Wednesday, July 10, 2013

We Are All Human: Being Proactive

Are you a person who hears a story and thinks 
'that would never happen to me' or 'I would never do that'.

Well, you're wrong.  

Terrible things happen, even to people who never though it would happen to them.

Today i'm talking about leaving a child in the car.

I've heard the stories.  I thought the same thing, that i would NEVER do that.  But as time has gone on as a mother, i've realized that i have faults.  I get busy, i get distracted, i'm forgetful.  

If i can leave the back door wide open while running errands (true story), or forget that the stove is on, forget to pick someone up, forget i have company coming over....then i can forget my child in the car.

It happens when our mind is on other things.  When our scheduled is different.  When we're in a hurry.  When baby is sleeping in the back and we forget they are there.  It happens.

It could even be someone else who does.  Grandma has baby for the day, or daddy picked your child up from daycare when he normally doesn't.  

It happens to real people with real lives.

Here are stories i heard just today from people i *know*.

"I see so, so many people that pass harsh judgement on the parents/caregivers that do this. And you're right, nobody thinks they'll *ever* do it. You know what? I'd like to think I would never do it either. I can tell you though, I had my daughter on a shopping trip with me once and I got home, walked into the house without getting her. I had *completely* forgotten she was with me because the trip was just out of routine for me. Right after I got in I got this feeling that I was forgetting something, I stood there for a moment and thought about it, then it just hit me that it was her that I forgot. I felt HORRIBLE. Thankfully it was during the fall and she was only in the car after I got in the house for maybe 20 seconds. But it happened. That doesn't make me a bad parent, it makes me human."

" My husband has done that. our first born was about 6 months old and he took him to store to get ice cream. He was wandering up and down the ice cream isle, trying to decide what to get when it all of a sudden occurred to him that he was supposed to have a baby with him. He went FLYING back out to the car. Thankfully it was after dark and not hot. in fact, it may have been cold but he was dressed warmly and fine. my husband found a lady standing by our car playing peekaboo with him. fortunately, she didn't panic and call the cops or something. she just stood there to make sure he was ok. I think she was waiting to see if it seemed like a parent who just didn't want to take their kid in with them or a parent who simply made a mistake. Regardless, I don't think my hubby was a bad parent. I think that was probably his first time going anywhere alone with the baby."

"I know when our 4 year old was a baby my husband and I left her in the car for like 5 minutes because we both thought the other one got her. SCARY!!!! And I still feel guilty remembering her sitting there alone. Lucky for us, it was cool in the garage. But it happens."

" I took my son with me to my place of work once (he stayed home with Dad 99% of the time) and took about 4-5 steps away from the car on "autopilot" before I remembered I had him with was one of the scariest things ever."

"I hate to admit this.... I've done it. It makes me sick and my heart races every time I remember.
My son was not quite a year old when my daughter (11) and I needed to make a quick tri
p to the store.
I left diaper bag at home and only took my wallet, which I put in my daughters bag. We got to Walmart, got inside and as we were nearing the back of the store (I always start in the back and work forward for some reason) she asked to go a different direction. I told her fine, but hold her bag tightly because my wallet was in there.
As she walked away, I was thinking, "why does she have my wallet? Why is it not in the diaper bag? Why didn't I bring the diaper bag? Oh, because I left baby with dad. NO I DIDN'T!! OH MY GOSH!!!!"
I started screaming for my daughter to come back. She did as we both ran out of the store. Got to the van and he was just sitting there in his seat. It had only been about 5 minutes, but to me it felt like forever. I grabbed him and held him so tight he probably thought I'd never let go.
I was so shaken. It is a terrible feeling!!!! He's now just over three and I constantly look in his seat multiple times when getting out of the vehicle. Even when he's not with me.

It CAN happen to anybody!! I've heard parents say that it won't happen to them. That a responsible parent wouldn't let it happen. HELLO?!?! I AM responsible. I made a mistake. One I regret and get the sick feeling over and over again.
It's NOT ok to leave a child in a car, but it can easily happen. Just take precautions.

Real people. Just like you.  

"Unfortunately, even the most conscientious parents can overlook a sleeping baby in a car. “The biggest mistake people make is to think ‘It couldn’t happen to me,’” Fennell said. “Memory experts point out that if you’ve ever forgotten a pot left burning on the stove, you’ve seen how easy it is to have a dangerous memory lapse.” source

"On a day that is just 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature [inside a car] can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour, and 70% of this increase occurs the first 30 minutes." source

A child's body temperature can raise 5 times faster than an adult.  Heatstroke can happen when the outside temperature is as low as 57 degrees.  Heatstroke deaths have been recorded 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states.  source
Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states. - See more at:
Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states. - See more at:
Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states. - See more at:
Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states. - See more at:
Heatstroke deaths have been recorded in 11 months of the year in nearly all 50 states. - See more at:

So instead of saying it would never happen, be proactive.  Take precautions.  Be sure it never does happen to you. 

  • Put something in the back seat so you have to open the door when leaving the vehicle – cell phone, employee badge, handbag, etc.
  • Or place their diaper bag in the front seat with your purse so you'll see it (can be a danger if you do not take a diaper bag with you always though)
  • Have a stuffed animal.  Move it from the car seat to the front seat to remind you when you have a baby in the back seat.
  •  Make a habit of looking in the vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away
  • Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected
    • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach
    • Keep your cell phone in the back with the child. You can set an alarm when you’re supposed to have been at the child care to remind you they are in the back seat.

     And as an onlooker, what would you do?  Many of us are slightly oblivious to the world around us.  Would you notice a baby left in a car?  What would you do if you heard a baby crying in a car?  Would you look to see if the baby is ok?  Would you assume they are with their caregiver? 
    From ABC's What Would You Do experiment:
    "After two days of filming we learned that while many people were simply too busy or distracted to notice a sleeping baby, many others simply didn't know what to do once they spotted our child. Many of those who did act said that they had seen news reports and knew about the dangers of leaving children in locked cars."

    Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble. 

    This video is heart-wrenching but the message is clear.  Be proactive.  No not allow a child to be left in a car.

 And remember to ALWAYS leave your car locked to protect a child for becoming trapped in one.

Please, pass this on.  So many think this will never happen to them, but it can.  Lets stop it.

Extreeme Makeover: Stroller Addition

I have never been more excited to write a blog post!
My family is planning a trip to an ammusment park and I was trying to think of ways to make our stroller stand out so it will be easy to find.  I've heard all the tips about tying a scarf or whatever to the handle, but i really wanted a GREAT way for it to be MINE.

So i searched online for people who have done a makeover on their stroller.  Surly there would be *something* on pinterest.  

There were people with much more time and energy and brain power than i who actually took all the fabric pieces off and made new ones with cute fabric but there was no way that was going to happen.  And i saw a few people who used fabric spray paint to touch up their sun faded stroller.  And I saw one woman who painted a design on a cheap umbrella stroller.

But i wanted more. I  wanted a completely new stroller.

SO i decided to just go for it!  The stroller only cost me $14 so i really did not have anything to loose.  

So i picked out a color scheme and went shopping for paint.

Then i removed the cover (washed it) and taped off any part i did not want painted (including on the cover, like the clear parts). 
Then i set to work.  I painted all the plastic parts with a plastic spray paint.  The hardest part about this was being patient and letting it set for the 48 hours before putting on the clear top coat!  SO hard to wait, but i wanted to do it right!!  After the 48 hours i covered everything with a protective clear coat (used the whole can).  Then i let that dry.

Next i mixed up my fabric paint using Textile Medium.  You can find it in the paint section.  (side note, i ran out of mine (i've had the same bottle for 7 years now) and had to get more for this project and it was HARD to find.  Micheals, walmart and joanns all did not have it here.  Hobby lobby had a small bottle that wasn't enough for me, but i finally found a large bottle for $10 at Craft Warehouse)  You mix the textile medium with your acrilyc paint to make it a fabric paint.  The ratio is 2 parts paint to 1 part medium.
I saw a DIY where you could make your own fabric spray paint so i tried that first.

well, it didn't work that great.  It wasn't a fine mist and so i had to use a paint brush to apply.  So i didn't even bother trying to spray the fabric.  Now, if your plan was to do your stroller in 1 color only, you might have been able to get it to work (or use the commercial kind).  But that was not my plan.  So painting i did.

A tip, it would probably be easier to do this if you chose similar tone colors.  Trying to do a light color over dark meant a lot of coats of paint (3-4). 

But in the end i thought it looked pretty good.  It actually looks a lot like leather!

Then i set to work painting the rest of it.  I'm sorry at this point i stopped taking pictures. I was too absorbed in what i was doing!  But i painted under the canopy next (make sure you cover what you just painted so you don't get drips!! learned that quickly) Then once that was dry i did the outside in tan (very tricky since i had it on the frame, but i was silly and had removed the tape from the frame protecting it).  Then i painted the outside of the canopy which actually took quite a bit of paint.

NOW, my big plan was i wanted to paint a chevron pattern onto the main body (seat part) of the stroller.  Well, when i was out and about trying to find the Textile Medium i found almost a yard of teal chevron fabric in the remnants section for less than $4!  SCORE!  So i had a change of plans and instead sewed up a stroller pad (got the idea here). 

The pad was pretty easy.  I laid some brown paper in the stroller to make my pattern.  I made the pad with 2 different fabrics to give different looks if i wanted.  I then marked where the buckles woudl go through and did a zig zag stick (very thick) all around the place i would cut (like a button hole).  Only mistake i made was i had removed the bukles from the straps so my holes are too small to use with the buckles on!  OOPS!

I then also made a new 'saddle bag' since the one it came with didn't paint well and i didn't like.  It was a little tricky but i was able to make it work.

So now we come to come completed stroller!  Sure, it's not perfect (really hard to do fine detail painting, and the trim was hard to paint, it kept soaking it all up!) but i really love how it turned out!


The lovely Rainbow modeling her new stroller
(remember i do not use real names on this blog)

Detail shots


The fold is a little stiffer now from the paint but still works.  It will fold smaller but i forgot to lift the basket out of the way.

And the finer details where things were not so perfect
the trim was tricky.

As i said, the trim didn't turn out great.

It was really tricky to pain the straps.

I noticed after the base coat dried completely that i had a little bit of cracking on the tray.  I was out of the paint color though so i just clear coated the heck out of it.
I was trying not to pain this black trim, but that didn't happen. 

 So there you have it!  You don't have to live with a boring stroller if you do not want to!  I will make updates as i start using her and let you know how she wears :)  (i just finished yesterday!)  If you have questions, just leave a comment below and I'll try to get to them as quickly as i can :)

Personally, i think she's lovely!  Now to just come up with a name!

A side safety note.  Do NOT ever makeover your car seat.  Doing so is a danger to the function of the seat and will void your warranty.  No aftermarket products allowed.  Changing the fabric, adding pads (strap covers or bundle mes included) are all not allowed.  They are not made to manufacture specifications (like fire retardancy which is very important in an accident, just read this mom's story and see her pictures) and not crash tested (do *not* believe the things you read on the packages in the store.  There is NO standard for them to test them).  And there is no guarantee that the harness slots on a new cover are in the correct position.  Even being off a 1/2 inch could change the harness fit on your child.  Graco once recalled a line of seats because they found that the padding on the covers was 1/4" too thick.  That is how important it is.  Please do not alter your car seat.