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The 5th Bubble Wrap


With millions upon millions of journal articles being published every year, it is impossible to keep up.  Every month, we ask some of our friends from the world of paediatrics to point out something that has caught their eye.

Both the PERUKI and DFTB teams agreed that there was only one paper that HAS to be read this month.  And whilst some of you might be interested in the role of the vitamin C cocktail in sepsis, I think you will all agree that this is a paper that will truly change practice.

Article 1 – Television is a force for good

Oleg Puhl, Jo Konuu, Guhl Abel, Current knowledge of children’s television programmes by doctors predicts safe discharge of children from Emergency Departments. Pediatr. Miscellany. 2017 Apr;1(1):1-5. doi: 11.3340/hta18880.

What’s it about?

You’ve never heard of Peppa Pig? Are you serious?

There are some fundamental attributes that are needed by healthcare professionals who work with children. You need to have patience, empathy and good clinical skills. You also need to know what children relate to. In this innovative study, Oleg Puhl and colleagues demonstrate that a working knowledge of popular kids’ television programmes may well impact clinical care.

Why does it matter?

The premise of this work was that doctors who are able to engage more effectively with infants, because they can discuss cartoon characters/TV shows, are more likely to make a correct diagnosis.

They hypothesised that the rates of children discharged from an Emergency Department who returned to be admitted would be less in those with a greater working knowledge of the most popular programmes. Obviously, some children sent home appropriately may return to be re-admitted, but this risk should be the same across all groups.

It was a shame they didn’t undertake a power calculation in advance (as the incidence of return to be re-admitted would have been known), but they did pilot and create a valid tool to assess knowledge (Cohens Kappa 0.83). The biggest limitation of the study, acknowledged by the authors, was that confounders couldn’t be accounted for. Doctors weren’t stratified by years of experience, speciality or interest in paediatrics. However, this makes the study, in some ways, more pragmatic and applicable.

For a given emergency department, there appears to be a direct relationship between how much children’s TV you watch or are aware of and your ability to discharge appropriately. So, at the next handover, what TV character will you be telling your staff about?

The bottom line:

Watching cartoons is good for you.

Reviewed by: Damian Roland

We asked our panel what their favourite children’s show is…

Ben Lawton

That’s it for this month.  Many thanks to all of our reviewers who have taken the time to scour the literature so you don’t have to.  If you think they have missed something amazing then let us know.



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