Thank You Painter Mommy!

button_light_250x250Several weeks ago we read a terrific post that a mom had written on her site about how to keep your kids safe from abduction. We liked it so much we asked her to become a guest blogger and publish it on our site as well. This past week we were honored to find she had also published an in-depth review of Pediatric Safety. We are so proud to be featured on Painter Mommy…we couldn’t let the week go by without sharing the news with our readers…and saying THANK YOU to Dawn. We were thrilled by your post.

By the way, for those of you who didn’t catch her article, it was called Stop Missing Kids Part II: Protect Your Child from Abduction …and can be found here. Thanks again Painter Mommy!

Halloween 2009 – Happy, Healthy and Safe

halloween-kids-smallerI start writing this and I almost feel like I want to apologize…because instead of writing about all the “scary things” our kids are going to be this Halloween, I write instead about all the scary things we need to protect them from. So I’d like to propose a deal: I’ll share with you some of the best tips I’ve found to keep our kids safe this year (…thank you Child Safety Examiner, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Dr Kristie McNealy)…and then I’ll share with you my favorite not so scary safety tip that should be good for at least a few smiles…and maybe between the two, we’ll find our way to a happy, healthy and safe Halloween together.


  1. (CSE) Make sure your child’s costume is comfortable and manageable. Avoid top heavy costumes that could topple him, or flowing, trailing costumes that could get wound around her feet and cause her to fall. Avoid using anything around the neck that may pose a strangulation hazard.
  2. (NCMEC) Make sure children are able to see and breathe properly and easily when using facial masks. All costumes and masks should be clearly marked as flame resistant. (CSE) For the littlest trick-or-treaters, you may want to avoid masks all together. Choose a fun hat or headpiece, or a dab of allergen-free makeup instead. (Pediatric Safety note: Please keep in mind that recent studies have found that many face paints have lead and other toxic ingredients, so research any face paints carefully before applying )
  3. (CSE) Avoid using real candles in pumpkins on doorsteps, and keep an eye out for them at homes you visit. Trailing costumes or props could get too close and catch fire, or the pumpkin could tip over. Opt for battery operated instead.
  4. (CSE) If your kids will be trick-or-treating in the dark, make sure they have flashlights or glow-sticks and remind them to stay on the alert for traffic.
  5. (CSE) Remind kids not to eat or drink anything that is given to them until a parent looks it over first. This includes not only Halloween treats, but any potions or weird substances that might be part of a haunted house or Halloween decorations. Make sure kids know that even though things may look like food, they might not be. Feed your kids a meal or small snack before they head out so they’ll be less tempted to sample candy along the way before you’ve had the chance to check it out.
  6. (CSE) When checking kids’ loot, be on the lookout for food your child may be allergic to, as well as any recalled foods or items that may pose a choking hazard for kids under 5.

Don’t Let Food Allergies Spoil the Fun

  1. (Dr McNealy) Review the Rules – If they are old enough to understand, remind your child which foods are safe, and which are not. If there are candies or treats that they should be sure to avoid, discuss that. Tell them to bring their loot to you, so you can be sure to remove anything that might be harmful. Also let them know what to do if they do eat something that they might be allergic too.
  2. (Dr McNealy) Read Labels: When you check over your kid’s Halloween candy, remember to read labels. Formulations change pretty frequently, so you should even check foods that have been safe in the past. Remove anything that doesn’t have an ingredient list.
  3. (Dr McNealy) Keep Your Epi-Pen or Allergy Medication Handy: Remember that accidents happen, and be prepared as usual with your child’s epi-pen, or whatever medication your doctor recommends for an allergic reaction.
  4. (Dr McNealy) Keep Safe Treats on Hand: Keep some safe candy, treats or small toys on hand to replace anything you have to confiscate. If you have the chance, you can even make up a few treat bags to drop with friends or neighbors, so you’ll know that at least a few people on your trick-or-treat route will have surprises that your child can keep and enjoy.

And Unfortunately Because There are Predators Out There…

  1. (NCMEC) Be sure older children TAKE FRIENDS and younger children are accompanied by a TRUSTED ADULT when “Trick or Treating.”
  2. (NCMEC) Accompany younger children to the door of every home they approach and make sure parents and guardians are familiar with every home and all people from which the children receive treats.
  3. (NCMEC) Teach children to NEVER approach a home that is not well lit both inside and outside and NEVER enter a home without prior permission from their parents or guardians.
  4. (NCMEC) Remind them to NEVER approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  5. (NCMEC) Children should be cautioned to run away immediately from people who try to lure them with special treats. Tell them that if anyone tries to grab them to make a scene; loudly yell this person is not my father/mother/guardian; and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.

If all else fails, take man’s best friend along…

Halloween dog1


Halloween dog2…that should surely chase away anything that goes bump in the night…or at least keep the kids entertained while you steal – I mean sort through all their candy.


Halloween dog6Halloween dog4 ************************************************************************************************************


  1. Basic Safety Halloween Precautions and Tips for Adults and Kids: Oregon State Police Missing Children Clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  2. Top 10 Halloween Safety Tips for Families: Child Safety Examiner October 28, 2009
  3. Trick-or-Treat Food Allergy Safety: Dr Kristie McNealy October 26, 200
  4. Thanks also go out to PediatricSafety’s EMS Safety Expert Jim Love for our “man’s best friend” photos.

Child Passenger Safety is a 24/7/365 Job

Surprised PosterFor one week, Child Passenger Safety was on everyone’s mind! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council combined to make an all-out effort to get the message out: parents and other caregivers need to make the right choices regarding child safety car seats…and resources are available…help is available.

But one week is not enough time to get the message out to all who need to hear it. Child passenger safety, when it comes to choosing the right car seat, installing it properly, and making sure it that it is appropriately latched, is an issue that requires addressing 24 hours a day/ 7days a week/ 365 days a year.

To that end, the message has to continue. Everyone you know who transports young children needs to know that free help is available for the purpose of making sure that they are choosing safe car seats and using them properly.

On Twitter: Any child passenger safety questions will be answered by an actual safety expert. Go to the @ChildSeatSafety account on Twitter.

On Facebook: The page at is the place for parents to learn about the LATCH program, location of inspection offices, and any other up-to-date information from NHTSA.

On the Website: Created by the Ad Council, in conjunction with NHTSA, is a website for parents to go to in order to be able to view instructional videos, locate inspection stations, and take a fun quiz to make sure you have the correct information regarding child passenger safety.

The more caregivers who become aware of, and utilize this information, the more childrens’ lives we save.

National Child Safety 1

First Year Developmental Milestones: Learn the Signs…Act Early

Have you ever wondered how your child is growing and developing compared to other children of the same age? It wouldn’t be unusual if you have. Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones, and they have often held a special place in the bragging hearts of grandparents everywhere. There is however another side to developmental milestones. One milestones chartthat is even more valuable to parents.

Although no two children grow at the same rate, experts agree there are “normal” signs of development. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (crawling, walking, etc.). Given the reports that have been published recently about the increased findings of autism in the US, it is not surprising that more and more parents are searching for information to help them identify signs of delayed development. Knowing that early recognition and action have the potential to make a difference, the CDC has incorporated some wonderful information on developmental milestones from the AAP into the Learn the Signs…Act Early pages of their site and provided access to some terrific resources to help if assistance is needed.

Here are the milestones you can monitor for your child’s first year…

By 3 months of age:

Social and Emotional

  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more expressive and communicates more with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions

Movementmilestone-3 month old

  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
  • Grasps and shakes hand toys


  • Watches faces intently
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination

Hearing and Speech

  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Begins to babble
  • Begins to imitate some sounds
  • Turns head toward direction of sound

By 7 months of age:

Social and Emotional

  • Enjoys social play
  • Interested in mirror images
  • Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion and appears joyful often


  • Finds partially hidden object
  • Explores with hands and mouth
  • Struggles to get objects that are out of reach


  • Responds to own name
  • Begins to respond to “no”
  • Can tell emotions by tone of voice
  • Responds to sound by making sounds
  • Uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Babbles chains of sounds


  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits with, and then without, support on hands
  • Supports whole weight on legs
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand
  • Uses hand to rake objects


  • Develops full color vision
  • Distance vision matures
  • Ability to track moving objects improves

By 12 months of age:

Social and Emotional

  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in his play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
  • Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings
  • Tests parental responses to his behavior
  • May be fearful in some situations
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Finger-feeds himself
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressedmilestone-1yr


  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Looks at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)


  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to “no”
  • Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
  • Babbles with inflection (changes in tone)
  • Says “dada” and “mama”
  • Uses exclamations, such as “Oh-oh!”
  • Tries to imitate words


  • Reaches sitting position without assistance
  • Crawls forward on belly
  • Assumes hands-and-knees position
  • Creeps on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • May walk two or three steps without support

Hand and Finger Skills

  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Bangs two objects together
  • Puts objects into container
  • Takes objects out of container
  • Lets objects go voluntarily
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling

As a parent, you know your child best. If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or if you think there could be a problem you do have resources:

  • call your child’s pediatrician and share your concerns – don’t wait. If you or your child’s doctor think there may be a delay, ask for a referral to a specialist who can do a more in-depth evaluation of your child.
  • call your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to find out if your child qualifies for intervention services. This is sometimes called a Child Find evaluation. You do not need to wait for a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call. To find the contact for your state, call National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) at 1-800-695-0285 or visit the NICHCY website. *Update. NICHCY was de-funded in 2013, their resources have moved here.
  • there is some great information on the CDC website If You’re Concerned page about “What to Say” when you call and “What to Do” while you’re waiting for help.
  • A page of Links to Useful Sites: Parenting and Family Support; Healthcare Providers that offer testing and intervention resources; Childcare and Early Education resources

Watch for these milestones in your child over time and don’t make any judgements based on a single day. Remember, each child is different and may learn and grow at a different rate. However, if your child cannot do many of the skills listed for his or her age group, you should consult your pediatrician. According to developmental specialists Joyce Powell and Dr Charles Smith, remember to take into account if your child was born sooner than his or her due date and be sure to deduct the number of months early from his or her age. A 5-month-old milestones conclusion2born 2 months early would be expected to show the same skills as a 3-month-old who was born on his or her due date.

Please remember, you are the most important observer of your child’s development. You will know before anyone if there is a delay in reaching any of their key milestones. The good news is, the earlier it’s recognized the more you can do to help your child reach his or her full potential.


Milestone Work Referenced:

  • From CARING FOR YOUR BABY AND YOUNG CHILD: BIRTH TO AGE 5 by Steven Shelov, Robert E. Hannermann, © 1991, 1993, 1998, 2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Powell, J. and Smith, C.A. (1994). The 1st year. In *Developmental milestones: A guide for parents*. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Today’s Sensitive Children

Children today are more sensitive emotionally, physically and kids and tech-315x236psychically. They are concerned about everyone and everything, tend to suffer more dietary problems and just how do they know what mood you’re in before you even enter a room!

When you consider they are also coping with unprecedented rates of change in technology, population dynamics and culture, we must take a look at how we parent and educate them. Most of them will be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist and many of them will be solving problems that we aren’t yet aware of, using technology that in some cases, frankly intimidates us.

After countless hours with hundreds of truly remarkable families I have come to realise that:

  • Every child has “special needs”
  • Every child has inner wisdom, and
  • Every child has something to teach us

What if, instead of seeing your child as rude and aggressive, you see someone who is floundering emotionally, desperate for more support and struggling to express themselves? What if you see the potential your children are trying to demonstrate and embrace it with all your heart.

It takes a special parent/carer/teacher to set aside their inbuilt reactions, preconceived ideas and socially acceptable norms to be able to truly hear the depth of wisdom in our children. Some parents feel they are failures even though they are doing the best they can with what they know. It’s been said before ‘children don’t come with a manual’. These days it would need to be online and interactive.

We need to empower our children to experience themselves and then they will be confident to take responsibility for themselves. All parents want the best for their children… maybe in this new world we’re going to need to spend a little more time listening to them and learning from them if we are going to truly help them discover their magnificence.

Children’s Pajamas and Flame Retardants

Brothers in Pajamas

Brothers in Pajamas

As we head into the holiday season with cold weather, you might be considering buying your children new pajamas. When buying children’s pajamas, you are faced with a choice. A choice as to whether you want to buy pajamas treated with flame retardants or not. Whether that matters to you is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself. But at least you should understand the options.

First, let’s understand that pajamas for children need to meet certain flammability requirements to prevent the risk injury from fires. For the most part, the risk is a loose sleeve or pant cuff catching an open flame, such as a candle. So, sleepwear intended for children between the ages of 9 months and 14 years must meet specific flammability requirements. Note that sleepwear for children under the age of 9 months is not subject to the requirement. This is because babies have limited mobility, are not expected to be unsupervised for long, and are not likely to catch a sleeve or pant cuff on an open flame.

If you are buying sleepwear for children between the ages of 9 months and 14 years, whether you have chemical flame retardants depends on what you buy. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) considers flame retardant treated pajamas to be safe. Generally, the chemicals used on pajamas or pajama fabrics include chlorinated and brominated flame retardants, inorganic flame retardants such as antimony oxides, and phosphate-based compounds. In the 1970s, the CPSC banned brominated Tris and removed chlorinated Tris from being used on children’s pajamas after they were found to mutate DNA and identified as probable human carcinogens. These chemicals were removed from children’s sleepwear after it was found that children were exposed from their treated sleepwear. So, these two particular chemicals won’t be used, but what is actually used on pajamas is difficult to discover: just try asking a retailer what particular flame retardant is used on any particular item of sleepwear.

Unfortunately, chlorinated and brominated flame retardants are contaminating the environment and accumulating in the human body. For example, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been linked to damage to the nervous and reproductive systems and impairing thyroid function. And you generally can’t tell what flame retardant is being used on any particular clothing item. And you can’t really wash the flame retardants out. The regulations require that the fabrics demonstrate their flame resistance after being laundered at least 50 times.

But you can avoid flame retardants in pajamas and still have pajamas that are safe from the risk of fire.

To meet the regulatory flammability requirements, children’s sleepwear must either pass certain flammability tests, or be tight fitting and meet certain specifications as to dimensions. This means that your child’s pajamas either have flame retardants added or are snug-fitting and probably free of flame retardants. So, you can have snug fitting pajamas without chemical flame retardants and be safer from the risk of fire.

To tell the difference check the fabric content. Look at the label and see what is identified as the primary fabric used. If the item is sleepwear and it is made of a synthetic fiber, it has flame retardants. All synthetic materials have flame retardants added. The issue for synthetic fabrics is whether the sleepwear is “chemically treated” or not. Only some sleepwear is “chemically treated” with flame retardants. Chemically treated fabrics have a chemical flame retardant added to the sleepwear. These sleepwear items include nylon and acetate fabrics.

However, most synthetic fiber sleepwear has a flame retardant inserted into the fabric fiber, including most polyester fabrics, as opposed to the fabric being “chemically treated” with a flame retardant. Fiber with flame retardants inserted into the fabric fiber are considered chemically stable. These manufacturers may claim that the sleepwear is not treated with a chemical flame retardant, and that’s true. The sleepwear is not “chemically treated.” But that doesn’t mean it is free of flame retardants. If children’s sleepwear is synthetic, flame retardant is present, whether the fabric is treated with flame retardant or the flame retardant is bonded to the fiber.

To avoid flame retardants in children’s sleepwear altogether (other than making your own) you can purchase snug fitting natural fiber pajamas, such as cotton. (And to be green and avoid pesticide residues, buy organic natural fiber cotton with low-impact dyes.) Sleepwear that is snug fitting meets flammability standards by being tight enough to a child’s body that no stray sleeve can catch fire, and also by not allowing extra air between the fabric and the skin to promote the fire’s growth if accidentally started. How can you tell if the cotton sleepwear in question is flame retardant free? Look for the hang tag that says “must be snug fitting” and “not flame resistant.” Last year, Costco had some fabulous organic, snug-fitting, flame retardant free pajamas. Snug fitting natural fiber pajamas are also available at Target, Gymboree, New Jammies, and many others. (The author has no relationship whatsoever with any of the previously mentioned companies…other than she has shopped at them.)

But be warned. It isn’t enough to just look for natural fibers. Some natural fibers are actually treated with chemical flame retardants. These are generally sold as “flame resistant cotton” and generally do not have the hang tag that says “must be snug fitting.” Instead, these pajamas will generally be labeled as flame resistant cotton. You may see cotton sleepwear advertised as containing Proban, which is made from tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium chloride, or THPC. Studies have shown low migration from sleepwear, but the chemical used in the process is associated with genetic abnormalities and damage to the liver, skin and nervous system. Securest is another name for Proban-treated fabric. If you see flame-resistant 100% cotton, then that cotton has flame retardants. If you don’t want flame retardants, then always look for the specific key phrases “must be snug fitting” and “not flame resistant.”