All posts by Courtney Ilarraza

My Big Boy is Growing Up

Last week New York City Schools were closed for Mid-Winter Recess.  I had my children home with me while I attempted to keep working from our home office and keep my sanity.

I was thrilled when a mother in my 7 year old’s class offered to take my son to a movie. I spontaneously agreed and then my anxiety kicked in. You see, I have never allowed my son to be driven in a car that wasn’t operated by a member of my family and we have child safety seats for every stage.

I was shocked that when I voiced my concern to my friends with kids similarly aged, they thought  I was being nuts. Every one of them said that their kids ride in cars without booster seats.  They all have a seat in their vehicle, but they don’t think twice about their child being in other people’c cars without one. One friend even told me that she isn’t required to have a Booster Seat anymore because her daughter is 6.

The law in New York is that children need to be riding with a booster seat until they are 8. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a booster seat until a child is 4 feet 9 inches tall. The point of the booster is to raise a child up so the seat belt falls properly on their body so it can protect the if there is a crash.

I called the mother up and voiced my concern. She said that her kids don’t use a booster seat anymore, but she has room in her SUV if I want to put one in for my son.

My son went on his first real outing without me, and he had a great time. I on the other hand was counting the minutes till he got home. I couldn’t wait to hear all about his adventure.

photo-3

Not Happy With My New Harness to Booster Safety 1st Seat

I usually only write about products I like and stay away from negative reviews, but after my recent finger numbing experience trying to install our 3.5 year olds new Safety 1st Summit Deluxe Booster Seat into my mother’s 2014 Honda CRV, I want to scream out of frustration. I purchased the seat after reading dozens of positive reviews on Amazon.com. What I never gave thought to was the fact that most seats are installed incorrectly. Just because people rave about how easy it is to install, does not mean it is installed right.
I wanted a moderately priced harness to booster seat for the SUV, because our daughter is hardly even in it. In my own car I have the Britax Pioneer 70 and LOVE…. it!!!! When the snow fell and we needed to take a family trip to Lowes, I attempted to install the seat. A nice feature is you don’t have to thread the shoulder straps to get them in the right position, but you do have to uninstall the seat to lift a bar up in the back to make sure the straps were right above or at the shoulders. This is pretty inconvenient, especially given the fact that the seat doesn’t have a built in lock off, allowing you to clip the belt tightly.  Without the lock-off, I was left trying to wrestle the seat to get it in tightly. I never could get it tight enough. This has never happened to me.
My husband and I are both CPST’s (Certified Passenger Safety Technicians) and my husband couldn’t get the seat tight either. This hardly ever happens!!! The straps are flimsy and tend to twist. I’m so bummed that I threw away the box because I wish I could return the seat.
I get asked a lot about seat recommendations and I always tell parents that the seats in the US are all crash tested to the same specifications. What it comes down to is how easy it is to install. A seat is only safe if it is installed correctly. Safety 1st SummitMy husband was right, I should have spent the extra $100 and gotten a Britax.

600,000 Angelcare Baby Monitors Recalled

baby monitorThis week Angelcare voluntarily recalled over 600,000 baby monitors after the strangulation and death of two infants. Two more infants have reportedly been entangled , but not fatally.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that a cord attached to the sensor pad placed under the crib mattress poses a strangulation risk if the child pulls the cord into the crib.

The Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitors were sold at a number of popular U.S. retailers between 1999 and 2013.

For years Baby Bodyguards has been telling our clients how important it is to never have cords within the reach of infants/toddlers. Monitors need to be mounted away from the crib and the cords need to be well out of the reach of babies, at least 3 feet.

A Little Giddy

Over the Summer I got a call from Josh. We were scheduling an appointment and when I asked his availability he said he was very flexible at the moment because he had just wrapped up a project.  The name Josh Lucas was very familiar, but I couldn’t place the name with the face. I tried google and OMG, Josh Lucas, the man that we swooned over in Sweet Home Alabama, The Lincoln Lawyer and the numerous other projects he has worked on!

When Fred and the team went there, they said that he was such a pleasure to work with and has the most adorable son. Everyone said he was just the most normal, cool, down to Earth guy. Celebrities aren’t always known for those attributes.  Without any prompting, Josh offered us a hand written testimonial. We are very touched because it’s never something we ask for. Our clients time is very important and we never want to impose. Josh is a great guy and Josh, thank you for the kind words. It was our pleasureJoshLucas Testimonial!

 

9 Year Old Boy Saves Infant by Knowing CPR

 

This is why Baby Bodyguards is developing a CPR curriculum for school aged children. What a blessing the two young boys were outside at that moment and a reminder to us all how important it is to learn CPR.

Susanna Rohm was sitting in her Marietta, Ga., living room last week with her 12-week-old son Isiah when she noticed he’d stopped breathing. Outside, two boys Rohm didn’t know, Rocky Hurt, 9, and Ethan Wilson, were playing football when they heard Rohm yell to call 911. “I said, even if it’s a burglar we still need to help because it’s the right thing to do,” Rocky recalled. The pair — who had learned CPR from signs at school — rushed into the house and led the distraught mom through the life-saving procedure. It worked. “If Rocky hadn’t been outside playing right then, I definitely would not have the baby sitting in my lap right now,” Rohm said. The young heroes’ reward? “We didn’t care if we were on the news, we just cared about saving that baby.”

 

Click for Video of Interview

 

Car Seat Installation Every Evening and Weekend Mornings

Due to high demand, Baby Bodyguards is now offering car seat installation every evening from 5:30PM-8:30PM and Saturdays and Sundays from 8AM to 10AM in Marine Park, Brooklyn. A Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician will demonstrate the proper way to use your seat and make sure you are comfortable installing the seat on your own before you leave. Call or email to make an appointment.

Goodbye 2012…..The Ups and Downs Reflected Upon

Happy New Year!!!

Last year was a particularly busy one for us at Baby Bodyguards. It was our most successful year to date, but also the most tumultuous. The year for the most part was full of clients (some of the biggest celebrities on the planet), consultations, car seat installations, business meetings, franchise documents and then came October and ENTER SANDY…..

Being of a neurotic nature I had water, non-perishables, flashlights, D batteries (enough for us and our friends). The day the storm was to begin, we spent at a birthday party for a friend’s daughter. As our children painted pottery, the adults discussed whether we would evacuate and other precautions. We were all split, half of us were taking it very seriously , the other half thought of Irene in 2011 and scoffed. We always feel better safe then sorry.

The Baby Bodyguards headquarters was in Manhattan Beach Brooklyn. This is where I grew up and where most of our friends live. This is where my parents still live.  For those who are not familiar, it is known as the Russian Riviera, consisting of beautiful waterfront homes, and a feeling of a private oasis in the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn. This is where our son goes to school, and until the end of October 2012, what I thought to be the safest part of NYC.

My parents evacuated to our home in Zone C and we made the final preparations at Baby Bodyguards. We stacked all our computers on desks, removed our hard drives and put them on a 7 ft shelf. Stacked all our inventory up high. We figured worse case scenario, we get a foot of water, which would be annoying, but not life changing. The last thing we did was set up a video baby monitor, so we could keep track of the flooding from our home a few miles away.

We spent the first 24 hours of the storm at our home pigging out on comfort food, watching TV, watching our monitor and hoping for the best. Then everything went dark. We played Crazy 8’s with our 5 year old, and read by lantern to our 2 year old. We bundled up to keep warm, and expected normalcy within a few hours. I watched my parents pace around understandably nervous that their home was now damaged. We spent the next day waiting for the clear to go outside, and when we got it, we ventured to Manhattan Beach.

Manhattan Beach on October 31st, was a scene from a nightmare. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Cars were piled on top of each other, glass was shattered everywhere. My favorite restaurants had tables and chairs floating in the street and their doors blown off. As I drove to the office, I saw children’s toys in the street, along with old pictures and memorabilia that can never be recovered. I passed so many friends and our Rabbi, everyone is a state of shock and despair. As I pulled up to the office, I could see our door had come off and our desks had floated to the street. We had sustained 8 feet of water. Our hard drive was gone off that 7 ft shelf. Interestingly enough the one thing that did make it was the Nutrigrain bars I snack on. For now on if there is an emergency coming that is what I will buy :). All our inventory gone, covered in sewage.

I then assessed my parents house. Same thing, 8 feet of water. I cried for about 3 minutes and then we had to take action. I called on some friends, we went to Home Depot, and gutted out the house and removed the debris. This was bad enough without my parents having to come home and throw away their possessions and deal with mold and the stench. For those not familiar with New Yorkers, we may not be the friendliest, but if a crisis goes down, New Yorkers can handle it with the best of them.

The really crazy thing is that while we were dealing with our losses and the gas shortage, the Baby Bodyguard’s phone kept ringing. Clients unaffected on the UES and UWS, couldn’t get their home’s baby proofed fast enough, and let us know that as soon as we were ready to get to them, they were ready for us. This calmed me down. I realized that in these conditions that I thought were hopeless, our business was still going to go on. It’s not a desk and a computer that make the business but the people , reputation and relationships that were developed.

It’s a new year and over 2 months have passed. Business is almost back to normal (from a temporary office), my parents are back in their home (the basement is still gutted and not fixed), but most importantly we are forever changed. If we weren’t faced by adversity every now and then, we would never know what we are really made of, and how blessed we truly are. It’s easy to be great during the good times, but it takes a certain kind a person to keep it together through the rough patches.

Over the last couple of months I would refer back to my favorite poem by Rudyard Kipling. It is also my dad’s favorite peom and when I was a little girl, he would tell me that it is “a poem to live by.”

 

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

IMG_0263
Keeping normalcy we go trick or treating.
Thanks for the bags Dunkin Donuts!
20121102_143925
BBG Office, who needs a desk anyway….
IMG_0273
My parents house and their belongings
Stuff is just that…Stuff!

60,000 Britax Seats Recalled

Britax is recalling certain convertible child restraints, models Boulevard 70 G3, Advocate 70 G3, and Pavilion 70 G3, Model Numbers: E9LJ91A, E9LJ91M, E9LJ91S, E9LJ92E, E9LJ93P, E9LJ93S, E9LK91A, E9LK31A, E9LK31Q, E9LK32D, E9LK32Z, E9LK33Q, E9LL11A, E9LL11Q, E9LL12D, E9LL12Z, E9LG81A, E9LG83N, E9LG83P, E9LG83X, E9LG83Y, E9LL21A, E9LL23P, E9LL23Y, manufactured from June 2012 through August 2012. These seats were manufactured with a softer chest pad material that may be bitten or chewed into pieces by a child using the seat. If the child bites off a piece of the softer pad, it could be a choking hazard, resulting in injury or death. Britax will provide owners with replacement HUGS pads that are made from a firmer material and instructions on how to replace the pads free of charge. To view a video on how to remove and replace the HUGS chest pads visit www.BritaxUSA.com/support/safety-notices and select the product from the menu on the right side. Owners may remove the HUGS pads and continue using the seat until replacement pads are received. The safety recall is expected to begin shortly. Owners may contact Britax Customer Service Department at 1-888-427-4829 with questions or to request replacement pads in the event their restraint is not already registered with Britax.

Baby Bodyguards makes NYC's Top Baby Gurus List

Thanks StrollerTraffic!!!!

NYC’s Top Baby Gurus
The best numbers to call during tough times

It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child—or at least the advice of some really good experts. Here’s who to call when you need a little help with . . .

. . . registering for gear: Jamie Grayson earned his stripes demonstrating strollers and car seats at Buy Buy Baby; now he runs a consultancy business as The Baby Guy NYC.

. . . designing the nursery or playroom: As a Parsons grad and former Nobu architect, Alessia Corpino and Julie Frank of My Tiny Nest know a thing or two about creating stylish environments.

. . . the stylish side of raising a baby: the tastemaking sisters-and-mom trio at Sissy + Marley consult on everything from personal shopping and baby announcements to party planning and decorating.

. . . organizing your closets: Melanie Fascitelli of Clos-Ette is a wiz at spatial planning; she’ll completely revamp your approach to hanging, folding, and organizing baby’s closets and drawers.

. . . babyproofing: Baby Body Guards does an excellent job of shielding crawlers and early walkers from cabinets, cords, doorways, and other home safety hazards.

. . . a second (all-natural) opinion: Lauri Grossman, DC CCH RSHom(NA), has taught homeopathy at NYU and Sloan-Kettering, among other institutions; she’ll recommend custom remedies for your child to treat everything from anxiety to eczema.

. . . relaxation: Not only does Janet Markovits of Maternal Massage and More give a blissful prenatal massage, she’ll also teach you how to massage your infant to help soothe upsets like colic, teething, and gas.

. . . handling your emotions: Psychologists Alexandra Goletka M.A., M.S., Psy.D and Marianna Strongin, M.A., Psy.D of Parenthood Psychology Practice give expectant and new moms support for feelings stirred up by PPD, premature births, new sibling anxiety, and other emotional obstacles. Bonus: they’ll come to your home or office, if you wish.

. . . breastfeeding: Freda Rosenfeld, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, (718.469.5990), can walk you through anything from positioning and latching to increasing milk supply.

. . . developmental concerns: Dr. Aliza Pressman and Dr. Bronwyn Charlton of Seedlings Group offer one-on-ones, small groups, and workshops to help parents work their way through tantrums, separation anxiety, biting, discipline, and limit-setting at any age.

. . . sleep training: Many exhausted parents have turned to Dr. Edward Kulich MD, MAAP, or Natalie Nevares of Mommywise to coax and coach babies into a schedule.

. . . speech: Samara Heiman, M.S., CCC-SLP and author of the Little Speakers book series, can help identify and manage challenges such as oral-motor delays, auditory processing disorder, language-based learning disabilities, expressive and receptive language deficits, and other speech-related issues.

. . . fine motor skills: If your child is struggling with pencil grip, visual perception, muscle strength, or attention and organizational skills, Casey Halper of the Casey Halper Group is a good first step toward getting ready for pre-K.