Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Car Seat Safety. It's everyones Issue.

I am a person who is very passionate about many subjects.  One of those subjects is car seat safety.  Nothing makes my heart and stomach plummet faster than hear of or seeing someone not using their car seat properly.  And what is even worse is that this happens very often because:

98% of people are not using their car seat correctly.  

At least three child endangering mistakes are made by most parents while installing car seats.
Many inspectors completing seat checks for free have inadequate training, expired certifications and/or outdated product knowledge.

That is a HUGE! 

 And this is something i'm torn about.  When i see a car seat not being used right i want to say something so bad because impropper use of car seats puts children's lives at risk.  

In the United States during 2005, 1,335 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 184,000 were injured. That’s an average of 4 deaths and 504 injuries each day.

Among children under age 5, in 2006, an estimated 425 lives were saved by car and booster seat use.  (Imagine how much higher that number would be if those 98% of car seats were being used properly?!?!) (source)

Car seat safety is easy.  It's something that could significantly reduce your child's risk of injury or death.  It makes me so sad when i try to talk with people who i see are not using their car seats correctly and they lash back at me like i'm some horrible person.  That i'm just trying to be a know it all.  But this is not the case at all.  The reason i speak up is because the child cannot.  And perhaps that person *honestly* didn't know they were doing something wrong. I do not want anyone to go through having to bury their child because i *have*.  Even though there was nothing i could have done to prevent her death, it's the hardest thing i've ever had to do, placing my child in her casket for burial.  I do not want any other parent to have to go through that. 

So i will continue to speak up, even if it makes others uncomfortable, mad,  or even hostile towards me.  

So what are the mistakes caregivers make?

Well, the first big thing people are ignoring or just dont' know is that the AAP recommends that you keep children rear facing as long as possibe.  "Toddlers should remain rear-facing in a convertible car seat until they have reached the maximum height and weight recommended for the model, or at least the age of 2." (source)
The rule of 1 year and 20lbs is NO MORE! 

REMEMBER, toddlers are more than five times safer riding rear-facing in a car seat.  And 2 years is just the minimum.  Most children can rear face to 3 to 4 years.

Ok, now that we all understand this we'll go on. I know this next part seems like an overload of information but please, just take a moment of your time to read through these short articles and videos. 
Remember your child's life could depend on it.

9 Lifesaving Car Seat Rules You're Probably Ignoring
7 Car Seat Safety Rules You Still May Have Missed

Winter car seat safety
Does your baby wear a coat in the car?
Car Seat Safety: 10 Nightmare Mistakes

7 Rules for Buying & Installing a Car Seat
Parents issues with rear facing and the counter claims
Car seat tips you may have missed
Booster Seat Safety
Don't let your baby sleep in a car seat outside of the car
If you trust the media your baby is in dangerCar Seat Tips for Preemies and small newborns
worst car seats of 2010

Rear Facing VS. Forward Facing

Forward Facing or Rear Facing?

Importance of 5 point harness

More Information on Car Seat Safety

And now i will draw this to a close.  I hope that i did not offend anyone.  I am not trying to imply that i know more than you, or that i'm better than you.  I just want our children to be safe and i do not want any other parent to have to go through the heart ache of burying their child.  Please, pass this information on to all those around you!  Share this post in your blogs, on your facebook, where ever you would like (just please give credit).  Please work with me to keep our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and Godchildren safe.  Speak up when you see someone doing something wrong.  They might not know any better!  But it could still be a fatal mistake.  Thank you for taking the time to read this important message.

And for anyone who knows me in real life, and would like to contact a car seat technician let me know.  She is available for email/phone calls and (free)local carseat checks.

Did any of you learn something new from this post?  Have any of you also spoken up when you saw someone doing something wrong?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Myths about Flu vaccine

I know i already did a post today, but i wanted to share this article really quick since it was pretty good.

So what about you, do you believe in the flu vaccine?

The joy of holding my baby close

 I have another confession to make.

I *love* baby wearing!

Ok, that isn't much of a confession for some of you.  Anyone who sees me wearing Rainbow knows i absolutely adore it!  Baby wearing has been a life saver for me.  Before i had our first daughter, i knew i wanted to baby wear.  After having Rainbow, it wasn't just a want, it was a need.  I needed to wear our daughter.  

Rainbow has severe gas issues (due to food intolerances i'm trying to figure out) which cause her pain and so she cries a lot.  She is also very alert and hyper-sensitive to the world so she has a harder time sleeping.  And she just needs to be held a lot.  I never expected to have a baby that needed me as much as she does, but i do.

And so baby wearing has saved me.  It took me a while to find my carrier of choice but once i found it, it made the biggest difference in the world.  I am now able to wear Rainbow with no pain, no strain and with both hands free.  I'm happy and Rainbow is happy, nothing could be better.

And baby wearing is great because of all the benefits.  Benefits such as:
  • babies cry less
  • babies learn more
  • Good for baby's mental development
  • babies are more organized
  • Good for baby's emotional development
  • babies get "humanized" earlier
  • Good for baby's physical development
  • babies are smarter
  • Good for babies whose mums are depressed
  •   Wearing a baby is convenient
  • Babies are happier 
  • Baby-wearing is healthy for caregivers
  • Toddlers appreciate the security of the sling
  • Baby-wearing helps you and your baby to communicate with each other
  • Slings are a bonding tool for fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers
  • Slings are a safe place for a child to be
  • Slings are economical
  • Baby-wearing is fun
  • Baby Wearing helps fussy babies    
"The other thing, besides milk, that babies want and need most is human contact -— to be close to those who love them.  In many cultures, babies are constantly in the arms of caregivers. Anthropologists and psychologists who study the behavior of mothers and babies have observed that when mothers and babies are together, they are constantly shaping one another's behavior. When her baby whimpers or seems to be in distress, the mother responds and reassures her little one. If her baby seems hungry, she offers her breast. When the baby looks into her eyes, she smiles and talks to her baby, and her baby responds by gazing at her, smiling, or trying to "talk" in baby language. When babies encounter new people or new experiences, mothers and fathers who are holding them can help them overcome their fears and learn more about their world.
These sensitive, personality-shaping interactions happen most readily when babies are in the arms of their parents. When you wear your baby, the two of you move through your day together. You see the world from similar points of view. Your baby hears your voice as you talk to others, picks up on your emotions, and trusts you to provide safety and comfort. Even when a mother is focusing on other people or other tasks, a baby who is held in her arms or tucked into a sling is reassured by the physical contact. Wearing your baby provides closeness even when you can not give your baby one hundred percent of your attention." Source

Isn't baby wearing amazing?


So it makes me a sad to hear mothers who have said that they gave baby wearing a try, but it didn't work for them because it was uncomfortable, it hurt them or baby didn't like it.  Now, this may be true.  But i also wonder if those mothers just didn't have the right kind of carrier. 

Many mothers have a carrier that is similar to the Baby Bjorn.

I detest these carriers!  Yes, i'm happy that the mother/father/caregiver is wearing their baby, but in my opinion this is an awful carrier!  Not only is it incredibly uncomfotable (i hurt after just 10 minutes wearing a baby in one!) but it's not good for baby at all.  (ok, yes it's good for baby to be worn, but i'm not talking about that)

These types of carriers have been referred to as "crotch danglers" and put unnecessary stress on baby's hips and spine.  I could try to go into details of this myself, but this article says it all too well!
Please, read this article!
So if "crotch Danglers" are no good then what is a mother to use?  Well, if you read the article, you would have your answer :)

For me, my favorite carrier (at least for this stage in Rainbow's life) is my stretchy wrap.  It distributes her weight wonderfully across my shoulders, back, and hips to the point that i don't feel her weight on me.   I've actually walked for hours around down town Seattle without hurting one bit!  It is so wonderful!  And Rainbow loves it!  Most of the time she even falls right asleep (she is actually in the wrap right now sleeping away and has been for a good couple of hours)
Example of Stretch Wrap

Now, there is a lot of hype going around about the safety of slings, wraps and mei ties. 

“Any time you put a baby in a car seat, stroller, or other device, there is a level of danger,”  “There have actually been more infant deaths in those sorts of things than slings in the last decade,” she added. For example, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the three-year period from 2002 to 2004, 16 infants died in car seat carriers outside the context of motor vehicle accidents. Also for that period, nine infants died in strollers and carriages, and 11,100 children were injured in strollers and carriages in one year alone.* In comparison, the CPSC is investigating 14 possibly sling-related deaths that occurred over a period of twenty years. (emphasis mine. Source)

As with anything, you need to follow the rules and proper procedures to be safe.  If you don't operate a car correctly, bad thins happen.  If you don't operate a stove correctly, bad things happen.  Yet we still do those things every single day without a second thought.  It is the same thing with baby wearing, as long as you follow the "rules" it can be very very very safe :)
So for you to learn, safe baby wearing resources:

And now i'm not sure what else to say.  I guess if you have tried baby wearing and it didn't work, try a different carrier, it might make all the difference!  And don't be afraid to hold your children!  It's what they need!  No, they will not become spoiled.  How can you spoil someone by giving them something they *need*.  Can you spoil someone by letting them sleep?  By feeding them?  By letting them go to the bathroom?  No.  The same with holding your children :)
If you want to learn more about baby wearing, please read these articles.

Wonderful Resources:
 And how many of you baby wear?  What is your favorite carrier and favorite carry?

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Natural Play Please

So the holidays are upon us.  It has me thinking even more about what kind of gifts i would like our daughter to be getting.  What kind of toys i would like her to have.  It is something i've thought of before, but i haven't talked too much about it.

I've spent a lot of time around children and a lot of time around the toys most of those children play with.  I've noticed that many children just have too many toys, and they are toys that do not encourage imaginative play.  Lots of toys are made of plastic, need batteries, are over stimulating and break easily.  Is that really what i want for my children?

No, it is not.  I want toys that my children will enjoy for years to come.  I want toys made from natural materials and are not hazards to my children's health.  I want toys that help my children to imagine and think about things.  I want toys they will treasure.  

I want toys like these:

Stacking Cups from Magic Cabin
Wooden Fruit and Vegetable Set by Nova Naturals Toys and Crafts

Wash Day Fun by Magic Cabin

Peek-a-Boo Roller by Oompa

Element Blocks by Magic Cabin (I LOVE these!!!)

 Waldorf Doll Mortiz by Waldorf Treasures

Face Pencils by Nova Natural Toys and Crafts

Now, as i said above, i want toys that are not hazards to my children's health.  Almost all toys on the market are made from plastic.    These plastics are made from things like polyvinyl chloride, or PVC.  And PVC is made from phthalates. The most common phthalates are di-ethylhexyl-phthalate (DEHP), di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), and di-isononyl-phthalate (DINP).  One of the problems with Phthalates is that they act in a way that is similar to hormones in our body.  This can disrupt our hormone balance and hormones effect *so many* important functions in our body.  Other possible problems are that phthalates can lead to kidney problems, cardiac and respiratory arrest and cancer. (Source)

Now i can go on and on but i won't (if you want to know more about the dangerous health effects you can read my source).  I know that many things around is have been found to cause negative effects in our bodies, and i know that i cannot keep everything that is harmful away from my children.  But i can at least *limit* those negative things in their life to try and give them a better chance at a healthier life.  If i can keep disease causing toys away from my children, i will try.

Now I'm sure that many parents would love to get toys like the ones i shared above for their children.  But one major problem most parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/friends find these toys overly expensive.  I know that I am shocked many times by the price tag on some of these toys.  But for me personally, id' rather have one "natural" toy that will last for many many many years than a 10 "junk toys".  If a family member or friend wanted to get a toy like the ones we desire for our children, but can't afford one, i understand.  But i would rather them give us the money to put towards a toy than to buy a "junk toy".  

Or better yet, make a toy themselves.  There are so many easy toys out there to make :)  Fabric blocks, bean bags, simple wooden puzzles, dolls, doll clothes, finger puppets, quiet books, i could go on and on.  A toy that was made with love means so much more than one bought from a store.  There are many resources out there for parents looking to make toys for their children.

And so, i think i will draw this post to a close.  I hope i have inspired you to go out and acquire more natural toys for your children to play with.  I know i am so excited to start making my daughters *own* toys. 

Are there any toys you have made for your children or loved ones?  Do you have plans or the desire to?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Random Craft Ideas

So i know i have been a little MIA but life has just been busy.  But i am back to make a quick post that i'm sure you'll enjoy.  At least, if you crafty at all like me (although some of these ideas are so easy they don't take much "craftyness" to achieve).

Many of these ideas would be great as holiday gifts this year, and most are low cost (yay!).  I tried to make each link title as close to the craft as possible, but i encourage you to look at them all so you don't miss out :D


Pictures courtesy of Crafster.org