Thursday, May 01, 2014
Doctors Perspective

Keep your kids safe on the road

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

In 1976, I treated a two-year-old child because she took a poison. She recovered well. I gave a safety briefing to her mother. It included making sure her child was safely restrained when riding in a car. Six months later they were stopped at a traffic light. The girl was standing in the back of the car. A dump trucks brakes failed and it hit the car. She was thrown through the window and she died.

Childrens car seats were brand new at that time. Tennessee had passed a law requiring that children be put in car seats. Within four years, childhood deaths from accidents decreased markedly in Tennessee. Other states started passing child seat belt laws and statistics began to improve.

In 1975, 1,384 children under the age of 13 died in auto accidents. That number was steady until about 2000 when 1264 children died.

However, by that time, laws were passed in most states. Our culture began to change. We recognized the importance of childhood motor vehicle safety.

Over time we continued to see a drop in those numbers. In 2007, they dropped below 1000 for the first time when they reached 905. In 2012, 640 children died in motor vehicle accidents.

While we have improved significantly over the last 40 years, there is still a long way to go. We know that 75% of infants ride in infant car seats. That still leaves 25% of the population. For toddlers 2/3 are in car seats. The other 1/3 remain at risk. When children no longer need car seats, they need to be buckled into a seat belt. Unfortunately, over half of these older children are not buckled.

As is often the case, the problem lies with the parents. Over 2/3 of the 640 children who die every year are riders in a car where the driver is drunk. Cars can be more deadly than most weapons.

Another issue is that older children who are not buckled tend to have parents who do not buckle up. It is a learned condition.

Perhaps those parents want to see that their stupidity genes are not passed on. I doubt it. However, as I have indicated over and over, children imitate their parents. If their parents do not wear a seat belt, neither will they.

There are three important lessons here and they are all pretty obvious. The first is to make sure that your children are properly secured in their car seats. The second is to make sure you always wear your seat belts. The third and most obvious is dont drink and drive with your children in the car.

If you have comments about this column or suggestions for other topics, send an email to Dr. Anthony Policastro at

NHS free glucose testing

Nanticoke Health Services will offer free A1C glucose testing the first Wednesday of every month beginning Wednesday, May 7.

The A1C test shows your average blood glucose (blood sugar) level over the past two to three months. The A1C test can help you manage your diabetes or can be an indicator if you might be at risk for diabetes.

Because being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes and because diabetes has so many complications, understanding and managing your diabetes is very important to your long term health. In Sussex County 66% of residents are overweight or obese and nearly 11% of residents have been diagnosed with diabetes.

You can have your free A1C glucose test done the first Wednesday of each month between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. at one of the following outpatient lab locations: Nanticoke EZ Lab Georgetown  505 W Market St.; Nanticoke EZ Lab Laurel  30549 Sussex Hwy. or Nanticoke EZ Lab Bridgeville  9111 Antique Alley.

You do not need to pre-register for these screenings and you do not need to fast. Results will be mailed to your home and to your primary care physician if provided.

For more information about these screenings or support groups or classes for diabetes, call 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Mind Your Eating presentation

Join Lisa Harkins, RD, LDN, at the Cancer Support Community (CSC) in Rehoboth at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 19, to learn how eating mindfully can improve your health. Do you eat when you are bored, stressed, angry, or sad? Do you rush through meals? Lisa, of Ideal Nutrition and Fitness, will guide you to a plan that will help you feel better and also manage your weight.

Call 645-9150 in advance to reserve your spot. All programs offered at CSC are free of charge to people affected by cancer and their loved ones.

Walk the Boards for Parkinsons

Join us for the Sussex County Parkinsons Education and Support Groups Walk the Boards for Parkinsons, from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 17, in Rehoboth Beach.

The Walk begins at the Rehoboth Beach Band Stand. Registration fee is $25. Pre-register/donate online at Register the day of the walk at the Bandstand or CHSC (Cape Henlopen Senior Center, 11 Christian St.) beginning at 9 a.m. with shuttle service to the Boardwalk.

There will be entertainment at the Bandstand from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and merchant sidewalk sales all day. Health and Aging in Place exhibits will be behind the Bandstand from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The event will be held rain or shine.

For more information, call Elaine Russo at 858-1403.

Hannas Hope for a Cure

The 1st Annual Hannas Hope for a Cure softball tournament to help FSMA (Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy) will be held at Crossroads Community Church in Georgetown on Saturday, May 10. Help us reach our fundraising goal of $20,000 by donating gift certificates, merchandise or funding.

Hanna, daughter of Gary and Ashley Warfield of Georgetown, was diagnosed in February with SMA, a rare genetic disease that is often fatal, destroying the muscles controlling voluntary movement.

For more information, contact Gary or Ashley at 858-6843 or 519-1699 or email Cash donations may be made online at

Stroke & osteoporosis screenings

Residents living in and around the Laurel community can be screened on Monday, May 12, at Centenary United Methodist Church, Laurel, to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. This event is sponsored by Bayhealth Medical Center.

Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease.

A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women.

Packages start at $149. All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-237-1287 or visit

Pre-registration is required.

Form a Relay for Life team

This years Relay for Life will be held on May 30-31.

As in recent past years, the event will be held at Seafords Soroptomist Park, with a rain location in the parking garage at the Nanticoke Cancer Center.

The theme this year is The Many Colors of Cancer: Building a Rainbow of Hope. Team formation is in progress, so it is not too late to form a team and get involved.

For more information about the Relay For Life, or if you are interested in getting involved, or purchasing a luminary, contact Shelley Lambden, this years event chairperson, at rflwestsussexde@gmail or by calling 841-3626.

Hospice hosts special workshop

Delaware Hospice presents, Remembering Mothers and Grandmothers, from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 10, at the Delaware Hospice Family Support Center, Milford.

Especially for adults who have lost a mother or grandmother, this workshop will include activities to facilitate remembering and honoring these individuals.

Register by Thursday, May 8, by contacting Michelle August at 800-838-9800 or

Annual Summer Blood Challenge

Blood Bank of Delmarva will hold the 12th Annual Summer Blood Challenge from May 19 to Sept. 13. The deadline for companies and organizations to register is Tuesday, May 6. Organizations earn points based on blood donations, first time donors and more. Last year, a record 241 companies participated in the challenge, resulting in 14,308 blood donations. For more information and to register for the Summer Blood Challenge, visit

Free meals for kids this summer

The Food Bank of Delaware encourages community partners to help serve free meals to children in need through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Qualified sites include faith-based organizations, summer camps, sports camps and other centers where children congregate during the summer months.

Neighborhoods and apartment complexes are also qualified to serve free meals through the program. For more information, contact Dan Jackson, hunger relief coordinator, at 302-444-8128 or

Host a Fresh Air child

Fresh Air volunteers need your help to create another fun-filled summer for children from New York City. First-time Fresh Air visitors are six to 12-years-old and Fresh Air hosts range from young families to grandparents. All it takes is the willingness to welcome a New York City child to your community. For more information about hosting a Fresh Air child this summer, contact Nutan Chaudhari at 212-897-8934 or visit The Fresh Air Fund online at

Blood Bank needs Type O- blood

Blood Bank of Delmarva is in immediate need of Type O- blood donors. O- is a universal blood type, which can be safely transfused to any patient in a trauma or emergency situation.

Because it is universal, the O- blood type is always in high demand in our local hospitals, said Michael Waite, Blood Bank of Delmarva.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit, call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or download the free app on your iPhone or Android.