Winter can seem so much worse when you’ve got a vulnerable little one to protect. Try these strategies to stave off chilly weather, guard against germs, and keep your baby healthy.
As the winter temperatures drop, there are often questions about keeping babies warm while they sleep. Here’s a few tips to keeping baby sleeping snuggly and safely.
The following post was written by Judith Owens, pediatric sleep expert, for babycenter.
It’s safer not to use any sort of loose or thick bedding in your baby’s crib, at least for the first year. That because too much bedding, or the wrong kind of bedding, can cause accidental suffocation and overheating, which are believed to be a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
A skullcap and pajamas with feet are good choices. In general, layered clothing for sleep is practical, in case you need to remove or add a layer. “Wearable blankets” or sleep sacks that won’t get tangled can also help keep your baby cozy.
Contrary to what you might think, babies don’t need more bundling up than adults. As a general guide, your baby will be comfortable using about the same amount of clothing and coverings that you would be comfortable using at the same room temperature. An ideal room temperature for your baby is around 70 to 72 degrees F.
You can use a space heater in a chilly room, but make sure it’s fireproof. And remember that once your baby starts to be more mobile — once she starts crawling, for example — a space heater can pose a burn risk. To warm cold sheets, place a hot water bottle or a heating pad in the bed for a while before bedtime. (The microwaveable type is useful because it doesn’t have to be plugged in.) Just be sure to remove it before putting your baby down!
Here are some simple ways to tell whether your baby is warm enough: If her skin is blotchy and her arms and legs are cool and her cheek feels cool to the touch, add a layer or cover her head (with a hat) and feet. On the other hand, if your baby is damp or sweating, it’s a sign that she’s over-bundled and moisture is accumulating on her skin. Too much moisture can lead to prickly heat, even in the winter, so take a layer off or change your baby’s clothes so more air can flow over her skin.
For more information regarding best practices and safe sleep, click here.
The following post was written by Michelle Hainer and Beth Weinhouse for the Parenting.
Jill Berry, a mom in Woodbine, MD, recalls her toddler’s first photo with Santa. “She was fine in line, then hysterical when I handed her over,” Berry recalls. The resulting photo: “a red-faced toddler, a bewildered Santa, and me, on his lap, wearing a ski jacket and an old shirt.” Oh, the memories.
It’s a ritual of the season: taking your child to the mall so he can tell Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas, and scoring an adorable photo of him sitting on the jolly one’s lap. But not all kids are game. Some take one look at the fat old guy with that big white beard…and freak out.
Think about it: This ginormous, hairy guy shows up once a year and you thrust your kid onto his lap, says child psychologist Jonathan Pochyly, Ph.D., of Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The little guys have no concept that they’re going to get something in return, and the bigger ones think he’s been looking in their windows and compiling a “naughty” list. Of course, some kids do cooperate for the photo op, and yours may be one. Just in case, here’s how to avoid a mall meltdown:
To avoid that stress this year, experienced Santa-snappers suggest you:
- Do a Dry Run: Days before, give your child a glimpse of St. Nick from afar, says Amy Stone, owner of Jady Images in Miami. “When you come back for the actual photo, he’ll be more familiar with what to expect.”
- Carry Supplies: Snacks and toys are key. Hungry kids are likelier to act out.
- Distract: “Put a piece of tape on your child’s finger if he gets fidgety,” says Marlboro, NJ, photog Jill Caren. “Sometimes that’s distracting enough that he’ll forget Santa’s even there.”
- Present His Requests: Tie up his wish list with a bow, and have him hand it over, suggests Heather Dillon, a Scottsdale, AZ, photog. “It places the attention on Santa, not on him.”
- Think Narrative Gold: As the Santa at Holiday World, a theme park in Santa Claus, IN, says: “Sometimes those unposed moments make the best photos.”
- Be careful not to paint a scary picture of Saint Nick. If you prep your child by saying “Don’t be afraid, Santa’s not going to hurt you,” you’ve introduced a possibility that may never have occurred to him, notes Pochyly. Instead, talk about how fun it will be, and show your child a picture of a sibling or a cousin perched happily on Santa’s lap.
- Bring a lovey. Life’s easier with a stuffed bear by your side—and you can always put some reindeer antlers on him.
To learn from their experience and a few laughs, check out these scared pics with Santa.
As youngsters begin to put the finishing touches on their wishlists to Santa, it is important that parents start “checkin’ it twice” before sending it off to the North Pole. The upcoming holiday season will account for over 65% of the year’s total toy sales and will include potential hazards to consumers.
In November, W.A.T.C.H (World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.) announced its 2016 nominees for the 10 worst toys of the year at their annual toy conference. The list contains toys with inconsistent and inadequate warnings, cautions and age recommendations, as well as other classic safety hazards that continue to reappear year after year.
The 2016 list includes:
Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family
Manufacturer or Distributor: Jazwares, LLC
Retailer(s): Target, Amazon.com
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This set of four “Peppa Pig” figurines includes an entire “muddy puddles family”. Incredibly, despite the “choking hazard” warning and “3+” age recommendation on the packaging of some toys, other packages of what appear to be the same toys are sold for oral-age children as young as “2+” with no warnings about toy-related hazards.
Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow
Manufacturer or Distributor: Kids Time US; Appease Toys
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR SUFFOCATION!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This large, plush pillow in the form of a cuddly stuffed elephant is marketed with an image on the retailer’s website depicting an infant snuggling alone with the plush animal. There are no warnings or age recommendations on the product itself. The hazards associated with pillows sold for infants are well documented. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned that a pillow can block a baby’s mouth and can cause a baby to suffocate. “Infant pillow[s]” and “any other similar article[s]” which are “intended or promoted for use by children under one year of age” have been banned by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (16 CFR 1500.18).
Manufacturer or Distributor: Diggin Active, Inc
Retailer(s): Toys R Us, Amazon.com
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! The “slimeball launcher” is similar to a slingshot, and is sold with bright green “slimeballs” as ammunition, which can be fired “over 30 feet!” Projectiles launched with such force have the potential to cause serious eye injuries.
Banzai Bump N’ Bounce Body Bumpers
Manufacturer or Distributor: ToyQuest
Retailer(s): Walmart, Amazon.com, Ebay.com, Sears.com
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Children as young as 4-years-old are encouraged to “[s]lip into your bumper suit for a “bumpin’ bump ‘em’ fun time!” Children on the packaging are shown running into each other without any “protection” (not included), as recommended by the manufacturer.
Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster
Manufacturer or Distributor: Hasbro
Retailer(s): Walmart.com, Target.com, Amazon.com, Kmart.com
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! The manufacturer of this “blaster” with an “easy-load magazine” encourages “precision battling” during “intense head-to-head competition.” The ammunition provided can shoot with enough force to potentially cause eye injuries. Images on the box depict children wearing masks covering their face and eyes, however the face mask is “not included” and must be purchased separately.
The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch
Manufacturer or Distributor: Tomy
Retailer(s): Amazon.com, Walmart.com, ToyRUs.com
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR PUNCTURE WOUND INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This “rugged Tyrannosaurus Rex” is a popular children’s movie character marketed as a “Rustler’s worst nightmare.” Operation of the dinosaur by children as young as 3-years-old in order to evoke “galloping action and sounds” requires the push of a button on the toy’s rigid, pointed tail, which may be held close to a child’s torso or face. There exists a potential for significant puncture wound injuries during encouraged playtime activity.
Manufacturer or Distributor: TPF Toys, Ltd.
Retailer(s): Toys R Us
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR STRANGULATION INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are permitted to market pull toys like the “Peppy Pup,” with a cord measuring approximately 31 inches.
Flying Heroes Superman Launcher
Manufacturer or Distributor: I-Star Entertainment, LLC; The Bridge Direct, Inc.
Retailer(s): Toys R Us, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Sears.com, Ebay.com, BigW.com
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE AND FACIAL INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This flying, winged superhero figurine is sold with a launcher for children as young as 4 years old, who are encouraged to “[g]rip it!” and “[r]ip it!” The instructions caution that the Superman character should only be launched “at arm’s length and pointing up and away from your face….”
Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby
Manufacturer or Distributor: New Adventures LLC LTD
Retailer(s): Toys R Us, Amazon.com, Sears.com
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR INGESTION INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! The “Baby Magic” doll, which plays “peek a boo,” comes with a baby bottle, high chair, blanket, food dish, and “interactive spoon.” The slender, rigid plastic spoon is approximately 2 ¾” long, with the potential to be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.
Manufacturer or Distributor: Jakks Pacific, Inc.
Retailer(s): Toys R Us, Amazon.com
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR BLUNT IMPACT INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! 6-year-old children are encouraged to “[f]eel the power of the horde!” with the “legendary Doomhammer,” based on weaponry in the “Warcraft” movie. The manufacturer offers no warnings regarding potential impact injuries associated with foreseeable use of the heavy, rigid plastic battle hammer.
For additional information regarding these toys and other potentially hazardous toys, please visit www.toysafe.org.
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