I start writing this and I almost feel like I want to apologize…because instead of writing about all the “scary things” our kids are going to be this Halloween, I write instead about all the scary things we need to protect them from. So I’d like to propose a deal: I’ll share with you some of the best tips I’ve found to keep our kids safe this year (…thank you Child Safety Examiner, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Dr Kristie McNealy)…and then I’ll share with you my favorite not so scary safety tip that should be good for at least a few smiles…and maybe between the two, we’ll find our way to a happy, healthy and safe Halloween together.
- (CSE) Make sure your child’s costume is comfortable and manageable. Avoid top heavy costumes that could topple him, or flowing, trailing costumes that could get wound around her feet and cause her to fall. Avoid using anything around the neck that may pose a strangulation hazard.
- (NCMEC) Make sure children are able to see and breathe properly and easily when using facial masks. All costumes and masks should be clearly marked as flame resistant. (CSE) For the littlest trick-or-treaters, you may want to avoid masks all together. Choose a fun hat or headpiece, or a dab of allergen-free makeup instead. (Pediatric Safety note: Please keep in mind that recent studies have found that many face paints have lead and other toxic ingredients, so research any face paints carefully before applying http://ow.ly/xldL )
- (CSE) Avoid using real candles in pumpkins on doorsteps, and keep an eye out for them at homes you visit. Trailing costumes or props could get too close and catch fire, or the pumpkin could tip over. Opt for battery operated instead.
- (CSE) If your kids will be trick-or-treating in the dark, make sure they have flashlights or glow-sticks and remind them to stay on the alert for traffic.
- (CSE) Remind kids not to eat or drink anything that is given to them until a parent looks it over first. This includes not only Halloween treats, but any potions or weird substances that might be part of a haunted house or Halloween decorations. Make sure kids know that even though things may look like food, they might not be. Feed your kids a meal or small snack before they head out so they’ll be less tempted to sample candy along the way before you’ve had the chance to check it out.
- (CSE) When checking kids’ loot, be on the lookout for food your child may be allergic to, as well as any recalled foods or items that may pose a choking hazard for kids under 5.
Don’t Let Food Allergies Spoil the Fun
- (Dr McNealy) Review the Rules – If they are old enough to understand, remind your child which foods are safe, and which are not. If there are candies or treats that they should be sure to avoid, discuss that. Tell them to bring their loot to you, so you can be sure to remove anything that might be harmful. Also let them know what to do if they do eat something that they might be allergic too.
- (Dr McNealy) Read Labels: When you check over your kid’s Halloween candy, remember to read labels. Formulations change pretty frequently, so you should even check foods that have been safe in the past. Remove anything that doesn’t have an ingredient list.
- (Dr McNealy) Keep Your Epi-Pen or Allergy Medication Handy: Remember that accidents happen, and be prepared as usual with your child’s epi-pen, or whatever medication your doctor recommends for an allergic reaction.
- (Dr McNealy) Keep Safe Treats on Hand: Keep some safe candy, treats or small toys on hand to replace anything you have to confiscate. If you have the chance, you can even make up a few treat bags to drop with friends or neighbors, so you’ll know that at least a few people on your trick-or-treat route will have surprises that your child can keep and enjoy.
And Unfortunately Because There are Predators Out There…
- (NCMEC) Be sure older children TAKE FRIENDS and younger children are accompanied by a TRUSTED ADULT when “Trick or Treating.”
- (NCMEC) Accompany younger children to the door of every home they approach and make sure parents and guardians are familiar with every home and all people from which the children receive treats.
- (NCMEC) Teach children to NEVER approach a home that is not well lit both inside and outside and NEVER enter a home without prior permission from their parents or guardians.
- (NCMEC) Remind them to NEVER approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- (NCMEC) Children should be cautioned to run away immediately from people who try to lure them with special treats. Tell them that if anyone tries to grab them to make a scene; loudly yell this person is not my father/mother/guardian; and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.
If all else fails, take man’s best friend along…
…that should surely chase away anything that goes bump in the night…or at least keep the kids entertained while you steal – I mean sort through all their candy. HAVE A SAFE & HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Basic Safety Halloween Precautions and Tips for Adults and Kids: Oregon State Police Missing Children Clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Top 10 Halloween Safety Tips for Families: Child Safety Examiner October 28, 2009
Trick-or-Treat Food Allergy Safety: Dr Kristie McNealy October 26, 200
Thanks also go out to PediatricSafety’s EMS Safety Expert Jim Love for our “man’s best friend” photos.
While shopping at the grocery store, it’s quite common to see young children climbing on and standing up in shopping carts. Although safety belts have been available for many years on most shopping carts, there are still an estimated 21,400 children under the age of five who are treated in U.S. emergency rooms every year because of injuries sustained from shopping carts. Most of these injuries are head injuries due to falls from not being properly restrained in the child seat of the cart.
Most children love to climb and do not enjoy sitting still for long periods of time. So parents face the challenge of keeping their kids restrained and entertained while shopping and may be tempted to let them climb on the cart or ride in the basket just to keep them happy. Or a child may get out of the restraint belt while mom or dad is preoccupied with shopping. So how do you keep your little one safe while you shop?
Here are some tips to help.
Always use the seat belt/safety strap
Children who are properly restrained in the child seat of a shopping cart are much less likely to fall out of the cart so make it a rule that if your child is in the cart, the strap has to be fastened securely. This should be non-negotiable with your child, just as seat belts and car seats in the car are a non-negotiable rule when riding in the car. Infants who are not able to sit up without assistance should not sit in a shopping cart seat unless it has a built-in infant seat with a harness restraint system. Never allow kids to climb on the cart or ride in the basket. Older children should not push the cart if younger children are riding in it and should not be allowed to ride on the outside of the cart, as this could cause the cart to tip over.
Use a shopping cart cover
Shopping cart covers help protect kids in two ways. First, they cover the seat and bar of the shopping cart which protects from germs and provides some padding, making the ride more comfortable. Secondly, some covers provide extra safety straps to provide a more secure ride. There are numerous covers available in a wide variety of styles and designs so you may want to shop around to find the best one for your child’s needs. Some even have toys attached to the cover to provide entertainment during the trip through the grocery store. When shopping for a cart cover, make sure it is large enough to fit over the child seat and bar of the shopping carts you most often use and check whether or not it has its own straps to restrain the child or if you have to use the straps on the cart.
Engage your child in the shopping experience
If your child feels included while shopping, he may be more likely to sit safely in the cart through the whole trip. Talk with him about the choices of products you are buying. Let him help pick out some of the items, if he’s old enough and talk about what you will use the items for at home. If your child is old enough, let her help you read the grocery list and check off items as they are put in the cart. Or she can hold a calculator and add up the cost of your purchases. Even toddlers can be involved by using a list with pictures instead of words or using a cheap calculator and let them pretend to add up purchases. Keeping your child involved and entertained can not only make your shopping trip safer, but also more enjoyable for you both.
Use these tips to protect your child from shopping cart falls and injuries every time you shop!
Earlier this year, a study reported in Pediatrics found a relatively inexpensive but surprisingly successful solution for children suffering eczema – a dilute bleach bath. In fact, the results were so remarkable and so quick that the Northwestern University study was terminated early so that the placebo group could benefit. On the other hand, bleach can be hazardous. So if your child is suffering from eczema, should you try a bleach bath?
Well, that depends. The study involved 31 children, all of whom had moderate to severe eczema and all who were infected with staphylococcus. That is the fact about the study that was left out of much of the news media coverage. The bleach bath was successful in treating children with chronic eczema (atopic dermatitis) infected with Staphylococcus aureaus, and only those parts of the body covered by the bath water.
Staph infections frequently accompany eczema. Some research has reported that as many as 90% of people suffering from eczema have staph on their skin, as compared to 25% of the population without eczema. A staph infection can exacerbate eczema’s symptoms.
So the dilute bleach bath makes sense. Bleach’s antibacterial property can improve a child’s skin infection from staph bacteria. Studies have found a correlation between the number of bacteria on the skin and eczema’s severity. In the study, the group used 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach in a full standard tub. After three months, 67% of those using the bleach baths reported improvement of symptoms in the areas of the body that had been submerged compared with just 15% of those who bathed in normal water.
But is it worth it? Bleach can be hazardous. The fumes and the liquid can irritate the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat, airways and lungs. Chlorinated household cleaners can react with other cleaners and form compounds that are toxic and/or cancer causing. One study found that chlorinated household cleaners reacting with other household cleaners can result in the formation of carcinogens chloroform and carbon tetrachloride.
Also, a bleach bath doesn’t address the cause of eczema. So it may provide relief, but won’t solve the problem. Finding what triggers eczema is a more permanent solution. While the exact cause of eczema isn’t known, it is believed to be linked to an overactive response by a body’s immune system to unknown triggers. Some people who suffer from eczema also suffer from allergies.
Generally, eczema sufferers will look for food allergies and common triggers. But what is often overlooked are reactions to beauty products, such as shampoos or washes. For example, formaldehyde can trigger allergic responses, and formaldehyde donor preservatives are common in many baby and children’s body products. Formaldehyde can also be released from easy care clothing and sheets, particularly during the warm summer months since sweat can mobilize formaldehyde. Children may also show allergic reactions to parabens, which are common preservatives in many bath products.
If you do choose to use a dilute bleach bath, make sure you consult with your child’s pediatrician first. And always store any bleach products out of reach of children.
It was 2am and my husband and I had finally fallen asleep, when our slumber was shattered by the cries of our 3 month old daughter. It was my turn to get up. I found that the little one had done it again – she needed to be changed AND so did her crib sheet. Of course it wasn’t her fault, but it was 2am and the crib sheet needed changing again? A necessary evil, I supposed. A baby needs a clean bed and you have to do what you have to do. But, the thought was overwhelming!
Why? Because it is not an easy task. I, like most people, had the crib set up with bumpers and toys so the baby can be safe and stimulated. In addition, crib mattresses are now required by US regulations to fit very snugly in the frame – again for safety reasons. While safe, it presents quite a problem when you go to change the sheet. You can’t fit your fingers between the sheet and the crib frame to get enough leverage to pull the sheet off and put a new one on. You literally have to pull the entire mattress out and stand it up in the crib to change the sheet. Of course, you can’t do that with the bumpers and the toys on. Aaarggghhh! All this, of course, at 2 am with a baby screaming!
This is a critical decision point in a parent’s life…. brave the task of spending the next 10 minutes cursing and fumbling or take an easier, if more dangerous, route. It is at this time when moms and dads are simply exhausted that they may make a poor decision. Research shows that many parents put a blanket or towel over the soiled sheets; others take their baby back into the bed with them. Both of these options are not ideal – a baby needs to sleep in a clean environment and sleeping with your baby in the same bed can be dangerous (e.g., suffocation). In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 60 children younger than two years suffocate each year after being placed to sleep in adult beds.
So, after struggling through one more 2am change,and trying hard to fight off the strong desire to just let my daughter sleep in my bed, I set out to create a crib that would make it easy for parents to choose the cleanest, safest option when it came time to change those sheets. I knew that the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA) consistently states that parents should follow the “A, B, C’s” for infants: “A”lone (no loose blankets or stuffed animals), on their “B”ack (sleeping position) and in a “C”rib (not in parents’ bed). With this in mind, I began the long journey of research with parents, understanding regulations and safety standards, designing and re-designing and patenting my invention. The result? The Quick Change Crib!
The Quick Change Crib has a patented “door” cleverly hidden into the headboard that opens so that parents can slide the mattress out horizontally, change the sheet, and slide it back in without ever having to remove toys, mobiles or bumpers; it literally can be done in 30 seconds. So now we have clean, healthy, safe baby…and definitely more well-rested mom and dad. Think of the extra time you save as more quality time with your baby.
The Quick Change Crib is certified safe by JPMA and and we participate in random quarterly testing through an independent laboratory that tests against CPSCA and ASTM standards. We have also won numerous awards for innovation and design (Whirlpool Mother of Invention Grand Prize Winner, NAPPA- National Parenting Publications Awards, Outstanding Product 2007 by iParenting Media Awards, etc.) and have been written about in leading magazines and journals.
The support for our crib has been undeniable…from Moms and Dads, the press, as well as from recent research. A 2009 study of unmet needs in cribs found that:
- 82% of parents believe that ease of use is a very important feature of a child’s crib, compared to 33% believing that design is very important and 17% who believe color is important;
- 97% of experienced moms and Dads find ease of use of the crib especially important;
- 72% of parents agree that changing the crib sheet is more frustrating than they expected.
- Nearly 60% of parents report that changing the crib sheet or lifting the mattress is “extremely difficult” or “very frustrating,” compared with 7 percent for changing a diaper.
This whole journey has been simply unbelievable. My parents always used to tell me “wait until you have kids!” whenever I questioned something they said or did, so I expected that my perspective on things might change, but I never expected being a mom would catapult me into a whole new business! I am, and have been for the last 15 years, a principal partner with a boutique management consulting company, but turning my crib idea into reality has been been like a lifetime of learning squashed into a few short years. I have my kids to thank for that (oh, yeah, and my parents, my husband, my business partner and a whole lot of other supportive people!). Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and I can’t wait to read yours!
JPMA Safety tips for selecting your first crib:
- This first “home” should be cheerful and secure. Each year, approximately 50 babies suffocate or strangle when they become trapped between broken crib parts or in cribs with older, unsafe designs. Many older cribs, including the one that was used for you or your younger children, do not meet all current safety standards. Even if you are on a tight budget, you should not purchase an old crib at a garage sale or accept a hand-me-down that does not meet the following guidelines
- Infants should ALWAYS sleep in a crib, which meets current Federal and ASTM standards.
- The crib mattress should fit snugly with no more than two fingers width, one-inch, between the edge of the mattress and the crib side. Otherwise, the baby can get trapped between the mattress and the side of the crib.
- No pillow-like bumpers.
- Look for the JPMA Certification Seal.