Archive for the ‘Safety/Health Awareness’ Category

And the old became new once again!…

August 31st, 2010 3:40pm

Have you been gazing longingly at your neighbors brand new stroller as you push your dilapidated clunker awkwardly along the sidewalk? Do you cringe when you place your toddler in your torn, worn and stained high chair or car seat and hope that mystery stain isn’t anything to worry about? Well, fear no more! Baby’s R Us has come to the rescue of us moms of multiples who have worn our baby gear into shreds! You now have until September 19th, 2010 to get your old gear into Baby’s R Us for a 25% discount on a brand new replacement in the same category as your trade-in!

Not all manufacturers are participating but here’s a list of those that are…

  • Eddie Baurer
  • Evenflo
  • Graco
  • Britax
  • Jeep
  • Baby Cache
  • Baby Trend
  • Bertini
  • Chicco
  • Contours by Kolcraft
  • Carter’s
  • Delta
  • Sorelle
  • Baby Italia

This great deal stems from a desire to get old and possibly unsafe baby equipment out of circulation. Most of us bargain shoppers frequent the discount stores or utilize hand-me-downs for baby gear because of price but we don’t often get safety and warranty guarantees with that equipment that always come with new gear. Equipment gets better all the time with great improvements to comfort as well as safety. This is a great opportunity to keep our little ones a bit safer, more comfortable and not have to break the bank to do it! Check out your local Baby’s R Us store for more details. Items need to be purchased on the same day as the trade-in so come prepared to shop!

For more information, visit Baby’s R Us Official website  to read more about this offer. But don’t miss out! You only have until September 19th!

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Posted in Events, Family and Home, free stuff, General, newsworthy, Parenting Tips, Safety/Health Awareness | 1 Comment »

By Dr. Cara Natterson for Sniffle Solutions

Headache pain in the neck and forehead can be attributed to a variety of factors. A common trigger is allergies, which are usually accompanied by itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose with clear mucus. When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases histamines, which kick up mucus production. That’s why your nose runs and your eyes get watery. It’s also why fluid collects in places it wouldn’t normally, like your sinuses, causing pressure, which can lead to a headache. Antihistamines and nasal irrigation systems like neti pots are generally the go-to treatments for headaches related to allergies.

Your son’s headache pain might also indicate a sinus infection, which could be caused by a cold as well as allergies. Sinus infection symptoms often include a runny nose with greenish mucus, pain with a tap on the cheek or forehead, and sometimes fever. Once you get a sinus infection, you typically have to treat it with antibiotics in addition to treating whatever caused it, though nasal irrigation systems can sometimes clear up an infection without medication.

Headaches can be caused by a host of other things as well, like a toothache or even poor vision. Parents often don’t think to ask whether their child can make out details on the chalkboard or movie screen, because they don’t realize that kids who need glasses often complain of headache pain due to eye fatigue.

Without an examination, it’s
difficult to say for sure what’s causing your son’s headache pain. See his
primary health care provider, who can figure out exactly what’s wrong and treat
it accordingly.

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Posted in General, Safety/Health Awareness | 1 Comment »

Prevent and treat summer rashes

July 13th, 2010 7:18pm

Sniffle Solutions: Care & Comfort

Prevent — and Treat — Summer Rashes

By Madonna Behen for Sniffle Solutions

Prevent -- and Treat -- Summer Rashes

Protecting a young child’s delicate skin is a year-round responsibility for parents, but it’s especially important in the summer months, when so much skin is uncovered and vulnerable to a host of warm-weather rash inducers. “There are definitely some types of skin rashes that we see a lot more of in the summer months, like sunburn and insect bites and stings,” says Dr. Kelly McClean, a dermatologist for adults and children at the University of Michigan Health System, in Ann Arbor.

Below, McClean and Dr. Brandie Metz (assistant clinical professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine) recommend ways to prevent and treat the most common summer rashes:

Prevent it:
Proper sun protection techniques are important not just because they’ll keep your little one from getting a red, painful burn, says McClean. “We know that ultraviolet radiation increases the risk for skin cancers later in life, and it can also accelerate photoaging of the skin.”

The first line of defense should be covering up: Wear a hat and sun-protective clothing, stay in the shade as much as possible and wear sunglasses to protect the eyes. Kids need a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. The best time to slather it on is before you leave the house. “Once you get to the pool or beach, kids are excited about getting into the water or playing in the sand, and they’re less likely to stand still,” says McClean.

Even if your child always tans and never burns, that’s no excuse not to take sun protection seriously, adds McClean. “Parents have this misconception that a tan is safe, but what a tan means is that the skin has been damaged by the sun as well.” And if you’re cutting back on sunscreen because you’re concerned about vitamin D deficiencies, think again, says Metz. “Using sunscreen isn’t going to lead to a vitamin D deficiency. Most people reach their maximum production of vitamin D after only about five minutes in the sun,” she says.

Treat it: To treat sunburn, use cool compresses to bring down the temperature of the skin, or have your child take a cool bath. Avoid products with an anesthetic, “basically anything that ends in ‘caine,’ because that will just further irritate the skin,” says Metz. Any blistering burn requires a doctor’s attention.

Insect Bites
Prevent it:
The most effective insect repellants contain the chemical DEET — but be sure the products you use on kids contain no more than 10 percent. “The best approach is to spray the repellant on the clothing rather than on skin,” says Metz. Stay away from products that combine DEET and sunscreen. “Sunscreen needs to be reapplied frequently, and DEET does not,” she says. But when you use products that contain both, “you end up putting on too much insect repellant or not enough sunscreen.”

Treat it: Treat itchy bug bites with an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion.

Poison Ivy
Prevent it:
You know that old saying, “Leaves of three, leave them be?” Turns out not all plants that cause an itchy rash have three leaves, says Metz. “Poison sumac can have seven or more leaves, so you really need to learn to recognize all the poisonous plants.”

The best prevention is to wear long pants and long sleeves during hikes. Also be aware that your child doesn’t have to touch the plant directly to come in contact with the plant oils. “If your pets run around in the woods, they can have the oil on their fur and kids can get it by touching the pet,” says McClean. But it’s a myth that rash can spread from person to person: Once the oil from the plant has been washed off the skin, you’re no longer contagious.

Treat it: For rashes from poison ivy and other similar plants, Metz usually recommends OTC hydrocortisone cream as well as an oral antihistamine.

Heat Rash
Prevent it:
First-time moms often make the mistake of bundling up newborns too much in the warmer months. “Sweat ducts get clogged up and red bumps appear, especially in the skin folds,” says McClean.

To prevent heat rash, make sure you dress your baby in layers so you can easily remove unneeded clothing.

Treat it: The rash usually disappears soon after you cool down the skin by removing excess clothing and blankets. “Never put a cream or ointment on a heat rash,” says Metz, “because that will just further clog the pores and make the rash worse.”

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By Julie Smart for Ideas That Spark

Toddler cleaning spree!

What can we say, when you get kids motivated to clean, if nothing else...they're FAST!

Here are my top four tips on getting — and keeping — your house super-clean without much effort.

1. Have a basket contest.
Are you playrooms and bedrooms messy and completely disorganized? Give each of your children a basket and have a contest to see who can get the most items in the basket in two minutes. Reward the winning child with a small prize.

2. Sing, dance and clean.
Put on a sing-along, and have everyone sing and dance while cleaning. For young children, try the Barney cleanup song: It’s fun and short enough for a young child to learn.

3. Reward donations.
When children clean out a toy box or room, it may be hard to get them to depart with things they don’t really need. Set a number of items for them to get rid of, and reward them for donating a certain amount. It teaches them to depart with items they don’t really use, and it cuts down on clutter.

4. Give a child a spray bottle.
This tip worked great for my own kids, since every child wanted to help and not feel left out: For children that are too young to help with cleaning, give them each a clean paper towel and small spray bottle filled with water. Ask them to help you by cleaning the refrigerator door or something in the area that you are currently in.

I recommend buying a new, empty bottle that didn’t previously have cleaner in it in case your children spray it in their eyes or mouth. When you’re done, children can put away their “special” spray bottle of cleaner until next time.

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Sniffle Solutions: Expert Q&A

June 21st, 2010 10:23pm

Sniffle Solutions: Expert Q+A

How much sleep should my kids get each night? They often seem overtired, and I worry they are more vulnerable to illness.

By Renee Martin for Sniffle Solutions


Sleep deprivation takes a toll on the immune system.

You’re right to be worried, because sleep deprivation does take a toll on the immune system. Getting adequate rest is important all the time, but it’s especially crucial during cold and flu season.

You may be surprised at just how much sleep your little ones need per night, because it’s often much more than adults typically get. The American Academy of Pediatrics makes the following recommendations for sleep requirements by age:

  • Newborns: 10.5 to 18 hours per day
  • Infants: 9 to 12 hours at night, plus one to four naps (30 minutes or more each)
  • Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours per day
  • Preschoolers: 11 to 13 hours per day
  • School-aged children: 10 to 11 hours per day
  • Tweens and teens: 8.5 to 9.25 hours per day

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Sniffle Solutions: Expert Q+A

June 21st, 2010 10:14pm

My daughter almost always gets sick after we return home from a trip on an airplane. Is there anything I can do to keep her healthy?

By Dr. Roy Benaroch for Sniffle Solutions

Many cold and flu viruses are transmitted when you touch surfaces. And when you’re on an airplane, you’re touching armrests and tray tables that may not be very clean. Since so many people are touching the same surfaces, it’s all too easy to pick up germs on your hands.

So always have your child wash hands thoroughly before and after using the bathroom on a plane. And when you can’t get access to a sink and soap, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol. If you’re worried about the drying effects of alcohol, use a hand sanitizer that has added moisturizers, like aloe.

And since the air on planes is so dry and uncomfortable, you might also want to bring along some saline nasal spray, which you can use to help keep both yours and your daughter’s nasal passages well moisturized.

It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water — that goes for you and your daughter.

Finally, try to avoid sick people when possible. If you’re sitting next to someone who’s coughing and sniffling and the flight is not full, speak up and politely ask a flight attendant if you can move to different seats.

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Get Clean on a Budget

June 14th, 2010 6:51pm

Ideas That Spark: Mom2Mom

Get Clean on a Budget

By Renae Chiovaro for Ideas That Spark

By Renae Chiovaro

Cleaning products are a necessity in any home, but for tough jobs in big houses, costs can add up. It is possible to spend less on cleaning products without cutting your cleaning power. Whether you have $5 to spend on cleaning products or $50, these simple tips will help you clean house on a very limited budget.

1. Use old-fashioned soap and water.
Dish soap is a mild cleanser that can be used on multiple surfaces. To clean countertops, use hot soapy water.

2. Clean a little every day.
Put some effort into cleaning at least one thing every day. Cleaning will be less daunting and require gentler cleaning products if it occurs regularly.

3. Clean the dryer vents and refrigerator coils regularly.
Appliances run more efficiently when they are properly maintained. Plus, you will extend the life of your machine.

4. Less is more when it comes to dishwasher and laundry soap.
Using too much soap can lead to appliance damage — plus, it’s a waste of costly detergent. Follow the instructions on the package to use the appropriate amount of soap. If you have soft water, you can use even less soap than the manufacturers recommend.

5. Implement a “no shoes rule” in your house.
This will cut down on the amount of dirt and debris tracked in the home. Place a basket at the door to serve as shoe storage.

6. Reuse used items.
If you’ve just used a paper towel to dry off washed fruit, use the now-wet paper towel to quickly swipe over stains or spills on kitchen counters. A sponge that was once used to clean dishes can now be used to get small spills of the floor.

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Product Recall

As of April 30, 2010, McNeil Consumer Healthcare (maker of children's medications such as Tylenol, Motrin and Zyrtec) has issued a voluntary product recall of all lots that have not yet expired of over-the-counter children's and infants' liquid products

As of April 30, 2010, McNeil Consumer Healthcare (maker of children’s medications such as Tylenol, Motrin  and Zyrtec) has issued a voluntary product recall of all lots that have not yet expired of over-the-counter children’s and infants’ liquid products manufactured in the United States and distributed in the US< Canada, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Fiji, Guam, Guatemala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and Kuwait.

Thankfully, this product recall has not come as a result of any adverse medical events, but the specified products may not meet required quality standards. For instance, too much of the active ingredient, inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements, and even tiny particles. The company does not seem overly concerned about serious medical problems resulting from the use of these drugs, but they are encouraging consumers to immediately discontinue use of these drugs. For a complete list of recalled medications, please follow the appropriate links below…

Infants’ Tylenol and Children’s Tylenol Products

Infants’ Motrin and Children’s Motrin Products

Children’s Zyrtec Products

Children’s Benadryl Products

All recalled products from April 30, 2010

The McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc. has also supplied a link through which you can request a refund or high value coupon as compensation for the discontinued products. Word to the wise, if you want a refund, DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY until you copy off the required information for the refund: Product Name, NDC#, LOT#, and Expiration Date. If you are a mother like me living in Arizona during the worst allergy season in history, this will definitely be a valuable link since I currently have a medicine cabinet full of these products that will shortly be visiting the trash can…but not before I request a sizable refund!

For more information: Visit McNeil’s frequently asked questions page.

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Yes, the words have been spoken and it is now out there. Imagine: a world where happy meals no longer are served with toys. Can they even be called “happy” meals anymore? The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to prohibit fast-food restaurants from promoting unhealthy meals with attractive kids toys. Toys are only allowed to be sold with meals that pass certain nutritional standards which include:

  • No single food item can contain more than 200 calories, the drink cannot have more than 120 calories, and the entire meal cannot exceed 485 calories.
  • No single item can contain more than 480 milligrams of salt, and the entire meal is limited to 600mg of salt.
  • No more than 35% of the caolories can come from fat.
  • No more than 10% of total caolries can come from added sugar.

Even meals that offer apple slices as an alternative to fries or tater tots do not currently meet these standards. If the measures receive final approval in May, restaurants will have 90 days to present alternative meals for trimming the  fat, salt, sugar and calories in their kids meals. Violators could face fines of up to $1,000.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “In Santa Clara County, one out of every four kids is either overweight or obese. Among 2- to 5-year-olds from low-income families, the rate is one in three. The county health system spends millions of dollars a year treating kids for health problems related to obesity, and the tab is growing.”

Results from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) show that childhood obesity is becoming a national epidemic among our little ones. According to the survey, among pre-school age children 2-5 years of age, obesity increased from 5 to 10.4% between 1976-1980 and 2007-2008 and from 6.5 to 19.6% among 6-11 year olds.  Among adolescents aged 12-19, obesity increased from 5 to 18.1% during the same period. Very scary statistics.

There are many out there that are loudly opposing this new fast food policy. Trying to decide how much and what we should allow our government to regulate does seem to be a very hot topic these days. How much is too much? Frankly, I would welcome a few less cheap, easily breakable toys in my house and since my kids are often relegated to a fast food dinner certain nights of the week because of time constraints on our evenings (sports activities for instance), I would definitely appreciate healthier “fast food” options. I think most parents recognize that these toys are not just benign additions to our kids meals. They are advertisers targeted efforts to attract the interest and demand of our children. As a parent, I welcome anything that will help encourage my children (and myself!) to make more nutritional food choices. I also welcome the encouragement it provides businesses to create more nutritionally sound meal options. By only allowing toys to be sold with nutritionally sound meals, we are rewarding kids and parents for wiser food choices and hopefully encouraging food establishments to offer these nutritional meals with more variety and frequency.

I wonder if more counties will fall in line with this philosophy. I am sure there will be many keeping a close eye on the Santa Clara County to measure the results of this new policy. We would love to hear your thoughts on this one as it very well could turn into a national movement. Are you in favor or against restrictions on fast food offerings? Join us in a forum discussion on the topic.

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Peanut Allergies…coping strategies

January 29th, 2010 1:29am

When I initially set out to write this series, I was a little disheartened by the lack of information available through my school. But I was most impressed with the outpouring of information from the many people who handle kids with peanut allergies on a daily basis. With all the information out there though, nothing can compensate for a childs own ability to self-manage their allergies. Parents with allergic children need to prepare their child for life in busy crowded situations like school by giving both the child and their teachers as much information as possible to be prepared.

A teacher with ample information to send home to a child’s classmates parents will be able to provide a much safer environment than a teacher with no tools to supply their parents and students. As Elizabeth Cowles Johnston, a member of School Nutition Association states, “schools want to ensure that sutdents are also cognizant of their own allergy risks – another reason tables or areas of “peanut0free” are more prevalent than complete bans as they are more manageable to monitor.” Elizabeth offered us two great printouts entitled “School Foodservice and Food Allergies: What We Need to Know” and a comprehensive “Food Allergy Action Plan” that parents can fill out for their kids to take to school and give to their teachers, parents or other involved faculty members.

Lor Aronsky from Food Allergy Ally shared some more suggestions of “nut free” treats and alternatives to send to school:

  • Instead of Peanut Butter, try Soy Nut Butter (IM Healthy) or Sunflower Butter (Sun Butter).
  • Treasure Mills Allergen Sensitive Snacks make school safe treats such as brownies, chocolate chip treats, oatmeal raisin cookies, etc. and are sold at Whole Foods Stores.
  • Divvies makes delicious treats for school.
  • Vermont Nut Free has amazing candies, treats, etc.
  • Entenmanns makes several nut free deserts and many popsicles and water ices are safe but a caution with these products…READ LABELS as not all of these products are made without nut contaminants.

Lori also offers some suggestions on home safety should you have a child with nut allergies over to play. It is fine to have nuts and peanut butter in your home but keep them out of reach and even out of sight if possible. If you have prepared peanut butter sandwiches on your table tops, simply wipe them down well. Remember to check labels before giving any food to the child. Recognize that they can safely eat fruit, vegetables, cheese, yogurt and MOST Mac and Cheeses and MOST pizza snacks but again…CHECK LABELS! Be sure the parent leaves 2 epi pens and they train you how to use one in case.

Other suggestions for classrooms are to make sure if you have a child with allergies, to bring a bag of “safe” treats to school for your teacher to keep on hand should someone unexpectedly bring questionable treats to school for the kids. Most teachers prefer kids bring in pencils, markers, stickers or other school supplies as an alternative to treats anyway.

Always wash hands after snacks or lunch to make sure that nut contaminants are not transferred to classroom materials.

A great web find was the Stuck on You labels. They offer many customized stickers, bags, labels, bracelets and school supplies that will help parents protect children by alerting caregivers to their specific allergy. They have some very fun ideas and supplies worth checking into.

Another suggestion came from Alana Elliot, Founder and President of Nonuttin’ Foods Inc. She suggests providing a large, color poster to the school with a picture of the allergic child, their food allergies, and no more than 3 simple steps to follow if an allergic reaction is suspected. Make enough copies for the child’s classroom, the staff room and the office. “While some people may be concerned about their child being labeled,” Alana says, “it’s advisable to have all in the school aware of your child so they can respond accordingly in an emergency and not all staff will know the child so must have a visual to refer to.” She adds,”Safety trumps privacy in this situation.”

Alana also recommends keeping your child’s epi-pens on their person. “A teacher in the playground with your child will not have time to go get an epi-pen in the school and return to your child.” Kat Eden, an employee at and mother of an allergic child, suggests a “teaching” epi-pen is worth having around so that parents can take a moment at the beginning of the school year to educate a teacher or other faculty member how to use the pen correctly without fear.

Kat also  has taught her son some choice phrases to help him communicate with the other children about his allergies. Politely refusing treats with a “no thank you” or even a more direct “I’m allergic to peanuts” will alert kids but may also invite teasing. So Kat suggested her son try a little humor of his own by saying “my body doesn’t like peanuts and if I eat them or touch them I’ll get very sick. But my body LOVEEESSSS chocolate!”…she adds, “I’m not sure why but that cracks him up every time!”.

Here are a few more helpful links worth checking out…

We hope you have found our unfortunately rather long blog posts this week helpful as we strive to keep our kids safer in school. It is also our hope that you will take this information and share it with as many others as you can so that we can continue to understand this allergy better, with less fear and with more understanding. As Jessica Cohen, a parent of a child with multiple food allergies, states “the more the people around him understand the seriousness of it, the more we can all work together to keep children like mine safe.” Mike Spinney, another concerned parent, adds “clearly communicating the reality of our daughter’s situation opens eyes, and when they know there’s a potential for death, they pay attention.”

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