Holiday toys and spoils

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Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is around the corner.  That means shopping for gifts such as toys.  So as we maneuver through the holiday hustle and bustle, lets keep in mind that safety is important especially when selecting a toy for child.

Last year I blogged about the top toys for Christmas, this year I will take a look at the toys that do not meet state and national standards according to many consumer safety groups. W.A.T.C.H.  – World Against Toys Causing Harm.    To save yourself some trouble down the road, choose a toy that is age and meet the needs of the child developmentally.  Try to avoid toys that come apart or contain a string, stick or small object, young children tend to put theses things in their mouth which can cause a problem.

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Finding that balance between the appeal of a toy and the safety is difficult.  While its cool to hover off the ground for periods of time, the idea of sparks flying is a no-brainer for me as to which one to choose.

Hallmark Itty Bitty baby – this is a toy of rings that stack on top of each other.  The rings have little hats and bows that are made from fabric.  It seems they can come off, creating the potential for choking.  It was recalled in August 31, 2017.

Tolo Pull Along Pony – I have to admit the long string doesn’t seem like a good idea, especially since it’s in the form of a loop making it possible to get accidentally caught around the neck

Mattel Wonder Woman Battle Action Sword – has the potential to cause injuries such as contusions, abrasions, lacerations and possible broken bones, young children may unintentionally hit each other while playing.

Hand Fidgetz Spinners by Kipp Brothers –  This gadget is the latest craze, it was designed for stress relief, anxiety, ADHD.  They pose a danger to young children in that the small parts can come off.

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Spider-Man Drone by Marvel –  I think that Drones should not be classified as toys and definitely should be used in the presence of adults, due to the moving parts that have the potential to cause damage to the fingers, eyes and other body parts.

Nerf Zombie Strike Deadbolt Crossbar  – When I think of toys for small children a Crossbow does not come to mind.

Slackers Slackline  –  This is not for all ages,  should be for 13 and over and used with adult supervision.    It a type of tightrope, and the rope can cause serious accidents such as strangulation.

 Oval Xylophone – While it has the potential to make music, the chance of a child swallowing or choking on one of the small pieces makes this toy unsafe, as well as the Drumstick potentially obstructing the airway.

Jetts Heels Wheels –  I don’t consider this a toy, there is a possibility that a child can suffer fire and burn injuries.

Melissa and Doug Brianna baby doll – This is for children 18 months and older, but the clothing and pony tail holders can cause a problem because of the danger of a child swallowing or choking on them,

The majority of toys sold in the United States are safe with the exception of a few.   It is so important to buy from stores that we are familiar with and don’t rely solely on brand names, make sure the toys meet the National and Federal guidelines.

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The thrill of a lifetime

One of the great things about summer is that it provides you with tons of stuff to do with amusement parks ranking at the top of the list.   I had the pleasure of visiting one a few weeks ago and had a really good time.   I came across a few do’s and don’t s that I thought I would pass on to you.

Safety, safety, safety.  How many times have we heard or read about tragic events at amusement parks where someone was injured.  With so much to do, see, and of course eat it is easy to become  distracted.  Sometimes even when precautions are taken accidents still happen, the parks have rules and guidelines in place and it’s important that they are followed.  The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that close to 31,000 injuries caused by amusement park rides were seen by emergency rooms in 2016.   CNN

  1.  The height and age requirements are posted to ensure children do not get on rides that are not appropriate for them.  While I was waiting in line for the bumper cars a child tried to sneak on.  This turned out to be a bad idea not only was it not safe, but the ride was held up until the child exited which did not please the other riders. Although it may seem as if they are not paying attention, they really are.
  2. Never leave children unsupervised.  So many times in the park I noticed children moving around by themselves.  I’m sure the parents were nearby but better safe than sorry.
  3. Follow the rules of the ride – this pertains to any and all instructions given to you by the person who operates the rides.  Instructions such as keep hands in lap, make sure safety belt is fasten securely or hold on to bar or rail.

4..  Watch out for those inflatable rides, especially on a windy day.

5..  Don’t hesitate to report or ask questions if you feel a ride is not

functioning like it should, anything out of the ordinary,  noise, smoke etc.

 

So whether it’s a carnival, state fair or major theme park have a good time and be aware.  Happy Summer.

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Be careful out there

On a hot Summer say taking a dip in the pool is a good way to cool off.  Spending time at the beach or lake is not a bad idea either.  But whatever choice you make be sure to keep a close eye on those swimmers because we all know that accidents can happen.

Accidents involving drownings occur more often during the Summer months.  For example, the beach where someone gets caught in a current or a falls into a swimming pool thus causing injury.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) every day at least ten people die from unintentional drownings, of these two are children younger than age 14.

Drownings ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury in the US.  That is why it is so important to watch children while they are in the water.  Here’s  a few safety tips to go by.

  • Swim lessons are a great way to start but not everyone can afford them, not to mention trying to fit classes into an already busy schedule.
  • Never let your child go into the water alone.  When I take my four-year old niece to the beach we will walk out into the water until it comes to her knees that way she can splash and play with me right there in case of any mishaps.
  • Swimming pools allows for a little more control in making adjustments for height of the water, some pools offer a kiddie pool as well as the larger pool to swim in.
  • When using the pool watch out for those suction and drains, children should not play around them for there is the risk of being trapped (foot getting caught while underwater).  It is so important that when using public pools swim in a designated area that is supervised by a lifeguard.  Private pools such as the ones in backyards should be inspected regularly to make sure all safety guidelines are followed.

It is recommended that children over four years old should learn how to swim and just because they know how it doesn’t make them waterproof, they are still at risk for drowning, supervision is necessary.

The water can be a fun time, but it can also be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. Young children can drown in less than two inches of water.  This can happen anywhere not just the beach or pool but in a sink, toilet even a bucket of water that is sitting around the house.

It could be standing water such as a ditch that has filled with rainwater.  This reminds me of an incident that happen when I was about 13 years old.  There was this giant sinkhole that rain had filled with water and all the neighborhood kids were sneaking down to it during the day while parents were at work.  I can remember all my friends going, even though everyone knew that  under no circumstances were we to go.   One day they went but an hour later they were back with a strange look on their faces.   It turned out that someone had drowned.  He had jumped into the water and did not know how to swim, he got caught in a current and it pulled him underneath, others tried to save him but because they were not very good swimmers they ended up nearly drowning themselves.  To make a long story short, the next day me and my brothers and sisters enrolled in the summer swim program at the local high school, and by the time we got home at the end of the day we learned that sink hole was filled in.

We know that accidents can happen that’s why it so important to keep those safety precautions in mind when swimming.  I’m sure you can add a few of your own to the list.  So for what is left of the Summer have fun and be safe.

 

 

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Vacations are meant to be taken

When we think of summer we think of sunshine, outdoor activities, flip-flops, bar-be-cues and vacations among other things.   Vacations are beneficial in many ways, they play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  I’m sure there are some who feel otherwise, that work is the best therapy, so let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of vacations.

I am in favor of vacations being that I just came back from a trip to Cancun, Mexico.  I had an amazing time, the trip inspired me to blog about it.  There are many reasons why people don’t take a vacation, because for some its out of their control.

PROS

Taking a break from it all, giving your body a rest is so important.  Getting away helps to relieve stress, your mind has a chance to recharge, so to speak.

You will see an improvement in things such as relationships and work performance.  You are feeling relaxed, focused and happier I’m sure.

Vacations improve overall health by helping to prevent illness such as heart disease and hypertension.  Studies such as the Framingham Heart study found that men who did not take a vacation regularly were about 31 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack as opposed to those who did and 50 percent of women who went on a vacation at least twice a year were less likely to experience a heart attack. Framingham Heart study.

Why would anyone not want to take a vacation?  I am sure there are some good reasons, for some being able to take time off is beyond their  control.

CONS

Fear that your job can get along without you.  If you take time off and things go on as normal your boss might realize he doesn’t need you after all.

Expensive – Vacations can be expensive, that is why planning ahead and budgeting are crucial.

Some people just can’t afford to take time away from work.  This is especially true if you own your own business, time is money.

The main reason for not wanting to take a vacation centers around the workplace.  Concerns such as being viewed as a slacker or striving for that perfect attendance award that could boost your career goals all add up to the disadvantages of taking time off.

   

 

If you just can’t afford to take a trip now there is always the good old Staycation.  The stay at home vacation allows you to stay at home yet enjoy activities that are local and don’t need an overnight stay.  This cuts down on expenses, it may not be the best option, for some people prefer to continue working and save money for a real vacation.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Try and make it your goal to take at least one vacation per year, you won’t realize how much you need it until you actually take it, and once you do it you will be glad that you did.

Posted in airports, health, holidays, safety, stress, Time, travel, vacations | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Fun in the sun – safety

Now that summer is around the corner, it’s time to break out those umbrellas, sunglasses and other protectants such as sunscreen.  It is important that parents take the right approach when protecting children from over exposure to the sun.

When we are outdoors we are susceptible to invisible ultra violent rays that can damage the cells in the skin eventually leading to medical conditions involving skin cancer. Ultra violent rays (UVA) are the rays from the sun that cause the skin to tan and ultra violent B (UVB) cause the skin to burn, so when you are outdoors is important to protect yourself from these dangerous UV rays.

We all know to wear loose, absorbent, light-colored clothing and try to avoid going out the time of day when the sun the sun is the strongest.  Sunscreen is a vital part of  summer safety.  It shields the skin from the sun in various ways  – reflecting, absorbing or scattering the rays from the sun.

Which one should I use?

While there are many sunscreen products to choose from, some things you might want to consider when choosing:

  • Use a sunscreen with a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, while 30 seems the norm.
  • Make sure that it is resistance to water.
  • Provides both UVA and UVB protection, usually will state broad spectrum on the label.
  • Use it and use it often. Cover all the areas that will be exposed to the sun.
  • Apply 15-30 minutes earlier before going outdoors, that gives the skin time to soak up the lotion or cream.
  • Reapply every 2 hours or so, more if you are swimming or sweating or any activity where you might wear it off.

As for sunscreen sprays, the cream seems the desired choice.  Although the spray has its advantages especially with younger children, being that its easier to apply, take caution with the spray, due to the possibility of inhaling it, and be sure to avoid sparks or flames when using it.  A few other sunscreen precautions: avoid sunscreen with ingredients that can cause skin allergies and lastly, babies 6 months and under are kept out of the sun.

Remember on those days where it seems cool outside the sun is still there, those UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds, be sure to apply that sunscreen.   So let’s prepare.  Happy Summer!

 

 

 

 

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Spin your stress away

Reducing or relieving stress is important whether it is an adult or child that is searching for a way to cope.  It is a given fact that stress can affect the body in many ways physically and mentally which makes it so important that we recognize stress as well as how to manage it, especially for children.   Let’ take a look at Fidget Spinners – a stress relieving toy.

The latest fad?

Fidget Spinners is a toy that is designed  to counteract anxiety, tension, basically a stress reliever.  The spinner itself consists of a bearing in the center of the toy and is made from a variety of materials such as steel, copper and plastic.  These bearings are used to adjust how it vibrates, how much it makes and spin time.  It was invented in 1997 in the United States and by 2005  companies began to produce them in different shapes and sizes.  Wikipedia

 

What does it do?

The toy has prongs that surrounds the bearing that is in the middle which allows you to spin it in your hand.  They come in many different versions such as snowflakes , stars, rainbow and even in the form of Batman.   Supposedly this toy helps to reduce the fidgeting and improve student s ability to focus.

Adults have taken a liking to the Fidget spinner as well, and I can understand that for we all have sat in meetings and classes and clicked our pens or doodled as a way to focus on the matter at hand.  I have  a stress ball that is in the form of an apple, it fits perfectly in the hand and you simply squeeze it  when need be.   

 

Why the big deal?

While some people feel that the fidget spinners are the greatest thing since sliced bread, others beg to differ.   Schools across the country have banned them.  I know my school has after two first grade students got into a disagreement  over them (it was the fifth argument between students in a month).

It appears the students trade them or play with them instead of performing class work.  So instead of helping them to stay focused it has created the opposite effect.   While it benefits some students, overall I would have to say that a majority of students don’t really need them.  They  were invented to help children with ADHD and autism  as a way to focus.  To say fidget spinners are a threat to society and are destroying the world is going a bit overboard, why not just ask students to put them away or simply don’t bring them to school.

Tell me what’s your opinion of these fidget spinners?

 

 

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Stand up, no sit down

In order to keep up in this ever changing society we find our selves constantly adjusting the ways in which we carry out things such as how we process information that’s presented  to us.   The learning process and environment for children has changed also, gone are the days of students sitting straight and stiff at their desks arranged in neat rows, here to stay are desks that you can adjust to sit, stand or rest your feet on a footrest.

These desks are popular in the workplace and in  now in education from Elementary to High School.   It seems that children can’t seem to sit still and focus for periods of time.   I have found this to be the truth, so many times I have visited my colleagues classrooms and the students would be working diligently, but the first thing I would notice is how they were sitting, slumped in their chair, sitting on their hind legs, or sitting on one leg and swinging the other.

 

To me it looked uncomfortable, but the students seemed to focus, where in another class I visited, the teacher ask the student to sit properly, the student complied, but I noticed the concentration wasn’t as good as it was before.   They just might be on to something with these adjustable height desks because I can’t help thinking how useful it would be for the students.

What are adjustable height desks?

These desks also known as stand-baised desks are ergonomically designed and have found to have a positive impact on helping children learn.    Sitting for long periods of time can prove to be hazardous to your health causing problems such as low back pain and poor circulation.   It seems that with these height adjustable tables, by allowing children to stand as they work it helps to burn calories.   Improving attention span of children has been linked to these tables in that children seem  more alert in class and more productive because they have the opportunity to alternate between sitting and standing, eliminating the need to fidget.  There is a foot rest to rest your feet on as well as a stool for when you decide to sit down.

Schools across the country are slowly grasping the concept of being “ergonomically correct” so to speak.   According to CNN a middle school in Alexandria Virginia is said to be one of the first in the nation to provide adjustable height desks in the classroom.  I say slow because the desks can be costly ranging from $260 -$550 each and with schools facing  budget cuts, grants and donations seem to be the only option for now.

There was a study conducted by Benden at Texas AM & N Environmental and Occupational Health Center where it compared the classrooms with the stand-sit desks to the classrooms with the traditional desks for grades 2, 3 and 4 and found that the stand based desks can be useful in promoting physical activity because using them burn 15 – 25 percent more calories than those who use the regular desks.

This is an excellent way to channel some of  that restless energy and encourage movement all the while enhancing learning.     It’s as if you are addressing two problems at the same time, my what will they think of next?

 

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Spring is in the air

Although it may not seem realistic to some but Spring  is right around the corner, the proof is the daylight savings time and turning the clocks forward.   I, for one find it hard to believe (heavy snow and low temperatures in the forecast for me), nevertheless  soon children as well as adults will be able to toss those winter coats aside and get outside and move around.  Here are a few Spring activities to get started.

Parks – A park in the spring allows you to see nature at its best.  The arrival of spring means flowers blooming, green grass and sunshine, so why not try a picnic in the park.  This is also a good time for kite flying, and if they have never flown one what better time to teach them than now.   You can find a park in your area: Find a Park (U.S. National Park Service) – NPS.gov

Zoo – For children there is something about going to the Zoo in the spring, it’s a great time of year,  not to mention the spectacular sights.

Museums – offer a range of activities in conjunction with spring break.  Check out the local museum in your area for fun things to do such as free classes for children, movies and storytelling.

Garden – gardening is a great way to get children involved in nature, whether the task is planting a flower, tree or shrub or maintaining the ones you have, try to involve the kids they will enjoy it.

Bike riding – Learning to ride a bike is a memory that stays with you for the rest of your life.  A simple, inexpensive activity that has multiple benefits from improving overall health to aiding in the learning and development of children.

Spring sports – Softball, Baseball, Lacrosse and Soccer are some sports that are offered in the spring if you think now is the time to let your child join a sports team.    Whatever you decide to do I’m sure the kids will love it, I must admit I’m definitely looking forward to Spring.

 

Posted in Fitness ideas for children, health, holidays, Spring | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blogger Recognition Award

Many thanks to BellisimaFitness for nominating me for this award.  Being able to share my thoughts and inspirations is so important.  The support system is great, and this blogger’s award is a prime example.  My gratitude to all that have offered encouragement and advice.

The rules

  • Thank the blogger who recommended you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a  post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide a link to the post you created.

I attempted to start a blog about 10 years ago, I had just received my Doctorate and after writing my dissertation it left me wanting for more.   So I attempted to start one, but became overwhelmed by it, I wasn’t really confident in what I was doing as a result it kind of fizzled out.  In September I got the urge again but this time I went about it differently, I researched everything from how to start a blog, the cost as well as what it took to maintain it.  This time around I had better results.

My two pieces of advice to new bloggers:

  1. Blog about what you know, if you have a topic that you are passionate about you will never lack for inspiration or information.
  2. Network as much as you can for it will help you to grow your blog, gain useful information and connect with other bloggers.

The bloggers that I nominate for this award are:

https://devouringbooksandlattes.wordpress.com

https://chetnatripathi.com

https://jirahmerizz.wordpress.com

https://hangoutwithlucia.wordpress.com

https://pinkfordays.wordpress.com

https://moneymoneyskills.wordpress.com

https://Thecomicvault.wordpress.com

https://luimariablog.wordpress.com

https://MissAbigail.wordpress.com

https://Confusedthoughts.wordpress.com

https://Msmeehnia.wordpress.com

 

 

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My 200th follower

I have reached a small milestone in my blogging career, I’ve gained my 2ooth follower on WordPress and I am so excited.  I am not exactly sure why, maybe it’s because I have tried to be as diligent as possible as far as keeping with a routine of posting at least twice a week.  My hat is off to those of you that post everyday, my goal is to one day to be as good as you.

I would love to be able to do  that, but there are just some days where I feel as if I have nothing to contribute and I have to wait for the moment to come.  I’m sure there are some of you who can relate to that.  I’m learning a great deal about the blogging community, such as appreciating my “followers” and there is more to networking than clicking the “like” and “follow’ button.

 

Reading others blogs provides me with useful information, I’ve also found that commenting and reading others comments helps me to strengthen my network as I build up my blog.  It can be tedious at times, but when I see the email stating I have a new follower, I feel like I’ve gained another friend and I have – another blogger friend.

My 200th follower  -thanks to all!

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