Unhealthful News 90 – Two little observations about little humans

(1) In UN81 I commented on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new recommendation that babies should ride in backward-facing car seats until a later age than one year (which is good advice) in which they tried to claim that there was no benefit to having the kid facing forward (which was typical AAP behavior:  pretend that a policy has no costs rather than go to the trouble to argue that the benefits warrant the costs).  Well, being a good scientist, I gathered some additional empirical evidence and can report that at least some babies under one year of age love to ride facing forward.  It does not change the fact that the recommendation seems good, but it is further evidence that AAP is completely incompetent at policy analysis (and ignorant about parents and children) even when they get the policy recommendation right.

(2) According to an email I got from another baby advocacy organization, planningfamily.com (which is not actually a nutcase group, though it kind of sounds like it, doesn’t it?),

On average, children two to five years old spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV and they will have watched an average of 8,000 murders before they finish elementary school.

The first problem with that is, of course, that young children watch TV for 4.5 hours per day.  But setting aside that madness, I have to wonder why no one is out there claiming that these portrayals of murder’s are causing half of the horrible number of murders in American.  After all, there must be some anti-violence-in-entertainment activist who is as nutty as Stanton Glantz, and I would bet that the evidence comes closer to supporting this claim than Glantz’s claim that smoking portrayed in movies causes half of all smoking.

Oh, and I have to say that the 8000 number has got to be more-or-less made up and obviously arbitrary (though at least I give them credit for rounding their fake number rather than acting like most health activists and reporters and saying 8132.5 – you have to like them for that).  Does it count the Coyote (of Road Runner fame)?  If so, how many times per episode?  How about if they just find the body on CSI?  How about the 1.97 billion people on Alderaan?  (That is a good piece of bar trivia, by the way.  The movie with among the largest number of homicides – surpassed only by a few “aliens invade Earth c.2000 and kill almost everyone” flicks – is the kid friendly Star Wars that most of those kids will see at least once, pretty much burying that 8000 number.)


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