Establishing a Childproofing Checklist for the Home

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childproofing checklistMost parents become excited when they learn they will be bringing a new child into the world. A good deal of time and money is spent preparing the home. Often times, safety can be overlooked, because a new baby is not immediately mobile. On average, children start to crawl at eight months. This means that the home soon turns into a dangerous place as a baby becomes curious about their surroundings.

Accidents involving children occur often, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that over nine million children are taken to the emergency room each year for accident injuries. Of children between the ages of one and four, falls and poisonings accounted for the majority of accidents. Most of the accidents that end in a hospital visits occur within the home.

This is why it is vital to prepare and implement a childproofing checklist. The best advice for parents is to make sure that all items on the following childproofing checklist are completed before an infant is brought into the home.

1. Create a barrier at the top and bottom of every stairway in the home. Use pressure mounted baby gates at the bottom of stairs. At the top of stairwells, you can install stud mounted gates that screw directly to the wall. Make sure that gates have closures that require the release of a lock to open the gate. This is ideal if the gate has a door or opening.

2. When childproofing a home, make sure to add locks and guards on windows. A child can squeeze through a window that is open only four inches wide. Locks prevent windows from being opened unintentionally, and guards block children from accessing windows that are left open. Smarter childproofing with a childproofing checklist also involves the addition of a stopper on the track of the window, to prevent it from being opened too wide.

3. Limit access to electrical sockets. Socket covers should be used for outlets that hold plugs for lamps, television sets, and other items that are always plugged in. For outlets that are rarely used, plastic plugs should be inserted. Outlet covers with sliding doors need to be installed over the socket faceplate, when outlets are sometimes utilized.

4. Mount hardware on cabinet doors to keep them secure. Magnet control latches and pressure release devices are best. Make sure that hardware is made from impact-resistant plastic. Devices that are installed with wood screws directly to cabinets are best, to make sure that hardware is a permanent fixture. Use safety hardware on kitchen, bathroom, and dining room cabinets. This helps to prevent children from reaching hazardous chemicals, medications, and sharp cooking implements.

5. Cushion or cover sharp table edges, window sills, counters, and desks. Use snap on silicone or plastic covers or consider foam adhesive tapes. Make sure that covers are rounded and tightly secured so they cannot dislodge. For tables and chairs that children use to prop themselves up, add heavy lead or tungsten weights to prevent the furniture from tipping.

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Television for Tots – What’s On

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When our first little Rhooster came along, like many parents, we swore our little one would be television free for as long as possible. After all the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no television for children two and under and no more than 1 to 2 hours of screen time a day for children two and above. So we set the rules with our child care providers and family.

But life has this annoying habit of getting in the way of best intentions. We realized being TV-free was not exactly realistic.

But what to watch?

We set some criteria. We wanted our choices to be commercial-free, educational, and something we could stand watching again and again…and again. While we grew up with Tom and Jerry and lots of other cartoons, we felt that they weren’t the best choice for our little Rhooster. So here are some recommendations from our experiences.

Mister Rogers We like this show just the way it is. The sedate pace, gentle tones, and thoughtful topics still resonate, even if the reruns are peppered with VHS tapes and other old technology. And it’s a hit with our little ones who enjoys the songs, puppets, and special visits. Plus – there’s something really cool about our kids watching the same shows we did.  You can still catch reruns of this classic early Saturday mornings on most PBS affiliates, so set your DVR.

Caillou I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors. Caillou is whiny. Caillou is a brat. Caillou has no hair. Despite all this it’s a program we’re happy to let our little Rhoosters watch. Caillou does have his moments, but no more than any other toddler. The little guy is unfailingly polite and espouses positive life lessons including helping, sharing, practicing, and patience. His experiences make a great reference point when we’re heading into new situations. “Remember when Caillou…?” has been often asked in our house.  And for us, the lack of a strong merchandising machine behind the show is a bonus. And did we mention our little ones love the program?

The other thing we love about both shows – and frankly anything on PBS Kids – is the great educational content online that will occupy your little one for hours on end once they discover your iPad!

Stay tuned for more programming picks from our Rhoost Moms.

 

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Vacation Time – 7 Travel Tips for Toddlers

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August marks the swell of summer vacation travelers. This Rhoost family is in the midst of preparing for our getaway to sunny Florida.

Here are 7 key travel tips we can admit we learned the hard way:

  1. Set Expectations: Before you leave set expectations for your child. Explain what will happen step-by-step – security, boarding the plane, the flight.  This will give your little Rhooster things to look forward to and milestones to track.  You can even make it into a game.
  2. Tire Them Out!: Waiting for a plane? Let your little one stay active in the gate area. It will make the time stuck in a seat on the plane a little easier.  Who knows – they might even nap!
  3. No Sugar During Travel Rule: As much as you may be tempted to allow the bag of M&Ms or the gummy bears – have a “no sugar during travel” rule to avoid toddler ups and downs.  The only downside is that you have to adhere to the rule as well.  You and your little Rhooster can make up for it when you reach your destination!  
  4. Don’t Forget about the Family Lane: Don’t be afraid to use the family lane at security! That’s what it’s there for and it will help you avoid the glares of the business travels in line behind you.
  5. Have a Bag of Tricks: Pack a small bag with a few new toys for the plane ride – our little ones have been successfully distracted with new toy experiences.
  6. Be Prepared for Delays: Pack a change of clothes for you and your little one in your carryon.  You would be surprised how much a simple change into fresh clothes can alleviate the pains of delays.
  7. Babyproof your Destination: Hotel rooms and vacation rentals usually don’t have baby safety in mind. Take along some of your Rhoost products. They install easily, without any furniture damage. And because they don’t require any screws or adhesives, they are totally portable.

Do you have a favorite toddler travel tip or trick? We’d love to hear it! Share it in the comments below.

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Words. Words. Words. – Reading Recommendation

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We all know that reading is important for our children’s  language development, brain development, and overall well-being. But it can be hard to persevere when your child only appreciates the tasty corners of board books or is asking for the fifteenth reading of “Pat the Bunny”. In. A. Row.

So in our ongoing mission to help parents, we wanted to offer some book recommendations to complement the classics that may already be on your bookshelf.

July Recommendation: Again by Emily Gravett

Repetition is a joy, as well as developmental requirement for toddlers. Less so for parents.

Again tells the story of a sleepy mommy dragon whose feisty offspring insists that his fairy tale be read “Again!” And again. Alas, sometimes a sleepy mommy dragon can only resist slumber for so long. And a grumpy little dragon has to deal with the consequences of his anger.

(Spoiler Alert)

That mad little dragon burns up with so much anger that his fiery breath burns a hole through the end of his book – a very real hole in the back cover – forcing the fairy tale characters to flee.

My two-year-old Rhooster was blown away by this. Waking up the next morning, my little one pointed at the book basket and said “That book has a hole mommy! A hole!” The little Rhooster is still talking about the dragon.

Beyond captivating my toddler and having a very creative concept, the book has been great for teachable moments. I’ve used it to talk about the consequences of anger, the power of empathy (aka mommy can get sleepy too), and the importance of manners (Again, _please_!).

Recommended ages are 2-6.  Let us know what you think if this book and what you are reading…

 

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Baby Shower Shopping

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We Rhoost Moms love baby showers. The silly games. The mini-cupcakes.  The one-upmanship of labor stories. Those sweet and adorable gifts and of course the obligatory six copies of “Goodnight Moon”.

But we like to be original. When expectant moms put together their registries, it’s easy to focus on adorable booties and nursery decor. But if you’re an experienced parent you know that in a blink of an eye those socks are in the hand-me-down basket and that little one is getting into everything.

So we give baby proofing supplies. Adorable, right? Well, while we think our Rhoost birds are downright lovable, we admit that finger guards don’t elicit the “oohs” and “aahhhs” of the other shower guests. So we get a little creative with wrapping. And we know that in six months or so, that soon-to-be-mother is going to be thanking us for our foresight.

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buybuyBABY!

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The Rhoost team is proud to announce that starting in August we will be available at more than twenty-five buybuyBABY locations! We love the store’s knowledgeable associates and diverse stock, so we consider in an honor to be one of their suppliers. And we know that providing BPA and phthalate-free, eco-friendly, and stylish baby-proofing solutions will give the great buybuyBABY customers some great alternatives to the traditional offerings.

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When to Child Proof

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When we had our little ones we wanted everything ready and perfect for their arrival. But we Rhoost Moms know things don’t always go according to plan. (In fact, one of our Rhoost mom’s didn’t even have her hospital bag packed or her nursery painted when her little one arrived almost six weeks early!)

For all the to dos we let slide, the one we most regret wasn’t the final dusting of the house or the alphabetizing of the children’s library. It was the baby-proofing.

But our baby isn’t even crawling yet, you might think. Or even, our baby isn’t even born yet.

That’s what we thought. So the number one helpful hint we share with expectant mothers isn’t to treasure every moment (which while delightful, is impossible on only 2 hours of sleep). We say to those moms-to-be – baby-proof early. Do it now, while you’re nesting.

Here’s why –

– At six months, we were utterly exhausted but our little Rhoosters were one the move more than ever. Researching the products that best fit our needs, buying, and then installing them proved to be a stressful and time consuming task we wish we had tackled before our little ones became mobile.

– Our little explorers gravitated to the newest thing in the room. Which meant interest in freshly installed corner guards, plug covers, and other ingenious items we installed.

We know you’re exhausted and have a million things to do on that parenting list, but take one Saturday afternoon before your little one arrives and devote it to baby safety. You will thank us.

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Toddler See, Toddler Do – Being a Safety Role Model

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As parents, we are role models. Or given toddlers, more like mimic models. This is why the Rhoost moms have now say “Fudge” or “Shoot” or “Fluster Duck” rather than the alternatives. But when it comes to child safety are we setting a good example?

Here are just a few habits we had to break to make sure we were inspiring our little Rhoosters.

Climbing: Do you climb over your safety gate? Think twice before inspiring the little ones with this trick.

Stepping Up: Need to pull down something from that top shelf? Use a step ladder rather than popping onto a handy kitchen chair. It’s safer for you and sets a better example.

Both Ways: In a quiet neighborhood it’s easy to forget the rules about crossing the street, especially if you’re hurry to get home after a long afternoon at the playground. Start setting good habits now by taking every street crossing opportunity to look both ways, cross at crosswalks, and wait for walk signals.

Manners. Manners. Manners: Are you saying please and thank you to your significant other? Practice your politeness to inspire your little one.

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