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Protecting your Child from Heat Exhaustion

playground

What is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is when the internal temperature of the body overheats passed the normal body temperature about of 98.6°F. This can happen when a person is outdoors, in the sun, for too long, dehydration, wearing clothes that prevent your sweat from evaporating from your body. Your body sweats in order to cool your body’s temperature. Children 5 and under are at a higher risk of overheating.

What are the Signs or Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion in Children?

Signs of overheating are slightly different in young children than in adults. For adults, symptoms can include muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and more. As for children, look for these warning signs:

  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irritability
  • Clammy skin
  • Dehydration

Treatment for Heat Exhaustion in Children

If you believe your child is at risk of heat exhaustion, take your child inside where it is air-conditioned or move them to the shade. Have them drink a sports drink to increase electrolytes. To cool their internal temperature quicker, give them a cool bath or wipe their body down with a cool washcloth. After you wipe them down, sit them in front of a fan. You may need to remove clothing so that their body can cool quicker.

As always, seek medical attention if needed. If your child’s temperature reaches 105°F seek medical attention immediately.

How can I prevent Heat Exhaustion?

  • Take plenty of breaks in the shade or inside
  • Drink lots of fluids (especially water)
  • Wear light, airy clothing

Photo by Ostap Senyuk on Unsplash

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Awareness on the Dangers of Forgetting Kids in Cars

driving

You may be thinking, “I’ll never forget that I have my child with me in the car.” Most deaths related to hot cars are not intentional. Parents who have had these accidents happen to them probably said the same thing before. It is human nature to forget things from time to time. And, it is better to be safe than sorry. It only takes forgetting your child one time for a fatal accident to happen. Afterall, your child is irreplaceable. A few states have even made it illegal to leave children in the car unattended.

On average, 37 children die from a heat stroke from being trapped in hot vehicles a year according to kidsandcars.org. We’ve put together a list of ways you can prevent accidentally forgetting about your child in the backseat.

  1. Leave your left shoe in the backseat.
  2. Place your cell phone, purse, bag, etc. in the backseat.
  3. Put the diaper bag in the front seat after putting your baby in their car seat.
  4. Talk to your child while driving to your destination.
  5. The BackSeat App
  6. Kars4Kids Safety App
  7. Car seat alarms, reminder key fobs, etc.

All of these tips and ideas remind you to check your backseat before leaving your car.

More backseat reminder technologies can be found at fatherly.com.

Photo by Samuel Foster on Unsplash

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Hacks for Kids on Family Roadtrips

roadtrip

Let’s be frank. Kids + traveling can be a headache sometimes! In their defense, it isn’t their fault. They’re not used to being confined to sitting in their carseats for long hours at a time. We have gathered a list of essentials you need to make your family roadtrips easier and keep your sanity!

Portable DVD Player or Tablet

Purchasing a portable DVD player may be the best investment of your life. All jokes aside, your kids can watch their favorite movies (on repeat if necessary) and will be totally content doing so. This could buy you at least an hour or more into your trip, and by then, someone will likely need a potty break.

If your kids have their own tablets or can use yours, download fun children’s games for them to play. Or, download the endless amounts of kids movies for them to watch on Netflix.

Baby Shusher

Packing your Baby Shusher is a great idea because it helps calm, soothe, and end their crying spell. The device is Doctor approved and tested too! It will help keep your baby calm if you need to find a place to pull over to check on your baby.

Favorite Toy

Bringing their favorite toy on the trip is a no-brainer. Your kids can play with their favorite toy for a good chunk of time.

Bottle or Sippy Cup Strap

Keeping your kid’s bottle or sippy cup close and easy for them to reach is a must! It saves you from having to pull over and find where their drink rolled to in the car. The Dropper Stopper is perfect for the job!

Pacifier Clip

If your baby uses a pacifier, you know very well how frequently and easy it can fall out of their mouth. Much like the Dropper Stopper, the Binki Band clips to your baby’s clothes so the pacifier isn’t going anywhere!

Activity Books

These are so much fun for kids! You can make your own (thank you Pinterest!) or buy them from places like Walmart, Target, Barnes and Noble, or even Amazon. Kids especially enjoy the no-mess painting books. Another idea, pack their favorite coloring books and a handful of crayons.

Diaper and Wipe Clutch

Using a diaper and wipe clutch can save you from having to lug the entire diaper bag into a changing room or station in a restroom. The Tushy Tote can hold diapers, wipes, and any cream or ointment you may need. Aside from diaper changes, the Tushy Tote can also hold small toys, books, crayons, and more!

Kids Music/Podcasts/Stories

Load up your phone with plenty of kids music, podcasts, or books to listen to! Music-hack: download their favorite cartoon/TV show theme song. This is sure to keep them happy! You can download children books via Audible or another service you may use already.

Favorite Blanket and Pillow

Packing their favorite blanket and pillow is just like their favorite toy. Your kids will likely fall asleep if they have the blanket and pillow they’re used to sleeping with already. This will also help to make them more comfortable in the car ride.

Snacks and Drinks

Bring plenty of snacks and drinks! Buying these from a gas station or convenience store can get expensive. Packing some you may already have at home, or buying them in bulk at the store can save you time and money!

 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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Father’s Day Gifts Kids can Make

father's day

This Father’s Day, let your kids handmake their gifts for Dad! Arts and crafts are a wonderful way for your child to stretch their imagination and creativity. We’ve compiled a list of crafts your kids can make and have a blast doing so!

Paint a Picture

Pinterest has a ton of ideas if you need help thinking of an idea. Give your child a paintbrush, paint, paper, and let them paint freely. Or, have a more structured painting by using painters tape to write the word ‘Dad’. Once your child has painted their picture, peel the tape off, and voila, a gift for Dad!

Photoshoot

Take photos of your kids holding the letters ‘D-A-D’ or ‘We love you’. Print them out, frame it, and it’s a quick and easy gift.

Candy Jar

If you are pressed for time, fill a jar full of Dad’s favorite sweet treat and tie some ribbon around the lid.

Why We Love You

Let your kids made a card by using paper and crayons or paint. Have your children tell you reasons they love their Dad and write them down on the card, or if they can write on their own, ask them to write them on the card.

Cook a Meal or Bake a Sweet

Your kids can help you cook Dad’s favorite meal for dinner or his favorite dessert. They can help stir the pot or mix the cookie dough!

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

Your kids can make small gifts for Dad and help you hide them around the house. Write down a list of clues that Dad can follow to find each of his Father’s Day gifts.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

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Babyproofing your Home Before they Start Crawling

babyproof, childproof

When babies are able to crawl or pull themselves up, their curious hands are into everything they can grab. Before you start babyproofing your home, make a list of areas or things that will need to be rearranged or covered. Making a list will help keep track of the danger areas and save you from forgetting. Here is a list of areas that you may want to consider babyproofing.

Cabinets, Drawers, and Furniture

If it can be opened, your baby will open it. Make sure lower level cabinets are free from kitchenware that is breakable, has small parts, or sharp. This could be items such as a glass measuring cup or a food processor blade. Or, make sure your cleaning supplies are removed from under the kitchen sink and stored in a higher cabinet that only you can access.

If there are any drawers your baby can open, make sure the items in the drawer are not harmful. Your baby may also use drawers to help them climb. To give you peace of mind, make sure all furniture is secured to the wall to prevent the furniture from falling on your child. If you have a cabinet or drawer that you do not want your baby to have access to, you can buy locks to prevent your baby from opening it.

Crib

When your baby can pull themselves up or crawl, it is time to lower the crib to its lowest setting. Remove anything that you think your baby may use to help them climb out of their crib. This could be items such as crib toys or crib bumpers. Babies can suffer serious injuries if they successfully climb their way to fall out of their crib.

Pets

If your family has pets, make sure their food and water are put in a place your baby cannot access. Keep the cat’s litter box in an area your baby cannot access as well.

Electrical Outlets

Small parts, toys, or little fingers may find their way to an electrical outlet. To prevent a fatal accident, use outlet plug covers to keep your baby safe.

Stairs

If your home has stairs, consider getting a baby gate to prevent them from taking a tumble down the stairs. Consequently, serious injuries can come from falling down the stairs, and a baby gate can give you an extra layer of security in your home.

Sharp-edged Tables

Unfortunately, babies are likely to bang their head against the edges of coffee tables, dining tables, dressers, counters, and more. Prevent this from hurting your baby by using corner guards or padding to cushion their head.

As always, let your baby explore, get into things, and make messes as this is how they learn and grow. However, be cognizant or aware of your baby’s surroundings and keep a close eye on them. It is a good idea to keep emergency phone numbers in a place you can locate quickly and efficiently.

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Baby Food- Making Your Own

baby eating

Making your own baby food at home can be an exciting and fun process. There are many benefits to making your own baby food as well. Contrary to popular belief, making your own baby food can be inexpensive.

When your baby is ready to start incorporating solids into their diet, this is the perfect way to introduce new foods, flavors, and get them used to eating what the rest of your family is eating too. Babies can normally start having solids when they are around 4 to 6 months old, but it is always the best idea to ask your pediatrician for clearance.

There are several commercialized at-home baby food making tools such as blenders, mills, mashers all specifically for making your own baby food. However, if you do not want to make an investment into a kitchen gadget, you can simply use a fork, potato masher, or another utensil for mashing.

How To Prepare Your Own Baby Food

Before starting the process, please make sure any cookware, utensils, surfaces, and your hands are clean and free of germs. If you are planning on using produce such as apples or sweet potatoes, please make sure those are washed as you normally would before consuming them. Of course, you will want to remove any seeds, peels, pits, etc. from the produce. Herbs and spices such as cinnamon can be added to enhance the flavor, but be sure to ask your pediatrician before incorporating any herbs and spices. Things such as salt, pepper, butter, or sugars should not be added to any baby food.

Applesauce Recipe

1: Peel the apple(s), remove the seeds and core, and then cut into small pieces

2: Put the small apple pieces into a pot and fill with water until the apple pieces are completely underwater

3: Boil/steam until tender, check the water level and stir frequently

4: Apples may be mashed with a potato masher or fork until they have an applesauce-like consistency. If your masher or fork does not achieve a puree type of consistency, then follow steps 5-7

5: Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the apples

6: Place the boiled or steamed apples into a food processor, blender, or other appliance to puree the fruit

7: Add the reserved water as needed to achieve a thin puree

Any grains or baby cereals will need to be ground first and then cooked as directed. Liquids such as water or breast milk can be added to thin out the grains as needed.

Meat and poultry should be trimmed of any fat or skin and remove the bones. Meat and poultry can be cooked, pureed, and added to vegetable purees that your baby already loves such as peas or sweet potatoes.

Storing Homemade Baby Food

Baby food will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for 3 months. For easy serving, store baby food in single serving containers or silicone ice cube trays. Pop the single serving into the microwave and defrost, or place the baby food in the fridge to defrost overnight the prior day. Never refreeze food once it has been thawed.

Benefits of Making your Own Baby Food

The primary benefit of making your own baby food is knowing what exactly you will be feeding your baby. It is no secret that pre-packaged consumables at grocery stores have some type of preservatives to help the product last longer on the shelves.

Another benefit that gives peace of mind is that you get to choose your own produce to put into your baby’s food.

By making your own baby food, your baby can try eating new things that pre-packaged baby food does not have such as avocado or melons.

Saving your family money could be another benefit of making your own baby food. This all depends on what you buy, season, or even location.

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9 Signs of a Gifted Child

Being the parent of and raising a gifted child can be very exciting and rewarding — yet just as daunting as well. But first, how do you as a parent recognize the signs of a gifted child? Definitions and perceptions of what exactly constitutes a gifted child vary among those experts in this field of child development and education.

Gifted children will generally not only require some modifications to the teaching they receive, but will also require parenting modification as well in order to develop optimally. Many times because gifted children will still develop physically and emotionally at an average rate, this will present some interesting dilemmas for both parents and teachers.

However, as with any child that would have special needs, early recognition and proper intervention play a key role in supporting a gifted child.

Some early signs of giftedness may include:

  1. Has an advanced specific talent with numbers and math or perhaps can draw exceptionally realistic pictures.
  2. Early and advanced language, vocabulary, and memory skills.
  3. An advanced or intense sense of curiosity.
  4. A long attention span.
  5. High level of activity (although hyperactive children display high levels of activity, theirs is usually one combined with a short attention span).
  6. Reaches child development skills well ahead of their peers.
  7. Functions at a high level not needing as much sleep (infancy).
  8. At an early age easily reacts to (recognize) their caregiver.
  9. At some point the child may begin to sense they are different and display signs of withdrawal.

The child could possibly show signs of frustrations as their ability to express themselves (emotional development) isn’t on par with their mental capabilities. Frequent anger and frustration is a watch point, and could warrant seeking professional advice.

If your child consistently exhibits several of these characteristics (if your child is gifted, many of these characteristics go hand in hand) you may want to have your child assessed by a child development professional.

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5 Steps to Raising Optimistic Children

Why should you want your child to be an optimist? Because, as Dr. Martin Seligman explains: “Pessimism (the opposite of optimism) is an entrenched habit of mind that has sweeping and disastrous consequences: depressed mood, resignation, underachievement and even unexpectedly poor physical health.”

Children with optimistic thinking skills are better able to interpret failure, have a stronger sense of personal mastery and are better able to bounce back when things go wrong in their lives.

Because parents are a major contributor to the thinking styles of their children’s developing minds, it is important to adhere to the following five steps to ensure healthy mental habits in your children.

How Parents Can Help

Step 1: Learn to think optimistically yourself. What children see and hear indirectly from you as you lead your life and interact with others influences them much more than what you try to ‘teach’ them.

You can model optimism for your child by incorporating optimistic mental skills into your own way of thinking. This is not easy and does not occur over night. But with practice, almost everyone can learn to think differently about life’s events – even parents!

Step 2: Teach your child that there is a connection between how they think and how they feel. You can do this most easily by saying aloud how your own thoughts about adversity create negative feelings in you.

For example, if you are driving your child to school and a driver cuts you off, verbalize the link between your thoughts and feelings by saying something like “I wonder why I’m feeling so angry; I guess I was saying to myself: ‘Now I’m going to be late because the guy in front of me is going so darn slow. If he is going to drive like that he shouldn’t drive during rush hour. How rude.’”

Step 3: Create a game called ‘thought catching.’ This helps your child learn to identify the thoughts that flit across his or her mind at the times they feel worst. These thoughts, although barely noticeable, greatly affect mood and behavior.

For instance, if your child received a poor grade, ask: “When you got your grade, what did you say to yourself?”

Step 4: Teach your child how to evaluate automatic thoughts. This means acknowledging that they things you say to yourself are not necessarily accurate.

For instance, after receiving the poor grade your child may be telling himself he is a failure, he is not as smart as other kids; he will never be able to succeed in school, etc. Many of these self-statements may not be accurate, but they are ‘automatic’ in that situation.

Step 5: Instruct your child on how to generate more accurate explanations (to themselves) when bad things happen and use them to challenge your child’s automatic but inaccurate thoughts. Part of this process involves looking for evidence to the contrary (good grades in the past, success in other life areas, etc).

Another skill to teach your child to help him or her think optimistically is to ‘decatastrophize’ the situation – that is – help your child see that the bad event may not be as bad or will not have the adverse consequences imagined. Few things in life are as devastating as we fear, yet we blow them up in our minds.

Parents can influence the thinking styles of their children by modeling the principals of optimistic thinking.

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Family Talk – The Art of Getting Your Kids to Talk to You

Being a parent isn’t easy. Some days just getting everyone in your family all together at the same time for dinner can seem like the “impossible dream”. Between after school sports and clubs and working and errands and carpools, it’s not surprising that almost half of the parents in a recent survey said they feel a growing distance between themselves and their children.

Today’s children have more things to deal with than kids did even twenty years ago. Drugs, violence, mixed messages in advertising, peer pressure, packed schedules and outside activities all add to the pressure they face.

So how, in the midst of all this chaos, do you find time to talk to your kids — and more importantly, have them talk back to you?

Here are several ideas that can help:

  1. Eat dinner together as a family at least three times a week. Conversations flow easier when they happen around the dinner table. If your family is conversationally-challenged in the beginning, think of conversation starters before each meal. Plan a family vacation, letting each child talk about where they’d like to go, or what they’d like to do. Talk about current events, the latest movies or upcoming special events. Ask your children open-ended questions that have to be answered with more than yes or no.
  2. Turn off the outside world. Set aside “family time” each night and have everyone turn off their phones, the computers and the television. Let your friends and extended family know that you won’t be available during that time, and stick to it. Your kids (especially teenagers) may joke about it, but secretly they’ll probably be delighted. Use this time to reconnect with each other. Watch a movie, play board games, take turns reading out loud, but whatever you do, do it together.
  3. Cook at least one meal a week together. Even your youngest children can do something to help. If your kitchen is too small for everyone to fit, schedule a “helper” or have your children be responsible for different parts of the meal. Your family will grow closer during this time, and your kids may even start the conversations themselves. (You can always get the ball rolling by talking about things you did with your parents. While you may not be cool, chances are your kids think your parents are, and will be impressed).
  4. Make it safe for your kids to talk to you. Let them know that you won’t get angry or upset if they talk to you about what’s going on. If they tell you something “off the record” then let it stay that way. (Emergencies and dangerous situations aside).
  5. Listen to what they have to say. If you’re working, or doing something else when your child starts to talk to you, they may give up if they know your attention is really somewhere else. Give them your undivided attention when they’re speaking.
  6. Use active listening skills. Make sure that you understand what your child is telling you. Repeat what they told you and ask questions.
  7. Set aside special time to spend with each child. It may be nothing more than taking one child at a time with you when you run errands, but let each child know that you value spending special time with them.
  8. Be patient. Don’t expect a “perfect” family. If you’re not June Cleaver and your husband isn’t Howard Cunningham, it’s okay. Just remember that perfect families really don’t exist outside of television re-runs.

Just keep trying, and you’ll learn the art of conversation with your kids isn’t as hard as you thought!

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Family Meals – Better for Children, Easier for You

Another day, another dinner to prepare. Are you having a difficult time finding easy to prepare meals that can satisfy your growing family?

You want to give your family the best, but time is in short supply and preparing a healthy meal has become a chore. Too often take out or frozen dinners have to do. Is there a way to combine healthy eating with convenience?

Yes! New methods of cooking and easy to prepare staples can change your eating habits and lead to a better eating style for your family. According to the Kid’s Health Program created by the Nemours Foundation, family meals are an important part of developing healthy habits in your kids. Eating as a family will encourage your kids to eat healthy foods like whole grains and vegetables. It will discourage unhealthy snacking and even make them less likely to try smoking or alcohol.

But how do you plan healthy family meals on a tight schedule? Here are some ideas to start:

Does your family love lasagna? Maybe you thought that it was a labor intensive dish that just doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Cheesy and full of fat, perhaps it’s not even a wise choice. However, lasagna is actually one of the most versatile meals to prepare – and with instant (no boil) noodles, it doesn’t even have to be a big job.

There are lasagna recipes for vegetarians, low-carb, low-fat and even diabetic diets. Lasagna noodles now come in instant, no-cook preparations that cut time and energy when making this hearty dish.

For lasagna or other pasta dishes, try using whole wheat pasta and shredding carrots or zucchini into the meat sauce for an easy way to up the nutritional value. Using lean ground beef or even substituting with ground turkey or chicken can make for a surprising, yet nourishing result. Buy bottled pasta sauces for even faster preparation – many grocers carry a wide assortment that will add variety to your dishes.

Looking for an elegant chicken dinner? Don’t forget about frozen skinless chicken breasts. Baked in the oven with a dollop of salsa and shredded cheddar on top makes for a healthy alternative to frying or heavy sauces.

Need ideas for a side dish? Why are you wasting time cutting and washing lettuce when you can pick up a prepackaged bag at the grocers? Not to say it’s the cheapest method, but it definitely helps busy families put nutrition ahead of convenience when planning a meal.

Have you ever tried steaming vegetables in the microwave? Fresh or frozen veggies make for another easy side dish when they’re popped into the microwave for a few minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water and cover with a paper towel, an easy AND healthy alternative to frying or boiling.

We’re all concerned about our children eating healthier foods. Regular family meals will encourage kids to develop healthy eating habits – an important key to good health later in life. By making meal time less stressful you can focus on the joys of spending time together instead of the hassles of preparing meals.