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Your Child

Protecting Your Child’s Skin in Winter

3:00

Between the cold weather outdoors and the dry heat indoors, your child’s skin can become dry, itchy and irritated.

Dry skin is a common problem in winter because as the humidity level drops and the air cools, the water in your skin evaporates more quickly. Babies and small children’s skin is very delicate and more susceptible to drying out.

As the temperatures drop outside, we naturally tend to spend more time indoors. This time, it’s the heat in the house that sucks the moisture out of the air. Dry indoor air not only dries out your skin, it also dries out your mucous membranes, leading to dry, chapped lips, dry noses (nosebleeds), and dry throat (hoarseness, sore throat).

There are several ways you can help combat these skin irritating scenarios.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The general rule is the thicker the better. If your child's skin is still dry even with daily moisturizing, try switching from a lotion to a thicker cream or ointment. Ointments are best at keeping moisture in the skin, but they can feel greasy. Just use small amounts and gently rub it into the skin. Creams rub in without leaving a greasy feel on the skin.

You might also want to consider moisturizing twice a day – once after bathing and once during the day. If your child doesn't have the patience for a midday slather, you might let them listen to a favorite song or watch a video while you apply the moisturizer. Or, if he or she is old enough, let them do it by themselves, if that makes the routine more agreeable.

Make sure that your child is well hydrated. Dry skin lacks moisture. Offer your child plenty to drink year-round to replace the moisture that's evaporating from his or her skin. If your child is still a baby, stick with breast milk or formula for at least the first six months, unless his doctor advises otherwise.

Keep in mind that drinking a lot of water won't do anything if you don't moisturize as well. It's like pouring water into a bucket with a hole, says Seth Orlow, Director of pediatric dermatology at New York University School of Medicine.

Without moisturizer to hold in the water, your child's skin won't properly hydrate.

Trim back on bath time. Bathing dries a child's skin because it removes the skin's natural oils along with the dirt. Instead of a 30-minute bath, cut bath time down to about 10 minutes. Use warm water – not hot – and soap up sparingly. In fact, Orlow suggests using a fragrance-free, soap-free cleanser, which is much less harsh than regular soap.

Once you take your child out of the bath, quickly pat him dry with a towel, and then apply moisturizer immediately. Applying the moisturizer within minutes of taking your child out of the tub will seal in the water that's still in his skin from the bath.

To help with the dry air inside the home, make sure that you run a humidifier during the night when your little one is sleeping. Humidifiers can help soothe dry sinuses, bloody noses and cracked lips. They can also help ease symptoms of a cold or another respiratory condition.

When using a humidifier, make sure it is maintained properly and kept clean to avoid bacteria and mold. Find out what humidity levels are recommended by the manufacturer.

When outside, shield your child’s lip with thin layer of petroleum jelly or lip balm to create a barrier against the elements.

Protect against frostbite. Dress your baby in mittens and a hat or hood, and don't stay out too long. Extend the cover on your stroller to block the wind. If your baby's skin looks red, use a warm washcloth to restore circulation. This may take several applications over a period of time. Call your doctor if her skin color isn't normal in a couple hours.

Chapped skin, which gets ruddy, peels, and even cracked, usually strikes the face, bottom, or spots where skin rubs, like the folds at the wrists. "Chapped skin is basically dry skin that has become inflamed," says Peter Lio, MD, attending physician in dermatology at Children's Hospital Boston. Blame anything irritating: wind, friction from clothing, drool on the chin, a runny nose, or a wet diaper.

Spend as little time in the elements as possible, and bundle him up when you do go outside. Using a thick moisturizer such as Eucerin, Aquaphor, or petroleum jelly on your baby's cheeks (or other problem areas) will add to his natural barrier and help treat any skin that's already chapped.

It may be downright cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep your kids indoor 24/7. If you bundle your little one up in layers and cover their head, feet and hands, apply balms and preventative creams– they should be able to be outside for short periods – depending on the temperature and wind chill.

One other little fact that may surprise you, kids can get a heat rash if they become overheated from too many layers of clothing. Make sure to keep an eye on how they are doing and if you think they are getting overheated, have them come inside, rest a bit and remove some of the extra layers.

Story sources: https://www.babycenter.com/0_dry-skin-in-children_1515109.bc

Wendy Toth and Rebecca Felsenthal, https://www.parents.com/baby/care/skin/infant-winter-skin-symptoms/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/humidifiers/art-20048021

Parenting

Recognizing the Signs of Self-Harming

2:30

It’s not a topic that any parent wants to think about - children that purposely hurt themselves. As disturbing as it is to contemplate the possibility that your child may be hurting his or herself intentionally, not paying attention to the signs could have far more distressing consequences.

A recent study from the UK found that the rise in self-harm reports increased nearly 70% among teen girls between 2011 and 2014. It’s not only the United Kingdom that is seeing an increase in teens that self-harm but U.S. researchers have seen the rising rates of self-harming teens, particularly among girls aged 10 to 14 years of age.

Neither of these studies looked at the causes, only the number of reported incidences. These increases do not include non-reported or self-treated self-injury.

Self-harm can take lots of physical forms, including cutting, burning, bruising, scratching, hair pulling, poisoning and overdosing.

When a child self-harms it is not always an attempted suicide or a plea for attention.  Instead, it’s often a way for young people to release overwhelming emotions. It’s a way of coping. So whatever the reason, it should be taken seriously. 

There are many reasons a child may hurt itself but sometimes even the child may not know the underlying reason why they do what they do.

There are links between depression and self-harm.  Quite often a child or young person who is self-harming is being bullied, under too much pressure to do well at school, being emotionally abused, grieving or having relationship problems with family or friends.

The self-harm is often tied to emotions such as:

·      Low self-esteem and low confidence

·      Loneliness

·      Sadness

·      Anger

·      Numbness

·      Lack of control over their lives

Most people want to avoid pain, so the idea of purposely causing emotional or bodily pain is confusing. Often, the physical pain for a child that self-harms is easier to deal with than the emotional pain they are living with. In a way, it gives them control over at least one part of their life.

There are signs that parents can be aware of when a child is physically harming their self. These are commonly found on the head, arms, thighs and chest and may include:

·      Cuts

·      Scratches

·      Bruises

·      Burns

·      Bald patches from pulling out hair

There are also emotional signs of self-harm. These are more difficult to spot and don’t always mean that a young person is self-harming. However, if you notice these signs in your child, they should be taken seriously, particularly if accompanied by the physical signs:

·      Depression, tearfulness, low motivation

·      Withdrawn and isolated, for example, wanting to be alone in their bedroom for long periods of time

·      Low self-esteem and self-blame

·      Unusual eating habits; increased weight loss or gain

·      Drinking or taking drugs

There are things you can do to help your child, but sometimes it is necessary or to reach out for professional help.

Whatever your relationship to a child, discovering they’re self-harming will inevitably have a big emotional effect on you. But however it makes you feel, it's very important that you stay calm and let them know that you're there to help and support them.

You can’t always figure out what is bothering them. It’s important that you know that – you can’t fix everything. Whatever emotional state you are in, never give the impression that their self-harming has created a big problem for you.

It’s also important to remember that the severity of the injuries doesn’t reflect the young person’s suffering. Something has caused them to self-harm – so it’s always helpful to be sensitive. Saying things such as “the injuries aren’t that bad” or “what have you done to yourself?” could make things worse.

Sometimes your child will talk to you about why they are hurting themselves and sometimes they find it embarrassing or too difficult.  You might suggest they write you an email or letter so they can express their ideas more clearly without interruption.

Your instinct might be to constantly keep your eye on your child, and that's understandable. But by giving them their own space you'll help build up their confidence and trust. Try to find a balance between monitoring what they're doing and respecting their privacy.

It is important to make sure that if they’re harming themselves that they are cleaning and caring for any injuries effectively.

Strangely, when a person self-harms, chemicals are released into the brain which can become addictive very quickly. They may find that they want to change the behavior, but can’t. Professional counseling may help them find solutions.

The number of children and teens that self-harm is on the rise. Some experts believe that high social media use, cyber and in-school bullying as well as uncertain economic times may be contributors.

You may think that there is no way your child would self-harm, but don’t take it for granted. Look for the signs and address the issue if you feel there’s a chance. You shouldn’t accuse your child of self-harm, but you can always open a dialogue by asking them if they know anyone that self-harms or what they think about it.

Story source : https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/self-harm/

Your Child

Bowlegs and Knock-Knees in Kids

2:00

Parents may be concerned when they notice their toddler seems to be bowlegged or knock-kneed. Typically, there’s nothing to worry about, it’s just part of his or her growth development.

The medical term is genu valgum, but the condition is more commonly called bow-legged or knock-kneed. It usually becomes noticeable when a child is 2 to 3 years old, and it may increase in severity until about age 4. It usually self-corrects by the time a child is about 7 or 8 years old. But if the condition doesn’t appear until a child is 6 or older, it could be a sign that there is an underlying bone disease.

During early childhood, knock-knees actually help a child to maintain balance, particularly when the child begins to walk, or if the foot rolls inward or turns outward. When a child has knock-knees, both knees usually lean inward symmetrically. One knee, however, may "knock" less than the other or may even remain straight.

Sometimes, the condition will persist into the teen years. It’s also more common in girls, although boys can develop it too.

Knock knees are usually part of the normal growth and development of the lower extremities. In some cases, it may be a sign of an underlying bone disease, such as Osteomalacia or rickets.

Obesity can contribute to knock knees—or can cause walking problems that resemble, but aren’t actually, knock-knees. The condition can occasionally result from an injury to the growth area of the shinbone (tibia), which may result in just one knocked knee.

Typically, a child’s legs will straighten naturally by the teen years. Bracing, corrective shoes, and exercise are rarely helpful, and may hinder a child’s physical development and cause unnecessary emotional stress, when the child is very young. Rarely, bowlegs or knock-knees are the result of a disease. Arthritis, injury to the growth plate around the knee, infection, tumor, Blount’s disease (a growth disorder of the shinbone), and rickets all can cause changes in the curvature of the legs. 

There are signs to look for that may indicate that a child’s bowlegs or knock-knees are caused by a more serious medical problem:

·      The curvature is extreme.

·      Only one side is affected.

·      The bowlegs get worse after two years of age.

·      The knock-knees persist after seven years of age.

·      Your child is unusually short for his or her age.

·      There is pain in the knees or in the feet, hips or ankles.

·      Stiff joints.

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, your pediatrician should examine him or her.

The good news is that most cases of knock-knees or bowlegs will resolve before a child reaches adolescence. However, if it doesn’t and is left untreated, it can lead to further health problems with joints and muscles, including osteoporosis.

Treatment will depend on the cause and the severity. If there is an underlying disease present, medications and supplements may help resolve the condition. A physical therapist may be able to offer some simple exercises and stretches that help strengthen the muscles and realign the knees. Weight loss is recommended when obesity is a contributing factor. Extra weight puts additional strain on the legs and knees, which can cause knock-knees to worsen. Surgery is the last line of treatment but is typically only recommended in very severe cases.

Children’s health experts suggests that parents not panic if their little one has knock-knees, but that they keep an eye on the condition and see if it goes away as the child gets older. At times, children may not have straight lower legs until they are nine or ten years old.

Story sources: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/orthopedic/Pages/Bowlegs-and-Knock-Knees.aspx

Jenna Fletcher, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319894.php

 

 

Your Child

Kids and Holiday Stress

2:00

Adults know that the holidays are most likely going to include several stressors such as never enough time to get everything done, family gatherings, money woes, traffic and gift shopping.

Kids feel stress too during the holiday frenzy, but sometimes they don’t have enough life experiences to know how to handle it or what to call some of the overwhelming feelings they may have.

During the holidays, there are lots of fun activities and events going on, both at home and at school. And while that can be a good thing, the reality is that all that hustle and bustle means schedules are often out of whack, bedtimes get pushed back, and routines are disrupted.

As a result, it’s inevitable that kids may feel some degree of holiday stress.

There are ways you can help your child glide through the holidays with less stress. Number one is to be an example of what you want to child to be. So, being calm is not only going to benefit you, but your child as well. This requires mindfulness about what is actually going on around you, what expectations you have and what you are projecting. As with so many situations, the way parents handle an issue can set the tone for how their kids will behave. If you let holiday stress get to you, your kids will definitely pick up on it, and child anxiety is more likely to be a problem in your house. To minimize anxiety in children during the holidays, take steps to handle your own stress and anxiety.

Overstimulation, tiredness and hunger can cause children to stress-out. It’s hard even for grown-ups to deal with noise and lots of stimulation when they’re not feeling their best; kids get hungry more often and become tired more easily, and may understandably have a tough time being on their best behavior. They are more likely to experience holiday stress when they’re exhausted or hungry. Take healthy snacks with you and schedule breaks to sit, relax and re-group when visiting malls or holiday celebrations.

Children like routine. The holidays can disrupt routines that are comforting and reliable, causing kids to feel anxious. To minimize holiday stress in your kids, try to get routines back on track once an event or party is over. For instance, if a school holiday concert or a church gathering goes past your child’s bedtime, try to stick to quiet, calm activities the next day and get your child to bed on time the next night.

Let’s face it; we all overindulge during the holidays. Too much sugar and simple carbohydrates can play havoc with our moods and weight. Kids are particularly sensitive to these food interruptions. Whenever possible, offer healthy snacks, such as air-popped popcorn or apple slices with cheese and crackers and limit cookies and candy to after-snack treats.

One way for kids to beat stress is to get moving. Fresh air and exercise are essential for boosting mood and re-setting the spirit, which can alleviate holiday stress and anxiety in children. Make sure you schedule some time to get your child outside to run around and play.

If your child is old enough, ask him or her to join in with decorating and holiday tasks. If you have to shop, ask your child to help you look for an item at the store (fun stocking stuffers for cousins, for example). Giving your child a task will not only boost his or her self-esteem, it’ll help by offering a beneficial distraction.

Creating a little quiet time during the holidays is helpful to parents and kids alike. Find a quiet corner and read a book with your child or create holiday pictures for grandma and grandpa. Take a walk outside in nature, away from noise and crowds and obligations.

A great antidote for holiday stress and the bloated commercialism of the season is helping others, whether it’s by shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk, volunteering or by wrapping presents for needy kids at your local church. The season of giving takes on more meaning when the giving is your time and love.

Story source: Katherine Lee, https://www.verywell.com/holiday-stress-and-anxiety-in-children-620516

Your Child

Can Eating Fish Make Kids Smarter?

2:00

As the New Year approaches and after all the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cookies and cakes– you might be thinking of starting off 2018 a little healthier!

How about starting a family love affair with fish? Myth has it that fish is actually good food for the brain-- but it just might be more than myth, a new study suggests.

Kids who ate fish at least once a week had intelligence quotients, or IQs, that were nearly 5 points higher than the IQs for kids who ate less fish or none at all, the study found. Fish eaters also slept better. How’s that for encouragement?

The study was small and conducted with Chinese children, but American kids are just as likely to benefit from fish, according to lead researcher Jianghong Liu, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia.

"If parents want their children to be healthy and higher-performing, they should put fish on the table once a week," Liu said.

Although the study cannot prove that eating fish accounted for the higher IQs and better sleep, they do seem to be associated, she said.

According to the researchers, the benefit in IQ can be pinned to the better sleep afforded by omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish.

To find out if fish was linked to benefits in children's health, Liu and her colleagues studied the eating habits of more than 500 boys and girls in China, 9 to 11 years old. The children completed a questionnaire about how often they'd eaten fish in the past month, with options that ranged from never to at least once a week. 

The kids also took the Chinese version of an IQ test that rates verbal and nonverbal skills, called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised.

In addition, the children's parents answered questions about their child's sleep quality. The information collected included how long kids slept, how often they woke during the night and whether they were sleepy during the day.

Liu's team also took into account other factors that could influence the findings, such as the parents' education, occupation and marital status and the number of children in the home. 

The team found that children who ate fish at least once a week scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ tests than those who seldom or never ate fish. Kids whose meals sometimes included fish scored slightly more than 3 points higher. 

Moreover, eating more fish was linked with better sleep.

Not everyone is so excited about the study’s results. One U.S. nutritionist says that advice to eat fish should be taken with a grain of salt. 

"It's not that eating fish is unhealthy per se, but there are issues that need to be considered before parents go overboard feeding fish to their kids to make them smarter and sleep better," said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center in New York City. She was not involved with the study.

Fish is a good source of lean protein and is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, she said. These acids are highly concentrated in the brain and play important roles in neurological function. They are essential for brain, eye and neurological development in fetuses. They are also necessary for eye, heart and brain health in adults and may reduce systemic inflammation, Heller said.

One concern many people have is the amount of mercury found in some fish. The advice many nutritionists offer is that families should concentrate on eating fish that are low in mercury such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish, according to the FDA.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends only one to two 2-ounce servings of low-mercury fish a week for children ages 4 to 7; 3 ounces for children 8 to 10; and 4 ounces for children 11 and older, Heller said.

"A healthy, balanced diet, plenty of exercise and limited computer and screen time can all help kids sleep better and do better in school," Heller noted.

The study was published online Dec. 21,2017, in the journal Scientific Reports.

Story source: Steven Reinberg, https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/can-eating-fish-make-kids-smarter-729613.html

Parenting

Family New Year Resolutions!

1:30

The beginning of a new year often brings the feeling of a fresh start in life; a time to wipe the slate clean and begin again!

New Year resolutions do not have to be grandiose or all encompassing. Simple changes – one at a time- make accomplishment much more likely for adults and kids.

Resolutions are goals. Changes we want to make to improve our lives in one-way or another. They might be centered on healthier food choices, exercise, learning, finances, creativity, family time, relationships, de-cluttering…. The list is as individual as its creator.

Resolutions can be a great way for children to learn how to set goals that are meaningful. Parents can help their child pick a few to work on in the upcoming year -without imposing their own ideas of what to choose.

Begin as a family where everyone sits down and talks about what resolutions actually are and how they can be accomplished. Let each child make their own list and discuss what and why they think each goal is significant. You can then discuss ways to accomplish these goals. When it’s your turn to add to the list, tell your children your resolutions and why you think they are important goals for the New Year.

After the lists are completed, put each list somewhere that it can be seen every day as a friendly reminder.  Corkboards, refrigerator doors, blackboards or even an app with a daily alert are some places to consider.

One-way to help make resolutions stick, is to do them together. There are plenty of family resolutions that can benefit everyone throughout the New Year! Here are some ideas worth considering:

1.     Be creative: Take music or art lessons. Learn a short play and perform it as a family. Clear some space in the garage for an art exhibit or family concert. Start your own YouTube family channel (only seen by other family members) and share your accomplishments with the grandparents, siblings, cousins and nieces and nephews!

2.     Improve your education: Help your little ones practice writing skills, coloring, reading, computer and research skills. Look up details on historical or current events. Challenge each other with math, spelling, literature, science and environmental projects.

3.     Examine healthier food choices: Learn how to replace junk food with healthier choices. Many kids would love to learn how to cook and grow their own food! Make the kitchen a cooking school once a month and find a place in the yard for a small garden. Even a patio can be used for potted vegetables and herbs. Children that learn about healthier food choices when they are young, tend to keep and expand on those choices, as they get older.

4.      Exercise together! Walking, bicycling, yoga, swimming together doesn’t feel like exercise, but the benefits are still the same.

5.     Master a milestone! From taking a first step, to potty training, to getting a license to drive, to graduation and beyond. Every life has milestones each person meets. Practice and enjoy them together!

6.      Help another in need. Pick a charity or non-profit to volunteer with as a way to teach compassion, responsibility and gratefulness. Reaching out to others may not only help improve the lives of others, but build life-long friendships and an understanding of what truly matters. This extends to pets as well. Rescue an animal or volunteer to foster a pet!

As old man time makes his way home and the New Year baby begins its new reign, we wish the very best for you and your family in 2018!

Your Child

Flu Shot Cuts Kids’ Risk for Hospital Visit

2:00

Getting your child vaccinated against the flu could substantially cut his or her chances of ending up in the hospital with a flu-related illness, according to a new study.

Canadian researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 10,000 children, ages 6 months to under 5 years, over the four flu seasons between 2010 and 2014.

The results of the study showed that children vaccinated against the flu, ages 2 to 4 years, had a 67 percent reduced risk of hospitalization due to the flu. Children 6 months to 23 months had a 48 percent reduced risk.

Even children with only a partial vaccination (one dose of flu vaccine during their first flu season) still had a lower risk of flu-related hospitalization.

"Influenza can cause serious illness, especially in young children, but there hasn't been a lot of research that has examined the magnitude of the influenza vaccine's effectiveness at preventing kids from getting really sick and being hospitalized," said study senior author Jeff Kwong, a scientist at Public Health Ontario.

"This research paper helps fill that gap by showing how effective the influenza vaccine can be at protecting young kids against serious complications from influenza infections," Kwong said in an agency news release.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.

Children, particularly younger than 5 years old, are at a higher risk for serious flu-related complications, the CDC warns.

The flu season in the U.S., on an average, begins in October and is in high gear during December and January; peaking in February. It can last as late as May.

The CDC has issued a few changes in the 2017-2018 flu-season:

  • The recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) was renewed for the 2017-2018 season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season.
  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses (the influenza A(H1N1) component was updated). Women may receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate flu vaccine.
  • The age recommendation for “Flulaval Quadrivalent” has been changed from 3 years old and older to 6 months and older to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling.

Other changes in the 2017-2018 flu-season recommendations and vaccines can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm.

Some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu. Children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. Children who have only received one dose in their lifetime also need two doses. Your child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell you if your child needs two doses of flu vaccine.

To protect children younger than 6 months old from getting the flu, the people around them should be vaccinated. Also, studies have shown that flu vaccination of the mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from flu infection for several months.

Story sources: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/flu-shot-could-help-your-kid-avoid-hospital-728509.html

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm

 

Parenting

“10 Worst Toys” List for 2017

2:00

Since 1973, an annual list of the top 10 most dangerous toys has been issued by the Boston based non-profit organization, World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.)

This year’s list includes such favorites as fidget spinners, a Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword and a Spider-Man Drone.

Strings, small parts, rigid surfaces, projectile pieces and toys that emit toxic substances are all potentially unsafe when it comes to toys, warned WATCH President Joan Siff and Director James Swartz at a press conference.

"It's alarming that there are so many toys out there that are unsafe," Siff told USA TODAY. "These are not the only ones." Since December, there have been 15 toy recalls in the U.S., according to Siff. 

The Toy Association, an industry group, says the lists are unnecessary and only create panic among consumers.

Both sides agree that parents should examine toys before giving them to children to look for any potential hazard.

Here’s this year’s WATCH list:

1.     Itty bittys baby plush stacking toy by Hallmark. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall on the product on Aug. 31 because of the small fabric hats and bows that were detachable and posed a choking hazard. But WATCH said they purchased the toy online after the recall was announced.

2.     Pull Along Pony by Tolo Toys Limited. WATCH said the product violates a federal law that requires that strings on playpen and crib toys be less than 12 inches long. The Tolo toy’s cord is 19 inches long. But the Toy Association said pull-along toys are an exception to this rule because the purpose is to teach motor skills.

3.     Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword by Mattel. The nonprofit warns consumers that the stiff plastic sword can cause facial damage or other injuries to children.

4.     Hand Fidgetz Spinners by Kipp Brothers. Fidget spinners are meant for antsy kids, but WATCH said many come with small parts that can easily become loose or pulled off.

5.     Spider-Man Spider-Drone Official Movie Edition by Marvel and Skyrocket Toys. The drone comes with rapidly moving blades to help propel it into the air. The toy comes with a warning to keep moving parts away from fingers, hair, eyes and other body parts. WATCH said this is dangerous for children, which the drone is marketed toward.

6.     Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt Crossbow by Hasbro and Nerf.com. The crossbow toy can cause eye and facial injuries. WATCH said the crossbow is inappropriate for small children.

7.     Slackers Slackline Classic Kit by Brand 44.This outdoor tightrope is marketed as an activity for all ages but comes with a warning of “severe injury,” including a chance for “strangulation hazard, especially with children.”

8.     The Oval Xylophone by Plan Toys Inc. and Plan Creations. The wooden instrument can be found online and is marketed to children as young as 12 months old. WATCH said that the toy does not come with a warning regarding the 9-and-a-half-inch-long stick, which could be placed in the child’s mouth and obstruct the child’s airway.

9.     Jetts Heel Wheels by Razor USA. The mini-roller skate-like devices are meant to be attached to the back of a child’s shoes to create the effect of a rear-wheel roller skate. The product comes with sparklers on the back that spark while moving. The manufacturer warns users to “keep sparks away from eyes, hair, exposed skin and clothing. Sparks can burn.”

10. Brianna Babydoll by Melissa & Doug. The dolls are marketed to children as young as 18 months, but have removable clothes and ponytail holders, which WATCH said could be a choking hazard.

Some parents may find the list helpful and others may think it’s nothing to get worked up about. The best advice seems to be to consider your child’s playing habits and age. Some kids are harder on toys than others. Infants and toddlers like to pull things apart and put things in their mouths – look for choking hazards. Inspect the toys with safety in mind and don’t assume that a well-known brand’s toys are always safe. Keep abreast of product safety recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at https://www.cpsc.gov

Story source: Kellie Ell, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/retail/2017/11/14/10-worst-toys-of-2017-list/862445001/

 

 

Parenting

December Holiday Celebrations!

2;00

For kids and adults, the most popular December holiday in the U.S. has to be Christmas! But did you know that there are other religious and secular holidays celebrated this time of year as well?

Teaching your children about other traditions can broaden their understanding about additional cultures and beliefs during the most celebrated month of the year!

While the day may change, the date never does for Christmas. It always falls on December 25th. Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. No one knows the exact date of Christ's birth but in the 4th Century, Pope Julius I, chose December 25th as the day of celebration. For Christians, Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. It's a holiday that's celebrated in a variety of ways not inly in the United States but around the planet. While many lament the commercialism of the Christmas holiday, its’ true meaning continues to inspire people, young and old.

Hanukkah, which is the Hebrew word for dedication, honors the victory of the Jews over the Greek Syrians in 165 BC. The Greek Syrians denied them the right to freely practice Judaism and had demanded that the Jews instead pray to Greek gods. After their victory, the Maccabees, sons of the family that led the revolt, entered the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and dedicated it to the service of their God. When the Maccabees entered the temple, they found only enough lamp oil to last one night, but the oil somehow managed to burn for the whole eight days it took to go in search for more oil. Therefore, Hanukkah is observed over eight days.

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st. Although some people believe this holiday is a substitute for Christmas, it is not a religious holiday. It is celebrated every year on December 26th. Kwanzaa, which means "first fruit of the harvest" in Swahili, is a time to focus on the traditional African values of family. The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green. Black represents the color of the people, Green represents the fertile land of Africa and Red represents blood shed in the struggle for freedom. Kwanzaa was started in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga to celebrate and honor African culture and to also inspire African-Americans.

The Winter Solstice is the beginning of winter. It is also the day with the shortest amount of daylight. Because of the earth's tilt, the Northern Hemisphere is as far away from the sun as it can be. Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures around the world over for thousands of years.

Did you know there is a holiday called Boxing Day? It’s celebrated on December 26th and it’s not about stepping into the ring and duking it out. The first Boxing Day is believed to have started in the Middle Ages, This is just a guess because the exact date isn't known. How Boxing Day started is a question as well. Some say it started with the giving of Christmas boxes, while others think it was named after the tradition of opening charity boxes placed in churches during the Christmas season. Boxing Day is typically celebrated in Canada and some European countries.

New Year’s Eve is the oldest known of all celebrated holidays. It was first observed in Ancient Babylon about 4,000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23rd, although they had no written calendar. It wasn't until 153 BC that the Roman senate declared January 1st to be the beginning of the New Year.

No matter which holiday you celebrate, we hope it’s a wonderful time filled with love, family and friends!

Story source: http://www.kidzworld.com/article/2837-december-holidays

 

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