars they tested contained the herbicide Glyphosate, which is classified by several agencies as a likely carcinogen. And Glyphosate was found in all of the Cheerios and Quaker cereals tested. This study builds upon very similar results found in their earlier study of oat-based products.

vaccinations tylenol effectiveness children babies

Vaccinations less effective following Tylenol

No parent wants to see their baby uncomfortable, fussy, or feverish. This is why, when vaccination time comes around, many parents administer Tylenol before heading to the doctor's office or immediately following the appointment. This practice has been reinforced by several past studies showing that Tylenol decreases fevers following vaccinations. However, a recent study published in the journal The Lancet may deter parents from administering Tylenol to prevent these symptoms.

gerber baby down syndrome

Meet Lucas: The First Gerber Baby with Down Syndrome!

Each year, Gerber holds a contest to find the next face of Gerber - the Gerber baby!

Sifting through over one hundred thousand entries by hopeful parents, Gerber finds the perfect baby to demonstrate their core values to consumers worldwide.

And they found something perfect in Lucas! I mean, look at that smile! Don't you just want to squish his cheeks and give him a kiss!?

Dangers of plastics phthalates during pregnancy

Dangers of Plastics During Pregnancy

A recent scientific study published in the journal Pediatrics examined whether pregnant mothers with high exposure to chemicals found in plastics can lead to premature births.

To answer this question, the researchers analyzed the levels of the phthalate chemical in the urine of 311 New York City women during their third trimester.

There were three main findings of this study:

rear facing car seat ages heights weights recommendations aap

New Recommendations for Rear-Facing Car Seats

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently changed their recommendations for how long children should remain in a rear-facing infant or convertible car seat.

As most of you probably know, the AAP previously recommended that children should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years old. But the new recommendation as of 2018 states that children should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the height or weight limits of the car seat. There is no longer any age limit for rear-facing car seats.

Smoking while pregnant, lead exposure, and ADHD

Smoking while pregnant, lead exposure, and ADHD.

A recent study published in the scientific journal Pediatrics examined whether mothers who smoke during pregnancy, and children who are exposed to lead, may increase the chance that a child develops ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). The authors, from both the United States and Canada, examined the data of over 2500 participants aged 8 to 15 years of age.

smoking pot marijuana while pregnant risks safety

Don't Smoke Pot While Breastfeeding: New Research Shows Why

As states gradually begin to legalize or decriminalize marijuana, access to high quality and relatively inexpensive pot is becoming more common. Not surprisingly, recent research shows that the number of pregnant and non-pregnant women reporting marijuana use is steadily increasing each year. This is unfortunate because marijuana has well-known negative effects on the developing fetus, since cannabinoids such as THC readily cross into the placenta.

risks benefits swaddling baby

Risks and benefits of swaddling your baby.

A review recently published in the journal Pediatrics answered eight popular questions that mommies have about how swaddling affects their baby. Below are some of the questions, and the answers that the researchers came up with. 

Can swaddling help my baby sleep through the night?

Yes! Most studies that have investigated sleep patterns with and without swaddling have concluded that swaddling above the waist leads to longer naps and longer overall amount of sleeping during the daytime.

car seat mistakes infants babies toddlers

7 Car Seat Mistakes Parents are Making

We've come a long way since the vintage car seats that our parents and grandparents probably sat in as babies. But, even with the advanced designs and safety features of modern car seats, there are several reasons that your brand new car seat might be unsafe for your baby, toddler, or big kid.

Colic linked to bacteria in the stomach of infants

Colic linked to bacteria in the stomach of infants.

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the bacteria content of poopy in 36 infants to evaluate whether these are abnormal in infants with symptoms of colic.

During a 24 hour test, infants with symptoms of colic cried more than non-colicky babies, with an average of 314 minutes of crying during the 24 hour period (that's over 5 hours of crying!).

reasons why circumcise

Why and When to Circumcise a Baby Boy: Report from Pediatricians

Circumcision is always a sensitive topic for parents of baby boys, and many parents wonder whether to circumcise their baby, and if so, when to circumcise. There are many reasons to circumcise or not to circumcise, and these include family history ("son should be like daddy"), religious beliefs ("circumcision is religious mandate"), and medical reasons (reduced rates of disease transmission and infection).

car seat safety

Car Seat Safety: Too Small for your Growing Baby?

Several recent studies have demonstrated that children are getting heavier than ever before, increasing their long-term risk of heart disease and many other health complications (see resources 1,2). The fact that children are getting heavier also carries implications for the lawful and safe use of car seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that children ride in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible (often exceeding their second birthday), until they reach the height or weight limit set by the car seat manufacturer.

desensitization to scary movies kids science

Sex and Violence in Movies: Desensitized Parents let Kids Watch More

Over the past few decades, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has allowed more sex and violence to appear in PG-13 movies, increasing exposure to sexual and violent behavior for adolescents aged 13-17. In fact, in 2012, PG-13 movies showed more gun violence than R-rated movies, and sexual activity has increased substantially within the R-rated movies. Some call this "ratings creep" - over the years, increasing amounts of sex and violence appear in movies rated for younger audiences.

smoking during pregnancy baby health

When Pregnant Moms Smoke, Babies Suffer

There are very few people in the modern world who would tell you that smoking while pregnant will not negatively affect a growing fetus, or have longer-term implications for developing babies. Even people with lower education and socioeconomic profiles tend to be aware of the risks of smoking during pregnancy. But quitting is difficult for many, and a small proportion of pregnant women continue smoking through gestation.

weighted blankets autism sensory kids toddlers

Weighted Blankets in Autism: Useful for Sleep?

Children with autism present considerable regulation difficulties, including regulating their bodies, thoughts, and emotions. Many parents and therapists report that children with autism may benefit from a weighted blanket to provide constant proprioceptive input to the body, and occupational therapists frequently suggest weighted blankets as part of a therapeutic plan.

movie characters smoking

When Movie Characters Smoke: Is your Child Watching?

When adolescents pick up a cigarette, their reasons for doing so are quite different from those of adults. Whereas adults may initiate smoking as a mechanism for stress relief, typically when adolescents start smoking there is no rational or premediated reason for doing so (see resource 1). Most agree that children begin smoking due to social influences, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and clearly with the wrong people. Children often model the behavior of their friends or even their parents and other family members (see resource 2).

New Links Between ADHD Stimulants and Smoking Behavior

New Links Between ADHD, Stimulants, and Smoking Behavior

Children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher risk of smoking as they enter adulthood. This is particularly problematic given that nearly 20% of all teenage boys experience symptoms of ADHD, and about 10% are taking medications. Even toddlers, over 10,000 of them in the US, are taking medications to treat ADHD, which is rather alarming.

Television watching and language development

Television watching and language development: a link?

A number of research studies have convincingly demostrated a relationship between the amount of language a child is exposed to before the age of 3 and their subsequent language and cognitive development (see resources 1,2,3). Most parents are aware of the benefits of language exposure and therefore try to spend a good amount of time reading books, telling stories, and talking about daily events with their children.

Can Infant Sound Machines Cause Hearing Loss

Can Infant Sound Machines Cause Hearing Loss?

Sound machines ("sleep machines") are used by millions of parents to soothe babies to sleep and mask the sounds of noises outside of the room. Many parents swear by sound machines, claiming that they increase the quality of sleep and the number of hours their baby sleeps for. But what if the sound machine is hurting your baby's hearing? A recent study examined whether current sound machines exceed volume levels associated with hearing damage in adults.

colic babies depression fathers mothers

Colic more likely in babies of depressed fathers or mothers.

A recent study1 published in the journal Pediatrics demonstrates that babies are far more likely to develop excessive crying (colic) when their fathers or mothers show symptoms of depression during pregnancy. The researchers monitored the progress of over five thousand infants from birth through their second month of life. During pregnancy, the parents filled out surveys that assessed their symptoms of depression and a variety of other behaviors.

Probiotics Treat Infant and Toddler Diarrhea and Infections

Probiotics Treat Infant and Toddler Diarrhea and Infections

A recent study published in the scientific journal Pediatrics found that children in a day-care center given daily probiotics (lactobacillus reuteri) for 3 months were less likely to have diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, lost sick days from school, sick visits to the doctor, and prescribed antibiotics.

Mylicon no more effective than placebo in treating infant colic

Mylicon no more effective than placebo in treating infant colic.

At my son's last doctor's appointment, after listening to his stomach and intestines with a stethoscope, the nurse proclaimed that "it sounds like the Star Spangled Banner in there."  My poor little man has terrible gas! Of course, this was not news to me as his morning routine typically involves writhing and grunting in pain. Anxious to find a way to relieve my baby's discomfort, I looked into simethicone (the active ingredient in several anti-gas remedies like Mylicon, Infacol Wind Drops, and Phazyme Drops).
playing wii is good for you fun exercise

Playing Wii is fun...and good for you!

Ever wonder if video games like Wii boxing actually have some health benefits?  A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that playing active video games may be similar to moderate-intensity walking.  Dr. Graf and colleagues examined energy expenditure in 23 children (14 boys and 9 girls) between the ages of 10 to 13 years.  Kids watched 20-minutes of cartoons while lying down before playing Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) (on visit 1) and Wii bowling and boxing games (on visit 2) for 30 minutes followed by 10-15 minutes of resting.

Gripe water in the treatment of infant colic

Gripe water in the treatment of infant colic.

Gripe Water is a popular natural remedy for symptoms of infant colic, like excessive crying, writhing in pain or discomfort, and gas problems. My poor baby boy suffered from terrible gas problems and it's so difficult to watch him writhe in discomfort. As you can tell from the many articles devoted to this topic on Mommyhood101, my husband and I have researched several ways to help relieve our son's belly pain, including infant massage, soothing noises, and Mylicon.

breastfeeding heart disease diabetes risk healthy moms

Breastfeeding and Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes

More good news for breastfeeding mothers: In addition to the benefits breastfeeding has on babies, a new study published in the journal Diabetes shows that breastfeeding can also have great health benefits for mom's heart!  This 20-year study found that breastfeeding can significantly lower the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and belly fat.  Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.