News & Notes
Obesity affecting child safety seats
By Wire services
Published April 4, 2006
Many young children are too heavy for standard car-safety seats, and manufacturers are starting to make heftier models to accommodate them, according to research at Johns Hopkins Hospital on the obesity epidemic's widening impact. More than a quarter of a million U.S. children ages 1 to 6 are heavier than the weight limits for standard car seats, and most are 3-year-olds who weigh more than 40 pounds, the study found. Unless exceptionally tall, a 3-year-old weighing more than 40 pounds would generally be considered overweight. Lead author Lara Trifiletti said researchers at a safety center saw children "who were very obese and our car-seat technicians were having a hard time finding car seats to fit them." Based on national growth charts and the 2000 census, at least 283,305 children ages 1 to 6 are too heavy for standard safety seats. That includes nearly 190,000, or almost 5 percent, of U.S. 3-year-olds. The study appears in the April edition of Pediatrics.Canada won't blunt marijuana laws
Marijuana possession will remain a crime in Canada, the country's new conservative prime minister said Monday in announcing the demise of legislation U.S. authorities worried would weaken antidrug efforts. Under the bill, drawn up by the previous Liberal Party government, getting caught with about half an ounce or less of marijuana would have brought a citation akin to a traffic ticket. Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the bill would not be reintroduced when the new Parliament convenes for the first time Monday. Harper also said his government would move to impose longer jail time and heavier fines on marijuana growers with large operations.UPDATE
The British army began dismantling its last five watchtowers along the Northern Ireland border Monday, a long-awaited move in response to the Irish Republican Army's decision last year to disarm. Soldiers from the Royal Engineers Regiment landed by helicopter on three hilltops in South Armagh, a traditional IRA power base midway between Belfast and Dublin, to begin tearing the heavily amored watchtowers apart. Britain constructed them in the mid 1980s to monitor IRA activities in South Armagh, where troops and police for decades had to travel by helicopter because of the risk of roadside bombs.