Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Safety!

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/
 Summer is a great time to get out and have some fun, but did you know 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, June 25, 2013

2 Terrific Travel Guide Apps!

Smartphones are great tools for planning everything from where to buy gas to a family trip itinerary!  But with all the travel apps out there, it can be hard to determine which are most helpful.  Below are two of our favorite family travel planning tools:

mTrip and MobilyTrip - both are available for Android and Apple platforms.  Both are also fantastic travel guide apps that allow you to create your entire trip itinerary from the interactive travel guides.  Each also allows you keep a travel journal, share with friends and family, and add restaurants and attractions to the interactive travel guide. In addition mTrip provides users with the ability to view the entire city with offline maps to find your way from place to place. Definitely worth checking out before your next family trip!

Safe and h"app"y travels!  
-Destination Mom

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hidden Dangers: Dry and Delayed Drowning

Summer is here, and with it, the fun of swimming!  While every parent knows the necessity of vigilant supervision whenever children are near water, there are some dangers that can go undetected simply because they are not well-enough known.  It is common knowledge that drowning is a leading cause of death among children, but how many of us know that children can suffer the effects of drowning hours after having been swimming  due to water inhalation?  Or that a sudden inrush of water into one's mouth can cause the larynx to spasm and snap shut resulting in asphyxiation?  Or that jumping into extremely cold water can result in cardiac arrest?  There is growing concern surrounding these incidences and knowing how to prevent such tragedies starts with understanding what to look for.

Recently there have been well-publicized, terrifying reports of children who have "drown" hours after returning home from a day spent swimming.  It bears clarifying that while these are often reported as "dry" drownings because the child was not physically in the water at the time of death, such incidences would more accurately be described as "delayed (or secondary)" drownings.  That said, while there is a difference between "dry" and "delayed" drowning, both can lead to respiratory arrest and can culminate in cardiac arrest and brain death.

The main difference between "dry" drowning and "delayed" drowning is the presence or absence of water in the victim's lungs. True "dry" drowning deaths do not involve the presence of any liquid in the lungs.  Conversely, "delayed" drownings are marked by the presence of some (usually small) amount of liquid in the lungs.


Dry Drowning

Though not completely understood, "dry" drownings are thought to be caused by: 1. a sudden rush of water into the throat that causes the airway to snap shut (a condition known as a laryngospasm), resulting in asphyxiation, and/or 2. the shock of sudden entry into extremely cold water that causes the heart to stop.

While the incidence of "delayed" drowning (where liquid is present in the lungs) is relatively rare, true "dry" drownings account for ten to fifteen percent of all drowning deaths. Considering that approximately 4,000 people drown in the U.S. each year, that means "dry" drowning kills approximately 400-600 U.S. victims annually. "Dry" drowning poses a significant enough mortality risk that those who swim (or supervise swimmers) should know what can be done to decrease the chance of its happening to them or their loved ones.

To help prevent "dry" drowning, swimmers should keep their mouths closed when jumping or diving into water, thereby protecting the larynx from a sudden inrush of water that could cause it to spasm and cut off the airway. Also, do not dive or jump into extremely cold water; instead enter cold water gradually. Those who have a history of heart or respiratory problems should avoid entering very cold water at all, even if they plan to go slowly.


Delayed Drowning

Unlike "dry" drowning, "delayed" drowning takes longer to occur and can be treated if caught early.  A "delayed" drowning episode (where blood is not being properly oxygenated within the body due to a respiratory intake of liquid) is marked by the following indicators: persistent coughing, shortness of breath, painful or shallow breathing, pain in chest, change in mood, change in mental status, and/or lethargy. Other signs of poorly oxygenated blood include increased agitation when lying flat, sweaty skin, or skin color changes such as paleness or blue/grayish cast.

Remember, children's bodies cannot compensate for very long without proper oxygenation and "crash" rapidly once these signs are present, so quick action is imperative. "Delayed" drowning usually occurs within 1 to 24 hours after an incident of respiratory intake of liquid. If it is caught early, it can be treated by supplying oxygen to the lungs. Call 911 or rush immediately to the emergency room if there are signs or symptoms indicating risk of a "delayed" drowning episode.

Safe and happy summer.
-Destination Mom

Monday, June 17, 2013

Travel Product We Love: The Skyview Mount

Smartphones and tablets can be a great tool (and distraction) when you're traveling with young children; however, not all technology is designed to be child-proof!  How often have you handed your toddler or child your smartphone, e-reader, or tablet to keep them busy on a flight; and how many times has your heart stopped when they accidentally dropped said device? 
image courtesy of Skyview
The solution: the Skyview Travel Seatback Mount for Mobile Devices!  This amazing mount takes only moments to install and works with most seat-backs in planes, buses, and trains (or can be used as a table-top stand). Either way, Skyview's adjustable cradle grips your smartphone, e-reader, or tablet and holds it at the best angle for your children's (and your!) eyes. 

The Skyview Mount is compatible with a wide variety of devices, and helps keep your device safe from "little accidents."  It's an accessory you'll want to keep handy, for both kids and adults, whenever you travel (and it makes a great gift for anyone)!  Best of all, it retails for only $29.99!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Good Reads: Excerpt From Acclaimed Author Ageleke Zapis!

This week we are thrilled to feature an excerpt from A Childless Woman's Guide to Parenting, by Ageleke Zapis.  Her good-natured, humorous approach to providing valuable family travel tips will keep readers smiling and may just save the sanity of traveling families everywhere!  Enjoy!

By Ageleke Zapis

"As you parents know, a small child can go for weeks without going to the bathroom at home, but once you hit the road, it becomes pretty much a full-time occupation."  - Dave Barry

If I had children and I lived far away from my family, I would tell them to not expect a visit from my kids--their grandchildren, nieces and nephews--until they were at least 9 years old!  Why?  Because air travel with kids can be a nightmare for everyone involved, including your fellow passengers.  However, you can reduce the risk of turning your great vacation into the vacation from hell if you have a plan.

First and foremost, you must have your plan in place BEFORE you head out the door.  Take a page out of a pilot's handbook and arm yourself with a checklist.  Online you can find checklists for everything from diapers, wipes, and plastic bags to blankets and more. These lists are an excellent resource for information. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to navigate the obstacle course that has become our airports.  Getting from the curbside check in to your gate is about the same as competing in a Tough Mudder cross-country obstacle course, minus the barbed wire.

Immediately after you check your bags in, the challenge begins, the TSA security line!  Security always seems to be a nightmare for EVERYONE.  Here are a couple of tips:  Children 12 and younger are no longer required to take their shoes off for screening.  With children getting bigger and bigger these days, you just might be able to pull off your 14 year old as a 12 year old, simply by saying "He's just big for his age!"  Putting him in a Sponge Bob T-shirt may also help your case.  Unfortunately, TSA will never separate a family as they go through the screening process. I know, many parents have thought this would be their golden opportunity to make a quick getaway and catch the next flight to the Bahamas.  But that's not going to happen.  TSA will make sure you all stay together and go through security together.  Sorry.

If you are traveling with an infant, you will need to remove them from their carrier prior to going through the security screener.  While you have your carrier, the diaper bag, your son's stuffed animal, your backpack full of entertainment, and oh, the baby, my suggestion is to place little Albert in one of those plastic trays where you put your laptop and liquids.  Great way to keep your baby contained while you take your shoes and belt off, just make sure you don't accidentally push him through onto the conveyer belt!

Remember, ALL carry-on bags are scanned.  Make sure Junior doesn't sneak his favorite plastic pistol into his carry-on or buckle his Lone Ranger gun belt around his waist before he heads out the door.  Could cause some delays! And speaking of carry-ons, nothing makes me laugh more than seeing a 4 year old pulling a Dora the Explorer or Spiderman wheeled carry-on that's twice as big as they are. Small suggestion, make sure you kid's bags are smaller than they are.

I tend to frown upon letting technology serve as a kid's babysitter but this is one time that I wholeheartedly embrace the wonders of technology.  I think it's critical that parents have one or more forms of entertainment available for their kids during the trip.  Entertained kids make for quiet and happy kids.  Fill their tablet computers with movies, games, music, and anything else that's sure to captivate them before your journey. Remember, it's a round trip vacation, so make sure there's enough material to enjoy on the departure and return.

If you don't have a tablet computer for your kids bite the bullet when you get on the plane and pay the $7.99 for the video service. Heck, I bet anyone in the vicinity of your plane seat would gladly pay the $7.99 just to have your kids sit quietly for the duration of the flight.

Okay, you're on the plane, everyone has entertainment and snacks, you can rest now, right? Wrong.  Be mindful of your children.  Don't think of the airplane as a babysitter for the duration of the flight.  There is nothing worse than a child who is 2 years old kicking the back of your seat while you are trying to rest.  If it was a little tap here and there, we could all handle it but for some reason, as soon as your kid becomes familiar with the back of the seat, his small feet turn into a men's size 10 and you feel the power of each kick.

Last, but not least, have a reward system in place for your kids ahead of time. Lay down the ground rules before you head out the door to the airport. Explain to them what's going to happen and if all goes well, when they land they will get a reward, and it better be a good one, because if it's not, that return trip could get ugly.

Author’s Bio:

Ageleke Zapis is author of the children's book, Django Goes to School and A Childless Woman's Guide to Parenting, where she sets her sights on helping parents rein in their kids. before they take over the planet.  It can be purchased at

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

3 Easy Ways to Celebrate the Start of Summer!

Pack a picnic and escape for the day! Throw some sandwiches, snacks, and drinks in the cooler, grab a blanket, frisbee, or ball, and find a cozy spot where you and your kids can enjoy one another's company.  A picnic is a great opportunity to get some fresh air and play together!

Hit a new playground or park!  Nothing is as fun as an adventure; and any adventure that ends in a fantastic playground or park is bound to be a hit!  Do a little research ahead of time and learn about new and fun play areas near you; maybe even do a quick drive-by before you make your plan!
image courtesy of xedos4/

Indulge a little; it is a celebration, after all!   Whether it means giving in to the siren song of the ice cream truck, a quick visit to a local ice cream shop, or even just popsicles in the backyard, enjoy a little treat with your kids while they still think you are the coolest thing since sliced bread!

Wishing you a safe and happy summer!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Celebrate Summer Sailstice!

Looking for an epic event that offers the opportunity to spend some amazing, quality family time together this summer?  Check out Summer Sailstice 2013!

What is this event?  

Summer Sailstice is the global sailing holiday celebrated on the weekend closest to the summer solstice. This international event was founded in 2001 to connect the global sailing community in a fun, creative, multifaceted, multi-location sailing holiday.  From its rather humble beginnings as a family and friends event, it has expanded to include participants from across the globe.  

The mission of this event?
Through a partnership with the ocean conservation non-profit, Sailors for the Sea and Ocean Conservancy, Summer Sailstice strives to inform and mobilize sailors, their families and communities to enjoy and conserve the beauty of the oceans while raising awareness of human impacts on the fragile marine environment and wildlife. 

Who started this event and why? 

Summer Sailstice's founder, John Arndt, shared in an interview that his passion for promoting sailing of all types was what compelled him to create this amazing event, and that he has been excited to see how participation and awareness of the event has taken off with almost 20,000 registered participants for this year representing all 50 states and 47 countries!

How can my family and I participate? 
  • Experienced sailors are invited to upload their sailing plans onto the site where they could win a cruise in the Caribbean or any of dozens of other prizes including charters, gear, boating services, and more!  Sailors can also win prizes by entering one of the many Summer Sailstice contests. You can join in events near you with fellow sailors, or be the spark and organize an event yourself. 
  • Interested, but unfamiliar with or new to sailing?  You don’t even have to register to take part in Summer Sailstice - on June 22nd just set out on the water with thousands of other sailors to celebrate the joys of sailing.  The benefit of registering ahead of time, though, is that you’ll be better informed about everything that’s going to be happening that day, can enter contests and prize drawings, and will help keep a better count of how many participants there are!

For more information, please visit

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Travel-Sized Treasures!

Anyone who has ever packed for an entire family heading out on vacation can testify that space is at a premium!  That's why we love travel-sized goodies; everything from tiny toothpastes and mini mouthwash to the little soaps, body washes, deodorants, and shampoos help lighten the load and take up less real-estate in your luggage!  Some of our favorite tiny take-alongs: