Ikea Opens in Brooklyn

On June 18th, Ikea opened its doors in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I was not among the hundreds of people camped outside hoping to receive a free couch or chair, but I did make my way down there a few days later.
I am a big Ikea fan. Ikea has furnished every apartment I have had since I left my parents house. Now that I have a house and a family of my own (including a wild toddler), Ikea furniture isn’t as durable as I would like, but I still find myself longing to go to the store. Maybe it’s the lingonberries, which I have yet to taste, but like that they are available to me at Ikea if I choose to indulge, or the fact that I can buy a wok, some dishes, candles and a picture frame for under $20. Whatever it is, I am hooked!
While at Ikea on Sunday, I noticed that Ikea has a line of Childproofing products. Baby Bodyguards has not tested the Ikea gate, but it is on our to do list. The prices are very reasonable. We have tested the Patrull Multilock, while it is inexpensive and kept our little one out of the refridgerator, it takes two hands to close and is a bit inconvenient.
What I am thrilled about is the toys Ikea sells! I read their safety standards and wrote to them personally, and they assured me that none of their wooden toys contain any harmful lead. For more information visit http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/about_ikea/social_environmental/toy_safety.html

Sterilizing Safely

I’ll never forget those first few weeks of parenthood. As thrilled as I was to have my healthy beautiful boy home with me, I was in a daze. Having not slept a full night in 9+ months (my bladder was in overdrive), I could hardly function, yet I had to master breastfeeding, swaddling, baby language etc… I was a mess!
New parents all have that look, you know the look. The dark circles under the eyes, the glassy stare. We go through the motions of normalcy even though our whole life has been turned upside down over night.
When my son was a week old, I was sterilizing some pacifiers in a pot on the stove. I was a sterilization addict, so it was like the 10th time that week I was sterilizing something. My mom came over and suggested we take the baby out for a while. After an hour of walking around on 7th Avenue, I started panicking. I couldn’t remember if I shut the stove! I left the baby with my mother and ran. One week postpartum and I was running as if I were being chased by a pack of wild dogs.
Sure enough, I had gotten to the house just in time, The stove was on, the water had all evaporated and the plastic was melting and burning, the smell was just awful!
Now I always warn new parents to use a tea kettle. Even dazed and confused, one can’t ignore
the whistle of a tea kettle.

Guide to Buying Safe Baby Items

Whether you are buying a special baby gift for the new parent in your life, or an item for your own precious bundle, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure that what you are buying is a safe choice.
1. Construction of the Item- Make sure the product is durable. Products made of wood, molded plastic, or non-toxic materials are a safe choice. Watch out for reinforced tails on stuffed animals and make sure toys don´t have buttons, yarn, ribbon or anything that could be taken off and placed in the child´s mouth and become a choking hazard.
2. Age Appropriate- Look at the manufacturer’s guidelines listed on the product and follow them.
3. Condition of the Product- New or slightly used items should be in good condition with no parts broken, or paint peeling. An item doesn’t have to be used to be in poor condition.
4. Size Appropriate- Compare the size of the toy to the size of the child. Make sure the child can’t be injured by the toy if the child drops it on himself.
5. Choking Hazards- At young ages, most children discover the world around them by putting everything in their mouths. Do not buy items that are smaller than the size of the child´s mouth until at least 3-years-old. If an item can fit through a paper towel roll, it is too small.
6. Magnets- In 2007, the Consumer Products Safety Commission named magnets the #1 hidden-home hazard. Avoid products with magnets. Small magnets can fall out of an item and be swallowed, causing intestinal problems if not discovered quickly.

These are just general guidelines. Always take a child’s specific needs and skills into consideration.

Ways To Ensure Your Child Is Safe Online

These days everywhere we go and everything we do involves the Internet. We use it to shop, bank, read the news, do research. You are all using it right now as you read my blog.

The scary thing about the Internet is that our children know more about it then we do. They may be looking at inappropriate material, or talking to online predators and we wouldn’t even know it.

When I was a child, my parents used to ask me a series of questions before I left the house to go out with friends. They wanted to know, Who I was going out with?, How I was getting to my destination?, What time I would be returning?, Who was going to be supervising us?, etc etc etc….. Many of the parents I speak to these days have never even looked at their child’s buddy list, My Space page, Friendster account or Facebook page. As parents, we need to sit down with our children and make sure that they know everyone on their buddy list personally (not that they met them online) and that they have their privacy settings set correctly. A lot of children have famous people as their buddies on these accounts. How do we know that the person pretending to be one of these famous people is not an online predator? If your child can’t tell you the first and last name of every buddy on their list, then that buddy needs to come off the list.

I also urge parents to make their own My Space or Facebook page, and make your child one of your buddies, so you can keep an eye on what they are doing online.

I recently discovered that my friend’s 11 year old daughter had a computer in her bedroom. I asked my friend, if she would allow a total stranger to come into her house and go into her daughter’s bedroom, close the door, and talk about whatever they wanted? Of course not, she said. The computer needs to be in a high traffic area of the home, so we can keep an eye on what our children are doing and who they are talking to.

A great website to check out is http://www.netsmartz.org/ ,it has lots of information on how to keep your child safe online and it has games for the kiddies.

Happy Surfing!

Is Your Babysitter A Certified Babysitter?

A few weeks ago I had my husband’s cousins over for dinner. They came with their 5 children ranging in age from 17 to 6. My toddler was in heaven from all the attention he was getting from the kids, and I was in heaven because I was finally able to eat my dinner with two hands and before it was ice cold.

The kids were fantastic with my son. They took turns reading books to him. The 17 year old was playing him music from his cell phone, which he was fascinated with. I had never seen a group of children handle a baby so well.

They offered to babysit for my son whenever we needed and told me they were Certified Babysitters by the American Red Cross. I never knew there was such a thing!

The American Red Cross offers a Babysitters class for kids 11-15 who want to be responsible babysitters. They learn how to respond to emergencies and illnesses, make decisions under pressure, recognize safety and hygiene issues, communicate with parents, manage young children and confidently care for infants.

I am lucky enough to have my mother living very close by, and she cares for my son whenever we need a night out, but i take comfort in knowing that there is such a thing as a Certified Babysitter.
For more information, visit http://www.nyredcross.org/

FYI Window Guards are the Law in NYC

In NYC, every year a number of children fall out of windows because of faulty window guards or no window guards period!
This is unacceptable, avoidable and ILLEGAL!
Only window guards approved be the Health Department can be installed. They must be made of strong metal. And they must –by–law be put in right and put in tight, or they won’t work.

Here is some info from the NYC Department of Health Website (www.nyc.gov/html/doh).

Window guards must by law be installed on your windows…

…if you live in a building that has three or more apartments and a child under age 11 lives in your apartment. Even if you live on the first floor, you must have window guards if a child under age 11 lives with you. Every window in the apartment must have a window guard except windows leading to fire escapes. In buildings with fire escapes , window guard must be left off one window in each ground-floor apartment so that the window can be used as and emergency exit. All public hallway windows must have window guards, too.

Even if you do not have a child under age 11 living with you, you still can have window guards if you want them. You might want them because children visit you, or you babysit, or and older person needs protection. Or may be you just feel safer with window guards. You don’t have to give a reason. If you want them, they have to be installed. It’s that simple. But, remember, if a child under age 11 lives with you, there is no choice– they must be installed. It’s the law!

Your landlord or building super– not you– must install window guards in your apartment’s windows. Your landlord or super must also fix any window guards that need repairs, and install window guards in all hall windows if a child under age 11 lives in the building.

If you want or need window guards or if they are loose or need fixing, call your landlord or management company Call the Health Department’s Window Falls Prevention Program at (212) 676-2162 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Baby Bodyguard's Sun Protection Guide

A few helpful terms to be familiar with:

SPF: Sun Protection Factor. A measure of how effectively the sunscreen blocks the sun’s UVB rays. It’s calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin.
UVB: Short-wave part of the spectrum of sunlight; more potent than UVA in causing sunburn, thought to be the main cause of basal and squamous cell skin cancers as well as a contributor to melanomas.
UVA: Long-wave solar rays. Less likely than UVB to cause sunburn, but penetrates the skin more deeply; considered chief cause of wrinkling and “photoaging.” Apparently increases UVB’s cancer-causing effects, but may be main culprit of melanomas. Not blocked by all sunscreens, so check the label!!
Sunscreen: absorbs UV rays.
Sunblock: Physically deflects UV rays.
“Broad-spectrum Protection”: This indicates that a product protects against UVA and UVB, but doesn’t guarantee coverage against all UVA wavelengths. Sunscreens containing avobenzone, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide should be effective against entire UVA spectrum.

It is best to keep babies out of the sun, but if this isn’t possible, Here is a list of Baby Bodyguard approved products. All sunscreens listed here contain no parabens, phthalates, sodium laurel/laureth sulfates, propylene glycol, PEGS, dioxanes and oxybenzones.
Burts Bees Chemical Free
California baby SPF 30 Everyday and Bug Blends
TruKid Sunny Days Everyday Mineral Sunscreen
Weleda Childrens SPF 18
Jason’s Sunbrella’s Minerals

It is very important to check those expiration dates. Many sunscreen and sunblock ingredients do not have an incredibly long shelf life, so throw away the old stuff and replace it!


I have been trying to drink 8 glasses of water a day since as long as I can remember. It’s the perfect beverage. It fills you up, keeps your skin beautiful, and most importantly keeps your body functioning efficiently.
When I was pregnant, I remember reading that water is not healthy for infants, especially infants under 6 months of age. I just assumed it was because an infant might fill up on the water and not want nutrient rich breast milk or formula, but my assumption was incorrect.
According to physicians at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, consuming too much water can put babies at risk of a potentially life-threatening condition known as water intoxication.
Because babies’ kidneys aren’t yet mature, giving them too much water causes their bodies to release sodium along with excess water, Dr. Jennifer Anders, a pediatric emergency physician at the center said. Losing sodium can affect brain activity, so early symptoms of water intoxication can include irritability, drowsiness and other mental changes. Other symptoms include low body temperature (generally 97 degrees or less), puffiness or swelling in the face, and seizures.
Dr. Anders, said early symptoms are subtle, so seizures may be the first symptom a parent notices. But if a child gets prompt medical attention, the seizures will probably not have lasting consequences. Water as a beverage should be completely off limits to babies six months old and younger, Parents should also avoid using over-diluted formula, or pediatric drinks containing electrolytes, she added.
Dr. Anders said it may be appropriate in some cases to give older infants a small amount of water; for example to help with constipation or in very hot weather, but parents should always check with their pediatrician before doing so, and should only give the baby an ounce or two of water at a time.
If you think your child may have water intoxication, contact a medical professional immediately.

Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

I love my block and my neighbors, but when it comes to the safety of my son, I don’t trust anyone with him except my parents, myself and my husband. That being said, he won’t always be in our little bubble of protection. One day he will be old enough to want to play ball in front of the house, or walk home the 2 blocks from school with some friends, which is why I checked out the people in my neighborhood.
I came across a great website http://www.familywatchdog.us/, which allows you to put in your address and see a map or list of where sexual offenders live and work. The site also has pictures of the registered offenders. Only Level 2 and 3 offenders are listed.
A Level 1 offender means that the court has determined that there is a low risk to commit another sex crime. A Level 2 offender means that the court has determined that there is a moderate risk to commit another sex crime. A Level 3 offender means that the court has determined that there is a high risk to commit another sex crime.
What I couldn’t believe, is that a sex offender can live next to a school. The Sex Offender Registration Act does not limit where a sex offender can live.
Pretty Scary Stuff!

FDA Warns Nursing Moms About Nipple Cream

On Friday the FDA warned women not to use or purchase Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream, marketed by MOM Enterprises Inc. of San Rafael, Calif.

The cream, marketed to nursing moms to help soothe dry or cracked nipples, contains ingredients that according to the FDA may cause respiratory distress, vomiting and diarrhea in infants.

The potentially harmful ingredients in the cream are chlorphenesin and phenoxyethanol.

“FDA is particularly concerned that nursing infants are being unwittingly exposed by their mothers to this product with dangerous side effects,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Additionally, these two ingredients may interact with one another to further compound and increase the risk of respiratory depression in nursing infants.”

The company has stopped selling the cream. The FDA said consumers should stop using the cream and consult a doctor if they experience problems or believe that their infant may have experienced problems due to the product.

Mothers whose children may have suffered adverse effects because of this product should contact the FDA’s MedWatch at 800-332-1088.