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Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Halloween is shaping up to be a chilly one in much of the country! Here are some tips for keeping your costumed kids warm and safe as they go trick-or-treating.
Layer them up.
The year’s most popular costumes, Elsa
and Anna of Frozen
, lend themselves to this. The girls are from Norway, after all! Put some leggings under a dress and add gloves. If your daughter balks at wearing her regular winter mittens, stores like Party City have Frozen gloves
that work perfectly.
Boys can benefit from long underwear (or, in a pinch, long pajamas) under their costumes. Ninjas
are a popular boy outfit this year and have the added bonus of a warm headwrap; you might be able to convince him, too, that real ninjas wear gloves (to avoid leaving fingerprints!).
Insist on sensible footwear.
There is a risk of blisters or twisted ankles if kids are crossing lawns, racing down sidewalks, and climbing steps in heels, boots, or other impractical shoes. But no one looks at their feet! It’s the neck up that people notice when they open their door to hand out treats. Be sure kids are in sneakers or other comfy footwear.
Pin things up. Be sure that Elsa’s gown isn’t going to trip her; same with your ninja’s belt. Make sure your child can move around without worrying about headgear, too. If your child is wearing a pirate or witch’s hat, considering pinning it on.
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Be the bodyguard. As the parent, it’s your job to wield a flashlight and keep your child visible. Checking to be sure the way is clear, and forbid kids from crossing the street without you (even if they’re handing out fullsize candy bars over there!).
Watch as we detail more Halloween safety tips with Al Roker on The Weather Channel!
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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Health & Safety, News
Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
It’s hard to believe nine months have passed since that tragic day at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. While thinking of ways to show their support, Jennifer Stoltz and Dana Schicker, two moms whose first-graders were at the school that day, had a bright idea: team up with OPI’s artistic director, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, to create Sandy Hook Green.
The bold green hue represents the Sandy Hook school colors and, as a result, has become associated with gun safety awareness. The bottle is available only through donation for $26 at sandyhookpromise.org.
Proceeds from donations will be used to provide financial support to those closely affected by the tragedy, as well as to advocate for change surrounding the issues of mental health, school safety, and gun responsibility.
“Wearing Sandy Hook Green is an inspiring way for us to come together as a nation, to help turn this tragedy into a moment of transformation,” said Schicker.
Pictured from left to right: OPI Nail Lacquer in Sandy Hook Green; Dana Schicker and Jennifer Stoltz, volunteers for Sandy Hook Promise
For more ways to help those affected, visit the following Parents resources:
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Monday, June 17th, 2013
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.
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Thursday, May 30th, 2013
Service Allows Bully Reporting By Text
Students are getting a new weapon to fight back against bullies: their cell phones. (via Huffington Post)
Bicycle helmet laws linked to fewer child deaths
U.S. states that require children and teenagers to wear helmets report fewer deaths involving bicycles and cars, according to a new study. (via Fox News)
Sugary drink consumption down among U.S. kids
More evidence that Americans are heeding calls to cut back on sugary drinks appears in a report from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (via Yahoo News)
Early Brain Responses to Words Predict Developmental Outcomes in Children With Autism
The pattern of brain responses to words in 2-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder predicted the youngsters’ linguistic, cognitive and adaptive skills at ages 4 and 6, according to a new study. (via Science Daily)
ADHD medications not tied to drug, alcohol abuse
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Taking Ritalin and other drugs for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) doesn’t affect a child’s chances of trying or abusing alcohol and drugs later in life, a new review suggests. (via Reuters)
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
In a welcome piece of good news from Washington today, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed major new regulations to help protect children in child care centers and family child care homes. “Many children already benefit from the excellent care of high-quality child care providers who are meeting or exceeding the proposed requirements,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “However, too many children remain in settings that do not meet minimum standards of health and safety. These basic rules ensure that providers take necessary basic steps to shield children from avoidable tragedy.”
I met recently with parents whose children had died in child care because these types of regulations did not exist. These parents have been working to help make sure that a similar tragedy wouldn’t happen to other families, and their advocacy has paid off. Child Care Aware of America has led the charge for safety and quality improvements, and we’ve been privileged to partner with them on their efforts. Most parents would be shocked to learn about the current minimal standards.
For all child care providers who accept federal funding through the Child Care and Development Fund, the new regulations would require:
- Health and safety training in certain areas
- Compliance with state and local fire, health and building codes
- Comprehensive background checks (including fingerprinting)
- On-site monitoring
States would also have to post information online for parents about health, safety, and licensing. The proposed regulations will be open for public comment for 75 days.
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Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Child Care Centers Overhaul Proposed By Federal Health Officials
Federal health officials say they will propose Thursday to overhaul federally funded child care centers across the country, beefing up safety standards including background and fingerprint checks for employees and requiring states to better monitor the facilities. (via Huffington Post)
Slightly high lead tied to less reading readiness
Children with even slightly elevated blood lead levels are less likely to be ready to read when starting kindergarten, according to a new study. (via Reuters)
Cracking the Tech Job Talent Crunch by Teaching Kids to Code
For all the parents losing sleep over their kids’ prospects in such a tightfisted job market, I can see at least one recourse: teach them how to code. The earlier, the better.(via Huffington Post)
Judge declines to nix ’79 NYC child-killing case
A man charged with murder decades after one of the nation’s most infamous child disappearances can be brought to trial, a judge ruled Wednesday, turning down the man’s claim that the case was too thin to proceed. (via Yahoo News)
Pop-Tart Gun Suspension: Attorney For Suspended Student Says No Resolution Has Been Reached With School
An attorney for the family of an Anne Arundel County 7-year-old suspended from school after being accused of nibbling a pastry into the shape of a gun says he met with school officials Wednesday in an attempt have the student’s suspension expunged, but no resolution was reached. (via Reuters)
Parents sue South Carolina, hospital over child’s sex assignment surgery
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A couple filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state of South Carolina for what they say was an unnecessary sexual assignment surgery performed on a toddler they later adopted. (via Fox News)
Friday, May 10th, 2013
U.S. approves Novartis drug Ilaris to treat childhood arthritis
Novartis said on Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved its drug Ilaris to treat a serious form of childhood arthritis. (via Reuters)
Give immigrants healthcare access: U.S. kid doctors
A group representing U.S. pediatricians said this week that its members should pay special attention to the healthcare needs of immigrant children and support health insurance for all – regardless of legal status. (via Reuters)
Pregnancy Interventions Widespread, Not Always Desired, National Survey Shows
Nearly 60 percent of moms said they believe giving birth is a natural process that should not be interfered with unless medically necessary, however the same women reported significant intervention when they were in labor, according to a new national survey. (via Huffington Post)
Texas May Soon Require Cameras In Special Education Classrooms
A bill that would require video cameras in all special education classrooms was passed in the Texas Senate in April and is currently being considered by the state’s House Public Education Committee. (via Huffington Post)
Kids of Tiger Moms Are Worse Off
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In her controversial memoir, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” Yale law professor Amy Chua defended her draconian parenting methods, explaining how being a controlling “Chinese-style” parent drives Asian-American children to succeed in ways that permissive “Western-style” parenting does not. But a recently released decade-long study of 444 Chinese-American families shows that the effect tiger parents have on their kids is almost exactly the opposite. (via Yahoo)