Thank You Painter Mommy!

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 02:55 pm

button_light_250x250Several weeks ago we read a terrific post that a mom had written on her site about how to keep your kids safe from abduction.  We liked it so much we asked her to become a guest blogger and publish it on our site as well.  This past week we were honored to find she had also published an in-depth review of Pediatric Safety.  We are so proud to be featured on Painter Mommy…we couldn’t let the week go by without sharing the news with our readers…and saying THANK YOU to Dawn.  We were thrilled by your post.

By the way, for those of you who didn’t catch her article, it was called Stop Missing Kids Part II: Protect Your Child from Abduction …and can be found here.    Thanks again Painter Mommy!



Halloween 2009 – Happy, Healthy and Safe

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 02:56 pm

halloween-kids-smallerI 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.


  1. (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.
  2. (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 )
  3. (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.
  4. (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.
  5. (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.
  6. (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

  1. (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.
  2. (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.
  3. (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.
  4. (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…

  1. (NCMEC) Be sure older children TAKE FRIENDS and younger children are accompanied by a TRUSTED ADULT when “Trick or Treating.”
  2. (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.
  3. (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.
  4. (NCMEC) Remind them to NEVER approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  5. (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…

Halloween dog1


Halloween dog2…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.


Halloween dog6Halloween dog4 ************************************************************************************************************


  1. 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
  2.  Top 10 Halloween Safety Tips for Families: Child Safety Examiner October 28, 2009
  3.  Trick-or-Treat Food Allergy Safety: Dr Kristie McNealy October 26, 200
  4. Thanks also go out to PediatricSafety’s EMS Safety Expert Jim Love for our “man’s best friend” photos.

Solutions to Turn Pessimistic Kids Into Optimistic Thinkers

Last updated on May 30th, 2017 at 10:38 pm

“Why should I bother? You know they won’t choose me.” “What’s the point? I’ll never make the team.” “Why are you making me go? You know I won’t have fun.”

Let’s face it: Kids with pessimistic attitudes are among the most frustrating breeds. They give up easily, believe anything they do won’t make a difference, and assume they won’t succeed. Sadly, they rarely see the good, wonderful things of life. They dwell instead on the negative, bad parts, and often find only the inadequacies in themselves: “I’m so dumb, why study?” “Nobody’s going to like me, why bother?” (Beware: the trend is increasing: a child today is ten times more likely to be seriously depressed compared to a child born in the first third of this century.) So what’s a parent to do?

Pessimism hurtsFirst, do know I empathize if you have one of these little critters. I know this is troubling stuff, and at times even heartbreaking. After all, one of the hardest parts of being a parent is when your child isn’t happy. But there is one point you must keep in mind: Kids are not born pessimistic. Research shows a large part of this attitude is learned along the way. So take heart: research at Penn State University concludes that parents can help their kids become more optimistic. Doing so will dramatically increases the likelihood of your son or daughter’s long-term happiness. So roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started. Here are secrets to help make a real difference on your child’s life from The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.

  1. Eliminate the negatives you can. Start by doing what you can do: Cut the sources that might be exacerbating your kid’s pessimism. Possibilities? Why not reduce the terrifying news on CNN; stop talking about the bad stuff on the front page; listen to your own negative talk and curb it; monitor the cynical musical lyrics your kid is hearing? Where once those tragic and terrifying world events seemed so far, far away or only printed words in the newspaper, they are now 24/7 on our TVs and Internet screens. So be more vigilante and turn off what you can control. Enough!
  2. Look for the positive. Next, consciously stress a more optimistic outlook in your home so your child sees the good parts of life instead of just the downside. For instance, start nightly “Good News Reports”: each family member can report something good that happened that day to him or her. Or share optimistic stories. The world is filled with examples of individuals who suffered enormous obstacles, but don’t cave into pessimistic thinking. Instead they remained optimistic, and kept at their dreams until they succeeded. So look for examples to share with your kids.
    • Institute goodness reviews. Each night start a new ritual with your child of reviewing all the good parts about her day. Your child will go to sleep remembering the positives about life. If you do it often enough, it will become a routine that your child will do on her own.
  3. Confront pessimistic thinking. Don’t let your child get trapped into “Stinkin’ Thinkin’. Help him tune into his pessimistic thoughts and learn to confront them. You could point out cynicism by creating a code–such as pulling on your ear or touching your elbow–that only you and your kid are aware. The code means he’s uttered a cynical comment. Encourage your kid to listen to his own cynical comments. Suggest an older kid wear a watch or bracelet. The watch reminds her to tune into how often she is pessimistic. Or even help your kid count their pessimistic comments for a set time period: “For the next few minutes listen how many times you say downbeat things.” A young kid can count comments on his fingers. An older kid can use coins moving one from his left to right pocket.
  4. Balance pessimistic talk. One way to thwart your kid’s pessimistic thinking is by providing a more balanced perspective. If you use the strategy enough, your child will use it to help counter pessimistic talk. Suppose your child won’t go to her friend’s birthday thinking no one likes her. Offer a more balanced view: “If Sunny didn’t like you, you’d never have been invited.” Or if your kid blows her math test exclaiming that she’s stupid. You say: “Nobody can be good at everything. You’re good in history and art. Meanwhile, let’s figure out how to improve your math.”
  5. Deal with mistakes optimistically. Pessimists often give up at the first sign of difficulty, not recognizing that mistakes are a fact of life. Tips to help kids keep a more optimistic outlook to setbacks are: Stressing that it’s okay to make mistakes. Give kids permission to fail so they can risk. Admit your mistakes. It helps kids recognizes mistake making happens to everyone. Or even call it another name. Optimists call mistakes by other names: glitch, bug, etc., so rename it!
  6. Encourage positive speculation. Help your child think through possible outcomes of any situation so he’ll be more likely to have a realistic appraisal before making any decision and less likely to utter a pessimistic one. You might: Asking “what if?” kinds of questions to help your kid think about potential consequences. List pros and cons of any choice to help your child weigh the positive and negative outcomes. Or name the worst thing that could happen if he followed through so he can weigh if it’s all that bad.
  7. Acknowledge a positive attitude. Do be on the alert for those times your child does utter optimism. If you’re not looking for the behavior, you may well miss those moments when your child is trying a new approach. “Kara, I know how difficult your spelling tests have been. But saying you think you’ll do better was being so optimistic. I’m sure you’ll do better because you’ve been studying so hard.”

Face it, this is a troubling time to be growing up, and cynical kids tune into the bad times often seeing only the downward side of any situation. The world really is a wonderful and hopeful place. We just need to take the time and point out all the goodness in it to our kids. After all, this is their world, and the habits they learn now will last them a lifetime. Let’s make sure that one of those habits is the optimistic thinking and recognizing the wonder and beauty in life.


Dr Borba’s new book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research. The Big Book of Parenting Solutions has just been released and is now available at

Child Passenger Safety is a 24/7/365 Job

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 02:57 pm

Surprised PosterFor one week, Child Passenger Safety was on everyone’s mind! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council combined to make an all-out effort to get the message out: parents and other caregivers need to make the right choices regarding child safety car seats…and resources are available…help is available.

But one week is not enough time to get the message out to all who need to hear it. Child passenger safety, when it comes to choosing the right car seat, installing it properly, and making sure it that it is appropriately latched, is an issue that requires addressing 24 hours a day/ 7days a week/ 365 days a year.

To that end, the message has to continue. Everyone you know who transports young children needs to know that free help is available for the purpose of making sure that they are choosing safe car seats and using them properly.

On Twitter: Any child passenger safety questions will be answered by an actual safety expert. Go to the @ChildSeatSafety account on Twitter.

On Facebook: The page at is the place for parents to learn about the LATCH program, location of inspection offices, and any other up-to-date information from NHTSA.

On the Website: Created by the Ad Council, in conjunction with NHTSA, is a website for parents to go to in order to be able to view instructional videos, locate inspection stations, and take a fun quiz to make sure you have the correct information regarding child passenger safety.

The more caregivers who become aware of, and utilize this information, the more childrens’ lives we save.

National Child Safety 1

First Year Developmental Milestones: Learn the Signs…Act Early

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 02:58 pm

Have you ever wondered how your child is growing and developing compared to other children of the same age? It wouldn’t be unusual if you have.  Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones, and they have often held a special place in the bragging hearts of grandparents everywhere.  There is however another side to developmental milestones.  One milestones chartthat is even more valuable to parents.

Although no two children grow at the same rate, experts agree there are “normal” signs of development.   Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (crawling, walking, etc.).  Given the reports that have been published recently about the increased findings of autism in the US, it is not surprising that more and more parents are searching for information to help them identify signs of delayed development.   Knowing that early recognition and action have the potential to make a difference, the CDC has incorporated some wonderful information on developmental milestones from the AAP into the Learn the Signs…Act Early pages of their site and provided access to some terrific resources to help if assistance is needed.

Here are the milestones you can monitor for your child’s first year…

By 3 months of age:

Social and Emotional

  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more expressive and communicates more with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions

 Movementmilestone-3 month old

  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys


  • Watches faces intently
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination

Hearing and Speech

  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Begins to babble
  • Begins to imitate some sounds
  • Turns head toward direction of sound

By 7 months of age:

Social and Emotional

  • Enjoys social play
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion and appears joyful often


  • Finds partially hidden object
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Struggles to get objects that are out of reach


  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to respond to “no”
  • Can tell emotions by tone of voice
  • Responds to sound by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Babbles chains of sounds


  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits with, and then without, support on hands
  • Supports whole weight on legs
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Uses hand to rake objects


  • Develops full color vision
  • Distance vision matures
  • Ability to track moving objects improves

By 12 months of age:

Social and Emotional

  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in his play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
  • Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings
  • Tests parental responses to his behavior
  • May be fearful in some situations
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Finger-feeds himself
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressedmilestone-1yr


  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Looks at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)


  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to “no”
  • Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
  • Babbles with inflection (changes in tone)
  • Says “dada” and “mama”
  • Uses exclamations, such as “Oh-oh!”
  • Tries to imitate words


  • Reaches sitting position without assistance
  • Crawls forward on belly
  • Assumes hands-and-knees position
  • Creeps on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • May walk two or three steps without support

 Hand and Finger Skills

  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Bangs two objects together
  • Puts objects into container
  • Takes objects out of container
  • Lets objects go voluntarily
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling

As a parent, you know your child best. If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or if you think there could be a problem you do have resources:

  • call your child’s pediatrician and share your concerns – don’t wait.  If you or your child’s doctor think there may be a delay, ask for a referral to a specialist who can do a more in-depth evaluation of your child.
  • call your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to find out if your child qualifies for intervention services. This is sometimes called a Child Find evaluation. You do not need to wait for a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call.  To find the contact for your state, call National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) at 1-800-695-0285 or visit the NICHCY website. *Update. NICHCY was de-funded in 2013, their resources have moved here.
  • there is some great information on the CDC website If You’re Concerned page about “What to Say” when you call and “What to Do” while you’re waiting for help.
  • A page of Links to Useful Sites:  Parenting and Family Support;  Healthcare Providers that offer testing and intervention resources;  Childcare and Early Education resources

Watch for these milestones in your child over time and don’t make any judgements based on a single day. Remember, each child is different and may learn and grow at a different rate. However, if your child cannot do many of the skills listed for his or her age group, you should consult your pediatrician.  According to developmental specialists Joyce Powell and Dr Charles Smith, remember to take into account if your child was born sooner than his or her due date and be sure to deduct the number of months early from his or her age. A 5-month-old milestones conclusion2born 2 months early would be expected to show the same skills as a 3-month-old who was born on his or her due date.

Please remember, you are the most important observer of your child’s development.  You will know before anyone if there is a delay in reaching any of their key milestones.   The good news is, the earlier it’s recognized the more you can do to help your child reach his or her full potential.


Milestone Work Referenced:

  • From CARING FOR YOUR BABY AND YOUNG CHILD: BIRTH TO AGE 5 by Steven Shelov, Robert E. Hannermann, © 1991, 1993, 1998, 2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Powell, J. and Smith, C.A. (1994). The 1st year. In *Developmental milestones: A guide for parents*. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Today’s Sensitive Children

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 02:59 pm

Children today are more sensitive emotionally, physically and kids and tech-315x236psychically. They are concerned about everyone and everything, tend to suffer more dietary problems and just how do they know what mood you’re in before you even enter a room!

When you consider they are also coping with unprecedented rates of change in technology, population dynamics and culture, we must take a look at how we parent and educate them. Most of them will be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist and many of them will be solving problems that we aren’t yet aware of, using technology that in some cases, frankly intimidates us.

After countless hours with hundreds of truly remarkable families I have come to realise that:

  • Every child has “special needs”
  • Every child has inner wisdom, and
  • Every child has something to teach us

What if, instead of seeing your child as rude and aggressive, you see someone who is floundering emotionally, desperate for more support and struggling to express themselves? What if you see the potential your children are trying to demonstrate and embrace it with all your heart.

It takes a special parent/carer/teacher to set aside their inbuilt reactions, preconceived ideas and socially acceptable norms to be able to truly hear the depth of wisdom in our children. Some parents feel they are failures even though they are doing the best they can with what they know. It’s been said before ‘children don’t come with a manual’. These days it would need to be online and interactive.

We need to empower our children to experience themselves and then they will be confident to take responsibility for themselves. All parents want the best for their children… maybe in this new world we’re going to need to spend a little more time listening to them and learning from them if we are going to truly help them discover their magnificence.