Friday, March 26, 2010

News Briefs: Childhood in Germany; Chimp Rehab; Vitamin D

Saving Childhood in Germany
Kids in Berlin can play freely again, after the city government ruled that making noise is "an essential part of a child's development." Grumpy residents living near playgrounds and other kid friendly places had long complained that children make too much noise; even going so far as forcing some day care centers to close. The new ruling declares the noise of children falls into the same category as tolerable nuisances such as church bells or street cleaning vehicles. Berlin children must still observe quiet times at night and all day Sunday, however.

Chimp Rehab
A Chimpanzees at the Rostob Zoo in southern Russia made headlines recently, after he was sent to rehab for alcohol addiction. Zhora the chimp became hooked on both alcohol and cigarettes when visitors repeatedly gave the popular attraction the substances for their own amusement. "People laugh when they see an animal drinking and smoking," said one zoo staffer. "But viscous habits damage his health, and many do not understand this period."

Still not enough 'D'
A new study has suggested that most babies receive a daily supplement of vitamin D, after finding that only 5% to 37% of American infants meet the standard criteria for vitamin D intake set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Vitamin D strengthens bones as well as the immune system, and also helps prevent other health problems. Infants can receive a daily dose via inexpensive drops. Consult your physician for further advice. To learn more about this subject, read our article: Vitamin D Deficiency in Children.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Novelty Lighters & the Danger They Pose to Kids

I remember from my high school days (back in the 1820s) how Zippo lighters were all the rage. Like a lava lamp, there was something transfixing about popping the lid open and shut, watching as the flame lite and extinguished at your command with the flip of a finger. By observing those who smoked, you'd get the impression that playing with the lighter was as addictive as the cigarette itself.

It turns out such novelty lighters can amuse more than a crowd of stoned adolescents. They can be mesmerizing to younger kids too. To make things worse, manufacturers have recently started marketing the lighters in figurines that look like little toys. They come in little animals, miniature cars, mobile phones, cameras, fishing lures, stacks of coins, markers, doll accessories, and just about any other little trinket you can think of. These hot commodities are tons of fun for the adults who buy them up. The problem is they're tons of fun for any kids who might get a hold of them as well.

Playing with matches and lighters takes more young lives every year than does playing with guns. While most people would never leave a loaded .44 magnum lying around, they often hardly think twice about what they use to light up with. When you combine a dangerous tool with an attractive, kid inviting package, it makes for a potentially deadly situation. At least two children have been killed from such lighters thus far, and several states have moved to outlaw the gadgets altogether.

Our advice to parents: If you smoke, stay away from such novelty lighters and stick with the boring kind. It's not worth the risk. The added allure could mean the difference between life and death. Of course, any fire making tool needs to be kept track of and regarded with the same-dangerous potential as a gun in-so-far as children are concerned.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Window Treatments and Child Safety - Guest Post

Window Treatments and Child Safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced this past December that since 1990 more than 200 infants and young children have died from unintentionally strangling themselves with window blind and shade cords. A national recall was ordered for about 50 million units and the Window Covering Safety Council is urging those with small children to “go cordless” with their window treatments. Fortunately, the window treatment industry now offers a number of control options that do not necessitate these long, hazardous cords.

Going electric is the first option. Most window blinds and shades can be motorized now, totally doing away with the need for cords. With electric window treatments, you have the choice of a remote control or a wall mounted switch. You can also decide whether you want the treatment to be plugged into the wall or battery-powered. For child safety purposes, it may be best go with a battery since a cord plugged into the wall may draw your child’s attention to the power outlet. This is the most expensive child-safe control option and may be out of the question depending on your budget.

An alternative option that is significantly cheaper than motorizing is using a pole to open and close your window treatments. With this option, there is a hook on the end of the pole that fits into a small hole on the handle used to push the treatment up and down. You will more than likely still need to pay a little bit extra to have this option added, but not nearly as much as the cost of motorization. Almost all styles of custom ordered shades and blinds are able to have this option added.

The option that will cost you the absolute least amount of money is just going with window treatments that do not require cords. As far as style goes, this may limit your options, but it will give you peace of mind about your child’s safety and not cost you an arm and a leg in the process. An everyday curtain or drape will work for this as they can just be opened and closed by hand. There are also some types of blinds and shades that do not need cords; you just have to do some searching. The main thing is that if you have small children in your house, it is crucial that you go cordless with your window coverings.