Archive for the ‘
Safety ’ Category
Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Most parents would probably be shocked to realize that there are no national standards for quality and safety in child care, only a hodgepodge of inconsistent state laws. Fortunately, the Senate is finally gearing up to consider reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which allocates funds to states for child care and assists states in improving the quality of child care.
The legislation has not been reauthorized in nearly 18 years, despite hard work by advocates to push much-needed reforms involving safety, inspections of centers, caregiver training, and quality rating systems. For example, the bipartisan Senate bill would require comprehensive background checks for child care providers who are receiving federal subsidies and require at least one annual unannounced inspection.
“This measure ensures working families have safe child care options — protecting both children and working parents,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor last week. He said the bill offers “an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to find common ground and work together.”
Please take two minutes to send an email to your Senator to express your support for this important legislation.
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Photo of sign via Shuttertock
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Monday, February 24th, 2014
By Stephanie Wood
If you thought your child’s car safety seat was complicated to install before, hold on to your tethers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a new rule that takes effect tomorrow requiring labels warning parents not to use the LATCH anchoring system (LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) once the child and the seat combined reach a weight of 65 pounds. Why? With both kids and car seats getting heavier, there is concern that the excess weight can cause the lower anchors to pull out of the floor during a crash, especially since close to a third of all parents neglect to use the top tether straps along with the LATCH system. This new 65-pound limit applies to the lower anchors only, however. You should continue to use the top tethers at all times, regardless of your child’s size.
Could this be the beginning of the end for LATCH, designed a decade ago in an attempt to simplify safety seat installation? After all, you don’t need to use it. Seat belt installation (again, when used in conjunction with the top tethers) is equally safe and increasingly easier as the feds pile on the rules. With the new weight warnings, parents may just give up on LATCH altogether, especially when they are being advised to keep children in child safety seats longer than ever. In fact, with today’s car safety seats typically weighing an easy 25 pounds themselves, LATCH will cease to be usable once most kids graduate to front-facing seats. So why bother doing the added math when you are already counting your child’s hours of screen time, sleep, nutritional intake, physical activity, college fund contributions, and more?
The sad fact remains that with or without LATCH, car seats are misused 90 percent of the time, and the new weight limits are certainly not going to improve those numbers. The safest bet for all parents is to visit a car seat inspection station and have your installation checked by someone trained. To find one in your area, go to seatcheck.org or call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK.
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Thursday, February 20th, 2014
If there’s one thing we know you crave as a new parent, it’s sleep. Of course, for you to get some rest, you need your baby to safely drift off. And that can be grueling during the first year. American Baby, in partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization devoted to preventing childhood injuries, polled more than 4,500 new moms with babies age 1 and younger to find out how parents put their infant to sleep. Find out if you’re making any of the missteps our survey uncovered, and share this infographic with all your new-mom friends. Together, let’s make 2014 the year that babies sleep more safely.
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To find out what common safe-sleep mistakes you’re making, click here to see the full story.
What do you need for a safe and sleep-friendly nursery? Download our checklist and find out. Then, learn how to make homemade baby food with our easy how-to guide.
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Friday, February 14th, 2014
Surely you’ve heard the phrase “breast is best.” While formula is a good option for some moms, breastfeeding offers a host of benefits to baby including an immune system boost and reduced risk of asthma, diabetes, and obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies nurse for the first 12 months of life, and for years doctors, the federal government, and advocacy groups have been urging new mothers to breastfeed whenever possible. Happily, the message seems to be sinking in. In the United States 77 percent of newborn babies are now breastfed.
However, what has been baby’s gain has been formula makers’ loss, since of course when babies drink more breast milk they drink less formula. But, now formula companies have seen an opening in the milk market.
Doctors and pediatric nutritionists advise that 12 month-olds can safely switch to full-fat cow’s milk. But you may have seen other products on the store shelves: special powdered “milks” marketed to parents of toddlers. The colorful packaging touts their supposed health benefits, such as such as immune system support, growth promotion, and increased brain and eye health. And, indeed, these powders are frequently fortified with a host of vitamins and minerals.
But, is toddler milk really necessary for good health? According to New York-based pediatric dietitian Natalia Stasenko, the answer is simple: no. “Toddler milks are a way to add some nutrition to toddlers’ diets that is perfectly possible to obtain from foods for the vast majority of children.”
Besides, she adds, since science still doesn’t completely understand how synthetic vitamins and minerals are absorbed by the body, real food is still the best way to obtain them. “Plus, the amount of added nutrients toddlers milks contain is very often quite small. For example, one brand touting its benefits for brain development contains about 10mg of DHA per 8-ounce serving, about one-fifth of the DHA in approximately one bite of wild salmon.”
While these drinks can be a boon to parents whose children are malnourished or failing to thrive, what about run-of-the-mill picky eaters? Many parents of toddlers are concerned that their children aren’t getting adequate vitamins and minerals and hope that by providing these beverages they’re making up for any nutritional gaps. Stasenko suggests that, actually, toddler milks are likely to make kids more choosey. “Since these drinks are very palatable, thanks to added sugar and flavoring, it is likely that they will replace other nutritious foods and possibly even exacerbate picky eating habits.”
Toddler milks are especially popular in Asia and the United Kingdom. The UK newspaper The Guardian reports that almost half of mothers with young children used a toddler milk, “despite health professionals regularly advising parents that a healthy diet including cows’ milk provides a young child’s required nutrition.”
Compared to cow’s milk toddler milks are also significantly more expensive, weighing in at around 17 cents an ounce, as opposed to 3 cents an ounce for conventional milk and 7 cents an ounce for organic milk. That may not sound like a huge difference, but if your child is drinking 12 oz. of milk a day, that is a difference of about $50 a month for conventional milk and $35 a month for organic.
Of course as parents we want the best for our children, and when products suggest that they’ll make our children healthier, stronger, or smarter it’s tempting to snap them up. But, as Stasenko notes, “At age one, a child is ready to join the family at table and does not need any special foods.”
What do you think? What kind of milk does/did your toddler drink?
What kind of behaviors can you expect from your growing toddler? Take our quiz to find out!
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breast-feed, food, food and nutrition, health, the parents perspective, toddler, toddler milk | Categories:
Food & Nutrition, Health, Must Read, Safety, The Parents Perspective, Toddlers
Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced two changes designed to boost car seat safety. One has an immediate impact on how parents should be installing their child-safety seat. One won’t affect you or your kid for a few years (by which time he may be in a booster). Both are welcome developments in reducing the risk factor for serious injuries.
First, effective immediately all new car seats must state on the label that the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system should only be used when the total weight of the child and seat is 65 pounds or less. Above that weight, the anchors may not effectively restrain a car seat in case of a sudden stop or an accident. The solution is easy: When the total weight exceeds that figure, use the car’s seat belt as an anchor. The same guideline holds for whatever seat you’re currently using. Since many safety seats are bigger and heavier these days, it’s important to weigh yours (and your child) and crunch the numbers.
Federal regulators also plan to implement a new rule requiring child seats to withstand side-impact collisions of up to 30 mph. The new crash test will begin as early as this spring, complementing the front-impact tests that are already conducted on all car seats. Manufacturers will have three years to comply with the new standard, though hopefully many will do so sooner. NHTSA estimates that the cost of extra padding and/or wider wings will be a mere 50 cents per seat and will prevent 5 deaths and 64 injuries annually—a more than worthwhile tradeoff.
For now, your smartest move is to make sure your current seat is installed properly. That’s not as simple than it sounds: Three out of four car seats are installed improperly. See if your local police or fire station has a certified inspector on site who can walk you through the process. Or check out these videos on installing a car seat and avoiding a potentially tragic mistake.
Ready to replace your old seat? Shop for a new one here.
Baby in a safety car seat via Shutterstock
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car seats, crash tests, LATCH system, new safety standards, proper installation, weight limits | Categories:
Big Kids, Health, Must Read, News, Safety, The Parents Perspective