“Up and Away” for Grandparents

Are you an Up and Away Grandparent?

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Becoming a grandparent has been the greatest highlight of my life.

I always knew the grandparent-grandchild relationship was a powerful and special one, from my own close relationship with my maternal grandmother.

grandmother and granddaughter

She and I were very attached, in fact, my mother, brother and I lived with her.
As I recall, she was very careful to explain to me that I must always ask before I ate anything, whether it was candy from her special candy bowl, cookies from the cookie jar or food from the fridge. I learned her rule early on and knew, most times she gave her permission for treats if I simply asked her. Hers was a simple rule. I guess it made me realize that I mustn’t eat things unless I asked first.

In the 50’s when I was growing up, medicine containers did not have special lock caps on them, children’s medicine always tasted like some sort of candy and adult pills looked like M&Ms. Except for today’s lid lock containers not much has changed.

As I recall, in my childhood home alll medications were kept very high up on a shelf so I could not reach them. When I had my own kids I kept the same habit of putting bottles up high, I took care to refrigerate medication on the highest shelf in the back of the fridge, as inaccessible as possible.

During my work as a pediatric nurse, I had personally seen what improper use of medications could do to both adults and children.  So even aspirin was off limits to my teenagers since there is a connection to aspirin and a potentially life threatening illness known as Reye’s Syndrome.

Today, I guess you would call me a helicopter grandparent when it comes to medications in my home where my grandchild is a frequent visitor. She spends time with us and has her own room so she feels very comfortable going to cabinets, getting snacks and raiding the refrigerator at 6 years of age.

Just as any good grandparent, I worry about her safety. You see, she has a nut allergy as well. So at a very young age, she was made aware of her need to stay away from any and all nuts.

As a nurse, I am a consistent medication label reader and with a nut allergy in our home, I now had to carefully read food labels as well. To be on the safe side, I choose not to buy food items that are exposed to nuts in their processing so I do not have to worry about nut exposure from contamination.

For many “older adults” medications are a fact of life. Some of us take medication on a daily basis so it becomes imperative for these medicines and other over the counter medications to be stored “up and away” from “little hands” and curious “little fingers”.

Up and Away

It is my honor to have been included in the Up and Away program to help grandparents like myself keep grandkids safe and healthy all year long.

 

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Up and Away recognizes these important facts about grandparents and grandchildren:

  • 5.4 million kids of today are being raised in households headed by grandparents.
  • 1 in 8 grandparents in this country provide care to a grandchild on a regular basis according to SafeKids Worldwide

Our goal as parents and grandparents is raising a happy and healthy child. This can be challenging through all the developmental stages of childhood. Toddlers pose a special concern as the notoriously possess a need to explore their environment.

Facts to be aware of:

  • Each day 4 bus loads of kids are taken to the ER for accidental medicine ingestion.
  • Annually that is 60,000 kids, who have ingested medicines that belong to parents (39% of the time) or grandparents (38% of the time).

Education is a key factor in the prevention of accidental medicine ingestion by children. Do not leave grandparents out when it comes to baby proofing or child proofing homes and remember it is more than electrical outlets that should be of concern.

A Grandparent checklist priority should include:

  • Storage of all medicines and vitamins “up and away” and out of sight when young grandchildren are around. I would include all children including teenagers as well.
  • Keep purses, bags, and coats that contain medicines or vitamins out of reach and sight..
  • Never leave medicines or vitamins out on a table, countertop or sink.
  • Always make sure that caps are tightly locked and medicines put away after every use.
  • Weekly pill reminder kits usually do not come with locked tops so these are of particular concern. They must be stored out of reach.
  • It is a good idea for grandparents to set a reminder to take medications, since the  pills will be safely out of sight and therefore perhaps out of mind.
  • Program the national Poison Help number 1-800-222-1222 into your phone and post it in your home in case of an emergency.

Grandparent to do list:

  • Take inventory before babysitting or traveling to a grandchild’s house or before grandchildren visit your home.
  • Share Up and Away‘s grandparents’ medicine storage tip sheet with readers and friends.

Grandparents and parents who are reading this blog post, it is meant to be shared.

This is grandparenting in the digital age.

We are so fortunate to be able to educate each other through e-mail and social media. I know personally, I have learned a tremendous amount from my online virtual friends, some  are professionals in healthcare and child growth and development, others are moms, who are not afraid to share personal experiences in order to make the world a little safer for each and every child.

Please join me and…

Log in to Up and Away and Take the Pledge – ask your friends to do the same.

You may save a life!

 

 

Disclaimer : Up and Away is an educational program to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage. It is an initiative of the PROTECT Initiative, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation. I am being compensated for this blog post but my opinions are all my own.

My Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Each week so many interesting reads come across my feed that I want to share. It is truly impossibly difficult to sometimes choose which ones to include here.

Weekly Review- Ice Cream

Here are the stories that lit up my screen this week.

The very sad story about a toddler left in his dad’s car has been all over the news. There is a very serious side to this story and it involves other parents, who have made this fatal mistake. It is a very long story but well worth reading to get a perspective on just what a serious problem this is in today’s world.

The toddler slowly sweltered to death, strapped into a car seat for nearly nine hours in an office parking lot in Herndon in the blistering heat of July. It was an inexplicable, inexcusable mistake, but was it a crime? That was the question for a judge to decide.

Do we allow our kids and grandkids to explore their world and discover things without a “helicopter” over their heads? This piece made me realize just what a different world it is today for some children.

 

In the tardy twilight of a Puget Sound evening, we caught a glimpse of a boy, maybe 6 or 7, playing in mud exposed by low tide. Ankle-deep in vibrant muck, he called out a discovery to his father. “I found a bunch of baby crabs,” he said. “A jillion of them.” From there, he slipped into the woods, chasing some other curiosity of the natural world. A butterfly, I think. He disappeared for some time, without a word of concern from his parents. “You don’t see much of that anymore,” a friend said.

 

In keeping with childhood safety, here is a post with some very helpful tips. Let it be known that I love The Mother Company. It is simply a wonderful group!

 

 

My Body Is MINE!

Children must know that they are “the boss of their bodies.” That simply means that their body belongs only to them, and that no one should try to play an uncomfortable or “yucky” touching game with them. Especially with their “bathing suit areas” or “private parts” of their body. This is especially important as kids head off to swim camps or pool parties where you may not be around. Talk to your child beforehand and make sure he or she knows to immediately alert you (or the chaperone or lifeguard) if anyone tries to play a “touching game”.

 

These are my top three selections for review this week.

There are many more fascinating family, parenting, kids, and food articles to name just a few topics that I enjoy. It seems I cannot get enough time to read all of them

 

I hope that you get a chance to click on at least one review, if not all and you enjoy reading them.

What are some topics that you love to read about on the internet?

Each week, I will try and select some good articles that relate to parenting, kids and various other topics.

Look for “My Weekly Review” each Friday!

My Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Each week so many interesting reads come across my feed that I want to share. It is truly impossibly difficult to sometimes choose which ones to include here.

summer review

That being said, here is my review for last week. I will try to post these each Friday for weekend reading…instead of a summer novel.

My favorite by far, is this article about keeping your child safe from ticks and Lyme Disease while they go off to camp. I am amazed I did not research this one myself as I am obsessed with all diseases that could affect my kids and now my grandchild. I admire this mom’s approach to prevention against a very serious disease threat.

The season of sleep-away camp is upon us, and in our house that means it’s time for the yearly pesticide ritual.

 

 

How are you raising your kids and grandkids? Do you encourage their dreams or are you more of a realist? Personally, I love to dream and think that it is nice not to thwart creativity by being too much of back to reality thinker especially when it comes to children.

 

 

My parents never allowed me to set boundaries on my aspirations. They encouraged travel, they pushed me into new experiences, and they never laughed at any of my lofty goals, even when they knew my dreams were outside the bounds of reason. They listened as I spoke of opening an orphanage in Russia, of writing ten best selling books before I turned 30, and of somehow still getting that ever elusive Oscar.      


Now this is going to be a very controversial case. But the sad fact here is that many kids unfortunately die in hot cars during the summer months because they are left for even a short time alone in a sweltering vehicle. Please never leave a child alone in a vehicle for any reason as it is simply not safe and in many states it is illegal and you could be charged with child endangerment.

 

To the authorities in suburban Cobb County, the vehicle is the place where Justin Ross Harris murdered his 22-month-old son, Cooper, by leaving him in a rear-facing car seat for about seven hours on a warm Southern day.

 

 

These are my top three selections for review this week. I hope that you get a chance to click on at least one if not all and that you enjoy reading them. Each week I will try and select some good articles that relate to parenting, kids and various other topics.

Look for “My Weekly Review” each Friday!

 

Bounce House Safety and Kids…

How safe is a bounce house?

Safety is of prime concern when raising children or taking care of kids.  This week we have been watching a horrible story involving a bounce house.

If you have one of these playful houses in your yard or your child uses them at other kids’ homes then you need to be aware of the safety of this “toy”.

Children should never be playing in these inflatable houses when it is windy outside as they may be lifted off the ground, as happened in upstate New York, a couple of days ago.

There are several other cases of injuries when commercial bouncing houses have been tossed about by winds…truly dangerous and sometimes tragic injuries have been sustained during such accidents.

bounce house

A bounce house can be safe but children should always be observed by an adult while they are playing outside in these enclosures.

Sandy Hook – Resolve in Remembering

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Remembering Sandy Hook …One Year Later

“What Would Daniel Do?”

It has been one year since the Tragedy at Sandy Hook. During that year I have been following Daniel Barden’s family on their Facebook page which remembers Daniel. I have read the many anecdotes that Daniel’s father has shared…and shed tears for their loss and the world’s loss.

This little boy was special, as were all the little children and adults, who lost their lives one year ago.

If you are reading this you might want to consider joining The Sandy Hook Promise.

Sandy Hook Promise

To help prevent future gun violence. The fact is this could happen anywhere anytime. No one of us is immune when it comes to gun violence.

Many of us are wearing bracelets “WWDD”.

I believe Daniel would want to help those who are grieving the loss of a child or family member.

Let us not forget these little ones who died because they went to school on December 14, 2012

Daniel, I Will Remember You

A beautiful video remembering Daniel…

 

Wordless Wednesday Again…Kids and Safety

Car Seat Safety for Kids

To me, there are few things more important than car seat safety since kids spend and enormous amount of time in cars.

Here is a must see video for new parents and seasoned parents as well as grandparents and any child caregiver.

car seats, safety first My go to person for car seat information is “The CarSeat Lady“. She is in my opinion the best information source for parents when they are choosing a carseat and when they want information in its proper installation and use.

Car Seat Safety…

 

I am fanatic about children riding safely in cars.

It is an absolute necessity to have and properly use a car seat.

A child relies on us as the adults in his/her life to keep him/her safe…that is an awesome responsibility.

I was thrilled when I found the Car Seat Lady‘s site…she helps parents and caregivers fulfill their responsibility to their child regarding safety in cars.

Make sure you check out your child’s car seat and make your child as safe as you can when they are riding in your car…NO EXCUSES!

Manage Kids’ Media Use

kids and computers

The American Academy of Pediatrics just made a new statement on kids and media. Here is a review of what they had to say.

Tips for Parents on Making a Family Media Use Plan:

Make a media use plan for your family.  

  • Write rules down,
  • Check quantity and quality of media, take a look at the location of your tvs, phones, and computers including tablets.
  • Location- no screens in kids bedrooms and have a “media curfew”. Have a control center where all electronics get plugged in a night.
  • Excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleepschool problemsaggression and other behavior issues. Entertainment screen time should be no longer than 2 hours a day.
  • No screen time for children under 2 years of age.
  • Co-viewing programs with your kids and discussing values , look for educational media choices.
  • The Internet can also be a place where kids can run into trouble, keep the computer in a public part of your home.

Discuss the Internet Rules:

  • Discuss “digital footprint” with your children. Let them know that where they go on the internet can be remembered…nothing they do online is a secret.

Discuss Social Media:

  • Become familiar with popular social media sites like FacebookTwitter and Instagram get your own accounts.
  • By “friending” your kids, you can monitor their online presence. Pre-teens should not have accounts on social media sites.
  • If you have young children, you can create accounts on sites that are designed specifically for kids their age.

Cyberbullying:

  • Good “digital citizens”, discuss the serious consequences of online bullying.
  • If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, it is important to take action with the other parents and the school if appropriate.
  • Attend to children’s and teens’ mental health needs promptly if they are being bullied online, and consider separating them from the social media platforms where bullying occurs.
  • Sexting of any kind is not appropriate and remember the internet is NOT private.
  • Check out a sample “Media Time Family Pledge” for online media use.

How do you monitor your kids’ screen time?

Additional Information:

via Doctors’ Rx: Make a plan to manage kids’ media use.

Back-to-School: Your Kids Health

back to school photo

 

I both love and loathe this time of year. I love that my kids are excited to see their friends, make new ones, meet their teachers, and have a genuine enthusiasm to learn new things. But…I loathe that the passage of time is staring me squarely in the face, declaring…yes, your kids are growing up and moving on. Get used to it.

via: Back-to-School: On keeping your kids healthy and safe all year long | Confessions of a Dr. Mom.

Back to school, as I said in my last post signals “a new beginning” which is at best bittersweet.

Given my feelings and I am apparently not alone, there are things to keep in mind that may help keep your kids healthy and safe.

My first recommendation is to get enough sleep yourself and make sure your kids get on a back to school sleep schedule and stay on it.

  • Sufficient sleep will help to keep your immune system in its finest form to help ward off the coming colds.
  • Making sure that your kids are up to date on their yearly check-ups and their immunization schedule…I am in favor of vaccinations so no need to chastise me for this.
  • Make sure all of your emergency medications are up to date at home…get rid of expired and near expired meds…make a kit with bandaids, antiseptics for cuts, cleansing cloths etc….keep it in a place that is easily reachable. You should also have one in the car.

Be aware of recommendations when it comes to OTC medications for children.

Be aware of your child’s symptoms and whether they are allergy symptoms or cold symptoms.

Check with your pediatrician if you are not sure.

As a parent or caregiver, you are in charge of your kids’ health. Now that it’s allergy season, your child may be experiencing symptoms from allergies or a common cold – that can strike year-round.

There are many over-the-counter options available to help make your child feel better when he or she has a cold or allergies, but be careful to only use a medicine that treats your child’s specific symptoms. Our “Decrypting Your Child’s Symptoms: Colds vs. Allergies” checklist can help you better understand your child’s symptoms and how to treat with care.

via Medicine Safety | OTCsafety.

Last but not least, keep your child home from school if he/she is sick. If your child has a fever he should not return to school until 24 hours after he is fever free.  

 

 

Will You Watch Jenny On “The View”?

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The news that Jenny McCarthy will be joining a show as popular as “The View” is very disturbing and distressing to me.

My whole professional life has been devoted to maternal child nursing and clinical social work. Jenny’s views on vaccinations are dangerous and deadly. She has used her “Hollywood” persona to champion her anti-vaccine cause…along with thumbing her nose at legitimate scientific research.

Barbara Walters has now given Jenny a national platform. In my opinion, Barbara is making a huge professional mistake with this choice.

Does she really want to be associated with promoting the anti-vaccination culture?

Ironically, Barbara may have lived to the ripe old age of 83 because she was vaccinated when she was a child.

Barbara’s decision to give Jenny national exposure on a daily basis on “The View” is as outrageous as Jenny’s beliefs about vaccines.

It is definitely time for Barbara to retire but her last deed before leaving television should not be something that very well might eclipse all the good that she has done for women during her career. Hiring Jenny should not be part of her television legacy!

What do you think?

Personally, I  will not be viewing “The View” nor will I be supporting any of its sponsors.

 

That’s why it is so distressing to add another first to the list of Walters’s achievements: Jenny McCarthy, who will join “The View” in September, will be the show’s first co-host whose dangerous views on childhood vaccination may—if only indirectly—have contributed to the sickness and death of people throughout the Western world. See jennymccarthybodycount.com. McCarthy, who is savvy, telegenic, and pulchritudinous, is also the person most visibly associated with the deadly and authoritatively discredited anti-vaccine movement in the United States. She is not subtle: McCarthy once essentially threatened the actress Amanda Peet, who has often spoken out about the obvious benefits of childhood vaccinations, by warning Peet that she had an angry mob on her side. When people disagree with her views on television, McCarthy has been known to refute scientific data by shouting “bullshit.”

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