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Coughy Cup

Imagine a coffee cup that’s not for coffee and it has no bottom. It’s my latest invention. I turned a coffee cup into a cup for coughing and sneezing. It’s called a Coughy Cup as in coughing cup. It’s a play on words but hardly child’s play.

Coughy_Cup in UseThe Coughy Cup looks like a standard Starbucks’ paper coffee cup with a plastic lid but it’s the inside that matters most. The Coughy Cup captures, contains, filters and kills 99.9% of germs and viruses. This means the germs and viruses stay in the cup and not in the air, on your hands, body or others. How? By using an antiviral and the same face mask filters used by doctors during surgery.

My name is John Delatorre. I was once a TV weatherman for ABC in Sacramento, California, Corpus Christ, Texas, El Paso, Texas and a few other cities. I spent much of my time visiting schools teaching kids weather and encouraging them to stay in school and away from drugs. Today I’ve taken on a whole new role in my efforts to help children.

A few months ago, my wife and I were watching Shark Tank; the ABC reality show. Out of the blue, my wife says to me, “You need to invent something to help children.” My initial reaction was to say it’s not easy to think of things to invent and that it takes time. My next response gave way to its creation. I told her that I would pray about it and see what God had to say. I did not pray at that moment nor later that night but 24 hours later I did. My wife was out of town that night so before I went to sleep I closed my eyes and my exact words were, ‘Okay God. You heard her. What do you got?’ A half second later I pictured two words; Coughy Cup. I immediately knew what it would be. There was no doubt in my mind. I was blown away. I was sure God had blessed me with an amazing gift. That night I began my research and the next day I started writing my fifth patent application. When my wife returned the next day, she agreed God had given me a great idea.

My initial reaction was to draw up every crazy complicated cup I could think of. Thank goodness that thought process didn’t last long. I quickly understood that I had to manufacture each cup for as little as possible and I had to be sure my cups would be socially acceptable. So, what is the cheapest form of a coffee cup? Paper, right?

Paper coffee cups and plastic lids can be made for pennies and people are very comfortable walking around holding them. They’re seen everywhere from meetings to work and play. I also understood that the name Coughy Cup easily described how the cup should be used so that was a huge advantage.

Cough_Cup_Lid-photoWith this new knowledge, I set out to design a common coffee cup with a plastic lid. The only difference would be my cup would have no bottom, a bunch of holes in the lid and a filter. But, the cup was the easy part. The key to the success of the Coughy Cup would be the filter or as I like to call it, Coughy filter.

My journey began with understanding how to avoid germs and viruses. I found myself studying how surgical face masks worked. I knew there were a lot of face masks; some better than others. I soon found out that some materials used in face masks make breathing more difficult. My filters had to make breathing easy.

Consider what it’s like to cough. You expend a tremendous amount of air after each cough and immediately your body requires you to inhale deeply. The breathability of my Coughy filters makes it easy to inhale after each cough.

It also turns out the best face mask filter has a bacterial filtration efficiency of 99.9% and a particle filtration efficiency of 99.9%. But I didn’t want to only trap the bacteria. I wanted to kill it too. I knew other products were killing 99.9% of germs & viruses. So, I figured I’d find a way to apply this same technology to my cups. I am happy to say I found a solution, one that will remain a secret for now.

Soon after, I introduced the cups to the world of social media using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and launched two sites of my own: www.CoughyCup.com and http://coughyt.wordpress.com. The response to the Coughy Cup has been amazing!  In a few short weeks, thousands of teachers, parents, doctors, nurses and even Howie Mandel are following my work and appear to be my greatest advocates and why not? They know germs and viruses better than most.

So now the word is out! One of the first questions I often get is people wondering whether I expect them to walk around coughing into a cup. The question always makes me chuckle. You can certainly use my cups while walking around but that’s not how I expect people to use them. My cups are primarily for confined areas where people are expected to sit for long periods of time. Places like schools, school buses, airplanes, daycare centers, nursing homes, prisons, doctors’ waiting rooms and hospitals.

coughy_cup_with tissue dispenserImagine you’re on a road trip and someone in the vehicle gets sick? Would you prefer they be given a Coughy Cup to reduce the chance of others in the vehicle getting sick? Imagine you’re on a plane and the person next to you can’t stop coughing. Would you prefer the flight attendant hand the passenger a Coughy Cup? I’ve had people tell me they plan to buy my cups to give away to anyone around them who start coughing and sneezing.

My primary goal is to first get my cups into the hands of young school children. They represent a major line of defense in battling the spread of germs and viruses. If my cups can help reduce germs & viruses in schools, that means fewer kids and teachers missing school and healthier parents who don’t miss work.

Studies show that, on average, 40 percent of teachers in New Jersey’s Camden City Public Schools are taking sick days compared to only 3% absenteeism among the average American worker.

I believe the CDC will one day consider the Coughy Cup to be a huge help in so many ways. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are constantly seeking ways to better understand, treat and ultimately prevent infectious diseases. The numbers of people affected in the U.S. alone are staggering.

  • The average child can catch between 6 to 12 colds every year.
  • Colds cause children to miss 22 million days of school every year.
  • More than 1 billion colds and more than 30 million flu cases occur every year.
  • Almost 1 million people have died related to influenza in the U.S. in the last 30 years.

Ultimately, I would like to see a dishwasher-safe, reusable Coughy Cup in every child’s book bag. Teachers would be able to use the cups as a way of instructing children to perform one common behavior and a way to monitor who’s sick in their classrooms.

They would always have their cup at the ready. The shelf life of my Coughy filters is more than two years and they’re in air tight sealed envelopes. The child would simply take the filter out of the envelope, snap it to the lid, place the lid on the cup and cough or sneeze. It’s that simple.

So what’s my plan for getting my cups into schools? I’m hoping to recruit the help of pharmaceutical companies, cough syrup manufacturers and the makers of tissues. It’s a win/win. They get good PR and the kids get free cups.

I also hope to convince the airline industry to offer my cups to their passengers, especially international passengers. Consider the Middle East virus. The bird flu is only a plane ride away. The U.S. government is very concerned about the likelihood of a pandemic flu. It’s why they are stockpiling needles and syringes to be shipped to 10 receiving stations throughout the U.S.  The purchase order can be viewed on their FedBizOpps.gov website.

But getting the cups into the hands of children and airline passengers unfortunately won’t be possible this flu season because I still have a lot of paperwork to do. Believe it or not, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider the Coughy Cup to be a medical device. The FDA requires what they call Pre-Market Approval. This means any claims I make (i.e., kills 99.9% of germs & viruses) must pass an FDA evaluation before I can sell my cups. It’s a whole lot of government paperwork and a min of $9,500 to get there.

Still, I have no doubt the FDA will certify my cups. The Coughy Cup might sound too good to be true but it’s not because the science and technology works. In the end I expect the Coughy Cup to be by far my most successful invention.

Coughy_Cup sloganThat success may include winning the right to sit on the shelves at Wal-Mart and Target. I recently entered Wal-Mart’s “Get on the Shelf” and Target’s Simplicity Challenge contests.

  • Wal-Mart gives Facebook users a chance to vote for which products they like best. I am happy to say my Coughy Cup made it through round two. Get additional information here
  • Target’s contest is just getting underway. Target is using doctors and healthcare industry experts as judges. The winner gets $25,000 and a chance to partner with Target. Details can be found here

If all goes as planned, the Coughy Cup should begin showing up in schools and airplanes by next cold and flu season. I believe once people begin seeing the Coughy Cup in use, it will become better understood and more socially acceptable.

So, pass the cup not the germs, because NOT sharing is caring.

HEALTHFUL HINTS

I. Tips to Avoid Germs

  • Don’t put personal items like backpacks, book bags, books, coats or similar items on the floor, especially public restroom floors or on kitchen counters or tables at home as this may further spread germs.
  • Leave your phone in your bag or pocket when entering restrooms either at home or public.
  • Try not to multitask (i.e., talking on phone, working on computer) when cooking. This could spread germs from one surface to another
  • Children should never share food in school, especially during cold and flu season. If it’s necessary to share books, remember to never touch any portion of your face until you wash your hands and even then try to not touch your face.

II. Cold vs. Flu

  • Colds usually go away on their own in 3 to 5 days.
  • Colds are usually contagious in the first 3 days.
  • A cough that last more than 5 days may be a sign of a sinus infection or pneumonia.
  • Pay serious attention to a cough that lasts more than 7 days. A chest x-ray may be needed.
  • If a cold does not go away after 7 days, your child may have a bacterial infection and need an antibiotic.
  • Cold and flu symptoms can mimic one another but the common cold rarely includes a temperature over 101 degrees.
  • If your child’s fever is over 101 degrees, keep him home. A fever is a sign your child is fighting an infection.
  • The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends giving a child plenty of fluids and increasing the humidity in the room as the best way to relieve a child’s cough. Hydrate with popsicles, watered-down juice, flat ginger ale and chicken soup. Open a stuffy nose with 2 to 3 drops of saline solution in each nostril.
  • Don’t worry about a child’s daytime cough. Coughing helps dislodge phlegm and reduce congestion.
  • Persistent coughing, especially at night can be a sign of asthma.
  • Honey has been shown to be a natural way to soothe a cough. The risk of botulism makes honey unsafe for children under one.
  • A coughing child having difficulty inhaling may be a sign of whooping cough (pertussis).
  • Rest may be the best medicine to prevent sickness but a sick child needs even more sleep. Normal sleep for children is 8 to 12 hours every night.

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Editor’s Note: Pediatric Safety readers were first introduced to Coughy Cup in September, 2013. John is continuing to develop and sell his product, with a folding cup due out soon. Check out his Facebook and Twitter page for updates.

Senseez Pillows: Vibration to Relax, Calm & Soothe Little Bodies

senseez logo -smallMy name is Stephanie Mitelman. I am a Mom and I created the Senseez Pillows. The name Senseez means to ease the senses… Let me tell you the story of how Senseez was born…

When my son was 2, he was diagnosed with a special need. One of his difficulties was sitting in one place long enough to eat his meal, read a story, or sit for circle time.

I spoke to an occupational therapist who recommended a vibrating mat to help with this.I bought one for my son, and he instantly loved the sensations!

But one day, I wanted to take him to our local library for story telling, and though the mat would help… it was large, black, heavy, and had to be plugged in. I was also concerned about my son looking different or standing out with this large mat.

So I went on a search to find a small, lightweight, portable pillow that would offer the same sensations that he could take with him. I couldn’t find one!

So Senseez was born!

Senseez are colorful, lightweight, fun shaped vinyl pillows that offer a gentle vibration when they are squeezed or sat on. They operate on batteries and have a small pouch inside that can vibrate to offer sensations to relax, calm or soothe the body. They’re small enough to take anywhere and are made just for little bums!

Painting on a Senseez pillow

Kids that have trouble sitting for meals, stories, car rides, shopping trips, school work, movies, or anything else will be comforted by the vibrations of Senseez. Kids that have trouble falling asleep will enjoy the relaxing sensations.

The original prototypes were sewn in the basement of our home! We made about 25 pillows by hand, and distributed them throughout schools and therapy centers in our area. Since Senseez was created to be taken everywhere and to be used by multiple children, we used a vinyl material, since it is considered to be the most hygienic and easiest to keep clean. The vinyl is also water resistant. We also created a Senseez furry option for children who would like more tactile input.

After we got some feedback, we hired an engineer to perfect the vibrating mechanism we needed. Once that was complete, we had the pillows tested by Canadian standards for lead, small parts and flammability.

We then connected with an importer who handled the production. Our first order was for 600 pillows. Once the word started getting out, we sold out within 9 months!

In April 2013, we were also invited to do a taping on the Dragon’s Den television show. Today, we have 14 different distributors across Canada and the US, and the pillows are now being used across schools, therapy centers and many homes! The feedback we get is so positive, and the ways in which the pillows are being used is so inspiring. Here is an example:

     I wanted to share a positive story regarding your Senseez Pillows. I gave one of the pillows to my client who is part of our deaf blind program. Although she is very fluent in hand over hand sign language as well as Braille, she struggles a lot with expressive communication. We have been working closely with her to initiate requests, preferences, feelings…..communication in general. The pillow was introduced during a session as a sensory aid with vibration. She immediately started hugging the pillow and placing it behind her back ……all while signing the word “happy”.

     While her expressive communication still remains a struggle, she is now on a regular basis asking for the “vibrating pillow”. She has created a sign that meshes together the words vibrate and pillow, which she independently will communicate to others!

     It’s a huge break through!!!!!! It is the first time that she has communicated a want.

Needless to say, we will be needing some more pillows 🙂

Research shows that vibrational therapy has been used for many years in many different forms. Some children require the vibrations to help calm their bodies, while other children just enjoy the way it feels!

We are thrilled that our pillow is helping children, parents, teachers and therapists!

HEALTHFUL HINTS

Tips for working with children who have difficulty sitting in one place for any length of time:

  1. Some children do best with time limits. Let the child know how long they will have to sit for. A start and finish time can help. i.e: sit for 3 minutes to finish snack.
  2. Sometimes using a visual timer can help. Visual timers are available at most special needs stores.
  3. When training a child to sit for a period of time, start small and the build it up. One minute, goes to two, then five etc…
  4. It is okay to use outside reinforcers during this process. Children respond well to rewards, like their favorite treats. You want to build in a reward at the beginning and it won’t be long before long they won’t need it anymore.
  5. It is also okay to use other distractors like TV or iPad in the beginning. We want to calm the child during this hard task. For some children, TV and iPad can help reduce the anxiety of staying one place may cause. After a while, the distraction won’t be needed either.
  6. And you will need to verbally prompt at the beginning. Prompting is giving a gentle reminder about what the child is supposed to be doing, and reinforcing it when they do.
  7. It is always important to reinforce the good behavior (when they do sit in one place), and not only discuss when they don’t.
  8. And lastly, some children enjoy different sensations to help soothe their senses. Vibrations are helpful. Other sensations could be a weighted vest or blanket, or something that offers compression.

Note: Each child is different and you will have to experiment with what works with your child!

5 Phases Hybrid Glass Bottles: A Safe, Healthy Way to Feed Baby

With the arrival of one of life’s most precious gifts, we as parents find ourselves paying a little more attention to the world in which our children will grow. We naturally find ourselves wanting to give them the safest and best of everything. After the birth of our second child my eyes were opened and I became educated about how chemicals in the environment are affecting us, especially our children. I share my story to hopefully make people realize, we need to make some changes.

After years of disappointment from unsuccessful infertility treatments and multiple miscarriages we finally had a viable heartbeat from our baby. But the smiles were short lived when during a routine ultrasound our doctor informed us our baby could possibly have a birth defect. After numerous tests the defect was confirmed but did not appear to be genetic. There was no certainty on the cause but this particular birth defect was on the rise. In the mid 1980’s approximately 1 in 350 babies were born with this birth defect. By the time our baby was born, the numbers had increased to a staggering 1 in 125. I questioned many times what I could have done to prevent this from happening. It wasn’t until a few years later that I had an idea about the possible cause.

In April 2007, I read an article in the Los Angeles Times about plastic baby bottles, and the hormone disrupting effects of BPA and phthalates. These chemicals leach from plastics into our foods and are found in products we use daily. After further research, I discovered studies have shown that even very small doses of these hormone disruptors have been directly linked to early puberty, malformed genitals, infertility, reproductive disorders, diabetes, and cancer. Those most vulnerable are pregnant women and infants. When I read these chemicals were leaching from plastic baby bottles into our babies milk I was mortified and thought there has got to be a way to get parents back to using glass bottles. I found, with the increasing concerns of using plastics, many parents wanted to use glass bottles but feared them breaking. I am an airline pilot. I never thought of myself as an inventor, but I felt the need to help new parents by giving them a better alternative for feeding their babies. Starting from a drawing on a paper napkin and over 4 years of product development I finally launched my hybrid glass baby bottles in December of 2010.

So what exactly is a hybrid glass bottle and how is it different from traditional glass bottles? 5phases bottles are a unique combination of glass and plastic that helps the glass resist shattering, but if shattering occurs, will keep both the broken glass and liquid contained with no mess. The removable and interchangeable glass inserts add convenience and affordability and make an excellent storage solution for pumped milk and formulas. They are also microwavable and freezer safe. This unique design earned us the 2011 JPMA innovationaward at the ABC show.

After everything we had experienced, chemicals and safety were our greatest concern when developing our bottles. 5phases glass bottles were inspected and tested by a third party for known toxic and harmful chemicals. This third party is recognized in the US by the FDA, Canada and in the EU for product safety and quality control. Our bottles passed rigorous infant safety and chemical testing.

People are becoming aware of the hazards of certain plastics. Studies have shown throughout its lifecycle, plastics can continually leach chemicals. Of most concern are plastics labeled #3 polyvinyl chloride, which contain phthalates, #6 polystyrene and #7 polycarbonates which contain BPA. However, there are still concerns associated with ANY plastics leaching chemicals when in contact with food, even BPA free plastics. Experts agree, the better alternative for baby is glass.

So why not just breast feed? I am a true advocate of breast feeding and there is nothing better or more natural than “mom “, but certain circumstances can prevent a mother from breastfeeding. Both of my children had protein allergies and the only solution was a prescription formula called Neocate. Our bottles simply provide a better alternative for moms who are unable to breastfeed and want to use glass.

There is a definite movement towards green living. We live in a world filled with chemicals, and in many instances avoidance proves to be impossible. For this reason we owe it to ourselves, and to our children, to minimize exposure to toxins whenever possible. My dream is one day, we as consumers will demand our products be safe without having to read the fine print on labels. Knowledge is power and with knowledge we can make a difference.

HEALTHFUL HINTS

Helpful Bottle Feeding Hints:

  • Disassemble and sterilize new bottles by boiling for 5 minutes prior to use
  • Avoid overheating and test temperature in bottle before feeding
  • Keep baby propped up while feeding
  • Avoid putting child to bed with a bottle; tooth decay may occur with prolong liquid contact
  • Replace nipples regularly for normal wear and tear
  • Bottle feed baby under adult supervision only
  • Always transport glass bottles (and 5phases glass inserts) inside a protective sleeve to help prevent breakage

Note: Studies have shown heating breast milk and formula in microwaves may destroy important nutrients

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Editor’s Note: We first showcased the 5 Phases Hybrid Glass Bottles on Pediatric Safety in February 2012.  Since then these wonderful innovative bottles have won numerous awards including the 2014 American Baby Best Bottle Picks and the 2015 New York Family Magazine Best Bottle Picks.  Our congratulations go out to the 5 Phases folks for 4.5 years of keeping babies healthy and safe. 

Frederick the Paramedic: Helping Your Child Feel Safe with EMS

Frederick the Paramedic Cover 2My wife Nicole and I have over 25 years of combined experience as paramedics, and we are now co-authors of the new children’s book Frederick the Paramedic.  Through the years, we have seen an increase in pediatric 911 emergency calls, and they all have one thing in common – the patient may be more scared of us that what is actually ailing them.  This can lead to several negative factors, such as increasing their anxiety level, which may lead to worsening their condition.  Typically, a child’s point of reference regarding medical care is that they are going to receive a shot or some other uncomfortable procedure.  This series is designed to alleviate some of those fears by putting them in control, and even prevent an incident from happening.

After the birth of our daughter Sophia in 2013, and many picture books later, we noticed that there are plenty of story books about safety, but almost none about what happens if you do get hurt.  We’ve also seen that much of the children’s literature regarding EMS is in the form of a pamphlet or flyer, which has no identifiable characters, and is easily tossed away.  Also, we noticed that the characters are often fantasized, which does not provide a true representation of what really happens – this is why the stethoscopes in our book don’t talk!  We want to provide as close to a real situation as possible, but in a fun cartoon form, so that there are no false expectations.  This is how Frederick the Paramedic came to be.

In our first book, we designed Frederick the Paramedic to promote safety, injury prevention, memory recall, decision making, and EMS awareness.  The reader will partner up with Frederick and go through a day in the life of a paramedic.  Together they will check out their ambulance, get dispatched to a call, arrive on scene, assess and treat their patient, then transport him to the hospital and give a report to the doctor.

Based on actual calls we have responded to, national paramedic protocols and real data from the leaders in childhood safety, we created the first story about 12 year old Tommie.  Tommie goes skateboarding with no safety gear, and sustains an injury to his arm.  When Frederick and your child arrive on scene, they are greeted by the police and fire departments, who give a brief report to Frederick about the scene and what happened.  Frederick assists his partner in assessing and treating Tommie’s injuries.  They then transport Tommie to the Emergency Room, where he is greeted by a Dr. who takes an x-ray.  Your reader is guided by Frederick to give a report to the Dr. about their findings and treatments.  Then Frederick recaps with the reader about the dangers of not wearing safety gear while skateboarding

By choosing common childhood activities, Frederick the Paramedic relates to what kids enjoy doing on a daily basis.  Some of these activities may have potential for injury.  Preventing injuries in the first place is one of the main goals of the book.  But when they do happen, and 911 is called, your reader will understand that we are there to help.  They will understand that we may need to touch their arm to make it feel better, and we aren’t there to make them feel worse.

Fred pictureThe great part about this concept is how dynamic it is.  There can be a Frederick the Paramedic book about anything relating to childhood injury, sickness, or even witnessing a loved one being treated by a paramedic.  That is where we are planning to go with this.  Tackling issues such as food allergies and asthma, to grandparents with chest pains or signs of a stroke.  In today’s economy, grandparents are watching grandchildren more and more.  By educating the child to look for signs of a stroke and calling 911 early, can literally be a difference of life or death, as well as taking the child out of harms way.

In the couple of months that Frederick the Paramedic has been available, we have received emails from people stating how the book has helped their child.  One such example was from a school in Vermont where a 1st grader was taken by ambulance.  The rest of the class was very upset and scared for their friend.  Frederick was donated to their school library about a month after the incident, and the librarian was very excited to have a relatable book that she could read to the children.  She realized that she had no other material that could explain what was happing until then.

A little biased here, but my 3 year old nephew was going with my sister to a Dr. appointment, and asked if he would see Tommie there.  It took my sister a minute to recall that it was Tommie from the book!  But we have received several emails and comments about how kids have been recalling the story at times where they may see a hospital, or an ambulance.  One mother stated her son asked if Frederick was on that ambulance.  The fears that have been instilled in children at such a young age regarding medical establishments are breaking down.

We hope you enjoy a copy with your little ones, and hope they never need an ambulance, but let them be prepared if they do!

HEATLHFUL HINTS

​If you ever think you need to call 911, call!

  • Everyone has a different idea on what an emergency is. Calling 911 is a scary time for anyone. Paramedics will assess the situation and provide the best treatments possible, while trying to ease the anxieties that go along with the patients emergency.
  • Teaching your children as early as possible can to call 911 is an important skill for them to learn. In a situation where a caregiver were to have an emergency, it may save a life as well as their own.

KidFit Pillow – A New Innovation for Better Child Sleep

Having practiced chiropractic for nearly 20 years, I frequently get asked the question, “What makes a good pillow?” There are many qualities that make a pillow a good pillow, but just as importantly, we need to ask, “What type of pillow is the best for me?” Although there is not one pillow that satisfies the needs and comfort of everyone, a good pillow, for most, is one that provides the ideal amount of support, together with the correct fit/size for that individual. This makes for a pillow that is not only comfortable but will also provide the healthy benefits of good cervical support and a restful night’s sleep, which translates into many other benefits, both mental and physical.

KidFit-child-friendly-pillowsIt was really years after both my children were born – well into their pillow using days –  that I noticed one night how awkward my daughter’s head and neck were positioned on her pillow and how scrunched her shoulder was while sleeping on her side on a flat ‘leftover’ pillow. I must have watched her sleeping for 30 minutes. I asked myself, ‘Why have I not investigated into a good sleeping pillow for my children?’ So, I did!

Using as my guide the same principles of support and fit I had preached to my patients, I quickly realized that these principles were only vaguely applied to pillows for children. In fact, some ‘sleeping’ pillows were more cute than appropriate for sleeping. The selling phrases of ‘proper support’ and ‘made for kids’ can be seen on many of the products, but what I found were just poorly thought-out smaller versions of adult-sized pillows, and cheaply made, I might add.

I decided that I could design a better pillow than all of these, and KidFit Pillow was born. It took a few years of designing, redesigning, and testing before we launched the first version of our pillow, but it was well received and quickly won a ‘Parent Tested Parent Approved’ Award.

When we designed KidFit Pillow, it had to meet our checklist of requirements:  it needed to have the correct amount of support, it needed to be size appropriate for the growing child, and it needed to be comfortable. In addition, it had to be kid friendly, meaning that it had to be washable and hypoallergenic.

We started with a quality memory foam core for support, and designed it in a way that would account for all the unpredictable ways children often sleep on pillows. We also perforated it with different sized holes to achieve different zones of density which further allowed for the proper support of the head and neck. KidFit-memory-foam-core-cropThen we wrapped the memory foam core with a removable, washable down-like microfiber cover for comfort. Finally, using the statistics of the average size and shoulder widths of the North American boys and girls, we developed three different sized pillows for three different age groups.

How important is it to have a good pillow? Extremely! A good pillow can not only impact the quality of sleep, but also how healthfully children rest and recharge. Aside from the benefits of correctly supporting the head and neck, proper sleep means better focus and improved learning in kids. Studies suggest that the quantity and quality of sleep have a profound impact on both learning and memory in children. In fact, a lack of adequate sleep affects their mood, emotional stability, motivation, judgment and their perception of events.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

So how do we maximize our children’s physical and brain development with sleep?

  • Maximize both their quantity AND quality of sleep.
  • Children between the ages of 3-12 should be consistently getting a minimum of 10 hours of sleep every night. Studies show that children who are sleep-deprived are more likely to be depressed, to catch colds and flu, and to suffer accidents on the playground.
    • Just 1 hour less of sleep a night causes measurable memory and concentration problems.
  • Avoid watching too much TV, being on the computer, and playing video games for extended periods.
  • Avoid poor food choices (chips, french fries etc.), too much sugar, caffeinated soda etc.
    • Even just one caffeinated drink a day robs a child of half an hour of sleep each night.
  • Avoid overly exhausting children with too many “structured’ activities, which leads to very little down time. Participation in too many after school activities can get kids amped up and tends to push back dinnertime, homework time and ultimately bedtime.
    • Compared to 1981, the average kid has almost 2 hours less of unstructured time each day!
  • Don’t compromise their bed time with late night activities.

Note: KidFit Pillows can be found on Amazon.  Also, check out the KidFit video on YouTube

BreathableBaby Crib Bumpers – For Baby’s Safety AND Comfort

For more than ten years, parenting experts, child product safety organizations, and new parents have been talking about the potential safety hazards of using traditional crib bumpers inside infants’ cribs despite the benefits of preventing head, arm and leg injuries.

We are Dale and Susan Waters, married entrepreneurs from Minnesota who turned fear for our baby’s safety inside her crib into a mission to create something that would not only help protect babies but also provide peace of mind for parents. We invented the Breathable Mesh Crib Bumper; a product designed to reduce the risks of suffocation caused by traditional bumpers, while protecting a baby’s limbs from becoming entrapped in the crib slats.

BreathableBaby is Born

12 years ago, we woke to the sound of our 3-month-old daughter screaming in agony from her crib. Our daughter, Sierra had gotten her legs twisted and wedged between the slats of her crib. Her face was pinned against the mattress.

There were many sleepless nights for us and our daughter – no matter what we tried she kept getting her little arms and legs caught between the crib slats. In addition to the obvious pain of being stuck, we feared she would break an arm or leg, or develop neuropathy. But we refused to use a soft, pillowy crib bumper for fear of suffocation.

Research shows that a baby can snuggle up right against their crib bumper. If the baby’s nose and mouth are too close to the bumper, it can potentially cause dangerous re-breathing of carbon dioxide or suffocation. A baby can also get wedged between crib slats and the mattress, unable to escape and possibly suffocate. Because the safety and potential dangers of crib bumpers has been in the news recently, many parents are unsure about how to keep their babies comfortable and safe.

As parents, we were frustrated and upset to learn there was no practical solution available in the marketplace. As designers and entrepreneurs we decided we had to do something about it and devoted ourselves to developing a safer, “breathable” solution – preferably one that was affordable and easy to use. So, we took a break from the media, marketing and music company we owned, and focused on creating a safer solution for babies.

We researched and sourced fabrics, designed and engineered prototypes, held focus groups with mothers and sought extensive third party safety evaluations by a world-leader in safety consultation before finally introducing a safer, smarter mesh crib bumper to the market three years later in 2002.

What makes BreathableBaby mesh crib bumpers so much safer is our Air Channel Technology™ (A.C.T.) designed to prevent suffocation. A.C.T. maintains air access should a baby’s mouth and nose press up against the fabric. When the BreathableBaby fabric is compressed it is virtually impossible to form an airtight seal. In fact BreathableBaby has “fabric cards” available so that parents can experience the A.C.T. safety feature for themselves — just send in a request along with your address information to customercare@BreathableBaby.com and we’ll send you one free of charge.

Since its launch, we’re proud to say that the BreathableBaby™ brand has forged a new category in “breathable” bedding, and is embraced by parents worldwide. Our products have won numerous awards including The Child Safety House Calls Award of Excellence, and National Parenting Center Seal of Approval for innovation, functionality, design and contribution to creating a safer, healthier crib environment.

It’s imperative that parents are aware of the potential dangers that may be part of a baby’s sleep environment. New information is available all the time, so we urge all expectant parents – first time or otherwise – to seek relevant news, alerts, studies and guidelines from news and safety organizations such as the ones listed in our Healthful Hints below.

Wishing you and your little one sweet dreams.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

Six Steps to a Safe Sleep Environment For Your Baby

  1. Crib Mattress Should be Firm. A soft mattress may increase suffocation risks. Select a firm mattress that fits the crib tightly and a fitted sheet. You should have a fitted not be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib side. Before purchasing a crib, visit www.cpsc.gov to make sure the crib you selected has not been recalled.
  2. No Blankets for Baby. Do not place anything in baby’s crib that could be a suffocation hazard, including blankets. If you’re worried about keeping your baby warm, a better solution is an infant sleeper or wearable blanket that zips around your baby and can’t ride up over her face.
  3. Breathable Mesh Crib Bumpers. Crib bumpers that are plush, pillowy, and made of non-breathable fabric can increase the risk of suffocation. A safer crib bumper option is one that is mesh or breathable and allows for air flow – even when pressed against a baby’s mouth.
  4. De-Clutter the Crib. For most parents, all those cute stuffed animals and soft blankets might seem a natural fit for the crib, but unfortunately they all pose suffocation risks. Toys and stuffed animals are best saved for interactive play time.
  5. A bottle. Parents of older infants who have started holding their own bottles may be tempted to slip a bottle into the crib in case their baby wakes at night. But even a bottle can pose a suffocation risk. Plus, babies who fall asleep with a bottle in their mouths are prone to tooth decay from the milk sugars that sit on their teeth all night.
  6. Pacifiers. Some studies have shown that giving your baby a clean, dry pacifier reduces SIDS rates.

Resources For More Information On Safe Sleep and Crib Safety

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Editor’s Note:  So often with health and safety issues we have to make trade-offs between one risk and another: take a medicine to address a disease, but deal with the side-effects; exercise for health benefits but risk injuries. In the case of babies and cribs, parents have long had to make a trade-off between keeping babies safe from suffocation due to crib bumpers and protecting them from entanglement and injury in the crib slats. BreathableBaby mesh bumpers help parents address both these issues with peace of  mind. We first ran this BreathableBaby post in 2011 and the company has continued to thrive, with additional products and awards to their credit.