OK, maybe we can’t promise this entirely, but tune into my radio show, Keeping It Together With Alison Rhodes, The Safety Mom (http://toginet.com/shows/keepingittogether). tomorrow at noon EST to get some great tips on finding ways to get along with not only your teens, but intrusive parents and well meaning friends. Join me when I speak with my guest, syndicated columnist and author Lisa Earle McLeod, as we discuss her new book, The Triangle of Truth: The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Resolving Conflicts Large and Small.
Most of us, myself included, have made some New Year’s resolutions that probably have already been broken! But, one that is critical is making sure that our homes are as safe as can be for our kids. So, in order to help, Evenflo and I are offering a Home Safety Makeover to one lucky winner (valued at nearly $2,500!). Go to www.evenflo.com/homesafetymakeover and, in 500 words or less tell us why you need a home safety makeover. Five runner-ups will also win an Evenflo Symphony65™ car seat, valued at $199. But the contest ends January 15th so make sure this is at the top of your to do list.
This morning, The Today Show featured a disturbing story about Matthew Cantrell, a 21-month old boy who died after becoming entangled in a soccer goal net. Matthew’s mother dialed 911 pleading for help. Despite her continuous please, the 911 operator could not talk her through how to administer CPR Shockingly, many 911 operators across the country are not required to be CPR certified. And, they are so desperate to find operators that some are hiring ex-convicts and fast food employees to man the phones.
I find it incredible that it’s not mandatory for 911 operators to be certified but this points to how important it is for every parent and caregiver be CPR and First Aid certified.
CLICK HERE to watch the segment.
As we approach 2010, it’s a great time to organize your home and do a “safety check-up” of your child’s toys and furniture. When you have kids it’s important to be organized and keep dangerous items stored securely and locked away. Keep in mind how you store things is equally as important as what you store.
Linen closets/medicine cabinets – Many parents think to lock away household cleaning products but neglect potential poisons in their bathroom cabinets and linen closets. Hairsprays and hair gels, mouth washes, toothpaste and perfume can all be harmful if ingested. Be sure that these items are stored in a locked cabinet preferably on the top shelf. Rearrange linen closets to place safe items such as towels on the shelves that are within children’s reach.
Armoires and cabinets – Closed cabinets are a great place to store DVD’s, CD’s and electronic equipment including TV’s. But make sure that heavy items such as stereo systems and TV’s are secured into the cabinet. Heavy duty Velcro, available at most hardware stores, is a handy way of accomplishing this. Additionally, secure the unit into the wall to prevent a tip over accident. There has been an increase in deaths due to heavy furniture and TVs toppling over onto children.
Pantries – Many potential choking hazards and poisons reside in our food pantries. Items such as nuts, hard candy and popcorn as well as spices including cayenne pepper, chili powder and other hazardous items need to be stored on the top shelves of the pantry. Keep pantry doors locked as added precaution.
Toy Chests/Linen Chests – While this is a great space to store blankets and toys, it also could be extremely hazardous. Install a slow-closing hinge so the top won’t fall on little fingers. Additionally, drill holes in the back of the chest so that in the event a child does get trapped inside they can get oxygen.
Garage and basement storage areas – Toxic chemicals such as bug repellant, lawn fertilizer and paint thinner should always be stores in their original containers so that in the event of ingestion you’re able to provide all of the information to poison control. Keep all items in a locked cabinet and place a lock on the door leading to the garage or basement as an added precaution. Don’t forget that items such as rakes, shovels, tools and lawn mowers are also dangerous for inquisitive kids!
Check all toys and furniture – Now is a great time to be sure that all of your child’s toys and games are in good working order – no broken or loose parts that could become a choking hazard. Check that bolts and screws on cribs, high chairs and strollers are still tight and secure all blind cord to avoid a strangulation hazard.
Hundreds of thousands of doses of the H1N1 vaccine have been recalled after tests indicated that they may not be potent enough to protect against the virus. Doctors were notified today about the recall which involves about 800,000 pre-filled syringe doses. These doses were intended for young children, ages 6 months to almost three years.
Even though it is not clear how many doses have already been given, health officials are stating that they don’t think children need to be re-vaccinated. The recalled doses passed potency tests when first shipped but the potency waned after.
Sanofi, the manufacturer of the vaccine said there is no safety concerns with the recalled lots.
Of course, if you have any concerns, call your pediatrician to discuss.
A colleague reached out to me last night asking for some advice. It was late and I almost went to bed without looking one more time at my e-mail but something told me I needed to. She was writing to tell me that her Godson Casey would be going to heaven today. It seems that the 11-week old boy had severe reflux and this last time they didn’t get to him soon enough. They live in Texas and apparently the law there requires that they keep him on life support – even against the parent’s wishes – for 24 hours. So, this morning Casey will leave us.
Getting this e-mail last night hit me on so many levels. It made me think of my own little boy Connor and the range of emotions I felt for months after he died. Whenever I speak with a grieving mom it takes me right back to that day twelve years ago when I lost my little baby. I always ask Connor for guidance in speaking with these moms and hope that I can offer some comfort and support. My heart goes out to my friend and Casey’s mom. There holidays will never be the same. I know from personal experience that the next few weeks and even months will be a blur for them and they will remember very little. Slowly, life will start again but it will never be the same. And when she least expects it years down the road, the scab will come off and she will feel that raw pain again of losing her baby – just like I am right now.
But it also reminded me of why I do what I do. I know I have no choice – it truly is my calling – to help other parents who are experiencing grief as I did. There are some days when it’s a struggle and I think that maybe I should find a “normal” job. But I realize that I would not be true to myself and I would be dishonoring Connor. So I’m starting out this day saying a prayer for my friend and her family and recommitting myself to being The Safety Mom.
It seems like this year just flew by! I’m off to the garage to hunt for all of my favorite holiday decorations, but before that I wanted to announce an exciting new contest I’m launching with Evenflo® Home Safety today. We are giving the gift of a home safety makeover (by yours truly) this holiday season to the most deserving family!
From December 1, 2009 through January 15, 2010 enter the Evenflo Home Safety Makeover Contest by telling your story, in 500 words or less, about how you can benefit from a Home Safety Makeover in the New Year at www.evenflo.com/homesafetymakeover. The Grand Prize winner will receive a home safety consultation with me, Evenflo gates and other home safety products (valued at nearly $2,500!) tailored to their home and family’s needs. Five lucky runners-up will receive an Evenflo Symphony65™ car seat, valued at $199, to help your baby stay safe on the road.
To jump start your safe holiday season, keep these tips in mind:
- Always anticipate the unexpected, and stay one step ahead of your little ones.
- Consider children’s ages and developmental stages. Baby-proofing is not a project you can do and forget about it. Be vigilant; continuously monitor your baby’s developmental stages.
- Gates can provide safety zones within your home where you can keep a closer eye on baby, while helping to prevent him or her from wandering into harm’s way.
Don’t forget to submit your story to www.evenflo.com/homesafetycontest by January 15, 2010 to win!