Friday, May 31, 2013

Dodge 4 Deadly Summer Dangers

image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/
We all know that summer is a great time to get out and have some fun!  What you may not be aware of, however, is that summer is marked by a dramatic increase in accidental injuries and deaths among young children (aged 14 and under).  Data collected by Safe Kids Worldwide demonstrates that during summer months there is a marked increase in unintentional injury-related deaths attributed to drowning, biking, falls, and motor vehicle occupant activities among young children. 

The following guidelines and tips can help prevent such tragedies by reducing the likelihood of serious or fatal injury:

Water Safety

General: Always actively supervise children near water.  Begin teaching children to swim at age 4.  Teach children never to swim alone and never to dive into water less than 9-feet deep.  Obey all posted safety precautions at beaches and pools.

Pools: All pools should have a locking, gated, 4-sided isolation fence (preferably one that affords visual access, i.e. fine wire- or poly-mesh, wrought iron, etc.)  Door alarms, pool alarms, anti-entrapment devices and pool covers can also provide an additional layer of protection when used properly.

Open Water and Boats: Be sure children are equipped with appropriately sized life jackets approved by the U.S. Coast Guard when on boats, near open bodies of water, or when participating in water sports. 

Bicycle/Scooter/Skateboard Safety

General:  Make sure children wear snug, properly-fitting helmets at all times when biking or riding scooters or skateboards.  Be sure children are using properly sized equipment (i.e. on a bicycle, your child's feet should touch the ground when they are sitting on the seat).  Teach children the rules of the road and be sure they obey all traffic laws.  Be a good example; when riding be sure you always wear a helmet and demonstrate proper etiquette and obey the law and all posted regulations.

Fall Prevention

Windows: Keep chairs, cribs, changing tables and other furniture away from windows. Install window guards on all windows above the first floor.  Don’t allow children to play on balconies, roofs, or near open windows.

Playgrounds: Actively supervise children at playgrounds.  Make sure they use only age-appropriate equipment.  Be sure playgrounds have soft-surface coverings (i.e. rubber, hardwood fiber mulch or fine sand) at least 12 inches deep, extending a minimum of six feet in all directions around the equipment.

Sports: Make sure kids wear appropriate protective gear, properly fitted when practicing and playing sports.

Motor Vehicle Safety

Car Seat Safety: Properly restrain all children ages 12 and under in a back seat on every ride.  Secure infants in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, and at least until they are 12 months old and weigh 20 pounds.  Secure children who weigh between 20 and 40 pounds in forward-facing car seats.  Secure children over 40 pounds in belt-positioning booster seats until an adult seat belt fits properly (at least 4' 9" tall and 80 to 100 pounds, for most children that's between ages 8 and 12).

Driveway/Garage Safety: Walk all the way around a parked vehicle to check for children before entering a car and starting the motor.  Toys should not be kept near parked cars as they can lure a child into a driver’s blind spot.

Entrapment/Heat Stroke/Suffocation: Never leave a child unattended in a car, even if the windows are open. Always keep your car locked.  Keep automobile keys out of children's reach and sight.  Make sure vehicle trunks are locked at all times. Keep rear fold-down seats closed so kids won't crawl into the trunk.  Have your car retrofitted with a release mechanism inside the trunk.

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy summer! 
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunscreen Season!

It's getting to be that time of year again!  Even if your children are school age, chances are, they are spending more and more time outdoors playing in the brilliant spring sunshine.  But the same sun that cheers our hearts and warms our faces can do damage, especially as we move toward summer and the sun's strength intensifies.  So remember to take a few moments each morning to apply a gentle, age-appropriate sunscreen to your children's faces, arms and legs before they head out to greet the day!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Little Passports: Explore the World this Summer!

Summer vacation for kids everywhere is right around the corner and we have found a surefire way for you to score points as the coolest parent ever; give them a chance to explore the world with Little Passports! This unique, educational subscription box can take your family on an adventure to learn about culture and history from all 50 states and across the globe - it's education and fun, wrapped up in one!

Little Passports allows kids and their families to explore the fun of travel without the high cost and long airport lines. How it works: each month kids receive a package filled with items from that month’s country or states from characters Sam and Sofia who travel the world on their magic scooter!

There are two options:

all images courtesy of Little Passports

  • In the new USA Edition Sam and Sofia visit two states a month, and send kids an activity booklet with 32 hands-on activities and recipes based on the states visited.  The program is all about making learning about US geography, state landmarks, and history memorable. 

  • In the World edition Sam and Sofia visit one country a month and send kids a letter talking about their journey, a souvenir and hands-on activities that help the children learn all about that country. The starter kit also comes with a “passport” and each month kids get stickers to showcase every country visited.

There are several different subscription plans depending on what works best for you. Sign-up for the convenience of their month-to-month plan or sign-up for a set number of months upfront. If you decide to sign-up or gift a set number of months upfront, you can also renew your subscription so your child doesn’t miss out on any adventures.

So spend the summer touring the US, or adventuring in far off, exotic locations and watch your children get excited to learn about history, culture, language, and geography! 

Safe and happy travels!

-Destination Mom

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Road Trip Tip!

You never know what you're going to encounter on the road. So it never hurts to have a few tricks up your sleeve... like these handy road warrior tricks of the trade:

The QuickChek reusable fountain cup: the perfect thing to keep handy for those occasional rest stops along the way, this cup (retailing for $4.99 at QuickChek locations) entitles the holder to 49-cent refills all summer long on fountain drinks and Quick Freezes! (see QuickChek's Facebook page for more details).

image courtesy of the Bergstrand family

The Crayola Fold and Go Dry Erase Travel Pack: With its slim profile, this is the perfect, portable distraction to stave off the "are-we-there-yets!"  The Travel Pack includes: a trifold dry-erase board along with 5 Washable Dry Erase Skinnies Markers, 9 repositionable clings, and an EZ Erase Cloth.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guest Post: 10 Beach Must Haves for Families!

This week we are thrilled to feature a list of beach must-haves from 10 small, American companies whose innovative products deserve special mention leading up to this year's beach season!  The list was compiled by Kathleen Pisano of Noblo, and we are thrilled to share it! With the wonderful long hours of daylight, sunny skies, hot weather, back yard BBQ’s, and beach vacations just around the corner, these are truly 10 sun and sand must-haves you won't want to miss:

1. SwimZip Swimwear
SwimZip is UV 50+ swimwear that makes putting on and taking off a wet sticky swimsuit a breeze! SwimZip has a full-length zipper down the front which makes it easy to put-on and take-off, and it comes as a two piece set so if you have a little one with diapers the changes are quick!
SwimZip blocks 99% of the UVA and UVB cancer causing rays from your little one’s skin! You don't have to worry about applying sunscreen where the SwimZip covers and kids can spend hours of fun in the sun sunburn free!
$17.99 - $29.99 Available at

2. The Noblo Umbrella Buddy
Invented by two moms to stop fly away beach umbrellas (and the injuries that can result from this), the Noblo is a simple to use beach umbrella anchor. Three easy steps: 1) Fill noblo with sand, 2) velcro to beach umbrella, and 3) relax at the beach. Noblo will take care of your beach umbrella.
$14.99 Available at

3. Zoe b organic Beach Toys
Made from corn, not petroleum. Safer for our kids: no toxic chemicals like BPA, phthalates. Safe for our oceans: If washed out to sea, our toys will fully break down in 2-3 years (not 500 years, like ordinary plastic). The world’s first biodegradable beach toys. Made in USA. 5 pieces set: bucket, sifter/lid, shovel, 2 cups. Color: turquoise/lime, pink/orange
$22.00 Available at

4. ShowNo beach towel
ShowNo is the ultimate kids 3-in-1 towel. It’s a bath towel, a cover up and a changing towel all in one! No More having to carry everyone’s towel (along with everything else) to the beach… kids can wear them! No More having to dry off and wrap up kids after bath time… they can dry off and cover up on their own! No More having to hold a towel like a drape for kids to change behind in privacy… they can put on their ShowNo and change all by themselves!
$19.99 Available at

5. Bogg Bag
Lack of beach bags that could suit a family's needs sparked the creation of the Bogg™ Bag. Needs were simple: a bag large enough to carry everything, that wouldn't fall over and spill, and that could be rinsed at the end of the day. After coming up short, the founders decided to make their own. Use at the beach, pool, gym, school, for shopping or play, the Bogg Bag comes in three great sizes and many great color options. You'll look great carrying them wherever you go! Want to make your bogg™ unique? Customize and accessorize with fun Bogg™ Bits accessories. Fun. Functional. Fashionable.
$59.99 Available at

6. SoYoung Insulated Cooler Bags
Perfect for bringing your drinks and snacks to the beach! Now with an easy clean, leak proof insert for easy cleaning and to help avoid staining from spills. Use it as a bottle bag for baby, pack your child’s drinks and snacks in it, or leave the kids at home and take your lunch with you wherever you go. Need an extra hand? These versatile bags can be snapped onto stroller handlebars or worn in either messenger or backpack style.
$36.95 (Canadian currency) Available at

7. Eye Cream Shades
Eyes Cream Shades is a leader in providing quality sunwear for kids ages 6 months and above. As everyone knows, sunglasses are not "toys" or novelty items, but serve an important health function -protecting precious eyes. All Eyes Cream frames are fashion forward, comfortable, as well as durable; and all lenses are polycarbonate and provide 100% UVA&UVB protection. Many celebrity moms and dads sport their little ones in the Eyes Cream Shades brand.
$22.50 Available at

8. Sand Gone
Sand Gone is an amazing dry powder that when applied to sandy parts of your body, removes the sand leaving you skin soft and smooth. Made with all natural ingredients with a hint of coconut fragrance; a must for Beachgoers.
$12.95 Available at

9. S’well Water Bottle
S'well is a fashionable, reusable, sustainable water bottle company. Their bottles are double walled in stainless steel leaving liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. Not only will you have a great water bottle for the beach, but you will help in S’well’s effort to bring clean water to the world’s poorest communities. Water is essential for life, but one billion people (one sixth of the world’s population) do not have safe access to it. To address this crisis, S’well is a proud to partner with WaterAid. The bottles feature a quartz finish (no-slip) for that much-needed, sweaty-hand grip – perfect for the beach on a hot day.
$35 Available at

10. Dr. Robin All Natural Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 30+
Made in California and specially formulated by a Pediatric Dermatologist. Believing less is more, Dr. Robin created this broad spectrum mineral sunscreen without irritating chemicals, phthalates, parabens, or fragrance. Dr. Robin’s special formula is: Gluten-free/ Water Resistant/ Formulated to minimize allergic reaction/ Coral Reef Safe. Dr. Robin is Robin Schaffran, M.D., a caring mom who happens to be a Beverly Hills Dermatologist.
$24 Available at

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hot Deal: A Vacation Must-Have at an Unbeatable Price!

With the rapid approach of summer, many parents are busy planning summertime getaways; scoring great deals on flights, hotels, and fun-filled family attractions!  And just in time for those amazing trips, Travel-Tot is thrilled to offer a limited-time promotional code good for $10 off our Travel Childproofing Kit - the perfect tool now at an even better price!  The Kit is the perfect way to create an extra layer of protection in hotels, motels, even the homes of family and friends; the components of our Kit install securely and easily with temporary adhesive strips that go on strong and come off clean when its time to move on.  Hurry and order your Kit today; and now through June 14th, use the code 10OFF to get $10 off your Kit!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Sanity-Saving Giveaway!

We've all had those moments; fleeting glimpses of a simpler time, when Motherhood meant swaddling and cuddling our adorable little bundles of joy!  But of course, those adorable little snugglers transform into adventure-seeking toddlers in the mere blink of an eye; and the more independent they become, the more challenging and stressful Motherhood gets.  I figure that's why they dedicated a whole day to recognizing all the hard work, love, hope, and moments of sheer, heart-stopping terror that go into being a Mom.

I'll never forget how (before I had a child) I used to be snarky about other parents' lack of attentiveness; particularly if I happened to witness their child getting injured.  Fast forward to a few months after my daughter's second birthday when my husband and I brought her to Florida for a vacation.  We weren't even all the way into the room and she had pinched her fingers in the dresser drawers. Twice.  It was not to be my last lesson in humility, and definitely not the last time my daughter would find a creative way to injur herself.  But I digress...

The first day alone with my toddler in the room I almost didn't get a shower because I was so afraid she'd get into trouble, even though I had secured her in the pack and play.  I had "childproofed" the room on my hands and knees when we arrived (finding a straight pin and a mystery pill beneath the bed that justified my paranoia!); but I hadn't thought to pack any real childproofing devices (i.e. outlet covers, corner guards, cabinet ties, pinch guards, etc.). and the front desk had nothing to offer.  It felt almost barbaric to be without the protective devices I had become so accustomed to at home (which, I might add,  seemed even MORE necessary given how this "new, strange place" seemed to bring out the explorer in my little girl).  The trip was fine, but by the end of it, I really needed a vacation, lol.

Truly the peace of mind of the childproofing guards I took so for granted at home would have made this simple getaway so much more relaxing; after all, whether its your child's incurable curiosity or an inherited talent for trouble, eventually he or she will get into a situation that presents the opportunity for injury.  So this Mother's Day, treat yourself (or someone you love!) to a little relaxation by entering to win a free sanity-saving Travel Childproofing Kit from Travel-Tot!  With a myriad of childproofing devices (corner guards, pinch guards, cabinet ties, locking straps, outlet covers, etc.) and  strong temporary adhesive fasteners that come off clean when its time to pack back up, it's the perfect tool for parents travelling with young children!

To enter to win a free Travel-Tot Travel Childproofing Kit, "like" the mention of this blog post on Travel-Tot's Facebook page (please note: commenting on this article below will NOT enter you to win a free kit).  "Likes" must be received on the mention of this blog entry on Travel-Tot's Facebook page by Tuesday, May 14th, 12:00 Midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) to be eligible for drawing. 

Wishing you all a very safe and happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Parking Pal - A Safety Innovation We Love!

If you've ever experienced those moments of panic trying to juggle a grocery cart and your children in a busy parking lot, the Parking Pal magnet is a must-have for you!  The Parking Pal magnet is applied to the side of your vehicle where its fun design featuring bright colors, playful illustrations, and a small palm offers children a fun marker to "stick to" that will keep them out of harm's way (helping to reinforce the idea that a parking lot is not a safe place to play). We love the simplicity, portability (it can be removed and packed for travel if you're using a rental car!), and effectiveness of the Parking Pal magnet! (Side note: there is also a removable wall decal Penalty Pal for creating a time-out spot in or away from home!) 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Summer 2013: What's New in Amusement Parks and Attractions!

image courtesy of the International Association of Amusemet Parks & Attractions
This week we are thrilled to share a guest article on the latest and greatest in amusement parks and attractions! The following article is provided courtesy of Mindy Bianca, Media Contact for the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA).  Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions, and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry.

Nearly 200 new rides and attractions open this summer at more than 80 theme parks, water parks, family fun centers, zoos, aquariums, and museums in the United States and Canada, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the worldwide trade association for the global attractions industry. 
More than 300 million people will visit U.S. amusement parks and attractions this summer as the attractions industry provides 600,000 jobs and helps pump more than $57 billion into North America’s economy.
Trends identified from the massive list of new attractions for 2013 include new and even more thrilling wooden roller coaster experiences, expanded and refreshing water park additions, and increasingly immersive experiences designed to take guests into new worlds for unique adventures.
Wooden roller coasters have been entertaining guests for more than 125 years, but in 2013, there is a noted trend toward coasters that go beyond the traditional hills, dips, and curves associated with wood coasters. Thanks in part to new technologies and designs, several wooden coasters opening this summer offer guests a choice between the traditional wooden coaster ride experience and a hybrid that gives riders the ambiance of a wood coaster while providing inversions, twists, and turns only previously experienced on steel roller coasters.
Families can cool off this summer at one of more than five new water parks opening in North America or at one of more than 20 water parks introducing gigantic expansions that include massive new wave pools, water coasters, water slide complexes, lazy rivers, spray grounds for young visitors, and more.
Dreamers and designers in the attractions industry continue to create amazing, immersive experiences. This summer, those adventures take guests into the worlds of penguins, princesses, and more.
“If it’s new adventures families want, this summer is going to deliver,” said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland. “The rides and exhibits opening at amusement parks and attractions throughout North America range from wooden roller coasters that turn riders upside down, and cool new desert oases, to amazing animal safaris, and high-tech interactive adventures. There’s something new for everyone.”
A list of these new attractions, consumer tips for summer fun, and other information is available here (including a state by state listing of new attractions!).