Top 5 Holiday Hazards and Tips to Avoid Them

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Oh Baby! Top 5 Holiday Hazards and Tips to Avoid Them

By Jacque Jackson, RN, Certified Pediatric Nurse

The holiday season is here. Time for holiday travel, decorations, gift giving and plenty of holiday treats! As a pediatric nurse, I can’t help but get my mind going about all of the dangers that surround the holidays. This year, I thought it would be helpful to share my top five holiday hazards and help parents prevent any injury or hospital visits during this joyous time of year.

Holiday Food

It’s a tradition that isn’t meant to be broken right? Baking special cookies and cakes and devouring delicious holiday treats before your kids eat them all. Here is a list of some holiday treats to be cautious of:

  • Popcorn. My daughter Olivia loves popcorn, no matter what season. Whether you are enjoying gourmet flavors or stringing it on your Christmas tree, be sure your kiddos are sitting down and you are present when they are eating it…down to every last kernel. Popcorn can be a choking hazard and can easily get lodged in the throat if you are not careful.
  • Chocolate. That sounds weird right? I always tell parents to just be mindful of the thickness and hardness of chocolate. It's important to determine whether your child is developmentally able (meaning old enough) to eat a piece.
  • Candy Canes. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them right? Candy canes can also be sharp, especially if they break off. Once again, I just ask parents to make sure kids are sitting down, not bouncing around and that parents have eyes on their child(ren) until they are finished with the candy completely.

Holiday Decorations

Festive lights, trees, and other decorations really help families get into the spirit of the holidays. I agree.  I love decorating my house and watching the excitement glow through my children’s eyes.  Here are some decorations to be mindful of when decorating:

  • Light bulbs. My 2-year-old son finds the darndest things on the floor and pops them right into his mouth. Christmas lights are no exception. I don’t blame him, after all they look just like candy. The bubble lights are extremely poisonous too, for they may contain methylene chloride which, if swallowed or absorbed through the skin, becomes carbon monoxide inside the body. Be careful of where you hang yours and where you plug them in. For those of you with little little ones, I saw someone put a baby play pen gate around their Christmas tree recently. That is a genius idea.
  • Ornaments. Glass, plastic ones, and especially those that look like candy. Again, kids love putting anything and everything in their mouths. Be weary of all the tiny parts of your ornaments on the tree.
  • Tinsel. Tinsel seems to have made a come back in recent years. Although I personally doesn’t feel it looks like “icicles.” Can you imagine what tinsel can do to a child if they try to swallow it? It’s not as easy as performing the Heimlich maneuver, for the tinsel can wrap around and lodge itself in the throat and can be serious danger. My recommendation is to skip tinsel altogether.

Holiday Toys

Last but not least, many of us may have younger children with older siblings. Sometimes older siblings receive really fun gifts, but also come with itty bitty tiny pieces. Make sure Santa reads the boxes with the list of pieces so you can keep track of toys in a safe manner. An easy tip is that if it's small enough to fit in their mouth but the age on the box older than your child, then it's a chocking hazard. Here are some common toys that are easy to swallow.

  • Car tires. It amazes me how easy car tires can come off little toy cars. And for some reason, the texture of car tires seems to be a perfect invitation inside a little ones mouth.
  • Legos. Yes, we all know this one…but in addition to Legos in the mouth, be sure to check noses and ear cavities too. If you smell something really funny, it could be a toy lodged up in the nose, and you don’t even know it.
  • Marbles. Many games come with marbles. This freaks me out because marbles can be swallowed very easily. Keep all the games out of reach for the little ones.

It’s my hope to keep families informed and safe during this holiday season. If you are traveling, have family coming to visit you, or anything else that may require a brush up on your child safety skills, please feel free to reach out to me for a free consultation. It’s my passion to share my knowledge and teach families the proper way to ensure safety for each and every child here in the Houston area.

Happy Holidays.

Family Holiday Travel Safety Tips

holiday travel safetyBy Jacque Jackson, RN, pediatric specialist Did you know that 98.6 million Americans travel over the holidays each year, according to AAA? With so many people shuffling about all over the world, normal routines and safety precautions are easily forgotten, which can lead to dangerous situations if we are not careful. But don’t worry, I have taken the stress out of having to think about all of that and came up with a checklist for you to ensure the only thing you will need to worry about is how big the smiles will be on your children’s faces when they wake up on Christmas morning.

Safety Travel Tips

  • Car Seats. Make sure they are not expired. Yes, can you believe it? Car seats have an expiration date! Also be sure to visit the Safe Kids website for the proper way you should secure your child AND which way your child should be facing in the car.
  • Hand Hygiene. Yes, it’s hard to do when you are running around everywhere, but just imagine how many more hands are out touching the door handles, the escalator rails, the airplane seats and other things. It’s easy to create a routine while traveling to ensure hands stay clean. I like to wipe hands or use hand sanitizer right when we get into the car  and right before we eat anything.
  • No Drinking and Driving. Need I say more? It’s not worth risking your life, your children’s lives or even jail time if you get pulled over and don’t happen to injure anyone. Just don’t do it.
  • DIY Travel Kits. Yes, I absolutely encourage and welcome a parent’s creativity when it comes to entertaining kiddos in the car. Just promise me this, don’t include small objects like marker caps, marbles, Lego pieces or other things that can block an air passage way. This includes the nose and the mouth.
  • Eating in the Car. I know it may be incredible right-winged of me to stress the fact that you should pull the car over and park it before you start eating in the car. But for me who still has a rear-facing child in a car seat, I cannot see what he is up to, and if I give him something to eat, he could easy choke and I might not even know it.

From my family to yours, we wish you a very merry and safe holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Baby Nail Clippers of 2016

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One of the most popular questions for new parents when it comes to caring for their newborn  is ”how do I clip my baby's nails?” While there are many products made to keep you from having to clip their nails such as the hand mittens and pull-over sleeves on clothing, these are not ideal. Just trim them! These things get in the way of your baby soothing himself and may interfere with hunger cues between feedings. Not to mention how yucky and lint-filled their mouth and fingers can become. So I get it, you are worried your baby will scratch herself and have a huge red mark on her perfect beautiful skin so you need a solution. And I agree. You need something that will help you get the job done safely.

Listed are my top 2 picks in no particular order. I've used them both for my children and haven't found anything that I prefer more from a nurse mommy standpoint.

 

Zoli Buzz B Nail Trimmer If you would prefer to save the real clipping until you feel more comfortable or your little one is a little older (which might be more difficult by then) the best option for you would be the Zoli Buzz-B Nail Trimmer.

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Honestly speaking, you truly can't go wrong with this baby. It's battery-powered with two speed levels but is completely gentle and safe to use. The Buzz-B comes with multiple buffer pads in easy to notice colors. These colors are based on the baby’s age, beginning with newborn, which make selecting the correct texture super easy.

There is no need to feel insecure about knicking their skin or clipping too far because you are merely buffing away until the nail is to the desired length. The only downside, which is truly subjective, is the duration of use. The pads packaging states 12 months+, however depending on your comfort level, the nails themselves, and the compliance of your child, you may be better off switching over to actual nail clippers by then. Otherwise, you might be buffing for quite a while.

The Buzz-B runs about $35 and is available in some baby stores, but I have mostly found them in more baby boutiques and higher end stores. It comes in a nice plastic carry case that makes it easy to transport and find in a busy diaper bag!

 

Nail Frida Snipper Clipper

Now, I understand that the anxiety about the dreaded nail clipping for your newborn is real but it really doesn't have to be, even if you don't go the Buzz-B route. Let's say you received a baby shower gift set and in it was the FridaBaby Nail Frida Snipper Clipper, Nurse Jacque’s other favorite.Nail Frida Review

 

Priced a lot cheaper than the Buzz B at $12, this is available at most stores that have a baby aisle. The Nail Frida is fairly new on the market and somewhat awkward to use at first. There is an open end on one side where you are able to insert the edge of the nail. You use this area to move your way around the nail and guess what?! You can actually see what you're clipping! It's genius. And on top of that, it comes with a very sturdy nail file to round off the corners for a safe touch. So even if you are a little timid about going near your baby with anything sharp, there is great reassurance with the Nail Frida.

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It does take a little getting used to in terms of how you hold it and use the open end, but it's completely worth sticking with. My son is one year old and has hated his nails being clipped since day one. I am able to hold him down and trim his nails with the Nail Frida and not concern myself with cutting too far or grabbing any skin - even while he tries to escape!

Both of these can be used from day one of birth - and truly the choice depends on how confident you feel. There is no greater time than now to get in there and get those nails trimmed down. Which one will you go with?

5 Things Every New and Expecting Grandparent Should Know

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5 Things Every New and Expecting Grandparent Should Know

Congratulations Grandma andGrandpa! Were you aware that 72% of grandparents care for their grandchildren on a regular basis? Big number, right? Think about where you fit in to that number. Most often in preparation for the new baby, everyone begins buying new furniture and gadgets and search Pinterest for the latest and greatest nursery ideas and parenting tips. Childbirth and breastfeeding classes are booked and bags get packed but what about you, the grandparents? You are too often left in the dust on how to prepare yourself for this exciting time, but alas! We’ve got you covered  with 5 things every new and expecting grandparent should know.

tips for new and expecting grandparents

1. YOU Need a Class To

Not every class around is developed specifically with grandparents in mind and that can be a small issue. If it has been some time since you last cared for or even held a baby, then you definitely need to find yourself a class to take. It’s not tosay you don’t know what you are doing, but a dedicated infant refresher class for grandparents can help you regain any confidence you may have lost and allow you to ask questions that are specific to becoming grandparents. Trust us, you will learn a lot.

2.The New Baby IS NOT YOURS

So now that you have your very own class on the calendar, let’s say this part together…”This is NOT my baby.” Sorry, but as much as we love you to pieces, it can be difficult for some new parents to say. Let’s not make them. This may seem a bit harsh, but sometimes you can unintentionally step on the new parents’ toes. Your way of doing things and statements on their type of parenting can affect your relationship. They may not be as likely to invite you over or visit when this happens and we truly don’t want that. There may be times  from pregnancy to birth that you may not be included, that needs to be okay with you. Knowing that the new parents need their time alone before the baby and once they are born will go a long way. Your patience, support and understanding will speak to them more than you can imagine! Being the grandparents is your reward for the great job of parenting you have already done!  

3.Things have changed

Literally every month there is something new rolling out about new babies and for new babies. There are updates in safety and new research happening everyday. What you did back in your day, which may not have been long ago (wink, wink), is not always what we are doing today. Ask the parents to be or the instructor of that Grandparent Class you take what’s new. Or you can always come back here! Keep in mind that learning is a forever process and be open to hearing about and implementing changes when you around to help care for your grandchild.

4.We Truly NEED You

There comes a time when we just need to pull on our big adult panties and say it - We NEED YOU.  Often times more than we let on. We want to feel like we have this parenting thing down from day one, but the fact is we don’t without you. The problem, though is that...well...reread #2. We want you around and need your wisdom, but it not every time you are around. We want to parent our way, but with your advice and experience when it's asked for. Learn to be there the way the new parents need you to, rather than how you want to be there. There is a bit of a difference. They may not need you to babysit, but instead might need a great home cooked meal from grandma's kitchen (hint hint).  Talk with them before your grandchild arrives and get to know what’s on their mind!

5.You are the GRANDPARENT

One of the best parts of becoming grandparents is exactly that! You are not the parents, which means you may have to set your boundaries early on. Now this isn’t in every case, but there are many grandparents (you might be one of them and that's ok) that don’t want to be on babysitting duty all of the time. It’s important that you enjoy your grandparent time the way YOU want to versus the way others may want you to. Have a conversation about your expectations for having your grandchild in your care so that there are no questions about your role when they are born. While it’s a sure thing that the new parents will have to pry their baby away from your hugs and love, let’s not leave anything to chance.

Enjoy your new title, you've earned it!