Parent Resource

Tips and resources for busy parents

Best First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

Nobody ever thinks about first aid kits until they need one. However, when an injury does occur and there isn’t a first aid kit, it can not only be frustrating, it can also be harmful to your health. First aid kits are essential for your home, your car, and also for when you’re traveling or camping. Having access to a first aid kit will provide proper medical care for minor injuries, reduce unnecessary suffering and help fight off infection.

Essential First Aid Kit Items

Ready America, a safety service from FEMA, has prepared a short list of essential first aid kit items. They include:

  • Two pairs of Latex, or other sterile gloves (if you are allergic to Latex).
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect.
  • Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
  • Burn ointment to prevent infection.
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes.
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant.
  • Thermometer
  • Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers.
  • You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies.

The above list is a good start for a home-made first aid kit, but it only contains the bare essentials. Personally, I prefer to get a first aid kit that’s been professionally assembled and packaged in a portable case. Buying professionally packaged first aid kits are not only cheaper, they also have many more items for handling a multitude of injuries.

Best First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

The best first aid kit I’ve been able to find is a 326 piece kit that exceeds OSHA and ANSI‘s guidelines. Some of the contents include:

  • Antibacterial Bandages
  • Disposable Thermometer
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Spray Pump
  • Larger Sting Relief Pads
  • Thicker Sterile Gauze Sponges
  • Instant Chemical Cold Pack 6″ x 9″
  • Reusable Hot/Cold Gel Pack 6″ x 9″
  • 27 Antiseptic Towlettes
  • 27 Alcohol Prep Pads
  • 9 Povidone Iodine Prep Pads
  • 1 Eye Wash 1 oz.
  • 20 Cotton Tip Applicators
  • 6 Examination Gloves
  • 1 Hydrogen Peroxide Spray Pump
  • 10 Antiseptic Ointment Packets
  • 12 Sting Relief Pads (for insect bites)
  • 5 Burn Cream Ointments
  • 10 Antacid Tablets
  • 12 Ibuprofen Tablets
  • 12 Non-Aspirin Tablets
  • 1 Instant Chemical Cold Pack 6″ x 9″
  • 1 Reusable Hot/Cold Gel Pack 6″ x 9″
  • 40 Adhesive Bandages – 3/8″ x 1 1/2″
  • 30 Adhesive Bandages – 3″ x 3/4″
  • 10 Antibacterial Bandages – 3″ x 3/4″
  • 15 Adhesive Bandages – 1″x 3″
  • 10 Antibacterial Bandages – 1″ x 3″
  • 5 Butterfly Closure Bandages
  • 12 Wound Closure Strips 1/4″ x 1 1/2″
  • 4 Knuckle Bandages
  • 1 Adhesive Tape Roll – 1/2″ x 2.5 yds.
  • 1 Adhesive Tape Roll – 1″ x 5 yds.
  • 3 Non-Adherent Gauze Pads 2″ x 3″
  • 8 Sterile Gauze Pads – 2″ x 2″
  • 8 Sterile Gauze Pads – 4″ x 4″
  • 1 Sterile Trama Sponge – 5″ x 9″
  • 2 Gauze Rolls – 2″ x 4.1 yds.
  • 1 Triangular Bandage 40″ x 40″ x 56″
  • 2 Round Eye Pad 2″
  • 5 Insect Repellent Packets (1 gram)
  • 4 Finger Splints
  • 3 Disposable Thermometers
  • 1 Metal Tweezer 3″
  • 1 Metal Scissor
  • 3 Splinter Removers
  • 1 English First Aid Instruction Guide
  • 1 Spanish First Aid Instruction Guide

As you can see, a first aid kit like this is very comprehensive, and certainly easier and cheaper to purchase than to build yourself. Most first aid kits like this sell for around $30-$40. At the time of this writing, this first aid kit with hard case was priced at $35.85. Here’s a full list of first aid kits to choose from.

Tips for surviving international travel with small children

Adults often dread long flights for international travel, but it’s even worse if you have to manage small children. My husband grew up overseas and slept all the way through his first 12-hour flight at three months old. Not all parents are that lucky, but there are several things you can do to cope.

Fly Direct

If possible, arrange your itinerary to avoid a layover. The process is much smoother if you can settle into one plane instead of having to get out, navigate an airport, and settle in all over again. If you can’t manage a direct flight, ensure your layover is at least two hours to give you all time to get through the airport, even if your first flight was a little late.

Bring Their Favorites

Small children like the familiar, and they are more likely to enjoy traveling if they have some of their favorite items right there with them. For example, make sure they have blankets or stuffed animals from home to help them sleep. In addition, let each child bring along some toys and snack items to keep them happy during those times when they are awake.

Pack Extra Clothes

Especially if you are traveling with a baby, at least one change of clothes is essential so you don’t have an uncomfortable flight holding a baby with clothes covered in something unpleasant. In addition, pack a spare shirt of your own so you can change too if something goes horribly wrong.

Consider Jet Lag

Kids have a harder time adjusting to time zone changes than adults because they get moodier when they are tired. Therefore, consider getting a prescription for sleeping medicine to help them adjust. In addition, consider the local time at your destination for several hours before you arrive and encourage the kids to sleep or wake up as appropriate.

Relax

Rather than being stressed and uptight as you travel, take a deep breath and relax. Play with your kids, make silly faces, and entertain them with their favorite games. If you’re stressed, they will be too. But if you’re relaxed enjoying yourself, they are more likely to do well.

Planning ahead for all stages of the trip before you go will help you survive. If you do all the right things and the trip is still going horribly, just count down until it’s over. It’s a lot easier to manage if you remember that the chaos will end at a definite point in time!

Helping Your Children Fly Safe with CARES

My wife and I are early adopters of CARES and have used it a couple of years now. CARES, which stands for “child aviation restraint system,” is an alternative to a car seat for children that are no longer babies.

CARES is designed specifically for aviation use for children age 1 and older who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds. These youngsters are old enough to be in their own seats, but are too small for the seat belt alone to protect them. Their bodies cannot withstand the jolts that are common in routine transportation, much less emergency situations, and they flail forward or slide beneath the seat belt if they are not held securely in place.

CARES Safety Harness for Children on AirplanesFor many parents, the idea of restraining their child in flight is unnecessary, and when they think of accidents, they usually think of collisions. The idea of a collision in an airplane seems extremely unlikely, and if it did occur, the assumption is that the results would be catastrophic for everyone involved — regardless of restraints. However, for airplanes, collisions are not the main reason for wearing restraints.

The biggest concern for airplanes is turbulence. It can occur at any time and it can be violent. It doesn’t take much turbulence to pick a small child or person off their seat. In extreme turbulence — which again, can happen at any time during flight — children could easily be thrown around the cabin, hitting their head, causing severe bodily damage and in rare cases, death. The reality of that danger is the reason why we choose to use CARES with our children.

CARES is also convenient. It was originally designed so parents wouldn’t have to lug car seats into the cabin (along with their children and everything else). Its features include:

  • The first and only harness type Aviation Child Safety Device to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an alternative to a car seat.
  • An elegantly designed belt-and-buckle device that works in conjunction with the regular airplane seat belt and provides young travelers the same level of safety as a car seat.
  • Weighs just one pound and fits into a 6″ stuff sack! It is easily portable, simple to install, adjustable to every size airplane seat, and usable on any seat in the airplane, except in the emergency exit rows.
  • Need your car seat on the other end of the trip? Just check it through as luggage – and carry CARES on board in your pocket!

For more information, read their FAQ and visit http://www.kidsflysafe.com/.

Alternatives to TV: Craft and Project Ideas for Children

If you’re like me, you have very creative children and you hate the idea of placing them in front the TV all day (or even at all.) That’s especially true now that the American Academy of Pediatrics via HealthyChildren.org has stated that early television exposure (PDF) can cause attentional problems in children.

Watching a lot of TV at a young age can also interfere with the development of fine motor skills. Beal Early Childhood Center suggests alternative activities that include fine motor manipulatives.

Pre-kindergartners benefit from experiences that support the development of fine motor skills in the hands and fingers. Children should have strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers before being asked to manipulate a pencil on paper. Working on dexterity and strength first can eliminate the development of an inappropriate pencil grasp, which is becoming more commonplace as young children are engaged in writing experiences before their hands are ready. The following activities involve the use of manipulatives which will support young children’s fine motor development, and will help to build the strength and dexterity necessary to hold a pencil appropriately.

There are several alternatives to watching television, many of which include fine motor manipulatives. The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital has created a list of the twenty things your child can do instead of watching TV.

20 Things To Do Instead of Watching TV

  1. Puzzles
  2. Play board or card games
  3. Draw or paint
  4. Start a new hobby
  5. Write a letter
  6. Have a family night
  7. Watch videotapes instead of regular TV
  8. Exercise — Go for a walk, swim, play ball, bike, etc.
  9. Collect something
  10. Visit the library, museums, mall or other points of interest
  11. Play a musical instrument
  12. Read
  13. Cook something
  14. Play educational computer games
  15. Role play
  16. Join a club or activity group
  17. Cut pictures from old magazines
  18. Plant a garden
  19. Make something with clay
  20. Listen to music, sing and dance

I encourage you to keep television watching to a minimum and to seriously consider introducing more crafts and projects as an alternative to TV.

How to enforce computer time limits during the school year on your Mac

If you have a computer in your home that’s used by your children, then you probably struggle with how much time they spend on it. And even if you try to regulate the computer time when you’re around, some children will respond by getting up early – well before you’re awake – to use it. This can become especially troubling during the school year when children need as much sleep as they can get.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to limit the time your children can spend on the computer.

Parental Control Prerequisites

In order to control how and what your children can do on the computer, they will require their own login account. You can set this up in the System Preferences. Create a new account and select the account type Managed with Parental Controls.

Passwords aren’t required, but are encouraged. This is especially true if you have more than one child. Otherwise, you may find your children using each other’s accounts for extra time.

Setting Time Limits

In the child’s account settings, access the the Parental Controls and then click on the Time Limits option.

Time Limits

The Time Limits allow you to specify how many hours on weekdays (school days) they can access the computer, and also how long they can access it on weekends (non-school days). In my example, I restrict access to one hour a day on weekdays and 2 hours a day on weekends.

The other option you can specify is when the computer is available. If you specify a start and end time, it will keep your children from being able to use the computer outside that time frame – thus solving the problem of early risers, and kids that won’t go to bed or wake up in the middle of the night to use the computer.

You will need to teach your children to logout when they’re not using the computer. Otherwise, it will use up their time. I found that this is a lesson that is quickly learned ;)

How to opt-out of telemarketing calls, junk mail and phone books

Junk Mail

I have yet to meet anyone who loves getting unsolicited phone calls, junk mail or giant phone books on their front porch. Unsolicited phone calls are annoying, junk mail just piles up and gives us even more to recycle, and phone books are useless in the age of the Internet.

Luckily there are resources to help consumers cut down on or eliminate getting those unwanted calls, mail and phone books.

Stopping Telemarketing Calls

The FTC created the National Do Not Call Registry that lets you opt-out of telemarketing calls. While it may not stop all unsolicited calls, it will stop most. And you can report anyone who still calls you via their website.

Reducing Junk Mail

DMAchoice is a tool created by the Direct Marketing Association to help you reduce the amount of junk unwanted mail you get. They allow you to opt-out of credit card offers, catalogs, magazine offers and other advertisements.

Opting Out of Yellow Pages

Thanks to sites like Google+ Local and Yelp, it’s incredibly easy to find local businesses in your area. And unlike the archaic Yellow Pages phone book, those listings remain up-to-date throughout the year and include helpful reviews. If you want to save yourself the trouble of getting and then recycling a small tree stump, use the Yellow Pages Opt-Out site to have them stop sending you phone books.

You might have a Box Top if…

Box Tops for Education is a simple and effective way to earn money for your school. A lot of people already have box tops in their pantry, but don’t realize it. My wife put together this poem to inspire parents at our kids’ school. If it inspires you, please share it.

If there are Ziploc baggies in your kitchen drawer,
Land-O-Lakes eggs or butter in your refrigerator door,
If you stock paper products from Kleenex, Scott or Viva,
Or mix up desserts like a Betty Crocker Diva…
…you might have a box top!

If you crunch on Chex Mix, Nature Valley or Bugles,
Enjoy fruit by the foot, rolled up or shaped like poodles,
If you wake up to FiberOne, Cheerios, Wheaties or Bran,
Or if you’re a Chex, Kix, Charms, or Puffs fan…
…you might have a box top!

If you store Brita filters under your sink,
If you choose Hefty trash bags to keep out garbage stink,
If you crave Old El Paso or Totino’s for dinner tonight,
Or if Pillsbury biscuits and rolls are your delight…
…you might have a box top!

Is there Yoplait yogurt or Juicy Juice in your soccer cooler?
Did you buy Avery products for your elementary schooler?
If updating Hanes socks and underwear is long overdue,
If Hefty cups and plates await your next barbecue…
…you might have a box top!

OK, you see how this is going, and you know what to do.
Check your pantry shelves, refrigerator and even your garage too.
When you spot a pink rectangle, clip it on that dotted line!
And just when you think you’re done looking, check one last time…
…you might have a box top!

-Kathryn Henshaw

The Box Tops for Education site has a full list of participating brands and products.

Physical punishment linked to mental disorders

My wife and I were spanked as kids – me more than her :( – and we seem to have turned out as relatively healthy adults. Of course, neither of us liked being spanked, and I never took well to it. Even as I near 40-years-old, I have vivid memories of being spanked, not understanding it, and hating every moment of it.

We have two children, and we chose early on to not spank them. The main reason is because we have 18 years to prepare them to become independent adults, and there’s no place in our society where physically hurting another person to get your way is acceptable, let alone legal. If we’re to do our job as parents, we’re to find a way – as adults – to discipline and guide them towards more acceptable behavior without hitting them.

Now it appears there’s another good reason to not inflict physical pain onto your child. A new study has been released that suggests physical punishment is linked to mental disorders in adulthood. Researchers in the American Academy of Pediatrics reported:

Results: Harsh physical punishment was associated with increased odds of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse/dependence, and several personality disorders after adjusting for sociodemographic variables and family history of dysfunction (adjusted odds ratio: 1.36–2.46). Approximately 2% to 5% of Axis I disorders and 4% to 7% of Axis II disorders were attributable to harsh physical punishment.

Conclusions: Harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. These findings inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment and provide evidence that harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders.

The study defined harsh physical punishment as pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting. So an argument could be made that this doesn’t affect children who are spanked. Especially, if the spanking is done in a controlled, quasi-loving manner. However, I would personally add spanking to the list if it’s done out of anger, including quick pops or demeaning spanking.

Hitting another human being creates emotional distress (regardless of the severity) and inflicting pain on an adult in order to get your way is unacceptable in our society. So why in the world would it be okay to do (and thus teach) children it’s okay to hurt them to get our way? If you’re answer includes tradition, “I turned out okay” or religion, then you probably haven’t thought very deeply about this, and you probably should.

New Government Crib Standards will Ban Drop-Side Cribs

Drop Side Crip

Drop-side cribs are used by many parents in the U.S.. They use drop-side cribs, because it’s easier to pick up and lay down a baby, and it also makes it easier to access the mattress to remove and add new sheets. Unfortunately, that easiness comes at a cost. The overall design and concept of drop-side cribs is flawed, at least when it comes to the safety of babies. They are susceptible to entrapping and suffocating babies.

As with all good engineering (and re-engineering), it’s possible to fix those safety issues – not all drop-side cribs are considered dangerous. However, the dilemma that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission faces, is whether they should spend resources on researching and enforcing a better design, or ban them altogether. The U.S. CPSC has decided to do the latter, and I don’t blame them. Not only would new drop-side crib standards be costly to research and develop, they still may not work.

Ban on Drop-Side Cribs

In a recent press release by the U.S. CPSC, they announced the proposal of new rules that will ban drop-side cribs. They expect to finalize the new mandatory rules in 2010, making the rules go into effect soon thereafter. The new rules include better testing standards, and improvements in overall mattress support. They did note that the new rules do not affect playards.

Moving forward, parents will now have to ask the question, “should I use an existing or used drop-side crib, or buy a new one that falls within the U.S. CPSC‘s standards?” The answer will ultimately depend on affordability, and whether or not it’s a decision that a parent can live with – in the chance that an accident does occur.

Managing Money for College Students

One of the biggest challenges for parents and college students is money management. Many parents and extended family want to help students financially, but there’s always the concern that if they give them a lot of money up front, they’ll quickly spend it. Fortunately, there are several ways to financially support students without being overly concerned with poor money management.

Prepaid Debit Cards

One of the best ways to provide money (with limits) to a college student is by having them use a prepaid debit card. Prepaid debit cards can have set monthly limits, and can be easily reloaded by parents. These type of cards not only provide money, they also encourage (force) students to operate within a specified budget.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are another solution for providing funds for students. They are also an excellent alternative to giving cash for family and friends. Gift cards are available for almost anything, including restaurants and retail stores like Target. However, if you want to provide a gift card that will provide the most options, consider getting them an Amazon.com Gift Card.

Meal Plans

Most schools have an on-campus cafeteria and provide meal plans. Utilizing a meal plan will – at the very least – ensure they eat well! Meal plans are always cheaper than eating out for each meal, so it’s a smart financial choice for parents and students.

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