Friday, November 30, 2012

10 Road Safety Tips for Families!

As a parent, safety is always a top priority, whether at home or on the road!  Experiencing a breakdown with children in tow can be frightening and stressful. So before you head out on your next family road trip, check out these ten road safety tips to help give you some peace of mind and pave the road ahead for fun!

Road Trip Safety Tips: Travel-Tot's Top 10!

1. Before you leave, give your car a quick once-over: check tires to ensure tread and pressure are optimal, check windshield wiper blades and change if necessary, check and top off water level, engine coolant, and washer fluid, check oil level and change if necessary, and check brake lights, headlights, flashers, and blinkers.
2. Discuss road safety with your children and impress upon them how important it is not to distract the driver.
3. Inspect the back seat and ensure that it is clear of hazardous materials or anything your child can choke on. Remove all possible projectiles and store heavy, sharp, or poisonous items in the trunk or in sealed containers out of the reach of children.
4. Acquire some sort of roadside assistance or auto club plan.
5. Always bring along identification and medical information for all passengers in case there is an emergency; the time saved by having this information handy could be the difference between life and death. Ensure that license, insurance, and registration are up to date as well.
6. Ensure your car has an emergency kit, including;
  • a spare tire, jack, and tire iron 
  • jumper cables
  • a flashlight 
  • warm blankets
  • water and snacks
  • a fully charged cell phone (and a car charger)
  • flares 
  • a first aid kit
7. If possible, share the driving with someone to prevent exhaustion behind the wheel.  Pull over if you feel yourself becoming tired.
8. Take frequent breaks. Get out and let everyone stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat, and have a quick pick-me-up (i.e. coffee, tea, other caffeinated beverage) every two to three hours.
9. Familiarize yourself with your vehicle and always obey all traffic regulations.  Help prevent accidents by letting the navigator handle the GPS, cell phone, and music or other entertainment.
10. Keep an eye on your fuel situation; refuel as often as necessary.

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tip of the Week: Modeling Positive Behavior

You are your child's primary source of information about the world around them; that also makes you the strongest "filter" of what information will reach them.  As the holidays approach and you share more special time together as a family, remember to model the behaviors and attitudes you want your children to demonstrate.  From manners to anger management to nutrition and body image, your children look to you for the appropriate ways to behave and think!  Take advantage of these special times together to talk with your children; find out what they think and feel and show them (by your example!) those beliefs and behaviors you value most!  You may be surprised how quickly they respond to your efforts!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Keeping Holiday Travel Safe!

The holidays are upon us, and for many families that means traveling to share in joyous celebrations with far-flung friends and family members! As a parent of a toddler or young child, visiting grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, etc. can often pose a bit of a challenge; childless homes frequently contain hazards that keep you hopping up during visits to prevent your little love from breaking low lying treasures or from injuring him- or herself (i.e. candles, decorative breakables, hot serving dishes, and beautiful table linens just begging to be yanked by little explorers!).

While vigilant supervision during any visit is irreplaceable as an injury deterrent, there are a few things you can do to make life a bit easier on yourself (and your child!) during holiday visits!  Investing just 15 minutes to create a "safe zone" for your child to play in could facilitate a more relaxed and enjoyable visit. Start by visually inspecting each your room thoroughly from the vantage point of your child.  Get down low: look beneath and behind furniture, drapes, sinks, toilets, and heaters for loose pills, pins, or other overlooked items that could pose a choking or poisoning hazard - you may be surprised what you find. Also, remove tiny, breakable, top-heavy, burning, hot, or sharp objects from reach (table tops, shelves, hearths, etc.). Finally, be sure cords (electrical, blinds, decorative, etc.) are coiled up out of reach and keep doors to laundry rooms, stairways, kitchens, supply closets, and bathrooms closed or gated-off from access during the visit.

To help create an additional layer of protection, invest in a Travel-Tot Childproofing Kit; the kit components (foam corner guards, outlet covers, pinch guards, etc.) can help prevent injury from some of the most common hazards present in living spaces!  Best of all, the Kit's components go on with a strong, temporary, non-damaging adhesive that will not damage furniture or finishes; and Kit components can be reused!  It is a quick, easy solution you can store in your car for wherever you go; or consider picking one up as a gift for your parents, in-laws, or other friends or family you visit during the holidays! 

Creating a safe play zone in a childless home may take a few minutes, but it will result in greater peace of mind for you and a more enjoyable visit for everyone! Safe and happy travels and best wishes from all of us at Travel-Tot for a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving!
-Destination Mom 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tip of the Week: Count Your Blessings!

As we count down the last few days to Thanksgiving and the beginning of the frenzied holiday season, try to take a moment each day as a family to celebrate and be thankful for the blessings in your life! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Family Guide to Prepping for Natural Disaster

image courtesy of Victor Habbick/
Natural disasters strike every region of our country; however, there is often time to put into place emergency kits and plans, and the more prepping you do in advance, the better off you and your family will be in the aftermath of a disaster.  Below are tips adapted from numerous of FEMA's publications on disaster preparedness.

Create Emergency Kits:

Every home should have a Disaster Supply Kit.  The kit should contain enough supplies to meet all basic needs for each family member for at least three days and should be stored sturdy containers such as backpacks, a duffel bag, or rolling case.  Include in the kit a waterproof and fireproof container in which you should store all family records in case it becomes necessary for you to evacuate your home.  Specific kit contents should include (but are not limited to):
  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day) and food that won’t spoil. Include a manual can opener and utility knife, along with any pet food and supplies you might need.
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
  • A first aid kit that includes prescription medications.
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, candles, matches, plenty of extra batteries, and a utility knife.
  • An extra set of car keys and cash.
  • Personal hygiene supplies (toilet paper, soap, toothbrush, etc.)
  • Any special items or equipment for infants, or for older or disabled family members (formula, diapers, denture or eye care supplies, etc.)
  • An extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Important family documents in a waterproof container
In addition to a home kit, you should put together an Emergency Car Kit for every family vehicle.  Each kit should be able to sustain the maximum number of family members in as much comfort as possible until shelter and assistance can be found.  Specific kit contents should include (but are not limited to):
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
  • Car-adapted charger cords for cellular phones
  • Blankets
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Bottled water and non-perishable, high-energy foods like granola bars
  • Maps, shovel, and flares
  • Kitty litter or sand
  • Tire repair kit and pump
  • Also, be sure fuel tanks are full if you have lead time before a storm
Have a Plan:

The best defense against disaster is good preparation. Familiarize yourself and your family with the types of disasters that might affect your community and hold a family meeting to discuss the need for preparation. Explain the dangers of storms, flooding, tornadoes, fire, and earthquakes to children in terms they can understand without frightening them. Explain how planning will help the family to stay safe and together in case of an emergency. Discuss how your family will respond, and find safe spots in the home for each type of disaster. At a minimum, you should:
  • Identify an emergency gathering location inside the home for weathering a storm, tornado, or earthquake.
  • Determine an emergency meeting place outside the home if evacuation is deemed necessary.
  • Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Mark two escape routes for each room.
  • Post emergency phone numbers near phones. Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire.
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated during a disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the disaster area). Document their phone numbers and provide each family member with a copy; when possible (adults and older children) have family members commit the numbers to memory.
  • Practice escape routes and escaping to emergency meeting places monthly as a family.
FEMA's website offers more specific information pertaining to what to do if an earthquake, hurricane, winter storm, tornado, flood, or fire strikes your area.  You can also obtain more information from your local government office of emergency services, fire and police departments, American Red Cross, National Weather Service, and local public library.  When it comes to your family's safety, preparedness is the name of the game!

-Destination Mom

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tip of the Week: Calming Baby Away From Home

Have a fussy baby who just can't seem to sleep away from home?  Try some "white noise."  Many parents swear by running the faucet, clock radio on static, hair dryer, or "white noise" machine to soothe fussy babies who have trouble sleeping in strange surroundings!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

10 Ideas for Childproofing Away From Home!

Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys; and, 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 accommodations will be safe for your child helps ensure as relaxing and enjoyable a trip 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.  So what can you bring along to help make your room more child-friendly?

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.

10 Simple Child-Proofing Measures For On-The-Go!
Here are some simple steps you can take to make your home-away-from-home safe and relaxing:
  1. 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.
  2. Arrange furniture away from windows or doors to prevent accidental escapes or falls.
  3. Use guards to tie up electrical and blind cords which can pose a choking hazard to your little explorer.
  4. Secure low cabinet doors shut with pinch guards to reduce risk of injury.
  5. 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.
  6. If your little traveler is curious about the toilet, be sure to place a doorknob protector on the handle to prevent unsupervised access.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Exercise Your Right to Vote!

Today is Election Day, so remember to get out and vote!  A few fun and helpful links:

Love candidate quizzes?  Try ProCon!

Need to find your pooling location?  Check out Vote411!

Your vote counts, so get informed and get out and vote today!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

CPR: Save a Life, Get Certified

image courtesy of the American Red Cross
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 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, so find a course in your area and get certified.

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