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Archive for July, 2007

Babies: Back best for sleeping

Baby sleepingNew research adds proof to claims that babies sleeping on their back may help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A survey conducted in New Zealand found that side sleeping can be as dangerous as babies sleeping on their tummies. SIDS, which usually occurs in babies 1 to 4 months, has declined 63 percent from 1993 to 2004, fueled largely by the Back to Sleep campaign.

Other tips for helping prevent SIDS include laying them on firm surfaces (no waterbeds, bean bags or comforters that may cause accidental smothering), keeping room temperature comfortable (overheating is dangerous) and avoiding risk factors such as second-hand smoke. Giving babies pacifier before they fall asleep also may help.
— Ann Tatko-Peterson

Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
Under: Babies & Tots | No Comments »

FAMILY: 29,000 Sex Offenders on MySpace

Internet predators are today’s version of the monster under the bed, the wolf in the forest and the perv in the park, frightening tales that run through our culture and that reinforce the basic common sense rules you give your kids: don’t talk to strangers, don’t wander into dark places, and realize that even the kindliest person may be a wolf in disguise. So today’s news that more than 29,000 registered sex offenders have profiles on — four times the number the social networking site quoted two months ago — should serve not so much as cause for gibbering, shrieking alarm, but a potent reminder to parents that kids need to use those same common sense rules when they wander online.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Under: Health & Safety, Kids & Tweens, Teens | No Comments »

BABIES: Baby name consultants?

Crying babyAnd to think we snickered over Fifi Trixibelle.

Celebrity baby names – Apple, Pilot Inspektor and Banjo – have long been the subject of smug parental giggles. But now, some non-celeb parents have become so obsessed with finding the perfect baby name, they’re not just buying the 80 baby name books published in the last three years, they’re hiring baby name consultants – kind of an offshoot from the corporate branding practice – at $95 to $350 a pop. We kid you not. The Wall Street Journal has a hilarious (well, we thought so, anyway) piece on the new trend. And we’d still be laughing except that the WSJ described one family, the Stones, who had planned to name their kid Flynn, until a baby name consultant suggested they go with something that didn’t sound so, oh, animated. Maybe there is a place for baby branders, after all.

So here’s our question to you, where did you find your baby’s name?
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Under: Babies & Tots | 3 Comments »

TEENS & TWEENS: Online health info

Doctor's bagThe film world has been buzzing about Michael Moore’s “Sicko” and its provocative look at the health care industry, but for most families, health care begins not politically, but with a sad little, “Mommy, I don’t feel good.” And whether it’s strange bumps or raging stomach bugs, most of us do a bit of do-it-yourself diagnosis online before calling in the MDs … then prowl the ‘net afterward for second opinions.

Now, we know you know better than to use Wikipedia to diagnose your ailments, but even pediatric hospital web sites guides can be thorny to navigate … or so terminally boring, your eyes glaze over before you’ve even gotten to chicken pox. So, when youth and media culture expert Anastasia Goodstein started talking about the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s sites for teens and tweens, we took a look — and we agree with Anastasia. They offer balanced, reputable, user-friendly information on the health issues most pertinent to young adolescents and teens, including sexual health and substance issues. If you’ve got others to recommend, we’d love to hear about them.
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Under: Kids & Tweens, Teens | No Comments »

Family: Children eye health important

eyechartNBA star Derek Fisher walked away from a $21 million contract to be close to his sick daughter. He has since signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for $7 million less — a small price to pay considering his 1-year-old daughter will get the medical supervision she needs. This is a heart warming story that also serves as a valuable reminder about why eye health is important even for young children.

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Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2007
Under: Babies & Tots, Health & Safety | No Comments »

FAMILY: Post-Potter Reading

inkheart book coverHarry Potter’s over — now what?

If you and your progeny spent the weekend polishing off “The Deathly Hallows,” despair not. Plenty of great titles stand ready to delight newly adrift J.K. Rowling fans.

Following are fantastic series and captivating page-turners recommended by local, independent booksellers, any of whom would happily provide more ideas to shoppers who stop by in person. Reading levels vary widely, and these titles are aimed at everyone from elementary schoolers to adults, so be sure to check a few pages to see what you’re getting.

Got books to suggest? Share them in our comments section.

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Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2007
Under: Books | No Comments »

FAMILY: Post a Harry Potter review?

harry potter book cover
Thoroughly contented sigh. Just finished “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and while I wait anxiously for the rest of the family to finish so I can finally talk about it with someone, thought I’d mention that we’ve posted a discussion board so readers can post their own reviews of the seventh and final book in the series. Please, no spoilers — not everyone’s finished yet!

If, however, you want to talk about when ahem did erm, *cough, that and then uh, that other thing happened, e-mail me direct.
Jackie Burrell

Posted on Sunday, July 22nd, 2007
Under: Books, Teens | No Comments »

KIDS & TWEENS: Webkinz not so bad

WebkinzThe cute animated animals initially made me balk. So did my stepdaughter’s growing attachment to Webkinz, a Web site for kids and tweens that is tied to actual stuffed animals with secret codes. It’s these codes that allow the animals to “come alive” online.

Ann Pleshette Murphy provided tips in this weekend USA Weekend magazine for weaning kids off Webkinz. On the one hand, I understand the need to curb obsession and limit Internet time. But this site seems pretty tame in a world where kids have access to MySpace, You Tube and often extremely mature video games.

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Posted on Sunday, July 22nd, 2007
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

FAMILY: Canned meat recalled

From spinach to pet food, recalls seem to be happening at an alarming rate this year. Even more scary, only a handful make headlines. Sometimes as many as a dozen recalls occur each month.

On Saturday, Castleberry’s Food Co. in Georgia expanded a recall of canned meat to include 80 products possibly linked to a botulism outbreak. Two people in Indiana and two children in Texas have been hospitalized. The canned food includes chili, beef stew and corned beef hash. (Full list of recalled items.)

When it comes to what we eat, being proactive is the best preventive measure. Don’t wait for the headlines, regularly check the latest recall information online.
— Ann Tatko-Peterson

Posted on Sunday, July 22nd, 2007
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »

TODDLERS: Tantrums on a plane

When did toddlers become the terrorists of the skies? There’s been a rash of recent tyke flight incidents in which planes returned to the terminal to eject young passengers or, in one instance, actually made an emergency landing because of a tantrum. We’ve got the family thrown off a flight for breastfeeding last fall, the family thrown off for a 3-year-old’s tantrum in January, an emergency landing caused by a 4-year-old’s tantrum last month, and last week, the mother and child who were ejected because the tot wouldn’t stop saying “Bye-bye, plane.”

According to mom Kate Penfield, a Continental ExpressJet flight attendant became so angry over 19-month-old Garren’s repeated bye-byes, she told Kate to drug him. When mom refused, the plane returned to the terminal — where passengers had already been delayed 11 hours before boarding the flight in the first place — and mother and child were escorted off by police. The pair were on “Good Morning America” earlier this week (scroll down the “video player” list for the taped interview with the mother and several passengers from the flight). Continental has issued its normal “customer service is important to us” speech and referred the matter to its partner ExpressJet.

Now, we’ll be the first to admit that crying babies and raging 2-year-olds can make a flight pretty miserable, temporarily at least. But zero tolerance for tyke misbehavior? For tyke misbehavior after an 11-hour flight delay? And where does
“Bye bye, plane … bye bye plane … bye bye plane” fit on the misbehavior spectrum? Let’s hear your thoughts.
— Jackie Burrell

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2007
Under: Babies & Tots, Family Travel | 1 Comment »