Volume 32 • Number 4 • April 2011
by Jamie Poslosky • Washington Correspondent
Supreme Court rules to protect vaccines
Encourage positive aspects
of social media for children, teens
while guarding against risks
by Deborah Johnson • Correspondent
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that families
must use the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
(VICP) to resolve vaccine injury claims and may not
sue manufacturers in court unless the vaccine was
improperly labeled or manufactured. The court’s 6-
2 ruling in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth Inc. (No. 09-152, S.
Ct.) strengthens and preserves the no-fault vaccine
system and safeguards the nation’s vaccine supply.
In its Feb. 22 decision, the court upheld a recent
ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that the
preemption provision of the National Childhood
Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986 (“Vaccine
Act”) prevents claims against vaccine manufacturers
based on alleged defects in the design of vaccines.
The court’s ruling upholds the Academy’s position
that the no-fault compensation VICP established by
the Vaccine Act is a fair and expeditious system to
protect the nation’s vaccine supply and appropriately
See Washington Report, page 4
Rear view until age 2 Strong evidence supports new AAP child passenger safety recommendations
When Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, M.D., FAAP, walks into her
exam room, she often finds her
patient on a Nintendo DS and
the parent on a cell phone.
Clearly, when it comes to digital devices, youngsters model what they see.
“Many younger parents are very active digital
citizens, and they are passing these skills on to
their youngest children,” the North Carolina
physician explained. “An emerging concern is
that children are becoming so immersed in the
great variety of different screens that they may
be missing the necessary opportunities for devel-
oping social, cognitive and language skills.”
That is why pediatricians need to talk to their
families about balancing screen time and real
life, Dr. Clarke-Pearson said.
A new clinical report from the AAP Council
on Communications and Media urges physicians
to do just that. The Impact of Social Media on
Children, Adolescents and Families (Pediatrics.
0054v1) states that pediatricians are in a unique
position to encourage healthy use of popular
social networking, gaming and video sites.
While children may reap a number of benefits
from these sites (e.g., broadening social connections and learning how to post a video), risks do
exist. These include cyberbullying, “Facebook
depression,” “sexting” and exposure to inappro-
by Trisha Korioth • Staff Writer
Guidance to help protect children
from one of the top causes of mortality
has been streamlined in a new AAP
policy statement and technical report,
Child Passenger Safety. Included is a
significant clarification to prior AAP policy: All children
should be restrained in a rear-facing position in the back
seat of the vehicle until they reach age 2 or the highest
weight or height allowed by the car safety seat (CSS)
The policy statement and technical report are available
online and will be published in the April issue of
At the heart of the policy are several other best practice
recommendations for keeping children safe while riding
in passenger vehicles:
1) Children ages 2 and older or those who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit should
remain in a forward-facing CSS with a harness for as
long as possible, up to the limits allowed by the seat
2) All children whose weight or height is above the
forward-facing limit for their CSS should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap-and-shoulder seat belt fits properly, typically when they have
reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12
years of age.
3) When children are old enough and large enough
to use the vehicle seat belt alone, they should always use
lap-and-shoulder seats belts for optimal protection.
4) All children under age 13 should be restrained in
the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
See Social media, page 6
In this issue
What’s the Dx?
An infant arrives at your clinic with high fever, maculopapular rash and possible seizure. Page 10
Light at the end of the tunnel
New ICD-9-CM codes may lead to improved payment for
those who provide services for mental health and behavior
disorders. Page 14