Friday, November 29, 2013

Deal Alert: Travel-Tot Promo Code!

Use the code BIGDEAL when ordering to get your Travel-Tot Travel Childproofing Kit for $19.95!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

image courtesy of nongpimmy/
Thanksgiving is only days away, with all its delicious, decadent holiday treats; and while no one wants to spend their holiday counting calories while they count their blessings, finding a way to build in some activity (family football game, post-feast walk, etc.) can help impress upon our kids that Thanksgiving is more than just an excuse to pig out!  So start a new family tradition this year and make time for a fun family activity; not only will you encourage healthier attitudes toward food, you may just find you even feel more energized and that's something to be truly thankful for!

Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving from all of us at Travel-Tot!

Friday, November 22, 2013

5 Great Travel Reads For Kids!

image courtesy of Phaitoon/
Around the World with Elwood & Ofie - Accessible and heart-"worming", this adorable e-book takes children along on the adventures of earthworm siblings exploring Paris with an enthusiastic, local ant who teaches them all about the beautiful City of Lights!  A great way to introduce your little traveler to a new location; best of all, Thanksgiving weekend (Fri 11/29-Mon 12/2), this e-book will be on sale for only .99¢!  (Available for iPad or Android devices) (Ages 1-5)

A Walk in London - Beautifully illustrated, this book presents readers with a child's eye view of London's top attractions, blending lively artwork with fascinating facts. Join this mother and daughter as they day-trip their way across the city visiting major landmarks like the Tower of London and Big Ben!  (Available in hardcover or paperback.)  (Ages 5-8)

All About Japan - A book for families to treasure together, it offers not only the most important facts about Japan, but also reflects the spirit that makes Japan one-of-a-kind. Dive into stories, try new crafts, play some games from Japan, learn Japanese's the next best thing to being there! (Available in hardcover of for Kindle.) (Ages 5-10)

101 Places You Gotta See Before You're 12! - An old-school idea in a brand new format!  Books that encourage children to aspire to see the great world great sites are inspiring, but its unrealistic for everyone to see the Pyramids or the Taj Mahal; this book brings adventure and exploration closer to home, and keeps it wonderfully flexible and practical! (Available in paperback.) (Ages 6-12)

National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Roadtrip Atlas - Keeping kids entertained while on a long drive can be a challenge, but the National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Atlas can help! This book includes easy-to-read, simple road maps of each state and Washington, D.C., and a map of the United States. State symbols, cool things to do, boredom busters, fun facts, wacky roadside attractions, and games accompany the maps and provide engaging information with stunning photographs that will keep kids engaged for hours.(Available in paperback.) (Ages 8-12)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

Even if diaper changes are a thing of the past for you, its always a good idea to carry a small pack of baby wipes in your handbag!  They are great for quick clean-ups, sanitizing little hands, surfaces, cleaning up spills, and even just "freshening up" after a long journey!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Safe and Happy Holiday Travels!

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 hands!).

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 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, fragile, 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 12, 2013

Chasing Away the Chill!

image courtesy of Victor Habbick/
Winter is on its way, and that means more time hunkering down indoors and trying to stay warm. But snuggling up with a warm mug of hot chocolate isn’t always going to be enough! According to the CDC, young children and the elderly are disproportionately affected by hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter months. Often this results from failure to prepare for weather-related emergencies or improper maintenance of heating systems. The checklist below contains a few crucial steps that you can take now to help prepare your family for whatever this winter may bring.

•   Check your home’s heating systems:
    o   Make sure that all heating systems are clean, working properly,
         and vented to the outside.
    o   Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    o   Install smoke detectors and test batteries monthly.
    o   Have a safe back-up heating source and fuel.
    o   Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies by installing a carbon
         monoxide detector, being aware of and alert for the symptoms of
         carbon monoxide poisoning, and keeping generators and grills out 
         of the house.

•   Prepare for weather-related emergencies and power outages:
  o   Stow a broom and a shovel in a handy spot (for clearing away
       leaves/snow from walkways/driveways and low lying vents).
  o   Stock a supply of food that does not require cooking or
       refrigeration and water.
  o   Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
      -   battery-operated flashlights, radios, and lamps;
      -   spare batteries;
      -   a stocked first-aid kit and extra medicine;
      -   baby items (i.e. jar foods, powdered formula, etc.); and
      -   rock salt, cat litter, or sand for icy walkways.

You'll all enjoy snuggling up together indoors a little more if you know you've done everything you can to plan ahead for the safety and comfort of your family, should an emergency arise!

- Destination Mom

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Destination: Dinosaurs!

Located just outside New York City (at 1000 New County Road Secaucus, NJ 07094, (855) 999-9010), Field Station Dinosaurs is an educational and fun animatronic wonderland, set against the backdrop of the New Jersey Meadowlands and the New York City Skyline. Along with seeing (and hearing!) the amazing, life-like dinosaurs (some of them even appear to be breathing!) and learning about the prehistoric age, kids can take part in a variety of demonstrations about reptiles and other kinds of animal life.  

The park features a wide variety of exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages, including;

  • Ampitheater shows, such as: Dino Whodunnit, an exploration of what may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, and Dragons to Dinosaurs, an interactive show merging myth, mystery, and science!

  • A variety of workshops and games, including: Avian Dinosaurs (an interactive show exploring the link between the birds of today and prehistoric dinosaurs) and Found in New Jersey (an exploration of the state of the state millions of years ago), among others!

  • Dinosaurs Alive: a 3-D adventure about the latest scientific breakthroughs relating to archaeology and prehistoric research.

  • A fossil dig site: a chance for kids to join with paleontologists to see what its like to work on a real expedition!

  • Numerous group discussions along the trail: topics such as alien rocks, ancient energy, bone hunters, and dinosaur eating habits are discussed.  In addition, there are several fun activities along the trail, such as a dinosaur dance party and an interactive painting program entitled, What Color is Your Dinosaur?

  • The T-Rex games: here, teams face-off for pride and prizes! Every event is a dinosaur-themed test of skill, knowledge, or sometimes, just plain luck. Bonus: if you find yourself on the winning team, your team photo will be taken for the Field Station Dinosaur Facebook page!

This park truly has something for everyone!  But if you're going to squeeze in a visit this year, you'll have to hurry - Field Station Dinosaurs closes for the year on November 10th!  So click on over to their website and order tickets for your favorite little explorer today!

Safe and happy travels!

-Destination Mom

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Paying It Forward...

image courtesy of Nutdanai/

November 1st has come and gone and I'm pleased to find that I am not panicking yet; that the mayhem that is usually the countdown to the holiday season seems to have either passed me by this year, or is laying in wait for a later date!  Usually by now I have ordered my holiday cards, made an infinite number of lists of things I dare not forget, started shopping and squirreling away gifts for my family and friends, and even begun to plan our annual Christmas dinner. This year... not so much.

But for some reason, as I sat in my living room this morning watching the rainbows cast by the prism in my window dance across my walls like the shimmering giggles of children on a crisp autumn breeze, I realized that I really liked having inadvertently having given myself permission to slow down.  I needed to take the time to admire the beauty and blessings of my life.  I needed to show my child the very things I had been taking for granted.  I needed to find a way to share those gifts with the world around me, to pay it forward.

Now, when I hear the phrase "paying it forward" I always think of that guy who paid for my order at Dunkin Donuts one day, just as a random act of kindness.  His explanation was that someone else had paid for his groceries a few days earlier when he had forgotten his wallet and he wanted to pay it forward.  I thanked him profusely and performed a similar act for someone else later in the day, remembering his kindness; but in the days that followed, I returned to my regular, frantic patterns of behavior and slowly, unconsciously let go of the idea of paying it forward.

But this morning, as my personal epiphany came to me, I made myself a promise: to pay it forward in small, meaningful ways every day, or at least whenever I am able  (and not exclusively in ways that involve money, but in ways that can touch the spirit; by greeting people with a smile, paying compliments, being generous with my time and talents, helping those in need, etc.).  More importantly, I vowed to involve my daughter (without announcing or drawing attention to what I am doing), so that she can witness first-hand the immense power of kindness, thoughtfulness, and compassion.  Last year, on Facebook, I posted one thing each day in November that I was thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving; this year, I will write my blessings on my heart and, hopefully, on the impressionable mind and heart of my young daughter. 

Happy beginning-of-the-holiday-season!

Friday, November 1, 2013

6 Ways to Keep Your Children Safe!

image courtesy of greenphile/

November is Child Safety and Protection Month!  Parents know that the struggle to keep our children safe is an on-going, ever-changing battle.  As children grow and change, so do the types of protection they require; Child Safety and Protection Month is a great opportunity to re-evaluate the safety measures you already have in place, and to look forward to make sure you are prepared for the nest developmental stage!  After all, whether your child is taking his first steps or preparing to take her first spin in the car with her new license, parents always strive to keep their kids safe from harm!  To that end, we would like to offer the following 6 tips with links for keeping your child safe:

Childproof:  Whether you are home or travelling, childproofing is critical, particularly for infants and toddlers who are more likely to encounter hazards that could result in choking, pinches, strangulation, poisoning, or other injury.

Use car/booster seats: While laws differ by state, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following guidelines: rear-facing car seats for all children under 2 years of age (or maximum height and weight requirements for the seat), forward facing car seats until children reach the maximum height and weight requirements, and booster seats for children between the ages of 8 and 12 until they have reached a minimum height of 4 feet 9 inches.

Emergency preparedness: The keys to staving off panic in an emergency are proper preparation and planningFEMA offers numerous fantastic publications for specific different types of natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.).  In addition, having your emergency information centrally located can help reduce the response time in the event of an emergency where you may be separated from other members of your family.

Vigilantly supervise children around water: Drowning is one of the most common hazards for children, whether around open water (lakes, rivers, oceans) or pools.  Vigilant supervision goes a long way toward preventing injury, as does adhering to proper water safety practices (i.e. fences, life-jackets, swimming lessons, approved floatation devices, etc.).

Insist on helmets for bike-riding school-aged kids:  Again, laws vary by state, but all children should wear properly-fitted, protective headgear when riding bikes, scooters, skateboards or other wheeled vehicles.  For more details and statistics, visit the Children's Safety Network.  

Educate high-schoolers about safe driving practices: While our kids wait their whole lives to get that coveted driver's license, we (their parents) are filled with equal parts joy and panic when the big day finally arrives.  In addition to the many dangers that any seasoned driver faces when they get behind the wheel, new, young drivers (whose judgement and experience are less well-developed) face an increased risk of injury from a growing number of distractions.  From over-loud music that can drown out emergency sirens, to cell phones, to intoxication,  new drivers need to know how dangerous distracted driving is, and parents are the key.

Parenting is a constantly morphing landscape of hurdles; by taking time to evaluate what you are doing, you may be able to put better practices into effect and plan ahead for whatever waits around the next corner.

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom