GRIMM REALITY A Princeton University study found that children reared by stepmothers get less medical care, education and food than kids reared by their biological moms. The stepmothers may love the kids, but in an effort to ease tensions, they trust the father to take the initiative in these matters. That trust may be unwarranted. When there is a woman in the home, dads tend to assume she will do the parenting.
PASSPORT WOES New regulations to prevent child abductions are taking vacationing families by surprise. Single parents traveling with underage children have been prevented from boarding planes and from entering Canada, Mexico and several South American countries. U.S. policy will soon require the signature of both parents on a child's passport application. To avoid being stranded, mom or dad should carry notarized letters from both parents authorizing the international travel of their child.
NO BINKIES Researchers have found that heavy pacifier use by infants older than six months increases the risk of ear infections--the most common reason for childhood visits to the doctor. The constant sucking can cause harm to the Eustachian tube, making it more difficult for the middle ear to drain. Nurses involved in the study suggest parents take pacifiers away during playtime and allow toddlers to use them only when falling asleep.
--By Lisa McLaughlin