Back in October, I wrote a post about the importance of water safety for infants and toddlers. (Click here to read that post.) In wake of another drowning, I want to reiterate the importance of taking the best safety measures we can to prevent another tragedy.
Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has for years discourage swim lessons for children age 4 and younger. But this morning, they have changed their stance. According to their news release:
“New evidence shows that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction. … The new guidance recommends that parents should decide whether to enroll an individual child in swim lessons based on the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional development, physical abilities, and certain health concerns related to pool water infections and pool chemicals.”
You can read the entire news release by clicking here.
You can also watch a segment from the “Today” show that features different ways kids learn to swim and about the Infant Swimming Resource program that is available here in Oklahoma. To watch the “Today” show May 24 clip, click here.
As the Memorial Day long weekend approaches, now is the time to get your child familiar with the water and the ways to survive if he or she were to fall in.
And remember, nothing can replace a watchful and attentive parent or guardian. Don’t take your eyes off your children for a moment if there’s water nearby. Be sure your pool has the proper fencing/barriers to prevent your child from getting to the water unattended.
For everything water safety, go the AAP website: http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/watersafety.cfm.
Have a fun, but SAFE summer.
Within the past few months, my 4-year-old son has come into a new obsession: Tornadoes.
While you and I are scrambling for cover in a tornado siren, this kid’s eyes get as wide as saucers and the excitement level gets beyond control. Everything he sees is tornado-related.
But not all kids are ready to brave Mother Nature’s fury. Especially if those kids have had to go through an actual tornado and witness firsthand the destruction and injuries it can cause.
To help parents and caregivers explain how a tornado works, what to do when one is coming and how to deal with the destruction and aftermath of these storms, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Office has put out a coloring book called “After the Tornado.”
It’s a good read for parents and kids of any age and children will surely appreciate the fun-to-color pages.
To download the coloring book, click here.
For more information about the book, click here.
And for all your severe weather information, coverage and safety tips, go to the Know-It: Severe Weather page by clicking here.
If your family has any tales of storm survival or tips to help kids get through storms, comment here or e-mail me.
There are some interesting and informative kid-related posts on NewsOK.com. Here’s a sample:
Keep your kids of out danger on busy streets:
An outdoorsy opportunity for young people this summer:
An interesting column about the interaction between smokers and babies:
A story about summer meals for children on school lunch programs:
A look at the Edmond Fire Department’s Safety Village, built just for children:
A story about charter schools as a “smart alternative”:
And a review of the family movie “Furry Vengeance” :
A year ago, I shared with readers the changes that came with my son turning 3. (Click here to read last year’s post.)
Well, for the past month or so, my son has been asking me if he’s 4 yet. He just couldn’t wait to change his age. Last weekend, he finally got his wish. He even got up the morning after his birthday and said “I need to go look in the mirror and make sure I’m still 4!”
As with other ages, the changes just keep coming. This past year:
Sports become the biggest deal. You would not believe how serious tiny tots soccer can be. Just ask the dads yelling from the sidelines.
There’s the first dental visit. And I’ve already gotten the talk about orthodontia work in his future. I guess I should start saving for braces now.
He mastered the art of manipulation. You would not believe how smart kids get between 3 and 4. They know how to play on your every emotion, twist your words, and somehow always find a way to get what they want.
There’s a new shyness. He went to the doctor today and cried because he “didn’t want to be naked.” This was the same boy who was only too content running around the house in his underwear. So out came the hospital gown … one covered in Bugs Bunny and the Tasmanian Devil, of course.
Don’t call him “baby.” I used to be able to call my little man “baby” whenever I wanted. Now, I get a lecture every time. “I’m not a baby. I’m 4.” I have to admit, it broke my heart just a little.
Baby or not, they really do grow so fast. I can’t wait to see what else this new age brings.
And by the way, he’s already asking when he gets to turn 5.
According to Oklahoma Department of Human Services, there were more than 11,700 confirmations of child abuse and/or neglect in Oklahoma in 2008. In 2007, 39 died as a result of abuse or neglect. To read the full report, click here.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and there are a lot of events and programs planned to bring awareness to this devastating problem.
The Kelsey Briggs Foundation is having a Child Abuse Prevention/Family Safety Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Woodland Park in Shawnee. OU football players will be there and there will be car seat checks, live music, guest speakers, booths, food and much more. Click here for more information.
At UCO, Building a Blue Ribbon Tree will start at 8 a.m. April 14 with volunteers tying blue ribbons at 8 a.m. along the trees of Broncho Lake. At 11 a.m., children from UCO’s Child Study Center will lead a parade. Visitors will then be encouraged to tie blue ribbons on trees to represent children who have been abused. For more information, contact Kaye Sears at 974-5786 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also build a blue a ribbon tree in your own neighborhood. Anyone can do this, anywhere. Click here for more information.
The Oklahoma County Kids Task Force has an abundance of information on child abuse prevention, helpful programs, referrals and hot line. They also have opportunities for volunteers to get involved in the fight against child abuse. Go to http://okcountykids.org.
Anything we can do to just help one child is worth it. Let’s cherish our little ones and remember just how young and innocent they are.
But I’ve got a new one to enter.
First swear word.
My little 3-year-old outfielder was waiting patiently for his cousin to hit him a ball at grandma’s house on Easter. He waited and waited. Begged for a ball to come his way. Finally, it happened. The ball tumbled his way. He ran up, glove on hand and wanted nothing more than to catch that ball in his mitt.
But he missed.
And then it came out.
I think I about fell over from shock. How could such a young, innocent mouth use such a bad word? Not wanting to make the biggest scene on the lawn at grandma’s, I put the seriousness in my eyes and voice. “What did you say? Who told you that?”
He cowered and told me who he heard it from. Still in shock, I let him know in no uncertain terms he is not to use that word again. But I’m scared to know what’s next.
Have a toddler who used a bad word? Did you ignore it or punish them? Let me know here or e-mail me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department is beginning an Early Childhood Leadership Institute on April 1 from 6 to 8 p.m.
According to their Web site, if you have ideas about what our community needs to be a better place for families or want to learn more about why the early years matter and what you can do to help, then this just might be perfect for you.
It meets for 5 evenings, from April 1 to May 13. Free child care is provided as well as dinner.
For more information, call Smart Start Central Oklahoma at 523-3519 or click here.
Last weekend, I took my son (he’s almost 4) to see “The Blind Side.” Given the rating and subject matter (football), I thought it would be OK to take my boy to see it. And it didn’t disappoint. It was a fabulous movie and really tugged at the heartstrings. My son wasn’t wrapped up so much in the storyline, but he was definitely into the football scenes. And of course, he loved “Big Mike.”
When we got home, he says, very matter-of-fact, “Mommy, Big Mike is brown. What color am I? Am I brown?”
OK, so I really wasn’t expecting that. I was a bit tongue-tied, I must admit. I don’t want him to think he’s different than someone else based on skin color. But I didn’t want to lie to him either. What’s a mom to do?
Call her mom. That’s what.
My mom had some great advice and told me exactly what to say.
“Hunter, God made us all different shades, like paint on a palette. Like snowflakes, no two are alike, and that makes each of us very special.” Then she suggested I show him how my skin tone is even a little darker than his. He seemed very satisfied with that and went on with his day.
Whew! Good answer, Mom. She really does know best.
Ever been asked a difficult question by your toddler? How did you handle it? Let me know by commenting here or by e-mail. I’d love to hear your stories.
I came across an interesting post by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It lists 21 healthy New Year’s resolutions … for kids.
For preschoolers, it includes:
- I will clean up my room.
- I will brush my teeth twice a day.
- I will wash my hands.
For those age 5 to 12:
- I will drink milk and water, and limit soda and fruit drinks.
- I will apply sunscreen when going outside.
- I will play a sport or do another physical activity 3 times a week.
- I will wear my seat belt.
- I will be nice to other kids.
For age 13 and older:
- I will eat at least one fruit and vegetable every day and limit soda.
- I will choose non-violent TV shows and video games.
- I will help out my community.
- I will resist peer pressure.
- I won’t text or use a cell phone when driving.
For the entire list of resolutions, click here.
I have my own list of resolutions in regards to my 3-year-old son. Here’s my top 5:
- I will find time, no matter what, to read to him 20 minutes a day, every day.
- I will find a way to get veggies in his diet. (I think I said this same thing last January, too.)
- I will get him to think that cleaning up his play room is actually fun.
- I will be sure he stays active year-round. We’re starting off right with winter basketball.
- I will find some new and exciting places to bring him (taking suggestions!).
Do you have any resolutions you’d like to share? Comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you one to share pictures of your children online or do you shy away from posting photos on the Web?
Recently, The New York Times had an article about the surge in sharing kids’ photos online. Many parents use sites such as Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other social networking sites to share countless moments of their kiddos – whether they’re in a Halloween costume, at Grandma’s house or (gasp!) playing in the tub. But in some cases, photos have ended up used in ways not intended by the parent.
Some examples include photos of baby being passed off as someone else’s who is faking a pregnancy; use of children’s head shots on profiles on a social networking site in Brazil, even getting “sexy” ratings. And of course, parents are concerned about pedophiles singling out their children and in turn finding out where they live.
But some parents say this is the age of the Internet. No longer are moms and dads sending pictures of their children through the mail to the grandparents in another state. These days, grandma and grandpa are hooked to the Web to see instant pictures.
So is it exploitation or unsafe to post pictures? Or are the fears irrational and this is just how the 21st century is? It’s a decision only parents can make. But if you do post pics, be sure to use password-protected Web sites and always check your privacy settings on these sites.
And when given the choice of “Share with the world” or “Private” … don’t always go with what the site “recommends.” Go with your gut instinct instead.