Friday, June 15, 2012

Carseat Safety 411: For the unaware, the misinformed and the know-it-alls.

Carseat safety is import to me...if you know me you know that. I am by no means an expert (though I would like to be!), but I have educated myself to the best of my ability to be sure that my children are secured properly when in tow.

That being said, I am constantly in utter disbelief of how many laws and suggestions (suggestions that SHOULD be laws) are so carelessly disregarded on a daily basis. I see it in person…yes I look in strangers cars. And I see it all over Facebook. Yep… you. So instead of commenting and messaging my rear off in fear of looking like some sort of snob, I thought it would be a great idea to lay it all out for every one to see. 
Without further ado, here is my slightly messy list of the basics of car seat safety. Please do read, after all, it is a life we are talking about, right?
      1.) Using the straps the correct way. This one is the biggest offenders. I see it all over the place. The clip on your child’s seat is called a CHEST clip. Some seats even have it imprinted clearly to see that, yet so many babies and toddlers are sporting a belly button clip. Not using this clip the right way can be fatal. It is also important to be sure the strap is position correctly. For rear facing seats it should be at or below the shoulder and for forward facing it must be at or above the shoulder. Regularly perform a pinch test on the seats straps to be sure they are tight enough. 

 2.) Car seat positioning. Rear-face your baby! This is obvious for before 1 year and old and 20lbs because it is the law (and even that doesn’t stop some parents). It doesn’t matter what the old fashion pediatrician or Mr. Fireman said, when he told you it was okay to turn your baby around too soon he was talking out of his butt. Find a new doctor. And a new Mr. Fireman.

The recommendation is now 2 yrs old or even longer. You can keep your little love facing the rear for as long as your cars seats allow. Car seats rear facing limits have been raised greatly over the past decade so the option for prime safety is definitely there. They could be 4 or even 5 years old before they are flipped.

Why rear-face them that long? Because it only makes sense! Even after age 1 their little spines don’t have the strength to hold their own heads if the vehicle is forcefully impacted. This means that in an accident while in the forward facing position the risk for being internally decapitated is higher than when being the rear-facing position.  Results are FATAL.

What about their legs?  Yes they are a bit squished…but remember those kids are flexible! There has not been a single report of a broken leg due to extended rear-facing. Ask yourself this, which would you rather have, a baby with a broken leg or no baby at all? 

This video shows how important it is to rear face...skip to 1m30s if your not interested in reading the facts.


3.) Too little for a booster. Please see follow this link and watch the video (be prepared to weep) and read up on extended harnessing. It is not uncommon to see children as young as 3 riding in a booster using the lap shoulder belt when they shouldn’t be (it does not matter what the booster seat weight limit says!). Pictures of a 3 year old slumped over in the back seat are not cute…they are pretty sad. Hold off on using a booster until 5 or 6.

Other offenses:
  • Using aftermarket products. Strap covers and head supports that did not come with the seat are not safe because they are untested in a crash and can fiddle with the strap and chest clip position. Additionally, bundleme covers can prevent the straps from being as snug as they should be.
  • Coats that are too puffy prevent the straps from being tight enough even if it appears to be okay.
  • Using the latch and seat belt at the same time. They are both equally safe if installed correctly, but using them together can prevent the seat from doing what it is suppose to when in an accident.
  • Using a seat that’s expired. The seat you used when you were a baby is not safe (so many are out there being used!) and should be trashed. Seats come with dates printed on them that vary depending on the manufacturer, but they must abide by. 
  •   Using a seat that was in an accident. It is not okay…even a fender bender. The seat did its job and now it is time for a new one (some insurance companies may compensate for this).
This great picture guide

That is all. Since I am only human I may be missing a few things but this basically covers it.
I truly hope this is helpful to many parents and caregivers, since all it takes is one tiny mistake.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Keeping it Simple: A Homemade Toothpaste Recipe

I’m a little crazy about taking care of my teeth.  In my efforts to live simpler, I have been changing what I use as far as health and hygiene. Tooth paste is one of them. Many of the popular brands contain chemicals and additives that are not necessary for achieves a clean smile. The most alarming ingredient is fluoride.  Fluoride is most known for being in the tubes of toothpaste that sit on drugstore shelves. But it is also in most city drinking water and in a lot of grocery store items as well.  Most consumers are completely unaware of the dangers of fluoride. Even some may know a little about how unnecessary the use of fluoride is on a daily basis, but in the end it is difficult to avoid since it is pretty much added everything these days like juice or soda drinks.  When it comes to toothpaste, it is just easier to buy whatever is there, or in most cases the tube that is most appealing to the buyer’s eye.   

Given that there is fluoride in the water we use to brush, I really think anymore then that is overkill. So in my efforts to eliminate unnecessary crap I decided to change what we use to clean our little toofers. First I was using Tom’s of Maine for a while but I decided to make my own. I had the ingredients anyway…and I am always up for something new…and practically free.

There are a few variations to this recipe but this is how I put mine together…

You will need:

  • Baking SODA – available pretty much anywhere if you don’t already have this buried in your kitchen somewhere.
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – I get mine at the health food store, some have success finding it at Walmart or Target, but I haven’t around this neck of the woods anyway. It’s up there $ wise but this magic oil has billions of uses and will last forever!
  • An essential oil such as Peppermint, Spearmint or Wintergreen (optional) – Health food store.

Now in a clean bowl mix equal parts baking soda and coconut oil with a clean spoon. I emphasize clean because this is your dental hygiene we are talking about, you don’t want to brush your teeth with yuckiness now do you?  You can do less or more depending on how paste-like you would like it to be but keep in mind that too much baking soda can be bothersome to your gum line. This last batch I put together is on the oily side and I like it this way. Add as many drops of the essential oil of your choice. Store your paste in anything that can seal. I re-purposed a sterilized glass baby food jar and used this to hold the tooth paste. 
I have too many of these empty glass jars.

I have been using this for a couple months now... it is different but I have grown to like it. Keep in mind, getting clean teeth isn’t all about what is used to clean them. It is all about diligent brushing and religiously flossing. I had a cleaning today and I am proud to say that Ms Dental Hygienist lady was impressed with how immaculate my teeth are. No lecture. That’s something to smile about!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bag of Wonders

The contents of my purse
My purse…pocket book...whatever you call it, goes with me almost everywhere. Truthfully, I hate the thing. I am jealous of men and their teeny wallets that fit nicely in whatever pocket they choose. This poor bag is full of so much junk it is ridiculous. I’ve been carry the same bag for over six months now and I am in shock that the threads haven’t thrown in towel. Here are the contents of my purse; most of these things have been in here for months…some things were transferred over from the bag I was using before I got this one.

Starting from the left and working towards the right (sort of):

An asterisk is next to the items I’ve used or needed in the past month.

3 pairs of gloves for me. I wore one once this winter.
1 pair of mittens for baby.
2 bibs, one of which is dirty.
4 packs of gum.*
A travel thing of q-tips. This came from previous purse which was when I went on a mini vacation. In July.
Burts Bees chap stick.*
Hand sanitizer.*
Loose change.
A hair elastic.
One paperclip.
2 mechanical pencils.
2 pens.*
An empty camera case. Yes I carry my camera with me. I also carry the case. They never meet.
Really old appointment cards.
A bracelet that broke.
One earring.
Two baby spoons. Probably dirty.
My wallet, that is a mess on its own.
Really old lotion.
Glasses. I use this sometimes. Truthfully, I need to see an eye doctor.
A picture of my niece with santa.
Tylenol. The bottle is like 7 years old. The contents are not. I never take them. It’s for other people.
A container of CJs BUTTer.*
A pocket brush/mirror. Doubles as a child’s toy.
A soothie. It has a lot of purse lint on it. Baby took a pacifier for about a week (he’s 9 months). He likes chewing on them.
A nail clipper.
Black eyeliner.
Two pairs of cheap sunglasses. In case my other 5 pairs of cheap sunglasses go missing all at once.
A disposable diaper that is too small.
A baggie of wipes.*
Baby keys.
Gloves for my big boy.*
A 3ish inch by 3ish inch pile of trash. Gum wrappers. Receipts. Expired coupons. Even if there is a trash can nearby, I choose to place it in my purse like some sort of hoarder.
A dried up wipe.
A baggy of feminine care supplies. I have not had the emergency situation in which needed them since high school days. I guess I carry them for other people. They are really old…do these things expire??
A stick of deodorant. Why? I really don’t know why this is in there.
A trusty hair clip.*

My phone is usually in there too. If I don't answer, it is either because I don't hear it....or because i cant find it in time.

There you have it. I’ve noticed that I have so much because I try to avoid carrying the dreaded diaper bag . I seriously hate the thing. When I am solo with the little dudes, I guess I am sort of a minimalist. I have a bag of things packed up in the car and take the must haves with me via purse. The two kiddos are enough to haul...and I do have a stroller but prefer to put one of the kids on my back with my carrier (look for a post on that soon!) and be sort of hands free. Well one hand free since the other is being held by the little guy.

I guess I have no choice but to like my bag full of junk. It serves me well. For now anyway.