Dr. Sasha Carr offers summer travel sleep tips

by Sandra Gordon on June 16, 2014

Babies need 10 to 18 hours of sleep each 24-hour day. That’s not so tough to accomplish when it’s could out and you’re cocooning at home anyway. But during the summer months, “it can be challenging to fit all that in while traveling or enjoying summer vacation activities,” says Sasha Carr, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and certified child and family sleep coach at Off to Dreamland. The upshot? If your baby doesn?t snooze, you loose. But Dr. Carr’s summer travel sleep tips can help you make sure your baby gets the sleep he needs and make your trips more fun.

 

headshotSummer Travel Sleep Tips

Stick to your baby’s regular schedule/routine as much as possible. Even though you’re out and about, protect your baby’s nap time. While naps on the run aren’t ideal because they’re not as restorative, they’re better than skipping the nap. Plan for your baby to nap in the car, on the plane, or in a comfy stroller. Babies and young toddlers often do best in a familiar travel crib. Dr. Carr recommends the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light. Before your trip, have your baby sleep in it at home to break it in. “It opens like an umbrella,” Dr. Carr says. Assembling it is almost a one-step process. For hotel rooms, even just going to Grandma’s house or for longish mommy’s group meet-ups, The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light can help babies and toddlers get in a real nap. It’s only 11 pounds to lug around and much easier to set up/dissemble than a Pack ‘n Play.

Turn to the dark side. Little ones sleep best in a dark environment, especially in new, potentially stimulating locales. Temporary blackout shades like Redishades can make any hotel or guest room sleep-friendly, no matter what time zone you’re in. “They’re accordion black construction paper with adhesive on the end,” Dr. Carr says. You can cut them or overlap them to make them fit any window size. You can also use a black bed sheet with tools for hanging, like safety pins and non-marking painter’s tape or a few black trash bags taped directly to the windows. They work as well as the most deluxe curtains, Dr. Carr says. For portable stroller napping, check out the Snoozeshade. Dark and breathable at the same time, it creates a perfect cocoon for your little caterpillar when you?re on a roll.

Get everyone onboard with the plan. Before you set off on your summer adventure, make sure everyone agrees or at least is aware of your priorities regarding sleep. If you’ve decided to head back to the hotel for a midday rest at Disney so that your 10 month old can get a good nap in before a jam-packed afternoon and the evening fireworks, for example, explain to your 6 year-old why this plan equals more fun for everyone later in the day.

For more sleep tips, sign-up for Dr. Carr?s free monthly newsletter, and like Off to Dreamland on Facebook.

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Post image for Retweet Today about Heatstroke

Retweet Today about Heatstroke

by Sandra Gordon on May 23, 2014

The National Weather Service has designated today, Friday, May 23, 2014, National Heat Awareness Day

Each year, nearly 40 children die from heatstroke after being left unattended in a hot vehicle, according to KidsAndCars.org. Child vehicular heatstroke is the leading non-traffic cause of vehicular death for children. The inside of a car can heat up quickly—to as high as 122 degrees F in less than 20 minutes on an especially hot day. Moreover, young children overheat faster than adults because they’re less able to regulate their body temperature.

Prevent Heatstroke from Happening

Child hot car deaths vehicular is an under-recognized and commonly misunderstand danger to child passenger safety.

Play it safe. Never leave your child in the car, even with the windows “cracked,” or even just for a few minutes. And keep in mind that a change in routine or a bad night’s sleep can lend themselves to the unthinkable—driving to work with your sleeping baby in the car and forgetting that it’s your day to drop her off at daycare. To help you remember that your baby is in the car, put a soft toy in the front seat. Or secure something you need, such as a purse or backpack, in the backseat near your baby. Also, get in the habit of checking to make sure that everyone has exited the car when you get to your destination and lock car doors when you leave so a curious toddler can’t climb in your car when you’re not looking. Keep your car keys out of your child’s reach.

#heatstroke

Ray Ray’s Pledge (www.RayRaysPledge.com), KidsAndCars.org (www.kidsandcars.org), Safe Kids Worldwide (www.safekids.org), Jan Null (Certified Consulting Meteorologist, San Francisco State University; ggweather.com/heat), Child Care Aware of America (www.ChildCareAware.org), National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) (www.hmhb.org), Pediatric Safety (www.pediatricsafety.net), Britax (www.britax.com), and International Association for Child Safety (www.iafcs.com) will join forces today to commemorate National Heat Awareness Day. Today, this coalition of child safety advocates will post hourly child vehicular #heatstroke facts and prevention tips. The resultant heightened public awareness will hopefully lead to a reduction in these preventable tragedies.

Get involved in National Heat Awareness Day and child vehicular #heatstroke prevention by sharing this coalition’s #heatstroke facts and prevention tips throughout the day on your social media outlets, and asking your friends and family to do the same.

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Advice for Saving Money from Second-Time Moms

by Sandra Gordon on May 16, 2014

What can first-time moms learn from second-time moms about saving money on baby gear? Here’s money-saving advice along that line from a satellite media tour video I did last June. I think the advice is still very much relevant. As a two-time mom myself, I can vouch for the more laid-back perspective on baby products that second-timers tend to have.

Second-time and multi-time moms: What did you do to save money on baby gear for baby #2 (#3 etc), compared to baby #1?

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NuzzleSnuze_cutaway_email[1]

If you’re shopping for a crib mattress, you’re in luck. Colgate—the third generation, family-owned specialists of high-quality, handmade crib mattresses—just launched the industry’s first line of recycled and recyclable crib mattresses that provide the most natural microclimate for babies and toddlers.

The new line, Nuzzle Snuze, offers AirWeave technology, a spun matrix of totally synthetic fibers that allows air to flow freely through the unique matrix to produce the perfect microclimate for sleep and comfort. “When air circulates through a crib mattress, it keeps your baby warmer and cooler, depending on what your baby needs,” says Dennis Schuetz, director of marketing merchandising for Colgate Kids. The Nuzzle Snuze is wrapped in naturally fire resistant fabric that’s Greenguard certified so you can be assured that it doesn’t contain any toxic, off-gassing chemicals. The Nuzzle Snuze is 100 percent recyclable, too. (Yes, crib mattresses can be recycled.) We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but for a list of mattress recycling facilities in your state, visit the Mattress Recycling Council.

Snoozing in Style

With crib mattresses, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. You want to buy the firmest mattress you can afford because it offers the safest sleep surface for your baby. What’s may seem too hard for you isn’t too hard for your baby to sleep on. Think brick! Still, most parents judge a crib mattress by its boring white or beige cover, Schuetz says. Consequently, most crib shoppers don’t think the mattress is important and discount this purchase by spending hours selecting the crib, then whizzing through the crib mattress section and buying the cheapest crib mattress they can find.

That’s not necessarily a safe move. The Nuzzle Snuze is designed to change all that and get your attention. It comes in three gorgeous fabric patterns in muted, fashion-forward colors: Chickadee (gray and yellow abstract chicks), Squiggles (yellow abstract design) and Dottie Lottie (various colored dots). Chickadee, Squiggles and Dottie Lottie are the new white.

Babyproductsmom loves the Snuzzle Nuze for its innovative design. If “babyifying” the crib mattress is what it takes to get shoppers to notice and appreciate this important product, then so be it. “Nuzzle Nest is trying to do what’s best for baby, while appealing to the consumer—mom and dad,” Schuetz says.

It’s Giveway Time!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ll be giving away one free Nuzzle Snuze (MSRP $369). The Nuzzle Snuze is a smart splurge. Since I write a lot about how to buy the best for your baby less, however, I’d like to know your savings secrets: What did you do or what are you doing to save money when gearing up for your new baby? (I hope you don’t say “Buying the cheapest crib mattress I can find.”) Leave me a comment, and I’ll choose a winner at random to receive this awesome crib mattress!

This contest is open to residents of the US only and closes at 5PM ET, May 31, 2014. If your name is chosen, I’ll notify you by email; if you fail to respond within 48 hours of being notified, you’ll make another entrant very happy because I’ll be forced to choose another name.

Thank you, Colgate Kids, for graciously and generously providing me with my own Nuzzle Snuze to see for myself!

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“Parenting Now” the PBS Newshour series

by Sandra Gordon on May 6, 2014

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m passing along this information about “Parenting Now,” PBS NewsHour’s week-long series that’s running this week (the week of May 5, 2014).  The series will examine the challenges, concerns and financial issues that modern parents face–and give us some insights into what we’re dealing with that we may not even realize. The series started on Monday, May 5th, with a report about parents trying to achieve the right balance at a time when traditional roles have changed.

The NewsHour’s series continues throughout this week, on-air and online, with planned broadcast segments exploring different facets of modern parenthood. All air-dates are subject to change based on news developments. Here’s a rundown of what’s on the viewing agenda, all of which sound so interesting:

  • Tuesday, May 6, 2014: Raising Girls – Gwen Ifill discusses the concerns associated with girls and marketing, gender stereotypes and learning leadership. (As the mom of two girls, I’m definitely tuning into this one.)
  • Wednesday, May 7, 2014: Raising Boys – Gwen Ifill focuses on challenges that are increasingly associated with boys, including the academic gap with girls, role models and more.
  • Thursday, May 8, 2014: The Affordability of Good Child Care – Economics Correspondent Paul Solman looks at the struggles that many mothers and fathers face in securing quality child care at an affordable price.
  • Friday, May 9, 2014: The Overprotected Kid – Judy Woodruff interviews journalist Hanna Rosin on her recent Atlantic Cover article on whether we’ve gone too far in our preoccupation with safety.

Online, at www.pbs.org/newshour, the NewsHour plans the following features:

  • A look at parenting around the world, including a list detailing the best and worst countries to be a mom.
  • Tips from “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” author Peggy Orenstein on how to navigate “princess culture.”
  • An article on closing the academic gap for boys – what can parents do?
  • A Q&A with director of “The Mask You Live In,” Jennifer Siebel Newsom, on raising boys to become men.
  • A Twitter chat with authors Jennifer Senior and Hanna Rosin.
  • An examination of when “time outs” and taking away iPods don’t work – is it time to reexamine how we punish
    Be sure to check your local listings for air dates.

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Graco Car Seat Recall Issued–Will You Take Action?

by Sandra Gordon on February 13, 2014

cs-buckles-20140211As you may know, Graco has voluntarily recalled the harness buckle on 3.7 million of its toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats–not the entire seat, just the harness on its seats manufactured between 2009 and July 2013.

The reason? Graco determined that over time, food and dried liquids can make harness buckles tough to open. The harness can get stuck in the latched position. Some 80 parents complained that the harness became so difficult to open, they had to use excessive force to push the button to unlatch the harness. Some had to pull their child through the still-buckled harness, or cut the harness straps to remove their child from the seat.

Not being able to unlatch a harness promptly is a safety hazard. In an accident, you need to be able to remove your child quickly from his/her car seat.

The following Graco seats are affected by the recall:

Toddler Convertibles: 
–The Cozy Cline
–The Comfort Sport
–The Classic Ride 50
–My Ride 65
–My Ride 70
–My Ride 65 with Safety Surround
–Size4Me 70
–My Size 70
–Head Wise 70
–Smart Seat

Harness booster seats:
–the Nautilus 3-in-1
–the Nautilus Elite
–The Argos

To-Do Tactics:

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which did not participate in this recall, the recall effectiveness rate is only 30% once a product is in consumer’s hands. That is, only 30% of eligible consumers take the recommended action when a product has been recalled. Don’t be among the 70% who don’t respond to a recall.

The solution for this recall is to replace the old safety harness with a new one supplied by Graco.

If you registered your Graco car seat through Gracobaby.com, which is always recommended, you don’t have to do anything. You’ll automatically receive a replacement harness in the mail for you to install.

If you haven’t registered your Graco car seat, you can place your harness order on www.gracobaby.com. Or, call 800-345-4109 or consumerservices@gracobaby.com.

Graco says it’s safe to continue to use your car seat while you’re waiting for a new harness. The recall doesn’t impact the performance of the seat or its effectiveness as a child restraint. As a stop gap, they recommend cleaning the buckle. For more information and how-tos on how to clean the buckle and replace it when the new buckle arrives, visit http://www.pages02.net/newellrubbermaid/harness-buckles.

Is your new Graco harness on its way to you? Be a recall responder. A simple phone call or e-mail to Graco can make it happen and keep your child safer.

 

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High quality baby essentials for low prices (or free!)

by Sandra Gordon on November 24, 2013

royal babyGetting ready for a new baby is universal–and so is trying to save money while you’re at it. In fact, here’s the kind of gearing-up advice parents in Britain are receiving from baby products expert, Jonathan Griffiths, who is starting off Babyproductsmom.com (BPM) on the Monday before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. with a guest post. Does this money saving advice sound familiar?

High quality baby essentials for low prices (or free!)

By Jonathan Griffiths

Every parent knows that bringing up a healthy baby takes time, effort and investment. You need to have the funds available to buy everything you need to help raise your bundle of joy the safest and most educational environment possible. But don’t stress. These simple tips should help you save some money while still having high quality items at your disposal.

Feeding the hungry baby:

Many experiments and tests have been done to determine if it’s better to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, and breastfeeding is the best choice. Whichever method you choose, you can be sure there will be many products that claim “they are best” for expressing or storing milk for future feeds. A Lansinoh Manuel breast pump costs around $24.00 compared to an Avent Manuel breast pump that costs $36. Clearly you can see the difference in price. My first tip is don’t shop on brand names, you can get the exact same product for much cheaper.

Reusable or disposable diapers?

Diapers are essential for any baby, they prevent mess and make life just that little bit easier for you. Again, there is a noticeable difference in prices between the two. Here in England disposable diapers cost £8 more than reusable ones. It is proven reusable nappies can save you money in the long run, but aswell as this, they are much better for the enviroment and much easier for you as you do not need to buy diaper bags or disposal systems. With all products there is always going to be pros and cons, but the pros are firmly with the resuable diapers.

Getting things for free!

If you know parents with toddlers, why not ask them if there’s anything they no longer need? There’s no harm in asking around for essentials that are going free or for bargain prices.

More quick buying advice from Jonathan Griffiths:

  1. Avoid buying expensive clothes; in a few weeks your baby will be too big to fit into them. (BPM: So true here in the U.S. as well!)
  2. If you are planning on having another baby in the future, buy neutral coloured clothing, so the next baby will have some clothes that are free. (BPM: Going neutral with colors is especially helpful when you’re decorating the nursery. These days, gray and white is a popular color combo. Girl moms can accent with pink, boy moms with blue, if they want to. Yellow is also a popular accent color for babies of either gender.) 
  3. Shop around; Many places will have some sort of sales on. (BPM: Check out my Wednesday post on Black Friday specials.)
  4. Plan ahead so you can take advantage of sales. (BPM: Yes! Now is a great time to shop for baby gear because retailers are clearing out their 2013 merchandise. They need room for the 2014 stuff. 2013 models can be just as good as 2014 baby gear.)
  5. Buy in bulk whenever you can. (BPM: Disposable diapers are excellent products to buy in bulk, especially when your baby reaches the upper sizes–size 4 and above. Babies spend more time in the upper sizes so if you buy an economy size box, you’re more likely to use them all before needing to move on to the next size.)
  6. Borrow items wherever possible. (BPM: Borrowed items can be a smart money-saving move in the U.S. too, but go new with some products, such as a crib and a car seat, because U.S. safety standards change often on these products. But for things like holiday outfits–definitely borrow them. They’re often in great shape because they have a short shelf life. The previous owner may have only worn it once before moving on because, well, that holiday came and went. To save cash on special baby clothes, second-hand is definitely the way to go. Just be sure it either is new or looks like new to you. And watch out for loose threads, which can get wound around a baby’s finger, buttons or appliqués (radar: choking hazards). 

Parents in the U.K.: Be sure to check out http://www.bumps-2-babies.com/ to save money on baby gear.

Babyproductsmom.com welcomes guest posts, especially from experts in other parts of the world and parents around the world or parents in the U.S. who’ve lived elsewhere.

A global perspective on baby products, saving money and parenting in general can be valuable!

 

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Bundoo.com offers a “curated” Marketplace

by Sandra Gordon on November 4, 2013

When yBundoo3ou’re gearing up for your new baby, wouldn’t it be great to buy products that have a pediatrician’s stamp of approval? That’s the gist of the Marketplace section at www.bundoo.com, a comprehensive online parenting community/site that launched in 2013.

Staffed by a team of pediatricians, including Lewis Warshauer, MD, MBA, the founder and CEO of IQ Health, LLC, the parent company of Bundoo, and two board-certified pediatricians, Sara Connolly, MD, FAAP and Kristie Rivers, MD, FAAP, Bundoo.com features, among other resources:

  • Ask Bundoo, a subscription service that allows members to ask parenting questions directly to Bundoo experts, including doctors, therapists, nutritionists and other qualified child health professionals; www.bundoo.com/ask
  • Researched and referenced articles on everything from pregnancy to preschool; www.bundoo.com/bundoo-a-z
  • A moderated community of parents, educators, and childcare specialists; www.bundoo.com/bundoo-community

But since this is a blog about helping new parents gear up, we’re going to focus on Bundoo.com’s Marketplace section; www.bundoo.com/marketplace. The Marketplace features hundreds of baby products, but what makes this shopping section different is that the products are “expertly curated” by pediatricians.  “Pediatricians provide their feedback and recommendations,” says Meredith Nichols, Bundoo.com’s e-commerce manager. Before a product is listed for sale, it’s run past the doctor team for their feedback and safety check. Every product in Bundoo’s Marketplace is hand-selected and reviewed by internal staff. (You can find a complete list of the Bundoo.com team at www.bundoo.com/team.) You can also be assured that the site doesn’t list any recalled products for sale.

Whether you decide to buy your baby gear from Bundoo.com or not, it’s worth paying a visit to the Marketplace section to see if, say–the stroller or car seat you’re considering–made the cut.

The site, which is currently in Beta, also features product reviews from other parents with at-a-glance thumbs up/thumbs down icons. In general, though, put consumer reviews through your personal filter because what worked or didn’t work for one parent, may not necessarily work or not work for you, depending on your situation. With so much product and parent advice out there, I love the idea of Bundoo.com’s medical underpinnings and evidence-based-medicine approach, especially since our own pediatricians seem to be busier than ever these days.

Except for the Ask Bundoo subscription service, the site and its resources are free for members. The site isn’t charging yet for its subscription service. Once it’s out of Beta, you’ll be able to purchase questions and bundles.

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Feed Your Baby Secondhand Formula Either

by Sandra Gordon on October 21, 2013

You’ve probably heard the news, that breast milk is best, but not when you buy it online from other moms or receive it as a donation from other than a milk bank. Secondhand milk that’s sold or acquired this way could be contaminated with illness-causing bacteria or become contaminated during shipping, even from well-intentioned moms who just want to help another mom out. Plus, you don’t know what you’re buying. The breast milk cottage industry isn’t regulated. It might not be breast milk at all. It could be cow’s milk, infant formula or something else. Here’s a link to a summary of the Pediatrics study that started the donated breast-milk buzz: http://acsh.org/2013/10/breast-milk-purchased-online-possibly-dangerous-newborns/. If you can’t breast feed with your own milk, a milk bank is your best option because it pasteurizes the milk it sells to kill potentially dangerous organisms.

SamsGentleLikewise, if you use infant formula, buy it from reputable retailers. No matter how cheap infant formula is on eBay, Craig’s List, from online auctions or at a flea market, pass it up. Here’s an ad from Craig’s list I ran across today: “i have 15 cans of 12.4 oz powder gentlease formula,6-6packs of 8oz bottles of gentlease,an 2 boxes of powder packets of gentlease each packet makes a 4oz bottle. all for $150!!” That’s verbatim. There are at least 20 ads like this on my local section of Craig’s list.

Infant formula you get from other moms may seem okay. It may look perfectly sealed and have a distant expiration date. But counterfeit formula can be illegally relabeled to misrepresent its true content or quality, such as changing the “use by” date. It happens. Play it safe. Know what you’re getting and buy formula at mainstream retailers, such as CVS, Target, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, Kroger and Babies R Us. And don’t forget to buy the store brand, which must be nutritionally equivalent to name-brand formula, as per U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. You’ll save up to 50 percent.

 

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4 Ways to Keep Your Baby’s Favorite Things Bacteria-Free

by Sandra Gordon on October 14, 2013

Hi Everyone: I’m traveling this week to the All Baby & Kids Trade Show in Las Vegas. While I’m getting the scoop on upcoming baby products trends, please enjoy this guest post by Chrissa Hardy.

A beautiful smiling baby wrapped in a furry green blanketPeople love babies because they are adorable mini-humans that need your full support in order to grow into well-adjusted, full-size adults. Unfortunately, their immune systems are not exactly well-oiled machines, and they tend to put everything in their mouths. This means that you need to keep their favorite items and everyday necessities clean and bacteria-free. Here are four tips on how to do that.

1. Know what’s safe to borrow.

Not every item for your baby needs to be purchased new. You can save a great deal of money by borrowing slightly used items from friends and family who have had children of their own. Baby carriers, baby clothes, and high chairs can all be a burden on your budget, so get hand-me-downs and just make sure you wash and clean them first.

Clothes and the baby carrier can be thrown in the wash (check for specific washing instructions) – and most high chairs come with detachable trays that can be loaded into the dishwasher. The chair itself should be disinfected and wiped down with antibacterial wipes. These wipes are a great choice as they are nontoxic, plant-based and biodegradable. Plus, if you like their whole line of cleaning products, make sure you use a Giggle coupon code when you order. Peace of mind doesn’t often come cheap, so stock up!

2. Know what’s safer to buy.

Not everything should be borrowed. For your child’s safety, there are some items that simply must be purchased new. Cribs and strollers need to be up-to-code in terms of safety, so you don’t want to risk getting a loaner crib that could endanger your baby. Toys are another big concern. Used toys have the potential to carry bed bugs and bacteria within the fabric, which could be passed to your child.

3. Know what and how to clean.

Not everything can be thrown in the washing machine, and not everything needs to be disinfected by hand. Small plastic toys (that do not require batteries) can go in the dishwasher. Toys with batteries can be cleaned on the exterior with soap and water and then wiped down using a bleach solution. Larger plastic toys can be cleaned the same way as small battery-operated plastic toys. Any fabric item should be thrown in the wash. Make sure everything that you clean is cleaned consistently, once a month would work, and immediately following any illnesses your child has, or after playdates with other children.

4. Know when to relax.

While you should be regularly cleaning your baby’s things, there’s no need to go overboard. It’s easy to worry about the unknown, and all of the scary potential illnesses your baby could be exposed to, but obsessing about it isn’t going to get you anywhere. Do the best you can, with the time you have allotted. And try to enjoy all of those special moments with your baby in between cleaning tasks. Your baby will be a full-sized adult before you know it!

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