Friday, February 27, 2015

Multi-Generational Family Getaways: Tips and Tricks!

image courtesy of phanlop88/
Multi-generational travel is becoming more and more popular; however, to be truly successful, a vacation that includes family members of varying ages with a broad range of personalities and interests involves a bit of forethought and planning. Below are some secrets, tips, and tricks that can help alleviate tension before it rears its ugly head, and ensure that a good time is had by all!

Financial Considerations -  

Discuss ahead of time how the expenses will be handled. Money can be a tricky family issue, so establishing who pays for what should be done well in advance and candidly to prevent hurt feelings or resentment that could ruin a trip. Be open and honest about what you would all like to do and what financial limitations you have; often creating an itinerary for a larger group of people can be challenging because of varied interests and financial resources. Cruises and all-inclusive resorts are good options as they tend to be better value and more equitable for all parties.  Likewise splitting the cost of a condo or houses can also help alleviate budget strain; jut be sure there is adequate room for everyone - you don't want to be so piled up on one another that you can't relax.

Great resources for planning: Vacation Rentals by Owner, airbnb (rental properties), Orbitz (cruises), Expedia (all-inclusive resorts).

Destination Deliberation - 

If financial considerations are the sticky wicket, selecting your destination is the fun part! Take into account weather, activity preferences, and seasonal availability, and start your list of possible destinations and simply whittle down until you have chosen! Once the location is determined, have each family member write down what they would like to do and piece together your itinerary by combining common elements and closely located spots of interest.  If there are wide gaps in interests, consider splitting up into separate groups for some activities!

Some of our favorite family fun spots include: National Parks, Disney World and Disney Land, Myrtle Beach, Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Anaheim, San Diego, and Chicago; most large cities are good choices because they offer zoos, museums, shows, and a variety of dining and shopping options.

Remember to Relax - 

Having an itinerary is great - forgetting to build in some down time for relaxation and rest is not.  Particularly when traveling with young children and older adults, rushing from one activity to another can breed weariness and exhaustion. So be sure to informally schedule some time for napping, relaxing by the beach or pool, or just sitting quietly and recording some of the great memories you are making in a journal!

Make Time for Multi-Generational Interaction - 

It sounds so complicated, but in truth, it's quite simple: give your children time alone with your parents. These are the opportunities grandparents crave; time to share stories of your crazy youth and a chance to spoil their grandchildren with ice cream for lunch! Try to also sped time together; if it works for your family, consider having a "girls night out" or a"boys night on the town!" Enjoy one another and make time to create special memories together!

Capture the Magic - 

When will you all have a chance to be together this way again? Whether it's a group selfie, a professional photo-shoot, or a snapshot taken by a passerby, be sure to get a picture of all of you together.  And use a good camera.  And take more than one shot.  You'll treasure it always, and I promise your children will thank you for it one day!

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5 Common Fire Causes and Safety Tips

image courtesy of Pixomar/
Cold weather finds people spending more time at home, and more time indoors increases the risks of house fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report that there are more than 350,000 home structure fires annually. Frighteningly, once started, it takes less than two minutes for a fire to complete engulf a structure, which is why it is so important to evacuate inhabitants as quickly as possible and to discourage efforts to extinguish large fires by occupants themselves. Below are 5 of the most common causes of house fires, as identified by the NFPA, along with safety tips to help avoid these tragedies:

1. Cooking Fires
  • Safety tips:
    • Pay attention when cooking and never leave food unattended.
    • Never throw water on a grease fire, put a lid on the pan to smother the fire.
    • If an oven fire flares up, turn it off and leave the door shut until the fire extinguishes itself.
    • Keep clothing, pot holders, paper towels, napkins and other flammable items away from fires.
    • Be certain smoke detectors are in working order and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
2. Candles
  • Safety tips:
    • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items, or in an unoccupied room.
    • Make sure candles fit securely into candle holders so they don’t tip over.
    • Extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to sleep.
3. Electrical Fires
  • Safety tips:
    • Never overload outlets or electrical cords, and be certain to use the proper cord for the job (i.e. inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use).
    • Never leave holiday lights, trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
4. Smoking
  • Safety tips:
    • Smoke outside when possible.
    • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
    • Never smoke in bed or on other soft furniture, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
5. Toddlers and Young Children Playing With Fire
  • Safety tips:
    • Always keep matches, lighters, etc. out of the reach of children.
    • Teach children fire safety at an early age.
    • Do not leave children unsupervised around fire.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Child-Proofing On the Go: Top 10 Tips!

image courtesy of FrameAngel/
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.

You can easily provide a basic level of protection from many common hazards in just minute’s time with a few simple items (like many of 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.

10 Quick and Easy 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!
Bottom line: 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.  Safe and happy travels!
- Destination Mom

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Winter Road Safety!

image courtesy of adamr/
Winter driving emergencies can present a hazard for families, particularly those with young children.  Be prepared for any road-travel emergency by keeping a winter safety kit in the trunk of your car.  In addition to:

  • jumper cables, 
  • flares, 
  • flags, 
  • an ice scraper, 
  • sand (or kitty litter), and 
  • a shovel,  

remember to pack:

  • blankets, 
  • snacks, 
  • formula, 
  • water, 
  • diapers, 
  • wipes and 
  • several changes of clothing for each child. 

Also, consider enrolling in a roadside assistance program and always travel with your cell phone (and charger) so you can call for help in an emergency. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Products We Love: Piddle Pouch!

How many times have you taken your son to the park or playground and within mere moments of arriving, had him mutter the dreaded phrase: "Mommy, I need to go potty!"?  And how many times have you tracked down a restroom only to discover that it is filthy, occupied, or inaccessible?  If you are like us, it's too many to count!  That's why we are so excited to share a fantastic new product we recently learned of: the Piddle Pouch™! 

Developed by proud moms Lynn Gutner and Julie Rosenberg, Piddle Pouch is a portable, biodegradable, disposable, no mess, easy to use pee pee bag for young boys. Inspired one day at a playground in New York City, where both live, the Piddle Pouch was the culmination of brainstorming to find a solution to an ongoing challenge: how to alleviate the problem of their boys having to pee when there were no toilets around.

This brilliant little pouch gives parents and caregivers an easy, discreet, germ-free solution when there is no potty available or close by. Perfect for everything from city parks/playgrounds/other venues, to parked cars, potty training, dirty restrooms, camping/hunting trips, boats, and even beaches.  Best of all, if you order through the Piddle Pouch website, an 8-pack of Piddle Pouches is only $9.99 and if you hurry, they are offering free shipping through the end of February

As avid fans of all things "family travel," we love this this company and their product!  For more information on Piddle Pouch, LLC, check out their website, Facebook page, and Twitter feeds.  Piddle Pouch; for life's little emergenpees!

Safe, happy, and stress-free travels!

-Destination Mom

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Keys to Success!

image courtesy of graur codrin/
As any parent of a toddler or baby can tell you, traveling with children in tow can result in a lot of forgotten items! After all, out of sight, out of mind. So if you're always leaving baby's bottles or snacks in foreign fridges when you visit friends or family, try this: place your keys in the fridge with the items you need to remember to pack back up... we promise, you won't get far without them!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Product Recalls: Invaluable Safety Information

image courtesy of winnond/
Travel-Tot believes knowledge is one of the most valuable tools for keeping your children safe; to that end, we'd like to share information about the quintessential online resource for finding out about product recalls; the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 

According to their website, the CPSC is "charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction...  [they are] committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children." The page further reports that the CPSC's work has contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

The CPSC hosts a fantastic website, featuring a homepage where the most current recalls can be found. In addition, the homepage offers a link to report unsafe products, and a search feature to locate products that may have been recalled less recently. There are also links to a Consumer Opinion Forum (where users can sign-up, at no cost, to join a panel of consumers that the CPSC consults on matters of product usage and phrasing of warning messages), an Education section (with great safety information and kid-friendly safety tips), and a variety of sub-classified safety information with links to specific resources on ATVsCribsPool/SpasDrywallMagnetsSmoke Alarms, and Resale/Thrift Stores.

The site is truly an invaluable resource for safety information.  So next time you find yourself online, give the CPSC's site a visit; the information you find there just might save a life. 

Safe and happy travels!
-Destination Mom

Monday, February 2, 2015

Prep and Plan: Emergency Preparedness

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