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Entries in safety (7)


About Face

Happy with his new view.

After much anguished internal debate, I’ve turned Z’s car seat to be forward-facing. It’s well-documented that it’s safest to keep kids rear-facing as long as possible, so I wanted to keep him backward until he was three. However, I’ve been having significant shoulder pain for more than six months and lifting my 30+ pound boy in and out of the car is counter-productive to all of the effort I’m putting into physical therapy.  

Z is SO happy to be seeing the world in a new way (“Mommy, I can see you! Mommy, the light is green!). And I’m happy that he’s able to climb in and out of the car seat on his own (at an excruciatingly slow pace). But I’m still nervous. I know that he’s a big strong kid, but I just feel like he’s so vulnerable back there. It’s like that feeling of driving your newborn around for the first time.

I bet I would have felt this way when I turned him at his third birthday, but I’m still second-guessing my decision. I suppose I’ll just do some extra-defensive driving! 


Hurricanes And Helplessness


I should start by saying how thankful I am that our damages from Hurricane Sandy are minimal. A few roof shingles and at least a week (and counting) without power seems like child's play compared to what most have lost. I am grateful for our safety. 

But this hurricane scared me in a way that I've never been scared before. I was prepared to be without power but I was not prepared to feel this powerless. 

Ava got pretty sick and sleeping in a home with no heat made her much worse. We escaped to my mom's house in California but she has spent the weekend with a high fever, congestion, cough, vomiting, and exhaustion. I just got back from urgent care where I was assured it is nothing more serious than a virus but we did X-ray for pneumonia and we will have to monitor her progress over the next few days. 

When I arrived at San Francisco International Airport on Friday and saw my mother at baggage claim I broke into unexpected tears. I guess I hadn't realized the amount of stress I felt not being able to provide basic shelter and heat for my babies. Powerlessness. 

My little girl is on the mend already, back to smiling and sleeping soundly now. Her fever seems to be dropping but I think my heart will never be the same. I will sympathize with victims of natural disaster in an entirely new way from now on, having experienced the despair of trying to keep your children safe from things outside of your control. 

Last year I saw the video below of a Japanese man and his two young children saved from the tsunami. It touched me. It made me realize how much people will do to help others and I only hope I can raise children with those same values. 

It's what the father says at the end: "My children are safe now, that's enough for me." It gets me every time. And it's exactly how I feel now. 


Foam Puzzle Floor Mats: Are they safe?


The other night, Jennifer sent around an email to all the MommyBetas linking to an article about how France and Belgium had banned those foam floor mats that so many of us love.   Apparently this is old news, but none of us had heard it, so we wanted to share it with you.

What’s the problem you ask?  Well it turns out that one of the reasons that many mats are so flexible and squishy is that they are treated  with formamide.  Formamide is a skin and eye irritant that has also been linked to fertility and developmental problems.  Not to mention the potential cancer risks.  

Sounds great right?  Well, there is some good news.  One, it seems like this chemical dissipates over time, so if you’ve had those mats out for a while (more than a month, I’ve read), you’re likely ok.  Two, SafBaby has an awesome chart you can use to find out if your mats were treated with this chemical (scroll to the bottom of the page for the chart, and use the arrow to get to more brands).  If you're in the market for floor tiles, make sure to check this list first. 

I was happy to find out that our Tadpoles mats are formamide free! You can see them in the video below, which I'm posting with shameless nostalgia for Nic's baby hair.


Are you Buying Safe Products for Your Baby? 

I just learned about Good Guide, an SF-based startup that rates products based on health, environmental, and societal impacts (what companies give back to charities) including baby foods, shampoo, lotions, diapers, wipes, toys and much more!

The company has teams of scientists including chemists, toxicologists, environmental life cycle experts and even a nutritionist, working together to simplify complex and confusing product information into a rating system.  For example, Good Guide has rated 134 baby shampoos and lists the top rated and bottom rated here.  I just checked and the shampoo that I use (Mustela) scored a ranking of 7.2 (on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the better product).

I like that you can download a free GoodGuide iPhone app, where if you take a picture of the barcode while out shopping, you can access the rating.

There is actually a cool story behind the start of the company. It was co-founded by UC Berkeley Professor Dara O'Rourke who has spent over 20 years researching the environmental, labor, and health impacts of global production systems.

One day, O’Rourke was putting Water Babies sun block on his 5-year-old daughter and out of curiosity took the sun-block to his lab to test. Turns out this sun-block that’s marketing to be infant safe has carcinogens and toxic ingredients in it! This set him on a quest to bring unbiased easy to understand data and rating on products we buy.

The company is looking to spread their findngs to moms to ensure that we are getting the best, safest products for our babies. Please take this 5-minute survey to share your feedback what you think is the best way to get this information out to fellow moms.


Win It! Britax Parkway SGL Booster Seat

There has been a lot of talk about car seats and booster seats lately.  New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children stay in a booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.  And if you have a child that will soon be transitioning from car seat to booster, you’re in luck. Britax is giving away its newest model of booster—the Parkway SGL—to one very fortunate MommyBeta reader. Win a Britax booster seat from MommyBeta!

Now, our babies aren’t quite booster ready, so we haven’t tested this particular model, but I can personally vouch for the quality of my Britax seats (we have two Boulevards).  I love these seats.  Each time I strap Nic in, I know that they will keep him as safe as possible. 

The Parkway SGL is for kids 40-120 pound and 38-63 inches.  It retails for $149.99, but you can get it for free here.  Just:

  • Like us on Facebook.
  • Post a comment in the comments section of this blog post (not on Facebook) about how you keep your kids entertained in the car.

Contest rules are here. This contest ends on Thursday, April 7 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Good luck!

P.S.: This is not an April Fools joke--Britax is really giving one of these to a MommyBeta reader!