Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lightening the Load

Packing for a family getaway can be overwhelming, particularly if you have toddlers and young children in tow. Even if you successfully manage to remember everything you will need, fitting it all into a vehicle or lugging it all through an airport and checking it for a flight can be difficult, expensive, and time consuming.

Instead of bringing along everything you will need, consider renting large items (strollers, car seats, high chairs, etc.) when you arrive at your destination. The largest baby and child equipment rental service in the US today is Baby’s Away.  You can also find an extensive list of independent local vendors here (covers all 50 states and Washington DC as well as Canada). An additional benefit of renting equipment is that it gives you an opportunity to try out items you may not yet own, but are thinking of purchasing (such as premium jogging strollers, exersaucers, or jumpers).

In addition, some hotels will actually provide cribs, bedding, and collapsible play yards upon request. Check with your hotel to see what custom accommodations are available!

For the ultimate in convenience, consider using a company like Jet Set Babies to have your baby essentials (diapers, wipes, bath essentials, food, booster seats, portable beds, etc.) shipped directly to your hotel. This will reduce your luggage load which could save you on excessive airline baggage fees! 

Gear Recommendations by Age:

This checklist is courtesy of Baby Travel Pros and is meant only to be a guide, use your judgment when determining what items you will require and always check that the child using the equipment meets all height an weight requirements of the manufacturer:

Birth to 4 months
  • infant car seat and compatible stroller,
  • pack-n-play or crib,
  • glider or rocking chair,
  • bouncer or swing,
  • infant tub
4 months to 1 year
  • infant car seat, or rear facing car seat (check weight & height recommendations),
  • stroller,
  • pack-n-play or crib,
  • mobile,
  • exersaucer, jumper, or walker,
  • infant or toddler tub,
  • room monitor,
  • high chair or bumbo with tray
1 year to 2 years
  • forward or rear facing toddler car seat (the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends leaving children in rear-facing car seats until 2 years of age),
  • stroller,
  • crib,
  • safety gates,
  • room monitor,
  • high chair
2+ years
  • forward facing car seat or booster seat (3+ years),
  • stroller,
  • crib, toddler bed or bed rails,
  • safety gates,
  • room monitor,
  • step stool or potty chair,
  • high chair or booster seat
- Destination Mom

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Emergency Preparedness - CPR

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is an emergency response measure combining mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with chest compressions. CPR may be necessary during many different emergencies, including accidents, near-drowning, suffocation, poisoning, overdose, smoke inhalation, electrocution, and suspected heart attack or even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

All parents should know how and when to administer CPR. Performed correctly, CPR can save a child's life by restoring breathing and blood flow until advanced life support can be given by medical professionals.  Anyone responsible for the care of others should take a course to gain hands-on experience and a comprehensive understanding of the technique. If CPR is needed, performing the technique with proper form will give someone the best chance of recovery.

CPR is most successful when administered as soon as possible, but it is important to first determine if it is necessary. CPR should only be performed when a person isn't breathing or circulating blood adequately. In such cases, CPR can restore circulation of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Without oxygen, permanent brain damage or death can occur in less than 8 minutes.

Nearby hospitals, fire departments, and your local chapters of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross are good sources for finding a CPR course in your area. Qualified instructors may demonstrate proper technique using a combination of videos, printed materials, and infant-, child-, and adult-sized practice mannequins.

Bottom line: being CPR-trained could help you save your child's - or someone else's - life.

CPR Basics:

Before performing CPR, determine that you can safely approach the victim, quickly evaluate whether the person is responsive, and check if the victim is breathing. If you are unable determine whether someone is breathing, you should begin CPR and continue until help arrives.

The three basic parts of CPR are easily remembered as Call, Blow, and Pump.

1. Call

Check the victim for unresponsiveness. If there is no response, Call 911 and return to the victim. In most locations the emergency dispatcher can assist you with CPR instructions.

2. Blow

Tilt the head back and listen for breathing.  If not breathing normally, check that the airway is clear, pinch nose and cover the mouth with yours and blow until you see the chest rise. Give 2 breaths.  Each breath should take 1 second.

3. Pump

If the victim is still not breathing normally, coughing or moving, begin chest compressions.  Push down on the chest 1½ to 2 inches 30 times right between the nipples.  Pump at the rate of 100/minute, faster than once per second.

- Destination Mom

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eating Tips for On-The-Road

Whether it’s seafood in New England, Tex-Mex in California, or the Creole stylings of Louisiana, food can be a fun and exciting way to savor the flavor of your vacation destination! However, to ensure that your family stays healthy and safe on the road, is important to remember that moderation is key, as is maintaining a balanced diet, and being aware of possible allergies or hazardous foods.

While it would be a shame to not explore local cuisine on the road, it is important to remember that you don’t want to go overboard. It is generally accepted that several smaller meals throughout the day can help you to maintain your energy level and help curb binging at traditionally designated meal times. So instead of sitting down to a large meal with an appetizer and dessert, consider trying a local favorite in snack size instead!

In addition, children and adults alike benefit from nutritional balance, so make an effort to keep meals as healthy and balanced as you can while travelling. Try to incorporate fruits and veggies as often as possible, opt for baked, steamed, or broiled dishes over fried foods, and be sure to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. With just a little planning, you can enjoy regional favorites in moderation and ensure that the food you are eating provides you with the energy you’ll need to explore the other exciting adventures that await you!

It is also important to remember that when travelling with very young children, there may be some foods that should be avoided until you are certain no allergies exist. The following eight common allergens account for 90% of all reactions in kids: milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Also, children under one year should not be exposed to honey as it can cause a form of food poisoning called botulism.

These tips can help ensure that you and your children stay healthy and energized while enjoying all the fascinating things your vacation destination offers! Happy travels!

Nutrition Notes:

Both children and adults benefit from a well-balanced diet including a few servings each of the five main food groups (grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy, protein and healthy fats). Children have different nutritional requirements based on age, below are some guidelines by age range:

1. Toddlers (ages 1-2)

Grains (3 servings, preferably half of which should be unrefined), fruits and vegetables (4 servings, for the greatest benefit, divide evenly), dairy (2-3 servings, preferably low fat), protein (2 servings, preferably lean), healthy fats (3 servings).

2. Preschoolers (ages 3-4)

Grains (4-5 servings), fruits and vegetables (4–6 servings), dairy (3-4 servings), protein (2-4 servings), healthy fats (3-4 servings).

3. School-aged children (ages 5-8)

Grains (4-5 servings), fruits and vegetables (5-7 servings), dairy (4 servings), protein (3-5 servings), healthy fats (4-5 servings).

- Destination Mom

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September is Baby Safety Month!

Each September, the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA) sponsors a campaign called “Baby Safety Month!” This September, JMPA is spreading the word about the importance of creating a safe sleeping environment for your child. We at Travel-Tot couldn’t agree more! JMPA features some brilliant advice on their webpage (click here), including links to crib selection criteria, the “back to sleep” initiative (positioning sleeping children on their backs), and bedding suggestions.

Travel-Tot also wants to encourage you to be vigilant in assuring that these same standards are met when you are away from home. Be sure to either bring your own portable sleeping environment (pack-n-play, bassinet, etc.) and bedding (sheets, sleeping pads, etc.), or be prepared to thoroughly inspect the “borrowed” furniture available at your hotel. Always check to be sure the crib available has not been recalled, that it is JMPA approved, and that it is in good condition. A few quick guidelines to keep in mind can be found at here. If the crib offered by the hotel does not pass muster, ask for a different crib. Do NOT be afraid of offending or annoying hotel staff; they are there to serve you and to provide a safe environment for all their customers, even those who have no voice of their own!
Warm wishes for a safe and healthy September!

- Destination Mom