Saturday, May 31, 2008

Listen, Don't Lecture

Do you consider yourself a good listener? Do you actively listen to your children and engage them in meaningful conversation? Or do you tend more toward talking, lecturing, and advising? Many early-childhood psychologists and social workers agree that parents can enhance communication when they stop and listen to their children. You may gain an unparalleled understanding of your children's needs when you allow them to talk, share feelings, and express concerns.

Julie Scandora, a mother of three and author of the children's book Rules Are Rules, offers five practical tips that can help you along the road to better communication with your children:

1) Listen. It sounds obvious, but if your children don't think they'll be heard, they won't come to you with the hard questions or problems.

2) Create opportunities for interaction with your kids. Use car time—such as the 20-minute drive to school—as a time to communicate with them.

3) Lead by example. Far too many parents opt for the do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do approach. This sends mixed messages to children regarding important situations.

4) Respect your child's intuition. We all have gut feelings; if kids are encouraged to trust theirs, they'll be able to heed their intuition in dicey situations when you aren't around to help.

5) Don't confuse respect with giving in. It is important that the parental role not be usurped. Don't give in to kids just to defuse a problematic situation. Instead, communicate with them and let them know why rules are rules.

Effective communication is essential in any relationship. By listening to your children, you teach them good communication skills that will last a lifetime.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Sign the petition to fire teacher!

I know many online petitions do not work, but hey, this has almost 5,000 signatures!! That teacher who "voted" the child with autism out of her class should not be let into a school ever again!
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Positive Parenting Idea of the Day

Knowledge is better than riches.

--African Proverbs

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pictures from Dr. Karp's visit to Durham

Sorry some are so dark!!
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Common Pediatric and Parenting Myths

What You Need To Know

There are many myths that are spread to new parents by family members, friends and sometimes even their pediatrician. Many of these myths are just 'old wives tales,' and while they are generally not harmful, they can be confusing to a new parent who is trying to learn to do the right thing for their children.

Myth 1: A green or yellow runny nose means that your child has a sinus infection and needs antibiotics.

This is usually not true. A sinus infection is commonly defined as having a green or yellow runny nose that lasts for more than 10-14 days without improvement. Many other infections caused by viruses can also cause a green runny nose, but unlike a sinus infection, these infections will not respond to an antibiotic.

I think most parents understand the difference between an infection caused by a virus and an infection caused by a bacteria, and that only bacterial infections respond to antibiotics. But many believe the myth that a green runny nose means a sinus infection, which can lead to your child taking antibiotics unnecessarily. So remember that while a green or yellow runny nose does mean that your child has an infection, unless it has been lasting for more than 10-14 days, then it is probably just a cold that will get better on its own. And it is not because your child will likely get better on his own that antibiotics aren't used for viral infections, instead it is because they just don't work on these types of infections.

Myth 2: A fever is bad for you.

Fever by itself is not harmful or dangerous, and unless it is very high (over 106 or 107 F), then it is unlikely to cause brain damage or other problems. Even febrile seizures (a seizure triggered by a fever) aren't usually dangerous. Fever is not a disease, instead, it is a symptom that can accompany many childhood illnesses, especially infections. In general, you should call your pediatrician if your infant under three months of age has a rectal temperature above 100.4 F, if your infant aged 3-6 months has a temperature above 101 F, or if an infant above 6 months has a temperature above 103 F.

For most older children, it is not so much the number, but rather how your child is acting that is concerning. If your older child is alert, active and playful, is not having difficulty breathing, and is eating and sleeping well, or if the temperature comes down quickly with home treatments (and he is feeling well), then you don't necessarily need to call your doctor immediately.

However, it is important to keep in mind that a fever is not the only sign of a serious illness. While some children are fine with a temperature of 104, others can be deathly ill with a temperature of 101 or even without a fever or a low temperature. Whether or not your child has a fever, if he is very irritable, confused, lethargic (doesn't easily wake up), has difficulty breathing, has a rapid and weak pulse, is refusing to eat or drink, is still ill-appearing even after the fever is brought down, has a severe headache or other specific complaint (burning with urination, if he is limping, etc.), or if he has a fever and it is persistent for more than 24 to 48 hours, then you should call your pediatrician or seek medical attention immediately.

Myth 3: A fever is good for you.

While a fever is a sign that your body is fighting an infection, lowering the fever will not make it take longer to get over the infection. You do not necessarily need to treat your child's fever, but in most cases, fever can be treated as a comfort measure. Treating a fever, especially if it is caused by an infection, will not help your child to get better any faster either, but it may help make it feel better. If your child has a fever, especially if it is low grade, but does not feel bad, then you don't really need to give him a fever reducer.

Treatment of a fever can include using an over-the-counter fever reducer, including products that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). If you child has an infection, using a fever reducer will not help your child to get better any faster, but they will probably make him feel better. You should also give your child a lot of fluids when he has a fever, so that he does not get dehydrated. Keep in mind that treatment of a fever is usually to help your child feel better, so if he has a fever, but doesn't feel bad, especially if the fever is low grade, then you do not need to treat the fever.

Is it safe to alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen? If you are using the correct dosage of each medicine at the correct times, then it is probably safe, although there is no research to prove that it helps. The problem is that it is easy to get confused and give an extra dose of one or the other medicines. If you are alternating fever reducers, then write down a schedule with the times that you are giving the medicines so that the correct medicine is always given at the correct time.

More Myths

Myth 4: Teething causes ...

fever, diarrhea, vomiting or diaper rashes. Not true. Teething may cause some fussiness and nightwakenings in some children, but if your child has other symptoms, especially a high fever, then you should look for another cause, such as a viral infection, which are very common during the time that children's teeth are coming in. Your child's first teeth will begin coming in between three and sixteen months (usually around six months). The two bottom front teeth will be the first to come in and this will be followed by the four upper teeth in four to eight weeks. Your child will continue to get new teeth until he has all twenty of his primary teeth when he is three years old, with most children getting about four new teeth every four months. In most children teething only causes increased drooling and a desire to chew on hard things, but in some it does cause mild pain and irritability and the gums may become swollen and tender. To help this you can vigorously massage the area for a few minutes or let him chew on a smooth, hard teething ring. Although most children do not need teething gels or treatment with acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain, you can use them if necessary.

Myth 5: You must boil your water before preparing your infant's bottle of formula.

This one is actually controversial. Boiling the water when preparing infant formula was universally recommended and was then thought to be unnessesary. In 1993, an outbreak of cyclosporiasis from contaminated water in Milwaukee prompted officials to again recommend that water be boiled when preparing infant formula.

If you live in a city with sanitized water and you are preparing bottles one at a time, then boiling water or sterilizing the bottles and nipples probably isn't necessary. You can use this water out of the tap and bottles can be washed in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher. If you are not convinced that your water supply is safe or if you are using well water, then you should boil the water for five minutes before preparing formula.

Myth 6: Giving your infant cereal will help him to sleep through the night.

This is one of the most common myths that just isn't true. When your child begins to sleep through the night has more to do with his development and having a good bedtime routine where he learns to fall asleep on his own, and not on how hungry or full he is. And remember that many children do not begin to sleep though the night until they are about 3-4 months old.

Breast milk or infant formula supplies all of your baby's nutritional needs for at least the first 4 to 6 months of life, so don't be in a rush to start solid baby foods. Starting solids too early can cause your baby to develop food allergies. Your baby's intestinal tract is not as fully developed during the first few months and introducing solids at this time can be too much to handle. Another reason for not giving solid foods earlier than 4 to 6 months is unintentional overfeeding, since younger babies can not offer you signals when they are full, such as turning away or showing disinterest. A third reason for holding off on solids is your baby's inability to swallow solids correctly before 4 to 6 months of age and this can potentially cause choking.

Myth 7: Colic is caused by -

It is not known what causes colic, but it is not usually thought to be from abdominal pain, formula allergies, the iron in infant formula or gas. It is known that normal babies have a fussy period toward the end of the day that begins when they are two to three weeks old and that this may be their way of 'blowing off steam' or dealing with the normal stimulus of their day. It may be that babies with colic are more sensitive to this normal everyday stimulation. It is also known that babies with colic do not have more difficult temperaments and are not more hypersensitive as they grow older.

Colic is a common problem, affecting 10-25% of all newborns. It is defined as recurrent inconsolable crying in a healthy and well-fed infant. It usually begins at about two to three weeks of age, is at its worst at six weeks of age and then gradually improves and finally resolves on its own by three to four months. The most common symptoms of colic are the sudden onset of screaming and crying that can last for more than two to three hours at a time. Babies with colic will often seem as if they are in pain and are difficult to console. While crying they will usually pass a lot of gas, draw up their legs and their abdomen may seem hard or distended. Most babies with colic have one or two episodes of this type of crying each day. In between these episodes they usually act fine.

More Myths

Unless your baby has reflux or a formula allergy, there are no medicines to make colic go away. Some tips to help deal with colic until it clears up on its own include reassuring yourself and other family members that this is a benign problem that always clears up on its own without any long term effects. Some things that you may try to comfort your baby include swaddling, cuddling, rhythmic rocking, going for a walk or ride, warm baths, singing, rhythmic sounds, massages, or using a pacifier, windup swing or vibrating chair. None of these measures work for all children, but you can try one or two at a time until you find what works for your baby.

If nothing works, it is okay to just put your baby down and let him cry for short periods. Always remember that it wasn't anything that you did or didn't do that caused your baby to have colic and as a last resort try to take a break by having a family member or friend help care for your baby.

Myth 8: Your child needs a daily multi-vitamin.

It is estimated that a daily multivitamin is given to 25-50% of children in the United States, although this is generally not necessary for most children with an average diet, even if your child is a picky eater. Some children that have a poor or restricted diet, liver disease or other chronic medical problems, especially those that lead to fat malabsorption, such as cystic fibrosis, may need vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent deficiencies.

Preterm infants and children who are exclusively breastfed, with either very dark skin or limited exposure to sunlight, may also need vitamin supplements. Also, children may need fluoride supplements if they do not drink fluoridated water.

Although you may give your child an age appropriate multivitamin if you or your Pediatrician feels that your child needs one, it is probably better to try and reach his daily requirements or recommended daily allowance by providing him with a well balanced diet. Consuming a diet with the minimum number of servings suggested by the Food Guide Pyramid will provide your child with the recommended daily allowance of most vitamins and minerals.

Myth 9: A mobile infant walker will help your child learn to walk faster.

In general, you should not use a mobile baby walker, as it will not help your child learn to walk faster and they can be dangerous if they make your child too mobile. Stationary walkers are much safer. If you do use a mobile walker, make sure the area is child proofed and away from stairs, and that your child is supervised at all times.

Myth 10: You should/shouldn't let your children sleep in your bed.

There are no definite right or wrong ways to put your child to sleep and if you and your baby are happy with your current routine then you should stick to it. However, it is not good if it is a struggle to put your child to bed, if he gets overly frustrated in the process, strongly resists being put to bed or if he is waking up so much that he or other family members end up not getting adequate sleep.

Myth 11: You shouldn't give milk or other dairy products to your child when he is sick because it will increase mucus production or make it thicker.

In general this isn't true, unless your child has a milk allergy. When your child is sick, you can let him eat his usual diet as tolerated. If your child does not want to eat then you can try the typical BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) with lots of fluids and then advance his diet as he will tolerate it.

Myth 12: You can tell if a child has strep throat just by looking at him.

This is a common myth that is propagated by doctors, but it isn't true. While most parents are worried about strep throat when their child has a throat infection (tonsillitis), there are also many viruses that cause infections that look very similar to strep. If your child has a sore throat with fever and a red, swollen throat or tonsils with white pus on them, then he should be seen by his physician so that he can be tested for strep throat. If the tests for strep are negative, then your child's throat infection is caused by a virus and antibiotics will not work. Viral infections of the throat usually improve in two to three days without treatment.

Most studies have shown that doctors and other health professionals are only correct about half the time when they think a child has strep after just a physical exam. So if your child was treated everytime it looked like he had strep, then he might be overtreated or mistreated with antibiotics half the time.

Myth 13: You should begin potty training when your child is _______ months old.

Although most children show signs of readiness to begin potty training between 18 months and 3 years of age, there is no set time at which you should begin. When to start potty training has more to do with your child's developmental and physical readiness, and the time when this occurs varies in different children. Signs that your child is ready to begin potty training include staying dry for at least 2 hours at a time, having regular bowel movements, being able to follow simple instructions, being uncomfortable with dirty diapers and wanting them to be changed, asking to use the potty chair or toilet, and asking to wear regular underwear. You should also be able to tell when your child is about to urinate or have a bowel movement by his facial expressions, posture or by what he says. If your child has begun to tell you about having a dirty diaper you should praise him for telling you and encourage him to tell you in advance next time.

Myth 14: Punishment and discipline are the same thing.

Discipline is not the same as punishment. Instead, discipline has to do more with teaching, and involves teaching your child right from wrong, how to respect the rights of others, which behaviors are acceptable and which are not, with a goal of helping to develop a child who feels secure and loved, is self-confident, self-disciplined and knows how to control his impulses, and who does not get overly frustrated with the normal stresses of everyday life.

You should understand that how you behave when disciplining your child will help to determine how your child is going to behave or misbehave in the future. If you give in after your child repeatedly argues, becomes violent or has a temper tantrum, then he will learn to repeat this behavior because he knows you may eventually give in (even if it is only once in a while that you do give in). If you are firm and consistent then he will learn that it doesn't pay to fight doing what he is eventually going to have to do anyway. Some children, however, will feel like they won if they put off doing something that they didn't want to do for even a few minutes.

Be consistent in your methods of discipline and how you punish your child. This applies to all caregivers. It is normal for children to test their limits, and if you are inconsistent in what these limits are, then you will be encouraging more misbehavior.

Myth 15: If your child is doing badly in school and he has a short attention span and is easily distractable, then he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

There are many reasons for teens to underperform at school, including a lack of motivation to do well, problems at home or with peers, poor work habits or study skills, emotional and behavior problems, learning disabilities (such as dyslexia), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation or below average intelligence and other medical problems, including anxiety and depression. It is important to find the reason for your child's poor performance, especially if she is failing, and come up with a treatment plan so that she can perform up to her full potential and to prevent the development of problems with low self-esteem, behavior problems and depression.

It is sometimes difficult to figure out if a child's problems at school are caused by their other medical problems, such as depression, or if these other problems began because of their poor school performance. Children who do poorly at school may be under a lot of stress, and will develop different ways to cope with this stress. Some may externalize their feelings, which can lead to acting out and behavior problems or becoming the class clown. Other children will internalize their feelings, and will develop almost daily complaints of headaches or stomachaches. A thorough evaluation by an experienced professional is usually needed to correctly diagnose children with complex problems. When you realize your child has a problem at school, you should schedule a meeting with her teacher to discuss the problem. Other resources that may be helpful including talking with the school psychologist or counselor or your Pediatrician.

Myth 16: Children and adolescents don't get depressed, and if they do, then they don't need treatment.

Depression in children has long been an overlooked health problem.

Depression in children can, if untreated, affect school performance and learning, social interactions and development of normal peer relationships, self-esteem and life skill acquisition, parent-child relations and a child's sense of bonding and trust, can lead to substance abuse, disruptive behaviors, violence and aggression, legal troubles, and even suicide. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among children and adolescents, just behind accidents and violence. Moreover, depressive thinking can become part of a child's developing personality, leaving long-term effects in place for the rest of a child's life.

The most common symptoms of depression reported in children and adolescents were sadness, inability to feel pleasure, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, lack of self-esteem, and social withdrawal. Children are as well somewhat more likely than adolescents to suffer from physical symptoms (e.g., stomach aches and headaches), hallucinations, agitation, and extreme fears. On the other hand, adolescents showed more despairing thoughts, weight changes, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Myth 17: You should force your picky eater to finish his dinner.

Not true. Forcing your child to eat when he isn't hungry is a good way to encourage feeding problems in the future.

The best way to prevent feeding problems is to teach your children to feed himself as early as possible, provide them with healthy choices and allow experimentation. Mealtimes should be enjoyable and pleasant and not a source of struggle.

Common mistakes are allowing your children to drink too much milk or juice so that they aren't hungry for solids, forcing your children to eat when they aren't hungry, or forcing them to eat foods that they don't want.

While you should provide three well-balanced meals each day, it is important to keep in mind that most children will only eat one or two full meals each day. If you child has had a good breakfast and lunch, then it is okay that he doesn't want to eat much at dinner. Although your child will probably be hesitant to try new foods, you should still offer small amounts of them once or twice a week (one tablespoon of green beans, for example). Most children will try a new food after being offered it 10-15 times.

Myth 18: Physical punishment is an effective discipline technique.

You should avoid physical punishment. Spanking has never been shown to be more effective than other forms of discipline and it will likely make your child more aggressive and angry and teach him that is sometimes acceptable to hit others.

Myth 19: You should just observe your child with speech or motor delays because he will probably eventually grow out of it.

If you think that your child is not meeting his normal speech or language developmental milestones, if he is at high risk of developing a hearing problem, or has school performance problems, then it is very important that his hearing be formally tested by a professional. Again, it is not enough that they think that your child hears because he responds to a loud clap or bell in the doctor's office or because he comes when you call him from another room.

Parents are usually the first ones to think that there is a problem with their child's speech development and/or hearing, and this parental concern should be enough to initiate furthur evaluation. In addition to a formal hearing test and developmental assessment by their Pediatrician, children with speech and language delays should be referred to an early childhood intervention program (for children under 3) or the local school district (for children over 3), so that an evaluation and treatments can be initiated by a psychologist (if indicated) and/or a speech therapist/pathologist.

Early diagnosis is also important if your child has motor delays, so that treatment can be started, and your doctor will probably refer you to an Early Childhood Intervention program if your child is not meeting age appropriate gross motor milestones, such as sitting up or walking.

Myth 20: You should always or your should never __________ .

There are very few things that you should always or you should never do when taking care of your child. In general, you should trust your instincts, and if what you are doing is working well, then you can usually stick to it. If your methods or techniques aren't working, then try something else or get some help.
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Monday, May 26, 2008

Some Breastfeeding Myths

1.  Many women do not produce enough milk.
Not true! The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common. Most babies that gain too slowly, or lose weight, do so not because the mother does not have enough milk, but because the baby does not get the milk that the mother has. The usual reason that the baby does not get the milk that is available is that he is poorly latched onto the breast. This is why it is so important that the mother be shown, on the first day, how to latch a baby on properly, by someone who knows what they are doing.
2.  It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.
Not true! Though some tenderness during the first few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary situation which lasts only a few days and should never be so bad that the mother dreads nursing. Any pain that is more than mild is abnormal and is almost always due to the baby latching on poorly. Any nipple pain that is not getting better by day 3 or 4 or lasts beyond 5 or 6 days should not be ignored. A new onset of pain when things have been going well for a while may be due to a yeast infection of the nipples. Limiting feeding time does not prevent soreness. (See topic #4 Sore Nipples).
3.  There is no (not enough) milk during the first 3 or 4 days after birth.
Not true! It often seems like that because the baby is not latched on properly and therefore is unable to get the milk. Once the mother's milk is abundant, a baby can latch on poorly and still may get plenty of milk. However, during the first few days, the baby who is latched on poorly cannot get milk. This accounts for "but he's been on the breast for 2 hours and is still hungry when I take him off". By not latching on well, the baby is unable to get the mother's first milk, called colostrum. Anyone who suggests you pump your milk to know how much colostrum there is, does not understand breastfeeding, and should be politely ignored.
4.  A baby should be on the breast 20 (10, 15, 7.6) minutes on each side.
Not true! However, a distinction needs to be made between "being on the breast" and "breastfeeding". If a baby is actually drinking for most of 15-20 minutes on the first side, he may not want to take the second side at all. If he drinks only a minute on the first side, and then nibbles or sleeps, and does the same on the other, no amount of time will be enough. The baby will breastfeed better and longer if he is latched on properly. He can also be helped to breastfeed longer if the mother compresses the breast to keep the flow of milk going, once he no longer swallows on his own (Handout #17 Breast Compression). Thus it is obvious that the rule of thumb that "the baby gets 90% of the milk in the breast in the first 10 minutes" is equally hopelessly wrong.
5.  A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather.
Not true! Breastmilk contains all the water a baby needs.
6.  Breastfeeding babies need extra vitamin D.
Not true! Except in extraordinary circumstances (for example, if the mother herself was vitamin D deficient during the pregnancy). The baby stores vitamin D during the pregnancy, and a little outside exposure, on a regular basis, gives the baby all the vitamin D he needs.
[Note from your Pediatrics Guide: The AAP now recommends that all exclusively breastfeeding infants be given 200 IU of Vitamin D beginning in the first 2 months of life. Since it is now often recommended that kids not be exposed to much sun (especially in the first 6 months of life), the frequent use of sunscreen decreases the synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin, and rickets is a serious and easily preventable disorder, the recommendation to supplement with Vitamin D was made.]
7.  A mother should wash her nipples each time before feeding the baby.
Not true! Formula feeding requires careful attention to cleanliness because formula not only does not protect the baby against infection, but also is actually a good breeding ground for bacteria and can also be easily contaminated. On the other hand, breastmilk protects the baby against infection. Washing nipples before each feeding makes breastfeeding unnecessarily complicated and washes away protective oils from the nipple.
8.  Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has.
Not true! How much milk can be pumped depends on many factors, including the mother's stress level. The baby who nurses well can get much more milk than his mother can pump. Pumping only tells you have much you can pump.
9.  Breastmilk does not contain enough iron for the baby's needs.
Not true! Breastmilk contains just enough iron for the baby's needs. If the baby is full term he will get enough iron from breastmilk to last him at least the first 6 months. Formulas contain too much iron, but this quantity may be necessary to ensure the baby absorbs enough to prevent iron deficiency. The iron in formula is poorly absorbed, and most of it, the baby poops out. Generally, there is no need to add other foods to breastmilk before about 6 months of age.
10.  It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed.
Not true! Or, this should not be true. However, breastfeeding is made difficult because women often do not receive the help they should to get started properly. A poor start can indeed make breastfeeding difficult. But a poor start can also be overcome. Breastfeeding is often more difficult at first, due to a poor start, but usually becomes easier later.
11.  Breastfeeding ties the mother down.
Not true! But it depends how you look at it. A baby can be nursed anywhere, anytime, and thus breastfeeding is liberating for the mother. No need to drag around bottles or formula. No need to worry about where to warm up the milk. No need to worry about sterility. No need to worry about how your baby is, because he is with you.
12.  There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting.
Not true! There is no easy way to measure how much the baby is getting, but this does not mean that you cannot know if the baby is getting enough. The best way to know is that the baby actually drinks at the breast for several minutes at each feeding (open--pause--close type of suck). Other ways also help show that the baby is getting plenty (Handout #4 Is my Baby getting enough milk?).
13.  Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk.
Not true! The same claim was made in 1900 and before. Modern formulas are only superficially similar to breastmilk. Every correction of a deficiency in formulas is advertised as an advance. Fundamentally formulas are inexact copies based on outdated and incomplete knowledge of what breastmilk is. Formulas contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much more aluminum, manganese, cadmium and iron than breastmilk. They contain significantly more protein than breastmilk. The proteins and fats are fundamentally different from those in breastmilk. Formulas do not vary from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, or from day 1 to day 7 to day 30, or from woman to woman, or from baby to baby. Your breastmilk is made as required to suit your baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby, and thus no baby. Formulas succeed only at making babies grow well, usually, but there is more to breastfeeding than getting the baby to grow quickly.
14.  If the mother has an infection she should stop breastfeeding.
Not true! With very, very few exceptions, the mother’s continuing to breastfeed will protect the baby. By the time the mother has fever (or cough, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, etc) she has already given the baby the infection, since she has been infectious for several days before she even knew she was sick. The baby's best protection against getting the infection is for the mother to continue breastfeeding. If the baby does get sick, he will be less sick if the mother continues breastfeeding. Besides, maybe it was the baby who gave the infection to the mother, but the baby did not show signs of illness because he was breastfeeding. Also, breast infections, including breast abscess, though painful, are not reasons to stop breastfeeding. Indeed, the infection is likely to settle more quickly if the mother continues breastfeeding on the affected side.
15.  If the baby has diarrhea or vomiting, the mother should stop breastfeeding.
Not true! The best medicine for a baby's gut infection is breastfeeding. Stop other foods for a short time, but continue breastfeeding. Breastmilk is the only fluid your baby requires when he has diarrhea and/or vomiting, except under exceptional circumstances. The push to use "oral rehydrating solutions" is mainly a push by the formula manufacturers (who also make oral rehydrating solutions) to make even more money. The baby is comforted by the breastfeeding, and the mother is comforted by the baby's breastfeeding.
16.  If the mother is taking medicine she should not breastfeed.
Not true! There are very very few medicines that a mother cannot take safely while breastfeeding. A very small amount of most medicines appears in the milk, but usually in such small quantities that there is no concern. If a medicine is truly of concern, there are usually equally effective, alternative medicines that are safe. The loss of benefit of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby must be taken into account when weighing if breastfeeding should be continued.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Find Your Style Of Parenting

There are many ideas about how to rear children. Some parents adopt the ideas their own parents used. Others get advice from friends. Some read books about parenting. Others take classes offered in the community. No one has all the answers. However, psychologists and other social scientists now know what parenting practices are most effective and are more likely to lead to positive outcomes for children.
Ideas about child rearing can be grouped into three styles. These are different ways of deciding who is responsible for what in a family.


Authoritarian parents always try to be in control and exert their control on the children. These parents set strict rules to try to keep order, and they usually do this without much expression of warmth and affection. They attempt to set strict standards of conduct and are usually very critical of children for not meeting those standards. They tell children what to do, they try to make them obey and they usually do not provide children with choices or options.
Authoritarian parents don't explain why they want their children to do things. If a child questions a rule or command, the parent might answer, "Because I said so." Parents tend to focus on bad behavior, rather than positive behavior, and children are scolded or punished, often harshly, for not following the rules.

Children with authoritarian parents usually do not learn to think for themselves and understand why the parent is requiring certain behaviors.


Permissive parents give up most control to their children. Parents make few, if any, rules, and the rules that they make are usually not consistently enforced. They don't want to be tied down to routines. They want their children to feel free. They do not set clear boundaries or expectations for their children's behavior and tend to accept in a warm and loving way, however the child behaves.
Permissive parents give children as many choices as possible, even when the child is not capable of making good choices. They tend to accept a child's behavior, good or bad, and make no comment about whether it is beneficial or not. They may feel unable to change misbehavior, or they choose not to get involved.

Democratic Or Authoritative

Democratic parents help children learn to be responsible for themselves and to think about the consequences of their behavior. Parents do this by providing clear, reasonable expectations for their children and explanations for why they expect their children to behave in a particular manner. They monitor their children's behavior to make sure that they follow through on rules and expectations. They do this in a warm and loving manner. They often, "try to catch their children being good" and reinforcing the good behavior, rather than focusing on the bad.
For example, a child who leaves her toys on a staircase may be told not to do this because, "Someone could trip on them and get hurt and the toy might be damaged." As children mature, parents involve children in making rules and doing chores: "Who will mop the kitchen floor, and who will carry out the trash?"

Parents who have a democratic style give choices based on a child's ability. For a toddler, the choice may be "red shirt or striped shirt?" For an older child, the choice might be "apple, orange or banana?" Parents guide children's behavior by teaching, not punishing. "You threw your truck at Mindy. That hurt her. We're putting your truck away until you can play with it safely."

Which Is Your Style?

Maybe you are somewhere in between. Think about what you want your children to learn. Research on children's development shows that the most positive outcomes for children occur when parents use democratic styles. Children with permissive parents tend to be aggressive and act out, while children with authoritarian parents tend to be compliant and submissive and have low self-esteem.
No parenting style will work unless you build a loving bond with your child.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Putting Child Safety at the Top of Your To-Do List This Summer

The summer months bring sunshine and more time together as a family. But they also bring a new set of parenting concerns as children have a new set of activities and, likely, more free time. The following resources on the PTA national website can help your family have a safer summer:
  • School vacations mean a shift in your family's routines and child care, and for older children they might also lead to more time home alone. Visit for a list of 25 things you can do to help keep your children safer.

  • No school and no homework may mean more time spent in front of screens of all types. Visit for tips on age-appropriate use of video games, television, movies, music, the Internet, and cell phones.

  • Take some time this summer to consider how you might work with your PTA to make your child's school a safer place. Visit for ideas on what you can do over the next year.

I am the mom of 4 wonderful kids, 3 boys and 1 girl. Looking at them, you know I have had many years working with and enriching the lives of children. I have an Associates (Magna Cum Laude) in Business Management, and a Bachelors in Early childhood Development and Education with a concentration in Child Psychology. I have almost 20 years in the Early Childhood field, and loving every minute of it! You can visit my site here

Friday, May 23, 2008

Summer Safety in the Summer Sun

Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe Outdoors
Summer break is right around the corner. Although water activities, bike rides, and summer sports entertain kids, unique toys have a role in summer fun, too. You should consider both fun and safety when looking at outdoor toys to occupy kids, says Elizabeth Werner, Chief Toy Officer for's parenting message board. Here are some ways to maintain fun while keeping your kids safe with summer toys and activities.
Parents can take all the necessary precautions, but if other children playing nearby are not employing the same safety practices, accidents may still occur. "I advise parents to be—and encourage their children to be—fully aware of their surroundings," Werner says. "If others in the play area, whether adults or children, are not following safe play habits, then it is best to change activities and return when the environment is safe."
Werner advises checking the age group recommendations on unfamiliar toys. Many recommendations stem from skill requirements but many more are based on safety reasons, she says.

Basic Safety Tips
  • Buy toys with umbrellas or canopies to prevent sun exposure.
  • Can't be said enough: Don't forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats.
  • Buy brands that you know and trust because quality toys come from better testing practices.
  • Always read warning labels. It can be tough to do with kids eager to play, but it might prevent injury.
"Parents should be sure if they have children playing together that are in different age groups to put away or separate toys that may be dangerous for the younger children," she says.
One of the best things that parents can do for their kids is to give them a safe environment in which to engage in creative, unstructured, and natural play. Some of the best activities are back-to-basics types: tag, hopscotch, hide and seek, kick the can, and Simon says. Lots of balls, jump ropes and hula hoops are good to have on hand as well.
Can parents be overly cautious? Sure, but it is a parent's job to protect children, Werner says. Each child is unique and parents must take into account their own child's skill, age, needs, and personality when deciding what summer activities and toys are appropriate. The guiding principle should be better safe than sorry.
"I know I am guilty of being a nervous mom now and again but we have to trust our instinct as parents," she adds.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bullying: What You Can Do to Keep Your Kids Safe

An estimated 1.6 million U.S. students in grades six through 10 report being the target of a bully at least once a week. (National School Boards Association)

PTA Resources on Bullying
"Understanding Bullying," an Our Children article and list of resources.
Everyone recognizes physical forms of bullying, but relational bullying (spreading rumors, social exclusion, cyber bullying, etc.) can be even more destructive because it is more subtle and harder to identify, said Sandra McLeod Humphrey. Humphrey, author of Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure Popularity, and Put-Downs, said this type of bullying is difficult to cope with because it can be devastating to the victim's self-esteem. She provides some action items for parents and kids to prevent or manage bullying incidents.
Parent Tips: What you can do as a parent to prevent bullying.
  • Listen: Encourage your children to talk about school, friends, activities, etc.

  • Take your children's complaints of bullying seriously: Remember that children are often afraid or ashamed to tell parents that they have been bullied and a simple bullying incident may turn out to be quite significant.

  • Watch for symptoms of victimization: Social withdrawal, drop in grades, personality changes, etc.

  • Use children's books to initiate a discussion about bullying: Judy Blume's Blubber is a classic novel about classroom dynamics, shifting alliances, and the bullying that can go on unseen by adults. Trudy Ludwig's Just Kidding emphasizes the distinction between "tattling" (trying to get someone in trouble) and "reporting" (trying to help someone in trouble). Hot Issues, Cool Choices offers specific bullying scenarios which encourage readers to talk about the choices they would make. And for adults, Barbara Coloroso's The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander provides a wealth of valuable information and suggestions.
Student Tips: Pass these tips along to your children.
Remember, bullying is all about power and control, so try not to give the bully that power or control):
  • Ignore the bully when possible: The bully is waiting for you to react, so stay calm and don't react.

  • There's strength in numbers: Bullies generally don't pick on groups, so hang with your friends.

  • Don't retaliate in kind: This usually will just escalate the situation. Violence generally leads to more violence.

  • Tell an adult you trust: If the bullying continues, tell a parent, teacher, or some other adult you trust.

  • Don't underestimate your role as bystander: Bystanders can unintentionally facilitate a bullying situation through their inaction—or they can choose to help stop it.
Remember, no one deserves to be bullied, so don't suffer in silence. Do something or tell someone.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Signing with children with special needs

Children with Special Needs
Using Sign Language

Who Benefits?

Sign language is typically only thought of in the context of the deaf community and children with hearing impairments. However, there are multiple populations and contexts in which sign language is beneficial. Some of these include children with special needs such as:

My child has special needs. What are the benefits
of using sign language?

Research indicates multiple advantages for development in children with special needs. The development of speech, language, social, emotional and academic skills is enhanced through the use of sign language.

Learning Signs - Speech and Language Benefits

Sign language accelerates the acquisition of speech by stimulating areas of the brain that are associated with speech and language.
Babies develop the gross motor skills needed for signing before they develop the fine motor skills associated with verbal speech. Signing provides language stimulation and conceptual information that enhances vocabulary development in children.

Many children with special needs experience difficulty with expressive language and verbal ability. Sign language gives these children access to communication while strengthening the ability to produce expressive speech.

  • Special Needs - Social Benefits of Sign Language

    Children with special needs often experience frustration when communication becomes difficult. This frustration manifests itself in the form of temper tantrums, aggression, depression and other socially unacceptable behaviors. Sign language reduces frustration by providing a way to expressively communicate in situations where verbal communication may not be successful. Sign language breaks down communication barriers for children with various disabilities and needs.
  • Emotional Benefits - Sign Language

    By expanding vocabulary and social opportunities, sign language naturally enhances self esteem. Children who face communication barriers benefit greatly when they are provided with various accesses to language and learning. These children develop better communication skills through sign language and are consequently happier and more independent.
  • Academic Benefits - Children with Special Needs

    Children begin to develop language from the time that they are born. The brain begins to make connections through auditory and visual input. Children with special needs often have one or more impairments that affect normal development in the brain.

    Sign language essentially jump-starts the areas of the brain that are linked to speech and language development. Language is a primary building block for learning and academic development. Sign language stimulates intellectual development and helps children to retain information longer because it is a supplements speech input. Using many modes of input strengthens connections in the brain and therefore benefits academic development.

My child requires special needs - When should I/we start using Sign Language?

As soon as possible! Babies develop language and knowledge from stimuli in their environment beginning from birth. Research has shown that babies develop the fine motor skills needed to form speech at approximately one year old.
The gross motor skills needed for sign language develop months earlier. The frustration for most parents of children with special needs is that identification often does not occur this early. Signing with your baby regardless of special needs is a most wonderful idea; and, it is never too late. As soon as a child is identified with a special need, sign language can immediately be used to provide numerous developmental benefits.

Who else utilizes sign language for its magnificent benefits?

Sign language is becoming more widespread in the United States. It is commonly being used in homes across the country with hearing, hearing impaired and special needs family members. It is commonly thought that sign language is only for the Deaf community, but this is not true!
The benefits of sign language are applicable to everyone. For this reason, sign language is also being implemented in various educational settings. It is used not only in deaf education classrooms, but also in special education classrooms and preschool classrooms. It is also used in unconventional settings such as hospitals.

Many hospitals find sign language to be useful with both adult and pediatric patients that have a communication barrier, such as a tracheotomy. The benefits of sign language are so great that it is increasing in popularity in a variety of contexts!

Should I Sign With My Special Needs Child?

Ultimately the decision to sign with a special needs child is up to the parent alone. The most important thing a parent should keep in mind is that these children often need input from multiple modalities.
These modalities can be visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Sign language is a wonderful and beneficial tool for providing visual benefit in addition to verbal/auditory input.

When there is a deficiency in one area, such as language learning disorder, one modality can provide a foundation for the development of another. Sign language can scaffold the acquisition of speech-language development as well as social and academic development.

Helpful Links - Children with Special Needs Utilizing Sign Language....

Babies and Children with Autism

Down Syndrome and Sign Language - Boost Development Skills!

Parent-Pals Special Education Resources

Childhood Apraxia and the Benefits of Sign Language

Childhood apraxia of speech is a motor disorder which causes children to have difficulty voluntarily making the movements needed for speech. Children with apraxia of speech do have the capability to say speech sounds, but they have a problem with motor planning.

Imagine knowing exactly what you want to say, but when you open your mouth, only a garbled fraction of the word comes out - or even worse, something that doesn't resemble what you're trying to say at all! You can't seem to put more than two or three words together and form a sentence. Your parents and friends don't understand what you're saying, and you have no idea why. This can become incredibly frustrating for children, and sometimes even discourages them from wanting to talk.

It's been shown that through extensive therapy with a speech-language pathologist, some children with apraxia can in fact resolve some of their problems with talking, though the disorder itself is thought to probably last forever. One thing the therapy tends to focus on is helping the child control how fast s/he talks (slowing it down gives your child more time to process his or her words). Another is the ability to control how his voice rises and falls as he talks (rhythm and melody can often help him learn to speak). Also, controlling the rhythm of his words can help (making sentences easier to put together).

There are many methods used by speech-language pathologists, often times involving visual cues. Some have children use communication boards or pictures, as well as some basic finger signs to prompt or guide the child along. This is where sign language comes into the picture, and can be extremely beneficial. It's not very hard to see why. Even though the general school of thought is that sign language is only for deaf people, that is simply not true. By giving children with apraxia of speech (who can hear perfectly fine) the opportunity to use sign, we open up a whole new way to communicate. This can in turn also help them more effectively develop their ability to talk.

Children with apraxia need multi-sensory input. The visual cues of sign can build a bridge for children to progress to normal-sounding speech. When both using a sign and voicing a word, it helps the child remember the motor process for that word.

For example, let's think about the word "food." A therapist might use the sign for "food" while also saying the word aloud, and the child does the same. With this doubling-up of cues, the child remembers the process easier. He's seeing the sign, hearing the word, and then physically making the sign himself while saying the word aloud. This process is far more likely to stick than simply imitating the word he is being given. Seeing the sign can give him a visual "clue" to what word or idea he is trying to express. It also slows down the rate of speech, giving him more time to process what he's trying to say.

Sign language is beneficial to children with apraxia on several different levels.

Children with apraxia can use sign to assist their verbal speech - it should be thought of as a 'bridge' or an 'anchor' to communication. Once they find that they are being more easily understood, they tend to be more willing to learn and try to use more words. Using sign language for children with apraxia is not meant to replace their talking. It is meant to help them more effectively be able to speak.

Sign Language and Autism

One of the most frustrating aspects of autism is the breakdown in communication. Children with autism struggle with the complexity of spoken language. Sign language creates an avenue of communication that strengthens speech and language development.

Sign language provides numerous social, emotional, cognitive and communicative benefits for children with autism, such as:

Sign language is a wonderful tool for parents, educators and families of children with autism. The benefits are immense! So then why is sign language not used for all children with autism? While there are many advantages for using sign language, there are also a few disadvantages:

While autism can be challenging in many ways, there are many advantageous approaches to communication development. Sign language offers multiple proven benefits for children with various degrees of autism. Autism affects each child in a unique way and as a result the benefits are also unique to each child. In severe cases, sign language may not provide additional communication benefit to children with autism.

However, the fact that it may provide benefit offers hope and blessings to countless families. Sign language has never proven to be detrimental to children with autism, so what is there to lose?

If you have ever known a child with autism, then you know the hope that communication development provides. Sign language stimulates and strengthens communication development and offers hope for families and children that are affected by autism.

Down Syndrome and Sign Language Benefits!

Sign Language actually helps babies, toddlers, and children with Down Syndrome by improving their communication skills.

Using sign language in Down Syndrome can make life a lot easier for everyone concerned. Many children with Down Syndrome have some degree of speech delay. This makes it difficult for the child, as well as the parents, to communicate. A child (of any age) needs to be able to communicate to her parents and caregivers what she wants/needs. When babies reach a certain age, they start to form "opinions" about what they should eat, when they should eat, where they should eat and more. When your baby can't communicate this need/want to you (the caregiver) she will become frustrated. If you can't guess what it is she needs (i.e. a drink, a cracker, a diaper change) you will both become agitated very quickly. She will fuss and cry, and you will…hmmm…well, maybe you'll cry too!

Sign Language
Sign language is an excellent means for you and your baby to communicate. Many babies can pick up signs long before they speak their first words. Even more so with babies who have Down Syndrome. Since their speech is often delayed, it is highly beneficial to learn some alternate method of communication. There are many programs on the market for learning sign language. Your early intervention program may also be able to help you and your baby learn signs.
Other Means of Communication

Of course, there are other means of communication such as smiles, gestures, and other vocalizations (like crying and screaming). Picture boards can also be used when your baby is a bit older. The most effective means, in my opinion, is still signing.

How to teach your baby signs

Start simple
Begin with simple signs like "eat", "drink", "sleep", "milk", "more", etc. My son's favorite is "eat" of course! It was also his first.

Use the sign often
Introduce one sign at a time, and use it every time you do anything related to it. For example, if you want to introduce the sign for "eat" you would make the sign and help your child make the sign every time she eats. It is also important to actually say the spoken word as you sign it. This way she will hear it and learn to associate it with the sign.
*Tip* When helping your baby learn a sign, come from behind her and help her hands form the shape and make the movements. The feel is just more natural that way. You will be guiding your baby's hands as if she was making the sign herself.

Above all, make it fun! Be enthusiastic (over enthusiastic even) when your baby even attempts to make a sign. Never mind if it's not perfect. As long as you know what she is "saying". With age and experience the signs will become better. I can't stress enough, in everything your baby does, praise her, make a big deal, show your excitement. It will motivate her to try that much harder.

Here is more information about babies and children with Down Syndrome and the positive effects of learning sign language with significant results.

"How Manual Sign Acquisition Relates to the Development
of Spoken Language: A Case Study"

Kouri, Theresa - School of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242
The relationship between signed and spoken word was observed in a young girl with Down Syndrome during a treatment regimen using simultaneous input.
All of her words were recorded over an 8-month period and classified according to the manner of speech and communication production (i.e., spontaneous/imitated; signed and/or spoken).
It was revealed that most of the words that the girl initially signed were later spontaneously spoken and that most of her signs evolved into spontaneous speech.
Several ideas and themes were demonstrated with specific words (ex: signs to speech), and sign/spoken developments during the first versus the final four months of the research study. It was concluded that use of simultaneous signs supports the formation of spoken language.

And for more research/information on Down Syndrome and American Sign Language, please see:

The Benefits of Sign Language for Deaf Babies and Children

"Your baby has a hearing loss."

For nine long months you have waited for the arrival of this precious baby. Ten fingers and ten toes are reassurance that you have a beautiful, healthy child! In those first moments as a new parent you are filled with love, relief, fear, and visions of your child's future. Then a routine hearing screening changes that vision with only a few words…"Your baby has a hearing loss.."

A diagnosis of hearing loss can be frightening for any new family.

Suddenly, there are a whole different set of decisions to be made and the clock is already ticking. One of the most important and difficult decisions to be made is the method of communication your family will use with your hearing-impaired child. This decision must be made early as the first few years of life are significantly crucial to a child's language development.

During this critical period, the primary goal for your deaf child is communication. American Sign Language often meets this goal much earlier than speech and offers cognitive, social/emotional and speech/language benefits for deaf children.

Sign Language Cognitive Benefits for Deaf Babies and Children

  • Sign language jumpstarts brain development

    Sign language enhances brain development by establishing connections between auditory and visual input. Signing acts as catalyst for communication by jumpstarting areas of the brain that are linked to speech and language development.

  • Sign language increases memory

    The visual input provided by sign language stimulates intellectual development and increases a child's ability to retain information longer. This ability benefits a deaf child's academic development by increasing language and vocabulary skills.

  • Utilizing sign language enhances reading, writing and math development

    The visual-spatial aspect of sign language supplements the spatial skills needed for various mathematical concepts. Similarly, thefingerspelling alphabet is another aspect of sign language that correlates directly to phonetic skills that are necessary for reading and writing. Both aspects of sign language provide skills that are vital to the academic success of a deaf child.

Sign Language for Deaf Babies - Social/Emotional Benefits

  • Signing reduces frustration for the child

    A deaf child that can easily communicate a basic need such as wanting a favorite toy or needing a drink will be much happier.

    The oral communication barriers caused by a lack of auditory stimulation can produce a great deal of frustration for a deaf child and can lead to socially inacceptable behaviors like temper tantrums and aggression.

    Signing bridges that communication gap and creates an emotionally secure social environment for your hearing-impaired child.

  • Signing reinforces vocabulary and broadens your child’s social circle

    Language and vocabulary development are key in social development. Think back to high school Spanish class: the more vocabulary you learned, the more you were able to connect with others and establish relationships. Increasing a Deaf child’s vocabulary through sign language essentially increases the circle of people with whom your child can connect and establish relationships!

  • Signing boosts confidence because communication is easier and more natural

    Sign language gives Deaf children an easy and natural way to express themselves. When this expression is reinforced through social interaction, confidence begins to emerge.

    Confidence is the fire that strengthens and builds social development. Confidence develops as your child begins to express himself and understand the expressions of others.

    When children develop this communication skill, they will naturally begin to seek out social interactions and relationships.

Speech/Language Benefits Through ASL Signs

  • Signing stimulates social connections by reinforcing verbal communication

    Sign language offers visual input that stimulates verbal communication by increasing language development. Studies have shown that sign language strengthens connections in the brain that are used for speech development.

    Speech and language are the building blocks of social development. These enable your deaf child to interact with the world and begin to make social connections.

  • Sign language boosts speech development

    Sign language accelerates the acquisition of speech by stimulating areas of the brain that are associated with speech and language. Most babies (deaf or hearing) develop the gross motor skills needed for signing before they develop the fine motor skills associated with verbal speech.

  • Signing with your deaf baby builds excellent expressive and receptive language skills

    Signing provides language stimulation and conceptual information that enhances vocabulary development in deaf children. Many children with hearing loss experience difficulty with expressive language and verbal ability.

    Learning sign language removes a lot of this frustration; while giving children with hearing impairments access to communication; while simultaneously strengthening the ability to produce expressive speech.

Sign language is a highly beneficial and easily accessible tool for parents of deaf infants and children. The earlier that you as parents expose your Deaf children to sign language, the earlier your child begins to connect with the world around them. Sign language strengthens the academic, social and linguistic potential of deaf children.

Sign language offers endless benefits that continue to facilitate successful outcomes for deaf children and their families around the entire world. *If you'd like to learn and understand more about utilizing american sign language for your deaf baby or child, this author personally recommends that you please take on as much research as you can, to see and grasp all sides of thoughts, opinions, and facts.

Honestly and realistically, the most important aspect is not so much if your Deaf baby can vocalize 10 words perfectly by age 24 months - but rather your Deaf baby can communicate clearly with you, using more than 200+ words via signing naturally.   

(Please remember, your blessed darling can still learn to vocalize words, after commanding the all important aspects of communication first.)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Four Recalls

This message consists of the following:

1. Master Toys & Novelties Inc. Recalls Little Rider Toys Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

2. K2 Sports Recalls Snowboard Bindings Due to Fall Hazard

3. The Home Depot Recalls Candle Holders Due to Fire Hazard

4. Douglas Co. Recalls Children's Blankets Due to Strangulation Hazard


1. Master Toys & Novelties Inc. Recalls Little Rider Toys Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

May 20, 2008
Release #08-272

Firm's Recall Hotline: (888) 490-9002
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

Master Toys & Novelties Inc. Recalls Little Rider Toys Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Cowboy on a Horse Little Rider Toys

Units: About 6,000

Importer: Master Toys & Novelties Inc., of Los Angeles, Calif.

Hazard: Surface paint on the shoe and pants of the rider toy contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall includes a battery operated cowboy riding a horse toy. The model number 8610B is located on the product packaging. The horse and rider together measure about 8.5 inches in height by 7.5 inches in length. The rider is wearing blue pants and a red shirt and the horse is brown. Only Little Rider Toys with UPC code 603678086101 printed on the product packaging are included in the recall.

Sold at: Dollar and discount stores nationwide from April 2007 through January 2008 for between $5 and $7.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take these recalled toys away from children and return it to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Master Toys & Novelties Inc. at (800) 237-5020 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday or visit the firm's Website at

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled product, please go to:


2. K2 Sports Recalls Snowboard Bindings Due to Fall Hazard

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

May 20, 2008
Release #08-273

Firm's Recall Hotline: (800) 985-2191
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

K2 Sports Recalls Snowboard Bindings Due to Fall Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: K2 "Auto" Series Snowboard Bindings, Model Year 2007

Units: About 2,500 pairs

Distributor: K2 Sports, of Seattle, Wash.

Hazard: The cable that links the toe strap to the binding could break, posing a fall hazard to snowboarders.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description and Models: This recall involves the 2007 model year K2 "Auto" snowboard bindings. They were sold in black or white. "K2" and "Auto" are printed on the toe strap.

Sold by: Snowboard, ski, and sporting goods retailers nationwide from August 2007 through May 2008 for about $230.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled bindings immediately and take them to the retailer where purchased or contact K2 Sports directly to arrange for free shipment and repair.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact K2 Sports at (800) 985-2191 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, email the company at, or visit the company's Web site at

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled product, please go to:


3. The Home Depot Recalls Candle Holders Due to Fire Hazard

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

May 20, 2008
Release #08-274

Firm's Recall Hotline: (866) 403-5504
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

The Home Depot Recalls Candle Holders Due to Fire Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Candle Holders

Units: About 14,000

Importer: The Home Depot, of Atlanta, Ga.

Hazard: Sunlight passing through the glass portion can cause nearby flammable materials to ignite, posing a fire hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received one report of a fire. No injuries or property damage have been reported.

Description: The sun-shaped candle holder is glass and metal, and was sold in four colors (red, green, blue, and yellow). "15.75" Candle Holder" is printed on the product's hang tag.

Sold at: The Home Depot stores in the southern and western regions of the U.S. from January 2008 through March 2008 for about $10.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled products and return them to The Home Depot for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, call toll-free (866) 403-5504 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET, or visit the company's Web site at

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled product, please go to:


4. Douglas Co. Recalls Children's Blankets Due to Strangulation Hazard

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

May 20, 2008
Release #08-275

Firm's Recall Hotline: (800) 992-9002
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

Douglas Co. Recalls Children's Blankets Due to Strangulation Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Lil' Snugglers(tm) Children's Blankets

Units: About 74,000

Manufacturer: Douglas Co., of Keene N.H.

Hazard: The blanket's satin edge can come loose, posing a strangulation hazard.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has 18 reports of the satin separating from the blanket. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The recalled children's blankets are 14 inches square with an animal head sewn in the middle. The satin border around the outside edge is about one inch wide. The blankets were sold in the following styles:

Style Number Description

(Only blankets with a P.O. number of 1330 or below are included in this recall)

1327 Cream Lamb
1328 Cream/Tan Horse
1329 Green Frog
1330 Pink Horse
1331 Blue Bear
1332 Yellow Giraffe
1333 Tan Pup
1339 Yellow Duck
1341 Brown Monkey
1351 Pink Bear

The style number, followed by the P.O. number, is identified on a white tab sewn into the blankets behind the Douglas red label.

Sold by: Specialty stores nationwide and on the Web from April 2005 through December 2007 for about $12.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should take the blankets away from children immediately and return it to Douglas for a free replacement blanket or credit toward another item of equal value.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Douglas Co. at (800) 992-9002 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's Web site at, or email the firm at

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled product, please go to:


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $800 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at

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