Photo credit: Amy Sussman/AP for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.
Last week, Parents caught up with Maggie Gyllenhaal at the 125th Anniversary celebration of The First Aid Kit by Johnson & Johnson. After hearing from Safe Kids Worldwide about preventing childhood injuries, we spoke to Maggie about how she keeps her two daughters, Ramona, 6, and Gloria, 14 months, safe, and what she does to stay relaxed even in scary moments.
P:When you first became a mom, were you the nervous type?
MG: I was young when Ramona was born. I was 28 and still kind of a kid in a lot of ways. I wanted to be cool about everything and easygoing. I didn’t realize that the way to be easygoing is to do some preparation, to actually have a diaper bag with the things you need! Because if you do that then you don’t have to constantly be worrying, “Oh G-d! They need a snack and where am I going to get something?” I know all that now! Also my second daughter is much more easygoing with her own bumps and bruises. She’ll fall over and kind of get up and be fine. Not always, but she’s a different personality than my first.
P:Who puts on the Band-Aids at home? You or Daddy? Does Ramona or Gloria have a preference?
MG: I’m not sure Gloria has ever had to have a Band-Aid, yet. And Ramona definitely prefers me for that kind of thing, although Peter is happy to do it, too. She’s definitely more of a mama’s girl.
P:Have you had any scares with Ramona?
MG: I look at my girlfriend who has three little boys and they have been in and out of the hospital. They have gotten broken bones and stitches and my kids haven’t had any of that stuff…yet. It’s partially to do with their personalities. Ramona definitely is super active, but she’s also cautious.
There was one time when Gloria was about 4 weeks old that Ramona slipped. We were staying at a friend’s house in upstate New York and I was downstairs with our newborn. All I heard was a big thud and crying. I went upstairs and Peter was holding Ramona’s ankle in this way and looking at me in a way that I thought, “Oh my G-d she broke her ankle, and we’re upstate, and I have a 4-week-old, and it’s like 100 degrees.” And I really thought something terrible had happened and, in fact, it was nothing. But I think the way that she’d fallen he just thought, Ok sit down. Let me check it out. Peter was a soccer player, so he knows all about injuries. I remember that as a really terrifying moment, because when you have a tiny baby you are so sensitive, and my heart was just so open in those first six weeks in particular. So I still was not fully functional. I didn’t know how I was going to manage taking her to the emergency room with a newborn. Thank G-d I didn’t have to.
P:You mentioned that your husband is great with these sports injuries. Is Ramona going in to sports or dance?
MG: I think she’s just active the way a kid is active and loves to do cartwheels and round-offs. In her school they do a lot of that stuff. She’s very strong. But, I don’t know yet what she’s going to be.
P:If you end up on the sidelines, how do you make sure she’s safe being an active kid?
MG: Well, like they say, some injuries are part of being alive. It’s just the same as…I think about heartbreak for my children or even the social stuff that goes on between friends. It prepares you for being an adult where you get hurt all the time—not as much physically. I think about that sometimes, too. If you ever fall as an adult—slip and fall—how incredibly jarring it is. As kids they’re doing it all the time, just falling over.
I think the ways that you hurt yourself both physically and emotionally as a kid are ways of preparing you for dealing with those same kind of things as a grownup. So, I don’t think it’s the end of the world for people to get hurt, but I do think that you have to be careful. I think you have to keep an eye out for them and you have to keep boundaries.
I thought before my kids were born that I was just going to be so easygoing. In fact, I find that it’s easier for me and it’s better for them to be really clear about what’s safe and what’s not. What’s okay and what’s not.
P:When they’re with their Grandma Naomi, do you leave behind instructions?
MG: My mom has said, “I’m allowed to give her more treats than you do. I am allowed to let her stay up late. That’s my job.” It’s part of the gift of being a grandmother.
Click here for tips on how to be prepared in 12 scary situations.
There’s been a steady stream of gun tragedies involving young kids. This one could be the worst: On Tuesday, a 5-year-old Kentucky boy shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with his own gun. The .22-caliber Crickett rifle, a child-sized model, was a gift that the boy received on his birthday last November. The firearm, marketed as “My First Rifle,” is one of many children’s firearms made by Milton, Pa.-based Keystone Sporting Arms LLC, according to USA Today, and comes in colors including blue and pink.
Although teaching children to use rifles may be an age-old tradition in parts of this country, 2-year-old Caroline Sparks’ death should serve as a stark warning of the dangers of allowing children access to firearms.
Editor’s Note: Parents.com has partnered with LearnVest.com to bring you a monthly series of posts about money-related topics related to moms. These guest posts will be shorter, edited versions of longer features from LearnVest.com.
As a mom, you know just how accident-prone and fragile kids can be. Cuts, scratches, scrapes, skinned knees, and bumps to the noggin’ are all frequent players on your “must fix” list. And there’s nothing worse than having to play Dr. Mom without having all of the needed medical supplies to heal your little patient.
Setting up a first-aid kit now for your home and your car will save time (you can quickly attend to injuries), money (no middle-of-the-night runs to the insanely expensive convenience store), and a whole lot of tears.
Keep these drugstore staples on hand and you’ll be ready for anything your active kid can throw your way.
1. Bandages and Gauze Pads
Your kit should include bandages in a variety of sizes. These little stickies help protect wounds from reinjury, hide scary-looking cuts, and magically make tears disappear. Before you spring for the more expensive character bandages, a little DIY craftiness can save money. Buy plain bandages and then decorate them with your child’s name, silly drawings, or stickers once they’re in use. Gauze pads will come in handy for more serious wounds (don’t forget the tape). You can also use them when applying ointments or cleaning agents. When purchasing gauze pads, bigger is better. You can always cut the pad if you need a smaller size.
Speaking of cutting, a good pair of sharp scissors is a necessity. In addition to cutting gauze, you may also need to cut other material, like clothing, during an emergency. Regular scissors are fine, as long as they’re sharp enough to cut gauze, clothing, etc.
3. Cold/Hot Packs
Hot and cold packs can relieve swelling and reduce the pain of minor injuries. Because you’re not guaranteed to have access to ice or hot water or a heating pad, stock up on the instant cold and hot packs (like this one) that you squeeze to activate.
4. Pain Medication/Fever Reliever
Pain is a big deal to little kids, so it’s always a good idea to have a children’s pain reliever around to reduce fevers and calm headaches, teething pain, and minor sprains and strains. Remember, aspirin isn’t recommended for kids, so the best choices are children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
For kids with food allergies, it can be difficult to make sure no forbidden foods ever slip through. If your child does consume something she has a slight allergy to, an oral antihistamine can reduce a potential reaction, says Emily Tuerk, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Even if your kid doesn’t have food allergies, it’s still a good idea to have an antihistamine on hand. “Oral antihistamines and topical antihistamine creams can lessen the reaction to insect stings or bites,” says Dr. Tuerk. They can also decrease symptoms of hives, poison ivy, and other skin reactions.
This standard beauty supply isn’t only for plucking stray hairs from your eyebrows. Tweezers come in handy to remove splinters, glass, insect stingers, ticks, or even candy. (You know, for when your 3-year-old decides to put a piece of candy up his nose.)
Parents, coaches, and health educators can benefit from this DVD as kids become interested in and take more part in sports. Serious problems can occur if the body isn’t used to new exercise routines, so this 2-hour DVD offers easy step-by-step guidelines on how kids can strength train safely and prevent sports injuries.
Kids can also develop strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility without enrolling in expensive gym program, and learn the proper way to stretch before and recover after workouts. Flashcards within the DVD also offer instructions on how to exercise for specific sports at all player levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced). A related mobile app will be available in the near future.
Editor’s Note: This guest post is written by Dr. Robert Sicoli, co-medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Dr. Sicoli is a fellowship trained Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician with over 20 years of experience.
While lighting off a few bottle rockets or running around the backyard with a lit sparkler may seem like a relatively harmless way for kids to celebrate the Fourth of July, thousands of people each year are injured by fireworks and many of them end up in the emergency room.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were over 8,600 injuries involving fireworks in 2010. Unfortunately, 40% of those injuries were children younger than 15 years of age. While the safest bet is taking your family to a public fireworks show, many states allow the private use of various types of fireworks. If you live in a state that allows fireworks for private use, follow these fireworks safety tips to keep you and your family safe.
- Make sure to buy ready-to-use fireworks. Avoid kits that require assembly at home and avoid making your own.
- Don’t buy fireworks with brown labels or that are wrapped in brown paper. These are usually made for public displays and not intended to be used privately.
- Always follow the label directions carefully.
- Always light fireworks outside and away from combustible items, like dry leaves and grass.
- Choose a proper, safe, and wide open area for light and setting off the fireworks. Don’t launch bottles rockets in a wooded area or near a busy street.
- Light fireworks one at a time. Never lash multiple fireworks together, never point them toward another person, and make sure to wear eye protection.
- Don’t let kids under 10 use any type of fireworks, even sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
- Always keep a hose or bucket of water nearby.
- Never try to re-light a “dud.” Wait at least ten minutes and then douse it with water.
- Soak all fireworks in water before throwing them away.
- Store extra or unused fireworks in a cool, dry place.
While following these tips will help keep your family safe, accidents could still happen. Burn injuries are common on hands, fingers, eyes, head, and face. In the case your kids are injured, follow these tips for treatment:
- For relatively mild burns, such as red or irritated skin, rinse with cool water and apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
- For severe burns, such as blistering, peeling, and/or very painful skin, call your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.
- If smoke or other particles get into the eyes, avoid rubbing them or the irritation will get worse. Try cleaning the eyes by rinsing them with cool water, but if your child is still in pain after flushing the eyes or complains about visual problems, seek medical attention immediately.
- If your child has inhaled smoke, let him rest in a cool, ventilated area. If he continues to cough, if the coughing is severe, or if there is difficult or labored breathing, call 911 or visit the emergency room right away.
Recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion with the new Concussion Recognition and Response app ($3.99) from Safe Kids USA. Using information from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), two experts, Gerard A. Gioia, Ph.D., and Jason Mihalik, Ph.D., created the app to help parents and coaches in the event a child experiences a home- or sports-related injury.
In just a few minutes, complete a checklist to determine if symptoms are serious enough for immediate medical attention. Parents can also record a child’s health information (name, age, gender, sport played), take photos of the injury, and share all the information via email with health care professionals for proper treatment and follow-up. Plus, the app offers tips on how a child can safely return to regular sports or exercise routines after an injury.
Rabbi Nachman and Itta Kletzky, the parents of Leiby Kletzky, released their first public statement yesterday on Chabad.org. The Kletzkys thank all the friends, neighbors, volunteers, local and federal agents, and others who provided help, prayers, and support during a time of tragedy.
In addition, the Kletzkys exhort and encourage others to preserve their son’s memory in four ways (excerpts below):
Spread acts of lovingkindness. Let us perpetuate the feeling of collective responsibility and love expressed during the search for Leiby. An additional act of kindness toward your neighbor, or to those less fortunate than you, can go a long, long way toward perfecting our world.
Always give gratitude. In Leiby’s memory, when you wake up each morning take a few moments to pray and reflect and thank G‑d for giving us life.
Remember to light a candle. On Friday evening, please give a few coins to charity and light the candles before sunset with our beloved Leiby in mind.
Participate in a memorial fund. Help people in dire need (www.leibykletzkymemorialfund.com), to channel the lovingkindness shown to us and our dear Leiby toward many, many others in need.
The story of Leiby Kletzky is a horrific one because it magnifies every parent’s worst nightmare: a child’s life is lost because of misplaced trust in a stranger. The 8-year-old was walking home alone, for the first time, in his Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn when he got lost. While asking for directions, Kletzy was kidnapped and went missing for a few days until police found his body. What has shocked everyone is the brutal way his body was disposed, and the fact that murder happened in a close-knit religious community founded on trust.
As police continue their investigation into the motives behind the young boy’s death, parents are left with tough questions: When is a child ready to travel or walk home alone? How can kids be taught to stay alert? In what ways can parents balance their fear of the world with their child’s desire for independence?
We spoke to Dr. Yoni Schwab, a child psychologist at the Windward School in White Plains, N.Y., and a Parents expert, to get his thoughts and advice on how parents can help their kids be self-reliant while remaining alert to potential dangers in this world.
At what age is a child old enough to travel by himself, whether by public transportation or walking home (from school, camp, library, store, bus or subway stop) alone?
There are no hard and fast rules about age. It depends on the child, the neighborhood, the length and complexity of the trip, and the time of day, among other things. In some neighborhoods, 8-year-olds can walk a couple blocks to a friend’s house while some 12-year-olds may live in a place that’s not safe enough to travel independently.
How do parents know when a child is ready? What characteristics determine independence?
Find out any relevant laws in your area and then speak to other parents to get a sense of what is customary in the community and how they managed the process [for independence.] (This advice comes from Wendy Mogel’s excellent book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.) Finally, you need to know your child. Really knowing your child is the only way to determine if she is ready. Quiz the child about what she might do in different circumstances. Observe your child when walking outside. Does she pause and look both ways before crossing the street? Does she notice details about the environment and possible dangers? Try walking a few steps behind the child to observe and see how she does on her own. Is your child attentive to his surroundings, thoughtful, responsible, and appropriately cautious? Or is your child impulsive, spacey, and overly trusting? All of these factors go into a decision about when to allow your child to travel alone.