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Have a Safe Holiday Season

So, here we are again. Right in the middle of the holiday season. This beautiful time of year when we have extra lights and candles and glass ornaments decorating the house. Regardless of which, if any, holidays you and your family celebrate, chances are your child will be exposed to pretty, new, shiny things to discover.
When you’re decorating, and you have crawlers or toddlers in the house (whether they’re yours or they’re visiting), you’ll want to take certain precautions to protect both the babes and the pretty decor.

Once you decorate, crawl around on your knees and investigate the world from that angle.

  • Look for low hanging glass or breakable ornaments and move them higher. Put unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches and make sure they are not hung with metal hooks. A loop of ribbon can work instead.
  • Look for dangling extension cords and lights that the child could reach. Sometimes just sliding a piece of furniture over a couple of inches in front of the cords is all you need.
  • Look for tablecloths that could be pulled down, causing plates and centerpieces to fall.
  • Look for easy access to holiday plants. Poinsettias are not as poisonous as people think. It takes....

It's Snow Laughing Matter

Winter’s here and just a little more than a week away will be winter break for most of our kids. If we’re lucky enough we’ll get a chance to get out and play in the snow.

Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or a good old-fashioned snowball fight sound like a family memory waiting to happen. Let’s make sure it’s happy memories we’re creating not a regretful ones.

Most parents these days grew up in the time where we didn’t wear helmets when riding bikes much less on the slopes, but what we know now about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) will make you think twice about sliding off the ski lift without one on.

Safe Passage

Traveling with children can be loads of fun but it also poses challenges that can test even the calmest of parents.

The safest way for your child to travel is in their car seat, even if they’re on a plane.

If there is a sudden change in trajectory, that 5-point harness will be able to hold onto the child better. We have a much better probability of surviving a crash (and less injury) if we stay where we’re seated. If we’re flinging around the inside of a car or plane, our chances of injury or death are increased.

Children are at a disadvantage because they’re lighter weight and have much more flexible cartilige than they do rigid bone because of all the growing that they have to do. That means that the 5-point harness that the car seats use hold in that little flexible body way better than just a 3-point seatbelt would. (A 3-point seatbelt is a standard lap-shoulder seatbelt), or a 2-point (lap belt) on a plane.

Let’s go back to the How do You Catch a Raw Egg demonstration.

Consumer's Choice

In our country, we get to choose what to purchase. It’s a wonderful thing. Ford or Chevy? Levi’s or Wranglers? Wii or XBox? Whatever the choice may be, we have to make decisions. Advertising often influences which product we choose, as well as, reviews from friends, family, magazines, and the consumer reviews online.

When I look at a review, I tend to skip past all the ‘happy, 5-star” reviews. I want to know what sorts of problems people are experiencing, not how quickly the package arrived. I want to look at what the product does and how it functions. Especially, if it’s for a child then is it safe and age-appropriate? (I don’t want to give a choking hazard to a child who likes to put things in their mouth).

The holiday season and shopping process can be difficult for parents. We have a special set of challenges put to us:

Grand-Parentelligence

Every family is unique, but those families who have grandparents who live nearby or are involved in their children’s lives are lucky. It somehow seems just a bit brighter for kids who get to be regaled in stories of long ago, those stories about when mom or dad was a child.

However, some of you with grandparents nearby might wish there was a bit more distance between your house and theirs.

When a baby is born, we have a new baby, new parents, and new grandparents. Our roles have all instantly changed. The new grandparents can be a wealth of information. They have amassed 20, 30, or 40 years of parenting experience. Everything from infants to teens to parenting adults. It’s only natural that they now want to share with you everything that they’ve learned. (They also might want to try to correct what they believe are mistakes that they made as parents.)

The most important thing that new parents need is:

OB Speed Dating

If you’re expecting or thinking about having a baby, finding the right doctor is a pretty good place to start this incredible journey. But how to find the right doctor? You could try OB Speed Dating.

When you come to OB Speed Dating, you’ll meet several doctors who will deliver at our beautiful new campus located in the Issaquah Highlands starting November 1. By participating in a 'speed dating' session, you can get to know them in a fun, low-key environment. You are able to participate in five-minute one-on-one interviews with each obstetrician or family-practice doctor with an OB specialty. If you hit it off with one, then you can make a follow-up appointment when you’re ready to start your care.

Before and after the speed-dating interviews, you can exchange notes with other parents, learn about prenatal care and Swedish classes for expectant and new parents and take a mini-tour of the new campus.

To sign up for the next OB Speed Dating session (on November 17 at Swedish/Issaquah), visit www.swedish.org/baby. Pre-registration is required.

Boost 'em

Booster seats are like a combination of a glorified phone book and an advanced pelvis for your child. While most of us rode around without car seats or booster seats or even seat belts in the conversion van or in the back of a pick-up when we were kids (and we made it out just fine), we were the lucky ones. The kids who didn’t make it aren’t around to advocate for advancements in safety. Their parents had to do all the work in their honor, to which I would like to say thank you.

What most parents don’t understand is that the seat belt in a car is designed and tested for a manikin that is 5’10” and 180lbs. Seat belts don’t fit most adult women much less an average 8 year old child.

The ambiguous cut-off for kids to be old/big enough to not sit in a booster seat is somewhere around age 8, or 4’9”, or 80lbs. In fact, most kids don’t reach 4’9” until somewhere between 9 to 12 years old, according to the CDC (boys and girls).

While your 9 year old might fit properly in say a Mini Cooper without a booster seat, they might still need one in an SUV because of the larger seats and attachment points of the seat belts.

Proper fit has much more to do with the placement of the seat belt across the child’s body, than it does with the child’s age.

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