Here is a quick look at some headlines from this week impacting the lives of kids 0-5 and their families. The purpose of these stories is simply to inform, and they do not necessarily reflect First 5 Kern's areas of support or efforts towards these issues.

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Now for the headlines........

This study out of Denmark found on ScienceDaily .com, analyzed the risk of autism and the MMR vaccine , and found no link between the two, even among children believed to have other risk factors for autism. The study looked at every Danish child born between 1999-2010, and is the latest of many that contradict the often used narrative linking the two.

Speaking of vaccinations, one Ohio teen has become somewhat of a celebrity after getting caught up on his vaccinations once he turned 18. Although his mother refused to vaccinate him throughout his youth, citing autism and brain damage risks, he has now become the face of the fight against vaccination misinformation, and this week he traveled to Washington to testify before congress about it.

Meanwhile, the measles outbreak in Washington is now impacting the lives of healthy students. The Seattle Times reported that 800 students who have been deemed at risk of exposure were ordered to stay out of school for up to three weeks. Of the 70 cases thus far, only two were confirmed to have received the MMR vaccine.

An interesting article in The Guardian is stressing the importance of continuing to read to your children, beyond the age that they learn to read for themselves. It references a study in which only 18% of British children between 8-10 years of age are read to daily. The article identifies those children whose parents continue to read to them as more likely to read for pleasure on their own throughout their teenage years and beyond.

In local reading news , First 5 Kern was included in a story on ABC23 about Read Across America day, giving us the opportunity to spread the message of "Talk.Read.Sing." A link on our website takes you to a parent learning center page to discuss the message more, and we're happy that First 5 California's "Talk.Read.Sing." billboards are still on display throughout Bakersfield.

What's the most widely remembered episode of Sesame Street?

If you answered the episode in which the grown-ups explain to Big Bird that Mr. Hooper has died, you're not alone. The episode is considered an historic moment in television history.

Death can be a difficult topic for very young children to grasp, and the euphemisms we use do not make it any easier. This NPR article on how to talk to children about death explores how to address it with your own kids, with feedback from a developmental psychologist, Senior VP of Education and Research with Sesame Workshop Rosemarie Truglio.

A recent San Diego State University study aimed to find behavior modifiers for parents of young children to limit the amount of secondhand smoke their kids breathe by taking their smoking outside. Their tactics - which included an education program as well as the installation of a sound and light device in the home - had a positive impact. "If (kids are) living in a home that's contaminated by tobacco, they're being damaged every single day," said Mel Hovell, who led the study.

In a separate study also involving SDSU , researchers found that even if parents do smoke outdoors instead of in the house, young children still picked up high levels of nicotine-related chemicals on indoor items. They noted that children under the age of four were more likely to have this nicotine residue on their hands than other non-smoking adults in the household, perhaps from the necessity of using their hands to maneuver around the house, as well as poorer hand washing routines than the grown-ups.

It has been said before, but it's worth repeating: it's important for your children to get a good night's sleep.

In this article from Florida Today, a pediatrician discusses the benefits of proper sleep patterns for your kids - including temperament, physical growth, improved brain function and having a healthier immune system. They also note that children with high IQs are often identified as having more regulated sleep patterns.

Have you ever wondered what your little kids are thinking about while out there playing sports? This guy did, and he decided to do something about it . His video has become an internet sensation.

Click the link. It's worth it!
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...about First 5 Kern
First 5 Kern was established in 1998 when California voters passed Proposition 10, which levied a 50-cent tax on tobacco products. Revenues generated from the tobacco tax are used to fund local programs in the areas of health and wellness, early childcare and education, and parent education and support services that promote early childhood development for children ages zero to five.

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Special thanks to Vecteezy for assistance on graphics