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Sssssssssssspring and sssssssssssssssssummer ssssssssssssssssafety

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I had this all written up and then realized there probably are people out there with some legit fears of snakes. So as a courtesy to those who don’t want any sort of snake talk/pictures/nonsense, I’m going to tell you this post contains all of the above. 🙂

The other day I was in the garage wrapping up an addition to the chicken coop. I was carrying a panel of wood across the driveway and sidewalk out to the side of the house when my bare (yes I know, I’m a cavewoman. I hate things on my feet) foot got tripped up under what I thought was the hose. I had finished watering our blueberry bushes prior to starting the coop panel and had left the hose laying across the sidewalk in true sloppy Alicia fashion. I let out a string of choice words because hey, it was naptime and I can say whatever the heck I want, and kicked the hose out of the way. Except what flew off to the side wasn’t the hose. It was a seemingly never ending length of snake. I proceeded to turn inside out and emit a sound I will never be able to reproduce again. When I recovered, I looked down to see what I was dealing with. A few feet away from me was a shiny black snake with telltale yellowish markings, looking at me like he was insulted. A king snake!

Doesn’t look like the hose but sure as heck felt like it!

Have you ever seen a king snake devour a copperhead? Of course you probably haven’t, but you’re missing out. Ya’ll, I was about to pour this guy a beer at this point and beg him to stay because we live in the South and copperheads this summer are no joke. We practically live outside, we live in a rural area, and have woods bordering our house where our kids play and have forts, walked paths, and other secret kid areas. My biggest fear is one of them stumbling upon a copperhead. So if this harmless 3.5 foot long guy wanted to hang out and eat my biggest fears, I would pay him to do it. Unfortunately he wasn’t impressed with being kicked and I haven’t seen him since.

Kinda guy you want hanging around. Unless you like venomous snakes and rodents.

Winter this past year was generally mild, and the snakes and bugs have been out full force. I haven’t seen so many snake bites in a long time. Our emergency rooms are full of people with unfortunate copperhead encounters. I’m not sure if it’s similar in other parts of the country but for those of you here in the South, you know what I’m talking about. 

So what can you do? Well obviously stay away from them and if you come across one, don’t try to scare it away. Just leave. Most snakes will flee when they hear you coming. That’s all pretty common sense because most of us (normal) people don’t go looking to snakes to trip on. Chances are, any snake you encounter is actually going to be harmless. Where I live, there are about 42 species of snakes and only 6 are venomous.  Here’s a few tips:

-Don’t be like me and walk around barefoot while building chicken coops. Wear closed toed shoes when walking through brushy areas especially.

-Look where you step. Not all snakes are brightly colored like my little friend. Most of them blend right in to the ground and are simply trying to stay hidden. If you step on them, they’re going to bite you simply out of fear. If you notice them before you step, you can move away and everyone’s life can go on. Don’t step where you can’t look first; walk around things instead of stepping over them.

-Keep your yard clean. Don’t like the idea of a snake infestation? Then keep your yard clear of debris, logs, branches, junk, etc. Snakes like to hide and if there’s nowhere to hide then they will probably keep moving on.

-Educate yourself and your kids. Knowledge is power. My kids can identify all venomous snakes in our area. They know they aren’t allowed to touch any snake, even if they know for a fact it’s a harmless rat snake, but I feel like it’s important for them to know what they see.

If you follow these tips, your chances of being bit are low. If you do manage to get bit, stay as still and calm as you can. Don’t apply a tourniquet or go old school and suck out venom.  Don’t decide it’s a good time to get drunk and tell your friends…alcohol and caffeine increase absorption rate of venom. Most importantly, don’t try to catch the snake! Leave it alone and get away. If it’s safe to snap a quick picture for identification then do so but don’t do it at the expense of your safety/time. A lot of the time complications from snake bites are actually from bacterial infections, not the venom itself but that doesn’t mean you can clean it up yourself and “wait and see”. Get yourself to an emergency room stat and get treatment. Chances are the snake was biting out of fear and not to kill, so the amount of venom received is low. If it turns out to be nonvenomous then everyone wins.

Harmless black snake on my mom’s house.

Sssso uh, I hear you guyssss have air conditioning in there…

Now that I’ve thoroughly skeeved you out, enjoy your summer! The more you know, the more you are armed to keep yourself safe. No need to walk around in fear of moving tube socks with eyes in your yard. Just treat them like that annoying neighbor- no eye contact, wide movements, and prevention, prevention, prevention! Ssssssssssssssssstay sssssssssssssssssssafe.

Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1 Combination Carseat Review – Rollover Tested for Maximum Safety

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I just wrapped up my review of the brand new Evenflo Spectrum Booster, and I had mentioned that it was rollover tested.  I recently had the privilege of being able to test out another new Evenflo seat, SafeMax 3-in-1 Combination Seat. This is a forward-facing only seat for kids 2+ that can also be used as a highback booster and eventually as a backless booster too. They call it a 3-in-1 product which can be a little misleading because many consumers think a 3-in-1 carseat always means Rear-Facing/Forward-Facing/Booster. However, in this case it means Forward-Facing/Highback Booster/Backless Booster. This is a Stage 3 carseat that is most appropriate for pre-school and school-aged children.

Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1 Specs & Features:

  • 5-point harness: Forward-facing only for kids 22-65 lbs., at least 2 years old, height 28- 50″ tall (shoulders must be at or below top harness slots).
  • Booster mode with vehicle lap/shoulder belt: 40-120 lbs., at least 4 years old, height 44 – 57″ (top of ears must be below the top of the head support).
  • 4 harness height positions
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Height-adjustable head support
  • Rollover tested
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Recline feature on base (reclined position required for kids under 40 lbs.)
  • Harness strap covers (required for kids under 40 lbs.)
  • Buckle Pockets keep harness out of the way while loading/unloading
  • Dual integrated cup holders
  • Basic, hook-style lower LATCH connectors (LATCH limit is 45 lbs.)
  • FAA approved for use in aircraft (with 5-pt harness)
  • 8 year lifespan before expiration

SafeMax 3-in-1 Measurements:

All the Specs! A Review of the Evenflo Spectrum 2-in-1 Booster

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Evenflo Spectrum BoosterEvenflo has made safe, affordable carseats for decades, and they aren’t new to booster seats either. Spectrum is the newest member of the Evenflo family with some unique and innovate features. My first impression upon taking it out of the box was that it was very streamlined and modern looking. I know booster seats can be pretty run of the mill when it comes to looks, but Spectrum has some special touches that add to its unique appearance.

There is some assembly required when it comes out of the box but it isn’t difficult if you follow the directions in the manual. There are no tools (or screws) required and it doesn’t come in a million pieces like Ikea furniture. 
 

Spectrum is currently available at Target, Babies R Us, Amazon (coming soon) and directly from Evenflo. MSRP is $59.99.

Spectrum Specifications:

(say that 10 times fast!)

  • Weight 40 – 110 lbs.
  • Height 44 – 57”
  • 4 year age minimum. I got all nerdy over the spread in the manual regarding how to know if a child is appropriate to ride in a booster.

Evenflo - When to Put Your Child in a Booster Seat

  • Adjustable headrest with 8 height settings
  • Lyf+Guard side-impact protection technology in the head rest
  • Does not require a vehicle head restraint when used in high back mode
  • 6 year lifespan before expiration
  • Dual cupholders/snack trays
  • Machine washable cover that can also be thrown in the dryer!!

Reason #4239423742398475 your kid is crying.

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A familiar scene in our house is me sitting quietly on the couch, lights dimmed, enjoying the last few minutes of silence before heading up to bed. I get up and start putting things away and I hear a sudden cry coming from upstairs. I go into Declan’s room and he’s sitting in his bed, crying uncontrollably while holding his leg. He can’t stop crying long enough to tell me what’s wrong, but I already know because we do this frequently.

Growing pains.

Which is kind of misleading because there’s no actual proof that it’s caused by growing anyway. Supposedly it’s more related to the crazy amount of physical activity kids do, even if it’s just running and jumping around the house. I do know this is true- I notice an increase in the times this happens when we do a long walk or hike, or he’s jumping on a trampoline. However, just because they can’t prove it’s not directly related to growing, I wouldn’t be surprised if it does have something to do with it. I mean, you see how fast our kids grow. It’s absolutely insane. So unless you gave birth to Stretch Armstrong then I wouldn’t doubt rapid growth is fatiguing.

growing-pain

The pain is related to the muscles and ligaments more than it is bones, is almost always in the legs and almost always bilateral, or at least alternating legs each time it happens. Worst of all, it’s almost always at night. If the pain is constant and occurring during the day, it’s probably worth mentioning to your child’s pediatrician. If you notice any rashes or lumps/bumps in the pain area (outside of an isolated injury of course), fevers, or limping around during the day, it needs to be checked out. Growing pains are painful, but aren’t associated with anything you can physically see.

gpains6

So what can you do? Mostly comfort measures. Leg massages, applying heat (a rice sock is amazing for these situations), and making sure they are hydrated. A warm bath before bed can help relax the muscles, and adding a bit of epsom salts (magnesium) can help too. Most literature you will find on growing pains basically states that there’s no definite proof of what causes it and there’s no definite proof of what can relieve it and the comfort measures stated before are recommended. For me personally, when I was pregnant and experiencing leg cramps I know that magnesium and potassium uptake helped so I’ve done this with Declan and it seems to help significantly. Most normal healthy people get enough magnesium from foods, hence why it’s not always added in multivitamins, but given how picky some kids can be, I wouldn’t doubt that they don’t always get in the amount recommended. Magnesium rich foods include dark leafy greens (yeah, I know, I can hear you laughing from here), nuts, seeds, fish, bananas, avocados, and lots more. I’ve noticed a big difference in Declan’s episodes by adding some of these things to a smoothie in the morning. They do have magnesium supplements for children too, but check with your ped first before giving, especially if your child is already taking a multivitamin with magnesium in it.

Most importantly, stretch! Get down on the floor with your child and do some leg stretches. If you’re into yoga, include your child! I am about as capable at yoga as a drunken sloth but I can do leg stretches with Declan and they’ve been enough. Take comfort in knowing that most growing pains happen in the preschool years so it’s not forever.

500_stretch

All these little things popping up is tough. It feels like there’s always something, you know? Just remember that being a kid is even tougher. So do some stretches, eat some bananas, and I’ll cross my fingers for you tonight.