All posts by Courtney Ilarraza

"Lap children" At Risk in Flight

Adults traveling with babies may have no idea how dangerous it is to allow infants and toddlers to fly on commercial airline flights as “lap children.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines don’t require babies and children under age 2 to travel in child safety seats, primarily for cost reasons.

In August 2005, the FAA said, “Analyses showed that if forced to purchase an extra airline ticket, families might choose to drive, a statistically more dangerous way to travel.” At that time, FAA administrator Marion Blakely said, “Statistics show that families are safer traveling in the sky than on the road.”

But the FAA has acknowledged the inherent danger: While most parents would do anything for their child — including holding on for dear life in an airborne emergency — the simple fact is they can’t always hold onto the child.

That’s because commercial aircraft are designed to withstand tremendous G-forces, but humans are not. And therefore a 25-pound baby could easily weigh three or four times that amount when a parent is struggling to hold onto it during an emergency, let alone dealing with impact, smoke or fire.

In addition, a baby strapped inside a parent’s seat belt can be crushed by the parent’s weight during an emergency.

These laws of physics have been proven time and again, in the most heartbreaking of circumstances. In several cases, lap children have been severely injured and killed in accidents that were survivable.

In the 1989 crash landing of United Airlines Flight 232 near Sioux City, Iowa, for example, the accident report from the National Transportation Safety Board noted that of the four lap children on the plane, “the mothers of the infants in seats 11F and 22E were unable to hold onto (them).”

The NTSB added mandatory child safety seats to its “Most Wanted” list of FAA improvements in May 1999 (although it was removed in 2006). Other experts such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Flight Attendants and the National Air Disaster Alliance have strongly concurred.

The best way to ensure that a baby or small child will be safe while flying is to strap him or her into a safety seat. This means that parents need to purchase a seat for every member of their traveling party, regardless of age or size.

There was a time when parents could be fairly certain of a nearby empty seat, so they could bring a safety device onboard and cabin staff would place it on an adjoining seat without purchasing a ticket. But with passenger load factors at all-time highs, the days of stretching out next to an empty middle seat are long gone.

Not all safety devices are created equal. The FAA suggests that parents make sure their restraint device is certified for use on aircraft.

For guidelines, visit, And most airlines restrict where safety seats can be placed (exit rows are not allowed).

Some carriers such as Southwest offer discounted tickets for infants and kids. Parents should carry a copy of their child’s birth certificate, since some airlines require proof of age.

Flame- Resistant Pajamas vs. Snug Fitting Pajamas

Children spend most of their time in pajamas so it is important for them to be comfortable, but safety is also paramount. Recently, I received a question about flame-resistant pajamas, and my feelings about them. I don’t believe they are necessary and am not a fan of them because of the chemicals used,

First, some history: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) first adopted standards for children’s sleepwear in 1971. The standards stipulated that all sleepwear exposed to a small open flame must self-extinguish. Polyester garments and cotton garments treated with chemical fire retardants were approved, but untreated cotton garments were not. Subsequent data indicated a significant decrease in sleepwear and fire related deaths and injuries among children.

The flammability standards in effect during the 1970s, nearly eliminated the use of cotton in children’s sleepwear. In 1977, the fire retardant Tris, commonly used in textiles, was found to be carcinogenic and was subsequently banned from use. Public demand for healthier, more comfortable garments grew, and during the 1980s and 90s, pressure from consumers groups lead to the CPSC’s relaxing the standards of the Flammable Fabrics Act to include untreated cotton garments. However, an important distinction was made with regard to fit. According to the CPSC, loose-fitting sleepwear made of cotton or cotton blends are associated with 200 burn injuries every year. When the standards changed in 1997, “snug-fitting” untreated cotton sleepwear became a legal alternative for children over 9 months old. The same amendment eliminated all restrictions for infant (0-9 months) sleepwear, since infants are less mobile, and most burn injuries result from children playing with fire.

Following the new CPSC standards all snug-fitting cotton sleepwear is labeled with a hangtag that says “For child’s safety, garment should fit snugly. This garment is not flame resistant. Loose-fitting garment is more likely to catch fire.” The permanent label says, “Wear snug-fitting. Not flame resistant.”

The current regulations determine the safety of cotton garments according to a set of measurements for each size group. These measurements are based on testing done to determine the optimum snugness necessary to prevent the garment from being flammable when exposed to an open flame. The standards are based on studies that showed eliminating the airspace—and therefore the oxygen—between the garment and the child’s skin significantly diminished a cotton garment’s flammability. (CPSC used dressed mannequins for their testing.)Cotton can be treated with fire retardants, though the strict CPSC standards requiring all cotton garments to be snug-fitting and the negative perception of treated natural fibers do not create a favorable market for such innovation.

According to The Green Guide,your choices, then, from worst to best are 1) nylon or acetate treated with fire retardants, 2) “inherently” flame resistant polyester with fire retardants built into the polymer or 3) snug-fitting cotton garments. The healthiest safe choice with the lowest embodied energy and lowest ecological impact would be snug-fitting, organic cotton long johns or union suit-style pajamas with the “Wear snug-fitting. Not flame resistant” label. These common sense choices conform to the CPSCs standards, give the environment a break and provide your child with safe and comfortable sleepwear.

Since the Flammable Fabrics Act, was enacted to basically protect children who are playing with matches, or an open flame, I prefer to keep a close eye on my child, and dress him in comfy snug cotton pajamas.

Do Children Need I.D.?

My son is at an age where he can say a few words. He even says his name, which is only coherent to me and his dad. He is also at an age where he hates to be strapped into a stroller or a shopping cart. The other day, while shopping at Target, my son let go of my hand and tried to run off. For a brief second, I lost sight of him in a crowd of people and I couldn’t breathe, I felt as if I was having a heart attack. It was seriously just a second. The crowd cleared and there was my son, happy as can be, pulling items off a shelf.

Later that evening, while sharing the story with my husband, we started to discuss whether our son should have I.D. If he ever did get lost, or if something ever happened to me or the person he is with, he wouldn’t be able to communicate. I know, it is an awful thing to think about. I cringe at the thought, but I have always been a worrywart.

I came across a really cute product called Spot Me ID, it is a line of temporary identification products that will help reunite a parent with a child if they were ever to become separated.

Spot Me ID agrees with the experts who say it is not a good idea to put your child’s name on their person. They recommend putting the parents contact information on their products. By providing the authorities with a parents name and cell phone number, this will be very helpful to insure a quick reunion.

There products come in 3 varieties. They have bracelets, lanyards and temporary tattoos. They are all animated and cute.

Baby Bodyguards is happy to have come across such a great product and I will be getting a bracelet for my son.

Mamalu is Mamamazing

Yesterday morning was gloomy and it looked like it was going to rain. It was not a day for the park or beach. I was looking for a place that my son could burn off some of his energy, that also had a much needed cup of coffee for me. I decided to venture to Williamsburg to try out Mamalu. I can’t say enough great things about this place. Mamalu gets two thumbs up from Baby Bodyguards!!!!
When you walk in, there is a bunch of little tables and chairs set up for the little ones and a great big play space. My son loved sitting in a chair made for his size. I ordered an iced coffee, which was delicious, and was asked if my son wanted to use the “Munchground”? I said, sure, and paid the $5 fee. The play area is spectacular. It is 800 square feet and “full of toys and furniture that inspire imagination, movement and interaction”
The best part of Mamalu is that it is a place my son can play freely and I don’t have to worry about him getting hurt (like in the park). All the furniture and toys in the munchground are soft and the floor is padded. There is a lounge area, where I was able to enjoy my coffee on a comfy couch and still have a full view of my son playing.
They offer food, which I have heard is really good and most of it is organic, healthy and reasonably priced. I will definitely be back soon to eat.

Baby Trend Safety Seat Recall

NHTSA warns seats could fail in a crash
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a Consumer Advisory to alert owners of Baby Trend child safety seats that the seat base could fail and not protect a child during a collision.
The Baby Trend seats involved in the recall are the Magnum (model number 6439), Galaxy (model number 6481), Silverado (model number 6448), and the 6400S bases that were sold separately and manufactured between May 14, 2007, and April 1, 2008.
“Baby Trend is recalling the bases of these child safety seats because they could fail to adequately protect children in a collision. Baby Trend will replace the base free of charge,” NHTSA warned on its Web site.
Owners of the affected seats should contact Baby Trend at 1-800-328-7363 to obtain a free replacement base.
“In the meantime, NHTSA is urging consumers not to use the car seat with the base,” the federal safety agency cautioned.
Source: Consumer Affairs

Bicycle Safety

Riding a bike is great fun and exercise for children,but they need to be wearing a helmet. Each year, more than 600 people in New York are injured badly enough to need hospitalization from a bicycle accident. Of the 40% of people hospitalized, almost half die from a traumatic brain injury.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are at high risk for bicycle related injuries, and account for more than half of bicycle-related injuries seen in emergency rooms.
To prevent children from suffering traumatic brain injuries, parents should follow the New York State law that requires all children under 14 to wear an approved bicycle helmet, while riding a bike, rollerblading, or riding a non-motorized scooter or skateboard.
The helmet must fit correctly to ensure the best possible protection. When worn correctly, a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of head injuries by 85%.

Tips to ensure a helmet fits correctly
-Look for a helmet that has the Consumer Product Safety Commision’s (CPSC) sticker on it.
-Measure your child’s head circumference and buy a helmet sized for that measurement.
-For infants and toddlers, buy infant and toddler-specific helmets.
-Make sure the helmet sits on the top of a child’s head, not tilted back.
-Adjust the straps for a comfortable but snug fit.
-The helmet should not move side-to-side or front-to-back
-Teach children to always keep the straps buckled when riding
-Never use helmets designed for other purposes, such as snow mobiling, or motorcycling, as they may cause difficulty maintaing balance or may disrupt a child’s vision, leading to a fall or accident.

Baby Bodyguards Loves The Moxie Spot!!!

At Baby Bodyguards, we are always looking for fun and safe activities to do with the kiddies. Last night we enjoyed some of the most fun we have had in a long…..time.
We had read a great blog post in A Child Grows in Brooklyn about The Moxie Spot, and I knew it was a place that I had to check out with my family. On their website, they have a calender and it listed Saturday as “Free Family Disco Night” at 5:30 PM. Nowadays, 5:30PM, seems like the perfect time for a disco. I could get my dance on and be home by a reasonable time to get my family to bed. I can also easily convince our childless friends to join us for a 5:30 disco party, because The Moxie Spot serves beer and wine.
As you walk into the restaurant, there are two cute doors, one for adults and a little one for children. The fun continues inside, the first floor has a chalk board and all kinds of blocks and puzzles. There is also an area to park your stroller, which as a stroller pusher myself, made me feel at ease and welcome.
I was a bit confused about the ordering process, but figured it out after asking a few patrons a few questions. I picked up a paper menu and got on line. The items on the menu were fabulous and so… reasonably priced. Most items were healthy, organic and hormone free. I ordered the turkey burger with some sweet potato fries and was very pleased. If you order hot food, the staff behind the counter has to bring it to you. I was handed a table number and told to claim a table by putting my number on it, and the staff would find us to bring us our food.
I brought our number upstairs to claim a table on the disco floor and to my delight and surprise, I encountered a safety gate. Wow, now I really felt at ease! I loved the idea that the children could dance and run around and parents could feel comfortable knowing that there was a gate blocking the stairs.
They had hula skirts, funky masquerade glasses, noise makers, etc…. It was like a scene from the best Bar Mitzvah I had ever been to. The music was very cool. I found myself singing along to a lot of the songs, which were mostly from the 80’s and 90’s.
When it was time to use the bathroom, I couldn’t help but notice outlet plugs, covering all the outlets. I decided to take a look around the rest of the restaurant to see what other safety features I could find. I looked at all the tables, and the corners were pretty rounded. The glasses were all plastic. They have computers in the back for the children to use and all the wires were hidden. The owners of The Moxie Spot, put so much thought and care into their restaurant. I will definitely be back, and am so happy I stumbled upon such a find.

Granite Countertops and Radiation

This morning as I was getting my son ready to go to grandma’s house, I heard on the news, that granite countertops are now considered a health threat due to the amount of radiation they give off. Not hearing the full news story, I decided to do a little research into this new finding and share the good, the bad and the ugly with you.

The Good– The Marble Institute of America told the New York Times the recent claims were “ludicrous” because although granite is known to “contain uranium and other radioactive materials like thorium and potassium, the amounts in countertops are not enough to pose a health threat.”
David J. Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University in New York, pointed out to the Times the cancer risk from granite countertops is “on the order of one in a million.”

The Bad-But Brenner also said, “If you can choose another counter that doesn’t elevate your risk, however slightly, why wouldn’t you?” (but granite is so pretty :( )
Health physicists and radiation experts agree that most granite countertops emit radiation and radon at extremely low levels.

The Ugly-The same health physicists and radiation experts, say these emissions are insignificant compared with so-called background radiation that is constantly raining down from outer space or seeping up from the earth’s crust, not to mention emanating from manmade sources like X-rays, luminous watches and smoke detectors.

The only way to know about radon levels from your granite countertops, and in your home in general, is to test for them.

If you are concerned about the radon levels in your home, feel free to contact us at Baby Bodyguards, and we will guide you through the testing process.

Review of BabyGanics

At Baby Bodyguards, we are always looking for all natural, chemical free products to try. If the product meets our strict safety criteria, we recommend the product to our clients. Well, after experimenting with some cleaning products made by Healthy Home Products, called BabyGanics, we will be adding BabyGanics to our list of Baby Bodyguard Approved Products.
All BabyGanic products are non-toxic and organic, and “safe for people, pets , and the environment.” Their products come in unscented and scented formulas. I happen to love the scent of lavender, so the scented is more my speed.
I have been using the BabyGanics All Purpose Cleaner, every day since I got my hands on it, and it does a wonderful job getting all the grime off my son’s highchair tray and I don’t have to worry about him ingesting all kinds of toxins.
I have also been using their Glass and Surface Cleaner, and I must say, it does a fantastic job of getting greasy fingerprints off my glass doors and windows, as well as all of our appliances, without leaving any residue.
BabyGanics Gets The Baby Bodyguard Seal of Approval!

Protecting Children From Dog Bites

Dogs are popular pets in this country. With more than 60 million pet dogs in the United States, they are only slightly less popular than cats. Dogs and kids often get along just fine, but parents need to make sure their children know how to act around a dog to stay safe.

U.S. children suffer more than 2 million dog bites a year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). “A dog that attacks is very often the family pet,” says the AVMA’s Bernadette Cruz, D.V.M. “Education is the key to solving an issue that’s reaching epidemic proportions.” Dog owners and children can both learn to prevent bites.

If you own a dog or plan to buy one:

  • Choose the breed carefully. Your vet can help you pick a pup.

  • Socialize your dog. Start when the dog is a puppy.

  • Train your dog. This helps a dog learn to trust and obey you.

  • Have your dog neutered. Males that have not been neutered account for up to three out of four bites.

  • Keep your dog’s shots current.

Many parents don’t realize how a small child’s boisterous activity or loud behavior can confuse a dog, or how a child’s invasion of a dog’s space might provoke the animal. If you have a small child or infant, never leave the youngster alone with a dog, Dr. Cruz says. Even when you are with your young child around a dog, keep a close eye on their interaction to avoid potential problems.

You and your child should also look for signs that a dog is aggressive, afraid or protecting his territory — three reasons for bites. Watch for:

  • Growling, snarling or barking

  • Crouching with the head low or the tail between the legs

  • Fur that’s standing up, erect ears, a stiff body and a high tail

  • Obvious injury or pain

You can teach your child how to act around a dog, whether yours or another’s. Tell your child to:

  • Stand still, keep his hands down and avoid eye contact if a strange dog comes near.

  • Curl into a ball and cover her head, neck and face if knocked down.

  • Avoid dogs that are cornered, chained, in a car or behind a fence.

  • Never play rough with any dog.

  • Never break up a dogfight.

  • Ask before petting a dog he doesn’t know.

  • Avoid surprising older dogs. If they’re deaf or blind, they may bite.

  • Keep her face away from a dog’s head.

  • Never hold the dog around the neck or try to hug the dog.

  • Avoid disturbing a dog that’s sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.

If a dog bites your child, wash the wound with warm, soapy water, cover it with a clean bandage and call your doctor. If the bite is bleeding heavily, apply direct pressure and raise it above heart level until the bleeding stops. Contact the dog’s vet to check its vaccination records.

Publication Source: Starting Out Healthy magazine
Author: Bramnick, Jeffrey
Online Source: American Veterinary Medical Association
Online Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention