Drowning does not look like it does in the movies

Posted by Alina on Sunday Aug 1, 2010 Under safety

swimmerMy husband forwarded me an article about signs of drowning a little while ago and I feel the need to keep passing it along. With the summer heat, many of us are trying to stay cool by heading to pools, beaches, lakes, and other bodies of water. It’s important to be prepared and know how to recognize signs of drowning.

“The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D.,  is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water.  And it does not look like most people expect.  There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.”

Read the full article here.

A full fact sheet on unintentional drowning from the CDC, can be read here.

Tags : , , , , , , , | add comments

Kids Eat Free at Ikea!

Posted by Alina on Thursday Jun 24, 2010 Under destinations

Summer is here and sometimes we need to escape the heat in some air conditioned space, where the kids can run around and we can browse for useful household items. For a limited time, kids can get a free meal while you’re there! From Wednesday, June 23, 2010 until Saturday, July 5, 2010. No adult purchase necessary. Choose any three kid-sized items to create a meal, including five meatballs, mac and cheese, PB&J sandwich, kid’s yogurt, two cookies, chocolate milk, and more! Kids under 12 only.

Go to the Ikea website for details.

Tags : , , , , , | add comments

Staying Dry

Posted by Alina on Wednesday Apr 7, 2010 Under Baby Products


My son now has his very own umbrella! I thought this one looked cute online, but it was even better in person! Light in weight, so it is easy for my toddler to control it, but quite sturdy. He is able to open and close it by himself. The tips of the spokes have plastic balls on them, so he cannot poke himself in the eye.  My little guy walked around the apartment with this umbrella for a couple of days until we got some rain and he had a chance for a real test drive. This was definitely a great buy! He keeps asking for it whenever something reminds him of an umbrella and will play with it for about 20 minutes, which is super long in toddler time!

Tags : , , | add comments

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.

Tags : , , , , | 1 comment

Product recall

Posted by Alina on Thursday Feb 11, 2010 Under Baby Products, baby safety

wind chimeTiny Love has recalled it’s wind chime toys because if the toy is pulled apart, metal rods would be exposed, posing puncture and laceration hazards to the baby. The recall involves wind chime toys sold separately, with the Gymini Kick and Play Activity Gym and Tiny Smarts Gift Sets.

For more information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,  click here.

Tags : , , , , , , , | add comments

Best gift of the season

Posted by Alina on Saturday Jan 2, 2010 Under Baby Products

guitarMy 20 month old son loves music and especially loves when my husband plays guitar. My son is able to name a song which he wants to hear and my husband is able to play it and change the tune as fast as my son can name the next one. It is amazing to watch the two of them, as if they’re in their own little world, full of happiness and music.

As my son is getting older, he tries to imitate his parents more and more, it’s a phase of social development when kids get to “try on different hats” and see what type of response they get. For the holidays, he received a gift that seems to have topped all other gifts. It is his own, little, toddler sized acoustic guitar. It has 6 real metal strings, comes with a pick and an extra string. Although it goes out of tune pretty quickly, my son absolutely LOVES it. He can be just like his papa. He has been strumming it and singing for 5 days straight. He carries it all around the apartment, climbs onto furniture with it, has to have it in sight when he is eating, and loves to play it together with his dad. Even if there is no musician in your family, I think your toddler would enjoy this toy. However, if there is a guitar playing family member, you will have absolutely no regrets about this purchase!

Tags : , , , , , , , | add comments


Posted by Alina on Thursday Nov 19, 2009 Under communication, useful tips

sharingI recently went to a workshop organized by some of my mama friends about “positive discipline”. I found it quite interesting and thought I’d share one of the things I learned. My question to the instructor was about sharing, and what is considered proper playground etiquette. When my 19 month old son and I are out at a park, I feel this pressure to make him share his toys with kids who come up and are interested in them. My son, however, usually resists and sometimes gets to tears, which is when I just leave the issue alone.  I don’t know why I feel this pressure, perhaps because other parents are making similar requests of their kids, or because it seems like a “nice thing to do”.

The instructor answered it with a great metaphor. She said, “Imagine you are getting ready for your day. You’re feeling groggy, just stood in a line, finally got your long awaited cappuccino, and as you are about to take the first sip, someone tells you that you have to hand it over to the person next to you…”  Her point was, that until kids are in their 3’s, they don’t really get the whole sharing thing. She said not to MAKE him share, but rather to PRAISE him when he does so of his own volition. She also said this is a good age to be working on turn taking, and the same logic can be applied to toys. “It’s Henry’s turn to play with the toy right now, but you can have a turn when he is finished”.

One big point of this lecture was PRAISE . To be most effective it should be immediate, include touch (on the shoulder, pat on the back, a kiss, whatever you choose….), and be specific. Praise seems to be the positive reinforcement that makes the greatest difference when trying to alter a behavior, whether with kids or adults.

Tags : , , , , , , , , , | add comments

Unfortunately, a friend of mine told me this week that her toddler daughter sustained a tibial fracture. She said that she came down a slide with her daughter on her lap, which, most parents I know, myself included, have done multiple times. While they were coming down, her daughter’s foot got stuck on the side of the slide and she let out a loud shriek. Since then, her daughter has not been able to bear weight on her leg. My friend took her daughter to a hospital where she was diagnosed with a non-displaced tibial fracture.

Apparently this is not such a rare occurrence and an article on just this topic was published less than a month ago in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, titled “Tibia Fractures in Children Sustained on a Playground Slide.” The article is a retrospective study by Dr. John T. Gaffney, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Mineola, NY, who looked at 58 patients with tibial fractures and focused on the 8 cases which all happened while playing on a slide. The age of those 8 children ranged from 14-32 months and in ALL of the cases the child suffered a fracture while going down the slide on an adult’s lap. It appears that the injury happens when a child’s foot gets stuck on the side of the slide and because the parent’s speed and momentum makes it difficult to stop, this results in a tibial fracture for the child. The study recommends that if a child cannot safely go down a slide on their own, they should be redirected to a different activity to maximize the child’s safety.

Tags : , , , , , , , | add comments

Fall Kids Fest in Madison Square Park

Posted by Alina on Wednesday Oct 14, 2009 Under useful tips

This coming weekend, October 17th, 2009, Madison Square Park will be hosting the Fall Kids Fest from 10:30am-1:30pm with live music, arts and crafts, face painting, snacks, a costume parade lead by clowns, and much much more. This is the second year that it is being held.

I went with my husband and son last year and although it was quite crowded, and our son was a bit too young to enjoy it all, it was still fun to witness the ongoing events and see all the adorable little kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes.

For more information, here is an article about it from Time Out Kids, which is a partner in providing this fun filled event.

Tags : , , , , , , , , | add comments

Infant Massage

Posted by Alina on Wednesday Oct 7, 2009 Under health, useful tips

I was recently contacted by an expert in the field of infant and children’s massage therapy, Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT, who will be in NYC on October 17 & 18, 2009 Saturday & Sunday to present a workshop at the St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital. During the course she is offering free infant massage lessons for families from 1:30-2:30pm. For further information please check out her website You must RSVP to if you are interested in participating in this event. Ms. Allen says ” Babies and children simply love to be touched. In fact, they thrive on it and it is a crucial part of their development.” She was kind enough to share some of her massage tips with readers:

Getting Ready:
– Make sure the room is warm enough (especially if removing the child’s clothing)
– Relax yourself
– Warm your hands by rubbing them together
– Ask permission to start massage by making eye contact and verbally asking out loud “Is it okay if I give you a massage?”

Massage Time:
The Legs
If your little one is laying down facing you,
– Start by placing your warmed hands around the top of baby’s leg at the hip
– Cupping one leg, gently stroke downward towards the foot
– Do not put any pressure on baby’s knee or ankle
– Then stroke the bottom of the foot and gently hug each little toe
– Next kiss the feet, babies love this!
– Repeat on the opposite leg.

The Tummy
The tummy should not be massaged right after eating. If baby has not recently eaten (within 30 minutes), introduce your touch to the belly.
– Place your hands at the belly button and move them in a clockwise motion
– This movement can help ease the pains associated with gas, constipation and has been known to ease colic

The Arms
– Repeat the same soothing strokes that we used on the legs

The Back
– Stroke the back, starting at the shoulders, over bum and down the legs, showing extra care not to put any pressure on her spine
– Continue stroking the back a few times
End with a hug and kiss!

Tags : , , , , | add comments