Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Treats for Kids with Braces and Sealants

My two oldest sons had sealants placed on their back teeth when they were young, and wore braces when they got older, so they’ve always stayed away from gum and sticky candy, like taffy. This usually meant that they had to throw out or give away half of their Halloween candy collection! (Not a bad thing for their nutrition and weight, though.) More than 4 million children and 1 million adults in the United States and Canada receive orthodontic treatment. This time of year is often the busiest for orthodontists, perhaps because kids have damaged their braces from eating chewy, hard or crunchy candy. If you’re passing out candy this year, you might want to consider purchasing treats that are “braces-friendly.” And if you’re the parent of a child with braces or sealants, be sure to weed out those treats that might damage their dental appliances. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises kids to stay away from:

hard candies
chewy candies
jelly beans
hard pretzels
bubble gum
taco chips

And they also remind families to brush and floss after eating any kind of sweets.

So what kind of Halloween treats can you make for your kids that won’t hurt their braces or sealants? The AAO website has some great Braces-Friendly Halloween Recipes at http://braces.org/nohm-mom/mom_braces.htm. They include fun items such as Green Goo Slimedoo, Spider Bites, Spooktacular Pumpkin Cake, and Frightfully Fabulous Cupcake Sandwiches!

It can be difficult for kids to resist certain treats, but remind them that damaged braces can potentially prolong their treatment. Show them that there are plenty of alternatives that are delicious and braces-friendly, too. Have a happy, safe and tooth-healthy Halloween!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Giveaway: Silikids Products for Babies

In my upcoming book, Boosting Your Baby’s Brain Power, I discuss studies showing a possible link between bisphenol-a (BPA), a chemical that is commonly used in plastic baby bottles, and cancers and reproductive problems later in life. A report issued by the U.S. National Toxicology Program said there was “some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures.” And Health Canada has said that BPA is particularly harmful to infants. We don’t have conclusive evidence that BPA is harmful -- and industry insiders insist that it is safe -- but if there are alternatives available, why not do your own research and consider them?

Giuliana Schwab and Stacey Feeley are two moms who turned their concerns about BPA in baby products into action. They founded a company called Silikids, which produces a unique line of products that are germ-, mold- and toxin-free, hypoallergenic and made entirely of silicone! A non-porous material made from sand, silicone is an ideal solution for addressing parents’ concerns about BPA in their children’s products. So far, the Silikids collection includes:

Siliskins: silicone sleeves for 4- and 8-ounce bottles (glass bottles included)
Silibibs: soft and easy-to-clean bibs made entirely of silicone
Silipads: stylish silicone kneepads for crawlers and toddlers

I was able to obtain a sample of all of these products, and I fell in love with them! All the products are available in four great colors. The bibs are super-soft, flexible and easy to clean. The bottle sleeves have little bumps that make them easy to hold so they won’t slip out of your hands, and holes on the side so you can see how much liquid is left in the bottle. And the silipads…you have got to see these adorable little knee pads!

How do you get your own Silikids products? Just order online at http://www.silikids.com! Even if you’re done having babies, these products make fabulous gifts for new eco-conscious moms who are concerned about their babies’ exposure to plastic products.

You can also win a free set of Silikids products! This set includes: 1 silibib (green), 1 siliskin (green) with accompanying 8-ounce glass bottle and silicone nipple, 1 siliskin (green) for a 4-ounce bottle (bottle not included), and two silipads in orange. To enter the drawing, visit http://www.silikids.com to see the products and leave a comment here indicating which product and color is your favorite. One entry per person please. One winner will get the set I described above. Deadline: Sunday, November 16, 2008 at Midnight EST.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Book Review: Your Pregnancy Week by Week

Whenever I was pregnant (three times with four children), I read everything I could put my hands on about being pregnant. I wanted to know how the baby was developing, what new pregnancy symptoms I could expect, whether things in my environment could hurt my baby, and so much more. I would read and re-read my books, making sure that I didn’t miss a thing. Every book was a little bit different and presented new information.

I recently stumbled across a pregnancy book that I really wish I’d had during my pregnancies. With my hunger for information, its week-by-week format would have been a real plus for me! Your Pregnancy Week by Week, by Glade B. Curtis, M.D., M.P.H. and Judith Schuler, M.S., contains all the latest information about fetal growth, diet and exercise, prenatal screening, labor, delivery, and so much more. The authors have recently released the 6th Edition, so it is extremely current and comprehensive. It even tells you how to prepare yourself before you get pregnant and what to expect with your body after your pregnancy. I could fill pages with the topics that are covered in this book, so let’s just say that I couldn’t think of a topic that wasn’t included! And lest you fathers feel left out, it even has “Dad Tips” sprinkled throughout the book.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week is part of a whole series of books by Curtis and Schuler. Others include: Your Pregnancy for the Father-to-Be, Your Pregnancy Journal Week by Week, and several Quick Guides on nutrition and weight management, fitness and exercise, tests and procedures, women of color, and multiples. (I could have used that last one with my last pregnancy when I was carrying twins!) And after your baby is born, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week.

You can learn more about the authors and their books at www.yourpregnancybook.com. You’ll also find an ovulation predictor and a due date calculator, as well as pregnancy information, on the site. And then pick up a copy of Your Pregnancy Week by Week!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Window Cords Can Be Deadly to Children

Everyone knows that baby-proofing the house means covering the electrical outlets, padding sharp furniture corners and putting up a pool fence, but something that’s often overlooked is the danger of window cords. I was shocked to learn that, since 1990, more than 200 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling in window cords (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission). Many adults are unaware of this potential strangulation hazard.

In response to this tragedy, the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) has created SuperBaby -- a brand-new online video series about a superhero who fights to help keep infants and young children safe from the potential hazards that window cords can pose. The WCSC is a non-profit organization and a coalition of major U.S. manufacturers, importers and retailers of window coverings. The organization urges parents and caregivers to only use cordless window products in rooms where young children sleep and play.

SuperBaby is part of the Window Covering Safety Council’s ongoing effort to inform parents and caregivers about the potential hazards of window coverings. For the next several weeks, SuperBaby will appear in new episodes on several popular video channels such as YouTube and Yahoo, as well as the WCSC’s Web site. The videos were filmed in the New York metropolitan area and the animated SuperBaby flies around to new parents’ homes to help keep their children safe. (You can view one of the videos below.)

And while you’re in the process of making the windows in your baby’s room safe, be sure to give this important information to grandparents, daycare providers, and anyone else who watches your child. If you’d like more information about keeping your children safe from window cords, visit www.windowcoverings.org or call the WCSC toll-free phone line at 1-800-506-4636. They also provide free cord-retrofit kits so you can make your current blinds safer, as well as free safety brochures and posters that you can use to educate caregivers and other parents.

SuperBaby #2

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