Tag: baby safety

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Should I Buy My Baby’s Products In The Store or Online?

More and more people are buying online these days.  Let’s face it, it is so easy!  You think of something you want or need, and you are seconds away from getting it, virtually anytime and anywhere.  Not only is it very convenient, but you also have much more variety to choose from.  With Amazon.com for example, if you search for “Teething Toys”, you get 6,000 results.  Even if you went into Babies R Us before it went out of business, you might have had 40 options to choose from in the teethers section.   Although we have so many options shopping online, which for many means Amazon, there is a danger lurking that you sense is there but can’t quite put your finger on.   We hope to bring light to the details that could be the source of your gut feeling.

The Old Way to Buy Baby Products

Traditionally, we relied on large retailers such as Walmart, Target, and the former Babies R Us, to research a need in the market and find a product that fits that need. Those large retailers proactively ensure:

  • The product is Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) compliant
  • Any claims that a product makes on its packaging is verifiable by an independent 3rd party
  • The company that backs that product is focused on quality, not just profit
  • Products are made in ethical working conditions

In addition, because physical stores (i.e. Walmart and the like) typically buy directly from the brand that has the product manufactured, there is virtually no possibility for counterfeit products.  There is one party accountable to the end customer, and that is ultimately the brand.  If the retailer does a bad job at this, it is a poor reflection on them.

The New Way To Buy Baby Products

Amazon has drastically changed the landscape of retail.    The new way consumers buy relies on resellers to give you the variety and convenience that consumers have come to expect.   Resellers are mini online retailers that pay Amazon a commission for every unit they sell on Amazon.   So, when you shop on Amazon, you are not necessarily buying from Amazon, you are buying from a sea of small retailers that are fighting to get you to buy from them.  Many resellers have made millions selling on Amazon.com, so they keep growing and growing every day.  Anyone can sell on Amazon.  Competition and ease for resellers to start selling on Amazon have created a slew of potential issues.

  • False claims – some products may claim to be “freezer safe”, for example, but have not actually been tested to make that claim. Many resellers will add features to create more sales.
  • Fake reviews – Some resellers hire companies that specialize in creating fake reviews that help boost product listings to the top of search results and increase sales.
  • Paid for reviews – reviews that were given in exchange for a free or steeply discounted product.
  • Counterfeit products – If a product does well on Amazon, some unethical manufacturers will make an identical or very similar product and may or may not use the same quality of materials, then sell it for the same amount or less. Counterfeits may use the original branding to pass it off as the original, but sometimes they do change it a tiny bit and use very similar branding to mislead the consumer into mistakenly buying theirs instead of the original.
  • Sellers located overseas shipping direct to the US – These products don’t have to go through the same United States Customs process. Customs scrutinizes large shipments to ensure products are what they say they are and that they meet CPSC guidelines.  Smaller consumer packages often go straight to the consumers.  The other disadvantage to this is it takes a long time to get the product.

Amazon has policies in place to help combat some of these problems and every seller must agree to follow those policies; however, many of the offenders fall through the cracks.  Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from these scenarios, but they may take a little bit away from the convenience you are used to.

What can I do to make sure I buy the best product for my baby?

One way is to do it the old way.  Go into a trusted store.  As mentioned earlier, physical stores have a lot of products that fit most people’s/baby’s needs.  You can rest easy knowing that if you buy something in a store, it has been scrutinized carefully by the store.  If you are looking for a selection most like what you found in Babies R’ Us (BRU), we recommend buybuyBaby (BBB). BBB has even more of a selection than BRU did.  The trouble is, there aren’t as many BBB stores.  If you have one close to you, this is a great place to shop and learn about baby products.  Not only do they have a large variety of proven products, but they also have an excellent staff that can help answer questions and point you in the right direction.  If BBB is too far away, here is a breakdown of the various physical stores you might try.

Store Type

Store

Variety Product Confidence

Physical Stores

buybuyBaby

A A

Walmart

C A
Target D

A

Local Boutiques A*

B*

Amazon N/A**

N/A**

* Independent retailers are a catchall category for retailers that are either online only or only have a handful of physical stores dedicated primarily to baby products.  Some can be excellent in terms of variety and quality assurance, and some can be poor in both.  If you explore locally, you are sure to find some good ones.
** Amazon purchased Whole-Foods, so they do have brick and mortar locations; however, the baby section in these stores has not changed much and is relatively limited.

As you can see from the chart, Walmart and Target may not have the same variety that you can get online; however, they carefully scrutinize the products they offer and the companies that provide them.  We are happy to say that Little Toader products are available in stores and we know firsthand how important quality is to these retailers. It is also worth noting that there are Walmart’s and Targets virtually everywhere, so while you may not have as much selection, you won’t have to wait for your product to ship and you know you are getting a good product.

Navigating Amazon

You think you got the chops to tackle online, fine, but make sure you follow these tips.  You can still find some very good quality products, from reputable companies on Amazon, you just need to do a little homework to make sure you are getting what you think you are getting.

  • Make sure the product’s reviews are on the up and up. There is a website that tells you if the reviews for a product seem fishy.  You can even install a chrome extension, so you can find out without leaving the product page, how legit those reviews are.  Each page will have a “Pass”, “Warning”, or “Fail”.  You can try it out on one of our Little Toader products below.

https://reviewmeta.com/amazon/B00HTURS3Q  Or try a product with ratings that seem too good to be true on Amazon, copy the url at the top (e.g. https://….) and paste in top area of the page on http://reviewmeta.com

  • Verify the accuracy of claims. There are so many resellers that can add content to the product page. Sometimes they may make a claim that will lead to more sales.  We suggest you find the website for the manufacturer of the product and check to see what they say about the product.  You will also be able to verify if you are getting a good deal from that seller.
  • Verify the reliability of the brand. For example, if you search for “Teething Toys” and see several different listings for what appears to be the exact same product, but the packaging is different, this can mean that these products are made overseas, resold to many different people or companies. It is hard to verify the safety of these products with so many different people involved.
  • Check for Counterfeits. There are a lot of well-known brands that have knockoffs.  These can be a little hard to detect because they are made to look just like the real product. If you look at the product listing and notice that the seller has a significantly smaller number of reviews, a shorter history on Amazon, and it is branded slightly different than what you find on the original manufacturer’s website, then be cautious and report it to Amazon.  Counterfeits typically are not made with the same quality of materials.
  • Don’t buy products that ship from overseas. If you are interested in buying collectables, buying a product that ships from overseas may be okay, but if you are buying a baby product, be sure it is shipping from the US.  If the product is Prime, you don’t have to worry about this.  If the product shows a long delivery window, beware.

So, if you want to buy baby products without having to second guess, find a local store that you trust, whether it is buybuyBaby, Walmart, Target, or a baby boutique.  That may not always be the most convenient, so if you are going online, just make sure you are aware of the common gotchas we discussed to protect you and your baby from poor quality products, or products that aren’t quite what they claim to be.

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How do you clean your baby’s pacifier when you are at home or on the go?

Keeping your baby’s pacifiers, teethers, nipples, bottles, etc… clean is key to keeping your baby healthy and well.  Each parent has a different opinion as to what constitutes “clean”.  This opinion will largely drive your preferred method. That being said, here is a quick list of some of the more popular methods used to clean our baby’s “stuff”.

  • Soap and Water
  • Steam Sterilizer
  • Boiling
  • Dishwasher
  • Mom or Dad sucking on the Pacifier

Obviously, some of these are easier to implement than others.  Urgency plays a large factor in the approach taken.  The other factor is perceived effectiveness.  We will go over each and discuss the pros and cons we found on each, so you can decide for yourself.

Mom or Dad sucking on the Pacifier

There is no questioning the ease and simplicity of simply popping your baby’s pacifier into your mouth and sucking off any debris or germs that it may have collected.  There has been a study that suggests introducing your saliva to your baby could prevent the development of allergies such as asthma and eczema (AAP.org) http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/6/e1829.abstract .  I wouldn’t get too excited about this because though there are studies showing that saliva can help, many medical professionals warn against this method as this is also how you can spread viruses to your baby at a critical time when their immune systems have not fully developed. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/pacifiers/art-20048140

Pros: could possibly prevent some allergies – very easy to implement.

Cons: your baby could contract viruses and harmful bacteria from you – most medical professionals recommend you don’t take this approach.

Soap and Water

This is a close second in terms of ease to implement.  You can always pop into a bathroom, even when you are on the go.  Washing with soap and running water is a very effective way to get rid of most of the germs.  After all, it is what you do for yourself whenever your hands get dirty or you are about to put something in your mouth.  Washing with soap and water is typically considered more effective than antibacterial wipes.

Pros: very easy to implement – quick – effective

Cons: it may not get rid of all germs or bacteria

Steam Sterilizers

This method has similar effects to boiling.  It kills germs and bacteria by exposing them to high temperatures.  Note: you must still wash your baby’s pacifiers with soap and water before you put them in the sterilizer to remove the bulk of the germs.  The sterilizer will kill the rest (mostly).   Sterilizing is particularly useful if you don’t have reliable clean water.  There is a wide range of models available that cost $15 – $100.  The less expensive varieties are typically used with the aid of a microwave and require some additional steps in the sterilization process. The more expensive options are just load-and-click.

Pros: will kill any bacteria missed after washing with soap and water – easier than boiling – very important if you don’t have a reliable clean water source.

Cons: when it comes to pacifiers, the “virtually bacteria free” badge only lasts a moment.  Once the pacifier is removed from the sterilizer it will be as clean as your hands and your babies hands and/or anything else that touches it (which is a lot).

Boiling

Boiling is the best way to kill germs.  You can expose the germs to higher heat for long durations when boiling.  You don’t need to buy anything additional to implement this method of cleaning.  You do need to make sure, as with sterilizers, that your products are safe to boil.  Products exposed to this method of sterilization must be able to handle high temperatures without breaking down leaching chemicals.  Refer to your product packaging and/or the manufacturer’s website to confirm they have used third-party testing to confirm their product is safe to boil.

Pros: best way to kill bacteria – no upfront cost to implement – very important if you don’t have a reliable clean water source

Cons: when it comes to pacifiers, as with sterilization, the bacteria-free badge only lasts a moment.  Once the pacifier is removed from the sterilizer it will be as clean as your hands and your babies hands and/or anything else that touches it (which is a lot).  It is the most time-consuming method of cleaning your baby’s products. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/crying-colic/Pages/Pacifiers-Satisfying-Your-Babys-Needs.aspx .The extremely high temperatures may not be recommended for some products; therefore, causing more harm than good. In addition, it is extremely important that you ensure all water is drained from the pacifier after boiling and that it is completely cool before you give it to your baby.

Dishwasher

This is a very desirable method of cleaning your baby’s pacifiers and other products that go in their mouth.  It’s not quite as effective at killing bacteria as steam sterilization and boiling but is more thorough than washing it with soap and water or popping the pacifier in your mouth.  It is certainly a much easier approach to batch cleaning than all the other options.  Most people run their dishwasher every day. There are a few things to be mindful of.  It may or may not be as effective at cleaning if something in the dishwasher is obstructing the water flow.  This could prevent the detergent and water from hitting your pacifier, bottles, nipples or teethers.  You also must be cautious of the potential for detergent residue left on your baby’s pacifier, teether, nipples, bottles, etc….  If you use this approach it is advisable to rinse your baby’s products by hand afterwards.

Pros: you can clean a lot of items at once – it is usually effective (assuming there is nothing obstructing water flow).

Cons: you still need to rinse by hand after the wash cycle – its only practical to do once a day – must still check with your manufacturer to ensure your products can withstand higher temperatures and harsh detergents associated with dishwashers.  It is the longest cleaning process, in terms of time.

What to do?

Now that you know some of the more popular methods for cleaning products your babies put in their mouth, you can decide what will work best for you and your baby.   For every study or source that promotes something, there seems to be a study or source that states otherwise. You will likely use all of these methods sometime or another (except, perhaps, cleaning our baby’s pacifier by sucking on it).

WARNING 1 – Make sure you read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and care.  Some products will explicitly state you should not boil, use sterilizers, or put in a dishwasher (or use top rack only).  If you aren’t sure, check the manufacturer’s website or the packaging for the product.

WARNING 2 – With any cleaning approach you use, thoroughly inspect all of your baby’s products for any signs of wear and tear prior to each use. If you see any signs, discard the product and replace it.

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Car Seat Safety Tips for Parents Traveling With Small Children

car seat safety tipsWhen it comes to traveling by car with little ones, parents want to be prepared to make the trip as safe as possible. It’s not always easy to know what to do to protect your children, which is why you can find different resources online to help guide parents on how to keep kids safe in and around vehicles. As a mom of four and as a certified car seat safety instructor, I encourage parents to do their research on vehicle safety.  Below are four tips for choosing the right car seat.

One of my favorite sites to help parents find the right car seat for their situation is Healthy Children, which is from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have a list of car seats on the market each year that gives the sizes and prices of each car seat.

Parents should remember that four things need to be true for a car seat to be the right one for them:

1. The car seat must fit your child.

You should choose your car seat based on your child’s age and size. As children grow they may no longer fit in the same seat. Check the manual for your car seat to determine the maximum weight and height allowed by the manufacturer.

2. The car seat must fit your car.

Car seats are not designed to fit every vehicle. To make sure it’s the right fit for your vehicle you should test the car seat that you are planning to buy and also read the car seat section of your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more information.

3. The car seat should fit your budget.

Car seats can be expensive but just because it costs more does not mean it’s a better choice. Making sure that it’s the right fit for your child and vehicle are the better criteria to go by. Choose the car seat that best suits your needs. Keep in mind you should never purchase a used car seat without knowing the history of the seat and checking to see if it has been recalled. If you have any questions about the seat, call the car seat manufacturer.

4. Most importantly, you need to use the car seat correctly EVERY time.

You have to make sure that your car seat is facing the right direction according to your child’s age. Infants and toddlers under age 2 should ride in rear-facing car seats. It’s also important that you use harness straps and chest clips correctly so they fit snugly across your child’s body. Always follow the instructions from the car seat manufacturer to ensure that you are following all of the guidelines.

Just because a seat is fancy or a brand name doesn’t mean it is the right one. Every car seat on the market meets all of the U.S. standards for car seat safety. Cup holders, colorful decorations, or licensed characters do not help at all with safety.

For more information on car safety for kids visit www.safekids.org and www.safercar.gov.

Find a car seat inspection station near you at http://www.nhtsa.gov/apps/cps/index.htm. A certified technician will inspect your car seat and show you the correct way to install it.

Image courtesy of kdshutterman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

no slip baby bowlWritten by Brabara Schantz or Baby Dipper Bowl

As a stay-at-home mom of 2 sets of twin babies, Barbara faced the daunting task of feeding them. Frustrated with the bowls she had already purchased, she researched and bought other bowls, but still remained disappointed. She needed a bowl that required only one hand to successfully feed a baby, but wasn’t able to find one on the market that satisfied this need. The vision for the Baby Dipper® bowl came to her when her twin girls were about 6 months old, not long after they started eating baby cereal and other pureed foods. After much learning and hard work, she was able to bring the Baby Dipper bowl to market so that others can enjoy true one-handed feeding.

For more information, visit www.babydipper.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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5 Hidden Hazards in Your Baby’s Nursery

nursery hazardsWhen buying new products for baby’s nursery, parents need to be aware of what hazardous chemicals and toxins are often hidden in those products. I had to go above and beyond to make sure other parents know what to avoid – and why – when buying baby products. I was shocked after I read a recent Duke University research study that exposed hundreds of toxic culprits within nursery products. I want parents to be aware of the hazardous chemicals that can be found in everyday products that expose not only infants but all family members. One’s buying power should involve not only cost and value, but even more importantly, safer choices within the home.

1. Clothing

There are still many wrinkle-free clothing items and linens that release formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical. If your child has broken out into a rash after wearing new clothes, check the ingredients label on these items for formaldehyde-releasing preservatives called DMDM Hydantoin, Quaternium 15 or Bronopol.

2. Toys

Baby and kids toys that are made of vinyl plastic are likely to contain phthalates. Phthalates are the chemical used to soften vinyl plastic and are linked to birth defects, cancer and low testosterone. Laboratory testing is required to know if an item contains phthalates but if the label says “fragrance” or is made from PVC, it might contain phthalates. You can Google and ask the manufacturer of your children’s toys, lunch boxes and other products to find out if they contain phthalates.

3. Shampoo and Conditioner

Many health and beauty products like cosmetics, sunscreen, hair-styling gel, shampoo and conditioner contain parabens. Parabens are endocrine disruptors that mimic the hormones that control functions like growth and development. Check labels on products for any ingredients ending with “paraben”.

4. Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups

The FDA has banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and children’s cups but still insists that BPA is safe. BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical that has been used in hard plastics for years and can also come into contact with food, especially if it’s canned. Many canned foods and metal jar lids have BPA-based linings. When buying plastic bottles make sure they are specifically labeled as “BPA-Free.”

5. Pillows and Mattresses

Flame retardants are often added to nursing pillows, foam cushions, changing pads, etc. The Bureau of Home Furnishings requires all products made of polyurethane foam, a highly flammable (and petroleum-based) material, to be treated with toxic fire-retardant chemicals. These chemicals are linked to cancer and can damage the reproductive and nervous systems. Take a look at this chart to see a number of children’s products have been tested for flame retardants:  http://watoxics.org/publications/list-of-products-tested

Image courtesy of  sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

nursing pillowWritten by Sandy Clark, Inventor of San Diego Bebe Eco-Nursing Pillow

San Diego Bebe® was designed by San Diego native Sandy Clark, a passionate breastfeeding advocate and mother of twins. Clark was inspired at a San Diego beach one day where she witnessed a young mother unsuccessfully nursing her baby. As the mother struggled to keep a blanket across her shoulder while her baby wailed from heat and hunger, Clark vowed then and there to design a product that would help resolve the issue of privacy while nursing. San Diego Bebe® was born that day.

When Clark sent her nursing pillow to Duke to be tested and reviewed, Duke University Chemical Scientist Dr. Heather Stapleton, who is a mother herself, said, “The San Diego Bebe® Eco-Nursing Pillow is not only a very supportive pillow with amazing features for discreet nursing, but is also free of flame-retardant chemicals that have been shown to cause adverse health effects in animal studies. I applaud Double Blessings [Clark’s company] for taking steps to produce high quality products that meet the same flammability standards without using these chemicals.”

San Diego Bebe® Eco-Nursing Pillow is the healthiest and most innovative nursing pillow on the market. Made with virgin polyfiber Eco*Loft™, a non-toxic and hypo-allergenic foam-alternative, it’s void of harmful chemicals. It’s also recyclable and eco-friendly. San Diego Bebe® is available in two versions, for nursing one baby or twins. The entire line is baby-safe, and is covered with deluxe plush fabrics including organic cotton.

Click to view a Nursing Pillow Comparison Chart to learn more.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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5 Tips for SIDS Prevention

traveling-sleep-tipsOctober is SIDS Awareness Month and parents are encouraged to learn more about the risk factors involved in SIDS and what steps they can take to prevent it. SIDS is defined as the death of an infant, less than 1 year of age that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted. SIDS is the leading cause of infant death from one to twelve months old. When parents better understand the risks involved with SIDS, this can help to reduce future infant deaths. Here are five tips on how to help reduce the risk of SIDS.

1. Always place baby on his back to sleep. Many studies have found that there is a higher incidence of SIDS among babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs. It is thought that sleeping on the stomach narrows the baby’s airway and causes difficulty breathing. There is also a possibility that an infant sleeping on his stomach is “rebreathing” his own exhaled carbon dioxide. Baby must be put to sleep on his back throughout the first year of life.

2. Keep baby’s crib clear of blankets and toys. You never want to put blankets, comforters, bumpers, stuffed toys or pillows anywhere near the baby while he is sleeping. Baby’s head and face must remain free of any blankets or coverings. If using a blanket, make sure it gets tucked around the mattress. By keeping the crib clear it can prevent rebreathing and suffocation. Bumper pads should also be avoided as they can be a potential risk of suffocation or strangulation.

3. Practice safe swaddling. Pediatrics study suggests that babies who are swaddled experience a more restful sleep than unswaddled babies and can awaken more easily in response to noise, potentially decreasing the risk of SIDS.

For safe swaddling parents should always:

    • Use a swaddle where baby can have good hip range of motion; swaddling too tightly can cause hip dysplasia.
    • Use a swaddle that will not unravel- this prevents blankets from covering baby’s face. There are swaddles that do not even require wrapping!
    • Don’t over-swaddle your baby or double swaddle- overheating baby is linked to SIDS. The new Woombie Air is the first breathable swaddle that regulates baby’s body temperature by allowing excess heat to escape.
    • Consult with your pediatrician for next steps once baby is actively rolling. Also, try an arms-free swaddle to help the transition such as the Convertible Woombie.

4. Keep baby at a comfortable temperature. You don’t want baby to get too warm while sleeping so it’s best to keep them somewhere that’s room-temperature and don’t excessively clothe them. It has been suggested that babies who get too warm go into a deeper sleep making it more difficult for them to awaken. KidsHealth.org suggests keep the room at a temperature that feels comfortable for an adult in a short-sleeve shirt.

First Candle, a national nonprofit health organization uniting parents, caregivers and researchers nationwide with government, business and community service groups to advance infant health and survival, says, “When a healthy baby becomes overheated their brain recognizes the problem and attempts to correct it. When a baby predisposed to SIDS overheats, nothing happens to correct the situation.”

5. Place baby on a firm sleep surface. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, SIDS is sometimes called “crib death” and while cribs themselves don’t cause SIDS, the baby’s sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of deaths. It’s important to use a safety-approved, firm mattress covered with a fitted sheet and avoid placing baby on a pillow, waterbed, couch, chair or other soft surface. This can help prevent smothering or suffocation. You can check the safety of your baby’s mattress or crib by contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.

Karen-Barski-baby-swaddle-inventorWritten by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle

Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.

Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.

Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies…and counting!

Read Karen’s story on how she invented the Woombie in the middle of the night on her grandmother’s sewing machine which turned into a million dollar mommy business. Read Woombie Baby Swaddle Story

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Image courtesy of papaija2008 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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5 Baby Sleep Safety Tips: September is Safety Month

baby safe sleep tipsSeptember is Baby Safety Month so it is a good time for parents to focus on making sure they are doing all they can to keep their babies safe and protected. Knowing that baby is safe and sound will give parents peace of mind, so creating a safe sleep environment for baby should be a number one priority. Here are five important tips on baby sleep safety.

1. Keep crib empty
It’s important to keep cribs empty of all items such as pillow, blankets, bumper pads and stuffed animals. All of these items pose suffocation hazards to babies. Any loose fabric or soft cushions can unravel and block baby’s nose and mouth. Fighting for air or becoming overheated from too many blankets may be linked to SIDS.

2. Safe swaddling
Swaddling can be very beneficial for baby as it mimics touch and recreates the confinement felt in the womb. It also helps maintain the “back is best” sleep position and promotes good sleeping patterns. However, traditional swaddling blankets pose the risk of wrapping babies too tightly and reducing necessary movement in the hips causing hip dysplasia. Thick blankets or too many layers can cause overheating, and strong babies can break out of traditional swaddling blankets which can unravel and cover baby’s face. There are many swaddles available nowadays that do not require wrapping.

3. Put baby on his back
Make sure that you always place baby on his back when you are putting your little one down for the night or for a daytime nap. This is the best sleep position for babies because babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs are at a higher risk for SIDS. The reason for this is uncertain but there have been findings that suggest that infants who sleep on their stomachs get less oxygen or rebreathe their own carbon monoxide, or “bad air”. It is important to keep putting baby down on his back throughout the first year of life.

First Candle, a national nonprofit health organization uniting parents, caregivers and researchers nationwide with government, business and community service groups to advance infant health and survival, says, “As human beings, when we exhale we exhale carbon dioxide or “bad air.” This is normal – we all do it! But when a baby sleeps on its tummy, or there is soft, fluffy or loose bedding or other objects in their sleep space, that carbon dioxide can build up around the baby’s head and face. So, rather than breathing fresh air, the baby breathes the bad air. To a normal, healthy baby breathing the bad air would not cause a problem. Their brain would tell them that they are breathing too much carbon dioxide and they would cough, cry, turn their head or do something to get themselves out of the challenging situation. To a baby predisposed to SIDS (see Triple Risk Model), their brain does not tell them there is a problem, so they continue to breath the bad air, which can then cause them to die suddenly and unexpectedly. The same holds true for overheating, another risk factor – when a healthy baby becomes overheated their brain recognizes the problem and attempts to correct it. When a baby predisposed to SIDS overheats, nothing happens to correct the situation.”

4. Monitor your baby
Having a baby monitor in the room with your baby allows parents to keep an eye or ear on their baby from another room. Monitors give you the ability to listen to your baby and check on them with disturbing their sleep. They help you to identify whether or not baby needs your attentions and can provide parents with reassurance that baby is sleeping safe and sound.

5. Safe co-sleeping
There is a debate over whether co-sleeping is beneficial to babies and there are pros and cons for each side. The argument for co-sleeping is that children who sleep next to their parents tend to have better emotional health later on in life. They tend to be happier, less anxious, and have higher self-esteem. Some parents believe that leaving baby alone to cry himself to sleep results in stress which can make baby more prone to illness. Parents who believe in co-sleeping find that baby falls asleep faster and sleeps better overall.

On the other side of the debate, parents argue that co-sleeping is risky for babies as there is an increased chance of overheating and a risk of suffocation if a parent accidentally rolls onto the baby. They believe that an infant sleeps better on his own as constant bed movement can disturb a baby who is co-sleeping. They also argue that co-sleeping does not leave parents with sufficient time to themselves to wind down for the night and does not allow for intimate alone time for parents.

For parents who do decide to take the co-sleeping route, make sure your mattress is firm with tightly fitted sheets and keep your pillow away from the baby. Keep the bed away from side tables and make sure there are no gaps baby can fall into. The best position for baby is on the side of mom instead of in the center of the bed. Consider buying a larger size bed so everyone has more space and can get a better night’s sleep.

Note: Although Karen Barski is a Registered Nurse, she is not a doctor and this press release is not intended to give medical advice but rather display research and findings to educate parents. Her mission is to be a passionate safe swaddling advocate and leading manufacturer of safe baby products.

woombie baby swaddleWritten by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle

Karen has been an RN for 19 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll. The newest design called the Woombie Air that allows excess heat to escape to regulate baby’s body temperature.

Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies…and counting! The Woombie is a baby swaddle that requires no wrapping and is designed to gently hug baby while allowing for natural movement. The Woombie Air is a breathable swaddle that allows for excess body heat to escape making it the first ventilated swaddle.

Read Karen’s story on how she invented the Woombie in the middle of the night on her grandmother’s sewing machine which turned into a million dollar mommy business. Read Woombie Baby Swaddle Story.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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5 Additives to Avoid in Baby Products– How to Determine if a Product is Safe for Babies

baby safety tipsSeptember is Baby Safety Month. Many parents don’t realize that there are baby products on the market that are not the healthiest or safest choice for their infants. Parents should carefully research which baby products are safest, and which materials and additives to avoid when choosing the best products for their family. I was determined to find eco-friendly materials that were void of harmful chemicals for my line of nursing pillows. It was not an easy feat to find a foam replacement for our products (foam requires fire retardants) – but after years of persistence, we did just that. During my research, I came across a Duke University study that exposed toxic chemical additives in over a hundred baby products. I was shocked to see which companies were on the list! Below are the top five additives to avoid when buying baby products.

Phthalates
Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are often used to make plastics soft. They are found all throughout the home in clothing, bedding, toys and more, making babies and children especially vulnerable to these chemicals.

PVC
PVC plastic, better known as vinyl, is one of the most toxic substances that can cause health and environmental problems. It appears in everything from lunch boxes to children’s toys to cars. Phthalates are often added to PVC to make the plastic more flexible. Stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and Johnson & Johnson have agreed to phase out the use of PVC in their products.

Lead
Lead is a poison that was banned from home use but can still be found in products today. Children can get lead poisoning from swallowing or breathing in lead which can also be spread by dust. Lead poisoning causes problems with children’s growth, behavior, and ability to learn. Protect yourself and your child by washing hands and toys often even when they don’t look dirty.

Triclosan
Triclosan is a pesticide found in many anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers. Triclosan is a hormone-disruptor that is also found in toothpaste, cosmetics, yoga mats and more. It can encourage the growth of drug-resistant bacteria and water pollution. Make sure you check labels to avoid products containing the words triclosan and triclocarban.

Fire retardant chemicals
Fire retardant chemicals have also been linked to hormone disruption, cancer and harming the development of the brain. Dust is a primary route of exposure so you should dust and vacuum regularly. Products made of polyurethane foam, a highly-flammable material, have been required by the Bureau of Home Furnishings to be treated with toxic fire-retardant chemicals. Parents should search for foam-free alternatives to avoid these harmful fire-retardant chemicals.

For more information on the Duke University study, visit http://watoxics.org/publications/hidden-hazards-in-the-nursery.

Note: Sandy Clark is not a doctor and this release is not intended to give medical advice but rather display research and findings to educate parents. Her mission is to be a passionate breastfeeding advocate and leading manufacturer of safe baby products.

nursing pillowWritten by Sandy Clark, Inventor of San Diego Bebe Eco-Nursing Pillow

San Diego Bebe® was designed by San Diego native Sandy Clark, a passionate breastfeeding advocate and mother of twins. Clark was inspired at a San Diego beach one day where she witnessed a young mother unsuccessfully nursing her baby. As the mother struggled to keep a blanket across her shoulder while her baby wailed from heat and hunger, Clark vowed then and there to design a product that would help resolve the issue of privacy while nursing. San Diego Bebe® was born that day.

When Clark sent her nursing pillow to Duke to be tested and reviewed, Duke University Chemical Scientist Dr. Heather Stapleton, who is a mother herself, said, “The San Diego Bebe® Eco-Nursing Pillow is not only a very supportive pillow with amazing features for discreet nursing, but is also free of flame-retardant chemicals that have been shown to cause adverse health effects in animal studies. I applaud Double Blessings [Clark’s company] for taking steps to produce high quality products that meet the same flammability standards without using these chemicals.”

San Diego Bebe® Eco-Nursing Pillow is the healthiest and most innovative nursing pillow on the market. Made with virgin polyfiber Eco*Loft™, a non-toxic and hypo-allergenic foam-alternative, it’s void of harmful chemicals. It’s also recyclable and eco-friendly. San Diego Bebe® is available in two versions, for nursing one baby or twins. The entire line is baby-safe, and is covered with deluxe plush fabrics including organic cotton.

Click to view a Nursing Pillow Comparison Chart to learn more.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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10 Must Haves to Keep Babies Safe — September is Baby Safety Month

Baby Safety Month is an annual event that began as a way to educate parents on how to safely use second hand, hand-me-down, and gifted baby gear. By encouraging parents to read safety tips and look for safety information on baby products, the Baby Safety Month campaign hopes that more parents and caregivers will educate themselves and take precautions when buying baby products. It’s so important to make sure that the products you buy for baby are healthy and safe. In celebration of Baby Safety Month, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite items to keep babies safe and happy.

1. SwimZip

SwimZip.jpg

SwimZip is a uniquely designed chlorine-resistant swim shirt to protect babies and toddlers from the sun. SwimZip has a convenient full length zipper which makes it easy to put on and take off and it comes as a two piece set. SwimZip blocks 99% of the UVA and UVB cancer causing rays from your little one’s skin. Swim Zip lets kids spend hours of fun under the sun in their cute and comfy swimwear!

$17.99 – $29.99

www.swimzip.com

2. Buzzy

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Routine vaccinations are necessary to help keep baby healthy, but a trip to the doctor can cause stress for both babies and parents. Buzzy is a unique device that helps reduce pain from shots and relieves needle phobia by combining tingly vibration and unique ice pack wings to instantly block sharp sensations on contact. Put it between the brain and any sharp, itching or burning pain, and presto! Using natural pain relief, Buzzy desensitizes your body’s own nerves, thereby dulling or eliminating sharp injection pain.

$39.95

www.buzzy4shots.com

3. Bobee(TM) Diaper and Wipe Dispenser

Bobee Diaper Dispenser.jpg

This wall-mounted diaper and wipe caddy allows for one-handed access so you can keep one hand safely on your baby while accessing a diaper or wipe with the other hand. Changing table space is freed up for other important baby items, and the diapers and wipes are up and out of the way from curious little hands. The dispenser fits high quantities in all sizes and brands of disposable diapers and pre-packaged wet wipes fit neatly below. The dispenser is BPA-free, Phthalate-free, and PVC-free.

$39.99

www.bobeeinc.com

4. Baby MedBasics App

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This baby safety smart phone app is a must have for parents! It’s a great guide for emergency medical and health situations from birth to one year. The app created by a doctor dad and nurse mom features brightly color-coded navigation tabs, simple instructions and illustrations showing how to handle everything from choking, CPR, bleeding, fever emergencies and more. Baby MedBasics turns your moments of panic into moments of action.

$2.99

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/baby-medbasics/id370087163?mt=8

5. Babee Covee

Babee Covee.jpg

This is the perfect solution to protect babies from germs and block them from sunlight, rain, wind and snow. Invented by accident during a playdate by Alma Moussa, a California mom of two, the Babee Covee is a versatile baby blanket and cover that has six uses in one! It eliminates the need to buy, pack and carry bulky single purpose items and provides a clean, germ-free area for baby/toddler where ever you go.

The trendy, multi-purpose Babee Covee can be used as: 1) car seat “tent” cover 2) stroller cover/blanket 3) shopping cart cover 4) high chair cover 5) nursing cover and 6) playtime blanket.

$39.99 – $49.99

www.babeecovee.com

6. Dreemie Preemie

Dreemie Preemie.jpg

Dreemie Preemie offers baby book/scrapbook pages with specific spaces for the unique milestones and developmental goals of preemies. Inspired by some pretty remarkable children, Dreemie Preemie is to give hope, inspire, and help families document the time they and their baby spend in the NICU. It’s not easy to see your precious child tested, monitored and trying so hard just to survive.

$10.00 – $60.00

www.dreemiepreemie.com

7. AppeTEETHERS

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AppeTEETHERS are patented teething toys made of silicone. Designed with safety as the highest priority, AppeTEETHERS are Consumer Product Safety Commission compliant. They provide the perfect amount of resistance to help soothe babies’ sore gums. They are BPA free, Lead free, PVC free, and Phthalate free. Each teething toy is one solid piece with no parts to prevent a break-off choking hazard. Not only are they safe, they are designed to look like real food! Choose from Chompin’ Chicken Wing, Baby-Q Rib, Nopainapple, Ice Cream U Scream, Broccoli Bites, and LOL! Sucker. Babies love these toys and adults love watching their baby chew on them!

$9.99

www.littletoader.com

8. Woombie Air

Woombie Baby Swaddle.jpg

The new Woombie Air is the first breathable swaddle that allows excess body heat to escape and requires no wrapping. Invented by a mom of five, 19-year RN, and Infant Care Specialist, the 14-award winning Woombie is a unique peanut-shaped swaddle that imitates the comfort and security of the womb resulting in longer periods of sleep. It helps reduce the risk of SIDS as well as prevents overheating, face-scratching, startling, and colic (voted as a top colic product by the Fussy Baby Site). Over a half a million babies and counting have used the Woombie and parents swear by it!

$26.00

www.woombie.com

9. Peachy Aqueduck(R) Faucet Extender

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Little ones often have trouble reaching the water faucet and need some help washing up. Stools are not the safest solution as kids can fall and hurt themselves. The Aqueduck(R) Faucet Extender solves the problem by attaching easily to any faucet and guiding the water closer to your child so they can reach the water without needing a step stool – and without mom or dad having to pick them up.

$12.99

www.peachyco.com

10. Parking Pal Magnet

Parking Pal.png

Parking lots can be dangerous, even fatal, for children. Protect your little loved ones with a colorful aid that keeps them near to you and far from moving vehicles. Place the Parking Pal on the side of your vehicle where it will remain safely attached at all times. After a couple of learning sessions, your child will discover that the Parking Pal is their safe spot and they will know where to go the second they are outside the car. Kids love using the Parking Pal, while being taught responsibility in parking lots and around vehicles.

$8.99

www.parkingpalmagnet.com

Looking after baby is a full-time job for mom but she shouldn’t forget that her own comfort and safety are just as important. My tip for new moms to take care of themselves is to look for products that will provide relief while breastfeeding. Nizo Wear nursing bras feature a pocket that acts as a barrier between mom’s skin and a warm/cool pack for her comfort and safety. Plus, all of our bras are wireless or have removable underwires to help prevent breastfeeding-related illness due to plugged ducts/mastitis. A happy, healthy mom makes a happy, healthy baby!

Nizo Wear Founder Nicole ZoellnerGuest post by Nicole Zoellner from NizoWear.com 

Nizo Wear is the first nursing bra to have a unique, patented pocket in the pull-down flap that can hold a heating or cooling pack helping bring moms relief and healing faster while being extremely comfortable and super chic.

Nizo Wear nursing bras were inspired by the real-life experience of the company’s founder, Nicole Zoellner. When Nicole became pregnant with her son, she eagerly read all the materials her doctor had given her about the benefits of breastfeeding. She happily anticipated the feelings of serenity and bonding that nursing promises mother and infant.

So, Nicole set out to do for other nursing moms what no-one had been able to do for her: provide a practical, comfortable way to get relief from the soreness breastfeeding mothers often experience. Her design was patented, and Nizo Wear was born.  Visit www.nizowear.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Little Toader? Send your topic idea to pr@littletoader.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Little Toader makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

 

 

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Spreading the word, “Never Shake a Baby!”

Baby Haleigh Fund

 

Baby Haleigh Donation Fund

At Little Toader, we believe in bringing attention to causes that touch our heart. There are so many great causes out there. We want to share with you the Baby Haleigh Donation Fund. Created to bring awareness and to share the message, “Never shake a baby”, and to help provide a sweet little girl the care she needs to recover.

The thought of it is tough to imagine; why someone would shake a baby? It is more common than you would think. Baby Haleigh, now 2 years old, has spent most of her life rehabilitating from an injury sustained as a newborn. The most common cause of injury sustained from shaking a baby is caregiver stress. It is so important to get the message out and to provide another way for parents to get through those sometimes hours of crying that seem like they will never end.

The hospitals we delivered our kids at required us to watch a video before we left. It was mandatory and they made us sign a document saying we watched the video. The video went over some basic baby care topics, but also covered the topic of shaking a baby. The actors in the video were “normal” looking parents that became overwhelmed with the stress of a new baby and shook their baby. While the stages of inconsolable crying aren’t permanent, the damage from shaking a baby can be.

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome offers some great tips for coping with inconsolable crying that can occur with a newborn. Shaken Baby Syndrome is 100% preventable. The Baby Haleigh Donation Fund is not only working to raise funds to help get Haleigh the care she needs, but they are about sharing the message to “Never shake a baby.” They provide free car decals to help spread the word. Decals can be provided by sending an email to bastrick@tampabay.rr.com. Donations can be provided by contacting any Wells Fargo Bank. Advise that you are looking to donate to the Baby Haleigh Donation Fund (account owner Beth Strickland).

lori-teething toys inventorWritten by Lori Bredemeier, Founder of Little Toader makers of AppeTEETHERS

Lori Bredemeier is the co-founder of Little Toader with her husband Michael. They are the inventors of AppeTEETHERS and here is how their teething toys are chosen again and again by parents as babies’ favorite teether.  The unique patented design has five key features:

    • one solid silicone piece — there are no parts and no surface materials that could possibly come apart or detached;
    • easy to clean – not porous so they do not absorb germs, dirt, or any other undesirable deposits;
    • uniquely designed for baby to easily hold on and fit into the different angles of baby’s mouth;
    • patented, silicone with slight texture providing the perfect amount of resistance — no topical paint and no risk of fading or having the paint rub off into baby’s mouth; and
    • free of BPA, Phthalate, PVC and lead.

Not only are AppeTEETHERS safe and effective, they are funny too! Using a play on words with “appetizers” and “teethers,” AppeTEETHERS look like real food: choice of Chompin’ Chicken (wing) or Baby-Q Rib with Nopainapple, Ice Scream U Scream, Broccoli Bites, and LOL! Sucker coming this summer.

Consistently ranking as one of the top teething toys, AppeTEETHERS are a truly unique teething solution. Babies love them and parents get a kick out of watching their precious bundle of joy using them. All Little Toader products are tested and are Consumer Product Safety Commission compliant.

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