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KidFit Pillow – A New Innovation for Better Child Sleep

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 01:00 pm

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

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:41 am

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. 

Buzzy – Because Kids Need Shots That Don’t Hurt

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:42 am

Buzzy eases the painAs a pediatrician, I strongly support vaccination. I never thought shots were a big deal; parents and staff even chuckle sometimes when a kid is freaking out about shots. You know, ‘deal with it’. I have taken care of children who died from vaccine-preventable diseases, and I used to think that any delay in shots endangers all society. Then I had my own kids, and witnessed firsthand that while vaccines don’t hurt children, shots do. Like most of the 22% of adults who fear needles, my son Max developed a phobia after a horrible shot experience at age 4. This fear affected him every time he had to go to the doctor. I gradually realized that if I didn’t act he could go through adulthood avoiding medical care.

It makes sense that being held down and subjected to more than five shots at a time could have a lifelong impact on complying with health care. When I tried to use numbing creams, one nurse said “that stuff doesn’t work, they need to get used to it”, and gave the shot outside the numb zone! I got mad at the system and myself.  If I couldn’t protect my child and I’m part of the system, what parent could? I wanted to come up with something that worked instantly that parents and patients with established needle fear could bring and use even if the healthcare system wasn’t interested.

I knew that the body could stop pain naturally using something called “gate theory”. If you bang your knee and rub it the pain stops, if you smash your finger and shake it, it helps the pain, or if you burn your finger and stick it under cold running water it quits hurting. I thought of cuffs of cold water, all sorts of messy stuff. Driving home from the hospital one day it occurred to me that vibration would block pain, but it wasn’t until my husband suggested frozen peas UNDER the vibration that it really made my kids’ hands numb to sharp pokes. And Buzzy was conceived.

Buzzy® uses natural pain relief by confusing your body’s own nerves and distracting attention away from the poke, thereby dulling or eliminating sharp pain. Over the past 5 years my children helped test, build, and prototype Buzzy until we had a device that worked. They smashed cell phones, helped me use electric tape and elastic bands, and have served as my first and best advisors. We started with a hand held massager and frozen peas, and finally got to a cute bee with frozen wings.

From a scientific standpoint, I didn’t want to put it out there unless I knew it worked for other people as well as my kids. The Mayday Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to the reduction of pain and suffering, sponsored Georgia State to do a research study in adult volunteers getting IVs inserted.  Buzzy significantly decreased pain, and was more effective the more anxiety people already had. A trial in children needing IV starts in the emergency department also showed significantly decreased pain by child and parent report, and even increased IV success threefold. On the basis of this, we got a $1M grant from the National Institutes of Health to study whether Buzzy reduces the pain of immunizations, and hopefully can avoid the development of needle phobia.

How important is this?? Although needle pain from a shot may not seem like a big deal, needle sticks are the most common and most feared cause of medical pain in the world. Blood donation, preventative health care, and diagnosing serious illnesses like cancer are all impacted by fearing doctors and needles. Conversely, awareness and use of available pain control methods for children can result in years of improved health.  Buzzy® is now being used for dentistry, travel immunizations, fertility shots, and finger pricks, splinter removal, and flu injections!

We’ve heard from parents who had considered stopping more effective injected or IV treatments due to needle fear who are now able to give their kids the best treatment due to Buzzy. We’ve even heard from kids… stories and letters that remind us that Needle Pain Matters…and because of that, so does Buzzy.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

Before a shot:

My area of research is pain control, so I hear a lot of stories about drama at the doctor’s. For young children, pain is punishment and scary, so addressing fear is an important first step to making shots less of a big deal. Children are less fearful when they know what’s happening and feel in control. Sadly, there are no global answers, but there are some general tricks of the trade you can try.

  • When asked “am I going to get a shot?” focus on the benefit. “Yes, they have medicine that keeps you healthy.”
  • NEVER promise they won’t get a shot unless you intend to follow through and come back another time if they’re due for one
  • NEVER threaten with a shot if children don’t behave (establishing a needle as punishment or you as untrustworthy will guarantee a bad experience).
  • If the child’s question is, “Is it going to hurt?”, avoid using the words pain or hurt. Instead, use the word “bother”, and answer this way: “Actually, a lot of kids aren’t that bothered by shots. Before you get them, I’ll show you how we will make getting them not a big deal.”
  • If they’ve had a bad experience in the past, say “I found out about some new cool things we can do to make them much more comfortable.”

And now – the shot:

  • First, relieving kids’ distress begins with you. The best combination is warm but firm. No apologizing, empathizing, or letting them “just go to the bathroom real quick.” Instead, use praise, “I know you can do this”, and direct them to pay attention to non-shot related things before they get anxious. “Oh, look, SpongeBob.”
  • Second, the person giving the shots. These are research-proven things that make shots hurt less:
    • Give the least painful shot first
    • Give the shots sitting up in the arm after age 18 months
    • Use a slower push
    • Use a longer needle
    • Use “position of comfort”: facing you on your lap, or with your arm around the child if they are older and receiving shots sitting up. Being held flat is the most vulnerable positing you can be in; much better if 4-6 year olds can straddle your lap facing you and get shots while you hug them.
  • Third, to help overcome established needle-phobia:
    • There are creams (over the counter LMX-4, Ferndale Labs) which can be applied 20 minutes in advance, or prescription EMLA (Astra-Zeneca) which needs at least an hour. Be sure they’re placed correctly, and know that they only numb the surface. Never promise complete pain relief. Instead, try “these will help a LOT!”
    • Studies show that appropriate distraction decreases distress. While the nurse is getting the injections, let a child choose from multiple visual games or tasks to focus elsewhere during the shot. “Do you want me to read to you, or give you things to find?” Be prepared to pick if they’re indecisive. “You know what I think would be good? Let’s do this…”  Bee-Stractors Emergency Entertainment cards can be kept in a purse or glove compartment for situations when you forget to plan ahead.
    • Tasks that include a sensation also help focus attention away from the poke: for example, tell your child to count zigzags as you scratch the edge of a fingernail on their arm. Tell the child to yell “now!” when a fingernail gets to the elbow or wrist. For multiple shots or a seriously anxious child, bring an ice pack or vibrating toy to touch other body parts and have the child name the body part touched by ice. “Knee! Leg! Nose!” Even better, touch them with an ice pop and 5 right answers wins the pop!
    • And speaking of ice packs, studies have shown that putting an ice cube on the site before a shot can decrease the pain. Adding an element of vibration during the poke can help as well, like when a dentist wiggles your lip during Novocaine. This is the breakthrough of Buzzy, but you can achieve the same results with any vibration/solid ice pack combination. For best results, let the child feel the sensations beforehand by scratching the arm under the ice pack/vibration source. “See how cold this is, and see how now you can’t feel so much any more?” Seeing for themselves and agreeing with you helps the child feel in control.

Whatever happens, praise how they did!

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Editor’s Note:  Flu season is upon us – and The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will be another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall throughout much of the nation. So what comes to mind? ..stock up on chicken soup …and warm blankets …and get your flu shot.  And that made us think of Dr. Amy Baxter and her amazing invention: Buzzy.  Because even though we first ran this post in 2011, what she has to say is as true today as it was then.  Shots hurt…and they shouldn’t…and with Buzzy, they don’t have to.  Enjoy! 

The Kurbo Program: Healthy Weight Mgmt for Kids and Teens

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:42 am

Kurbo logoThe growth of childhood obesity in the United States is staggering.  We have now reached a point where 1 out of 3 kids are overweight or obese.

My name is Joanna Strober and my son was one of those kids struggling with weight. As a mother, concerned about my child’s health and well being, I set out on a mission to find help. I was searching for a tool, something that could easily fit into my son’s life and effectively help him manage his weight. However, after multiple doctor visits and endless hours on the Internet, I found nothing beyond “eat less and exercise more.”

I knew of some weight loss apps for adults, but, like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, they were all either unsafe or ineffective for children. Then I discovered the nationally recognized Stanford Pediatric Weight Control Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, where I finally found the effective tools and practical guidance I was looking for. University based weight loss programs for kids are highly effective for local families – but what about children and families that do not live near a University based program? How can they receive help, guidance and support to control and manage their weight?

I wanted to find a way for the program’s proven weight management tools to reach more kids.  Recognizing this gap in the marketplace, I came up with a plan: to adapt Stanford’s program to a scalable, mobile platform for kids and teens. Thus, the idea for Kurbo was born.

To carry out my plan, I needed an expert in the field of pediatric weight control, so I teamed up with Thea Runyan. Thea is the Lead Behavior Coach for the Stanford program and for over 12 years, has successfully helped over 600 families manage weight and lead healthier lifestyles. With her experience and dedication to taming the childhood obesity epidemic, Thea connected to my vision and recognized its potential to positively change the lives of kids, teens and their families.

teens and their smart phoneWith the help of $5.8 million in venture capital funding, we launched Kurbo Health. Kurbo Health licensed the program from Stanford University’s acclaimed pediatric weight control program and incorporated the programs’ tools and principles into a fun, engaging mobile app and weekly live-coaching sessions. It’s the first safe, effective and accessible mobile weight management program for kids, teens and their families.

The Kurbo Program teaches kids how to change their eating and exercise habits in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight. It is not about dieting, calorie counting or deprivation. These imply short-term results, create a negative stigma and hyper-focus around food and only magnify the issue at hand. Instead, Kurbo is about gradually gaining control of your health by making healthy lifestyle choices. Kids start seeing real signs of success after 3 to 4 weeks of the Kurbo Program.

A critical component of the Kurbo Program is the free, easy-to-use mobile app. Kids use the app to track their food and exercise using a version of the research-based Traffic Light system. Here’s how the system works: green light foods include fruits and veggies, yellow light foods include grains, lean protein and low fat dairy and red light foods are high in unhealthy fats, sugars and high calorie density foods. Once kids start tracking their red, yellow and green light foods, they become aware of their eating habits and start making healthier choices.  The goal is to eat a well-balanced diet by increasing green light foods, moderating yellow light foods and minimizing red light foods over time. This is a safe way for kids to eat healthier and manage their weight. The app also includes videos and games that introduce concepts like food classification and portion size and provides instant feedback, reminders and rewards to keep users on track.  Kurbo also encourages challenges, like having a red-free day or trying a totally new green light food, that keep kids engaged and motivated to achieve their goals.

The Kurbo Program provides weekly supportive coaching sessions with a trained Kurbo coach. Planning for the weekThese sessions can either be via text or email. Each week, your child’s Kurbo coach evaluates their progress by reviewing food and exercise choices, making actionable suggestions and working with your child to set reasonable goals for the next week. Coaches also teach your child how to plan ahead and budget their number of red light foods for the week. Say, for example, your family is going to a birthday party on a Friday. Your child’s Kurbo coach will help him or her use the app to rebudget reds, adding more reds on Friday (and fewer on other days of the week) to make sure he can eat pizza and cake and still meet his red-light goal for the week!

Not only is the Kurbo Program fun and affordable, it works. Kurbo’s beta test results showed that 88% of kids (ages 8 to 18) who met with Kurbo coaches for 10 weeks reduced their BMI (body mass index), lost an average of 5-10 pounds, exercised more frequently and felt healthier, happier and more confident.

While Kurbo kids gain tools to lead healthier lives, Kurbo parents get to take a break from being the “food police.” Kurbo reduces the tension and conflict around food and exercise that many parents face with their children. Coaches become a source of support, motivation and accountability. However, parents are still encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s Kurbo journey. Parents can participate in coaching sessions, receive a weekly email newsletter and have access to parent-focused experts who can answer their specific questions and concerns. Kurbo invites the whole family to use the Kurbo app, because kids are more successful when their families are tracking along with them. In fact, many parents lose weight too.

I created Kurbo Health as a solution for families, kids and teens who are struggling to lose weight. What started as a mission to help my son, has become a mission to help millions of kids and teens live healthier, lose weight, adopt better eating habits and feel really good about themselves.

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HEALTHFUL HINTS

Here is a Healthy Family Checklist  to help manage your family’s healthy habits:

  • Do 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Incorporate exercise in a family routine like walking after dinner.
  • Limit TV, computer and video game time to 2 hours/per day
  • Eat dinner with your family at a regular time
  • Eat a fruit and/or vegetable at every meal (at least!)
  • Drink lots of water!
  • Limit Red light Foods like candy, chips, and crackers by buying less!
  • Switch to non-fat or 1% milk
  • Don’t drink your calories! Avoid sugary drinks like soda, sports drink and juice.
  • Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. Don’t skip meals!
  • Encourage your kids and teens to get least 8-9 hours of sleep a night

One feature about Kurbo that generates some concern is the weight tracker: kids are encouraged to weigh themselves once a week and record it in the Kurbo app. Thea Runyan, Kurbo co-founder, provides her advice for creating a healthy mindset around “stepping on the scale:”

  • Don’t make the scale scary, it’s just a tool: It is important that parents don’t transfer their fears about the scale to their kids. At Kurbo weight measurement is simply another tool to assess progress, just like food and exercise tracking.
  • Encourage kids and teens to weigh themselves NO MORE than once a week: Research shows that weighting yourself regularly (not obsessively) is very important for managing a healthy lifestyle.
  • Success is not measured in pounds: At Kurbo, a child’s success is not defined by weight loss but instead, by learning and maintaining healthy behaviors and making smart choices about food and exercise.

Little Red Hoodie – An Internet Safety Fairytale for Kids

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:43 am

Internet predators are a pressing concern for parents. Kids are becoming increasingly more tech-savvy, and forms of online communication are growing at an alarming rate. All too often we hear tales of horrific tragedies involving social networking sites, and know that many of these could have been prevented with parental monitoring and Little Red Hoodie Booke Coverdiscussions about internet safety.

Until recently, I thought that such monitoring and discussions were something that I did not need to worry about for quite some time since my child is still very young and I teach at an elementary school. My thinking drastically changed after overhearing a conversation among second grade girls at my school about an upcoming sleepover. When I think of young girls’ slumber parties, I picture snacks, games and movies, but instead, the girls were planning to log on to their sisters’ social networking sites. From this moment, I knew that I needed to take responsibility for educating this demographic about internet safety, and wanted to encourage others to do the same.

After this incident, I began researching young children and internet use and found some disturbing information. For example, in 2008 according to the Rochester Institute of Technology:

  • Approximately 48% of students from kindergarten to first grade interact with others on the internet.
  • Of these 48%, nearly half of the students had already been exposed to something online that made them feel uncomfortable.
  • To make matters worse, one in four of these children did not report his or her experience to an adult.

Given these findings, I was more convinced than ever that children are never too young to be introduced to the concept of being safe on the internet.

After exploring countless books, videos and the like, I found that there were many products, websites, and resources that helped educate parents and older children. However, I found no such internet safety resources and materials that were specifically geared toward introducing the subject to younger children. Then it hit me: there is a parallel between the Big Bad Wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood story and internet predators, and this would be a perfect way to introduce the concept to this age group. Pulling from this idea and what I have learned about quality children’s literature from my years of experience as a teacher, I wrote Little Red Hoodie. This children’s picture book is a modernized version of the classic tale in which the Big Bad Wolf plays the role of an internet predator posing as Granny online in an attempt to lure Little Red into his trap. I spent countless hours working to make the book child-friendly and humorous, so that the topic could be introduced in a nonthreatening way. My hope is that the book will initiate a critical conversation among families and perhaps even help prevent future tragedies.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

  • Educate yourself and your children about internet safety. Local police departments often offer various materials and programs to the community. There is also a wide variety of organizations and website that provide such resources including the following:
  • Be mindful of the growing number of ways that your child can utilize the internet to interact with others. For example, many video games now allow children to go online and interact with other users.
  • If you choose to use Little Red Hoodie as a tool for teaching your family about internet safety, here are some suggestions:
    • Read the book at least once for enjoyment before using it to get into a serious discussion.
    • After reading the book, help lead an open-ended discussion by asking questions such as the following: “How did the Wolf trick Little Red Hoodie?”, “Why do you think that the Wolf used the computer to try to trick Little Red Hoodie?”, “How do you think that the story would have been different if Little Red Hoodie would have asked her mother before leaving the apartment?”, “What do you think Little Red Hoodie should have done?”
    • Post “Little Red Hoodie’s Rules to SAFE Internet Use” near your computer (found on the last page of the book).

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Editor’s Note: we first ran this post in January of 2010. Unfortunately, despite numerous technological advances, the internet has not become a safer place for our kids to play.  There are wolves lurking under the covers and in the dark places, and it is up to us to keep our little ones safe from these predators – a job made far more difficult as our children’s internet skills far surpass our own.  According to a recent headline “children as young as THREE now know how to access the web – and are teaching their parents how to use tablets and phones“.  Now more than ever we need a way to introduce our kids to the big bad internet wolf. We need something like Little Red Hoodie.

S.A.F.E.R Child Seat Covers

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:44 am

To clean most child car seats covers requires complete removal of the car seat from the vehicle. As a result, there are two groups of parents, those who are constantly taking their child’s car seat out of the car for cleaning and those who never remove it from its secure position in the vehicle.

My husband (an award winning pediatrician) and I used to fall in the first camp. Then we came up with a solution. The S.A.F.E.R. Child Car Seat Cover provides a washable cover that doesn’t require removal of the child seat from the car.

Here’s our story:

We spend a lot of time in our car. Whether it’s taking the kids to school, afternoon or weekend activities or the long drives to Womans arms holding car seat strapgrandma and grandpa’s house. All that driving often equals hungry and restless kids. The Cheerios® that used to pacify our kids at a younger age, soon turned into sticky apple slices, crumby granola bars, and drippy drinks. These snacks didn’t always make it into our kids’ mouths. More times than not, we’d find the leftovers in the child car seat. And after playground dates, our worn out kids mixed their dirty bottoms with this flavorful mess.

The only way to try and return their car seat to “like new condition” was to unfasten it from the vehicle, unhook the harness straps from the back of the seat, and then peel away the manufacturer’s car seat cover. Into the wash it went and if we were lucky, some of the stains disappeared. Then we’d reverse the process to put the seat back together. This process is not easy and takes plenty of time. When we’d go to put the child car seat back into our car, we could never quite get it right and would have to venture to our local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a trained technician to properly resecure it.

Sitting and talking with other parents, we knew we weren’t alone. Our frustrations were echoed amongst our friends. Some told us stories of leaky diapers and potty training accidents. Others, had kids who easily became carsick and frequently vomited. We’ve all experienced runny noses and drool that finds their way onto sleeves and nearby surfaces.

Searching the shelves at our local baby and toddler store, we found all sorts of mess-preventing items, like sippy cups, bibs, and high chair mats, but we couldn’t find something that would protect our child’s car seat cover from the inevitable every day dirt and grime accumulation. How could we create a better way to clean our children’s car seat covers while keeping them safe?

We turned our frustrations into action. Once we put our children to bed, we turned “together time” into “brainstorm time”. We carefully looked at both outgrown and current seats and we tried to figure out how to remove a car seat cover without having to disassemble the seat. We put our ideas on paper. We drew car seats and cut out the paper models. We did the same thing with scrap fabric. We even cut apart the manufacturers car seat cover to fully explore some options. Our late nights led to creation of specially designed release elements for a child car seat cover…5 years and many prototypes later, the S.A.F.E.R. Child Car Seat Cover was born!

The S.A.F.E.R. Child Car Seat Cover – (Secure And Fast, Easily Removable) – allowed us to remove and wash an otherwise disgusting car seat cover without having to jeopardize the car seat’s secure position in our car. It took less than 1 minute to remove and put back the cover. Our kids could now sit in a clean seat and we could eliminate removing the entire seat from the car, and avoid additional trips to the DMV. And, since proper hygiene is the first line of defense in keeping your child well and safe from illness, we now had an easy way to ensure our car was as safe an environment as our home!

But there were other ways we wanted it to be “SAFER” too. During the manufacturing process, we made sure the S.A.F.E.R. Child Car Seat Cover underwent lab testing that included checking for absence of specific toxins and against flammability. The testing also included proper washability, ensuring that it will hold up to multiple washes in the washing machine. In the end, we came up with a cover that was <1/8 inch thick and slipped easily on top of an existing car seat cover.

Once we were comfortable with our solution we knew we wanted to market it so kids like yours could be S.A.F.E.R., too. We were granted two patents for our designs and received a “Gold Medal” at INPEX 2008- America’s largest invention trade show.. Most important of all we received numerous comments from parents like you that their child’s car seats were a mess and they hated cleaning them…the S.A.F.E.R. Child Car Seat Cover made all the difference.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

Car Seat Safety

  • Always check that your child car seat is tightly secured in your vehicle by pushing and pulling it side to side. It should not move more than one inch in either direction. We encourage a child car seat to be installed at least initially by a certified child passenger safety technician. Locate one in your state here.
  • Shoulder harness straps for children in a forward facing car seat should always sit at or above the child’s shoulders. The S.A.F.E.R. Child Car Seat Cover has 3 levels of slots, designed to line up with a manufacturer’s original design.
  • Harness straps should be pulled tightly against your child and the chest clip should be at armpit level. Do not wear winter coats in a child car seat.

Keeping your child seat cover clean:

  • When washing a child seat cover, wash it in a mesh bag on a gentle cycle to minimize damage (the S.A.F.E.R. Child Car Seat Cover can be washed in the mesh “wash me” bag in which it was originally packaged).
  • Since the cover needs to maintain its shape to function properly, hang it to dry overnight – do not put it in a dryer. This will reduce the possibility of shrinkage.

************************************************************************************************************************** Editor’s Note: we first ran this post in 2011.  Now that another summer of road trips and family outings has passed, and it’s time once again to clean out the car (and discover what really happened to that gooey treat that went missing), we thought it might be a perfect opportunity to introduce the S.A.F.E.R. Child Seat Covers to you again.  Enjoy!