Consumers International recently announced the results of its International Bad Products Award. The “winners” of 2007 include:
- Coca-Cola, for marketing its bottled tap water (Dasani) as something that is vastly superior to the water out of your tap
- Kellogg’s, for marketing sugary, salty, junk food to children, with the message that these foods can give you amazing physical attributes
- Mattel, for stonewalling US congressional investigations and avoiding responsibility for the global recall of 21 million toys tainted with lead; one containing more than 200 times the permitted amount of lead
But the “grand prize” this year went to Takeda Pharmaceuticals, for advertising sleeping pills to children. By using “reminder ads” (a slick loophole that allows companies to advertise without mentioning side effects), they were able to advertise their sleeping aid Rozerem, using images of children, classroom settings, and school buses, and using the reference of “Back to school” – all without ever having to mention ANY of the many side effects of this drug, or the fact that the safety of Rozerem for pediatric or adolescent use has never been established.
Amazingly, a spokesman for the company previously stated that no one at Takeda was responsible for putting this ad on TV… “To date our preliminary review of the situation indicates that no one internal to Takeda was involved in the approval, release, or broadcast of the advertisement in question,” Matt Kuhn told Bloomberg News.
The behavior of these companies, especially when confronted about their wrongdoings, should be a very strong demonstration of the importance of taking responsibility for your health. If you leave it up to them they will readily sacrifice your health and safety for their own financial profit -- they have to, as it is their corporate mandate and fiduciary responsibility to do just that. But they will never tell you.
The product labeling for Rozerem states that a variety of cognitive and behavior changes have been reported to occur, and that depression and suicidal tendencies can be aggravated. It also states, “Rozerem has been associated with an effect on reproductive hormones in adults. It is not known what effect chronic or even intermittent use of Rozerem may have on the reproductive axis in developing humans.”
And, last but certainly not least, that “Safety and effectiveness of Rozerem in pediatric patients have not been established. Further study is needed prior to determining that this product may be used safely in pre-pubescent patients.” To use the tactic of “reminder ads” to avoid mentioning side effects, and the fact that this drug is not even safe for school-age children is beyond irresponsible. It should be criminal.
Please, never, ever give your child any drug without first carefully educating yourself about all its actions and side effects!
Making Sure Your Kids Get Proper Sleep, Without Using Drugs
This issue is particularly frustrating, since helping your child get good sleep is not that difficult. You don’t need to give them a harmful drug when there are so many natural, drug-free alternatives available. One of the major keys is to keep them away from stimulant drugs like caffeine that is in soda. But you will also want to limit as much as possible all refined and processed foods because they can also serve a stimulant function in many children.
A few months ago, I wrote about teenagers and sleep specifically. If you missed it, I recommend taking a look at that article, “Junk Sleep” Damaging Teenagers’ Health, now. It offers great pointers on how to talk to your kids about their sleeping habits, and how to motivate them to take proper sleep seriously.
My Guide to a Good Night's Sleep has more than 30 simple tips on improving your sleep and that of your children. Whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, or don't feel well rested when you wake up in the morning, my guidelines will provide you with various useful techniques to improve these problems. Some of my recommendations include:
- Avoid bedtime snacks, particularly grains and sugars, which will raise your blood sugar and inhibit your sleep.
- Sleep in complete darkness or as close to it as possible. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in your room, it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin. Additionally, if you have to go to the bathroom at night, keep the bathroom light off. As soon as you turn on that light, you will (for that night) immediately cease all production of the important sleep aid melatonin.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly the upstairs bedrooms too hot.
- Make sure you exercise regularly. Exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday can help you fall asleep. However, don't exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can do it.