Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Safety Tips!

For kids everywhere, autumn events like Halloween and Harvest Festivals are fun times to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, and eat yummy treats. To help make the festivities fun and safe for your little ghosts and goblins, remind them to keep these tips in mind:

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to increase your visibility.
Avoid dimly lit areas; concentrate instead on well lit neighborhoods.
Look both ways before crossing the street and use crosswalks.
Limit the amount of treats you eat.
Only walk on sidewalks to stay safe.
Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them!
Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult!
Never walk near lit candles. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Swords and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
All young children should be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to increase visibility.
Eat only factory-wrapped treats.
Town curfews should be observed.
You should stick to a well-travelled route, avoid alleys and open fields.

Take a cell phone in case of emergencies.
If weather is unseasonably cool, layer warm clothes under costumes.
Plan the route ahead of time and set a return time.
Stick to those houses where the residents are known and lights are on!

Have a safe, happy, and healthy Halloween!

- Destination Mom

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Destination - Disney!

It's no secret that Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a favorite family destination!  From the rides and attractions to the magic of watching your child immersed in a wonderland of their favorite characters - it is a vacation spot where magical memories are made!  With a wide variety of parks to explore, Disney World truly has something for everyone!  There are six parks (four theme parks and two water parks) within the Disney complex: The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon.  Within each park await enough adventures to fill a whole day; from safaris and thrilling rides, to amazing performances and fantastic beaches, there is something for every visitor, young or old! 

Even the hotels on the Disney properties are designed with family fun in mind, offering delicious food, swimming and wading pools, and chances to meet many of their favorite characters!   Featuring a wide variety of price points and accommodation styles (from deluxe resorts to camp grounds!), all Disney properties also offer easy access to the parks via boat, monorail, and bus - some resorts are even within walking distance!

A well-kept secret, however, is that one of the best times to visit Florida's Walt Disney World (especially if you are travelling with more than one child or young children) is mid- to late-fall!  Not only is the weather still warm and pleasant, but once school begins, the parks become far less crowded and far more friendly for those wishing to minimize long lines and wait times!  In addition, every year from early October to mid-November, Walt Disney World plays host to a number of special events; including the Magic Kingdom's "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party," Epcot's "International Food and Wine Festival," Hollywood Studios' "Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights," and Downtown Disney's "Festival of the Masters."   With the exception of the "Halloween Party," all these events are either complimentary or included in the price of the park pass! 

Here are a few tips and pointers from seasoned veterans for "Experiencing the Magic" of Disney, whether for a day trip or a week-long stay:
  1. Do the research - check out package deals, discounts, and special offers before booking - Disney frequently runs such promotions and you can save some serious cash by taking advantage of them!
  2. Plan ahead! Be sure to select parks and attractions that will best meet the interests of your family prior to arriving - once you get there, it is easy to become overwhelmed by how much there is to see and do.  If you already have a list of things you know you want to do, it is easier to build your days and add in things you may not have known about ahead of time!  Also, if you are traveling with young children, be aware that some rides have height requirements, and may have long wait times during peak park hours.
  3. Consider upgrading from a Magic Your Way Base Park Ticket to a Park-Hopper pass, which allows you to visit as many parks as you wish in any given day.
  4. For the best in convenience, value, and comfort, check out Orlando Stroller Rentals.  OSR provides a stroller-rental service complete with delivery to Orlando-area hotels and is proud to be the only stroller-rental company recommended by the Disney Moms Panel!  Their roomy and comfortable strollers (single or double) are available for prices far below those of the Disney Parks; so save yourself the hassle of dragging your stroller through the airport, and save your child the discomfort of the hard plastic stollers available for rental within the Disney Parks - check out Orlando Stroller Rentals - you'll be glad you did!
  5. Consider packing snacks and water for your park trips - the parks don't prohibit such items and having them on hand can help avoid melt-downs and extra expenses!  They do inspect bags and strollers prior to park entry, but only as a safety measure.
  6. Finally, talk to friends and family who have made the trip - ask them for advice, tips, and tricks!  You can also find additional advice and support on the Disney webpage, including a searchable collection of questions answered by Disney's Mom's Panel
Happy Travels!
- Destination Mom

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Out and About: Separation Anxiety!

According to the Center to Prevent Lost Children, 90% of parents will experience losing a child in a public place, yet fewer than 1 in 10 parents put some form of identification on their child. As any parent can tell you, it takes no more than a few seconds for a child to wander out of eyesight and potentially into danger. Before the age of three many children do not know their full names, their parent’s names, phone numbers, addresses, medical conditions, or allergies. If they were to become separated from their parent, they would have no way to communicate this information in an emergency or to help locate their mother, father or other caregiver.

Thankfully, there are some terrific products that can help ease your worries and ensure that your child is carrying identification and contact information if you happen to become separated. We at Travel-Tot simply love the following products:

The Kids Travel Card: Child Safety ID Cards help authorities easily and quickly establish positive identification of your child. The KidsTravelCard contains your name and contact telephone numbers, an additional emergency contact with relationship and phone number, your child's specific personal information, as well as any vital personal or medical information you feel might be important to include. The card can even be customized with "trip specific" information! Four removable adhesive labels come with the Photo ID badge where you can write information for a specific event and then remove the label afterwards. Each KidsTravelCard comes with a soft cloth "break-away" lanyard for comfort and safety. For more information click here.

Safety Identification Tags by Think in a Blink: Flexible, water-proof, safety identification tags can be fastened to a child's shoes, jacket zipper, bathing suits, belt loop etc. Simply write an emergency number on the back of the tag with permanent marker. Think in a Blink Safety ID tags "empowers" your child with the information they need to be reunited immediately with their caregiver. For more information check out this link.

Wearable ID Products by My Precious Kid: This company carries a wide variety of wearable identification products (everything from bracelets and shoe tags to dog tags). They also feature a number of electronic child locator devices. For more information click here.

Wearable ID Products and Parking Pal Magnet by Chicks and Cubs: This company carries an extensive line of wearable identification products (everything from bracelets and shoe tags to dog tags). They also feature The Parking Pal Magnet, which works great to aid you in your child's safety in parking lots. Telling a child to keep his or her hand on the magnetic hand can give you the chance to get things out of the car or put things in without them running into the roadway. For more information go to their website.

BrickHouse Child Locator by BrickHouse Security: The BrickHouse Child Locator gives parents piece of mind in a way that simply has not been possible before. The instant your loved one wanders too far, the hand-held locator will instantly notify you with loud beeping, vibration and directional guidance all at once. Perfect for younger or special-needs children, helps take the weight of worry off your shoulders by alerting you the second they wander - not a moment too late. As an added precaution, a Panic Tag with new "click" technology is included for your child to press alerting you they feel in danger.

Safety Tattoos by Safety Tat: SafetyTat is a fun and colorful kids temporary safety tattoo. When applied to the arm of your child or loved one, SafetyTat provides a highly visible form of identification that stays in place even when wet! Check out their website for more information. 

Travel-Tot also loves this tip submitted by a longtime friend and nurse: Put a blank label with emergency contact info on bucket car seats in case you are ever in an accident with your infant. That way a loved one can be called to take care of your child rather than social services in the event that you are incapacitated.

All of these products and suggestions give your child a “voice” in the event that you become separated, which can not only help ease anxiety, but which can facilitate a quick and safe return!

- Destination Mom

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Child-Proofing Away From Home

Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys; pair that with the natural curiosity of a toddler and you have the recipe for a potentially fantastic adventure! However, while sharing the traveling experience with your child can certainly add to the thrill of the journey, it can also be stressful. Investing just a bit of time to make certain that your vacation accommodations will be safe for your child helps to ensure as restful, relaxing, and enjoyable a vacation as possible.

It can be a real challenge to be removed from the controlled environment of a home living space. Hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins, rental properties, and even family member’s homes often lack the basic child-proofing measures to which parents have become accustomed in their own homes. Moreover, because cleaning standards vary from place to place, there is no guarantee that objects or surfaces that the guests preceding you may have handled were properly disinfected, which could result in you or your children catching someone else’s cold, or worse.

You can easily provide a basic level of protection from many of these hazards in just minute’s time with a few simple items (like those conveniently provided in the Travel-Tot Childproofing Kit!) including; outlet covers, doorknob protectors, cord guards, door pinch guards, a bath thermometer, and safety latches.

The bottom line is that when you are traveling with a toddler, a little planning goes a long way; it could be the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a travel nightmare.

Simple Child-Proofing Measures
Here are some simple steps you can take to make your home-away-from-home safe and relaxing:
  • Get down on your hands and knees and explore the room from your toddler’s perspective; be sure to thoroughly check under beds and furniture for stray pills, buttons, pins, or other items that could pose a poisoning or choking hazard.
  • Use guards to tie up electrical and blind cords which can pose a choking hazard to your little explorer.
  • Secure low cabinet doors shut with pinch guards to reduce risk of injury.
  • Ensure that all locks and latches on exterior doors are in working order and secure them to prevent unsupervised access to stairs, balconies, and terraces.
  • If your little traveler is curious about the toilet, be sure to place a doorknob protector on the handle to prevent unsupervised access.
  • Sanitize surfaces, door handles, faucets, remotes, phone handsets, light switches, and any other object from which your toddler could potentially contract germs with disinfecting wipes.
  • Check water temperatures before you give your child a bath; the water may be hotter than what you are accustomed to at home and could pose a burn hazard.
  • If your toddler is a restless sleeper or is new to sleeping in a “big bed,” you may want to pack a portable guard-rail, or move the bed against a wall and use a chair along the open side to prevent a fall.
  • Finally, be sure to arrange the furniture in a way that allows for some play space; a room full of “no-nos” will result in a bored and irritated toddler, which will lead to a stressed and anxious parent!
- Destination Mom