* Car seats put babies in an unnatural slouching position, making breathing difficult, say US investigators. Newborns, especially preemies, show reduced levels of blood oxygen and stop breathing or have very slowed heartbeats when left in car seats for 15 minutes. Oxygen levels continue to fall for up to 60 minutes after being taken out of the seat. The researchers also warn that, until head and neck control is attained, babies should not spend time in car seats, swings or other such seating devices (Pediatrics, 2001; 108: 647-52).
* By 2005, 42 per cent of all HIV patients in San Francisco will no longer respond to the drugs used to treat the disease. California investigators found that the vast majority of new cases of HIV were from acquired drug resistance, not sexual transmission. The researchers suggest a delay in therapy for as long as possible to maximise the medical benefit and delay side-effects (Nat Med, 2001; 7: 1016-20).
* Three years after agreeing to prohibit any advertising to children, tobacco companies are still blatantly targeting them in their ads. US researchers have found increases in promotional expenditures in youth-orientated magazines of 3.7 per cent from 1995 to 1998 and of 15.2 per cent in 1999. In addition, the average proportion of kids exposed to magazine ads for cigarettes was 85 per cent in 1998 and 82 per cent in 2000 (N Engl J Med, 2001; 345: 504-11, 535-7).