Bump the bumpers

Crib bumpers are not safety products for infants. If a baby gets a bumped head when turning over, it does not cause serious injury.

Baby in crib 521 (photo credit: MCT)
Baby in crib 521
(photo credit: MCT)
I gave birth to a son, my first child, two months ago and received several crib sets that included “crib bumpers.” They are meant to prevent the baby from hitting his head on the side of the bed. But as I have heard from friends that they can be dangerous (possibly causing asphyxiation), I have not yet used them. If they are risky, why are they are sold in all the baby supply shops? Are there any official guidelines on crib bumpers? S.S., Tivon
Drora Navon, the spokeswoman of Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health, responds: Crib bumpers are not safety products for infants. If a baby gets a bumped head when turning over, it does not cause serious injury. But the bumpers themselves can cause serious or even fatal injury if babies get tangled and covered by them. They need not be used, and it is best not to use them.
In the US, they are usually plumped up, thickly upholstered and potentially dangerous.
If someone does insist on using them, make sure they are thin and attach them carefully to the side of the crib. Make sure the baby does not have access to the ties that connect them to the bed. It is recommended to take the bumpers down when the baby is six months old, as that is when he starts to move and tries to climb on them.
I am a 40-year-old man and have just been diagnosed with lactose intolerance. I was advised by the doctor to use lactase drops on milk products or chew tablets if I don’t avoid them completely. I love white and yellow cheese, yogurt and other milk products. The doctor did not give me much of an explanation of the condition, and I have no relatives who have had it. Can it be prevented? Is there any way I can continue somehow to enjoy milk products, as I hear the drops are not very effective in reducing the side effects? C.T., Haifa
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich comments: The September issue of Harefuah, the Hebrew-language journal of the Israel Medical Association, published a new position paper by the IMA on lactose intolerance. It answers your questions.
Lactose intolerance is a syndrome that involves diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and flatulence as the result of consuming lactose, a disaccharide milk sugar formed from glucose and galactose. It occurs when the small intestine fails to produce enough of the enzyme lactase; enzymes assist in the body’s absorption of food, and lactose specifically in the absorption of milk sugars. If not dealt with, the syndrome can possibly lead to weight loss and malnutrition.
Lactose intolerance can occur at all ages. Even premature babies sometimes have it. Full-term babies usually don’t show symptoms until they are three years old or so. It can also appear suddenly in adults, but it usually develops gradually, over a period of years. The most common age for it to appear is at the end of adolescence.
If a person with the syndrome does eat or drink milk products, the symptoms usually appear between half an hour and two hours later. Usually, the larger the amount consumed, the worse the symptoms.
Your doctor must check whether you are allergic to milk or whether you have lactose intolerance. They are not the same.
Most people with with inadequate supplies of natural lactase can drink up to half a cup of milk without suffering symptoms. But there are other milk products that are easier to digest than ordinary milk, so you are likely to be able to tolerate more of these.
They include goat’s milk, yogurt, buttermilk, ice cream and aged or hard cheeses. Soy or rice milk does not cause symptoms nor does specially made lactose-free milk products.
It is advisable, if you eat such products, to have them at a meal with other foods, as lactose is thus released more gradually, easing the work of the digestive system.
As a comparison, 1% and 3% fat milk contain the most – five grams of lactose per 100 grams of milk.
Leben or eshel sour milk products contain 3.5 grams; yogurt 3; 5% fat cheese has 2.9; lightly salted Safedtype cheese 2.6; cottage cheese 1.5; and hard cheese 0.2.
Consult a dietitian, as failure to consume enough milk or milk products can result in a shortage of calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin and protein. You may need to take certain supplements, such as calcium pills or orange juice with added calcium. You can also make up for these deficiencies by eating leafy green vegetables, sardines, broccoli and canned salmon. An individual plan must be prepared for you.
Read food labels, as lactose is also found in some non-milk products, including some beers. There is no known way to prevent lactose intolerance.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-952 or e-mail it to [email protected], giving your initials, age and place of residence.