Safe Home Happy Mom: January 2010

Product Review: Avalon Organics

I started using Avalon Organics for Cami after I realized she had inherited some sensitive skin from her father. Because God knows I can bathe with dishwasher soap and my skin will be just fine. Avalon Organics is an organic botanicals and nutrient-rich skin care formulation for mother and baby. The Gentle Tear-Free Shampoo & Body Wash was my first introduction to this product line, the active ingredients are organic aloe, calendula and chamomile. I found that the soap suds up nicely on Cami's skin and hair. The sunflower smell is just absolutely gorgeous, its arguably the most enriching shampoo and body wash I have ever used, at least that's the feeling I get.

I combine a mixture of the Weightless Nourishing Baby Lotion and Nurturing Organic Massage Oil for moisturization. I simply cannot use massage oil alone and I love adding the oil to give a calm and soothing feeling. The feeling you get when you rub them both on your palm is smooth and silky, I bet it feels good on any baby's skin.

I then finish it off with the Silky Cornstarch Baby Powder

Overall, this is a nice product line. I love the enriching nutrients that are supplied to the child's skin. Cami has been using it for 4 months now and her skin is just flawless. Bye-Bye rashiness!!! The only down-side to it is that I could only find the product at a particular Publix market in Tampa, FL and I have searched every other Publix after that, all to no avail. It is not available at Target stores either, which totally sucks. However, you can order it online at www.diaper.com.

They have a product line for Mommy too, which is nice. I should probably try one myself.

So, do you have a child with sensitive skin as well?

ABOUT

I am a recent graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida, and recently married.


ABOUT THIS BLOG

Safe Home Happy Mom is mainly an online resource blog for moms and moms-to-be to educate and provide information for safer and eco-friendly practices to ensure a healthier family and home.With recent recalls of toys, car seats, window blinds and the onslaught of toxic chemicals in baby, food and cosmetic products, this blog will focus on ways to stay eco-gorgeous without breaking your budget.

Every now and then I will focus on healthy lifestyle and safe parenting tips to guide you through motherhood and an unsafe ecosystem.


REGULAR BLOG ENTRIES focus on

Green Living
Safe Stuff (Products and Services)
Health, Beauty and Lifestyle
Vacation and Travel
Safe/Green Home and Technologies
Safe and Eco-Friendly Living for Kids
Safe and Eco-Friendly Living for Mom

CONTRIBUTORS

Are you interested in been a contributor for SHHM, shoot me an email at blessing@safehomehappymom.com, I love working with other moms to help protect our future.


CONSULTING SERVICES

SHHM education and consulting services helps individuals and businesses keep children and environment safe, while incorporating green and eco-conscious decisions. We work with companies, daycares, and households to bring green plus safety into their enviroment. Making it more comforting, relaxing and eco-gorgeous as can be. Our Fees are not hourly based, we charge based on the specifics on what needs to get done while keeping the budget as minimal as possible. Email us today for a safer and greener living.

SHHM also provides educational classes and skype interactions with mothers who are expecting or currently having difficulties in transitioning to a safe and eco-conscious environment in their homes. To schedule a skype interaction, please email me at blessing@safehomehappymom.com


LINKS I LOVE

Green & Safe Mommas

Mommy Is Green
Eco Modern Mom
Safe Mama
Environmental Working Group
The Green Parent
Best of Mother Earth
Big Green Purse Blog
The Crunchy Chicken
Eco ' Burban
Enviromom
Fake Plastic Fish
Green and Clean Mom
Green Mom Review
Green Style Mom
Green Talk
In Women We Trust
La Maguerite
Mindful Momma
Mom Go Green
Not Quite Crunchy Parent
Organic Mania
Surely You Nest
The Smart Mama
Tiny Choices
No Impact Man
Mom Goes Green
5 Minutes For Going Green
Parent Hacks
Quirky Momma
Delicious Baby


Personal Blogs

Musings Of an Army Wife
Metropolitan Mama
The Pioneer Woman
My Charming Kids

Semi Crunchy Mama
My Cup 2 Yours
Musings of An House Wife
The Girl Next Door Grows Up
DesignHer Momma
Momma's Gone Over The Wall

If you want to get on the list, email me!!!

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Product Review and Giveaways

I publish exciting safe, eco-friendly and nontoxic consumer products review. I also run giveaways on my website to my many and devoted readers. However, my reviews are completely honest as I personally use these products and from a safety standpoint will not garnish any product that fails to meet the threshold. If your product fails to meet the safety threshold, I will send it back and will not publish my findings.

For product reviews and giveaways please contact me at blessing@safehomehappymom.com


Packaged Custom Promotion

If your company would like me to introduce a fun promotion of their product on the blog, I can hook you up as well. Again all guidelines on Product Reviews have to be met.


Travel Destinations

I love to travel! And I will feature any safe, family friendly travel destinations anywhere in the world using my awesome Nikon D3000, although I need to upgrade. Please contact me and I'd be (extremely) happy to review your travel location.

Why the IPAD may not be for you.

The hotly anticipated IPAD is finally here. After Steve Job, CEO of Apple Inc. unveiled the IPAD, reviews from every part of the blogosphere have started coming in. Although Steve called the device "extraordinary," "unbelievable" and "a dream", the rest of the United States do not agree with him, well at least some of us do not agree with him. Suddenly the hotly anticipated IPAD turned into cold soup. While it sure has some good features, its not a device I would spare the little or no dollars in my bank account on (yeah, sometimes its empty, blame it on being a recent graduate).

But here are some of the things I think you should know about the IPAD.

The good things -

  • The tablet is 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds.
  • It has a 9.7 inch display with 1024 x 768 pixel resolution. It also has capacitive multi-touch that's similar to the iPhone.
  • The iPad will have 16 GB to 64 GB flash storage.
  • It includes speaker, microphone, and accelerometer so you can use the device in both landscape and portrait mode. There's also a compass.

The bad things -

  • No multitasking
  • No Adobe Flash (yet)
  • No camera or iChat capabilities
  • No HDMI port
  • 4:3 aspect ratio
  • Still dependent on AT&T's 3G service
  • Dependence on adapters

Again, the Apple has failed to develop a technology for the future as promised.

What do you think of the IPAD?

Wordless Wednesday - Our life before Cami

Our Life before Cami - I remember asking my friend who just bought a Sony A230 for a pregnancy photo shoot which she gladly agreed to. I believe this was Buckhead, Atlanta, GA. Hubby was clearly having fun.

A Guide to Healthier Kids

My motivation to improve my diet is thinking about my kids future. I want to stage a strong healthier future for my child, so she looks back and realize just how much I wanted her to be healthy, safe and happy. Health professionals in America have declared child obesity a national epidemic. About nine million kids are affected. As a matter of fact the pediatric population as a whole is getting fatter, the fatter are now getting super-obese. Obese children are at a high risk of being obese adult. Hence, it is important to me as a mother to protect the future of my child. Believe it or not, image is everything. Not only is being lean and healthy a necessity for your child, it eliminates health risk such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, elevated blood lips - these are risk associated with obesity.

Overweight kids are on a fast track to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, diseases that we usually associate with middle-aged adults. Pediatricians are alarmed at the rapid rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. Recent reports reveal that up to 40 percent of children with newly diagnosed diabetes have type 2 diabetes, the type closely associated with obesity. In addition to physical health problems, the overweight child also experiences emotional and social problems.

Children are more inclined to eating fast food, packaged meals, pizza, French fries, Harmburgers, chips, candy bar, etc. They have no taste whatsoever for fruits, vegetables, salads, etc. Furthermore, portion sizes have increased drastically, leading to children consuming more food that before.

Why do I care about all this facts, because I want to make changes now. I feel like as a mother, I need to constantly re-evaluate my decisions and actions when it comes to health, life and lifestyle. I need to establish a meal pattern that is healthy for my child. I need to establish a daily routine exercise for my little one, so she not only eats everyday but active as well. I've got to watch the portioning, the nutritional contents of foods. I've got to stay away from canned and packaged meals and instead stick to vegetables and fruits. I've to be a healthy mom as well, so my child can see through me, the need for a healthy lifestyle.

Can you share your healthy lifestyle with me. Little things you do at home to make your family healthier and safer?

Getting Fit!

My mission to get fit starts now!!! And I so mean it. My friend Esther just came in with a weighing scale (yes, I don't have one). I decided to weigh Camille first, she is almost 11 months and currently weighs 25.6 lbs, stands 30inches which is in the 99th percentile for weight and 98th percentile for height. She is my super big baby! But anyways, going back to December 15, I was weighing 128lbs and bear in mind I am 5'3" tall. And since then I have indulged in all sorts of foods, beverages, etc... and this includes the overeating during the holidays. I am just one super cook and a big fat super eater. But anyways, I currently weigh 135.6lbs and I cannot understand why? I mean? Why do bad things happen to good people. I cannot fathom what in the world was as big as 7 pounds that went through me in 30 days! This is just unthinkable. But I will not give up, I will not accept defeat. I will lose this weight before my baby's 1st birthday (Feb 27th), because, I have to look astonishing for her. Hence, I am hitting the treadmill, getting a BOSU ball for my flabby tummy... And get a life! Oh yeah, I am 23 years old, I should be having the time of my life, not worrying about friggin weight right? But no, I shall not fall into that trap, I shall not wait till I am 40 to start worrying about my weight, I will be healthy, I will lose 7 pounds in 37 days!!!

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to subscribe to my email. I promise to be good.

Thanks!

Limiting the Use of BPA Products in Infants

After reading a post on CNN about BPA, I honestly would confirm my own lack of knowledge on BPA free products. I just know to buy BPA free products, I honestly have not research the harm that it poses on infants. But here it is.

According to Facts About PBA.org,

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a key component used to make epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastic, which are used to make consumer goods. Polycarbonate is clear, strong, lightweight, and resistant to heat and shattering. This combination of properties makes polycarbonate plastic ideal for use in eyeglasses, water bottles, CDs, DVDs, cell phones and other electronics, bicycle helmets, automobiles, airplanes and medical equipment.

Likewise, epoxy resin coatings are durable, adhere well to metal, and are chemical resistant. This combination of properties makes them ideal for use as a protective coating on food cans.

However FactsAboutBPA.org still went ahead to deem this safe during the Bush Administration. (read more here)

BPA has been used for over five decades to manufacture strong, durable consumer products. But how harmful is BPA and why should you petition against this material in the near future? The National Toxicology Program, in its own report in 2008 said there is "some concern" for BPA's effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland, in developing fetuses, infants and children. Other studies have found a possible link to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but the authors of those studies say it's not clear the problems were actually caused by BPA.

Here is a link to the CNN Article, this is a must read for parents and everyone who uses some type of container/storage for food.

My Vow to Read More Books

I have a confession. A year ago, I bought about 10 books, promising myself I would read to Camille as soon as she is born until the day I lost my breath (awwww...)...but 365 days later I am yet to keep that promise. Instead I have resorted to Your Baby Can Read for a wooping sum of $200 and maybe its working but it doesn't replace the actual mommy time I would have loved to spend reading to my child. And then tonight as I read Metropolitan Mama, I felt guilty. Although it was aimed at mothers who read, I still felt unhappy because I feel like I am raising my child to be the conventional consumer-oriented American kid, who would rather be entertained rather than reading and thinking creatively. I think as a nation we have lost our true essence due to a false perception of the American dream that we forget how cool it was in those days when we read three to five books a week, slowly building our mental orientation and perception of life.

Reading is an active mental process. Reading makes you think more and act more, unlike TV, readings allows you to use your brain. The greatest gift of knowledge is not power, its action. Just because TV is more entertaining does not mean I should sit down during my leisure time subjecting myself and my family to TV shows. I dont care if its an educational show. Dont get me wrong, the media is good in some cases because it keeps us abreast of situations around us but reading books, learning about other cultures, putting our brain to work is the best gift you could ever give your family. Research have actually shown that the less you use your brain, the more memory loss you experience. And it might not be obvious now, but you will realize it sooner or later.

Anyways, I have vowed to keep start my child out reading more before its too late. I will however keep the $200 Your Baby Can Read DVD whenever she gets bored or tired of staring at them books. But trust me, my book shelve is arriving by the end of the week, and its going to be a happy jolly reading night around here.

Good Night

How to Overcome Emotional Eating

Eating is a part of life. Your body gets its nutrients from food. Sometimes we can go overboard with our eating habits and it can result in gaining weight. One issue with food is emotional eating.

The problem of emotional eating may end with the scale but it begins in the mind. Stress takes its toll on your life. When your defenses are compromised your health takes a hit and so do your emotions.

Everyone has good days and bad days. How we deal with the bad ones brings emotional eating into play. You look for comfort for your hurts. People who turn to food for comfort find a coping mechanism that won't judge them, hurt them or tell them "no." To complicate the issue, eating pleasurable foods can stimulate the release of endorphins just like exercise. So, after you eat, you feel better.

And this is bad especially if you are a parent. Your eating habits affect your entire family, which means on days when you are so stressed out, everyone eats french fries and ice cream and in large quantity too. If thats you, read on....

Emotional eaters use food to relieve stress. They hide behind the food instead of seeking solutions to the problems. This is not uncommon when the stressor is something horrible such as physical abuse or a death.

But, how do you know you are using food in this way? The first sign is obvious. You will gain weight if you eat too much. In light of the weight gain, examine other areas of your life:

  • Have you been under stress lately at work or at home?
  • Has anything traumatic happened in the last year?
  • Are you dealing with a problem but haven't found a solution?

Answering "yes" to any of these questions could mean that you are an emotional eater. You eat but you are not necessarily hungry at the time. The foods that you choose are what we term "comfort foods":

  • High fat foods like French fries, fried foods
  • High carb foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes
  • Sugary foods like ice cream, donuts, cookies, cake

There is help for emotional eaters. The first step is recognizing that you have a problem. You'll experience feelings of helplessness and guilt. The guilt is over potentially ruining your health and the helplessness lies in the fact that you don't see a way out.

Secondly, seek counseling. There are many types of counselors out there that can meet your need. Emotional eating has nothing to do with dieting or changing your eating habits but gaining control over your emotions.

A counselor might suggest things like visualization, practicing problem solving skills, relaxation techniques and family support. Visualization helps you to see your problems in a realistic way and not blown out of proportion. You will also learn to see food as nutrition for the body and not an emotional crutch.

Thirdly, your family can learn your triggers for stress and be on the lookout for changes in your eating habits. They can help you be aware of the foods you are eating, assist you in making healthy food choices and exercise along with you. Proper diet and exercise increases immunity, blood flow and positive thinking. Yoga enhances the mind/body connection so you don't eat when you aren't hungry.

Finding new ways to solve your problems and deal with stress will push food out of the equation. You'll feel good about finding solutions which will replace the dependence on food.

The Power of Antioxidants for Staying Young

Everyone wants to grow old gracefully. Some go under the knife to get that youthful look while others opt for a more natural way to maintain that healthful glow. The way to make peace with age can be found in the types of foods that we eat and the miracle ingredient they contain.

This hidden "miracle" is called antioxidants. They have graced the pages of magazines, medical journals and every product from hand cream to supplement pills. But what are antioxidants and what can they do to keep you looking your best?

Antioxidants are substances that fight the aging process that goes on in your body. They are not produced by the body so to get the benefit of these power-packed substances you must ingest them. A variety of foods contain antioxidants.

Let's go back to the beginning. The body continually replenishes its cells. Through a process called cellular metabolism, the body produces energy, more cells and repairs any damage. One by-product of cellular metabolism is unstable molecules called free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules that damage your body. They are unstable because they are missing an electron. To get another one and become stable, free radicals will steal electrons from cells. That theft damages the cells in a variety of ways.

The results are visible and invisible changes to our bodies. The development of diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and neurological deficiencies may begin to affect you as you age. Also, thinner skin wrinkles and brittle bones are a problem. Free radicals enter our body from outside sources as well: cigarette smoke, radiation and the sun's UV rays. The more free radicals we encounter, the greater the damage that can be done.

Antioxidants have been shown to be of great help in the free radical problem. Antioxidant substances combine with free radicals and neutralize them. Once they are neutralized, they can no longer do any damage. Scientists don't have any idea of a recommended daily dose of antioxidants to correct free radical damage and the diseases that come with age, but they do know that eating foods rich in antioxidants makes a huge difference in how we live.

Where do you find antioxidants? They are all around us. Look no further than your local farmer's market or produce aisle in the grocery store. Fruits and vegetables contain the principle sources of antioxidants.

Examples of antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Beta-carotene

Certain minerals like zinc and selenium also function in the body. They are not antioxidants but they boost the immune system to fight against free radical damage.

Antioxidants are also found in nuts, legumes, cold water fish, seafood and red meat. So, eating a varied diet of fruits, vegetables and the foods just named will increase the amount of antioxidants in your system and help reduce the incidence of disease. Eating fruits and vegetables in their natural form instead of juices brings the benefit of other nutrients found in the foods. Juices also contain a lot of sugar that is not needed by your body.

Food does more than stave off hunger. Natural substances found there can cause us to live longer and stay free of disease as we age.

Effective Steps for Managing Anxiety

Have you ever been in a situation that brought on sweats, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath? You probably weren't having a heart attack but an anxiety attack. If you suffer from anxiety disorders, learning to manage it is the first step to overcoming it. First off, be at peace with yourself.

Anxiety is characterized as extreme reactions to fearful situations. When someone follows you into a dark alley, those anxious feelings of a racing heartbeat and sweaty palms gives way to heightened senses and a rush of adrenalin that can save your life. This is the fight or flight syndrome.

In the case of frequent anxiety, the fearful feelings are dread of a particular situation and not the situation itself. Getting caught in traffic can cause an anxiety attack over what might happen when you get to work late. Starting a new job can bring on anxiety attacks. You don't know anyone and fear of that unknown can send you into a panic.

Everyone experiences panic or anxiety in small ways. Like the fight or flight example, it can save your life. In new situations, we get panicky but when the outcome we fear fails to materialize, the anxiety stops. For someone with chronic anxiety, this is not the case.

Every situation that brings anxiety is not life-threatening. More than likely it is an extremely stressful situation that has brought on the anxiety as a way of dealing with it. Unchecked anxiety of this type can lead to depression.

If you suffer from anxiety attacks on occasion or a more frequent anxiety disorder, there are steps you can take to keep your anxiety under control.

  1. See a professional. This is always a good first step. Self-diagnosis of any type of physical or mental condition is unwise and can be dangerous. A professional psychologist can help you understand your anxiety and prescribe medication or other effective techniques.
  2. Get a good night's sleep. During the sleep cycle, your body repairs itself. You feel more rested after several hours of restorative sleep, reaching the REM stage. Most people need eight hours a night which varies within an hour or two each way.
  3. Exercise on a consistent basis. Exercise helps you to use oxygen more efficiently. It helps to get more oxygen to the brain. It also increases focus which may help you see solutions to problems rather than simply worrying about them.
  4. Meditate. Meditation is more than chanting mantras. Yoga is an exercise that involves quieting the mind and controlling your breathing. Simple mediation such as taking 5 minutes to clear your mind everyday can work wonders in the fight against anxiety.
  5. Manage the worry. When you feel your pulse start to quicken, count backwards from ten. As you count, focus on the situation. What has actually happened? Resist the urge to read anything more into the situation.
  6. Don't use alcohol. You might think that the glass of wine is relaxing your tension but alcohol is a depressant. In anxious situations you could rely too heavily on it and gain another problem in the process.
  7. Find some relaxing activities. Stress can rob you of your energy. On a regular basis, do something you like such as gardening, painting, reading or listening to music.

Anxiety can come into your life at any time. It's normal. When the anxiety becomes frequent you could be at risk for more serious conditions. If you feel your anxiety is starting to take over your life or increasingly causing you problems, seek professional help immediately. There is no need to suffer this terrible condition in silence.

Have a nice night.

Home Organization 101: Easy Steps to a Clutter Free Home

When you first move into your home it seems like you have so much space. As the years pass, you might find yourself becoming a pack rat. What are you going to do with all the stuff you have accumulated? Perhaps it's time to weed out the unnecessary items and organize your home.

Home organization is a step-by-step process. It will take more than a day or even a week to get everything to a manageable level, but once you do staying organized is an easier task. If you have a family, enlist their help. They can pitch in and learn a thing or two about controlling clutter in their life.

  1. Start with the high traffic areas. The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house. Everything gets dropped on a counter or the couch in these two places. Concentrate on getting everything set up the way that you like it before moving on to another room.
  2. Use storage containers. Over the years, the style of storage containers has upgraded to be pretty as well as functional. Instead of storing containers in stacks in the garage, purchase ones that match your decor in each room and integrate them so that no one would even notice they were being used for storage. Make sure your storage unit is stable and won't tilt over.
  3. Divide items into categories. You can use heavy duty trash bags for this part. Everything that you find can go into a pile: KEEP, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, and RELOCATE. Items that will stay in that room are to keep. Things that you don't need or are broken can be thrown away. Clothes or furniture still in great condition can be donated and scheduled for pickup by the Veteran's association or Goodwill. Anything that definitely belongs in another room can be labeled for relocation when you get to that room.
  4. Remove everything from drawers and cabinets. This is a time-consuming process but it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around. If you line things up on the counter, someone else can help by putting the items in some type of order.
  5. Make use of all of your available space. In the kitchen, for example, appliances or extra containers can be stored on top of the cabinets provided they don't extend all the way to the ceiling. That's extra storage space without benefit of a storage container. Also use the top of the refrigerator for cereal boxes and breakfast food like boxes of instant oatmeal or grits. In the bedroom, shoes and winter clothes can go into flat storage bins that slide easily under the bed or the dresser.
  6. Label your containers. Use tape and a permanent marker to identify the contents of your storage containers. Avoid writing on the actual container in case they are reused and the contents are changed. Labeling also makes for easy identification if you decide to sell or give away a container of books or something. You won't have to open each container to locate them.

Organizing your entire house takes time. But, once it is done, returning everything you use to its proper place will maintain that same level of organization.

Blog Pick of the Week

These articles are by Vanessa Van Petten who runs RadicalParenting.com a parenting blog written from the kid's perspective with 20 teen writers. Their goal is to give parents a secret view into the world of kids and youth.

Teacup Parenting: Is your Child too Fragile? Here I delve into the four different types of kids I see today and what their pitfalls and strengths are!

Cotton Candy Friends How social networking, IMing, texting and the Internet are changing teen's friendships

10 Rules Kids Wished Their Parents Lived By Here are our radical parenting principles put together by Vanessa and our Teen Team of how we wish parenting would be.

50 Best Mom Blogs Parents always ask us "which websites should I read?" Here we did a complete overview of our favorite mommy bloggers across the net with reviews, favorite articles and descriptions.

A Parent's Guide to Medicine Safety

As parents, we never want to see our children sick. It's often painful for us to see our children in discomfort and it's also difficult to comfort them when they don't understand why they're sick. Sickness leads to bad moods and cranky kids, which in turn leave parents frustrated and often the whole family gets stressed out when sickness invades the home.

Our first response is usually to find a medicine that will cure the illness. But along with curing whatever ails your child, there are certain dangers associated with medicines, both prescription and over the counter (OTC). This guide will help you decide if medicine is even a necessary treatment, safety tips to ensure your child gets the correct dosage, natural remedies, tips for when to seek medical attention, and questions you need to ask your pediatrician.


Cold Symptoms: Does Your Child Need Medicine?

What do you do when your child comes home from school sniffling? Or has a nagging cough? Or has a slight fever? Do you run right to the store to get some cough and cold medicine?

Many OTC medicines treat the symptoms only, rather than the illness itself, so you should determine just how uncomfortable your child is before doling out the medicine. Medicines are most effective against severe symptoms rather than minor symptoms. A slight case of the sniffles doesn't require medicine but severe congestion can benefit from a decongestant. Use simple common sense or call your pediatrician to determine the severity of your child's symptoms.

Also take your child's age into consideration when determining if she needs medicine. Infant OTC medicines have been deemed unreliable for treating symptoms. Children under the age of 2 risk the possibility of severe, life-threatening side effects from some OTC medicines and the FDA is currently reviewing the guidelines for toddlers.

Considering that these medicines are all man-made and full of chemicals, do we really want our children ingesting medicines that might cause them harm, especially if they don't really need it? If there's any question about the effectiveness, why risk the possible side-effects?


Treating Fever and Pain

Children present with fevers when their bodies are starting to fight off some sort of infection or illness. Fever is the body's natural way of trying to heal itself or ridding itself of the invading germs. But many parents panic and run to get aspirin or some other fever reducer.

NOTE: Children under the age of 21 should avoid taking aspirin at all costs.

Treating any viral infection (such as a cold, chicken pox, or flu) with aspirin can be dangerous and might lead to a life-threatening disease called Reyes syndrome. For more information about Reyes Syndrome, please visit this link: http://www.reyessyndrome.org/

Just as with the cold symptoms, there are various degrees of severity with fevers. A mild fever (up to 100.4 degrees F) can be caused by simple exercise, taking a hot bath, or wearing too many clothing layers. This is considered normal and no need to worry or break out the medicine.

NOTE: Infants always require medical treatment if they have a fever over 100 degrees F.

Temperatures higher than 100.4 degrees F. are considered feverish and you will sometimes see changes in your child's demeanor. He may be sluggish, more tired, and less hungry. It's important to watch for these symptoms so you can discuss with your doctor if the fever is a symptom of a more serious illness.

Doctors generally accept treating fevers once the child shows signs of discomfort with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) products. Since ibuprofen also treats inflammation as well as pain and fever, it is stronger than acetaminophen. Accidental overdoses are common with both products so much care is necessary when giving your child either medicine.


Tips for Safely Giving Your Child Medicine

Here are some basic safety tips for giving your child medicine safely:

  1. Read the label carefully each time - it doesn't matter if you just opened the bottle or are using up the last dose; read the directions carefully.
  2. Read what active ingredient(s) are in the medicine and let your doctor know of any allergic reactions to medication.
  3. Choose the right strength to avoid accidental overdoses - an adult strength formula can be deadly for an infant or small child.
  4. Use the dosing tool that comes with the medicine - a different cup or kitchen spoon might hold too much medicine.
  5. Let one parent be the medicine giver - if neither parent knows the other one has already given the child his dose, this can lead to double dosing and accidental overdose.
  6. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if this medicine will mix well with vitamins or other medications your child may be taking.
  7. Know your child's weight - this is the most reliable way to gauge the correct dosage for your child.
  8. Know the difference between a tablespoon (Tbs) and a teaspoon (tsp) - a tablespoon holds three times as much medicine as a teaspoon which can lead to an accidental overdose.
  9. Have your Poison Control Center phone number readily available and don't be afraid to use it! Post this number by each phone and call them if you have any concerns at all.
  10. Be sure the child-resistant caps are locked when closing the medicine bottles - kids love the fruity candy flavors of some medicines and you don't want them trying to sneak more when you're out of sight.
  11. Keep all medications in a safe place out of reach of children - whether the safety cap fails to lock or you have an inventive child who can figure out how to break the cap open, you don't want them able to get extra doses of medicine.
  12. If you have family members, neighbors, or visiting guests who keep medications in their purses or suitcases, keep the purses or suitcases out of children's reach - children will be curious about the "candy" Grandma carries in her purse.
  13. Look at the expiration dates on both prescription and OTC medications - there's some controversy about whether it's safe to take expired medicines. Do you want to risk your child not getting the potency necessary to make her feel better? Or possibly risk it being dangerous to ingest after the expiration date?
  14. Never give your child someone else's prescription.
  15. Always check the active ingredients in both prescription and OTC medications - doubling up on an active ingredient could lead to an accidental overdose.
  16. Discard expired medicines carefully so little ones can't ingest them accidentally - crush up pills and seal them in a plastic bag before discarding and never flush medicine down the toilet because it might contaminate your water supply.

All Natural Remedies

If your child shows signs of a mild illness, there are some all natural things you can do to ease their symptoms.

For a mild cold, keep him hydrated because the increase in fluids will break up the mucus causing the congestion. Saline nasal drops and a cool mist humidifier can also help clear nasal congestion. For young children who don't know how to blow their noses, use a bulb syringe to help clear out that mucus.

For fever, use wet cloths on the forehead or under the arms to bring down the temperature. You can also place your child in a lukewarm bath; not cold enough to send them into chills but not hot enough to scald their skin.

Infants who are teething can benefit from a homeopathic product such as Hyland's Teething Tablets. These tablets dissolve on baby's tongue and are made with all natural ingredients. For more information, visit this link: http://www.hylands.com/products/teething.php


When to Seek Medical Treatment

Many times we don't want to take the time to bring our children to the doctor's office, figuring we could save the copayment or we can treat the symptoms ourselves at home. However, there are some times when we need the medical intervention, such as:

  • When infants have a temperature of 100 degrees F.
  • When toddlers have a temperature of 102+ degrees F.
  • When children or adults have a temperature of 104+ degrees F.
  • When anyone has a fever accompanied by a rash, seizure, or the fever lasts longer than 72 hours.
  • If you think your child is having an allergic reaction to a medication.
  • If you think you may have given the wrong dosage to your child.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Having a clear understanding of the medication your doctor prescribes to your child is vital to his or her safety. Here are some important questions to ask your doctor before getting the prescription filled:

  • What is the name of the drug and what is it for?
  • Will this drug interact with any other medications or vitamins my child is taking?
  • How often does my child need to take this medication and for how many days or weeks?
  • What if I miss giving my child a dose?
  • How long before the drug starts working?
  • Are there any side effects and if so, what should I do if my child exhibits these side effects?
  • When can I stop giving him the medication?
  • Is there a generic version of this drug?

Before you leave the pharmacy, check the medication and be sure it's the right name and dosage that your doctor mentioned. If you're unclear about anything, ask your pharmacist to explain how the medicine should be administered. If anything at all sounds different from what your doctor said, then hold off giving the medicine to your child until you get your questions answered.

And if your doctor doesn't cooperate or answer your questions to your satisfaction, then find another doctor.


Medicinal Safety and Teens

Safety with medicine is not reserved only for young, elementary aged children. Preteens and teenagers need just as much vigilance as do the younger children. This is the common age when kids will start to experiment and possibly cause an accidental overdose.

Some common ingredients in decongestant medicines include pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, and phenylephrine. These can all affect your heart rate, blood pressure, and nervous system and severe poisoning can result in seizures and irregular heart rates.

Many pharmacies now ask for identification to purchase products with these ingredients to prevent teens from buying the products and misusing them but even if you keep it in your house, a teen is still able to gain access to it. Open communication about drugs and their dangers is of paramount importance as is keeping these medicines out of the reach of teen children.

Even "safe" drugs like Tylenol can be fatal or cause life-threatening side-effects if proper supervision isn't used. In addition to communicating with your teenager, never allow him to get the dose of medicine by himself. Be the parent and take this responsibility seriously when dispensing medications.


In Conclusion

Protecting our children's health is our biggest priority as parents. While it's inevitable that they will encounter cold germs or other viral infections, how we treat them when they get sick is of utmost importance.

While some people prefer to stay with all natural remedies, others may run to get some medicine to help their child's symptoms. This is a matter of personal preference but if you choose medicine, please review and practice the safeguards in this report.

The medical world has made some amazing advances with regard to treating illnesses but all too often we hear news of accidental overdoses made by careless mistakes. Your child is a precious gift and dispensing medicine should be done carefully to prevent another tragic mistake.

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