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Childhelp usa, a national nonprofit organization for the prevention and treatment of child abuse, is now operating a national toll-free hotline for professionals who must deal with the problem of child abuse.

School personnel, social workers, and others who need expert advice can call the service and will receive a return consultation call the same day. In emergencies, the organization will provide immediate help.

The hotline number is (800) 4-A-CHILD. The organization's address is Woodland Hills, Calif. 91370.

The student who uses relaxation techniques to cope with stress may perform better academically and create fewer discipline problems than his unrelaxed peers, a new study from South Carolina State College suggests. Doris Matthews, a professor of education, studied 532 students who, as participants in the university-sponsored Project Relaxation, spent 10 minutes daily in either their homeroom or social-studies classes learning the techniques. Subsequently, the study found, those students who mastered the techniques showed greater gains on the comprehensive test of basic skills and were involved in fewer incidents of misbehavior that required referral to the principal's office than the students who had not received the training. The students learned the techniques by listening to taped exercises and working with "simple biofeedback instruments."

A recent study of dental health in 25,000 schoolchildren found that 60 percent of the dental cavities occurred in 20 percent of the children surveyed. A new project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will take a second look at the data generated by that study to try to develop methods of identifying the high-risk children in advance and better means of targeting preventive dental care.

Because preventive care for all children is costlier than the researchers anticipated, they now see it as more important to focus on those most vulnerable to tooth decay.

The project, to be conducted by the American Fund for Dental Health, will also study patterns of tooth decay in children. Findings of the initial study suggest that "non-invasive" methods of restoring decayed teeth, such as the application of epoxy resin, might be more effective than traditional drilling and filling.

Car accidents are the most common preventable cause of serious injuries and death among children, according to government statistics. One way to prevent such injuries, a manufacturer suggests, is to educate children about the importance of using restraints. The Questor Juvenile Furniture Company, based in Piqua, Ohio, has developed a "Safe Passage" program for use by school systems that want to include information on auto safety in their health classes. The program materials include slides, a teachers' guide, and pamphlets. For more information, write to the Questor Juvenile Furniture Company, 1801 Commerce Drive, Piqua, Ohio 45356.--sw

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