Children’s Doctor News and Updates: Fall 2018

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Children's Doctor

Two consumer baby monitors show worrisome results

CHOP researchers tested 2 commercially available baby monitors and raised serious concerns about the accuracy of these products, which are marketed to parents, but are not regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

“We evaluated how accurate these monitors were in detecting low oxygen levels in infants,” says Chris Bonafide, MD, MSCE, who led the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “One monitor detected those levels when they occurred, but was inconsistent; the other never detected those levels when they occurred.” The team also evaluated pulse rate accuracy in the babies and found the monitor that never detected low oxygen levels also often falsely displayed low pulse rates.

The team studied 30 infants, 6 months old and younger, hospitalized in CHOP’s Cardiology and General Pediatrics units between July and December 2017. Each baby wore an FDA-approved reference monitor on one foot and a consumer monitor (Owlet Smart Sock2 or Baby Vida) on the other.

Read more about the study.

Sweet treatment after swallowing button battery: honey

A study led by CHOP’s Ian N. Jacobs, MD, Director of the Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders, has led to updated guidelines concerning immediate treatment when a child swallows a button battery.

“We found that honey can reduce esophageal injury in the critical time between ingestion and when a child is able to have the battery properly removed,” Jacobs says. The National Capital Poison Center agreed and updated its guidelines to match.

Button batteries are ingested more than 2500 times per year in the United States. Button batteries become highly caustic when in touch with the esophagus, which can lead to severe complications such as esophageal perforation, vocal cord paralysis, and erosion into the airway or major blood vessels.

Read more about the study.

Jonathan Chen, MD, is new Cardiothoracic Surgery Chief

Jonathan Chen, MD, joined CHOP on September 1 as Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. CHOP performs more than 1000 cardiothoracic surgeries each year, including 600 open-heart procedures in children and adolescents with complex heart conditions.

Chen, a Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons graduate, most recently served as Chief of Congenital Cardiac Surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Co-Director of the Heart Center, and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

His clinical research has been focused primarily on surgical issues in complex congenital heart care and cardiac transplantation, with a particular emphasis on the development of mechanical ventricular assist devices for children, as well as stem-cell-based valved conduits for pediatric application.

Meet Dr. Chen.

Teens use cell phones while driving — and so do parents

Two studies , led by Catherine C. McDonald, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP and Penn School of Nursing, indicated that newly licensed teen drivers used their cell phones on about half of their trips—even when driving as fast as 50 mph—and parents were also guilty of cell phone use in the car.

In the teen study, published in Health Education and Behavior, a sample of teens licensed fewer than 90 days, agreed to have their cell phone use monitored by a device that showed when they “unlocked” their phone. Speed and distance were also monitored. Every adolescent unlocked their phone at least some of the time, and some did so while driving in potentially high-risk scenarios.

Parents of children ages 4 to 10 years who responded to an online survey reported they talked on a hands-free phone (52.2%), talked on a hand-held phone (47%), read text messages (33.7%), sent texts (26.7%), and used social media (13.7%) when driving with kids in the vehicle. Parents also said they engaged in other risky behaviors such as not wearing a seat belt and driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Read more about the study findings.

Check out new clinical pathways

Six new clinical pathways have been posted online. Go to to view these and more than 115 others:

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