Layers of Protection

Life Saver Pool Fence has uses the phrase “layers of protection” to describe the best ways to prevent drownings. Since 1987, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance has recommended layers of protection around a personal pool.

The five important layers of protection:

  1. Parent supervision

Proactive parent supervision is the number one way to prevent drownings. Active supervision means sitting close to the pool with your full attention on the child/children. This means put the phone or book down and pay attention. We recommend designating at least one person as a Water Watcher, and change shifts every 15 minutes. However, most drownings occur when a child was thought to be in the house. A parent was responsible for supervising the child in 67% of fatal drowning cases. So, supervision can and does fail, and which is why additional layers of protection are needed.

  1. High locks on all doors and windows.

Locks out of the reach of children should be installed on every door and window that leads to the pool area. Some drownings happen because a parent didn’t know their child had figured out the door knob, so don’t rely on the door being shut. Any pet doors that grant access the pool should also be shut.

  1. Pool Safety Fence

Perhaps one of the most reassuring steps is installing a pool fence. Fences should be at least 4′ tall and have a self-closing, self-latching gate. Mesh pool safety fence, like Life Saver Pool Fence, has proven to be an effective layer of protection for over 45 years. With its transparent and aesthetically pleasing look, they are easy to remove when you want to.

  1. Alarms

You may not even hear a drowning; they tend to be silent. Alarms break that silence. There are many alarm options to choose from door/window alarms, alarms that sit in the pool, and our favorite, the Safety Turtle which is worn on the child.  If the child falls into the pool, an alarm inside that house goes off.

  1. Swimming Lessons

As soon as a parent and pediatricians feel comfortable, all children should receive swimming lessons. Some organizations even offer training for infants to roll over and float, and to swim to the edge of the pool in case they fall in. 

5.5 CPR

As a precautionary measure (if all of the other layers of protection fail) parents should be trained in CPR. This training can make the difference between life, permanent disability, and death.

Respecting Your Child’s Privacy While Protecting Them from Online Dangers

Trust is one of the most universal components of modern society. Trust can permit someone a driver’s license, trust can build a relationship, and trust can end a war. Where trust matters most to the everyday person however, is in their personal lives. The expectation in society is that as a kid grows from a child to an adolescent that the amount of trust within the relationship will grow with it. This begs the question though, how far should this trust stretch? In the age of technology, it is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to accept that they cannot control everything that their children do online. In an effort to take back that control, many say that monitoring kid’s phones is the best way to protect them. The underdeveloped state of a child’s brain, the potential for internet addiction, and the constant dangers of online and texting mistakes are reasons why some monitoring of a minor’s use of their phone is necessary.

On the most fundamental level, the brain of a child or teenage is still maturing. Their ability to think critically about a situation and make a good decision quickly is lacking and it can lead to devastating results. During these critical years of a young person’s life, their brain is creating more and more grey matter which is used to process information. Through experiences and learning, the grey matter will thicken and the child will learn to make logical decisions faster.

An example of this inadequate thinking ability could be seen in 2014 when a young girl was kidnapped on her way to school because of unsupervised usage of a messaging application on her phone. When twelve-year-old, “Jane Doe”, never made it to school one morning, her mother was quick to call for a search party. During the investigation, the detectives found that the child and her suspected abductor had been chatting for a while on the “Kik” application, a social media platform. Which, in a conversation with another person, Jane Doe says she couldn’t tell her mother about her scary conversations with her future abductor because “[She was] not supposed to have [Kik] so [she] would get in big trouble”. While in captivity, this girl reflected on how she had learned her lesson of using apps like that without her parents’ consent. Being so young, Ms. Doe did not think about the possible consequences in time to avoid this tragic event. Had her mother been active in monitoring her phone, Jane could have reduced the probability of harm from occurring.

Coinciding with the developing brain of a child is the higher risk for addiction. Not only has this been seen with drugs and dangerous substances, but also with technology and the internet. Children, teens especially, are at the greatest risk for addiction and research shows that the earlier a person begins to use an addictive substance, the more likely he or she is to develop serious problems. As much as a brain or apathy can be blamed for this problem, much of the problem can be attributed to the intent of app creators. From the design of the logo to the function of the app itself; creators of such apps intend it to be addictive. According to Tristan Harris, an Ex-Google Employee, smartphone applications are made to be similar to slot machines. “When we pull our phone out of our pocket, we’re playing a slot machine to see what notifications we got. When we pull to refresh our email, we’re playing a slot machine to see what new email we got. When we swipe down our finger to scroll the Instagram feed, we’re playing a slot machine to see what photo comes next”.

Allowing children to spend more than two hours every day in constant connection with the internet can lead to unfavorable psychological effects. Many studies have reported associations between Internet addiction and psychiatric symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-efficacy, etc. among adolescents. It is less likely that you will see children playing kickball in the front yard and more likely that they will be killing enemies in Call of Duty, a popular first person shooter game. Along with monitoring what they do on their cell phones or online and controlling the amount of time they are on them can increase their chances at a happier and healthier life.

The purpose of keeping an eye on a child’s online and personal interactions is to protect them and should be done with their complete knowledge. To make all rules and provisions clear, many families have turned to the idea of a technology contract. These lay out specific guidelines that often provide reasonable expectations for both the child and the parent. By placing limits and rules for both parties, it will make the younger party feel more responsible and in control, which often leads to better decision making. The monitoring of a child’s phone and online activity should be implemented but with reasonable limitations and respect for their privacy.

 

Promote Better Pool Safety With Swim Lessons

by Kaitlin Gardner from AnApplePerDay.com

lesson-of-swimmingI love raising my young boys, and watching them grow, but it’s kept me busy. High on my “to do” list has been water safety, to make sure they have fun but stay safe in the pool. One of the biggest safety measures for us has been swim lessons. Knowing how to swim is a skill they’ll use for a lifetime, so I want them to be well prepared.

The need for safety. The reality is that there are inherent risks around the water. Drowning has been reported as one of the highest causes of unintentional deaths among small children in the U.S. Another study has also shown that swim lessons can reduce the chances of a child drowning by as much as 88 percent. When I read those articles, it only strengthened my resolve to have my boys learn to swim, and be well prepared when it came to the pool. Here are some other articles with more great information:

Preparation starts early. It is suggested that a baby can be enrolled in Mommy and Me classes as early as 6 months of age. While these are not formal lessons, they will certainly give the child an orientation to the water, as well as being a lot of fun. I even used bath time to begin reinforcing the water as a fun place to be. I would trickle water over my child’s head, and we spent a lot of time laughing and smiling as they discovered the fun of splashing.

The beginning lessons. By around age 4, a child will be developed enough to have motor skills that will allow them to take lessons. My boys were so in love with the water that they were glad to take those lessons. They began to learn the movements that would combine into swim strokes, and to learn the basics of swim safety. They were really serious when the instructor explained why “no running at the pool” was important. I had to smile because I knew if I tried to tell them the same thing they wouldn’t listen that well. At the end of the pool season, parents can check out their kids to make sure they are “water smart,” meaning how well have they incorporated the safety principles they have learned, like being able to find the side of the pool if they fell into the water, and what to do if a friend was struggling in the water. My boys did great, and I was really pleased by how quickly they picked up a focus on safety.

Repetition helps. I plan to sign my boys up for intermediate and advanced lessons. I want them to really learn the strokes, and be well versed in the safety aspects of swimming. In school they don’t just show kids a concept once and move on, the classes work through a progression which allows kids to build proficiency. With something as important as swimming, I think the same principle should hold, so I will continue with lessons.

Use the time for bonding. I won’t have an unlimited number of opportunities to bond with my children, so I have taken advantage of lessons to spend time with the kids. I sit on the sidelines and watch their lessons, and then may have a couple of questions about what they learned after class, to reinforce what they’re being taught. But when I get to see the first time they jump off the diving board or a similar achievement, it is just wonderful to see how excited they get.

Watching my boys swimming confidently really pleases me – their swim lessons have prepared them well to enjoy all the fun they can have in the water.

KaitlinKaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

 

Ultimate Baby Product Round Up

I am obsessed with the fabulous products we found for our latest round up! Check out these great items and think about adding them to your Christmas shopping list…

  Goumi Kids | Leah Verwey Photo  Goumi Kids Booties, Mittens and Hats

I love the feel of organic cotton. It is just so soft and snuggly and absolutely perfect for baby’s sensitive skin. Goumi Kids makes wonderfully practical booties, mitts and hats for newborns with this amazing organic cotton and special features that make these items actually stay on! The booties and mitts are both secured with Velcro that is comfortably placed. They really don’t fall off! The cute little hats have a tiny visor and they can tie on to keep them in place. You can purchase a set of the three for $40 (or purchase separates) at goumikids.com.

movementmonitorLevana Oma+ Movement Monitor

Let’s face it. All parents worry about their newborns and SIDS when they first bring them home from the hospital. We stare at our video monitors for a sign of movement, but that can be hard to detect on a monitor alone. Levana has come up with a fabulous product to ease the minds of parents with a movement monitor that is separate from your regular video monitor. The cordless and battery-powered movement monitor that can easily be used everywhere you and baby go. Oma+™ clips directly onto the diaper and senses baby’s tiniest movements at the belly button area. The sensor will gently vibrate to help encourage the return of regular movement after 15 seconds of complete stillness and will beep loudly to alert you if no movement is detected for more than 20 seconds. It is a discreet enough size with a flexible sensor that baby doesn’t even notice is on. This is a worry saver and only costs $99 at mylevana.com.

baby alertBaby Alert SoftClip Systems

During the summer months we hear so many sad stories of babies accidentally left in cars and dying from the heat. The fear shouldn’t end when temperatures turn, though. Babies can die from being left in the car at all times of the year. While most of us like to believe there is no way it could happen to us, making sure that we are never at fault can be 100% reassured by using Baby Alert’s SoftClip Systems. All you have to do is replace the chest clip/shoulder harness strap retainer device that came with your car seat with the SoftClip one and the put the Key Ring Alarm Unit on your key ring and you can be worry free. The ChildMinder system reminds drivers with an alarm 8 seconds after the parent or caregiver has moved more than 15 feet from the child in his/her safety seat. What a great thing to have year round for children up to age 6! The system retails for $80 but it is on sale right now for $63.95 at babyalert.info.

blowout blocker soaker stopperBaby Blowout Blocker/Soaker Stopper

Ingenious. These are a must have for any family with babies! So simple, but so brilliant, the Blowout Blocker and Soaker Stopper solve the problem of diapers that leak. The Blowout Blocker is an extension to a standard diaper, reaching up the back of the baby. It is intended to protect against soiling clothes, bedding, car seats, carpets, etc. from up-the-back diaper messes. It contains the mess for fast, easy and stress free clean-up! The Soaker Stopper is an extension of the diaper up the front, containing potty leaks, especially during night time sleep, The material they are made out of are very soft and pliable. My 20 month old actually likes to wear hers! She rubs the material and has never complained about the fit. They can be purchased as singles or packages from $12.95 at babyblowoutblocker.com.

guardian angel outletGuardian Angel Outlet

Safety is the biggest concern for parents. When it comes to outlets, the covers that most of us use don’t always work. Kids can figure out how to take them off and when adults take them off to use them we sometimes forget to put them back on. The Guardian Angel outlet solves any safety issues surrounding your outlets. The Guardian Angel technology is always on – using capacitive sensing to continuously monitor the electrical receptacle’s immediate surroundings for dangerous actions or situations – ensuring a child is safe. Electrodes in the outlet housing allow the circuit to see beyond its plastic walls and distinguish a dangerous object from an acceptable plug. The outlet uses proprietary technology that is aware when your little one’s hand gets too close. This solution works 100% of the time and installation is VERY easy. A 2 pack is available for $40 at guardianangelsafety.com

goosewaddleGooseWaddle blankets

Texture is my obsession and always has been. My girls seem to have the same tactile awareness of everything like me. They absolutely love to snuggle up in the softest fabrics they can find and are very turned off by anyting that is not comfy, cozy. The GooseWaddle blanket might be the softest material I have ever felt. They are made from fine micro-denier polyester, which gives them a lovably soft feel! Available in classic colors in full sized blanket or blankie at goosewaddle.com (Blanket: $65, Blankie: $35, Gift Sets: $90-$120).

Summer Travel & Creativity

Summer time is all about having fun! Sometimes the fun happens while traveling and going on great adventures, while other times the fun happens right at home using creativity. Here is a round up of some delightfully fun and functional items that are ideal for families’ summer activities and vacations.

TRAVEL

SuperMe Backpacks   hoodie_banner

What kid doesn’t love to be a superhero? I thought boys were the only ones that were into it, but my four year old daughter has started embracing the superhero role! It is so cute to see a child grab acapebanner blanket and ask you to make a cape, although this is not something that can be easily worn to school or any other outing. SuperMe is a collection of superhero-inspired products that combine functionality and fun with backpacks, lunch boxes, masks and pouches. They have cape and hoodie backpacks that are awesome. They are made out of high quality, durable, water-resistant, naturally insulating EVA. The hoodie backpacks are loaded with every feature a kid could ever need (MP3 pocket with cord hole, inner sleeve for a laptop or tablet, snack pocket, reflective buckles for safety, adjustable chest strap for weight distribution, plastic pocket for name tag) and a super convenient rain hood that stows away into its own pocket. The cape backpack doesn’t have as many pockets, but it is still totally fun and comes with a matching mask to complete any superhero look! This line of gear is so creative and taps into the superhero mentality of all little ones, both boys and girls, with great color and pattern options (solid, camo, zebra). Backpacks from $39.90 at www.supermehero.com.

safetytatSafetyTat

SafetyTat is a wonderful safety tool that any family with young children needs. They are fun and functional temporary tattoos that detail emergency info.  SafetyTats read ‘If Lost, Please Call’ and list a parent or guardian’s mobile phone number. Designed to be worn on a child’s arm or hand, SafetyTats are easy to apply and are perfect for amusement parks, water parks, shopping at a crowded mall, or even while traveling through a busy airport. It is a great solution for small children that cannot carry around an ID card and cannot remember this important information. www.SafetyTat.com

CARES Child Aviation Restraint SystemCARES Child Aviation Restraint System

Between diaper bags and strollers, traveling with young children is anything but easy, especially when trying to pack light for plane rides. This innovative solution allows parents to check their bulky car seat for a safer – and smaller – option. CARES Child Aviation Restraint System is a quick and easy harness designed specifically for young children while flying. The belt-and-buckle device works in conjunction with standard airplane seatbelt, and is the only alternative to a car seat approved by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). What’s more, CARES only weighs one pound and fits into a six-inch stuff sack, which can easily slip into a purse or carry-on. $74.95 at www.kidsflysafe.com

mobile-clean-and-goMobile Clean & Go

With all the time you spend in the car or airplane, kids are sure to spend plenty of time on your smart phone or tablet. And what child doesn’t feel the need to snack the whole time they are traveling? Their sticky little fingers can leave smudges galore all over your mobile devices. Mobile Clean & Go is a fabulous, safe mobile device cleaner that is pocket sized and does not create any trash (like disposable wipes). It features a compact, flat bottle and a microfiber cleaning cloth, which is smaller than a smart phone. It is TSA approved for air travel and fits easily in any purse or diaper bag. It is insanely effective on all kinds of filth and I love how smooth and clean it makes your device feel. It does not leave any streaks or residue and it dries almost instantly. Mobile Clean & Go starter kits cost $12.99 and value packs cost $19.99 at www.mobilecleanandgo.com.

finders key purseFinders Key Purse

Say it fast, Finders Key Purse–sounds like “finders keepers”! Clever! Our purses and diaper bags always seem to get stuffed with too much stuff and unorganized, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean. When you are traveling it is even worse because your whole life is on the go. Keys fall victim to the lack of organization by being tossed into the great unknown inside. Then when the time comes to find your keys…good luck. Finder Key Purse is a nifty little hook that attaches to any kind of bag or purse with a snap on the end for your keys. Just hang your keys over an edge on your bag and you will always be able to find them. They have over 100 designs so you can easily find you like or that matches your bag. From $5.95 at www.isntthisclever.com.

ATMpacks-kids luggageATM Packs

Kids love having their own adult-like items and luggage is definitely one of those things. Every time we pack up for a trip my girls fight over pulling around the suitcase. Even my 1 year old wants to drag it around! Kids luggage is so nice to have when you vacation with your children. It is great to keep their clothing together and organized in one place and even more importantly, it helps them get excited about the packing process! Kids luggage is usually cute, but ATM Packs cool new collection is the most adorable we have seen for little travelers. It calls upon Spanish culture coupled with colorful, creative designs. Kids will have fun expressing their creative side and learning about Spanish artwork and themes with the new HALBLANDO SOLA collection consisting of school supplies, accessories, luggage, umbrellas and more.  The darling little girl adorned with patches from her worldly travels is too cute. The 24” rolling hard sided suitcase features 360 degree wheels and a retractable handle. From $13-$149 at www.atmpacks.com.

CREATIVITY

rolli stampsRolli Stamps

Art projects are always fun with stamps and every child I know loves stamping. But with stamping comes multiple pieces to keep organized, stamp pads to keep lids on and fingers to keep out of the stamp pads and off furniture. Rolli stamps are a great product for crafty families. These dynamic little rollers can create up to 100ft of continuous fun and creative patterns and colors on almost any surface. Rolli™ is a patented system with no messy ink pad, making it ideal for little kids. Just take off the lid and you are ready to go stamping. Warning: your child might become obsessed with the rolling action and stamp everything in sight! These are just too fun! With patterns ranging from shoes, French bulldogs, hearts and lace, to unique house designs, to tumbling hedgehogs and playful pugs, anyone can find the perfect Rolli™ stamp for their upcoming project or personal use. $11.99 at www.funnybonetoys.com.

fodeezFodeez

All the time spent at home over summer break usually means a lot of artwork is created by your little ones. And, summer may mean no school, but it doesn’t mean you can’t practice some school work, like writing! Displaying kids’ artwork can be tricky for parents who don’t want to resort to magnets, tape, pushpins or clunky frames. Fodeez Frames is a line of reusable picture frames and dry erase boards in one. This new type of “skin” can stick to any smooth surface (refrigerator, cabinet, laptop, locker, walls, desks, windows, etc.), allows you to change the image you display and can be reused hundreds of times. Fodeez’s utilize a clear film to protect photos, which are also dry marker friendly. We love to use Fodeez as a dry erase board! We create letter-writing activities with them for our preschooler to practice her letters (something she enjoys doing). We simply use a piece of paper to create the activity, slide it under the Fodeez frame and stick it to her desk. It really is limited to just what you can come up with to put on paper! Fodeez also has a calendar. It really is a wonderful solution for many different things in a busy family’s life. From $3.49 at www.fodeez.com.

lumi doughLumi Dough

Kids love Play Doh. I love almost everything about Play Doh—the creativity, the colors, the imagination, the get-your-hands-in-something and all the fun tools you can play with it. I do not, however, like the crumbly mess it leaves all over the place and I do not like how it dries up or when it gets really tough for little hands to mold. I found an incredible alternative to Play Doh, that solves both of my dislikes and has a few added features that kids enjoy. Lumi Dough is new moldable dough that glows in the dark ! The unique silicon material stretches like rubber but molds like clay without leaving a mess, mark or ever drying out. You can bake your creations to create a permanent piece of art. It is so much fun to play with and my kids are obsessed with it. My oldest daughter made a blue bunny and stuck it on the bunk bed above her so it glows with her every night. It hasn’t dried out or fallen off, and we had no problem removing the alien buddy that she made before. If your kids love Play-Doh but you just don’t like to have it in your house, Lumi-Dough is absolutely for you! You can buy it for $19.99 at www.lumidough.com.

5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe

By Eric Long of kidsport GPS (www.kidsportgps.com)

 

lostAccording to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s over 2,000 a day. Shocking, isn’t it?

When I was a kid, my friends and I spent our hours after school meandering the neighborhood. Mom and Dad had no idea where I was or what I was doing. In summer…sun up; I’m gone. I was a racecar pulling in for a PB&J pit stop around noon, and dinner was just a distraction. I was gone for hours upon hours. No big deal. Today? Different world!

My daughter is almost 10. If she is three minutes late from a bike ride, her mom and I are freaking out. We lose sight of her at the park and we panic. On vacation? When I am not playing with her, I am a CIA agent scanning the crowd for suspicious characters.

So how can we keep our kids safe in today’s modern world? No tool or device will keep your kids safe 100% of the time, but here are five things you can do to mitigate the risks:

  1. Family Talk – Take time to talk to your children about safety and abduction prevention. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has an excellent campaign called Take 25 (http://www.take25.org/) that provides free tools such as safety tips, conversation starters, and mini-lessons to help trusted adults begin conversations with children about safety.
  2. ID Card – Create and give each child a laminated ID card with his or her name, date of birth, address, phone numbers, etc. If your child is too young or otherwise unable to speak for him or herself, consider writing the information somewhere on his or her clothing in permanent marker.
  3. Child ID Kit – Prepare an ID kit for each child in the event that he or she is missing. The kit should include a physical description (nickname, date of birth, height, weight, gender, fingerprints, hair and eye colors, etc.), any identifying features (glasses, braces, scars, birthmarks, piercings, etc.), any medical information (conditions, disorders, diseases, medications, etc.), and, most importantly, an up-to-date, good quality digital photo. Be sure to take your kits with you on trips and vacations.
  4. Emergency Hot Spots – Whether you are at a playground, amusement park, ski slope, vacation resort, or any crowded location, always identify the nearest help and information centers, emergency stations, and police posts. Inform your children where to go and what to do in case of an emergency or if they get lost.
  5. kidsport GPS Tracking Device –The kidsport GPS band is a GPS tracking device developed specifically for kids that allows parents to locate their kids on their cell phones, iPads or computers. It will be available this fall, but families can pre-order now. To find out more, visit www.kidsportGPS.com.

No parent I know can imagine what it is like to have a child go missing. It is our greatest fear. But by educating a children and taking safety precautions, we can help reduce the chances of that ever happening. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.missingkids.com) has a lot of excellent information on child safety and what you can do as a parent or guardian.

safetytatAnother great tool My Good Parenting found is a product called SafetyTat. They are fun and functional temporary tattoos that detail emergency info.  SafetyTats read ‘If Lost, Please Call’ and list a parent or guardian’s mobile phone number. Designed to be worn on a child’s arm or hand, SafetyTats are easy to apply and are perfect for amusement parks, water parks, shopping at a crowded mall, or even while traveling through a busy airport. It is a great solution for small children that cannot carry around an ID card and cannot remember this important information. www.SafetyTat.com

Children’s Book about Misbehaved Mutt Teaches Key Values

By children’s author Lana Schneider
http://sheasheasheananigans.weebly.com/about-the-author.html

 

sheasheaHow many times have we seen or been the parent of a child who has suddenly ‘run off’ from a playground or grocery store isle? As our hearts pound with panic and our faces turn pale we find them, hugging them and reprimanding them at the same time.

 

In the children’s picture book series, “Shea-Shea Shea-na-ni-gans”, Shea-Shea is a rambunctious German Shepard mix whose mission is to create as much mischief as possible. In the first book of the series, “Shea Runs Away”, the dog demonstrates her unrelenting urge to leave the safety of her own yard and explore the neighborhood. She hops a fence and wanders the streets alone.

 

In her time away from the safety of her loved ones, Shea-Shea meets a sweet old woman, a butcher, and a firefighter. She even finds time to take an afternoon nap in the local park. However, her curious ways put her in the ‘doghouse’ when her owner catches up with her.

 

Parents can use Shea-Shea’s examples to teach their children the dangers of running off with no supervision. As parents, we don’t want to use scare tactics with small children, however, we do want key safety points to be embedded in their minds. Reading a short picture book with fun, entertaining illustrations, with realistic outcomes is the perfect way to get the point across to your little ones.

 

All the books the Shea series are meant to teach important lessons or highlight milestones in child’s life. This was my thought process behind the second book, “Shea Goes to the Doctor”. We all remember that childhood milestone for ourselves don’t we?

 

Not every kid is brave enough to undergo such a taunting first time experience. Shea-Shea goes through all the basic motions of a checkup and even gets shots! It’s my goal that after you reading the book with your child that they can walk into that doctor’s office with confidence.

 

Later, in the Shea-Shea Sheananigans series there will be subtitles such as “Shea Goes to Preschool”, and “Shea Get’s a New Puppy”, however, no matter what the content of the lesson, you can count on Shea-Shea to represent the situation well and get your child through that daunting childhood milestone.

 

I realize that childhood is an important time for teaching and the development of young minds. I hope that my work can assist parents in the upbringing of wonderful children.

The Best Infant Car Seat?

 Inertia
 SnugRide35
 KeyFit30

What is the BEST car seat available for your infant? This question is asked by most parents when a new baby is on the way. We all do research to seek out as many reviews and recommendations as we can find. I think the truth is that there isn’t a “best” car seat, there is simply what meets most of your preferences. I compared the 2 most popular, Graco Snugride 35 and the Chicco Keyfit 30 to the Baby Trend Inertia using some of the characteristics I think are most considered.

 

But, before I get into these details I must comment on the safety factor. The single most important quality in a car seat is safety, but it is really difficult to actually compare this. Every car seat on the market has passed Federal Safety Standards & strict crash performance standards. The only government information you can easily find are NHTSA ratings on their ease of use in four basic categories: Evaluation of Instructions, Evaluation of Labels, Vehicle Installation Features, Securing the Child. They note that all rated seats are safe, so how do you pick which one is safer than another? I don’t think you really can unless you rely on consumer reports and crash test YouTube videos you can find. So, for this reason you will not see safety on my list below.

 

LATCH Installation

Baby Trend Inertia: This carseat base has a rigid LATCH system install which is extremely easy and gives you much peace of mind. You don’t have to pull any straps to make sure it is tight enough. The base simply has 2 bars with claw-like snaps that grab onto your car’s LATCH system. Line them up and snap them on and that’s it! Angles don’t matter when using the base either which makes installation even easier to get right.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The KeyFit LATCH system of the Chicco is easy to use and install correctly. It has claw-like snaps that you push into the LATCH system then you use its one-hand Center Pull Latch tightening system to easily tighten.

Graco Snugride 35: The LATCH installation on a Graco is my least favorite. It has big snaps that can be difficult to get on (and especially off) your vehicle’s LATCH system. There is not an easy way to tighten it either. You still have to pull a strap and sometimes it is hard to pull it tighter even though the base is not installed tight enough. Graco has made the angle installation easier, however, by having a dial that you twist the raise or lower the front of the base.

 

Style/Colors

Graco Snugride 35: I think Graco wins the style race with the many, many patterns and fun color options they offer. It is easy to find something that is gender neutral, girlish or boyish in just about any color combination you would want.

Chicco KeyFit 30: There are plenty or colors to choose from with a Chicco, however there are not a variety of patterns/styles.

Baby Trend Inertia: The Intertia only comes in one color/pattern option. It is both gender neutral and fun, but you do not have any options beyond the “Horizon” color.

 

Price

Graco Snugride 35: $119.99-$179.99, available at many retailers

Chicco KeyFit 30: $179.99-$199.99, available at many retailers

Baby Trend Inertia: $179.99, available at Babies ‘R Us

 

Weight (with base)/Base Size

Graco Snugride 35: 17.6 lbs, wide base but not too long.

Chicco KeyFit 30: 21.1 lbs, narrow base good for compact cars

Baby Trend Inertia: 26.7 lbs, long base that will fit tight in compact cars.

 

Max Child Weight

Graco Snugride 35: 35 lbs

Baby Trend Inertia: 32 lbs

Chicco KeyFit 30: 30 lbs

 

Visor and Additional Features

Baby Trend Inertia: The visor of the Baby Trend is the best on the market! It is huge and offers tons of sun shade. BabyTrend took it a step further and mush mesh “windows” on the visor so baby can still look out and air flows. The handle on the Baby Trend is the nice triangle type, offering more comfort and positions to carry. The most impressive unique, special feature of this car seat is the controlled motion base, which is unlike anything else on the market. It responds to crash forces by rotating more upright resulting in better force distribution. There are 4 more recline positions that provide ultimate comfort and easier breathing for baby. There is an 8 position adjustable head support. You never have to rethread the harness of the Baby Trend. There is a dial on the back that allows you to adjust for the proper height. There is also a “cold weather boot” that is included with the car seat, that goes over baby’s legs for warmth.

Graco Snugride 35: The visor of the Graco is nice and big and it can move completely from front to back. It offers adequate sun shade. The seat is known for being plush and comfortable. The newborn insert provides very comfortable, padded head and body support.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The visor of the Chicco is very small and serves very little purpose. The newborn insert provides head and body support and proper fit with the harness.

 

Cons

Baby Trend Inertia: The BabyTrend has a plastic puzzle buckle that, although it doesn’t get hot, it can be hard to hold/snap both pieces in (especially if you don’t loosen the straps). The entire system is too large for smaller vehicles.

Graco Snugride 35: More difficult to install/tighten. Adjusting harness height requires rethreading. Upright angle causes newborn and sleeping baby’s head to fall forward. Buttons to raise/lower the handle are loud and will wake a sleeping baby.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The visor is inadequate. Adjusting harness height requires rethreading. Upright angle causes newborn and sleeping baby’s head to fall forward.

 

baby trend inertia

Baby Trend Inertia Installed in Mini Van

So, you may want to know which car seat is my favorite? I have to say the Baby Trend Inertia works really well for me. My four most favorite things about it are the recline positions, the adjustable head support, the rigid LATCH install and the visor. I love that when my baby is in it, asleep or awake her head never falls forward. I feel like my baby’s head is safer in a side impact collision with the head support (I have not tested this feature, this is not based on any proof) and I love anything that is easy to adjust with growth. I am obsessed with the ease of installation with the LATCH system. It is beyond easy to install and you don’t have to worry about it being too loose. A visor might seem like a silly thing to like, but I can’t help it. This visor is amazing and it is one thing that people comment on when I am out and about with the car seat.

 

Obviously this car seat is not perfect. The base is pretty big and you have to put the handle all the down when he car seat is on the base, which is impossible to do in smaller cars. I have had to put the handle down outside of the car before I snap it into the base in those situations. Even after that you have to make sure the seat does not touch the seat in front so the controlled motion base can work properly. In our mini van there is plenty of room and no issues whatsoever, though.  I am not in love with the puzzle buckle, either. It is pretty much impossible to do with one hand and difficult if the straps were not loosened first. My final complaint is that the buttons to adjust the handle are a little loose, so if the handle is not all the way down when it’s in the car, they jiggle around and make noise. The buttons are quiet, though and do not make noise when they are squeezed (they have never woken my baby like my Graco has).

 

The Inertia is definitely loaded with all kinds of cool special features. I think Baby Trend put a lot of research and thought into making a safe and comfortable car seat. While it is not going to be the ideal car seat for everyone, it has won my vote!

Child Safety Tips

By the Lost and Found Experts at FinderCodes

playgroundFinderCodes, an asset recovery system based on QR code technology, has gathered some of the most common places kids get hurt and provided easy prevention measures to make sure your kids stay safe no matter where they are!

Walking to School

If your children walk to school, make sure they’re getting there as safely as possible. Choose a route that avoids busy streets and construction and walk the route with your kids before sending them alone. Along the way, point out “safe houses” where your kids can stop in case of an emergency. Team up with a buddy to walk to school or give them a phone to use in case of an emergency or even if they just need to talk to you along the way.

At a Playground

Have a parent or caregiver prepared with a First Aid kit watching your kids at the playground at all times. It’s terrible to think about, but children can easily get hurt or abducted at playgrounds if you’re not careful. Always keep track of what they’re doing, where they are and who they’re playing with. Make sure your children know the rules – don’t talk to strangers and always stay within your sight. To prevent your kids from getting hurt on playground equipment, only let them play on safe, age-appropriate equipment.

Playing Sports

The most important safety tips to teach your little athletes are to wear the right equipment and to play by the rules. If they’re riding a bike or horse, wear a helmet. Protect your hockey or volleyball player with the right padding. Football players need a helmet and secure padding, and soccer players need to wear shin guards. Playing by the rules ensures no one gets hurt because of foul play.

In any situation where kids are carrying things they’re likely to lose (sports equipment, backpacks, jackets, etc.), it’s important to mark them so that if they get lost, they can be returned easily. FinderCodes Lost & Found Kits are perfect for that. As an added bonus, our smart tags keep personal information like names, addresses and phone numbers private. That means your child’s information will not be on display to strangers, and their safety will not be compromised.

At a Pool

Always have a CPR-trained lifeguard or adult nearby when your children are swimming. Make sure your kids know not to eat, drink or run near the water. If your children want to play in the pool but don’t know how to swim yet, give them a life jacket or floatie to stay safe.

In the Car

Keep a bag in the car ready to go with snacks, water, a First Aid kid and sunscreen. Use proper car seats – use these guidelines. Pull over if you need to help your kids with something in the backseat or need to answer your phone. Never leave your kids alone in the car and always remember to take your keys with you when you get out.

In Case of Fire

According to www.safekids.org, about 488 children (ages 14 and under) die every year because of residential fires, and another 116,600 children are injured by fire. Prevent fires at home by making sure your electrical appliances, cords and outlets are safe and not overloaded. Unplug appliances that are not in use, and keep your smoke detector batteries fresh. Teach your children to stay low to the ground if they smell smoke, and to get outside. Of course, a lesson in “stop, drop, and roll” is very important, too.

Summer Safety for Teen Travel

Make Sure Your Teen Travels Safely

travel safetyWhether you are sending your child to a traditional overnight camp, on a school field trip or half way around the world, safety is always paramount in a parent’s mind.  For 20 years a Chicago-based service adventure travel company called The Road Less Traveled has been providing teens and young adults the chance to embark upon unique, life-changing experiences in some of the world’s most incredible locations. Whether participants are hiking the Andes Mountains in Ecuador or scuba diving and replanting underwater reefs in the Florida Keys, the programs’ first priority is always safety.

To ensure the best and safest journey possible, here are some safety tips for teens and parents from the staff of The Road Less Traveled:

For Parents…

Choose A Credible Company: With so many teen tours, adventure trips and service-focused programs available to teens these days it can be hard to know which one to go with.  Select a program that has a great track record and an established reputation.  Don’t be afraid to ask for references or testimonials from previous participants.  Another consideration is to choose a program that is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA).

Check The State Department’s Website: http://travel.state.gov Here you can find the most up-to-date information on country-specific travel warnings.

Check Your Family’s Overseas Medical Insurance Coverage: Make sure your policy applies to overseas and will cover emergency transportation expenses. If it doesn’t, you want to consider supplementary coverage for your child.

Check to see what minimum first aid certification level the leaders are required to have
. If your child will ever be more than 2 hours away from a hospital, the best training is Wilderness First Responder (WFR). Standard first aid, and wilderness first aid are not sufficient certifications in remote settings.

Talk to the directors of the program
. If they are inaccessible when you are making a decision, they will be inaccessible during the summer. Talk to the directors, learn about what their mission is as well what are the values they embrace as a program and their mission. Make sure it aligns with your own personal values.

For Teens…

Leave a Detailed Itinerary & Duplicate Documents At Home: Before leaving, make copies of your itinerary, passport and credit cards and leave them with your parents. Make sure the itinerary includes addresses, phone numbers and any other relevant information about where you will be traveling.

For those traveling in another country, register your trip on Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP). The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.  STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.

Locate the American Embassy in the country you are traveling to. Take their phone number and address with you and keep it in a safe place. Should an emergency arise, you may well need to contact them for help.

Stick Together: Avoid walking around alone, especially at night.  Stay away from isolated areas and always take a friend or staff member with you if you need to venture away from the group.

Know The Laws of Your Travel Destination: While in a foreign country you are subject to its laws.  Be aware of local conditions and cognizant of respecting the local culture.


About The Road Less Traveled:
The Road Less Traveled offers unparalleled service and adventure trips for teens and young adults to some of the world’s most incredible locations including Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Spain, Tanzania, India, Nepal and Norway, in addition to the United States and Canada.  Each summer, The Road Less Traveled introduces hundreds of teens to some of the most fascinating places, cultures and experiences while simultaneously helping them develop their sense of self and transforming their outlook on the world.  The majority of programs offered by The Road Less Traveled programs feature a service-focused component in which kids have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture and broaden their horizons while making a meaningful societal contribution.  The Road Less Traveled was founded by Jim and Donna Stein in 1991 and is headquartered at 2331 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago, IL. For more information, please visit www.theroadlesstraveled.com or call 1.800.939.983