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Toddlers, car seats, and body mechanics

Posted by Alina on Wednesday Oct 13, 2010 Under body mechanics, health, toddlers

Screen shot 2010-10-13 at 11.32.25 PMLately, when I drop off or pick up my son at daycare,  I have noticed how much some people strain their bodies when placing and removing their young children to/from car seats. My son weighs 32 lbs, and it is becoming difficult for me these days to lift him into his seat, so one day I asked him to climb in himself, and, to my surprise, he did it without a problem, and actually liked it!

My first recommendation to decrease the strain on the parents’ bodies, would be to have the child climb into the car seat on his/her own. You may have to give them a hand in the beginning, but they learn quickly. If the child is unable to climb up independently, then parents should use proper lifting mechanics. Don’t just bend forward at your hips and back and pick up your toddler with extended arms. The pressure on your spinal disks as well as strain on muscles, tendons and ligaments in your back, neck, shoulders, and wrists is quite significant, especially repetitively, and is likely to result in injury. Either squat down with both legs, sticking your buttocks out, hold the child close and then use your legs to straighten up. Or, kneel down on one knee, hold the child close and then stand up from there. Once you have the child and are upright, get as close to the car seat as you can, place one foot in the car, and facing the car seat, place your child in.

Next, comes the buckling in of the squirmy little person. I now ask my two year old to place his arms through the belt loops on his own, which he is usually happy to do. If your car seat is installed in the center of the back seat (safest position), then you should try to get as close as possible to it, by getting in and kneeling on one knee, or both, to avoid straining your back and neck. If the seat is installed behind the driver (next safest option), then placing one foot  just inside the car, with the knees and hips bent, and facing the car seat, should provide a good base of support for your center of gravity, and greatly reduce the strain on your back, neck and extremities.

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Savings Program for Parents

Posted by Alina on Monday Sep 20, 2010 Under Baby Products, pregnancy, toddlers

Screen shot 2010-09-20 at 12.18.49 PMThe new Amazon Mom program is a free membership program, that allows primary caregivers of young children to save on various products. You can get 30% off on select diapers and wipes with Subscribe and Save, as well as get 3 months of Free 2 day shipping with Amazon Prime. More free months can be earned when you make purchases. Subscribe and Save allows you  to sign up for automatic diaper and/or wipes delivery service, on a schedule of your choosing, which is a great feature for busy parents! You can modify or cancel this service at any time. If you provide your child’s name, birthday, and gender (which are all optional), Amazon will help you find the deals geared toward your child’s needs at the right time in your baby’s development. The program, despite it’s name, is not only for moms, but is open to all primary caregivers.  Amazon does state that parents of younger kids will enjoy some extra benefits. Overall, it sounds like a great deal! And it’s FREE!

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Toddler friendly iPhone apps

Posted by Alina on Tuesday Mar 16, 2010 Under mommy products, toddlers, useful tips

Although it is probably not the best idea to hand your iPhone over to your toddler, this maneuver has saved my husband and I on long car and plane trips as well as during long dinners out. Our son, who is now 22 months old, is unbelievably savvy with the device. He is able to open it, choose the application that he wants, play with it, and then move on to the next one when he’s bored. He also knows how to access the iPod and turn on the show of his choice. This probably shows that he has been playing with the iPhone a bit more than he should. However, Apple, knowing that parents like us are out there, offers applications that are fun and even educational for the little ones.

The following cost a dollar or two:

Tozzle is a shape matching app, with 20 different boards that kids can choose from. When a child drags a shape to its matching outline, it makes a sound appropriate to the shape (its name if it is a letter or number, sound of doorbell on a door, or sounds of the appropriate animal, etc…) The boards/ themes are very colorful, include letters (lower case and capitals), numbers, various scenes (fish in the sea, farm, garage, and many more). If after a couple of tries, the child does not match the shape successfully, an arrow appears on the screen and floats to help guide the child. This has been one of my son’s favorite apps.

Letters and Shapes from Toddler Teasers are two separate apps that my son enjoys as well. The child is asked to touch a certain letter or shape and if he/she gets it right, there are applause, cheering and after a few correct answers, they get a virtual sticker. If the child gets it wrong, he/she learns the name of the shape or letter he/she actually touched and is then asked to try again.

Kidzongs by Stepworks is a simple app that has 6 children’s songs with very basic animation and an option to have a voice sing the songs or just play the music so the child can sing himself. As simple as it is, my son enjoys this one, probably because of the familiar tunes, but does not spend a ton of time with it.

Kidztory by Stepworks makes apps of narrated children’s books.  The books are interactive, with the characters moving and making sounds if touched. I have The Little Red Hen, and this book can be narrated in English, Spanish, or Cantonese.

Wheels on the Bus from Duck Duck Moose is an interactive musical book based on the song with the same name. There are various pages with illustrations to touch and explore. You can choose to hear the song in different languages and played by different instruments. There is even an option to record yourself. This app gets a great deal of play time.

ZooBox was a favorite for a long time, when he was a bit younger. This app has photos of various animals that the kids can flip through and each picture has the animal sound to go with it after the phone is tilted to a certain angle and held for a few seconds. I think it’s too basic at this age.

These are free:

Virtuoso Piano has a free version which my son enjoys. It is a piano keyboard that can be played on the phone by tapping the keys.

DoodleBuddy is a cool application which allows your toddler to draw with their finger, there is a choice of different colors, backgrounds, characters with sound effects, and you can even draw over pictures that are saved on your phone or you can snap a new one and get creative. At his age, my son likes to doodle, explore all the buttons/features of this app, and use the characters with sound effects.

The phone could never replace the attention and interaction of parents or caregivers with the kids, but after all other avenues of entertainment (crayons, wind up toys, books, etc…) have been exhausted, it comes in quite handy if you have a cranky toddler, who does not understand why he has to be strapped to a car seat for another hour. You can learn about these and other applications by hitting the APP store icon on your iPhone or iTouch or through iTunes on your computer.

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