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Teen birth rates in U.S. hit all-time low, CDC says

Over the past two decades, teen birth rates have declined by nearly 65 percent, according to new data released by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) on Friday.

But last year, the teen birth rate for U.S. women ages 15-19 hit a record low after it fell nine percent since 2015.

To come up with the numbers, researchers at the NCHS obtained birth certificates for 2016. According to the study, the birth certificates represent 99.96 percent of all births in the country as of Feb. 16, 2017.

The researchers found that for every 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2016, there were 20.3 births — a 51 percent fall from 2007, when there were 41.5 births for every 1,000 women in that age group.

>> On AJC.com: Opinion: Celebrate declines in teen pregnancy

Since 1991, the rate among all teens has plummeted by two-thirds.

"Data [from previous years] really suggests it is access to contraceptives and use of contraceptives that has really led to these kind of changes," Elise Berlan, a physician specializing in adolescent medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told CNN.

Berlan said most teens are using some form of birth control: condoms, withdrawal and the pill.

Unlike teens, however, the birth rate for women between the ages 30-34 increased last year and women ages 35-39 had their highest birth rate since 1962.

>> Read more trending news

But overall, U.S. fertility rates still hit a historic low in 2016, the CDC and NCHS study found, largely due to fewer young women (teens and 20-somethings) giving birth.

And demographers are debating whether or not these declining fertility rates are leading the country toward a “national emergency,” as some demographers have described, according to the Washington Post.

But some are still optimistic, citing lower fertility rates in other developed countries that have leveled off.

And, as the Washington Post points out, “as fertility treatments have extended the age of childbearing, the birthrates among women who are age 40 to 44 are also rising.”

Read the full CDC and NCHS study.

Mom says baby overheated as United Airlines plane sat on tarmac for 2 hours

2017 is not a good year to be an airline company, especially if that company’s name is United Airlines. 

Passenger and mom Emily France said her baby became overheated recently on a delayed flight as the aircraft waited on the Denver International Airport (DIA) tarmac, reports the Denver Post. The 39-year-old said that passengers waited for more than two hours on the plane despite a heat wave in the area. France recalled “hot air coming from the vents.”

>> Read more trending news

“We just sat and sat and sat,” she said. “I hit my call button and said, ‘I think it’s getting dangerously hot back here.'”

France also said that despite requesting an ambulance, she had to wait for 30 minutes before she was allowed to leave the plane with her son, Owen.

“They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms,” France said as she criticized the airline for not being prepared to handle her situation.

>> Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat

Owen was treated at a children’s hospital after the incident. Doctors said he suffered from the heat but thankfully remained unaffected by heat-related medical conditions.

DIA spokesman Heath Montgomery corroborated the call for an ambulance.

A representative for United emailed the following statement to the Denver Post:

"Yesterday, a child onboard flight 4644 at Denver International Airport experienced a medical issue while the aircraft was taxiing prior to takeoff. The pilot returned to the gate as our crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. Our thoughts are with the child and family, and we have been in contact to offer travel assistance."

Read more here.

Single mother surprised by email from professor after missing class

A university professor is getting a lot of praise after sending a heartwarming email to a hardworking student who is also a single mother.

>> Read more trending news 

Morgan King is studying Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Tennessee, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. She had to miss class earlier this month because she couldn’t find a babysitter for her daughter, Korbyn.

RELATED: Stolen wallet returned with honest note about why thief kept the cash 

King’s mother recently passed away from breast cancer, and she sometimes struggles to find childcare for her daughter.

She sent a note to her professor apologizing for missing class and was shocked at the response she received.

RELATED: Newborn baby photographed with mother's IUD in hand

“In the future, if you are having trouble finding someone to watch Korbyn, feel free to just bring her with you to class,” professor Sally Hunter wrote in an email. “I would be absolutely delighted to hold her while I teach, so that you can still pay attention to the class and take notes.”

RELATED: Malnourished baby dies after health-conscious parents fed him strict diet

King shared the heartwarming response on Twitter, where it quickly went viral.

“I’m literally crying,” wrote King.

After 6-year-old shoots boy, 8, police plead with parents to lock up guns

An Ohio police department hopes that an accidental shooting of an 8-year-old boy will serve as a warning to other parents about safe gun storage.

Last week, an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old found a loaded gun in the basement of a Mount Vernon home and started playing with it, according to Columbus police and Raw Story.

>> Guns kill nearly 1,300 children a year in U.S., study finds

That gun went off, wounding the 8-year-old in the arm. The boy is expected to make a full recovery at Children’s Hospital.

Police said a “third party” took the gun from the home before officers arrived. 

>> Read more trending news

No charges have been filed at this time, authorities said.

Columbus police shared information about the incident on social media.

"PLEASE LOCK UP GUNS – We're posting this incident to raise awareness & educate the public," the department wrote.

>> See it here

Guns are present in one in three American homes with children in them, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. The Washington Post reports that, on average, two children are incidentally shot by mishandling firearms every week.

Photos show shocked mother after breaking 50-year family history of baby girls

A Columbus, Georgia, mother’s look of surprise after delivering her second child was caught on camera, and images of her expression are amusing the internet.

Today reported that Dara Crouch, and her husband, Eric, 30, chose to keep the gender of her newborn a secret. Already a mother to 3-year-old daughter Neyland, the labor and delivery nurse didn’t know until April 25 that she broke a 50-year family history of baby girls.

>> Read more trending news

“I just knew I was having a girl,” Crouch, 29, told Today.com.

As it turns out, Crouch delivered a boy.

Her surprised reaction was caught by her friend and photographer Neely Ker-Fox. The images were posted on Ker-Fox’s Facebook page

“All of our reactions were genuine that she thought it was a girl,”  Ker-Fox told ABC News. “We all saw that very vulnerable moment and we started crying when we heard it was a boy.”

“I look kind of crazy in them, but I think they’re great," Crouch told ABC News. “We have something to look back on; had we not had a photographer in the room, we would've never seen that.”

The boy was a long time coming, according to Crouch, but that wasn’t why she was so surprised.

“The last boy that we know was born on my side of the family is 50 years ago, but quite honestly, it has little to do with the shock in the picture. I really just thought it was a girl, I really did. We already had a girl and I guess I kind of saw us as ‘girl parents.’”

Now 7 weeks old, Liam is “doing great,” Crouch says.

“He loves to eat and watch his big sister play … and he loves to smile at his daddy.”

Ker-Fox told CBS News that of the 100-plus births she’s photographed in six years, this one is extra special.

“Never have I had a mom look directly into my camera,” she said. “It was such an unexpected photo to grab for me. Her face was genuine shock, which melted into pure and instantaneous love for her son.”

Crouch told the 

Photographer captures 6 families' fights with childhood cancer in heartbreaking project

The “More Than 4” photo project by Sherina Welch of Houston, Texas-based FreeSpiritFoto aims to educate the public on what cancer really looks like by documenting six families’ fights with childhood cancer, as well as spread awareness about the fact that only 4 percent of funds for cancer research go to children.

>> Learn more here

On Saturday, Welch posted an emotional photo series of Colt Wilson, a child cancer patient who underwent 43 weeks of chemotherapy and 28 days, with his mom and dad after his last chemo treatment.

“The first day we walked onto this floor comes flooding back to my mind, and all my fears of cancer killing my baby are fresh again,” Cortni Wilson, Colt’s mom, told Welch. “Treatment is finally over, but the worry isn’t.”

>> Read more trending news

Wilson explained that it was reassuring for Colt to be on the hospital every week getting checked out, but now that his treatment is over, it would be months before he gets checked out again.

“I knew the chemo could kill him, I knew he could have complications, I knew cancer could completely take over,” she said. “So now that it’s finally here, I feel like I’m gonna lose it. I’m scared beyond my mind, excited and relieved, nervous and overjoyed.”

>> See the photos here

WATCH: Bullied girl asks for help in heartbreaking viral Facebook video

A Bellevue, Washington, fourth-grader says she has been bullied since school started in September. After months of telling teachers, administrators and the district, feeling desperate, she posted a video on Facebook to get help for herself and other students who are bullied.

>> Click here to watch the news report

The video was shared more than 17,500 times and reached more than 670,000 people.

>> See the video here

Nasir Andrews, 9, is finishing fourth grade at Ardmore Elementary School in the Bellevue School District. Andrews, who is black, said she's been called "Nutella" and "servant."

"I told my after-school teacher, and she said it wasn't racist and she made me write the definition of racist," Nasir told KIRO on Wednesday.

Andrews says she was picked on for buying her lunch and laughed at on the school bus. Her parents got her a lunch box and let her bring her lunch some days, and they started driving her to school every day.

She said students in her class would take her snack and eat it or throw it away. At recess, she says classmates ran away from her. She says she’s been pushed, kicked and choked.

The girl and her family moved to Bellevue last summer from Georgia, where her parents said she had no trouble making friends. 

>> Read more trending news

"Everybody in my class does not like me, and I don't have any friends in my class or in the other fourth-grade classes," Nasir said Wednesday.

Chantey and Travis Andrews are upset the school didn't do more to help their daughter. They say they have complained to administrators for months. 

"With so many things happening, our fear is there is a culture that has been established at the school where it is almost OK for the children to exercise different forms of treatment and bullying and harassment," said her mother, Chantey Andrews. "And there's not a conversation being had with them saying, 'No, this is unacceptable.'"

In the video posted to Nasir's mother's Facebook page, the girl holds up cards with words on them to share her story.

"I think that we need to stop bullying and just know that if you're doing it, you're hurting people," Nasir said when asked about her motivation to make the video.

Florida zoo bans man who photographed child without permission

Florida's Palm Beach Zoo on Tuesday banned a man from its grounds following a complaint that he was photographing another zoo patron’s child without permission.

>> Watch the news report here

West Palm Beach police questioned but neither arrested nor warned the photographer, a 48-year-old Broward County man who told police he had no malicious intent in taking the child’s photo.

“He stated that he was simply capturing video of a joyful moment” between the man and his child, according to a city police incident report. Police noted in their report that the photographer — who The Post is not identifying because he is not facing criminal charges — had no history of either lewd or sexual incidents.

Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said managers met Tuesday morning “and after further review of the information we have decided the patron is not allowed to return to the zoo.”

The zoo also planned to meet with area parent groups to discuss the issue, Carter said.

A civil liberties lawyer said Tuesday that the parent may have a right to feel suspicious about a stranger taking photos of his child, but he had no legal complaint against the photographer.

The incident appears to be isolated and likely doesn’t constitute stalking or harassment, said James Green, a West Palm Beach-based lawyer who works with the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. It would have to be a provable, repeated behavior to violate the law.

“Stalking requires a willful, malicious and repeated following and harassing or cyberstalking of another person,” he said. “Harass means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes significant emotional distress to that person.”

Cherie Benjoseph, co-founder of the South Florida KidSafe Foundation, said that despite the photographer not being charged with a crime, the man did the right thing in calling the police. She said similar incidents have been reported at public beaches where unsuspecting parents bathe their kids in the public showers and an observant family member notices someone taking pictures or video.

>> Read more trending news

“Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what’s going on in the area where you’re playing with your child,” Benjoseph said. “If you see something, say something. … We as parents and guardians of the children we care for need to be educated to be the first line of defense in our children’s safety.”

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, several prominent cities have begun restricting adult entrance to children’s play areas unless they are accompanied by a child. Hollywood put the policy in place in 2015 and claimed the restriction would “put a little dent into getting rid of the undesirables in the park.”

Green said personal privacy protections are strongest in a person’s home and are lessened in public places such as a zoo.

The incident could theoretically raise privacy issues if video was taken and someone’s voice was captured, Green said, but he cautioned against unreasonable expectations of privacy in open, public places.

“Video recording that includes audio capture could violate the Florida Security of Communications statute if the person whose voice was captured had a reasonable expectation of privacy,” he said. “(But) just because I don’t like it or I feel that my communication should not be recorded does not make it so. My expectation of privacy has to be objectively reasonable.”

Man who dangled baby from window in Facebook photo gets 2 years in prison

A man in Algeria has been sentenced to two years in prison after he dangled a baby out of a window in order to get “likes” on Facebookthe BBC reported.

The unidentified man — who was incorrectly described as the baby’s father in some news reports — sparked panic and outrage on social media when he posted a photo of himself holding the child out of a 15th-floor window on Facebook, captioning it “1,000 likes or I will drop him," according to the BBC and Al Arabiya.

>> See the shocking photo here

Facebook users were quick to alert authorities of the man’s behavior and demanded his arrest for child abuse. The man, who is reportedly a relative of the child, was subsequently arrested and charged with endangering the baby’s safety. 

“The picture was taken in a balcony with protective barriers. These were removed,” the man said, suggesting that the photo being circulated online had been altered by social media users.

>> Read more trending news

Additionally, the child’s father pleaded with the court to forgive the man and stated that he was “just playing a game," the BBC reported. The judge, however, ruled against the man, saying the picture clearly showed the child’s life to be in danger.

Read more here or here.

Guns kill nearly 1,300 children a year in U.S., study finds

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that will be in the July issue of “Pediatrics” and its recommendations in response to the study. “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States” is the largest study to look at the number of gun-related injuries and death in children and adolescents. It looked at numbers from National Vital Statistics System, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and the National Violent Death Reporting System.

>> Read more trending news

Here’s what it found:

  • On average, 1,297 children a year die in the U.S. from gunshot wounds and 5,790 are treated for a gunshot wound.
  • Death from a firearm is the third-leading cause of death for children in the U.S. behind illness/congenital defect and motor vehicle injury.
  • 53 percent of gun deaths in children were homicides, 38 percent were suicides, 6 percent were unintentional deaths, and 3 percent were due to legal intervention or undetermined intent.
  • Homicide deaths by firearms in children have declined, but suicide deaths are on the rise.
  • 4.2 percent of children ages 0 to 17 in the United States have witnessed a shooting in the past year.
  • 82 percent of children killed by guns were boys.
  • Children 13-17 years old had a 12-times higher rate of being killed by a firearm than children 12 and younger.
  • Race mattered: The annual firearm homicide rate for African-American children (3.5 per 100,000) was nearly twice as high as the rate for American Indian children (2.2 per 100,000), 4 times higher than the rate for Hispanic children (0.8 per 100,000), and ∼10 times higher than the rate for white children and Asian-American children (each 0.4 per 100,000).
  • The suicide rate was highest for white and American Indian children (each 2.2 per 100,000), almost four times the amount for African-American (0.6 per 100,000) and Hispanic (0.5 per 100,000) children and over 5 times the rate for Asian-American children (0.4 per 100,000).
  • The rate of unintentional firearm deaths for African-American children was twice as high (0.2 per 100 000) as the rate for white children (0.1 per 100,000) and 4 times the rate for Hispanic children (0.05 per 100,000).
  • Southern states and parts of the Midwest had the highest rate of firearm homicides among children.
  • Firearm suicides are more evenly distributed among states, but higher in Western states.
  • In younger children, homicides often happen in a multivictim scenario and by family conflict.
  • Older children were more likely to die from crime and violence.
  • A shooter playing with the gun was the most common reason for an unintentional firearm death for all children.
  • Of children who committed suicide by firearm, 60 percent used a handgun, 42 percent had a crisis in the past, 71 percent had relationship problems, 34 percent were depressed, 26 percent had a clinically diagnosed mental health problem, 18 percent were receiving mental health treatment and 26 percent disclosed their intent to die by suicide to someone. Most spent 10 minutes or less thinking about it before they did it.

What are pediatricians to do with this information? And what are parents supposed to do?

Dr. Eliot W. Nelson of the University of Vermont wrote the academy’s response recommendations for its physicians:

  1. Ask parents if there are guns in their house.
  2. Do not get in a debate about their rights to have a gun.
  3. Talk about safe storage practices such as a gun safe and lock, storing guns unloaded and storing bullets separately.
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