If There Is Just One Thing You Do This Month, Do This…

It’s September and the school runs are back in full swing. While we are all talking about how ghastly the morning traffic is, it’s also the perfect time of year to talk about car seat safety, because September 17 – 23 is National Child Passenger Safety Week.

This means you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot of hard hitting statistics flying around. Stats like: Car cra

shes are the leading cause of death of children 1 to 13 years old.

It’s easy (and normal) to not want to think about such gut wrenching facts, so more than often we switch off as a method of emotional self -defense. But the truth is, the BEST defense is ALWAYS knowledge.

That’s the real idea behind National Child Passenger Safety Week – NOT to terrify parents, but to inform and support.

But we get it – parenting 2017 can feel like a LOT of noise. And we’re not just talking about inside the home! We live in a world where parents feel judged and are made to second guess their choices on a daily basis. Opinions, be it welcome or unwelcome, are constantly being fired towards us, through media as well as face to face interactions. It’s really hard to know what to tune in to right now isn’t it? Are people trying to help me or just sell me something?

But when it comes to child passenger safety, getting an expert opinion is ALWAYS a good idea. Because right now, there are currently hundreds of parents driving around with their kids in the wrong or poorly fitted car seat. It’s certainly not because they can’t be bothered, it’s simply because they just don’t know they’ve got it wrong.

There are parents out there who spent hours doing research online and in shops to find exactly the right seat, only to then install it incorrectly, reducing effectiveness.

There are parents who purchased the right seat, and who installed it correctly, but haven’t yet realized that their child has outgrown the seat, because darn, our kids grow so fast right under our noses!

Laws change. Cars change – do you know for sure that you have reinstalled the seat in your new vehicle correctly? Let’s be honest, car seat installation can get tricky!) Even care givers change – is Granny and Grandad using the car seat correctly in your absence?

So, your job this National Child Passenger Safety Week is to MAKE THE TIME to do a little car seat check-up.  In fact, it’s National Seat Check Saturday on September 23rd, so put the date on the calendar.

  • First, go online and get up-to-date with the latest CA laws to make sure you are following them correctly.
  • Then, dig out the instruction manual for your car seat (or find it online) and pay careful attention to the recommended weight / height restrictions – is your child in this bracket? If you’re eager to move your child to the next seat, remember, each time you “graduate” your child to the next seat, there’s a reduction in the level of protection for your child. It’s best to keep your child in each stage for as long as possible.
  • Also, look online for installation videos from professionals, plus details of how the harness should sit for a proper fit – is your harness currently snug enough? Do you put the chest clip at armpit level? Do you know why you should?
  • Finally, where possible, we highly recommend getting a professional safety inspection from a qualified child car seat safety technician like our wonderful Katie here at Babies in Bloom  – she has had hours of training and hands on experience with all types and brands of car seats. Check out her recent TV appearance on CBS 8 here, where she highlights the most common user errors she encounters. You can book consultations with Katie at Babies in Bloom here.

It’s not that much to do for huge peace of mind is it? So go on, have a car seat check-up this month and know for sure that you have the right seat for your child, fitted in exactly the right spot in your car. And don’t forget to share what you learn with anyone else who may look after your child!

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Choosing Safe Toys for All Ages

Is it just us, or does your holiday gift list seem to keep growing each year?

There’s all those 2016 babies that your family and friends have brought in to the world; all those new ‘best friends’ that your little ones have made; perhaps even new kids in the neighborhood to buy for now.

Despite best intentions, there aren’t always enough hours in the day to keep on top of the list, meaning there is always an inevitable last minute gift dash, be it in-store or online.

With thousands of toys to choose from, and budgets to be mindful of, it’s tempting to just grab the first bargain you see. But, is it going to be safe?

And are the toys your own kids receive going to be safe?

The truth is, toys can pose serious health risks if they aren’t properly made or designed. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were about 254,200* toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2015 – 73 percent happened to children under the age of 15 and 35 percent happened to children under the age of 5.

With this in mind, here are some toy buying, and toy receiving, tips for the holiday season:

  • Check the toy for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before purchasing, or before allowing them to be played with
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Toys should have no sharp edges and be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart
  • Look for safety inspection labels – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards
  • For children under three, avoid toys with small parts which can cause choking. This includes magnets, deflated balloons and button batteries. Rule of thumb: If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three
  • Do not give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
  • If you are going to buy sports equipment for older kids, always accompany it with protective gear: e.g helmet (sized to fit) and kneepads with a skateboard. Or if budget doesn’t allow, speak to the parents about the additional safety purchases needed before use
  • Be aware of lead in toys and educate yourself not only about the type of toys that have been recalled / those most likely to contain lead in the paint, but also the symptoms of lead poisoning
  • Do not give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.

If you are worried, confused, or simply stuck on ideas for age appropriate holiday toys, then please pop in to our Boutique, where our girls will be more than happy to help you complete that ever growing gift list!

*Cuts, scrapes, and bruises were the most common toy-related injuries, with most injuries affecting the head or face. Out of a total of 50 categories of toys, non-motorized scooters were involved in one out of every four injuries

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SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

babiesinbloom_kelseysmithphotography2015printresolution300ppinativefile-29While SIDS rates in the United States has decreased by over 50% in the past two decades, SIDS sadly remains the leading cause of death for U.S infants 1 month to 1 year of age.

That’s what makes the month of October so important – it’s SIDS Awareness Month, a month where social and professional communities join forces to support families who have lost a child to SIDS, as well as drive wider, overall awareness of it.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to think about SIDS, let alone face it. It’s terrifying because there is still so much we don’t know about it. But what we DO know is that there are things we can do to help reduce risks. Information and education are key.

We can all do our bit this month – and beyond. We can support by sharing experiences, hard facts, advice and recommendations. Sharing, be it in person or via social media, can make a difference.

So, if you see campaigns for safe sleep practices or safe environments for babies, read it. Talk about it. Post about it. Pass it on.

If you know a new mom, or mom-to-be, respectfully make sure they are aware of the risks of things like bed sharing and loose bedding.

If someone else is looking after your child, make sure you talk to them about safe sleep practices and be sure that person agrees to follow safety recommendations. It’s easy to assume they might already know about it, but the truth is, it is a subject that’s difficult to talk about, or that many people avoid.

Talking about it is NOT about scaring anyone. Or preaching to them. It’s not about patronizing them or being disrespectful. it’s about support and preparation. It’s about empowering parents and caregivers to make the best, safest choices for their baby.

It’s all about keeping the conversation going! It really can help save lives. 

A helpful resource on SIDS is the American Academy of Pediatrics ‘Parents Guide to Safe Sleep’, available here.

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Remember to Check Your Car Seat!

car seat installationThis Saturday is ‘National Seat Check Saturday’ marking the end of Child Passenger Safety Week 2016. This event invites families to have their child-safety seats inspected by certified car seat technicians. And by certified, we mean technicians that have hours and hours of training and experience in operating even the fiddliest of car seats. Like Katie, our Child Safety Passenger Technician.

Let’s be honest, whether you are a new parent or a seasoned mom, car seat harnessing and installation can be tricky. Confusing. Even infuriating at times. I mean, even the likes of poor Prince William gets it wrong every now and then.

And don’t even mention the rules. They feel like they are ever changing don’t they?

But scary fact, did you know that seven out of 10 children ride in car seats that have not been installed correctly, or are in the wrong car seats for their age and size. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 96 percent of parents believe their child seats are installed correctly.

This weekend offers parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, whoever, not only a gentle reminder to go check their equipment, but also offers lasting peace of mind in confirming a) whether or not they currently have the best tools for the job and b) if they are being utilized correctly. Not to mention a chance to brush up on the latest legislation.

You can call us to schedule an appointment or find participating locations for seat checks here: http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm – though be warned it may get busy! You’ll need your child, the car seat and the seat’s manual, as well as your vehicle owner’s manual. The technician will demonstrate proper installation and then have you do the installation so that you are comfortable and confident.

And don’t worry, if you can’t make it to a Saturday event, parents can also chat with Katie via Babies in Bloom. She would be happy to answer your questions because she knows when it comes to your own precious cargo, it’s never too early or too late for a safety check.

Note, all car seats purchased at Babies in Bloom come with a complementary education and inspection. 

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