Kid's Health

Summer Reminder: Safely Installing Car seats and Boosters

According to a NHTSA study, about 3 out of 4 kids are not as secure in the car as they should be because their car seats are not being used correctly.

When my first son was born, my husband went to a car seat inspection center and learned all about properly installing car seats and shared his knowlefge with me.  I think some parents take it for granted that they just know what to do, but I can't tell you how many times I've seen other people's car seats that weren't fastened in correctly.  So, I just wanted to take a minute to share this information with you. 

Happy summer travels,  everyone!


Have Fun in the Sun, but don't forget those sunglasses

I think I'm going to surprise you with a fact about parents.  Every mom I know wants to  keep their kids happy, safe and healthy.  We bundle them up in the cold winter weather, and at the beach, we slather on the spf 50 sunscreen. That's no surprise. But, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, while 82% of parents encourage their children to use sunscreen to protect their kids' skin, only 32% of parents protect the vulnerable eyes of their infants, toddlers and children with sunglasses.  This just doesn't make sense.  We obsess over the sun block to protect our kid's skin, but shouldn't their eyes be a top priority too?

Eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration may be prevented by properly protecting your child's eyes now. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children are at an increased risk for permanent retinal damage from sunlight until they’re about 10 years old

If your kids aren't used to wearing sunglasses, they may resist it in the beginning, but eventually it will become second nature.   Encourage them to wear their sunglasses whenever they're outside and allow them to follow your lead!  This is a simple step we can take to protect our childrens' precious vision for years to come. 

Keep in mind - Toy sunglasses don't count.  Find glasses with lenses that provide 100 percent UV protection. You'll want to find Sunglasses that cover the entire eye area which helps to keep sun from sneaking in on the sides.

So, did I surprise you, or, are you one of the 32% of parents who already know that sunglasses are a must for babies and kids?

Right now, Totsy has a great deal on Sunglasses from Real Kids Shades.

Photo from

Getting Kids to Eat Veggies in the New Year!


It's almost the New Year, and so many Moms are vowing to get healthier and exercise more.  Since I recently lost about 20 pounds, it's really important for me to keep the momentum going.  I wish I had a magic wand that would make me only crave salad and oatmeal, and push my chocolate cravings aside.  But, since I don't, I'm constantly thinking of creative ways to get myself and my family healthier.  One thing that really helps is getting my kids to eat healthier with me. That way, we can snack together.
Here are some things that work for us, and might work for you too:


1) Frozen onions, peppers and spinach might not sound very appealing, but they are some of the easiest veggies to sneak into food.  You can mix it in with pasta & parmesan, sneak it into eggs in your breakfast burritos, or add it to your stuffed chicken breasts. 

2) I also always have a variety of canned beans in the pantry.  My two year old absolutely loves bean salad - seriously.  You can easily make your own by mixing up some canned beans and light Italian salad dressing, but if you have a Trader Joes nearby, you have to try their canned bean salad.  I think my two year old could eat an entire can of that bean salad by himself!

3) Bake your own muffins or mid-morning snacks with healthy ingredients instead of grabbing  the processed stuff.  If you think you're too busy to do this, I assure you it can be done.  My sister, who works full time and has an active toddler, bakes in bulk on the weekend, then, uses some of her muffins throughout the week, and freezes the rest in single portions.  From my experience, your family will prefer your home-made goodies to the sugary store bought snacks

4) Dip, Dip, Dip! It's such an easy way to get kids eating raw veggies. I always make my kids their own little plate of veggies and  dip in the late afternoon or before dinner if they're asking for a snack.  Their favorite dip is ranch, but sometimes I make my own yogurt dip as a healthier alternative.

Some of my other favorites are homemade fruit smoothies in the warmer months, mini whole wheat pitas with spinach dip, and big salads.  Yum!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a an easy tool to find the daily recommendations for your family members.  Just enter in the age, sex, and physical activity level in the 'How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need? interactive tool' and it will give you a guide as to the recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies for children and adults.
What are some of your healthy family favorites?

Kids' Safety & Snow Play

Last year, I waited too long in the season to buy snow boots for my son.  By the time I went to buy them, all of the nearby stores were sold-out. We ended up piling on layers of socks and using a pair of his rain boots. But, this year, we’re ready!  We all have snow boots, hats, gloves, and everything in between.

The only thing is… I’m not the biggest fan of playing outside when it’s about 30 degrees and the wind makes it feel even colder.  When I was a kid, I would be out in the snow all day, but now, after 15 minutes, I’m ready to come inside and get cozy.  But, I knew the kids would be begging to play in the snow today, and I wanted to make sure I was prepared

I was doing some online searching trying to find a 'golden rule' for the amount of time kids are allowed to play outside. I couldn't find a 'golden rule', but, from what I read, it seems like the main goals are to keep your kids happy, safe, warm, and dry.  Younger kids need to have regular breaks inside so that they can rest and stay hydrated.

Did you know you should be putting sunscreen on when you’re out in the snow?  Even when it’s cloudy, ultraviolet rays from the sun reflect off the white snow on the ground.  So, it’s important to protect your skin from the UV rays, just like you would at the beach. You may even want to get those sunglasses out again.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great winter safety tips that will help keep you up-to-date on everything you need to know to keep your kids safe in the snow.  Just remember to have fun and take lots of pictures!

P.S.  Just in case your child asks "What is snow?"  There is a website called Weather Wiz Kids that has the answer.

Photographer: Tina Phillips /

Have Fun & Get Dirty - Research about Common Antibacterial Products

Although practicing good hygiene is a definite must, it's funny how things change as your child grows.

When I was pregnant with my first, I bought hand sanitizer and had it strategically placed around the house so that everyone could sanitize before they touched my precious new baby.  Now, years later, my kids have chugged from other kids' sippy cups, eaten food off the floor, and playing in dirt is part of our daily routine. Luckily, for moms like me, there is more evidence that we don't need to be so paranoid about keeping our kids completely germ free. 

Environmental Health Perspectives just published an article about a commonly used antimicrobial agent, Triclosan, and its positive association with allergy & hay-fever diagnosis. You can read its report which sums up all of the scientific findings.  But, I preferred reading this article by Healthy Day News titled "Too Much Hygiene May affect Immune System, Study Suggests".

For now, I'm going to start phasing out the hand sanitizers, soaps and creams with those antimicrobial agents, and continue to let my kids get dirty.  What's your take on this? Photographer: Clare Bloomfield

A Safe Holiday Season = A Fun Holiday Season

Featured Blogger, Go West Young Mom with

Holiday Safety Tips from Dr. Antonio Caceres

Dr. Antonio Caceres of Geneva's New Beginnings Pediatrics shares some safety tips to help ensure that your family enjoys a happy and safe holiday season.

Photo by ume-y on Flickr.Toy Safety: 

  • Some toys may pose as a choking hazard for children. This is especially true to kids under 3 years of age. Children under age 8 years can choke and suffocate on un-inflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving then to young children.
  • Magnets and button batteries can have serious complications such as esophageal and stomach perforations, including death if swallowed. Keep them away from young children and call your doctor immediately if your child swallows one.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, avoid giving young children under age 10 years a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead buy toys that are battery operated.

 Food Safety:

  • Wash your hands frequently especially if handling foods. Make sure your kids do the same.
  • Fully cook poultry and meats, and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  • Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
  • Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.
  • Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.


  • Make sure the flue is open. Remove all decorations, papers, and boughs from the fireplace area before lighting any fire.
  • Do not burn gift wrapping papers in the fireplace. This may result in a flash fire because wrappings may ignite suddenly and cause burns.

Read more ...

Is liquid yogurt a good substitute for milk?


Sometimes it's really hard to get kids to drink milk.  I've had this dilemma in my house, and it seems like a very common issue with kids.  They either won't drink any milk at all, or will only drink chocolate milk.

And, what about that liquid yogurt drink that some kids love...  Is liquid yogurt a good substitute for milk?

Go West Young Mom has a fantastic section on her site called "Ask the Expert" where one pediatriction gives his opinion on this topic and offers some tips for parents.  Read more here

Photographer: graur razvan ionut