Category Archives: Good Parenting

Keeping Kids Safe at a Wedding

My dear friends Xochitl Gonzalez and Mayra Castillo, are the founders of Always a Bridesmaid, the greatest wedding planning company in the North East, actually make that the country. They have appeared in just about every wedding publication out there, Lots of TV shows such as, The Style Network’s Whose Wedding is it Anyway, and were recently in the New York Times.

The dynamic duo also have an incredible blog, appropriately named Always a Blogsmaid. They recently received a question about keeping children safe at a wedding and turned to Baby Bodyguards for some guidance.

Here is the post from Always a Blogsmaid:

The Q: My family has a lot of people with relatively young children- under 8 years old for the most part.  My father is a horrible nervous nelly and is in a panic about the kids running around and someone getting hurt or falling or whatever. Any ideas for things that we can do to calm him down?

The A: While it’s fun to have children at weddings because they are so very cute, it’s actually a good thing to remember that even though it’s your wedding day, they still need the same levels of attention and have the same desire to play and run around as on any other given day. So, to that point, your dad is right in that it’s good to plan ahead!

I actually thought I’d contact someone who knows a little bit more about kids than I do (seeing as how I have none) and until I got this email, my greatest worry was that they would be bored or that little guests would stick their fingers in the cake. So, I contacted my dear friends Fred and Courtney, the owners of New York based Baby Body Guards, a child proofing/ safety consulting company.

Courtney informed me of something surprising- “Statistically, more young children suffer accidental injury when there are a lot of adults around. This is because everyone assumes that someone else is keeping a watchful eye on the children, when in reality everyone is distracted and no one is. We recommend that adults take turns watching the children, or bring along a babysitter to be in charge of the children if it is okay with the hosts.”

Actually, this is something that we have done at some of our clients weddings- our instincts were to keep the children occupied, but I never really had thought about this safety aspect before… which makes a lot of sense since the adults are mixing and mingling with one another and not necessarily 100% focused.  One service that I suggest is the The Wedding Sitters .  They will come and stage even a little tea party for the little guests and keep them under a watchful eye.

Courtney also recommended to keep kid friendly food close to the kids table to stop them from wandering around and snacking off of adult plates.  “Another thing to keep in mind is food allergies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends holding off on highly allergic foods such as peanuts until a child is 3. If there are going to be a lot of children at a wedding, hosts may want to discuss the menu with caterers to avoid some ingredients.”   From our part, it’s a good thing to have a kids table that also has some snacks set on it for the kids to pick on during the reception.  Or better yet, a kids pack that has a kid-friendly snack as a part of it as well as some activity games.

If you know that you are going to have children, it’s probably a good call to have a kid friendly First Aid kit on hand in case of any cuts or bruises AND even better, a local pediatrician in case you need a doctor on call for your out of town guests who are far from home.  I know that here in New York there are a few doctors who still make “house” calls!

Maclaren Recall

Stroller maker Maclaren announced a recall on Monday that affects about 1 million umbrella strollers that can reportedly amputate or lacerate children’s fingertips.

So far, the company said there have been 12 amputations across the country. This happens when children get their fingers stuck in between the stroller’s side hinges while it is being opened or closed.

The company announced the voluntary recall in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and advises customers to stop using the products sold since 1999 at stores including Babies R Us and Target.

Consumers can contact Maclaren at 877-688-2326 or visit www.maclaren.us/recall to receive a free repair kit.

Maclaren said the kit includes hinge covers designed to fit all Maclaren strollers.

The recall affects the following models : Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, TechnoXLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno, and Easy Traveller.

More Parents Are Using Second-Hand Baby Items, How Safe is This?

It’s no surprise that in today’s down economy, more parents are looking to purchase second-hand items for baby, or take hand-me-downs from friends and relatives. The problem is that some second-hand items may be putting your baby at risk.

Recently Toys “R” Us, Inc launched a national program to spotlight potentially unsafe baby products still in the marketplace. It was called the “Great Trade-in Event” to encourage parents to trade in older baby items, in exchange for a discount on new items. The company realizes that due to safety concerns, certain used items such as car seats and cribs, are not good candidates to be passed down or resold.

According to the consumer advocacy group, Kids in Danger (KID), less than 30% of affected items are returned when a baby product is recalled. Recalls as well as other issues such as not knowing the history of a product such as a car seat, or not spotting damage to an item can cause serious injury and even death.

Baby Bodyguards urges parents  not to buy second-hand items such as car seats, cribs, play yards and bassinets because these items in particular have a history of safety problems.

If you are going to purchase an item second-hand, there are certain precautions that should be taken, such as looking at www.cpsc.gov, to make sure the product has not been recalled. Also, check a used baby product  by looking for damage and broken or missing parts. If you find anything wrong, do not purchase that specific item as it may not be safe. A broken or missing part will not be easy to fix and still provide the safety that baby needs

Ughh 3 Months Pregnant and Can't Get Things Moving

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of complaining. I’ve been nauseous, tired, bloated, irritable and not all that much fun to be around. To make matters worse, I have the pooping habits of a sloth, except when a sloth comes down from the tree once every two weeks to do his business, he doesn’t need the help of a glycerin suppository.

About two weeks ago I broke down in tears and called Dr. Brennan (if you live in Brooklyn, I love Dr. Brennan) and told him of my woes. He recommended Dulcolax, Mineral Oil or Milk of Magnesia. The Dulcolax worked, and then a week later the Milk of magnesia, sorta kinda worked. He assured me that worse case scenario he can remove any blockage in his office, OUCH and YUCK!!! I can’t let it get to that!

I am finally able to eat green things again, I’m drinking lots of water, and trying to get some walking in, and still NOTHING NADA Zip. I am only 3 months pregnant, and showing, like showing to the point where I am getting subway seats, and I know it’s not the baby, but poop.

Sorry for the complaints, but I feel bad for Fred (husband) already and thought I would vent here. If any of you have some home remedy miracle cure you can pass along, please do.

DANGER Electricity and Water = Tragedy

The other day I received an email from a concerned grandmother of ten, and the maker of Tend-A-Tot (check it out, totally cool product), Elizabeth Vouvakis. She wrote Baby Bodyguards, because she was alarmed by the number of homes she visits where electrical appliances are left plugged in near sinks and tubs. She is even more concerned than your average mom/grandma because she personally knows two families, who had young children pull hair dryers into the bathtub and were killed.

It is really important to unplug electrical appliances when not in use and to have outlets covered . It is even more important to install ground-fault circuit interupters on outlets near sinks and bathtubs aka GFCI outlets. With a GFCI outlet, the circuit will trip if water comes in contact with electricity. Please also remember to test your GFCI outlet monthly. On most GFCIs is a statement to “Test Monthly”. That means pushing the test button, seeing that the reset has popped out, seeing that nothing will run using the outlet at that point, and then pushing the reset.

Another Brooklyn Toddler Dies After Falling Out of Window

This is the third incident in Brooklyn this month. Th latest victim is a 1-year-old girl who fell out of a second floor window in her Bensonhurst home.  A police spokesman said the window did not have safety bars.

On Wednesday an 8-year-old Bronx girl survived a fall from a seventh floor wondow and is in stable condition.

Please, please please, make sure your windows are safe. Have window guards, window stops, and don’t place furniture underneath windows, giving a child full access. If you don’t know if your windows are up to Baby Bodyguards safety standards, call us!

After Two Tragedies This Week, Lets Talk Window Guards

In the last two days, two toddlers have fallen out of windows in Brooklyn, New York. No word yet on the condition of the two children. These falls are tragic and they could have been prevented with proper window safety

In September of 2008, we wrote a column for A Child Grows in Brooklyn, outlining NYC’s window guard law.

Health Code Section 131.15: (NYC’s window guards law)
-Pertains only to owners of a building containing 3 or more apartments.
-These owners, must provide and properly install approved window guards on all windows.
-All windows also includes, first floor bathroom, windows leading onto a balcony or terrace and in each hallway window, if any, in such buildings.
-This applies in apartments where a child (or children) 10 years of age or younger reside .
Exceptions to this law:
– Windows that open onto fire escapes
– A window on the first floor that is a required secondary exit in a building in which there are fire escapes on the second floor and up.
NYC Approved Window Guards, What are they?
-Approved window guards are a minimum of 15 inches tall with horizontal bars spaced so that any round object which is 5 inches or bigger cannot pass through
-The Manufacturer’s approval number must be imprinted on a vertical stile of the guard. For example: HDWG # 07-94-65. The number must be listed on the Approved List of Manufacturers and Model Numbers, distributed by the Department of Health.
-Guards must be appropriate for the type of window in which they are installed: double hung, casement, slider, etc.
-A landlord or manager must produce a supporting letter from the Window Guard Policy and Acceptance Board if a variance is claimed as having been granted.
-NYC approved window guards, are not permitted to be removed and are nearly impossible to remove once they are installed.
Most of the questions Baby Bodyguards receives about window guards are from parents wanting to protect their children from window accidents in their co-op, condo or house, where the NYC Window Guard Policy does not apply. In these situations we almost always recommend Guardian Angel Window Guards .
Guardian Angel Window Guards are removable, which is great in case of an emergency, or in order to install an air conditioner in the summer. They are also extremely durable, capable of withstanding 150 pounds of pressure. The Guardian Angel Company is so confident about the quality of their product that they offer a Lifetime Warranty. NYC approved window guards and Guardian Angel guards can be tricky to install depending on what material you are mounting them onto. As with any safety device, either window guard will only work if installed properly.

Child Safety and Protection Day

Sorry, I am posting this so.. late, but I just got the info.

Child Safety and Protection Day
Wednesday July 29, 2009
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Play Days and Parties
Street: 6632 Third Avenue (Next to the Firehouse)
City State Zip: Brooklyn New York 11220
Phone: 718-492-8997

Notes:
More than 800,000 children are reported missing each year. New York Life presents an opportunity to protect your children, by getting Finger Printing and emergency info if needed. The service is free and the information is private and only entered into the FBI Data Base when the parent decides to do it. For more information and to pre-register please call 718-492-8997

Getting a New Dog Without Compromising Your Child's Safety

It’s been about a month now since we adopted our new puppy. The process of finding the right dog for our family was one we did not take lightly. It took 3 trips to North Shore Animal League, and lots of research until we sealed the deal.

The last thing I wanted was a puppy that had to be trained, and was going to chew on our furniture and pee on our rugs, but that is exactly what we came home with. The last few weeks have been exhausting. There were so… many beautiful older dogs at North Shore, but on every cage they have a little info about the dog, and I couldn’t find a dog, where the information card stated that the dog would be good with children of ALL ages.

A dog’s temperment can have a lot to do with the way it was treated as a puppy. We didn’t want to chance getting an older dog and not knowing where the dog came from, how it was treated, etc. We figured training a puppy, as well as our 2.5 year old together would be the safest bet.

I want to recommend a great article I found on GrowingUpWithPets.com . This aricle gave us so much insight on choosing the right dog for us, as well as how to help teach our toddler the proper way to interact with our new family member.

Child-pet respect is a two-way street, and it certainly isn’t taught overnight. With a little time and effort, I am sure all our hard work is going to pay off. I hope….

The Death of Mike Tyson’s Daughter and Strangulation Hazards

A few weeks ago we all heard about the horrifying death of Exodus Tyson, Mike Tyson’s four year old daughter. Exodus was found dangling from a looped cord attached to a treadmill in her family’s home. She was rushed to the hospital and spent the rest of her brief life in critical condition and on life support.

Kids are naturally curious, and it is important to always keep a watchful eye on them. Unfortunately, even when closely supervised it only takes a few seconds for a child to get into a lot of trouble.

Even if you feel your house is completely childproofed, please take a few minutes to review our list of potential strangulation hazards you may not have thought about.

  • Make sure the slats on your baby’s crib are more than 2 3/8 inch apart.
  • Remove mobiles from cribs when baby can push up on hands and knees.
  • Don’t allow babies or children to sleep with bibs, necklaces, or any other items around their necks.
  • Make sure that rails on bunk beds or toddlers beds fit closely against the bed from so your child’s head cannot slip through.
  • Take ribbons, cords, or strings off of toys before giving them to kids to play, and never attach a pacifier or other item to your baby with a string.
  • Remove all drawstrings from jackets, sweatpants, or other clothing that babies or young children wear. Most of these are probably items that were recalled just for that reason, but check to be sure.
  • Store children’s belts, scarves, tights, necklaces and similar items out of kids’ reach. Since much of the time kids spend in their bedrooms is, by nature, unsupervised, these items shouldn’t be left in a bedroom drawer where children can play with them.
  • Be sure any dress up clothes that could pose a strangulation hazard are played with only under direct supervision.
  • Don’t allow kids to play on playground equipment or bicycles wearing things like long necklaces, purses, backpacks or scarves that can get caught in equipment.
  • Supervise kids playing with balloons carefully. They may be tempted to wrap the string around their necks.
  • Gather up and secure any loose cords, cables, wires, ropes, netting or similar items. This includes swing sets, too. Don’t leave anything dangling.
  • Make sure there are no loose strings hanging from mini blinds or other window coverings

Get on your hands and knees if you have to, so you can see the world like your child does.  If it looks like something that might attract your child and could be dangerous, you need to do something about it.