Comb First! A Call to Action for September's 2010 National Head Lice Prevention Month

Monday, September 27, 2010

NPA's Comb First! campaign focuses on helping parents understand the importance of lice and nit removal and teaching them how to comb. Children deserve thoughtful attention and protection from these blood-obligate human parasites. The most serious health risks of head lice come with how we respond to them.

Newton Highlands, MA (PRWEB) September 2, 2010 --- Combing accomplishes what chemicals cannot. It enables families to be self-reliant, proactive, and preventive.

Spread the word!!

Communities can provide NPA's tried and true educational tool known as the Critter Card. Over a million of these cards have been sent home to help parents.

This informational card can pay large dividends by showing parents what to look for with actual-sized realistic depictions of lice and nits. The cards also provide images to help differentiate between dandruff, fat cells and normal hair debris. A Critter Card also comes with the LiceMeister® comb.

The National Pediculosis Association (NPA), 25th annual sponsor of National Head Lice Prevention Month, says Comb First! Comb out the lice and nits (lice eggs) when there are fewer of them and before the task becomes unnecessarily challenging.

NPA's Comb First! campaign is focused on helping parents understand the importance of lice and nit removal and teaching them how to comb.

Comb First! emphasizes education and early intervention to protect children from unnecessary exposure to pesticides. Parents can avoid the difficulties of head lice by knowing what to look for, checking their children regularly, making an accurate determination of lice and nits and getting them out of the hair safely and effectively.

Checking children after school, childcare or camp is important, but nothing compares to parents checking the family regularly at home so kids can arrive to the group setting lice and nit free.

Pediculosis is an endemic communicable disease affecting children across the nation. Many of the treatments for lice contain potentially harmful chemicals and pesticides. NPA reports that parents are getting mixed messages on this health issue.

Head lice can be an undeniable crisis for a family. Too often parents receive advice that's counterintuitive to parenting. They are told they needn't be concerned about bugs in their child's hair because head lice are just a nuisance. Some health officials have abandoned even the most basic rules of healthy hygiene and grooming. And management procedures can vary greatly from school to school. It is worrisome when a policy is only about sending children home to be treated with a pesticidal product. Too often parents get letters without education, without warnings about risks from treatments and without notice that safer choices are available...

With an effective combing tool in hand, NPA reports that early detection with thorough manual removal of lice and nits is still the best response, especially since there is no totally safe and effective chemical treatment available.

According to NPA president Deborah Altschuler, "Head lice are more than a nuisance for the people who have them." Pediculosis often leads to panic and the use of pesticides. This makes head lice a serious health issue for children and entire families. Children deserve thoughtful attention and protection from this blood-obligate human parasite. Too often the health risks of lice come with how we respond to them.

Reports to NPA indicate that risky misuse and abuse of pesticides for lice is not only common but predictable. The Comb First! campaign wants parents to have a good understanding of the issues before they rush to treat. Children have unique vulnerabilities and parents need help understanding exactly what they can expect in effectiveness from treatments for lice along with the potential health risks.

NPA's "No Nit Policy" recommendation, unlike what's often described as "No Nit Policies" in the media, is about prevention rather than treatment. It puts education, prevention and safety first and before outbreaks occur. NPA's recommendation is written to help avoid dismissals by giving parents every opportunity to send children to school lice and nit free. You can read it here:

NPA hopes health professionals, schools, child care centers and parents will participate in CombFirst! and visit Here they will find educational materials and the Comb First! Logon to share, download and post on local websites and social networks.

NPA also offers a public service announcement formatted for sharing along with teaching videos (English and Spanish) for step by step instruction on how to screen and comb.

This September kicks off the Comb First! campaign to last the whole year long. Parents enabled with reasonable expectations, knowledge and effective tools will be the first to comb and the first to know when their child is infested.

About the National Pediculosis Association

Founded in 1983, the National Pediculosis Association, Inc. (NPA) is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to protecting children from the misuse and abuse of potentially harmful lice and scabies pesticide treatments. The NPA encourages proactive standardized head lice management programs in an effort to keep children in school lice and nit free. As part of its mission, the NPA developed the LiceMeister® comb and makes it available on its website Proceeds from the comb allow the NPA to maintain independence from product manufacturers and stay loyal to its goal to protect children. For additional information, please visit

September is Baby Safety Awareness Month

Monday, September 20, 2010

Babies need us for almost everything. A big need is to protect them. There are many safety issues to consider when caring for an infant. This month we wanted to focus on safe sleep, poison safety, and water safety. Here in Indiana, we have unfortunately had a significant rise in infant deaths due to unsafe sleep habits or lack of supervision around water. Let’s review a few steps for making our children safer:

1.Place babies on their backs to sleep. Deaths due to positional asphyxiation and SIDS has decreased by 30-35% just by sharing this message. Babies should have “belly time” during the daytime when you and they are very awake, and when they are practicing their crawling skills.

2.NEVER sleep with a baby. Infants can suffocate due to caregivers accidently rolling over them, or babies may get caught between the wall and bed. There are any number of scenarios that make this practice dangerous. Room sharing is wonderful, but please reconsider co-sleeping. It’s just too dangerous to risk.

3.Many “slings” for babies have been banned due to their risk of suffocation. So beware of slings that are wrapped around the caregiver with baby in tow.

4.ALWAYS supervise young children around ANY water. Children should never be left in a tub, near a pool or pond, or out where there are uncovered wells or cisterns. There should always be adult supervision.

5.Insure that all medicines, cleaning supplies, or household plants are securely out of reach from your children

6.Don’t allow children to get into peoples’ purses or luggage.

7.Never store antifreeze or any poisonous liquid in a container that it is not intended to be it, e.g. a juice container or water bottle.

Protecting babies is a big job, but one that has HUGE and WONDERFUL returns. They’re worth our time and effort!