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Health and Wellness Archive

Guest Blog: Burning Down the House

Earlier this week I inadvertently created a plume of green toxic smoke in my kitchen. As fun and interesting as that sounds, it’s not actually the topic of this post. It did, however, lead someone to remind me about the time I left carrots cooking on the stove while I ran some errands. I realized that we, understandably, spend a lot of time talking about the number-one killer of children (car accidents), so why not also take a minute to talk about the number-one cause of residential fires (unattended cooking)?

Now of course I didn’t intend to leave my carrots on the stove. I had planned on running to the craft store and then out to dinner, so I put some carrots on the stove to boil for my one-year-old to chomp on at the restaurant. I set the timer and went to do some other things.

Why Rear-Facing Is Better: Your RF Link Guide

Here’s a list of concrete reasons why we recommend rear-facing past age 1 and 20 lbs.  That old recommendation that many pediatricians still hold onto stresses the bare minimums of when to turn a child forward-facing.  Who wants the minimum for their child?  It’s best practice to rear-face to the limits of the child’s convertible carseat: check the label for the rear-facing weight limit and make sure there’s at least 1″ of carseat above the top of his head.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended since 2002 that after age 1 and 20 lbs., children should ride in a rear-facing convertible seat until reaching the weight limit of that carseat. They’ve just amended that policy (3/2011) to recommend rear-facing to age 2 or until they reach the “highest weight or height allowed” by that convertible carseat.  (http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/25435)

Helping your child cope after a crash

crash sceneHundreds of thousands of children are involved in MVCs (Motor Vehicle Crashes) each year. The lucky ones, and the ones who are optimally restrained in an appropriate safety seat, may walk away with nothing more than bumps, bruises and a good scare.  Depending on the circumstances, others may not be so lucky. But regardless of whether the child was injured or not, being involved in a crash can be a terrifying ordeal for children. As someone who has survived two bad crashes, I can attest to how terrifying it really is – even for an adult. Unfortunately, I also understand that the fear and terror of the event don’t always fade away when the bruises do. It’s so important for parents and caregivers to be on the lookout for signs of traumatic stress in the weeks (and even months) following a crash. A little anxiety, maybe a few nightmares and some generally clinginess after the accident is very common and should be expected. It’s also common (and understandable) for the child to be reluctant to get back in the car.  However, since walking everywhere isn’t an option for most parents – this can be a real dilemma. We need to respect our children’s fears and emotions, and we certainly don’t want to traumatize them any further, but we also need them to get back in the car. For children who are non-verbal or have limited communication skills, it can be even trickier to address the underlying issues and calm their fears.  

Since every child and every set of circumstances is different, no one can claim to have all the magic answers. However, this wonderful website AfterTheInjury.org from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) can provide much needed information and guidance to help children after a traumatic event or injury. It can also help parents to differentiate between typical, normal reactions and those that may be a red flag indicative of traumatic stress. I’m so pleased that this site exists now. I believe it’s an area that really needs more attention and parents need more and better ways to support their children in the emotional healing process after a crash.

KIM or Bust!

Welcome to the “new” CarseatBlog.Com!  We hope to be making far more frequent updates than we have over the last year or two.  In particular, we hope to focus on new products, product reviews, conferences and recent media.  To start it off, Heather (murphydog77) and I are off to one of the annual conferences about child passenger safety.

My family’s excellent adventure to KIM, the Kidz In Motion National Child Passenger Safety Conference, got off to an easier-than-expected start yesterday.  We have never taken our entire crew of three kids on an airplane trip before; all of our previous vacations were in the family truckster.  We almost drove this one, too, but vacation time was limited and blowing 4 days on driving wouldn’t have left much for sight seeing.  There were also visions of this.  So, we opted to fly Southwest there as rates had actually dropped since I priced them early this year.  With my 3-year old’s fascination with trains, we decided to splurge and book a family cabin in the Amtrak California Zephyr on the way back.

Of course, I was trying to figure out what to do for child seats…