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Kids Archive

Workin’ at the Kid Wash (Yeah!)

My family is in limbo right now. A few months ago, we sold our house and moved into a rental for a year. In a few more months, we plan on moving…somewhere. But not here. Our temporary house is nice enough, but it’s not ours, and since we’re not here for long, there’s a lot of stuff we haven’t bothered unpacking, and we haven’t wanted to invest in things like closet organizers that we might not need in our next place. So we’re feeling very unsettled and a bit anxious.

That’s why we decided to do something fun this summer to try to nudge us out of our doldrums.

Several years ago I found the plans for a “Kid Wash” in Family Fun magazine. It’s a sprinkler reminiscent of a car wash, but made for kids to run through. My husband agreed that it looked neat and we planned on building it, but never did. So I decided this was finally the year.

We went to the dollar store and Home Depot for all of our Kid Wash needs. We already had the PVC glue (not required, but we did glue a few parts) and pipe cutters at home. The rest of the supplies cost about $50.

Then we all got to work. I measured and marked. Steve cut. My 8-year-old helped drill the holes, and my 3-year-old helped glue. We put the pieces together, connected the hose, and next thing you knew, we had the hottest, coolest front yard in the neighborhood.

Steve altered the plans a bit. We eliminated the “stop” and “go” signs (the kids would ignore them anyway), and instead of nylon lawn-chair webbing (ouch!), we used pool noodles. We also wound up changing out the bits that shoot straight up for angled ones that further spray the kids as they run through. (That was a later alteration, so this picture doesn’t show it.)

My daughter decided that she wanted a “happy smile face that shoots water out of its mouth,” so we gave her a plastic plate to draw the face. Then we attached that and drilled through the plate and the pipe.

The nice thing about this project is that you really can customize it to fit your desires. (I admit it feels a bit sacrilegious to use pool noodles for something other than car seats, though I suppose this is closer to their true intent.)

Have I mentioned it’s a lot of fun, even for the grownups? Not that I’d know. I haven’t run through it dozens of times myself. Swear.

You might be shaking your fist in the air and yelling, “Jennie! Why tell us about this now that summer is almost over?!”

Where I live June is often downright chilly, and we might not hit our peak temperatures until September. It can be sweltering well into October. So the timing is actually great for us. Even if you live somewhere with a “normal” temperature, though, you still have a few more weeks before it gets cold, right? And if not, you can start collecting supplies and planning now for next year. You have a head start!

As with anything, make sure you take proper safety precautions, like using protective eyewear when you run through. (Not really. My kids are wimps.)

Just stay cool, and have fun.

 

 

Our Favorite Car-Seat.org Links

CarseatBlog.com is the official blog of www.car-seat.org. Car-seat.org is a group of forums designed to help parents and caregivers find answers to carseat dilemmas. We have a Canadian/International forum, a technical forum, and a forum for vehicle selection to name a few. Many of our blog readers found us through CSO, as we lovingly call it. If you found the blog through Google, you probably don’t know of some of the many helpful threads found on our forums. Following is a list of our favorite threads.

 

Have you tried to find a technician local to you but been unsuccessful? Try this link for a partial listing of CSO techs.

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=59135

 

I know we have environmentally conscious readers (hey, I’m green too!) who would rather recycle their carseats than throw them out with the garbage when they’re at the end of their useful life or have been in a crash. This thread lists recycling centers—maybe you’ll find a center close to you!

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=156221

 

Need to get 3 carseats across your back seat? Not sure if you can do it in your vehicle? Try searching this thread for help.

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=33226

 

Do you have a special needs child? We have a forum for you!

http://www.car-seat.org/forumdisplay.php?f=36

 

Here’s a thread that shows booster comparisons for a thin child.

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=213218

 

I know it’s getting warmer out now, but maybe I’ll plant a seed for next winter. Coats and carseats don’t mix and here’s a picture tutorial.

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=151522 and a somewhat updated version, http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=200355

 

Hopefully this gives you a taste of what a goldmine CSO truly is. We have lots of techs and knowledgeable regulars who are willing and able to answer your child passenger safety questions.

Now for your role: do you have a favorite “upstairs” thread that you’ve found particularly helpful? Please post the link in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

A Glossary of Common Carseat Terms

How many times have you been looking at carseats and come across a word that you didn’t understand? In this specialized field, we have lots of terms that are important to you as a consumer and parent. Hopefully this list will make reading labels and manuals a bit easier! These terms apply to TYPICAL situations and are terms you’ll see mentioned often here on the blog; however, child passenger safety is a field of exceptions. Read your owners’ manuals for further clarification on your setup.

Staying Afloat

Most people know me as a child passenger safety advocate, but few know that before I developed my obsession with car seats, my child-safety passion revolved around drowning prevention. With summer fast approaching, the topic is more pertinent than ever.

There are many steps people can–and should–take to prevent drownings. Fences, alarms, pool covers, and, of course, parental supervision. Another layer of protection comes from teaching children how to swim. If your young children don’t already know how to swim, please consider enrolling them in lessons.

This has been a bit of a controversial topic in the past. For a long time the American Academy of Pediatrics advised against swimming lessons for children under age 4. They said there was no proof that swimming lessons for smaller children did any good. They also worried that parents wouldn’t watch their kids as closely if they thought their kids could swim.

The problem is that it’s very difficult to prove a negative. How can we demonstrate that a child didn’t drown because that child had taken swimming lessons, or that they would have died had they not taken lessons?

It’s also true that some parents probably would become complacent and not watch their kids around water because they figure their child is “drown-proof,” but that is where emphasis on parental supervision needs to come in.

Last year the AAP did wind up revising their recommendations to include swimming lessons for children over age 1. They still wouldn’t be thrilled with my having enrolled both of my children in lessons at six months–again because there’s no proof it helps–but they do now believe that toddlers and preschoolers can benefit from learning to swim or learning water survival skills.

I liken swimming lessons to teaching kids how to cross the street. You don’t want a 2-year-old crossing the street alone, but that doesn’t mean you don’t talk to him about it. You tell him not to run into traffic, to cross while holding hands with an adult, and to look both ways. You certainly never expect him to be alone next to a street street, but if he ever is, maybe there’s a chance that he’ll remember your lessons.

The same goes for water. We never expect our children to be near a pool, river, lake, or ocean by themselves, but even the most attentive, careful parents have lapses or miscommunications. If young children find themselves near water, isn’t it better that they have learned about potential dangers? If they wind up in the water, isn’t it better that they have learned skills that might save their lives?

Of course knowing how to swim or get out of a pool is only one aspect of a cohesive system of safeguards. I like the “Safer 3″ approach to pool safety:

  • Safer Water: Install barriers and maintain safety equipment
  • Safer Kids: Have constant adult supervision and teach kids to swim
  • Safer Response: Know CPR and first aid, and have a phone with you at all times

In the coming months, play safe around the water, buckle up, stay hydrated, and try not to get a sunburn. (I have already failed on that last point–hopefully you’ll be luckier.) Most of all, enjoy time with your family and have a fun-filled summer!