Would you know what to do if your child started choking?
The answer for me a year ago was ‘no’ and it scared me to think that if my son started to choke, I wouldn’t know how to save him. I kept picturing just the two of us, at home eating dinner when a piece of pizza or steak got lodged in his throat. I would probably panic and call 911, but by the time they would come, it could be too late.
Wanting to be prepared for the worst prompted me to take CPR and first aid training from the Red Cross last February. It’s a full-day class, where you are trained by a professional on how to do CPR and first aid on infants, children and adults.
At the end of the class, you’ll know what to do for not only for choking, but also burns, gashes, broken bones and other major injuries.
There’s a test at the end of the course and passing is required for certifcation. The great thing about taking a course from the Red Cross is that the CPR certification is valid for one year, and for first aid, it is valid for three years. There are no prerequisities necessary.
To register with the Red Cross, go to http://okc.redcross.org/ and click on ‘Be Educated’ and choose ‘Red Cross Courses’ from the drop-down menu. From there you browse all their course offerings. If you’d like to learn how to do CPR and first aid on an infant or child, take the course that specifically says “Class adult, child, infant CPR, first aid.” Classes range from $48 – $60.
Isn’t having the ability to save your child’s life or someone else’s worth a Saturday? It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. I know I’ll be going to back to get re-certified next month.
Please tell me it’s not possible.
We all know about the terrible twos. They are notorious for being difficult. The sudden independence, the tirades and tantrums, the battle of wills that a 2-year-old always wins. So why is everyone telling me 3 is worse?
Because there may be some truth to it. Over the past few months, as my son inches closer to the 3-year mark, he has become … well, difficult. He seems more intent on doing things his way. Forget what Mom tells him to do. Sometimes it’s like he even outright ignores me. And the demands … “get it now!” or “I said I want a hot dog!” or “No! I won’t go to school today!” What suddenly happened to my always perfectly sweet and innocent baby?
On babycenter.com, one of their experts answers the question “Is there such a thing as the terrible threes?”
Developmental psychologist Susanne Ayers Denhams explains that 2-year-olds are eager to explore and if they come up against a barrier (like Mom) they can react with intense negativity. Their developing identity also has them testing limits and with their growing vocabulary, sometimes they still can’t voice what they want in a way parents will understand.
She goes on to say that 3-year-olds can go through the same trials of growing. Cycling through phases is common (being at peace, getting frustrated or discouraged, going through life changes) so rough patches can really happen at any time. New discoveries can make a child angry and they can start reacting to demands put on them at home and day care. They can lash out if they are aggravated and it’s a common emotion at this age.
She also offers tips on dealing with difficult 3-year-old behaviors and tantrums:
-Stay calm and don’t take it too seriously.
-Encourage your child to put their feelings into words and be patient if he or she can’t do that quite yet.
-Figure out what’s bothering your child and attempt to resolve it.
-If all else fails, and you think it may be a caused by another underlying problem, you may want to consult with a pediatrician for advice.
We’ll see how this works out. Any other advice is welcome here! Let me know how life is with your toddler. Comment below or email me at email@example.com.
My 14-year-old started reading the Twilight book series sometime last year and got hooked. “A book series on vampires?” I thought. “Should I question what she’s reading?” But one of her middle school friends just loved the books.
And, when “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth book, was due out in bookstores she could hardly wait.
Another friend bought her a T-shirt with a verse something like: “The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.” … I made her exchange it for a different shirt. I couldn’t help think that the T-shirt was just a bit inappropriate for a young teen. And, when I walked into Hot Topic, the hip store with body piercing studs, tons of scary images on T-shirts and lots of black – It was like the anti-Claire’s of the mall – I couldn’t help feeling just a little conspicuous and a lot uncomfortable. But I wanted her to at least get something toned down.
For her birthday, she received more Twilight stuff – a really cute zip-up hoodie, but, still, I teetered on the edge of whether this was a good thing.
Then comes the movie. My 28-year-old niece and her mother suggests we all go together. Me? me? Maybe I can get out of this. But it sounded fun just because I would be with my two sisters and their daughters and my daughter. OK. I’ll try it.
When the previews began, the movies were gruesome, scary films. Oh, no! What have I done?! I’ve just brought my teenaged daughter to a slasher, blood-sucking vampire movie! My older niece who is in college even covered her eyes.
Then, the movie started ….. And I loved it! I plan to read the books.
Now, I’ve seen it twice. Some friends have seen it three, four and five times! These are women my age!
Although my husband is tired of me raving about the movie, my friends aren’t. He made the comment that I was acting just like a “14-year-old.”
Well, my daughter might disagree. But there’s worth in finding an interest in something your daughter likes. She doesn’t seem to want to talk about it with me. She’d rather talk about it with her friends and cousins.
So, I’ll just talk about it with the rest of my “14-year-old-going-on-45″ friends.
– Linda Lynn
Last January, my toddler woke up in the middle of the night crying inconsolably. He started thrashing his body across the bed and became very hot to the touch. I immediately took his temperature and there it was – 105 degrees. He asked for water but couldn’t keep it down. He started shaking uncontrollably and I called 911. He was having a febrile seizure, which can happen in young children with high fevers. He was transported to the hospital and they got his fever down and got fluids in him. In my situation, I reacted on instinct. At the time, I worried that I was overreacting, but it turned out that going to the ER in this case was the best choice.
Sometimes we can panic when it comes to our kids and we don’t know how to handle fever or sickness. Sometimes we feel it may not warrant a visit to the ER but in some cases it does. The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center had an article in their most recent OK Kids newsletter to help guide parents on what to look for. They say children need to be seen by a doctor if:
-Is younger than 2 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 or higher.
-Is 6 months old or older and has a fever higher than 101.
-Is younger than 2 years old and has had a fever for more than 24 hours.
-Is 2 years old or older and has had a fever for more than 72 hours.
They also stress that the way a child is acting is far more important than what the thermometer says. If a child is lethargic, can’t stop crying, can’t hold down food or liquids, or shows signs of dehydration, contact a doctor. And if you’re ever in doubt about what to do or what a fever means, or if your child is acting in a way that concerns you, always call your doctor for advice.
According to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, injuries kill more children each year than diseases, kidnapping and drugs combined. Children age 4 and younger account for nearly half of toy-related injuries and almost 90 percent of deaths. In Oklahoma, about 130 children through age 15 die each year from unintentional injuries. For every fatality, approximately 45 children require hospitalization and 1,300 require emergency treatment.
These are numbers that aren’t to be taken lightly. The health department offers these tips when purchasing a toy to keep those numbers as low as possible:
1. Always consider the child’s age and maturity level. Purchase a toy suited to the ability, skill and interest level of the child.
2. Toys intended for children older than age 3 should never be given to infants or toddlers. They may have small parts that pose a choking hazard. Children younger than 3 should not be given toys with cords or strings longer than 12 inches. Cords longer than this can get wrapped around a child’s neck.
3. Children younger than age 8 shouldn’t be given toys with sharp edges or toys that run on electricity (not including batteries).
4. Older children should be taught to keep their toys away from younger siblings.
5. Look for well-constructed toys. Check the toys periodically for broken parts that should be repaired or thrown away.
6. Consider the weight, size of the toy.
7. Make sure toys do not contain toxic paint or lead.
8. Costumes or pajamas should be labeled “flame retardant/flame resistant.”
9. If you give a child a bike, roller blades, skateboard or scooter, don’t forget to include safety gear like a helmet, knee pads and wrist guards as part of the gift.
If you started holiday shopping early, you can also check toys to be sure they haven’t been recalled since your purchase. Go to www.cpsc.gov to be sure they aren’t on the list. And if you have children of your own, I highly suggest signing up for the website’s email announcements. As soon as a toy or other children’s item (such as clothes, cribs, etc.) is recalled, they let you know via email, complete with pictures of the items, where they were sold and when, and what to do with the recalled item.
Holidays are supposed to be a joyous and happy time, especially for the little ones. Let’s all be extra diligent in keeping it safe for them. If you have any other good safety tips, comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year. The lights, the parties, the festivities, the shopping, the trees, the STRESS of the holidays. Most of us have more to get done than we think we can possibly handle, especially if you add kids into the mix. But are there ways to at least reduce some of the stress this wonderful season brings?
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department offers some valuable tips on simple things you can do to make this season a little easier:
1. Save decorating until a week before the holiday. Save irreplaceable decorations for later years when children are older. My son is two, so I won’t be buying any Swarovski Crystal or Tiffany ornaments this year.
2. Shop ahead, throughout the year, while children are at school or home. Good advice, unless you’re like me and just HAVE to close the mall down on Christmas Eve, just for the fun of it.
3. Limit the number of times children stay with babysitters while you attend events. Not a problem in my house – my babysitter is terminally unavailable.
4. Avoid forcing a frightened child to sit on Santa’s lap. Young children often enjoy stories and pictures but the real thing can be overwhelming. I tried to force my son to sit for a Santa picture last year. All I got was a photo of a distraught toddler with red puffy eyes.
5. Avoid forcing children to welcome unknown relatives with a kiss or by handing them over to be held by a stranger. Allow the child time to warm up. Also good advice, unless you’re my mother ‘Gwennie’ and in that case, there will be no warm up time. Because she said so.
6. If weather permits, encourage outdoor play to release extra energy. OK, we live in Oklahoma. This is not hard. It won’t be cold until at least Febraury.
7. Keep routines as normal as possible. Be sure to expect behavioral changes anytime routines change. I find that this is pretty much a given with a toddler, at any time, in any season, for any reason.
8. When traveling with a young child, allow extra time on the road. Take some familiar objects from home. Establish a routine as close as possible to your regular routine and be assertive with relatives about how you enforce limits with your child. Unless, of course you’re ‘Gwennie’ and under her roof. Then it’s her rules … or else.
9. Limit holiday candy; give healthy treats along with the seasonal goodies. So pumpkin pie counts as a vegetable, right?
Any more tips you’d like to share? Leave your comments here or email me at the address below.
Sounds fun, right? Well, not so much.
Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of moving … with a 2-year-old. We didn’t move far, just a few miles closer to work, and to a much bigger place and much quieter community. However, that doesn’t ease the strain and hassle of moving.
Since it’s just us two, I had to figure out a way to get everything packed in the few days prior to the move, with a toddler underfoot in every room of the house. As I would fill up boxes, he would take things out of them. If he saw a toy he hadn’t played with in months being boxed up, all of sudden it was his favorite and must be taken out and played with immediately.
When two of my friends came to move everything, all he wanted to be was part of the action. I couldn’t help all that much moving things because I had to constantly watch him.
And for days to follow, I couldn’t for the life of me, find the right cup or plate or toy in the 40 plus boxes I had in the new place. I couldn’t find his favorite bedtime books or the caboose for his train set. And I heard about it – every day.
But we’re slowly getting settled. He only refers to it as ‘the new house.’ If I say ‘we’re going home’ he gets upset because the last time he saw ‘home’ as he knew it, it was an empty spot where things used to be. But going to ‘the new house’ makes him happy and excited, which makes it home to me.
Soon enough, it will be home to him, too.
Any horror stories about moving with kids? Share them here or e-mail me at the address below.
We have a ritual at our house. It involves picking up his toys several times throughout the day. Why? He loves to throw his toys and books across the room.
He’s actually better than he used to be. His tendency to throw is common among some Down Syndrome children. Physical therapists have said he did this because he liked the sensation of throwing and that we should direct his impulse toward acceptable items – bean bags, socks, soft objects – and have him aim them toward a basket.
His aim is really good, too. A pink paper fish with a colorful tail of streamers had hung in a doorway for several years – until this past month when Cade zeroed in on the floating fish and successfully knocked it from its place after several times of pummeling it with balls, cars, pillows and other toys.
We should stop him, and we do, but sometimes we just give out. And it’s these times when we say cade, Cade, CADE! … and then duck when a remote or favorite book comes hurling toward our heads. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re not so quick or we’re oblivious to the incoming plastic missiles.
But we love him. And, our living room will continue to look like a whirlwind just plowed through. (I wonder what my daughters’ friends’ mothers must think about my little pit. – If only they had stopped by three minutes earlier)
We continue to try to correct him and encourage him to restrain from chunking the DVDs, newspapers and toys across the room.
It’s encouraging that he’s better. His throwing habit has evolved into mostly tossing across the floor or carrying toys from one location to another.
And, also promising is his willingness to clean up while he sings the “Clean Up” song.
But don’t be surprised by the socks and toys thrown in our entertainment center, behind the furniture and pushed beneath the couch if you drop by. Oh, and, Duck! — Linda Lynn
Bonnie Harris, author of the new book “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With (Adams Media, September 2008),” has plenty of tips for parents seeking solutions for morning time struggles between children and parents.
Several are listed in today’s Life section of The Oklahoman. Here are more of Harris’ tips to transform stressful mornings:
1. Decide what the best morning routine is for everyone. Make a chart. If you have a white board, write each agenda item with a box next to it for your child to check off when done.
2. Pick out clothes the night before.
3. Make lunches the night before.
4. Go over the next day’s schedule the night before.
5. Remind children to get backpacks ready before the bedtime routine starts — don’t expect this to be done without reminders unless you have an especially organized child.
6. Establish a rule that anything you have to do concerning homework is done the night before or it doesn’t get done.
7. Get up earlier and get your personal routine done before waking the children.
8. Ease your child awake with a smile and a back rub — unless she uses an alarm clock.
9. If you’re creative, prepare a “fancy” breakfast menu to present to your children when they get up. This can be a once in awhile option.
10. If things are not going smoothly, even silently acknowledge everyone’s agendas.
11. If your child is cranky, validate how hard some mornings are to get going and that you often have the same problem. Each day is different.
12. If there is a particular problem your child is dealing with, acknowledge the problem, and offer help and support without trying to fix it.
Bonnie Harris founded The Parent Guidance Center (now The Family Center) in Peterborough, N.H. in 1990, which is dedicated to parent education and support. She is the director of Connective Parenting and has designed and taught parenting workshops and counseled parents for 20 years. Sign up for her e-newsletter by going online to www.connectiveparenting.com.
I was about to pull out of my driveway and head to work when I glanced at my cell phone.
I had seven voicemails! Who could have called me so many times?
I listened to the first message, and it was my youngest daughter, Kaci, distraught and crying. You can never understand her on the phone when she’s upset, but I knew it was her. What could be wrong? So, I listened to the next message. Again, her crying, never staying on the phone more than a couple of seconds.
As I quickly headed to her school, my mind began to imagine the problem. Had someone hurt her? Had the teacher addressed her harshly? … Still, the next two voicemails were even shorter, some with only whines.
I was about in tears when I pulled into the school parking lot. I rushed to the office. “I have to talk to my daughter,” I said with urgency. “She called me on the phone distraught.”
One of the women in the school office told me Kaci was in the gym, so we quickly walked to her P.E. class. (Had she broken her arm? Was she hurt?)
When we arrived at the gym, I saw my little 10-year-old swinging a racquet and playing with the other children. She looked fine, so I was puzzled. I motioned for her to come to the door.
When she was asked if she had called me that morning, she said, “No.” …. But she had called two weeks ago. And then I remembered getting a phone call on our home phone weeks earlier. She had been upset because she had thought an envelope with money for school pictures was missing … It wasn’t. It was in her notebook. So, she quickly recovered from her tears.
Or so I thought. I didn’t realize she had tried calling my cell phone several times. Aren’t cell phones grand? I’m not sure if anyone else’s phone does this, but sometimes I don’t get a message alerting me to voicemails. Then, one day I’ll get one that seems to push all the voicemails forward at once.
So, I left her school that morning, relieved but mentally shaken.
When I retold this story to my family, my oldest daughter reminded me of a time last year when my worry took me a little over the top, too.
I showed up at her middle school with two pairs of pants and a sandwich.
I thought she had ripped her pants (I had seen a dark spot on her jeans when she boarded the bus, so I thought they were torn.) And news reports of tainted peanut butter panicked me because I had packed her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Well, the rip turned out to be a sticker on her jeans. But I still made her switch out the sandwiches.
My children might laugh at me for my antics, but it’s just my nature. I will always worry about my kids. — Linda Lynn