A parent’s touch holds great power. The soothing massage of a mother’s hand can calm a fussy infant. A child’s fevered brow may be cooled by the gentle stroke of her father’s palm. And in too many unfortunate cases, a child may be physically hurt and abused by a striking blow from his parent. A natural conduit for emotions, touch or the lack thereof transmits important information about the parent/child bond, whether one of acceptance or rejection.
Summertime in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, sounds like paradise — boating, swimming, fun in the sun. All good reasons why hospice nurse Tina Megason has returned the past four years. She and her tireless crew of volunteers transform a 40-acre campground into a rescue respite. No, this isn’t a spa getaway, nor is it a vacation spot for the rich and famous. Megason’s home-away-from-home is Camp TLC, a wellness center where therapy means relaxation and mental healing for children ages 6–18 with life-shortening illnesses.
According to researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, secondhand smoke may be extremely damaging to children, even in minute amounts. Already known to cause respiratory and behavior problems in kids, smoking has now been linked to lowering a child’s intelligence — affecting reading, math and reasoning skills. In fact, one parent smoking as little as one pack a day may reduce a child’s IQ by as many as two points. Tobacco exposure was determined by measuring levels of cotinine, a marker of tobacco exposure, in the blood of more than 4,000 children ages 6 to 16.