Archive for May, 2012

Crib and play yard tents recalled due to strangulation hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and five retailers are announcing a voluntary recall to provide refunds to consumers who own crib tents and play yard tents made by Tots in Mind, Inc.

Crib tents are mesh tents that fit over the tops of cribs to keep climbers in. They have poles that keep them erect and you attach the tent with Velcro to the crib rails. They zip open at the top to lift the child in and out.

Nikki Fleming of the CPSC says the recall is for five models from this specific brand. She says consumers should follow all manufacturer recommendations if using another brand.

The models under recall are (you can see photos of the tents here to help you identify them):

  1. Portable Playard Tent
  2. Original Cozy Crib Tent
  3. Cozy Crib Tent II
  4. Crib Tent for Convertible Cribs
  5. Portable Playard Tent Plus Cabana Kit

From the CPSC:

“CPSC is warning parents and caregivers who own these products that infants and toddlers are at risk of serious injury or death due to …

Continue reading Crib and play yard tents recalled due to strangulation hazard »

Are ‘most improved’ awards for students beneficial or embarrassing?

We attended an awards ceremony at one of our schools this week, and I was struck by how much personal information the teachers were revealing about their students’ academic performances with “most improved” awards.

They had good intentions of praising the children and recognizing how far they’ve come during the year, but teacher after teacher said things like this student was way below grade level on reading and look where they are now. They’ve gone up X reading levels.

It’s a great accomplishment and should be complimented but should the details be revealed in an assembly?

Another teacher talked about a child not turning in homework and getting their act together and doing a great job turning in homework. Again, I’m just not sure where they line is between giving a child praise and revealing too much about their academic or behavioral issues in public.

One teacher worded it better and said how much “personal growth” a student had, which I thought was a much nicer way to …

Continue reading Are ‘most improved’ awards for students beneficial or embarrassing? »

Do high school dual-enrollment/AP classes push kids too far ahead in college?

Across the country students will be graduating from high school with enough college credits for an associate’s degree or to be sophomores or juniors their first year in actual college.

Dual-enrollment and AP classes have grown in popularity during the last 20 years and enable high school students to graduate with college half-finished but I’m wondering if this is truly a good thing.

I guess the point is that dual-enrollment classes and AP classes can save the family money if the student can knock out core college classes in high school and enables them to immediately start on their higher-level or major classes. However, are kids really ready to do that? Should they have to pick their majors before they even pick their dorms? Do these classes eliminate some of the easier classes that allow students to acclimate to college life and being responsible for themselves?

Does it shorten their college experience too much where they aren’t ready to decide what they want to do with …

Continue reading Do high school dual-enrollment/AP classes push kids too far ahead in college? »

How is your daycare provider putting your baby to sleep?

Parents need to check that their day care providers – whether in-home or in a center—are putting their babies back-to-sleep as recommended by the government.

The Star Tribune out of Minnesota has found a dramatic increase in infant deaths while at in-home day care in Minnesota from being put to sleep in incorrect positions – generally on their tummies.

From the Star Tribune.com:

“A Star Tribune examination of hundreds of public records shows that the number of children dying in child care has nearly doubled in the past five years — reaching the rate of one per month. Nearly all the deaths have occurred at in-home providers (also known as family care), and most involved a child sleeping. The newspaper’s investigation also found more unsafe-sleep citations, such as lack of training or children in unsafe sleep positions, at in-home settings than at large child-care centers.”

“The Department of Human Services (DHS), the state’s top child-care regulator, is treating the rise in …

Continue reading How is your daycare provider putting your baby to sleep? »

Which states support working families the best?

The National Partnership for Women and Families graded states on laws that support families, and overall the United States is not looking good.

Only two states were awarded an A and much of the South got Fs.

From MotherJones.com:

“The National Partnership for Women & Families released a new report that assigns grades to states based on their laws protecting new parents, like paid parental leave, paid sick days, and laws to accommodate breastfeeding mothers. While many of these laws benefit both moms and dads, they’re certainly more important for women, since we actually have to give birth and all.”

“Only two states–California and Connecticut—got an “A.” Eighteen states got a big old “F” for doing nothing help new, working parents. This is the first time the group has scored states like this, and the overall grade for the US is pretty grim:”

Click here to see the map and how all the state were rated.

The foundation also released a full report if you are interested in more …

Continue reading Which states support working families the best? »

Bring your laptops, set up a server: Is your kid having a Minecraft party?

My 9-year-old was recently invited to a Minecraft party. We were instructed to bring a laptop and show up for an afternoon of six little boys sitting in a room interacting in computer world they created.

Minecraft is a massively multiplayer game played on a large server where adults and kids can design almost any world they can imagine. The catch is they are on with adults.

So one of the dads at the party set up a separate VPN for the kids to play on together. (Can they just play soccer or swim?) They were on a private server so we didn’t have to worry about weirdos messing with them. However, the software used to set up the server downloaded a bunch of viruses onto our computer!

I knew Minecraft was big in my little guy’s world but I was surprised less than a week later to see a friend post a photo of an almost identical scene at his home. Boys and girls alike gathered with their laptops in a family room playing Minecraft.

I wrote to the friend and asked him how they had it …

Continue reading Bring your laptops, set up a server: Is your kid having a Minecraft party? »

What is the state of motherhood and children in the world?

Save the Children has released it’s 2012 report on the State of the World’s Mother with lots to think about and consider. I am going to hit a few of the highlights from the report but if you have some time poke around. It’s pretty interesting.

Some headlines from the round up report featured in The Huffington Post:

One in four children in the world are still chronically malnourished or stunted

“One in four of the world’s children are chronically malnourished or stunted — with little access to proper nutrients, these children have underdeveloped brains or bodies.”

“According to the report, malnutrition kills as many as 2.6 million children and 100,000 mothers every year. Millions of others are left struggling with the physical and mental impairments of stunting. In some parts of the developing world — like Afghanistan, Burundi and Yemen — the stunting rate is a whopping 60 percent!”

“Of the six key solutions offered by the report to combat malnutrition, one of the cheapest and …

Continue reading What is the state of motherhood and children in the world? »

Attachment Parenting 20 years later: Are we better or worse parents for it? Is it extreme parenting?

Time magazine has devoted its coverage this week to an issue that is near and dear to my heart – attachment parenting.

The issue, which hits newsstands on Friday, is the buzz of the internet and morning talk shows with a provocative cover of a mother nursing her almost 4-year-old child. (Click here to see the cover shot.) There are so many people posting about it on Facebook and so many negative comments – one man on a public Facebook site compared the woman to a cow!! Is it pandering to sell issues or a reasonable cover to discuss the issue of attachment parenting?

It’s not a model – although she looks like one – pretending to nurse a child on the cover. It’s a real mother who is still nursing her son, who turns 4 next month. The mother herself was nursed until she was 6. Check out her interview here.

(For a behind-the-scene look at the cover shots of moms nursing older children check out this photo slide show.)

Enough about the cover photo and back to the issue at hand – …

Continue reading Attachment Parenting 20 years later: Are we better or worse parents for it? Is it extreme parenting? »

Is ‘50 Shades of Grey’ too hot for Gwinnett County?

All 15 branches of  the Gwinnett County library system will not carry “50 Shades of Grey,” the so-called mom porn book that Saturday Night Live thought would be a great Mother’s Day present. (See the video above.)

From The Associated Press:

“We do not collect erotica at Gwinnett County Public Library. That’s part of our materials management collection policy. So, E L James’ three books in the trilogy fit that description,” said Deborah George, the county library’s director of materials management.

“A copy of “Fifty Shades” sits on George’s cluttered desk. Wedged in it are nearly a dozen yellow sticky notes at various pages of sultriness.”

Multiple states, including Florida and Georgia, have libraries “pulling the racy romance trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey” from shelves or deciding not to order the bestseller at all, saying it’s too steamy or too poorly written.”

So why does that matter?

From the AP:

“Even in the age of e-books and tablets, banning a book from a public library …

Continue reading Is ‘50 Shades of Grey’ too hot for Gwinnett County? »

Are you a man or a woman?

We were checking out in the grocery store last night. I watched my 5-year-old eying the cashier. I could tell she was thinking hard and I knew exactly why.

The male cashier, who often wears very heavy eyeliner, also had his eyelids covered in Robin’s egg blue eye shadow.

She was quiet for a little bit and then said, “Um excuse me. Are you a boy or a girl?”

I waited a beat to see if the cashier would answer but he didn’t. I’m not sure if he didn’t hear her little voice or just chose to ignore the question.

I said, “Well of course he’s a boy” and moved on with my checkout. He didn’t seem mad as we concluded the transaction.

When we got outside I told Lilina I know you weren’t trying to hurt his feelings but you may have. Try not to comment on people’s appearances and if you’re not sure about something try to ask me quietly.

Have you ever had your child ask a stranger an embarrassing question about their appearance? How did you handle? Are the questions ever fair game?

Continue reading Are you a man or a woman? »