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Parenting

Is Your Child Ready for a Tricycle or Bicycle?

2:00

Whether it’s a birthday or the holidays, sooner or later you’re going to start thinking about either a tricycle or bicycle for your little one. Despite some potential hazards, riding bikes and trikes is a fundamental part of childhood.

At what age is a child typically ready for a trike? Most children are able to handle one around 3 years old.

You want to look for a trike that is low to the ground and has big wheels. These are less likely to tip over. You also want to have your child try on several bicycle helmets to make sure it fits properly. 

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, tricycles should only be used in protected places. Because they are so low to the ground, they are difficult for motorists to see on a street or in a driveway. Drivers need to be particularly vigilant in checking to see whether a youngster is anywhere near the car before pulling out of a driveway. Without a backup camera, you won’t see a small child on a tricycle when backing out.

Once your little one masters a tricycle, when is it safe to move on to a 2-wheeler? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should be at least 5 years old or older before learning to ride a bicycle. One of the most important tips for buying a bicycle for your child is to purchase the correct size. The wrong size bike can cause your child to lose control be injured.

While it may be fun to surprise your little one with a bike, he or she really needs to try it out first to help choose the correct size. Sometimes parents are tempted to buy one that their child can grow into – don’t do it. A bike that is too large is hard to maneuver and especially dangerous for a first time bike owner.

How do you know how to find the right size? The AAP offers these tips on how to test any style bike for the proper fit:

  • Sitting on the seat with hands on the handlebar, your child must be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground.
  • Straddling the center bar, your child should be able to stand with both feet flat on the ground with about a 1-inch clearance between the crotch and the bar.
  • When buying a bike with hand brakes for an older child, make sure that the child can comfortably grasp the brakes and apply sufficient pressure to stop the bike.

Also, think about your child’s coordination skills. You can consider coaster brakes until your child is older and more experienced.​

Many of today’s adults didn’t grow up with helmets, but they have proven exceptionally valuable in preventing serious brain injury from falls. Make sure your child has a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-approved helmet.

Let’s face it; tricycles and bicycles are one of a child’s first steps towards independence. Once balance and braking are mastered, the freedom of moving through space on your own is intoxicating. They’re also a great way for families to exercise and spend some quality time together outside.

Story sources: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Choosing-the-Right-Size-Bicycle.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Ready-For-A-Tricycle.aspx

Parenting

Recall: More Than 500,000 Diono Children’s Car Seats

1:45

Diono has announced that it is recalling more than 500,000 car seats after concerns that they may not adequately protect children in a crash. The recall covers the following models: Radian R100, Radian R120, Radian RXT, Olympia, Pacifica and Rainier convertible and booster seats. The car seats were made from as early as January 2014 to September 2017 by Diono, which used to be called Sunshine Kids Juvenile.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that when the seats are secured using a lap belt without the top tether, children over 65 pounds have an increased risk of chest injury in a crash.

Diono, based in Sumner, Washington, says it has no reports of injuries and that few children who weigh more than 65 pounds will be harnessed into the seats. The problem was discovered in company testing. The company will send owners a kit with an energy absorbing pad and a new chest clip at no cost. The recall is expected to start November 22. Customers with questions can call Diono at (855) 463-4666.

Consumers can also click on https://us.diono.com/safety-notice/ for more information.

To ensure that your child is using the car seat safest for them Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist in the Good Housekeeping Institute, recommends taking the following precautions:

  • Buy a car seat that is age and size appropriate. Resist the urge to deviate from this so you can better see your child or for other reasons.
  • Make sure that when installing a car seat the latch straps or seatbelt straps are not twisted.
  • A properly installed car seat should not move more than one inch from side to side and front to back.
  • Read the car seat instruction manual as well as the vehicle owner manual for proper installation instructions.
  • Check the return policy on your car seat before you make a purchase in case you buy the wrong size and need to replace it.
  • Delay switching to front-facing car seats as late as possible to ensure safety. Before you make the switch, make sure your child truly has outgrown their current seat.

Story source: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/travel-products/car-seat-reviews/news/a46498/diono-car-seat-recall/

https://us.diono.com/safety-notice/

Parenting

Recent Hurricane Disasters May Have Lasting Impact on Kids

2:15

Children may experience long lasting trauma from either living through or even viewing images of natural disasters such as hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, experts say.

"Compared to adults, children suffer more from exposure to disasters, including psychological, behavioral and physical problems, as well as difficulties learning in school," Jessica Dym Bartlett, a senior research scientist at Child Trends, said in that organization's news release.

It’s reasonable to think that children who have actually had to live through the devastation of being in a hurricane could be traumatized and suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome, (PTSD.) But child mental health experts say that even kids who have seen pictures of the damage and watched news reports can also be traumatized and may develop similar symptoms of PTSD such as depression and anxiety.

"Understand that trauma reactions vary widely. Children may regress, demand extra attention and think about their own needs before those of others -- natural responses that should not be met with anger or punishment," Dym Bartlett said.

To help children through this difficult time, parents should create a comforting and safe environment where their child’s basic needs are met. Keep to regular schedules and other routines that provide children with a sense of safety and predictability.

Children that stay busy are also less likely to have continuing negative thoughts; boredom can worsen adverse thoughts and behaviors. Youngsters are less likely to feel distress if they play and interact with others, Dym Bartlett noted.

Limiting your child’s exposure to the continuous images and descriptions of disasters coming from news reports is also helpful, but it’s not necessary to try and eliminate everything pertaining to catastrophes. It’s better to help children understand what has happened in age-appropriate language and to empathize hope and positivity. Reassurance that you are there for them and will do all that is humanly possible to protect them can ease some of the fear associated with disasters.

"Find age-appropriate ways for children to help. Even very young children benefit from being able to make a positive difference in others' lives while learning important lessons about empathy, compassion and gratitude," Dym Bartlett said.

If a child continues to have difficulties coping for longer than six weeks after an event, like the hurricanes, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network recommends seeking professional help.

Parents and caregivers should also make sure that they take care of their own emotional health during these trying and sad times.

Story source: Health Day News, https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/09/12/Hurricanes-may-take-lasting-emotional-toll-on-kids/4141505232381/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=14

Parenting

Choosing a Dog for the Family

2:00

Dogs make great companions and it doesn’t take long before they become “one of the family.”

If you’re considering adding a dog to the family unit, there are several questions you need to answer first.

What kind of dog is best for your family? It depends.

What kind of space can you provide? You'll want to pick a dog whose size and needs are a good match for your household. Do you live in an apartment – where a smaller dog might do better – or do you have plenty of space in a backyard for a larger dog to run and play?

What is your family lifestyle like? Is everyone on the go most of the time, or is someone typically around to train and care for your pet?

Does anyone suffer from pet allergies? There are breeds that don’t shed or shed very little. There are even some that are considered “hypoallergenic.”

Who is the one in the family that will spend the most time caring for the dog?

When kids are in love with the idea of getting a dog, they often make promises to walk, clean up after and feed it. But, who is really going to be the dog’s caregiver? The younger the child, the more likely a parent is to be the one who takes care of the dog. Are you ready to make that commitment?

However daunting it may feel, remember that a funny thing often happens when a dog enters the family dynamic, they usually win everyone over; so caring for one may become more of a loving habit than an unwelcomed chore.

Having a dog can be a great way to help instill responsibility, empathy and life’s difficult lesson on how to say goodbye to a loved one, in a child. If you’ve grown up with pets, you already know how many special moments they provide. If you've never owned a dog, read up on the benefits verses the challenges. There are pros and cons to seriously consider. Dogs need love and to feel welcomed to thrive - just like people. 

The American Kennel Club lists several breeds of dogs that are usually very good with children. Some of the top suggestions are:

·      The Boxer

·      The Beagle

·      The Golden Retriever

·      The Labrador Retriever

·      The Weimaraner

·      The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

·      The Newfoundland

·      The Bulldog

·      The Bull Terrier

These are all specific breeds, but many a great dog can be found in a shelter or adoption center. These are typically mixed-breeds but often have fewer health problems than full breeds and a unique sense of appreciation. There are also rescue organizations that find homes for particular breeds.  

If you decide on a puppy, know that there will be several phases it will go through. If you have the patience and the puppy gets positive training along the way – you’ve got a dog that knows and understands your family. 

An older dog can be just as valuable, doesn't need potty training and after a transition period, can fit in remarkably well. 

Not every family is ready to take on the responsibility of owning a dog; sometimes the timing just isn’t right. But when the stars align and you’re ready to give it a try, there’s nothing better than the smile on your child’s face when he or she meets the new family member – and not to forget – that sloppy kiss and wagging tail that greets you when you start the day!

Story source: Joan McClusky, https://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/pets-and-health-news-531/choosing-a-great-family-dog-725834.html

http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/best-dogs-for-kids/

 

 

 

Parenting

Bedwetting Accidents

1:45

I’ll admit it; I was a bed-wetter on and off until I was about 6 years of age. The biggest hurdle I faced in getting past leaving a little puddle of urine in the bed during the night, was visually realistic dreams. I would actually see myself get out of bed, walk to the bathroom and sit on the toilet. Unfortunately, I was only dreaming and would awaken after feeling a wet spot in the bed. It was quite embarrassing.

An accident in a friend’s bed during a sleepover was the last straw.

It took several pre-bedtime experiments to finally help me make it through the night dry; but eventually I was able to tell reality from dreams.

How common is bedwetting? Nocturnal enuresis (the medical name for bedwetting) is involuntary urination that happens at night during sleep after the age when a child should be able to control his or her bladder.

About 13 percent of 6 year olds wet the bed, while about 5 percent of 10 year olds.

Bedwetting sometimes runs in families – if one or both parents wet the bed when they were children, odds are that their children will too.

Most of the time, bedwetting goes away on its’ own. Until that time, it can test a parent’s patience and cause a child plenty of anxiety.

To help a child cope with this uncomfortable time, reassure your child that bedwetting is a normal part of growing up for many kids, and that it will not last forever. If you have stories of your own experiences, this would be the time to share them with your little one.

My child also wet the bed and one sure way to stop her tears of embarrassment was to tell her one of my own personal experiences.  It didn’t take long to switch from sobbing to laughing over our shared nighttime horror.

Kidhealth.org offers these tips for breaking the bedwetting spell:

- Try to have your child drink more fluids during the daytime hours and less at night (and avoid caffeine-containing drinks). Then remind your child to go to the bathroom one final time before bedtime. Many parents find that using a motivational system, such as stickers for dry nights with a small reward (such as a book) after a certain number of stickers, can work well. Bedwetting alarms also can be helpful.

- When your child wakes with wet sheets, don't yell or punish. Have your child help you change the sheets. Explain that this isn't punishment, but it is part of the process. It may even help your child feel better knowing that he or she helped out. Offer praise when your child has a dry night.

Sometimes, bedwetting can be a signal that there is a medical condition that should be checked out. If it begins suddenly or is accompanied by other symptoms, talk to your pediatrician.

The doctor may check for signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI), constipation, bladder problems, diabetes, or severe stress.

Call the doctor if your child:

•       Suddenly starts wetting the bed after being consistently dry for at least 6 months

•       Begins to wet his or her pants during the day

•       Snores at night

•       Complains of a burning sensation or pain when urinating

•       Has to pee frequently

•       Is drinking or eating much more than usual

•       Has swelling of the feet or ankles

•       Is 7 years of age or older and still wetting the bed

Bedwetting can be a sign that a child is under a lot of stress. Often, when a child loses a family member or pet, is doing poorly in school or is frightened about something, they will suddenly start wetting the bed – even if they’ve never done it before or have mastered the art of getting through the night dry.

Your support and patience can go a long way in helping your child feel better about and overcome the bedwetting.

Remember, the long-term outlook is excellent and in almost all cases, dry days are just ahead.

As for me, I had to find a touchstone to let me know the difference between dreaming and actually getting up to go the bathroom. It was the bathroom light switch. If I actually touched the light switch and turned it on, then counted to five before moving, I was really awake. If the light was already on and I walked to the toilet and sat down- I was dreaming.

Story source: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/enuresis.html#

 

 

Parenting

Family Road Trip!

1:45

With gasoline prices at a reasonable level, many families may choose to skip the hassles of flying and opt for a road trip this summer.

While it may be true, “The best made plans of mice and men often go awry”, it’s still necessary to prepare as best you can for a family road trip; whether it’s to the Grand Canyon, the beach, the grandparents or all of the above.

Before the trip, make sure that the car is in good condition. Have it checked out by a mechanic and any trouble spots fixed. The tires should have plenty of tread and the recommended amount of air for highway travel.

Once you’re ready for the big trip, here are some suggestions to help make it a little less stressful and more fun.

Packing the car:

·      Pack an easily accessible small bag that contains clothes for the next day, an extra change of clothes (for spills), PJs, a toothbrush, and anything else you need for that day and night. It will be much easier to grab than trying to rummage through the big suitcase.

·      Take your toddler or young child’s blanket and pillow. This is extra important if your road trip includes an overnight stay. Kids like their own stuff, particularly at bedtime in a strange place.

·      Babies and toddlers drop, spill, and spit up. Keep a roll of paper towels and a box of wipes in the front seat for easy cleanups. Keep a garbage bag handy too.

The Ride:

Boredom is probably the biggest instigator of trouble for kids packed into a tight space. Prepare to fight boredom with a few tricks of your own.

·      Snacks. Although it only provides a short respite, any quiet time is appreciated. Go light on the sugar – too much can backfire. Choose fresh or dried fruit, whole grain muffins, popcorn, cheese sticks, milk etc. In other words, something healthy and age appropriate.

·      Portable DVD players. These can be a lifesaver. Load up on your children’s favorite movies and don’t forget the headsets if you have different aged kids. Eleven year-olds and three year-olds don’t typically share the same taste in movies and video games. New DVDs they haven’t already seen are a bonus. Let the kids pick out what they want to watch ahead of time. And, make sure you have an extra set of headsets; you know someone is either going to lose a pair or break a pair. That’s a given.

·      If there is more than one adult traveling – one of you can get in the backseat for a while. A little face-to-face contact, some patty-cake, and a few tickling games go a long way toward distracting a cranky baby or a bored toddler.

·      Make sure some favorite toys are within easy reach. You might add a new toy or two your little one hasn’t seen before. Remember etch-a-sketch? Tech savvy youngsters are coming up with some amazing etchings these days!

·      Don’t forget to plan for stops. You'll have to stop for feedings, diaper changes, and stretching breaks. You'll be much less stressed if you accept that it may take twice as long to get there as it did in your pre-kid days and plan accordingly. Pre-teens and teens are going to need to move around too. Besides, sitting for an extended length of time isn’t good for anyone.

Oh, and someone is going to need a potty break soon after the pre-arranged stop has happened. Be patient and pull over, it’s really a lot easier and less taxing than a yelling match about “why didn’t you go when we stopped 30 minutes ago?”

·      If your trip requires an overnight stay somewhere, think about booking a motel that has an indoor pool. It may cost a little more, but it's something to look forward to, and it will help your children sleep better. If they sleep better, you’ll probably sleep better too.

·      Don’t forget about books (or e-books) for the kids that like to read. Coloring books for the younger ones, and brush up on some travel games the whole family can join in on. Here are a few tried and true suggestions. I Spy (I spy with my little eye, something red.) The License Plate Game. Keep a list of all the different state license plates you see. The goal is to list as many states as possible- although Hawaii might be a real challenge anywhere but in Hawaii. The Memory Game. Start a story with one sentence. The next person has to say that sentence then add his or her own sentence to the story. The story can change pretty quickly as everyone tries to remember all the previous sentences and then come up with a new one.

While road trips can be a challenge, they are always an adventure and often become fond memories, as kids grow older.

Have fun this summer and don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

Story source: http://www.parents.com/fun/vacation/ideas/traveling-with-kids-ultimite-guide/

 

Parenting

Hobby Lobby Recalls 43,000 Light-Up Spinner Toys

1:00

Hobby Lobby is recalling about 43,000 children’s battery-powered, light-up spinner toys sold in two themes: Easter and July 4th. The Easter-themed toys were sold in blue with a pink bunny on the dome and yellow with a yellow and orange chicken on the dome. The July 4th spinners are red with white stars painted on the blue dome. “Hobby Lobby” and item number 9130033 or 9130082 is printed on the spinner handle. Three LR44 coin cell batteries power the spinners.

The battery cover can detach and expose the small coin cell batteries, posing choking and ingestion hazards to young children.

Hobby Lobby has received one report of a 14-month-old child who ingested the battery.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled spinners away from children and return them to the nearest Hobby Lobby or Mardel store. Consumers with a receipt will receive a full refund and consumers without a receipt will receive a store credit.

The spinners were sold at Hobby Lobby and Mardel stores nationwide from February 2017 to April 2017 for about $5.

Consumers can contact Hobby Lobby Stores at 800-326-7931 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at www.hobbylobby.com and click on the Recall tab for more information.

Story source: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Hobby-Lobby-Recalls-Easter-and-July-4th-Light-Up-Spinner-Toys

Parenting

Back-to-School Jitters

2:00

Where did the summer go? Some children will be headed back to school in less than a week and others within the next couple of weeks. It’s not uncommon for kids to be a little anxious as the big day draws near. Your child may be feeling a lot of emotions right now, ranging from high anxiety to  “I can’t wait.” That's understandable. Think back on how you felt when you started a new job or were moving to a new part of the country, it’s quite similar but without the benefit of life experience to help you process the changes.

Besides the unknown of a new school year, there’s the challenge of getting back into an early morning routine and the addition of after-school activities to everyone’s schedule. It’s a hectic time but with a lot of patience and a little smart planning, it can go smoother than you might think.

If your child’s school offers an orientation or back–to-school night, one way to help ease your little one’s fear is to take them and let them see the school, meet their teachers and say hello to some fellow students before classes begin. A familiar face or two can help make the transition go a little smoother during that first week of school.

If your child is able to meet his or her teachers, give them time to talk and get to know each other, if only briefly. Let your child answer any questions the teachers have instead of answering for them. You might even help your child come up with a few questions they can ask the teacher.

You could check with the teacher and see if he or she would mind having a picture taken with your child. As school day approaches, you can show it to your child talk about meeting their teacher. A little thing like that can help your child develop a familiar feeling for the teacher before school starts.

Since it’s always a good idea to read to your youngster, choose books with a back-to-school theme. There are lots of children’s books that tell meaningful stories about kids facing the challenges of moving to a new school, the first year of school, making new friends and lots of other possible scenarios in story form.

Get organized! Easier said than done, I know. If you’re organized and ready for school it not only relieves some of the pressure on you, but for your children too. Chaos or uncertainty about where to go and what to do adds fuel to a child’s concerns about whether everything is going to be OK or not. 

Let your child help create a study area in the home. Being involved in at least some of the decisions can help make this a personal adventure that they have some say in.

All kids need enough sleep and getting into a good sleep routine can help ease them into the changes school is going to require. As you already know from experience, a tired child is more likely to feel overwhelmed, nervous and cranky.  If you haven’t already, start the new bedtime routine now so that you don’t have the arguments and resistance during the first days of school when everyone is trying to find their footing.

The main thing to remember is that your child, whether it’s their first day to attend, or their last year of school, is going to feel a little jittery. Reassure him or her that everything is going to be fine. The new schedule, classmates, studies and activities will be familiar sooner than they think. Let them know that you understand how the unknown can be a little scary, but that this is also a time when good things can happen as they explore all their new opportunities. 

 

Parenting

Tips for Family Thanksgiving Travel

2:00

Whether you’re traveling through the woods or over the highways and skyways to grandma’s house, Thanksgiving travel can be a challenge for families.

Here are a few tips to make the trip a little less stressful.

·      Don’t forget to pack your patience! With over 47.8 million Americans expected to travel at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving, the highways and airports are going to be overflowing with folks trying to make it to their destinations. If you’re one of the many families transporting children from one point to the next, your patience will be tested! Don’t forget to take deep breaths when plans don’t go quite as expected. Make the journey as important as the destination.

·      Be prepared. Fill the car with gas before your travel day. If you’re flying, get to the airport with plenty of time to check in and get the kids settled before your flight leaves. Rushing at the last minute is guaranteed to add more stress and short tempers.

·      Don’t forget the toys and car chargers. Whether you’re traveling by air, train or car – at some point your children are going to be bored and in need of a distraction. Tablets, phones or DVD players can keep them entertained for hours. For toddlers and young children, their favorite blankie or toy can ease the discomfort of being strapped in a seat for long periods of time.  Bring along a never before opened game or book. Discovering something new can be a great amusement!

·      Travel light. The fewer suitcases you have to keep track of, the better. Over-packing can also compete with precious space in the car or cost you a bundle of money at the airport.

·      Bring snacks and water. Everyone is likely to get a little hungry and grouchy during a road trip. If stopping along the way isn’t an option, pack some healthy snacks and water to fill the belly between destinations.

·      If traveling by car, expect delays and find pit stops ahead of time. Is there any road in the United States that isn’t under construction at some point? Expect road delays and know where you can pull off for a quick pit stop. Trying to find a place on-the-fly might not work when someone has to go the bathroom! You know your family best, planning ahead for breaks could prevent some unwanted “accidents.” There are travel websites that can help you plan your route. On Thanksgiving Day, options may be more limited. Check ahead for locations that will be open and are family friendly.

·      Check the weather. One of the biggest causes of travel interruptions is weather delay on the roads and at the airports. Wherever your destination, know what weather to expect when you get there and on the way. It may be sunny and warm where you live but snowy and cold where you are going. If an anticipated trip looks too dangerous because of icy roads or snowstorms, consider cancelling and planning on getting together with the extended family at some other time.

Visiting with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day to acknowledge all of our blessings and even our challenges, is a wonderful tradition. But there are times it’s simply not possible to make the celebration. That’s ok. Real life doesn’t always accommodate plans for a certain date designated as a holiday. New family traditions are often created when something stands in the way of fulfilling old traditions.

Here’s to you and your family – however you choose to spend the holiday- Happy Thanksgiving!

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