Bike Helmet Safety

Since many children will receive bicycles for Christmas, we thought this was timely information. Enjoy!


November Bike Rider

Sports are the most frequent cause of injury for adolescents, and each year more than 3.5 million kids suffer sports- and recreational-related injuries.

However, by equipping your child with the proper plastic safety gear, you can help reduce their risk of injury by 46%. Did you know that according to the Bike Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI), establishing the helmet habit as soon as your child begins riding a tricycle is the best way to ensure that it will become a habit for a lifetime which can reduce the risk of head injuries by 85 percent? In order to ensure your child is biking safely Plastics Make it Possible compiled the following to help your child select their perfect biking helmet:

Fit Factor

Be sure the plastic helmet fits right — if it’s too big or too small it may be uncomfortable for your child and it is not as effective.

Plastic bicycle helmet fit guidelines:

  • It should be snug and fit flat on top of your head when in place.
  • There should only be one to two inches between the eyebrows and the ridge of the helmet.
  • It should not obstruct your vision.
  • It should have a tight (snug) chinstrap that is centered and always kept snapped.

Bike in Style

Let your child participate in picking out their own plastic helmet. They come in a variety of cool colors, patterns and even styles, which allow kids to express their own individual sense of style. Kids are more likely to wear a helmet if they like the looks of it!

Hard Headed

Look for a helmet made with hard ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) or fiberglass, which are hard and crack-resistant.

Know when to dump it.

If you’ve been in a crash, it’s time to find a new helmet. Helmets that have only been in minor fender-benders can weaken significantly and not be able to protect in the same way again. Write “crashed” on the helmet in permanent marker, and kiss it goodbye.

What else?

Beyond the helmet there is a variety of safety gear available for kids. As they progress to bicycles, scooters, and skateboards, essential equipment like wrist, elbow, and knee guards will help keep kids safe on the go. Tough plastics in protective athletic gear help prevent injuries from falling and crashing. Research for some of these activities shows that wearing wrist guards could reduce the number of wrist injuries by 87 percent, wearing elbow pads could reduce the number of elbow injuries by 82 percent, and wearing knee pads could reduce the number of knee injuries by 32 percent.

Protect your kids’ heads—buy helmets to go with those new bikes!

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons.

Questions Your Child’s Doctor Will Ask

doc's office

In the December 2010 issue of ParentLife, our 1- to 2-year Growth Spurts article was about healthy development. Here are the basic questions you are likely to be asked at your child’s well-child visits to the doctor during this time.

18-Month Checkup

  • What are your child’s eating habits?
  • How is your child sleeping?
  • Is your child walking?
  • Does your child say "no"?
  • Is your child saying at least six words, such as mama and dada?
  • Does your child respond to simple commands?
  • Is there anything unusual about the way your child looks at things?


2-Year Checkup

  • Is your child physically active?
  • What new words is your child learning?
  • Is your child showing readiness for toilet training?

BabyCenter has printable worksheets for the 18-month and 2-year checkups, if you want to prepare answers in advance as well as record any questions you might have for the pediatrician so you don’t forget!

Do you do anything to prepare for well-child visits?

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons.

RSV: The Facts and Prevention

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is extremely common among infants and childrens. The Mayo Clinic says most children have been infected by age 2, whether you know it or not!

A Mayo Clnic article explains:

Signs and symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus infection typically appear about four to six days after exposure to the virus. In adults and older children, RSV usually causes mild cold-like signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Congested or runny nose

  • Dry cough

  • Low-grade fever

  • Sore throat

  • Mild headache

  • A general feeling of unease and discomfort (malaise)

In severe cases
Respiratory syncytial virus can lead to a lower respiratory tract illness such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis — an inflammation of the small airway passages entering the lungs. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • High fever

  • Severe cough

  • Wheezing — a high-pitched noise that’s usually heard on breathing out (exhaling)

  • Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, which may make the child prefer to sit up rather than lie down

  • Bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen (cyanosis)

Infants are most severely affected by RSV. They may markedly draw in their chest muscles and the skin between their ribs, indicating that they’re having trouble breathing, and their breathing may be short, shallow and rapid. They may cough. Or they may show few, if any, signs of a respiratory tract infection, but will eat poorly and be unusually lethargic and irritable.

Most children and adults recover from the illness in eight to 15 days. But in young babies, infants born prematurely, or infants or adults who have chronic heart or lung problems, the virus may cause a more severe — occasionally life-threatening — infection that requires hospitalization.


There is a medication used for RSV prevention, Synagis®. It is specifically used for children younger than 2 who are at high risk for serious RSV. It is not a single injection but must be repeated on a monthly basis during peak RSV season and repeated in subsequent years until the child is no longer at high risk. Those babies most at risk are those who were born prematurely, those less than 6 weeks old, those with congenital heart or chronic lung disease, and those with immune deficiencies.

If you are having a winter baby and have any high-risk history or know your baby may be premature, go ahead and talk to your OB and pediatrician about RSV. It may be difficult to secure insurance coverage for the shots, so you may need to get the ball rolling.

Have you had any experience with RSV?

Window Covering Safety Month–and a GIVEAWAY!

** Congratulations to Joanne … the winner of these Kenney Truly CordFree Roman Shades! Thanks to everyone for participating! **


Safety is a concern for everyone, especially parents.  An important part of raising children is careful supervision of their activities in the home.  Parents need to be aware of their children’s surroundings at all times in order to anticipate and prevent potential injury.  One of the most overlooked areas in the home is the window.  Whether open or closed, windows are a potential hazard to the safety and well-being of toddlers and young children. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) and independent retailers joined forces to designate October as National Window Covering Safety Month to raise awareness of the dangers posed by window covering cords. CPSC data shows that since 1996, there have been reports of 147 children having died as a result of accidental strangulation from window covering cords.

cordfree-blinds.jpgIn recent years, the window covering industry has redesigned its corded products and developed cord-safety standards.  However, millions of older corded window coverings have not been retrofitted by consumers and many new parents are sometimes unaware of potential cord dangers.

The campaign urges parents and caretakers to replace their blinds with cordless window coverings. We’re here to help you do that!

One lucky winner will receive two Kenney Truly CordFreeTM roman shades, courtesy of Kenney Manufacturing. We had the opportunity to review these roman shades and they look awesome! As a mom of a very active toddler, I (Jessie) am continually worried about the hazard of the old blinds in our house. What a way to relieve one worry of my day.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post sharing one thing you worry about in your home, pertaining to your kids or grandkids. We will select a winner on November 2 from all valid entries. LifeWay employees are not eligible.

Fisher-Price® Recall

Fisher-Price® issued four recalls today. Please make sure you don’t have one of these items in your house! If you do, visit the Mattel Recalls Page and visit the appropriate link for your product.

hotwheelsrecalledtrike.jpgFourteen varities of Fisher-Price trikes have been recalled due to the protruding key you see in the picture above.The recall site states, "A child can strike, sit or fall on the plastic key and be injured." 
HealthyCareHighChairrecalled.JPGHealthy Care™, Close to Me™, and Easy Clean™ High Chairs with tray storage pegs have also been recalled. Check the label on the back of your high chair for a product number, then compare with this list to see if yours has been recalled.

There has also been a recall on specific models of the Little People® Wheelies™ Stand ‘n Play™ Rampway and inflatable balls associated with the following toys: Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Cruise Playground™, Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Slide Arcade™, Baby Gymtastics™ Play Wall, Ocean Wonders™ Kick & Crawl Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball and Bat & Score Goal made before 2008.

Please see the Mattel Recall Web site for more information.

The Child Product Safety site is an easy resource for finding the most recent recalled children’s items, as well as searching for specific items you may have questions about.

Safe Swimming

Check out the following swimming safety tips to help stay safe this summer.

  1. July_26_Swimming.jpgDon’t Swim Alone. Do not allow children to swim without an adult. Even adults should never swim alone. In a pool, swim at a depth that is safe for you. Keep in mind that swimming at night increases all risks.
  2. Follow Regulations. If you are at a public pool or beach, follow all regulations and lifeguard directions.  Depth markers are important. Never dive into shallow water. Additionally, if there is not a lifeguard on duty, take extra safety precautions.
  3. Learn to Swim. Learning basic swimming and floating techniques saves lives. Check with your local YMCA or community pool for information on swimming lessons from a certified swimming instructor.
  4. Safety Equipment. It is important to keep rescue equipment by the pool or on your boat. Life preservers and life jackets should be easy to access in case of an emergency. At home, keep a telephone and emergency numbers poolside. Additionally, parents should know CPR. Statistics show that when CPR is performed, it improves the outcome for drowning victims.
  5. Fencing. If you have a pool at home, make sure the pool is completely surrounded by fencing.  Fencing should be at least four feet high and separate the house, yard, or play area from the pool. Fencing latches and locks should be high enough to be out of the reach of children. Remove all toys from the pool and surrounding areas immediately after use. The presence of toys may encourage children to enter the pool area unsupervised.
  6. Flotation Vests. When boating, you should wear a Coast Guard-approved flotation vest, regardless of your swimming abilities. Even while wading in the ocean or at the lake, it is recommended to wear a personal flotation device. This is especially important for inexperienced swimmers and children. Remember, water wings, noodles, inner tubes, and rafts should never take the place of an approved flotation device.
  7. Designated Areas. Swim only at designated beaches or in swimming areas marked with buoys that keep boaters, water skiers and jet skiers away. If you cross these buoys, you run the risk of not being seen by boaters, and you could potentially be injured. Additionally, rip currents, tides, and water depths may be different the farther out you swim.
  8. Surf Conditions. Ask a lifeguard about surf conditions before swimming in the ocean. Rip tides are dangerous and can catch even the best swimmers off guard. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore. Once you are free of the current, swim toward the shore.  Rip currents can be recognized as water that is discolored, choppy, foamy, or filled with debris and moving in a channel away from the shore. Report any hazardous conditions to the lifeguard.
  9. Warning Flags. Beaches post warning flags to alert swimmers of the day’s conditions.  Be sure to check these flags before entering the water. a. Double Red: The beach is closed. b. Red: No swimming allowed – Dangerous conditions. Usually this flag is up when there are extremely dangerous rip currents. c. Yellow: Swim with caution. Be cautious of strong long shore currents or other swimming hazards. d. Green: Safe swimming conditions. Swim with usual care.

Did you know?

  • Swimming is the third most popular recreational activity.
  • Ninety two percent of children who survive a drowning are discovered within two minutes following submersion, and 86% children who die are found after 10 minutes.
  • The 2010 hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30. Hurricanes can create dangers in the water such as rip currents, increased swell sizes and larger waves. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, rip currents cause approximately 100 deaths annually in the United States.
  • Children from non-swimming households are eight times more likely to be at-risk of drowning.

For swimming safety information, visit

About the author:  Bret Almassy is the Vice President of Residential Services for AlliedBarton Security Services,, the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel to many industries including commercial real estate, higher education, healthcare, residential communities, chemical/petrochemical, government, manufacturing and distribution, financial institutions, and shopping centers.

Safety Information — Crib Recall

On Thursday, over two million cribs made by seven different companies were recalled due to the concern that babies can suffocate, become trapped, or fall from the cribs. Is your crib one of them? Be sure to find out. For all of the recall information, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s Web site … or click here.

Make Brushing Teeth Fun!

I just recently committed to making brushing my 19-month-old Jack’s teeth an essential part of his daily routine, which is often much easier said than done. I’m hoping that establishing the habit now will mean less battles as he gets older.

brushingteeth.jpgGetting children to brush regularly, and correctly, can be a real challenge. So in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, try these easy ideas to encourage brushing!

  • Trade places. Tired of prying your way in whenever it’s time to brush those little teeth? Why not reverse roles and let the child brush your teeth? It’s fun for them and shows them the right way to brush. Just remember, do not share a toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association, sharing a toothbrush may result in an exchange of microorganisms and an increased risk of infections.
  • Take turns. Set a timer and have the child brush their teeth for 30 seconds. Then you brush their teeth for 30 seconds. Repeat this at least twice.
  • Call in reinforcements. If children stubbornly neglect to brush or floss, maybe it’s time to change the messenger. Call the dental office before the next checkup and let them know what’s going on. The same motivational message might be heeded if it comes from a third party, especially the dentist.

For more information about children’s oral health care, visit or Healthy Smiles Healthy Children.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

All Dressed Up

  • 89_halloween.jpgPlan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs, and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.

Carve a Niche

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers.  Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Votive candles are safest for candle-lit pumpkins.
  • Candle-lit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

Home Safe Home

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

On the Trick-or-Treat Trail

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or Treaters:
    1. Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    2. Carry a cell phone for quick communication.
    3. Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    4. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    5. Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    6. Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    7. Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
  • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

Healthy Halloween

  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

© 10/09 American Academy of Pediatrics

For even more safety tips, to send these tips to a friend, or to download them in Spanish, visit

A Better Bedtime

Fall is finally here, and with fall comes chilly weather. If you are like me, you’ve already packed away the summer clothes and brought out the warm ones … especially warm pajamas.

Unfortunately, not ever child has the luxury of having warm pajamas. In the U.S. foster care system, alone, there are more than 500,000 children. Every two seconds another child enters the system. Many have been abandoned or abused and have never enjoyed the simple comfort of putting on a cozy pair of pajamas and having a mother or father tuck them in at bedtime and read to them. But now … thanks to the non-profit Pajama Program, thousands of children in orphanages, group homes, and shelters are being given new pajamas and new books.

pajamaprogram.jpgSince its founding in 2001, Pajama Program has donated nearly 600,000 new pajamas and books. Recently, the Pajama Program launched its 2009-2010 awareness and fund-raising campaign — A Better Bedtime

A Better Bedtime aims to focus the nation on a crisis facing far too many of America’s children during “Danger Season” — the block of six cold months between October 1 and March 31 in which it is especially dangerous for a child to be without warm clothing at bedtime. At the Official Pajama Program A Better Bedtime Facebook page visitors are encouraged to share their favorite bedtime stories (from published or original works) on the group’s wall and discussion boards; to offer memories of their own childhood bedtime routines; to upload photos of their favorite pair of pajamas; and to share ideas, stories, and photos from their own local events that support Pajama Program.

To learn about local chapters of Pajama Program and to participate in events, visit

To make a financial contribution to Pajama Program, visit or donate via Facebook at .
To learn about donating new pajamas or new books, to conduct your own local Pajama Program Drive or event, or to become a beneficiary receiving organization of The Pajama Program, visit  

Have you participated in a Pajama Program event? Tell ParentLife readers all about it by leaving a comment.