October 1, 2011 West Haven, Conn. A 20-month old little girl visiting her aunt was mauled by as many as three pitt bull terriers. The little girl was unconcious when paramedics arrived and she was pronounced dead at Yale New Haven Hospital. The dogs were put in another room for the visit but managed to escape and kill the little girl. The dogs have been enthanized.
Portable, inflatable pools can be a great way for kids to cool off in the summer months but they also can be fatal for young children. According the the first United States study published in the Journal of Pediatrics there were 209 deaths and 35 near-drownings of children under 12 from 2001 - 2009 and 94% were under 5 years old. The study targeted portable pools, like wading pools less than 18" deep to bigger inflatables as deep as 4 feet. The study was conducted by Nationwide Hospital and Independent Safety Consulting in Rockville, Maryland. Many parents buy the inflatable pools on impulse and because of their ease of use, frequently dont think about the safety aspects associated with large inground or above ground pool like fences and pool alarms. Drowning is silent and quick. Parents should implement safety practices around all pools, and never leave their child unattended around water.
My granddaughter took swim lessons for babies last year but the lessons were early in the morning and the pool was always COLD. It really wasnt a good experience for her because she was too worried about being COLD to focus on her swimming lesson. This year I decided to get her a wetsuit and we just tried it out today. The kiddie pool in the picture is at our community center pool and it is really COLD. No other kid would go in it but after a few minutes she had a great time! It also had the added benefit of blocking the sun so no more sunscreen on her arms and legs, and she has complete mobility in it! It even protects her from pool scrapes which some of the other kids in the adjacent heated pool were getting from the pool's rough surface. The wetsuit is a little big for her, so should easily last the whole season this year. A real FIND! She will get two extra months of swimming since we have it!
I love these plush toy Kauzbots robots because they are so cute and because a portion of each sale of a robot goes to a non profit cause. Robot Kalvin supports homelessness, while Robot Kale supports the environment. Robot Kaprice supports breast cancer and Karissa poverty. There are many more. The robots retail for just $24.99. Visit http://www.kauzbots.com/ to see the cute robots. Fastastic idea!
I was out for a walk and noticed my new neighbor had put a safety sign in the road while her young children were biking in her driveway and near her home. It really caught my eye as a great idea since I have witnessed many drivers go very fast down our street in their cars. They probably don't even mean to speed but are in a hurry coming home from work or errands. Her house is only one house away from the corner so drivers unaware could be upon her children very quickly if they exceeded the speed limit. My neighbor was supervising her children but as parents know, kids can be erratic when playing and the sign was an extra alert to motorists. Here's a picture from the one in my neighborhood and then I found them available for sale at Safe Beginnings and you can follow the link below if you would like to purchase one.
Crib Safety Standards
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled more than 11 million infant and toddler cribs due to incidents and concerns about safety since 2007. December 17, 2010, CPSC voted unanimously to approve new mandatory safety standards for baby cribs for full-size and non-full-size cribs.
The new federal standard will take effect in June 2011, requiring cribs being manufactured, sold, or leased in the United States to comply with the new safety standards. CPSC said the mandatory crib standards will stop the manufacture and sale of traditional drop-side cribs, will require mattress supports be made stronger, crib hardware must be made more durable, and safety testing will be made more exacting.
Note that child care facilities, including day cares, home infant care, and public places including hotels and motels that offer accomodations for babies, will be required to have cribs that meet the new standards in their places of business within 24 months after the new ruling takes effect.
CPSC has received reports of 32 crib related deaths due to infant suffocation and strangulation involving drop-side cribs since 2000.
Tips for Safety when using Fireworks for New Year's Celebrations
Fireworks are fun, exciting and usually beautiful to watch but when you have young children, it makes good safety sense to take extra precautions for everyone's safety. Here are some times from the National Council on Fireworks Safety.
Use fireworks outdoors only.
Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).
Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.
Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated shooter."
Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
Five Tips for Buying Safe Toys This Holiday
It's that time of year, when parents are swarming the toy stores and toy departments of retail businesses looking for the latest game or toy for the child they love. Along with the fun factor and eduational value of the toy you select, consider safety first for a happy and safe holiday!
1. Look for the Age Appropriate info on the Box.
There are good reasons why some toys are not recommended for kids under 3. It's usually because they contain small parts that can be choking hazards.
2. Test musical instruments or noisemakers
Some toys like sirens or electric instruments can belt out 90 decibels of sound and it can be even more damaging, factoring in that kids many times hold these toys right up to their ear!
3. Shooting toys and "weapons" - Just say "no"
Anything that flys or shoots can cause injuries. Toys like darts can be a disaster.
4. Review the Contents and Pieces
Look for parts that can be a hazard for little ones, like cords longer than 6 inches which can strangle a young child.
5. Get a Helmet if you purchase a Ride-on Toy
Riding battery operated cars, scooters and skateboards are associated with more injuries than other toys. Be sure and also purchase appropriate safety equipment for the ride-on toy you select.
Many Parents worry about their child's learning development and have concerns about dyslexia or other worries about the pace and progress of their child's learning development. Here's some helpful information from the International Dyslexia Association. http://www.interdys.org/index.htm
What Are the Signs of Dyslexia?
Not all students who have difficulties with these skills are dyslexic. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.
Having one of these signs does not mean your child has dyslexia; many children reverse letters before the age of 7. But, if several signs exist and reading problems persist, or if you have a family history of dyslexia, you may want to have your child evaluated.
Answering “no” to some or most of these questions may indicate a learning disability. Not all students who have difficulties with these skills are dyslexic. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.
Kids love to jump, bounce and play in those colorful bounce houses. They are available to rent, found at carnivals and popular at children's birthday parties. The problem is, the California Attorney General's office has issued a warning that they contain too much lead to be completely safe for kids. The office says it is responding to the child safety warning it received from the Center for Environmental Health which tested the houses and reported the levels of lead far exceeded federal limits for children's products.
Eating healthy is a priority for most families but if you're like me, you frequently grab quick snacks, and granola bars are a favorite. I thought I was eating something healthy until I looked at the ingredients of my favorite bars and found the dreaded 'high fructose corn syrup' listed. I looked at a lot of different bars at the grocery store and most of them had the same ingredient and a lot of sugar and calories so I was determined to find a recipe and make my own. These are no bake, yummy and healthy!
Preheat oven to 350. Spread 3 cups thick oats (not instant) in a large pan (I use the bottom of my broiler pan). Toast for 10 minutes. Cool.
In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup agave (available at most grocery stores). Stir in 1/2 cup powdered flax (I get this at costco). You can add 1/4 brown sugar or leave it out if you want less sugar. Heat just to boiling and don't burn it!
In a large bowl toss:
3 cups toasted oats, 1 cup nuts, 1/2 cup rice crispies, 1 cup chocolate chips or m&ms, 1 1/4 cup fruit of your choice (i use raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries or a mixture of dried fruit chopped I also get at costco). Drissle the honey/agave mixture into above with a large study spoon to coat the ingredients.
Grease a large pan lighty and one side of a piece of aluminum foil. Pour the mixture into the pan and press with the greased side of the aluminum foil. Put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Cut into squares. Put back into the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Remove them one by one with a spatula and wrap with clear plastic wrap and put back into the refrigerator.
That's it! You're Done! There is nothing parishable so they don't need to be refrigerated but I keep them in there anyway because it's so hot here in Phoenix! Enjoy!
September is national baby safety month, and a good time to do a safety check of your home, yard and autos. If you haven't inspected your child's safety seat, now is a good time to check it and make sure it is properly installed and still the correct size for your child. In the yard as summer winds down, plan ahead to make sure your pool or pond is secure and locked down to prevent accidental drowning. In your home, do a room-by-room inspection to insure all outlets still have safety plugs, all chemicals are properly stored, and other childproofing measures are in place. A half-hour of your time now on prevention is well worth preventing an accident that could seriously harm or kill your child.
This book was recommended to me by an educational resource professional, so I bought it for my daughter for her upcoming birthday. She is a school psychologist and the mother of a two year old. The author combines a lot of research plus her own experiences to come up with the "seven essential life skills every child needs." This is not your run of the mill parenting book and I could hardly put it down! I highly recommend it!
Bullying - Another Threat to Your Child
According to Pacer, a Minneapolis-based parent training and information center for families with children with disabilities, every day, 160,000 children skip school because they fear being bullied. Most of the time, bullying is a mindset and won't stop unless an adult intervenes. Communication and education can prevent bullying. Arizona has had anti-bullying legislation since 2005, requiring schools to enforce procedures that prohibit students from harassing, intimidating and bulling other students. Concerned parents should be informed about both the signs of bullying, and the remedies available for their child.
Warning Signs of a Bullied Child
* Has bruises or cuts without a logical explanation
* Reluctant to go to school. Takes an alternate path to school.
* Asks for money to meet the bully's demands
* Has nightmares and/or cries out while asleep
* Has torn clothing or books without a logical explanation
* Quieter than usual, withdrawn
* Socially withdrawn, fails to talk about school friends in a positive light
* Mentions someone they don't like at school
* Grades decline, interest in school declines
Types of Bullying
* Physical: Shoving, punching, kicking, biting, damaging another's belongings
* Verbal: Teasing, threats, name calling, intimidation, demeaning jokes, rumors, gossip
* Emotional: Social exclusion, humiliating someone publicly, telling lies to hurt another's reputation
* Cyberbullying: Nasty texting, posting videos or photos that ridicule someone, spreading rumors through social networking sites.
Get more information and help with bullying at http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/default.aspx
There have been more tragic stories recently about babies dying from positional asphyxiation. Positional asphyzia, which is also known as postural asphyxia, is a form of asphyxia which occurs when baby's position prevents them from breathing. Most recently a two-and-a-half month old was found unresponsive and not breathing by her parent and investigators pointed to positional asphyxia as the cause. When babies are very young, they are unable to maneuver themselves into a position that allows them to breathe properly, so parents need to be aware of this and prevent it when they position their baby so they can breathe freely and easily.
A new baby fills parents with wonder, at their seemingly limitless potential. Parents yearn to do the best job possible caring for baby's physical and developmental needs. As they master the basics of feeding and caring for their child, their attention towards nurturing their child's intellectual and creative potential. It is well established that reading to your child, for example, helps build their vocabulary and verbal skills. Teaching colors, counting and teaching countless words including body parts, everyday items and words identifying activities, all play an important part in your child’s development.
Here are my Top Ten ideas for activities to help you nurture baby's equally important creativity-side.
1. Singing - putting words and melody together for simple songs like "jingle bells" or "row, row, row your boat"
2. Coloring - within an object on a piece of paper and on blank paper
3. Balance - standing on one foot and following a sequence of steps when they learn to walk.
4. Rhythmic - clapping, high five, pound it, patty cake
5. Dancing - simple rhythmic motions like swaying your head, hand movements, shimmy steps and sequences.
6. Sequencing - red, yellow, blue, red, yellow, blue (repeat)
7. Stickers - peel and stick
8. Tactile - soft/hard, hot/cold, smooth/rough,
9. Nursery rhymes with gestures like“itsy bitsy spider”
10. Stacking - variety of shapes and colors
Visit Safe Beginnings for everything you need to childproof or babyproof your home. Click on the ad below for those hard to find items - like for your fireplace, deck or balcony and more!
Dogs have become an important part of the family. Long gone are the days when the dog lived outside in the backyard.
There are hundreds of breed combinations available today, some purebred, many mixed breeds and recently popular are "designer" mixed breeds, which combine two popular breeds for a specific unique combination of traits.
For "pet parents" as many dog owners lovingly call themselves, integrating a new baby with a dog that has already established itself in the human pack can be a challenge. If the pet is an aggressive dog breed or has an aggressive breed as part of it's mix, it can become a serious or even fatal threat to the new baby or a young child.
In nearly all the serious or fatal dog attacks on a baby, toddler or young child, the parents or caregivers were blindsided by the aggressiveness of their family pet. The dog either did not exhibit signs of aggressiveness toward the child or the “pet parents” missed the signs, likely because they were not adept at reading aggressive dog behavior warning signs.
Many dogs in established family packs consider the new baby or child subordinate in the pack and wait, in some cases years, for an opportunity to kill the child. It may be when the baby is within reach and the mom is in the bathroom, or the dad leaves a toddler briefly outside with the family dog, both real life instances, both resulting in the death of the child.
So what's a parent to do?
If you don't have a dog and are thinking of getting one, consider getting the dog after your child is old enough to give commands and assume a dominate position relative to the dog in the family pack. Consider breeds of dogs listed below that have a history of tolerance for children. Remember though, that every dog is unique and you cannot rely solely on the breed choice in determining its suitability around a baby or young child. If you are getting a new puppy, meet the puppy’s parents to validate that their temperament is child friendly. If you do not feel comfortable making that assessment yourself, consult a dog trainer. If you already have a dog, take care to introduce your baby and your dog carefully following the recommended steps outlined by dog experts.
If your dog is large enough to kill your child, or has any aggressive breed lineage, consult a dog expert. Fatal attacks can occur very quickly and with only one bite.
Breeds Historically good with children:
Bernese mountain dog
Baby sign language - does it really work and help you communicate earlier and more effectively with your baby? That was the question I posed to hundreds of parents across the country to learn about their experiences and the feedback was terrific. I believe will help other parents decide whether signing is right for them and their baby.
The parental poll on baby sign language was overwhelmingly positive in support of signing. Many parents shared their insights and specific challenges with their child. For example, some babies had physical challenges that hindered their vocal ability like a cleft pallet or a tracheal tube and the parents reported that signing was a lifesaver. Others began sign language as a bridge to talking so they could communicate more effectively with their baby earlier than they expected they would talk.
The mom whose son had a tracheal tube shared with me that her son was a very spirited little guy with strong emotions and she wholeheartedly believed that signing prevented huge emotional meltdowns by giving her son a way to communicate sooner.
Two programs came highly recommended by the parents I polled. One is the Sign 2 Me program which most public libraries carry. It comes with a video and a book. The video is helpful to see what a baby sign might look like, especially the early signs from baby. This system has done extensive research on introducing signing to hearing children and is widely used. It uses American Sign Language slightly adapted for dexterity. The other system that was recommended was Baby Signing Time. The best book recommendation was Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk, by Linda Acredolo, PhD. and Susan Goodwyn, PhD.
All respondents agreed that in order to be successful teaching your baby to sign, you need to be serious about it and execute the signs consistently. Start with three commands at a time. For example, when you give baby bottle, always gesture the bottle sign! Show the sign yourself, and then begin to show your baby how to make the sign with his hands. If you feed your baby 8-10 times a day, he'll learn that sign very quickly! But you have to do it every time for it to begin to make sense to your baby. After a short while, he'll start signing to you "bottle" when he's hungry.
Babies are able to communicate long before they can form speech and baby sign language works. Teaching your baby to sign allows your baby express their needs and can be an important communication tool. Even if you only teach six to twelve signs, it can be very helpful for you and baby.
Recurring ear infections are problematic for many for babies and small children and the parents that love them! Ear infections can cause sleepless nights, painful headaches, and even hearing loss and developmental delays depending on their frequency and severity.
As parents cope with their sick child and the risks and benefits of treatment options, they often find themselves on a slippery slope of choices. Pediatricians usually treat ear infections with antibiotics but whether they actually help reduce the severity and duration of an ear infection is a controversial topic. Parents often become concerned about administering antibiotics over and over again to their baby or toddler, and the lasting affects on their child’s immunity system.
There are several alternative treatments available for ear infections, but the mainstream medical community does not endorse them. One mother suggested putting breast milk in baby’s ear to treat ear infections. I thought this must be an old wives tale, but low and behold, found the same recommendation on several web sites. Colloidal Silver was also suggested along with hydrogen peroxide drops in the ears. One mom I surveyed warned not to use a humidifier but a vaporizer instead in baby’s room because a bacterium doesn’t grow as fast with hot moisture and humidifiers grow bacteria rapidly with cold moisture.
In weighing up the pros and cons of ear tubes there are many success stories from parents who saw dramatic improvement and enjoyed relief after the surgery. No one reported any horror stories of the moms I surveyed. One mom did report she had her daughter’s pediatrician take the tubes out instead of the ear nose and throat specialist and it did cause pain and bleeding so if they don’t fall out, parents should consider going back to the specialist.
The risk of any surgery includes the risks of anesthesia or an allergic reaction and should not be taken lightly. Parents should check out the record of the ear, nose and throat specialist along with the anesthesiologist on the AMA website to make sure they have a great track record. Parents should also check out the out patient facility’s credentials if surgery will not be performed in a hospital.
Parents are faced with many challenging decisions during the course of raising a child to adulthood. It makes sense to do your homework, gather the facts, research your options, and then finally trust yourself to make the best decision for your child.
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