A Question on Vehicle Booster Seats Answered

Several years ago I wrote a post on booster seats (I’m 9 Years Old – Do I Really Still Need a Booster Seat?) about how my then 9 year old son didn’t want to keep Portrait Of Girl Holding Booster Seat Standing Next To Carusing a booster seat in the car because none of his friends did anymore and he felt he was old enough to use the regular seat belt. The point of the article was that guidelines issued in 2011 recommended using a booster seat until a child reaches 4’9” tall (57 inches) and weighs between 80 and 100 pounds – generally in the range of 8-12 years of age. This continues to be one of our most read posts on the site and still gets occasional comments – which indicates the ongoing confusion and lack of clear laws and communication about what constitutes safe car travel for our older kids.

Recently one of our readers asked a very good question about my post – which warranted some extra research:

My car (Jeep Cherokee, older) has a bench seat in back, and the back of the seat is somewhat low. If my 8 year old son is not in a booster, his head and neck are against the seat and supported; in a booster, his shoulders, neck and head are above the seat back and completely unsupported. In a wreck, that booster would cause his neck to be snapped. I really hate that the law forces me to endanger him that way with the booster. Buying a new car isn’t an option, and I wish there were some sort of aftermarket option that was safe and crash-tested, which would allow the belt to fit him and keep him out of the booster. Suggestions?

To get an expert perspective on this issue, I turned to Stephanie Tombrello, LCSW, CPSTI, Executive Director of SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. According to Tombrello, “if a parent has a vehicle with a low-back vehicle seat, the immediate recommendation is a high back booster. There are many options in every price range and with a variety of backs.” The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a recommended list of “Good Bets” for booster seats in 2015, many of which are high back models. Additionally, “for some children, the Dorel (Safety 1st) Incognito booster for children 60-120 lbs. can be low enough to allow for fitting the belt properly while not placing the child high in the vehicle,” says Tombrello.

If none of these options suit, parents can consider an alternative to booster seats – the Safe Traffic System RIDESAFER Travel Vest – which Tombrello also recommended.  These vests, which are billed as the world’s first wearable child restraint system, reduce the load transferred to the child in a crash, thereby providing better safety. However, please note that these vests are limited to a weight of 80 pounds and height of 57 inches.

Virtually no US laws make it clear that children need booster seats until adult belts fit – and there’s little guidance to parents on how to determine fit. Tombrello cautions “that children must be able to pass the 5-Step Test before dispensing with a booster. The potential injuries to the bowel or stomach from the misplaced lap belt are significant.” See the box below for the steps to take to determine if and when your child can graduate to adult seat belts – and go to www.carseat.org for more information on protecting children and pregnant women in the car.

The 5-Step Test
1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

AMC has The Good Dinosaur Sensory Friendly on Saturday

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Good-Dinosaur-posterDoes it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

This Saturday November 28th, at 10am local time, AMC and the Autism Society’s “Sensory Friendly Film” program will be showing The Good Dinosaur. Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in December: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay – Part 2 (Tues, 12/08); The Good Dinosaur (Sat, 12/12); and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Tues, 12/22 and Sat, 12/26)

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Editor’s note: Although The Good Dinosaur has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for peril, action and thematic elements. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Healthy Eating Starts with Kids in the Kitchen

Two kids cooking at home.Cooking tasty, healthy food with your children is a great way to spend time together and for them to learn about healthy eating.

Kids love developing new skills and even fussy eaters may be tempted by dishes they’ve made themselves.

So let them have a go in the kitchen, and praise them for their efforts. They might even help with the washing-up.

Kitchen Safety

It’s essential to supervise children in the kitchen at all times.

Restrict the jobs that you give them according to their age and ability. For example, pre-schoolers might only mix dough with their hands, whereas older kids can peel and chop vegetables.

Don’t forget to tell them the hygiene and safety rules before you start. Explain why some things in a kitchen are dangerous.

Important hygiene rules include:

  • Always wash your hands before you start and after handling raw meat or fish.
  • Make sure surfaces are clean before any food goes near them. This is especially important if you have pets.
  • Clean surfaces that have had raw meat on them immediately, such as chopping boards.
  • Always check that poultry and pork are cooked all the way through. A good rule of thumb is that the meat is cooked when the juices run clear.
  • Wash all fruit and vegetables.

Important safety tips include:

  • Never run in the kitchen.
  • Mop up spills straight away.
  • Hold and use knives with great care (show children the correct way).
  • Turn pan handles into the hob, but not over a flame.
  • Always wear oven gloves when putting something in or getting something out of the oven.
  • Watch out for fat spitting from a hot frying pan or roasting tin.

No matter how much care is taken, accidents in the kitchen do happen, especially if young children are left unsupervised. Find out more about how to prevent injuries at home.

Make it Fun

Take kids shopping with you so they can choose the ingredients themselves.

Give yourself plenty of time, and have some spare ingredients in case the children make mistakes.

Choose something that will be simple and healthy. It can be fun to make something that the children can make into shapes or decorate with a smiley face.

You can get plenty of ideas from child-friendly recipe books or even kids’ cookery programmes on TV, but to get started, try this recipe for fishcakes.

Salmon Cake Smilies

Ingredients

  • 1 can (213g) of pink salmon
  • 100g wholemeal (wholewheat*) breadcrumbs
  • 3 spring (green*) onions, finely chopped
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or dill
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • 8 capers, drained
  • 2 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Method

First, help the children get all the ingredients out of the cupboards and fridge. Then everyone can help prepare them as above. So beat the egg, chop the herbs, onions and tomatoes, slice and juice the lemon, and drain the capers.

Open the can of salmon and remove any pieces of skin or bones. Let the children flake the fish into a mixing bowl.

Now add the spring (green*) onions, breadcrumbs, egg, lemon juice, horseradish sauce, herbs, oil and pepper. The kids can then combine the mixture, with their hands or a wooden spoon, until the ingredients are mixed well.

Next, separate the mixture into four equal portions and make them into a round shape. (They can be made into fun shapes, but remember that they may not cook evenly.)

  • Pre-heat the grill.
  • Brush the fishcakes with a little oil.
  • Grill the fishcakes for around five minutes on each side, until golden and sizzling. (Remember, it’s not safe for younger children to use the oven.)
  • Let the fishcakes cool a little, then allow the kids to make smiley faces on top of the fishcakes, using a lemon slice for a mouth, half a cherry tomato for a nose and capers for the eyes.
  • Serve the fishcakes with a fresh green salad, and enjoy.

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 11-16-2015 to 11-22-2015

twitter thumbIn this week’s Children’s Safety News: Recognize a Dog’s Body Language Before Your Child Gets Bitten?  https://t.co/2ZqK0Gh82N

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use Twitter and Facebook to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 10 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
12 Things You May Have to Do When Your Child Is Falsely Accused of Bullying Someone https://t.co/YVzoogVoIz

Tomorrow the New Hunger Games Movie is Sensory Friendly

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program, in partnership with the Autism Society!  This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of the new Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay – Part 2, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum. 

New sensory friendly logoAs always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

HungerGames-Mockingjay-P2-posterDoes it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing the Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay – Part 2, tomorrow, Tuesday, November 24th at 7pm (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming later in NovemberThe Good Dinosaur (Sat, 11/28)

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Editor’s note: Although The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2 has been chosen by the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Personal Drive or Pedigree: Which Predicts Future Success?

little girl studying

Did you know that more top CEOs in United States graduated from a state college than an Ivy League University such as Harvard, Yale, or Princeton?

Shocked?

Research is showing there’s a far more important predictor of a grad’s future success than the prestige of the school or faculty or even the price of tuition. What matters far more is the  graduate’s “personal drive quotient.”

Nothing beats stick-to-it-ness and hard work when it comes to boosting success-absolutely nothing. And research continues to confirm that crucial fact.

What the University of Michigan Study Found

One of the most fascinating recent studies on student achievement was conducted by Harold Stevenson, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. Stevenson sought to answer a question many Americans ask, “Why do Asian students do better academically than American students?”

The Learning GapSince 1979, Stevenson’s team of researchers conducted five intensive cross-national studies analyzing students’ achievement in the United States, China, Taiwan, and Japan. Hundreds of hours observing students and interviewing their teachers, the researchers reached a conclusion: a critical key lies in what parents emphasize about their children’s learning. Here’s the difference in parenting styles:

Asian parents strongly stress the value of effort with their children.  Over and again they tell their children, “Work as hard as you can, and you will be successful.” By expecting their children to work hard, and emphasizing the attitude: “there are no excuses for poor grades, you just didn’t work hard enough,” perseverance is nurtured in Asian children. And the parental expectations had a remarkable effect on their children. The researchers found on the whole, Asian children worker longer and harder than their American counterparts because they had recognized their success was based on how hard they worked.

Instead of prioritizing how much effort our kids put into their learning attempts, research found that most American parents emphasized: “So what grade did you get?” or “How many did you miss?” or “Did you win?”

The researchers also found that the effort a child put into their process is not nearly as important to the American parent as the end product of the grade or score.

continuous_effort_200Stevenson also found American parents place a greater emphasis on their children’s innate abilities. They tend to lower their academic expectations for their children if they perceive them to have lower academic abilities.

An Asian parents’ philosophy is different: any child can succeed regardless of an IQ score or handicap–success is all a matter of how hard you are willing to work.

Just think a minute of the long term effect of stressing effort could have on our children!

Our kids would learn from an early age that there’s nothing that can stop them from succeeding if they put their heart and soul into their endeavors. They would see mistakes or failures as just temporary setbacks, instead of as excuses to quit. If they just keep on trying, and use their mistakes as learning clues, they’ll ultimately achieve their goals!

A Quick Quiz to Assess Your Own Parenting Emphasis

In an era of “no-child left untested” society, and when the ultimate measure of a student’s success is too often the all-mighty SAT score, it might be a good time to take a serious Reality Check. After all, what values we model and emphasize to our kids influences how they turn out. So push the pause button just for a second and ponder these queries:

The Parent Reality Check

  • When is the last time this week you praised your children’s stick-to-it-ness?
  • When your child brought home that work folder did you emphasize his grades or his effort?
  • When is the last time you’ve pointed out to your children how much your value the glorious virtue of perseverance?
  • If your kids had only your example to watch today (or yesterday), what would they have picked up? Would perseverance and stick-to-it-ness be one of those virtues?
  • Are you more likely to praise your child’s effort or the end product?

When all is said and done, it’s not that pricey, prestigious degree that will help your child succeed in the real world.

What research says will help far more: Your child’s strong “inner drive.” The good news: perseverance can be cultivated in children. It’s all a matter of what we reinforce.

So when’s the last time you acknowledged your child for hanging in there, not giving up, giving it his all, or putting in good old, effort?

************************************************************************************************************Borba - book cover -parentingsolutions140x180

Dr Borba’s 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 is available at amazon.com