Toddlers

Yet Another Toddler in a Washing Machine? Water Safety Tips for Babies and Tots

The video of the toddler rolling around in the Laundromat washing machine is a little bit too much to handle. And a little too much of plain old stupidity for me.

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/worst-parent-week-dad-puts-toddler-washing-machine-183500809.html

But safety tips….that I can take.

Everyone has heard that a child can drown in a few inches of water. Having worked during my college days for the Consumer Product Safety Commission as a data entry person, nothing surprises me. Children can die or be severely harmed by all kinds of household objects, not just toys.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it again. NEVER leave your child unattended in or around water. I just get sick to my stomach when I hear about young children dying in hot tubs or washing machines…You cannot be too careful.

Warnings about Child Safety by Angela Haupt at Yahoo:

Between 2005 and 2009, two children under the age of five died as a result of laundry room accidents, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Washing machine-related injuries are more common than deaths, says Scott Wolfson, director of public affairs for the CPSCburns from hot water in the machine, or injuries to their limbs if they come into contact with a rapidly spinning basin. “Kids are curious. We have to be very vigilant about our children, and really live in the moment and be present when we’re supervising them,” says Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, which aims to prevent unintentional childhood injuries.

Five other things to be cautious of:

Standing water. Drowning concerns extend beyond swimming pools. Any type of standing water-even if it’s just an inch deep-can harm a child. “The bathroom is the riskiest room in the house,” says Garry Gardner, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ council on injury, violence, and poison prevention. “Children lean over and look into the toilet or bathtub, they trip, and they fall in.” Keep young children out of the bathroom unless they’re being closely watched, and teach others in the home to keep the bathroom door closed at all times. Ice chests with melted ice, water buckets or pails, and whirlpools also pose risks. Empty all buckets, pails, and bathtubs completely after use; never leave them filled or unattended. And adjust the water heater thermostat so that the hottest temperature at the faucet is 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to help avoid burns.

Televisions. Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 170 children ages 8 and younger were fatally crushed by falling TVs, the CPSC reports One child, for example, bumped a 100-pound TV that was placed on an aquarium stand. When it fell, it crushed his skull. The best preventative step? Using adequately-sized, sturdy stands and shelves to support TVs. They should not be placed on stands that have drawers, since kids could use them as steps to climb to the top, and parents shouldn’t put remote controls, toys, or anything else atop TV sets. “We’re seeing a mini-epidemic,” Gardner says. “If a TV is heavy and sitting on a small stand, and a kid climbs up on it, he’s going to pull it right over.”

Button batteries. These high-powered lithium batteries, no bigger than a nickle, are used to power small electronic devices, including remote controls, watches, musical greeting cards, and ornaments. When accidently swallowed, they can get stuck in the esophagus and generate an electrical current that causes severe chemical burns and tissue damage. “The window of opportunity for getting it out before it causes irreparable damage is two hours,” Gardner says. If you’re even remotely concerned that your child has ingested one of the batteries, head to the emergency room immediately.

Treadmills. In 2009, Mike Tyson’s 4-year-old daughter was strangled to death by a dangling treadmill cord. And it wasn’t an isolated accident. More than 25,000 children under age 14 are injured each year by exercise equipment, including stationary bikes, treadmills, and stair climbers. Treadmill injuries are typically caused by the moving parts (like the running deck and belt), hard edges, and programmed speeds. Some precautionary steps: When a treadmill isn’t in use, unplug it and lock it up, or even surround it with a safety gate. Remove the safety clip that’s tied around the handrail. Keep kids away from the machine whenever it’s in use.

Coffee. Be wary of where you set down that morning cup of joe. A child could accidently tip it over. Burns, especially scalds from hot water and other liquids, are some of the most common childhood accidents. “Kids are not small adults. Because they’re growing, their skin is more fragile,” Carr says. “And their body surface is much smaller, so a little bit of coffee goes a long way.”

More tips from the HealthEast Maternity Care Newsletter:

Did you know?
Drowning is the second most common cause of injury-related fatalities among children between the ages of 1 and 4. The best prevention of drowning is never to let children be alone near water of any depth.

Swimming: safety first
A child can drown in a minute. In fact, most young children who drowned in swimming pools were in the care of one or both parents at the time and had been out of sight for less than five minutes. While teaching your toddler water safety and, ultimately, to swim will eventually protect him, careful and constant supervision is essential to prevent drowning now.

Teaching your toddler water safety can be fun for both of you. Enroll in a YMCA swimming class for parents and toddlers to learn water safety and have fun. No matter how much your toddler loves the water, however, he must always be within an arm’s reach until he is over 5 years of age and a strong swimmer-even if you are just in a backyard wading pool. If your child is fearful of the water, don’t force him to swim, as doing so may increase his fear.

Water play
There are endless ways to enjoy the water with your toddler. Sit in a kiddy pool with her in just an inch or two of water and pass a ball back and forth between you. Fill or empty cups as you would in the sink or tub. In the shallow end of an adult pool, hold her in your arms and bounce together in the water while singing Ring Around the Rosie. If your child has a fear of water but is comfortable in your arms, you can offer her the choice of falling up (out of the water) or down (submerged no higher than her chest).”

I know you’re thinking that this is all old news. But if it helps save one toddlers life, it’s worth it.

School Lunches? What to do? HELP!

Starting in three months I have to pack a lunch for a three year old! I’m at my wits end! I have no clue how to make a quick and healthy meal for my child that won’t take a lot of time every night before we go to bed. I want to be able to prepare a week’s worth of lunches in about an hour on Sunday afternoon. I then want to be able to grab them out of the fridge and toss them in her super fancy kid lunch bag that makes her look like she’s carrying very nutritous food.

At her current Spanish immersion daycare they provide her with warm organic lunches every day. She’s currently eating better than I am with meals like rice and oranic veggies, taco roles, veggie soup. Her lunches look a little like this:

I need the help of all the seasoned momma and dadda lunch packers out there otherwise my little girl’s lunches may well end up looking like this, where the tator tot serves as the veggie:

Please post a reply with your best quick and easy school lunch menus and tips. What lunches have you found to be good? I’m particularly interested in menu ideas for lunches that can be prepared in bulk and then just thrown in the lunch bag.

I’ve never had to do this so I’m soliciting ideas from all of you out there. I tried looking for a good blog on kids’ lunches but all I found was mother’s complaining about how much they hated making lunches.

The one ideas I’ve had so far is:

Lentil soup: heat a bowl up in the am and throw it in the thermos. Toss in a piece of whole wheat bread and butter and some apple slices. I think I can handle that. Now what about the other 364 days?

After I get a number of suggestions I will create a new post with a list of the ideas.

The only restrictions are that they cannot include making cute, tiny faces out of food objects;

 

and they cannot involve writing love notes on pieces of fruit.

No offense http://www.thekitchn.com/lunch-surprise-write-a-secret-154283 It’s cute but as a single working mom, I just don’t have the time for that!

I’ll be looking forward to all of your great ideas….yum, yum!

Hands Free Mama? What about Hands Free Toddler (or Child)?

(My Hands Free Baby doing a little dance!)

Yesterday evening after swimming lessons and dinner out I took my almost three year old to Target with me to pick up a few items. Of course, a few items turned into a few more items and we were there well over an hour. She wanted to ride in the cart, she wanted to ride on the cart, she wanted to stand on the back of the cart, and stand on the front of the car. She fell over, she almost fell out. A typical trip to Target. Oh, and she sat on the Cheerios box that I put in the cart as soon as we got in the store (it was on sale) and even ripped open the top asking “What is this?!” Luckily she didn’t make it INTO the Cherrios. Yikes!

After a few minutes of this toddler-sized chaos, I realized that there was a bag of items that we had purchased at the Dollar Store prior to coming to Target. I suggested that she take the items out of their packages while we zipped around the store. We had picked up some small beach balls and some toys for the swimming pool: most of them were all packed in paperboard and plastic. This kept her busy for a while but she was still into stuff, doing her typical toddler thing.

About half way through our trip, I noticed something interesting. There was another mother pushing the cart of a toddler just about the size of mine. But unlike my cart which was full of chatter and movement, her cart was silent. How could that be? A toddler sitting in the bottom of the cart and not making a sound? I looked over into the cart to investigate. There sat with a toddler completely silent, not moving, transfixed. What going on? Then I saw it: the smart phone. She was watching Elmo on her mother’s phone.

Now if you’ve read any of my other posts on children and screen time, you may know my opinion on this. Any time a child is spent engaged with an electronic device is time that the child is not spending engaged with another human being or a tangible object. The toddler is not learning how to entertain herself, the toddler is passively being entertained.

Now perhaps for that mother, that was just the break she needed. Who am I to judge? But the skeptical side of me says that’s not the case. The skeptical side of me says that the phone is whipped out whenever there’s an occasion to keep an antsy child from squirming, exploring, grabbing and generally making a mess out of things.

(This is also backed up by the fact that a different mother at the table of the restaurant we were eating at before the Dollar Store was on her phone the whole time and only spoke to her 5 and 8 year old kids when it was to tell them to sit down. Not a Hands Free Mom.) Her children ended up leaning over the booth for half of the dinner to talk and interact with me and my child.

The interesting thing about this trip is that it never crossed my mind to try to entertain in her in any other way than the way that I was, and I won’t be changing my ways anytime soon. For me dealing with a squirmy toddler is part of the job of raising a child. Sure, I was tired. I had worked a full day of work, I had taken her to swimming lessons, out to dinner and to the Dollar Store. I’m a single mom. I do these things myself. But a toddler is a toddler. She needs to explore, to learn about objects, to ask questions. On one trip to the grocery store I spent half the time reading the signs advertising the fruits and veggies.

The grocery store, or any store for that matter, is a 3D experience. She’s touching things, looking at objects, asking questions. She’s learning how to balance in the cart when she’s standing in it and it comes to sudden stop. Language, reading, fine motor, gross motor, it’s all there.

For me, the smart phone and Elmo is a last resort. It’s for times when there are few other choices.  This has always been while we on a long car trip. Giving my child the smart phone every time she is restless would be somewhat akin to giving her a cookie every time she cries. I do use the occasional cookie to pacify the upset child, but aren’t there other lessons to be learned? Shouldn’t she learn that there are times you don’t get what you want, or to teach her how to self-soothe or learn that her mamma is there when she needs a hug? Why use the phone when you can offer your child a learning experience and a chance to be in the real world? Sure, it takes more time and effort on the part of the parent. But isn’t that what we’re there for? Isn’t that what we wanted when we signed on the dotted line of motherhood?

For more on Hands Free mother check out the Hands Free mama blog.

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Can an iTunes App Teach your Child to Speak? Parenting Magazine Thinks So

I was breezing through the March 2012 issue of Parenting Magazine and an article by Amy Beal entitled “Talking Points: The Latest News from the American Academy of Pediatrics” caught my eye. The article is informative enough and gives some good advice on children who may start speaking at a later than average age. Embedded in the article is a brief sentence on advice to parents when there is a concern. The advice is “The best way to encourage speech: talk and read to your child yourself – a lot.” I’m doubtful most parents make it that far into the article.

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This brief sentence buried in the fine print is the best advice that can be given. Children learn to speak by hearing other adults speak and by modeling of speach. The only way children are going to learn to speak is by hearing other people speak. Speaking slowly, mimicking what the child is saying, reinforcing speech through positive reinforcement: these are all ways to help children produce speech. Here’s a good piece on ways to teach your baby language naturally on iVillage published in 2011. (Baby talk: 8 easy and fun ways to improve you baby’s language skills.) The tips include: talking to your baby, respond to your baby’s cries,  have “conversations with your baby,” talk naturally to your baby, extend her language and describe what you see her doing, sing songs, read books, etc. You’ll notice that technology didn’t make its way into the tips.

READING BOOKS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CHILD’S LANGUAGE SKILLS.

Reading to your child is the greatest predictor of academic success later in life. The more children are read to as young children, the better they do in school later. Make time in your day to read to your child.

As proof of this point, I was just reading in a sociology textbook about children who were not exposed to language for the first several years of their lives. One was the case of a girl who was locked in the attic with her deaf mother for the first six years of her life. Sociologists use this case as an example of understanding that language is not something that will be acquired simply by being born – it must be learned from the environment and particularly from the child’s caregivers.

My Outrage? iPhone as Speech Therapist.

This brief article was an okay overview of speech delays. What outraged me about the page in the magazine was the little “speech bubble” in the upper right hand corner that has a baby pointing to it. The little bubble says “Speech Therapy! Parents are raving about the First Words app. ($2: itunes.com). It is bright, it will capture the reader’s eye and it may be the only thing a reader sees and takes away from this page.

I almost had a heart attack when I saw this bubble. Why on earth is Parenting Magazine promoting an iTunes app to teach your baby to speak, especially given the information that was just provided that tells readers that babies learn to speak from other humans?

Let’s take a look at the many problems in this brief little advertising gimmick:

What is a parent more likely to do? Read the whole article in small print or read the speech bubble that tells you an iTunes app will teach your child to speak?

  1. Is it just me or isn’t it slightly irresponsible for Parenting Magazine to promote a $2.00 iTunes app as “Speech Therapy.”
  2. Apps are super popular, right? If you were a parent of a child with a slight delay in speech, wouldn’t you pick up your iPhone and download the app? What parent wouldn’t? (Well, I wouldn’t but that’s just me and hopefully some other mothers and fathers out there.) The majority would though, I’d bet. I’ve seen a lot of parents  grasp at any straw they can when it comes to a developmental issue with their child.
  3. Doesn’t the green bubble directly contradict what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends? The article and what we know about speech development recommends that parents and other humans teach children to speak, not phones. Any time spent that the child spends looking at an iPhone or some other electronic device is time that is not spent face-to-face with a human being.
  4. Speech therapists are probably not using things like iPhone apps to teach children to learn to speak. When I was observing speech therapists who were working with young children I did not see any electronic devices. (Granted that was 10 years ago, but I doubt things have changed that much, especially when it comes to small children, birth to three.)

As a society we need to separate out the sexy allure of technology from parenting in ways that are natural and proven to be effective. There’s an unethical blending of the two that occurs, particularly in the media.

Years of experience show us that the media is the strongest influence over how a society develops and identifies itself. Let us not be consumed and swayed by that.

If we as consumers of the media fall pray to such irresponsible advertising, especially when it comes to our most precious commodity – our children – then I am very worried about the future. Please act responsibly and be an informed and discriminating consumer of the media. There is no panacea for things like speech delay and speech acquisition. If a $2.00 iTunes app could solve the problems of child speech delays then there would be no need for speech therapists and there would be very few children with speech delays.

It’s a gimmick and it leads parents to believe that technology is the answer…even when it’s not.

Furthermore, wouldn’t you rather teach your child to speak than a telephone app?

I know I would.

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