Archive for the ‘ Health & Safety ’ Category

Get the Facts on Bedwetting

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Does your child wet the bed? If so, she’s not alone: Bedwetting happens to as many as one in every six kids from age four through twelve. So you’re not the only parent dealing with middle-of-the-night cleanup of sheets, jammies, and child, or with comforting a distressed and embarrassed little one. Get all the facts on bedwetting, and easy solutions to the problem, in this handy infographic sponsored by Goodnites.

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Safe Body and Skin Care Products for Kids

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

It’s scary to think of all the harsh chemicals we ingest daily during harmless activities. Until recently, I didn’t even know that the shampoos, soaps, and cosmetics I was using contained ingredients that were actually dangerous for my health. Many moms are deciding not to take their chances and are instead switching to products made with natural, organic, and easy-to-pronounce ingredients for themselves and their little ones.

Gregg Renfrew, founder of Beautycounter, is one of these moms. After noticing a lack of safe yet stylish products on the market, Renfrew created the body and skin care line, which launched last spring. Renfrew’s Beautycounter products, such as the Everyday Shampoo and Conditioner, are vegan, gluten-free, and made without harmful petrochemicals. Bonus: they come in sleek, sophisticated packaging so you can feel good about replacing some of your old favorites on your vanity.

Of course, parents and their children appreciate different styles and tastes, so with that in mind, Renfrew has decided to extend Beautycounter to create Kidscounter. The line, which launched with its Bath Collection in November, is made with the same healthy goal in mind but with a kid-friendlier approach. The first three products of the kids’ line are the colorful and fruit-scented Nice Do Shampoo, Not a Knot Conditioner, and Squeaky Clean Body Wash, retailing for $16 each.

All of the Beautycounter and Kidscounter products are available for purchase at beautycounter.com or through a local Beautycounter consultant.

Image courtesy of Beautycounter

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How to Make New Parents Even Crazier

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

The interwebs are abuzz with the Mimo, a baby bodysuit with a sensor attached that allows parents to track their child’s temperature, breathing, position, and so on from their smartphone. I saw it at a trade show last September and dismissed it, because 1) it’s creepy to have a sensor attached to your baby outside of an obvious medical situation 2) it’s $200! for the starter kit and 3) new parents need to sleep when their baby sleeps, not track each breath on their smart phone.

But the Consumer Electronics Show and one Today Show segment later, everyone is excited about how this will change the baby-monitoring world, and maybe it will. After all, a good video baby monitor costs about $200 (or more). And traditional baby monitors often have cords, which are a safety hazard, so maybe having the sensor stuck right on the baby’s outfit is best. The bodysuit is machine-washable, Mimo promises, and presumably can take the spit up/vomit/explosive diaper happenings that come with a baby. 

On the flip side, my brother and his wife are using a nap app, Sprout’s Baby Sleep Tracker, with my niece right now, and I am unsure if it is making them more relaxed parents or making them feel like scientists studying data. Presuming you put your baby in a safe sleep environment, does it matter to have a graph showing whether the last nap was 20 minutes or 40? I look at the bar graphs that the Mimo produces and I start to get agitated. A friend with a newborn posted to Facebook, in regards to Mimo, “Oh yeah. This won’t give me a nervous breakdown.”

Like most things in the baby world, whether or not you “need” something like the Mimo will come down to your personality and lifestyle. Does a flood of information calm you down, or key you up? Do you love tech, and consider yourself an early adopter? Or are you happier doing things the low-tech way? There is no right or wrong answer. Different strokes for different folks.

We are huge safe-sleep proponents here and do like that the Mimo promotes back sleep and teaches parents to watch things such as temperature (overbundling your baby, daytime or nighttime, polar-vortex or no, is a SIDS risk). Here’s a video with some more safe-sleep reminders. And what do you think, would you buy the Mimo?

How to Create a Safe Crib
How to Create a Safe Crib
How to Create a Safe Crib

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Postnatal Yoga Tips from Rockstar Teachers

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

** Guest-edited by Kristen Kemp, yoga instructor

My last baby popped out 6 years ago, but I vividly remember the feeling that everything—my strength, energy, muscle tone and stamina—had been completely zapped. Where I was once able to run two miles up and down steep hills for exercise, all of a sudden, walking up and down the stairs to the laundry room was as strenuous as running a marathon. I reassured my latest yoga student—her adorable baby is 6 weeks old—to start slowly and steadily. All of our muscles remember what they used to do and luckily, our minds are even stronger than our bodies. We can think ourselves back into fitness.

I learned all of this at the amazing Yoga Journal Conference I attended in November. For yoga geeks, it was a dream come true. I spent two days in an intensive anatomy workshop with the brilliant celebrity teacher Jason Crandell. He taught me about muscles and bones—and how to make them strong. Another famous yogi, Kathryn Budig, taught arm balances (these are post-post natal moves you’ll love working up to). I did some crazy 8-point pose (see photo) where my arms were bent and my legs were parallel in the air about a foot off the ground. I thought, ‘I’ve come a long, long way since my kids were born.” I was so proud of myself. As Kathryn had said earlier, “getting stronger is amazing and empowering.”

For the holidays and New Year, I, of course, recommend yoga. In the wise words of the great teacher and sage Cyndi Lee, sometimes you have to put you first. “Take care of yourself so you can be a better mom, business partner, whatever. You can take better care of other people when you take care of yourself first. Only then will you have a little extra to give.”

If you’re interested, the next Yoga Journal Live conference is in San Fran on January 16 through 20. I’ll be at the YJ Live in New York City in April. Message me if you’ll be there, and we can meet up. I’ll definitely post new-mom moves I get from there, so stay tuned.

So go ahead and get started now. I’ve posted one of my favorite beginner videos by Jason. He’s a super-safe and inspiring teacher who offers this cool and relaxing 15-minute beginner yoga sequence. I’m taking this to my postnatal client on Friday.

 

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Tips for Feeding Picky Eaters During the Holidays

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Whether your child has an aversion to many foods due to sensory processing disorder (SPD) or is just plain picky, getting through those big holiday meals can be more stressful than joyful. I recently tuned into a picky eaters webinar by the SPD Foundation, and Dr. Kay Toomey, a pediatric psychologist with more than 30 years experience working with children with feeding problems, provided some great ways to help kids she categorizes as picky eaters (children who will only eat a limited number of foods) and problem feeders (kids who suffer from SPD and are extremely selective about what they will eat). Here are some of her tips for getting through—and enjoying!—the holidays:

  • Talk about the holiday plans. Unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations can be overwhelming for kids and ultimately decrease their appetites. Before you travel or have extended family over, pull out the family photo album, have your child draw pictures of what she thinks the holiday meal will look like this year, or chat about the upcoming plans—anything that will give her a better idea of what to expect. This is also a good time to remind her about table manners such as using utensils, not interrupting, and saying excuse me.
  • Serve the food ahead of time. Most family traditions are about eating specific foods (ham, latkes, turkeys, yams, elaborate desserts, etc.), many of which children may not encounter during any other time of the year. If an unfamiliar food appears in front them, chances are they’re not going to eat it and even seeing it on their plate can cause a great amount of stress, especially for problem feeders. Try making some of these foods throughout the year so by the time the holiday comes around, your child will know what they are and how they taste, making him more likely to eat them during special occasions.
  • Prepare the meal together. If you’re doing any cooking for the holidays, have your child lend a helping hand in the kitchen. By letting him assist you, he experiences the smell and taste of the food without the pressure of having it on his plate. Toomey’s rule of thumb when it comes to cooking with the kids: 3- to 4-years-olds should be able to help you stir, open a package, or do a simple task to assist; 5-year-olds should be able to abide by safety rules and help cook a family meal once a week; and 7-year-olds should be cooking with you twice a week, actively preparing some portion of the meal.
  • Minimize changes in his routine. Getting off schedule when away from home is disruptive to children’s sleep patterns and appetite, so the less changes in their daily routine, the better. Try to serve your child meals and snacks at the usual time and resist the urge to let him stay up past his set bedtime.
  • Feed her before the main holiday meal. You can’t expect picky eaters or problem feeders to mind their manners and try new foods during a holiday meal. They realistically will only be able to do one or the other, so you’ll have to decide which is more important to you. It’s helpful to put something in their bellies beforehand so they’re not starving at the dinner table and so there’s less pressure for them to eat what is offered. This way they’ll be able to concentrate more on participating in the conversation and bonding with family, less on stressing over the fact that they’re hungry and have to eat unfamiliar foods. Remember: it’s more important they’re at the table and a part of the celebration than whether they’re eating what everyone else is.
  • Add one food they are sure to eat to the table. Even if children eat beforehand as recommended, you still want them to come to the table and participate in the meal as much as possible. To help them feel included, bring one food you know they’ll nibble on—even if it’s as simple as a roll, apple slices, or crackers. If they do happen to try something new on their own, don’t make a big deal out of it. You can mention something to them afterward or quietly at the table, but you don’t want to embarrass them in front of the family. And if they don’t eat at all, that’s also okay, as long as it is an option.
  • Bring something familiar from home he’s used to eating with or on. His favorite utensil, placemat, or cup can serve as a reminder of how he normally eats at home and cue the same eating habits in an unfamiliar place.
  • Create a secret signal. It’s a good idea to come up with a way for your child to let you know if she is getting overwhelmed during the meal and needs a break. You can give her a small card to hold up or establish a simple tap on the arm or leg to signal it’s time for a breather. This can also go the other way and you can signal to let her know she’s excused before a pleasant situation turns sour.
  • Control and limit the sweets. This can be difficult because those Christmas cookies and Hanukkah chocolates are a large part of the holiday, but it’s important to stand your ground. Not only does sugar cut down kids’ 20-minute appetite window to only 10 minutes, it also suppresses their appetite for substantial food and leads to cravings for more sweets. Aim for one sugary treat a day, and make sure they know to ask permission beforehand—they can’t just raid grandma’s cookie jar at their leisure.
  • Mask the scent. The smell of food can be too much for problem feeders, so it’s best to lessen it as much as possible. Try placing an isolating fan in the room where you’re having the main holiday meal. Or ask family members if they can open some windows while they cook so the smell isn’t completely permeating the house.
Image: Thanksgiving dinner via Shutterstock
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Remember These Patients During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Every October people are swept up in a sea of pink and inundated with mammogram reminders as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts. And for good reason: More than 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed in women every year, and more than 39,000 women die of breast cancer every year, according to U.S. data from the American Cancer Society. But all of the talk leaves many people with later stages of breast cancer out of the conversation. When the focus is on taking preventative measures, those who have long since been diagnosed with breast cancer need their own outlet from which to gain strength and receive support.

Fortunately, there are options for breast cancer patients who no longer benefit from early detection and prevention campaigns. The pharmaceutical company Novartis is one organization working to fill this void in the cancer awareness sphere with its Count Us, Know Us, Join Us support network. As stated on its site, the initiative recognizes that “this is a community that has different physical and emotional needs from those in earlier stages of breast cancer.” Novartis has partnered with a number of advocacy groups to give those living with breast cancer and their loved ones a voice.

With Count Us, Know Us, Join Us, patients with advanced breast cancer can find information on treatment, support, and how to get involved with a thriving community of people living with advanced breast cancer. And as a symbolic gesture, patients can add their name to the virtual list of members and show that they are indeed being counted.

Breast cancer is a complex experience that affects each patient in a vastly different way. Just as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, there’s no uniform way of connecting with survivors. Count Us, Know Us, Join Us is a reminder of how we each need personal support that is loving and meaningful to us.

Image via Shutterstock 

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Win an Aden + Anais Sleep Sack!

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Aden + Anais, best known for its adorable muslin baby blankets, is now giving away 10 of its muslin “sleeping bags,” or wearable blankets. These are a safe way to keep your baby warm while sleeping without using a loose blanket, which poses a suffocation risk; avoiding them in cribs is an important part of reducing the risk of SIDS. The company is running this giveaway now because October is SIDS Awareness Month, when advocates work especially hard to increase the awareness of SIDS as well as the importance of safe sleep habits for babies. Among those advocates are the CJ Foundation for SIDS, a nonprofit which has provided millions of dollars for SIDS research initiatives, support service grants, public education, and awareness campaigns since 1994. In fact, a portion of the sales of all Aden + Anais sleeping bags go directly to the CJ Foundation.

To enter the giveaway, visit Aden + Anais on Facebook. (Scroll down a bit to find the latest post about the contest.) Good luck!

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6 Tips for Fire Safety

Monday, October 7th, 2013

This week (October 6 through 12) is National Fire Prevention Week, an imperative time to talk about and practice safety measures with your kids. Keep both your home and family safe: use these tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and LEGO City to start a conversation with your child about emergencies.

 

1. Be Prepared with Necessary Tools

It is critical to test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month. According to Joe Molis, a member of NFPA’s Fire Analysis Research Division, two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with non-working or no smoke detectors. He recommends replacing batteries twice each year: at the start and end of daylight savings time, which that act as helpful reminders for this essential task.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Make An Evacuation Plan

Talk to your child about exit points in every room, asking her to identify doors, windows, and clear paths to safety. A toy like a dollhouse or a structure built from LEGOs can be useful tools, suggests Molis, a father of three and active lieutenant of the Providence Fire Department in Rhode Island. “This way, children are engaged while their parents direct the discussion,” he says.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Mark a Meeting Point

Every evacuation procedure should include a safe spot to gather (a neighbor’s porch, a lamppost or tree across the street), so that your family can respond quickly to an emergency and stay all together.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Run the Drill

Be sure to act out emergency escape plans at home two times every year. “It’s one thing to talk about evacuation, but it’s another when you role-play and practice,” Molis says. This helps remind children of their family’s specific plan, and builds their confidence to respond to emergency situations. It also instills the importance of keeping exits clear of obstacles. Running the drill is vital, but if you are ever faced with a house fire, Molis stresses: “The most important thing is to get out and stay out. Make sure everyone is accounted for, and then call 911.”

 

 

 

 

5. Lead the Way

Practice daily safety measures in front of your children: never leave pans cooking on the stove unattended, store matches and lighters out of litte ones’ reach, and ensure that appliances are clean and functioning properly.

 

 

 

 

6. Check It Out

Download a fire safety checklist at Sparky.org and use it to inspect your home as a family. Walk through each room and check off the safety measures you are following. If something is potentially dangerous, remedy the problem. “The checklist is incredibly important,” Molis says. “It helps make sure your dryer vents are clean, electrical cords aren’t damanges, escape routes are clear, and heat sources are away from flammable items.”

 

 

To learn more about National Fire Prevention Week, visit NFPA.org.

For more tips on teaching and practicing fire safety, visit the following Parents.com resources:

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