See a Sensory Friendly Screening of Sing Tomorrow at AMC

Last updated on January 23rd, 2017 at 01:16 pm

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.

Gunter_stage_pose_movie_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“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Sing on Saturday, January 14th at 10am (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 January: xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (Tues, 1/24) and Monster Trucks (Sat, 1/28)

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Editor’s note: Although Sing 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 some rude humor and mild peril. 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.

The WarmMe: The Safe Car Seat Winter Coat Alternative

Last updated on May 21st, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Just over four and a half years ago (Winter 2012), I found myself as a first time mom of a beautiful 6 month old baby girl and I had a problem. We had moved my daughter out of her infant car seat and into a convertible car seat, she was just too heavy to carry around in the infant seat. The problem was it was winter and I didn’t know how to keep her warm while also keeping her safe in her new seat. I had read many articles and seen many graphics online about the dangers of using a winter coat under the straps of car seat harness.

A winter coat is too bulky to safely and securely use under a car seat harness. We did the quick test suggested in multiple articles, put the child in their coat and secure the harness straps, tightening them until they feel snug, then take the child out of the seat and remove their coat, put them back in and buckle the straps. We were shocked by the results, we were certain the straps had been tight when the coat was one, but once the coat was removed there was so much slack in the straps! In the case of a car accident, the force from the accident would cause the child’s winter coat to compress against the straps and the result would be gaping, loose straps that a child could slip through. More recently (February 25, 2016), Consumer Report issued a report and video on this exact danger. They suggest removing the child’s coat and putting it over them like a blanket once they are secured in the car seat, or using a blanket to cover the child.

So, how would we keep our little girl warm throughout a cold Michigan winter? We tried multiple options including putting her coat or snowsuit on in the house and removing in the car then putting it over her once she was buckled. We tried layering blankets over her once she was buckled. We tried lightweight sweatshirts under the straps. None of these options were convenient or warm, taking the coat on and off was probably the most time consuming, the blankets didn’t stay on, and the sweatshirts just weren’t warm enough. That’s when I knew there had to be a warm and safe alternative to the winter coat. I decided to make something as warm as a blanket that would stay on without the need for removing in the car. I thought that something like a poncho would work the best, and so the first version of the The WarmMe was born.

The first version of The WarmMe was very basic, it kept my daughter warm and safe in the car, so it served it’s purpose but I felt there were improvements that could be made. The WarmMe had a single button on the front to secure it and made opening the front simple and easy for securing the car seat harness underneath. The first WarmMe was made of a fleece lined sherpa material that was cute and cuddly, but pricey plus very limited on color selection. The WarmMe worked well that first winter, so the next winter I made an identical one that was just a bit larger to fit my quickly growing daughter.

This second winter my daughter was becoming more independent and always wanting to walk rather than be carried, even on cold and windy winter days. I noticed that on a windy day her WarmMe would blow open when she was walking around outside. I decided to add something special that sets The WarmMe apart from other ponchos and kept my little girl warm even on windy days-by a special feature, interior pockets. The pockets on the inside allowed my daughter to keep her hands warm and also wrap The WarmMe around herself when she was wearing it outside of the car. Her second winter, my daughter loved her new and improved WarmMe with the added pockets. This was also when I decided to change the material from the sherpa to fleece. Fleece is much easier to work with especially when adding the pockets, has endless color and print combinations available, and is easily washable (a definite bonus when creating something for little kids!).

People stopped us all the time asking where were got The WarmMe and when I said I made it they started encouraging me to sell them. At this point in time I had two young children and was working part time as a school social worker, adding to a small business to my already full and busy life didn’t seem to make sense to me. Plus, my whole goal was to keep my daughters safe in the car, how could I put a price on that?

In October 2015 my life changed. I suffered a traumatic miscarriage. As our dream of adding a 3rd baby to our family was crushed and I was left in the most physical and emotional pain I have ever experienced, I found myself needing something I was passionate about to get me out of the dark place I was stuck in. At this point I had made a couple WarmMes as gifts for friends and family and the feedback was great, they loved how much easier it made everyday life. That’s when I went for it, I decided to take a chance and put them up for sale, as I realized I could reach a lot of parents and caregivers who were looking for a safe way to keep their little ones warm. The business started very small, just a couple postings on my personal Facebook page that were then shared by my family and friends.

Each WarmMe has always been custom made based on the child’s clothing size and the print or color preference, so I just focused on completing each order as it came in. People soon started asking for added features such as an attached hood. After asking around and doing a little experimenting I decided a hood is just too bulky to be comfortable behind a child’s head and neck while riding in the car. I decided to start offering matching hats and they’ve been a hit! The next request was for matching scarves for the mom or dad and that option was quickly added in what I like to call the “Mommy and Me Set.”

In February 2016, The WarmMe was featured on a segment called “Moms a Genius” on WXYZ Detroit and the business picked up from there. I could no longer keep up with orders on my own, so my wonderful and supportive husband stepped in to help. This year The WarmMe made the news again on my local news station WLNS 6 out of Lansing, MI and has been picked up by other stations in states such as South Carolina, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, and Virginia. This holiday season The WarmMe has been sent to cold states all over the map. The best part of the increased business has been the feedback from happy customers. Almost daily I receive messages stating how much parents and children alike love The WarmMe and how it has made life easier by keeping little ones safe and warm! It is amazing knowing that my product is making life a little easier for parents, while keeping their precious little ones safe! I’m very happy to say that both The WarmMe business and our family are growing as we are expecting the newest addition to our family in January 2017!

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

  1. While the WarmMe is designed to young children safe and warm in their car seats, there are also products designed to fit safely over infant seats while not interfering with the ability to securely buckle the harness. These products are ones that do not go between the child and the car seat or buckles, but go over the seat similar to a shower cap.
  2. If taking a long road trip or traveling far from home when road or weather conditions are really bad (remember, I’m talking Michigan winters!) take along coats, snowpants, or snowsuits. If something were to happen and you ended up stranded these items would definitely help keep your little one warm until help arrived.
  3. Remember safe sleep precautions when using The WarmMe, similar products, or blankets to keep your child warm in the car seat. Always be sure the fabric is away from their face allowing for an open airway. If transferring a sleeping child from the car into their bed always remove The WarmMe.
  4. Here is the official Consumer Reports recommended “simple way to check if your child’s coat is too big and bulky to wear under their harness”
  • Put the coat on your child, sit them in the child seat and fasten the harness. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any of the harness webbing with your thumb and forefinger.
  • Without loosening the harness, remove your child from the child seat.
  • Take the coat off, and put your child back in the child seat and buckle the harness straps, which are still adjusted as they were when he was wearing the coat.
  • If you can now pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.

Video: How to Protect Young Children from Poisoning

Last updated on January 23rd, 2017 at 01:14 pm

In this 2-minute video, Katrina Phillips of the Child Accident Prevention Trust talks about what you can do to protect your child from poisoning.

 

Editor’s Note: Video Highlights

  • Protecting young children from poisoningThe most common culprit for child poisoning is everyday painkillers
    • It’s important to put them somewhere where a small child can’t be tempted by the bright colors and where they can’t reach them
  • The other common cause of poisoning for young children is household cleaning products
  • Note that child safety caps on medicines and cleaning products can slow young children getting them open, but they’re not actually childproof
    • Some three and four year-olds can open those caps in seconds, so it’s important not to rely on child safety caps to keep young children safe from poisoning
  • There are other things around your home that you wouldn’t suspect could be poisonous to small children but are – including:
    • Perfume on your dressing table
    • Aromatherapy oils that you might have in your bathroom
    • Small amounts of alcohol, like the dregs left in the bottom of a glass
  • You need to think about what might be harmful to a small child and put it somewhere where they can’t see it and where they can’t reach it
  • Also, get your gas appliances serviced every year – and fit a carbon-monoxide alarm that will sound a warning if levels of the poisonous gas are too high in your home
  • Finally, if you think your child has swallowed something poisonous, it’s important to get immediate medical advice and help





Child Health & Safety News: Wk 2 “Fake News -A Classroom Crisis”

Last updated on January 13th, 2017 at 12:09 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Children’s Safety News: Millions of Students Skip School Each Year Because of Bullying https://t.co/3IotCKNUIw

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 social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we miss something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of this past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Fake News Isn’t Just an Internet Problem, It’s a Classroom Crisis. A New Push for Media Literacy https://t.co/NLWvhTJ0fy

Helpful Car Shopping Tips for Special Needs Parents

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 12:12 pm

woman_car_shoppingCar shopping overwhelms me. In many ways it’s exciting, but I am not good with all the little details. I also do not need every single bell and whistle – I just need a reliable, safe vehicle to load up with my kids and putter around town or occasionally go somewhere a bit farther. Also it should get excellent gas mileage and offer an affordable monthly payment, of course.

Every parent of a special needs child will have a unique list of requirements and requests, just like every driver likes things a certain way. For me, a dark cloth seat is important. My special needs child tends to spill things a lot, so something easy to clean that doesn’t show all the mess is key. Also, lots of cup holders will help avoid some spills. Lots of plugs and ports will also help avoid meltdowns on long rides. We don’t need ramps or lifts, but whatever your needs are you can find an adapted vehicle or have your vehicle modified in many ways.

With three rapidly growing kids in my brood I felt a third row seat was important. Also, my special needs child sometimes needs to stretch very dramatically, although this is less about being a special needs kid and more about just being a kid in general – especially a kid who has siblings. She also occasionally has muscle spasms that can be very painful for her (as well as for the person next to her when an arm or leg suddenly shoots out on its own) so giving the kids enough interior space was a high priority for me.

The tricky part for me is not to get distracted by how I want my life to be and to stay focused on the reality of my life. Sure, I would love to have the ginormous family vehicle with ample cargo space and seats for eleventy three for all those road trips and beach outings…but the fact is that we rarely do those things. I would love to plan detailed vacations where we shuttle from place to place exploring cultural and historical locations in areas near and far…but I am not all that good with all the little details, as I said earlier. So really, why pay for the tank-sized truckster every day when we might only use it for its true purpose once?

If your family needs a new vehicle, do your research. Be good at the little details, unlike me. There are so many packages and options available, find the one that suits your family’s special requests. If your special needs child is very sensitive to cold you might want the option to turn on the engine and the heater from inside your house via your smartphone. If you need to carry medication with you then an air conditioned glove compartment might be an absolute necessity for your family.

For more information on vehicles and special needs, check out this brochure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See Hidden Figures Sensory Friendly Tomorrow Evening at AMC

Last updated on January 13th, 2017 at 12:53 am

New sensory friendly logoAMC 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 Hidden Figures, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum.

As 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.

Does 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 Hidden Figures tomorrow, Tuesday, January 10th 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 Soon: Sing (Sat, 1/14), xXx The Return of Xander Cage (Tues, 1/24) and Monster Trucks (Sat, 1/28)

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Editor’s note: Although Hidden Figures has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for thematic elements and some language. 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 family.