Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Helping Pets Adjust to a Mobile Baby

Monday, October 17th, 2016

When researching about pets and babies when I was pregnant with my first, I found lots of information about introducing a new baby to your pets.  Other than Peanut needing to try out all the new baby stuff, once we brought our babies home, our pets, Midnight (a lab mix) and Peanut (an orange kitty) adapted well.  Midnight loved the baby instantly both times.  Peanut was a little jealous of the attention the baby received but adjusted quickly.

Introducing the girls was the easy part.  Once they started to crawl, and then walk, we needed to teach them how to treat the animals so that both our pets and children were safe.  This is an ongoing process, but we want both our pets and kids to be safe and happy.  Most of the following rules we have for interacting with the animals are common sense, but they take monitoring and reminding the kids how to be kind to the pets.  Some days I’m amazed at how many times I request that my 3-year-old moves her face away from the cat’s!

  1. If the dog or cat is sleeping, let them sleep and leave them alone.

  2. Keep your face away from the dog or cat’s.  Do not face nudge the cat, even if she has done so to you in the past.

  3. Stay clear of the dog and cat when they’re eating.

  4. No grabbing the dog and cat’s tails, legs, or ears.

  5. Do not try to ride or climb on the dog.

  6. Pet nicely (from head to tail) and limit the duration of pets.  Be conscious your pets’ body language so you know when to stop petting.

  7. When out walking, always ask another dog’s owner if the dog is friendly before trying to pet him.

In addition to the above rules, we have spaces for each pet to go that is their personal area so when the kids get to be too much, they can retreat and have some peace.  Both our pets are very tolerant and understanding of kids.  This does not mean that we let our guard down.  We love our kids and our fur babies, so we constantly watch how they interact and remind the kids how to appropriately treat the pets so that everyone is safe and happy in our home.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.



How to Baby Proof with Big-kid Toys Around

Monday, September 12th, 2016

How to baby proof with big-kid toys aroI should preface this by saying we have never done the baby-proofing by locking the fridge, toilets, nor many cabinets. We have almost nothing that can break, put our few cleaners up high, and have a small (but cozy!) home where I can see all of my children most of the time and can hear them all of the time. We anchored our television and most furniture.

We are also in the stage of life where we see our living room furniture not so much as investment pieces and more like fun and comfortable. The kids can jump about the couch without us concerned with wear and tear (to a certain degree, of course). I think it is partially here that they’ve learned to be rough and tumble but also cautious. That said, as baby number three approaches 6 months and crawling, we’ve thought anew about what babyproofing looks like with older kids (almost three and five) in the mix.

Prevention. It’s helpful sometimes to “baby proof,” but sometimes prevention is key. Having fewer breakable things around gives some peace of mind. Minimizing the sheer volume of stuff in your home also minimizes the things your babe will come across. This includes your children’s belongings but also yours.

Consider your stuff, space, and child. Given the ages of your children, sleeping arrangement, size of home, and amount of toys, how you baby proof with big kids around may vary from my way. Consider the things that you are keeping baby safe from—stairs, breakable items, cleaners, medications, doors that lead outside, and so forth. We all have different variables with which to work. Also consider your child. One of our sons never had interest in plugs while the other approached them a number of times; one son has always had a keen interest in getting out the front door while the other, generally, stays inside when he should. Last, consider protecting your other children from baby. What toys or belongings do they cherish most? Try to make efforts to protect their most beloved objects from the baby when possible.

Create a completely safe space for baby. For us the living and dining rooms are always baby-friendly. Her brothers have toys out but, for example, we keep Legos in the other room on the table always. It’s helpful to have a location where I don’t have to be as alert to danger. Likewise, the boys’ room is one location that baby should NOT be in without my direct, hands-on, supervision as there are numerous toys with small parts.

Invest in baby-friendly toys for your older children. This can vary based on your children’s ages. Our two and four year old children still get entertainment and enrichment from large blocks, and smooth wooden and soft toys. When chosen thoughtfully, these toys can prove an investment as they span many years of child development while also safe for baby to play near or even with. Keep an eye out for small parts that can break off and baby-safe (i.e. lead free) paint/finishes.

Use your words to protect your children. Start early and explain simply. For example, we explained to our 4-year-old that shoes have dirt and other yucky things and they need to stay in the shoe bin, away from baby sister’s blanket and toys. We then made the habit of shoes going to the shoe bin. We still remind him sometimes but the expectation is established. The same is true for other things: Your food is for you (don’t feed baby); if you drop food, pick it up; leave baby on ground (don’t pick up); gentle (don’t hit); put your toys away; etc. Locks and gadgets can prove helpful, but they aren’t the only way to establish a safe space. Talk to them about responsibility at an age-appropriate level. For example, “If you don’t want your (favorite item) chewed, broken, or removed, then please care for it by putting it away where baby can’t reach.” Encourage grace when inevitably baby gets to someone’s treasured item.

Use babyproofing gadgets as appropriate for your needs. We haven’t used many but the ones we have purchased were a great relief. Anchors to secure our furniture to walls were worth every penny. Though we never used a baby gate for four years, we now use one almost daily to keep baby from unsafe spaces. While I generally keep an eye on my kids most of the time, sometimes I am busy, distracted, or otherwise occupied and cannot keep them safe only by sight. Invest in necessary precautionary measures and consider whether or not your older children should know how to maneuver the safety devices.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 5 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

When to Turn the Car Seat

Monday, June 13th, 2016

When to Turn the Car SeatCar Seats. This is seriously a topic that before having kids, I never dreamed was the hot-button topic it seems to be now. I didn’t know until I started researching seat safety, especially when I was looking to purchase our first convertible seat. Then I found there are entire blogs, web pages and forums all solely dedicated to car seats.

The real discussions seem to start however, not with purchasing an infant seat or even a convertible seat, but when to turn your child from rear facing (RF in car seat forum land) to front facing (FF). Ultimately, the safest position in the car for your child to ride in is rear facing in the back row of seats (the airbags in the front seats are dangerous to children). Car seat safety experts want you to continue this as long as possible. Maybe until high school. (I’m joking). The minimum recommended age for turning your child to front facing is at the second birthday, but continuing to rear face until your child meets the height and/or weight maximum for their seat is the ideal scenario.

I think every parent wants their child to be as safe as can be. There are different roadblocks, however, that prevent many families from rear facing up until these seat limits. First is the size of the car, or at least of the back seat. Even larger cars and SUVs now have fairly small back seats, and many seats, when rear facing, take up quite a bit of room. Parents can usually accommodate this by installing the seat in the middle seat of the back row. This only works for one rear-facing child, however. Second is the weight and height maximums of the car seat. If your car seat is on the smaller size or your child is tall and/or heavy for their age, the limit can be reached quite rapidly.

Without purchasing a new car (minivan, anybody?), there are a couple ways to maximize the space that you do have. First, if you haven’t bought your car seat yet (or are looking to buy another), consider seats that are designed to take up less room while rear facing. Some of these seats also have optional wedges that can be purchased for underneath the seat, making the seat’s footprint in the car even smaller. Placing the bulkiest car seats in the center, and from there behind the shortest person in the front row (at my house, the non-center car seat always went behind my seat, as my legs are much shorter than my husband’s) is ideal. If you’re facing a small car seat issue (vs a small car issue), can you hand down your child’s current small seat to a younger sibling in the family and purchase a seat with higher RF maximums. This is not in every family’s budget, but it is an option for some.

Finally, like always, if you have installed a new seat or even just moved the current ones, consider having the installation inspected by a certified technician. Often, fire stations have employees that can do this for you for free.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to two sons. She found her car seat jenga skills improved by bounds after moving to Japan and needing to fit two rear-facing American car seats into her tiny Japanese car. 

Keeping Baby Safe on July 4

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Keeping Baby Safe on July 4With the 4th of July just around the corner, many of us are heading to celebrations and parades with our little ones. This is such a fun holiday, filled with family, friends and fun that sharing it with our babies comes naturally. But, before you head out to participate in the fun, read these few simple tips to keep baby safe and happy during the festivities.

When getting baby dressed for the day, think layers and sun protective clothing. I like to give my older babies a good dose of sunscreen before dressing for a summer day to make sure any gaps in clothing are covered. Items such as leggings or long sleeve shirts can help cover and protect skin both from sun and bugs. Clothing with a tighter weave does a better job at protecting from UV rays than looser, mesh-style fabric. Don’t forget the sunhat, glasses and lightweight blankets.

When the sun begins to set and you’re heading to the fireworks shows, remember to bring ear protection. There are many products on the market for baby ear protection. Baby banz provide excellent ear protection for fireworks, sporting events and other loud events. If you’re looking for something a bit less bulky, I’ve used silicone ear plugs as ear protection. They mold to the outer ear and babies cannot pull them off as easily. They do a great job in protecting the noise levels and helps keep the little guys from startling.

During a fireworks display or parade, babywearing can be a lifesaver. By wearing your baby you can tell when they have had too much, make sure they are not overwhelmed or in the line of fire for flying items, and baby is comforted by having mom nearby. Sometimes just being near mom or dad is enough to comfort baby during the busy and craziness of the day.

If baby is still upset over the noise and overstimulation, sometimes it’s best to hedge your bets and head indoors to watch the fun from the safety and quiet of inside. Remember to listen to your baby’s needs and cues as they let you know what they need to make it through the day.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home to three crazy boys in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys knitting, gardening, camping and chasing her kids. 

When to Turn the Car Seat

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

When to Turn the Car SeatOne of the most heated debates I overhear or see happening around me on social media are as follows: childbirth, breastfeeding, vaccinations, and car seats. People get passionate over car seats—which ones to buy, how to install them, and when to turn them. Every time a video of a child singing in the car goes viral, you can bet there will be armchair quarterback car seat experts chiming in to name off each thing that’s wrong with the child’s placement and positioning.

So why are car seats confusing? For one, they aren’t standard. Second, the laws differ by state, and they might have changed between your first and second children. Third, there is a ton of conflicting information out there. So let’s make car seats a little less confusing.

First, before you even think about trading in, trading up or trading out your car seat, you need to make sure what you have is installed properly. Make an appointment with a car seat specialist to evaluate the fit and installation of your car seat. Don’t know where to go? Use this handy car seat inspection locator to find an inspection station near you. Car seats have several components that have to work properly for maximum safety, and the odds are that one of them is lacking.

Second, you should keep your child rear facing until they meet BOTH the weight and age requirement for the seat. For most seats, that’s 20 pounds AND age 2. Many people will choose to rear-face longer than that, and that’s fine. You don’t have to turn your child around as long as they are within the weight limits for rear facing in that particular car seat. However, as long as you continue to rear face, the seat needs to be at a 45-degree angle. If your seat does not recline, you can place a rolled up towel or cut a pool noodle and place it in the gap.

Third, only use the LATCH system or the car safety belt to install your car seat. LATCH is most effective when the car seat-plus-child weight is below the LATCH limit. When it’s above the LATCH limit, it’s safer to use the car safety belt. Either one can be used for rear- or forward-facing positions.

Fourth, when you do turn the car seat to forward, you need to correct the recline to make the car seat sit straight up, and rethread the harness through the top slots in the seat, no matter how tall or short your child is.

So when your child has outgrown his or her first five-point harness car seat, what’s the next step? I found this to be a more confusing question than when to stop rear facing. Although the weight limits are pretty broad for most booster seats and most will have “ages 3 and up” on the box, there are factors that come into play that are beyond just weight. Can your child sit for the entire car trip with the seat belt correctly positioned? Can they buckle in correctly? Will they stay seated no matter what tempts them?

If the answer is no, you need to get a five-point harness with a higher weight limit than the baby bucket and put off the booster seat until age 5 or 6. Even if your child stays seated a majority of the time, it’s just not good enough. We don’t get to pick when we have accidents, and eyeballing the backseat when you need to be watching the road can make driving with your child even more dangerous. There are lots of other areas in which we can let our children earn freedoms and prove they can be responsible. Car seats are just not one of them.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three who somehow manages to fit three car seats across the backseat of her Honda Civic. She lives and writes in upstate New York.