Behavior & Development • Mar 09, 2015

Speaking up for Kids!

advocacy dayEach year pediatricians and pediatric trainees from around the state come together in Jefferson City to talk to legislators about issues affecting the health of Missouri’s kids in the AAP’s annual Advocacy Day.  We advocate for our patients, our own children, and all the children living in our communities.  Our Missouri lawmakers are (almost always) glad to hear from people representing the interests of their smallest constituents.   This year there are some important bills we will rally around on March 11th.  Please join us by contacting your legislators with your support too!

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)

Missouri is the ONLY state in the nation without a prescription drug monitoring program.   A PDMP is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions dispensed within a state.   This tool is important because prescription drug abuse is big problem; 1 in 4 teens have abused prescription drugs.

  • A PDMP can be used to intervene in the early stages of prescription drug abuse, as well as to assist prescribers in preventing prescription drug abuse
  • It acts as an early warning system for prescribers to avoid dangerous drug interactions and to ensure quality patient care
  • It does not infringe on the legitimate prescribing of a controlled substance by a practitioner

Support HB 347 and SB 233 which establish a PDMP for Missouri.

Child-Safe Packaging for E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes have been marketed as safe and harmless when in fact this is far from the truth.  E-cigarettes are another way for children to become addicted to nicotine.  In fact, they are marketed to kids with flavors like bubble gum and cherry.  The vapor from e-cigarettes can contain nicotine and other toxins. Dr. Kirstin Lee detailed many of the dangers in a recent post. Tragically, liquid nicotine for e-cigs has been ingested by children leading to death and illness.  While our fight against the harms of nicotine and tobacco products does not end here, this year the Missouri legislature will vote on an important piece of legislation to guarantee child-safe packaging for e-cigarettes.

Please support HB 531 which ensures the Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems are sold in child-safe packaging.

Keep Babies Safe in Childcare

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is still the most common cause of death for young infants.  1 in 5 cases of SIDS occurs when the child is being cared for by someone other than a parent.  While the Back to Sleep campaign has made a significant impact in numbers of babies who die from SIDS, other sleep environment risks still exist.  Currently, childcare providers are not required to have training regarding safe sleep.

HB707 would make it mandatory for childcare providers to follow up-to-date guidelines from the AAP on Safe Sleep.

Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann recently wrote about this important piece of legislation. As parents, we advocate for our children in countless ways everyday but we sometimes forget the power a parent’s voice can have with legislators who are charged with making the laws that protect us.  Let your local legislator know where you stand.  Parents can also encourage their own pediatricians to speak up for children on important legislative issues that impact our kids.  Let’s raise our voices together to get the message heard.  Missouri’s kids are counting on us.