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From Greed to Gratitude: The 6 Things You Can Do to Raise Kids Who Feel Empowered But Not Entitled

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Kids seem to have an insatiable appetite for stuff—the must-have toys, the most on-trend clothes, or the latest tech gadget. Maybe you give in because you want your kids to have the kinds of things that you missed out on as a kid. Or perhaps you feel ambivalent about setting limits. Or maybe you don’t want your kids to feel disappointment. We all want our children to be happy but constantly giving in can make it difficult to teach them what truly matters in life.

If you’ve ever wondered, “How much is enough and how much is too much?” we have good news. There are practical ways we can all help our children cultivate a sense of gratitude—and an understanding that happiness is more than “having stuff.”

  1. Connect to your children’s need for presence not possessions
    When your child becomes demanding, as button-pressing as it can be as a parent, you can use that behavior as a red flag to get clear about your own priorities. Are you feeling guilty from not spending enough time with your children? Have you been using bribery as a way to get your child to cooperate? Take a step back and you might see that your child needs your presence more than anything else. So what can you do right in the moment to connect? What kinds of rituals or traditions can you create to spend more time connecting on a regular basis? Include your kids as part of the conversation and brainstorm about what experiences you want to have as a family.
  2. Cultivate your children’s sense of empowerment
    It’s natural to want something and feel disappointed when you don’t get it. The last thing we want, though, is to make our children feel that they’re greedy or powerless to make their own choices. Instead of shaming, we can ask our children what they can do. For example, what kinds of extra chores can they do around the house to earn the fancy new sneakers they must have? Madeline Levine, child psychologist and author who has been a great partner with Parents Place, suggests that cultivating this sense of empowerment is critical. We should not do for kids what kids can do (or almost do) for themselves. When kids have to work hard—whether through chores or through a job if they’re old enough—they get to experience working through challenges on their own. They’ll also acquire skills to become independent and learn the importance of contributing to those around them—and understand the value of a dollar.
  3. Look at how you show gratitude in your own life
    Think about your own relationship to material items. If you spend much of your free time shopping, for example, or if you discard (and then rebuy) something that can easily be fixed, your child will pick up on these habits, too. Levine makes the point that it’s important to kids’ well being that their parents are living lives that they find fulfilling and meaningful.  “There is no parent more vulnerable to the excesses of over-parenting than an unhappy parent,” Levine writes. “One of the most important things we do for our children is to present them with a version of adult life that is appealing and worth striving for.” This means expressing gratitude explicitly. It also means showing—rather than telling—that you value nonmaterial things. Whether that’s investing in relationships with friends and family, pursuing career goals or other passions, or giving back—your child will follow suit (eventually).
  4. Discuss “truth in advertising” with your child
    If you’ve ever seen your child beg for a new toy after seeing it advertised on TV, you’ve seen how dopamine is activated when we experience something new and exciting. An endless stream of advertising around our children entices them to want things they believe they must have.  Kids are especially impressionable because they often don’t understand the difference between shows and commercials. Aside from limiting screen time, you can also choose DVDs and commercial-free programming when you can. You can also help your children to become critical consumers of the media by teaching them that advertising is made to make you want to buy a product.
  5. Encourage your children to pursue lasting rewards
    Another powerful way to counter our culture of consumerism? Encourage your child to discover the long-term rewards of pursuing a skill instead of the fleeting satisfaction of materialism. Whether it’s sports, cooking, art, or music—pursuing a passion builds self-esteem, teaches the ability to set long-range goals, and helps a sense of achievement. Being motivated by a challenge—instead of for rewards or material goods—is what Levine calls “mastery motivation.” As she writes in Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies, or “Fat Envelopes”: “It’s the form of learning most likely to lead to both engagement and persistence, and ultimately to expertise.”
  6. Give your child the opportunity to give back
    When children can see that others have less, they naturally become less focused on getting more and more appreciative of what they do have. It’s helpful for children to understand this through direct experience. Give your child the opportunity to give back. Gather gently-used toys to donate. Deliver food to home-bound elderly people. Sort food at a food bank. Parents Place is a program of Jewish Family and Children’s Services which has several opportunities to volunteer as a family, even if you are not Jewish.

Bringing up children who feel grateful for—rather than entitled to—what they have is no easy feat. But as with everything with children, the earlier you start something, the more likely it is to become a habit. Teaching gratitude in our children is a way to think about the values you want to pass on to your children and what is really important in making a meaningful life.

This blog was reprinted with permission from Parents PlaceWith over 30 years of experience, the Parents Place integrated approach sets it apart. Parents Place believes that parenting is the most important job you can do, so they help you do it better. Learn more here

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Study: Breastfed Babies Not Necessarily Smarter

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Updated: Monday, April 3, 2017

While no one can deny the health benefits of breastfeeding, not every mother can or wants to feed their child milk they’ve produced. The debate has long divided baby boards and moms into two groups: those who breastfeed and those who don’t.

Often mothers who have chosen not to or who are unable to breastfeed have been pummeled with facts, including that studies have shown breastfed babies are smarter. Well, that may not be true.

A new study published in Pediatrics found that children who are breastfed for at least six months are less hyperactive at age 3, but they receive a minimal cognitive boost over formula fed infants.

The study, which looked at 8,000 Irish children, measured cognitive abilities through standardized tests at ages 3 and 5 and found that breastfed kids did not score high enough to show a statistical significant difference between the two.

The study was completed at University College Dublin, and while cognitive ability is dependent on other factors, this new data only furthers the debate between breastfeeding and formula feeding. Read more about the findings here.

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Why You Should Read To Your Newborn (Or Toddler!)

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Updated: Sunday, April 2, 2017

There’s no doubt about it -- reading to your children is really one of the most touted parenting tips of all time. But, don’t be quick to jump to conclusions… it really is just as important as everyone says! The numerous benefits of reading are widespread and will help your child to be successful for the rest of his or her life.

Still unsure about whether or not you should jump on the train and start a nightly reading routine with your child? Check out our list of the top reasons you should read to your newborn or toddler each and every day!

Never Too Early Contrary to popular belief, it is NEVER too early to begin reading to your child. Even if they don’t completely understand everything you’re reading to them, they will begin to pick up on more advanced vocabulary words and sentence structures. This will seriously pay off as soon as they are old enough to go to school!

Critical Thinking Reading and understanding stories can sometimes be complicated! All the plot lines tend to intertwine and overlap, making it hard to keep up with it all. That’s all the more reason for you to read to and with your child. They more practice he or she has when it comes to reading, the better off they’ll be!

Moral Understanding One of the best parts of reading is having the opportunity to explore classic stories and novels. Fortunately, all of these works are chocked full of moral lessons! Reading allows your child the chance to think through these moral issues and develop a true sense of what is right and wrong. When they get old enough to start dealing with problems with friends and significant others, they’re be thankful to have all this knowledge.

Academic Talent The research doesn’t lie… an early childhood filled with books is one of the best predictors of later academic success. Why wouldn’t you want to give your kids every possible advantage in their schooling?

Basic Speech Skills Even just the act of hearing people speaking teaches children an important lesson! Kids learn through observation, so any opportunity to have your kid hear and see language in action should be jumped on!

Emotional Maturity As your kids grow up, it’s likely that their lives will go through some pretty serious changes. Books can help cushion these bumps so they go more smoothly for EVERYONE involved (parents included)! For example, reading a book about kindergarten can be a great comfort to a child who is worried about their first day of school.

Comforting Routine When you make reading a nightly ritual, you help your children sleep more soundly. Good sleep hygiene is incredibly important when it comes to developing overall health, so instilling this habit in your children as early as possible is a strong parenting move.

It’s undeniable… reading to your children is an extremely important tool to help you raise smart and productive citizens in today’s society! So, will you be starting a daily reading routine? Everyone else is!

Hilary Smith is a freelance journalist based out of Chicago. Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary attended St. Stephen's Episcopal School and Northwestern University's school of journalism. Upon graduation, she turned her love of technology into a freelance writing career. After becoming a mother, she began focusing on writing about family and parenting in the digital age.

Tags:  books  reading 

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Study: Sleep Apnea May Stunt Children’s Brain Development

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Although more research needs to be completed, a study out of the University of Chicago in conjunction with researchers at the University of California Los Angeles investigated the effect of sleep apnea on the brains of 16 children with obstructive sleep apnea – where the muscles in the throat relax and obstruct airways, causing breathing pauses during sleep.

The children, aged seven to 11, were evaluated at the University of Chicago’s pediatric sleep laboratory, underwent neurocognitive tests and had an MRI. Those results were compared with nine children without sleep apnea. All children were matched for gender, age, weight and ethnicity and data was compared with 191 MRI scans of children with sleep apnea from the National Institutes of Health database.

The study found that children with sleep apnea had substantial reductions in information processing part (gray matter) of the brain. Losses appeared in the frontal cortex (problem-solving, movement, language, memory, impulse control and judgment), prefrontal cortex (behavior, personality and planning), parietal cortex (sensory input), temporal lobe (hearing and selective listening) and brainstem (respiratory and cardiovascular).

While the study confirms a loss of gray matter, it could not determine the impact of the deficit. Additional research needs to be done, but the study was published in the Scientific Reports journal. Read more information here.

Tags:  study 

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Register Now for Mom’s Day of Health and Wellness

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Updated: Thursday, March 30, 2017

It’s time to celebrate you! With Mother’s Day coming up, PAMP wanted to plan a day that celebrated Mom in every way. To do this, we developed a brand new event, Mom’s Day of Health and Wellness, an interactive day with movement, shopping and beauty just for Mom!

Come out for a few hours (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.) to the Mitchell Park Community Center Ballroom and Courtyard for Mom-centered fun on Saturday, May 6.

Enjoy healthy and delicious refreshments – think salads and smoothies – and sweet treats. Listen to an interactive workshop and talk with Alkalign Studios, relax with mini-treatments from the Aveda Store, get new yoga and fitness apparel at a Lululemon trunk show, and re-center with an outdoor yoga class.

Come alone, bring your mom or friend, or arrive with the whole family for our Mom-abration event! Everything is family-friendly except the yoga class. If attending with the kids and without a chaperone, there will be plenty of kids activities and entertainment to enjoy during this time.

This event is open to the public.
Member family (2 adults, 2 children): $15, non-member family $25, extra child $3
Mom only: $10 members, $15 non-members, extra adult $5

Register here.

Tags:  moms day  pamp events 

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Peninsula Easter Egg Hunts - and One Special Bunny

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hippy hop! It’s almost time for Easter and what better way to celebrate than with some eggs-travagant fun! Bunnies, brunches, and hunts galore are about to hit local malls and parks, but where should you go and which ones should you do? We’ve scoped it out and have put together the a list many of the Easter events around the Peninsula  - with callouts to the ones PAMP parents love the most! Make sure to check the dates – some are as soon as this weekend!

Special Needs Bunny:
If you have a child with special needs, you sometimes miss getting out to events because not every child thrives in loud or high-energy situations. For this, Autism Speaks has arranged for the Caring Bunny to visit the Peninsula. The Caring Bunny provides a subdued and welcoming environment for children with special needs and their families. 
Sunday, April 2
8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto

Additional Bunny Stop:
Easter Bunny Arrives by Helicopter
For admission to the Hiller Aviation Museum ($16 adult, $11 seniors and youths 5-17, Free for children under 4 with a paid adult), watch the Easter Bunny fly in for a visit. Get an egg from him, while enjoying face painting, a bounce house and slide – even check out a model train display. The event goes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the Easter Bunny Arriving at 11 a.m.
Saturday, April 15
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Hiller Aviation Museum
601 Skyway Road, San Carlos

PAMP Parent Favorite Hunt:
Gamble Garden Easter Egg Hunt
We’ve surveyed the PAMP board and the Gamble Garden Easter Egg Hunt comes highly recommended. in Us on Sunday, April 9th for Gamble Garden’s Easter Egg Hunt, A Festive Spring Tradition! Bring the Family to enjoy an Easter Egg Hunt in the beautiful garden. Meet more than 20 animals at the petting zoo, take photographs with the Easter Bunny, participate in arts & crafts, enjoy light refreshments. Children must be accompanied by a paying adult.
Gamble Garden Members: $10 adults, $20 children
Non-members: $15 adults, $25 children
Sunday, April 9

Hunts at 9:30 and 11 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
1431 Waverley Street, Palo Alto

Other Paid Hunts:
San Bruno Easter Egg Hunt
Enjoy an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast (additional fee) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Then, take part in face painting, bubble fun, and games while looking at chalk art, watching the entertainment, getting a twisted balloon and checking out chalk art for free. Pay $4-6 and participate in a staggered start Easter Egg Hunt – 0-3 year olds at 10:30 a.m., 4-6 year olds at 10:45 a.m., 7-8 year olds at 11 a.m. and all ages at 11:15 a.m.
Saturday, April 8
9 – 11 a.m.
San Bruno City Park
Crystal Springs Avenue at Oak Avenue

Easter Bunny and Egg Extravaganza
As relatively new hunt (second year), Shoreline hosts its Second Annual Easter Bunny & Egg Extravaganza on Saturday, April 15. Visit the Easter Bunny, take part in a 9 a.m. egg hunt, dye Easter eggs, create crafts and play games until 1 p.m.
Cost: $5 per child for the hunt, $10 per child for the hunt and activities
Saturday, April 15
9 a.m. - noon
3610 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View

40th Anniversary Eggstravaganza
Come out for a morning of a pancake breakfast followed by an egg hunt for older kids (scheduled throughout the event, 4 year olds and older – paid wristband required). Children aged 1-3, can play in Peter Rabbit’s Playground for free. Entertainment will be scheduled throughout the Eggstravaganza with Puppet Art Theater Company, Pete G Magic and Andy Z. Don’t forget to bring money for lunch. The Boneyard BBQ and Taqueria Angelica’s will be there with their food trucks.
Saturday, April 15
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
San Mateo Central Park
50 E. 5th Avenue, San Mateo

Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Holbrook-Palmer Park
The Holbrook-Palmer Park hunt is designed for children under 10. Meet the Easter Bunny, watch Gerald the Magician, meet the Atherton Police and Fire departments, enjoy coffee and breakfast teas, get your face painted, leave with a balloon animal and meet Mayor Mike Lempres.
Cost: $10
Saturday, April 15
9:30 a.m. - noon
Holbrook-Palmer Park
150 Watkins Ave., Atherton

Czech School Easter Egg Hunt
The Czech School Easter Egg Hunt is open to the public event includes a contest for parents! Show off your baking skills by entering your favorite homemade Easter cake into the competition. At 1:45 p.m., the Easter Egg Hunt begins (one for young and one for older children). Make sure to bring your own basket. Once the eggs have been found, decorate Easter eggs at the egg decoration workshop (bring your own hard boiled white eggs)
Cost: $10 per family
Sunday, April 16
1 - 4 p.m.
Marlin Park
500 Cringle Dr., Redwood City

Free Easter Egg Hunts
Easter Eggstravaganza

Hop into spring at the annual Easter Eggastravaganza. Go for a center-wide egg hunt, petting zoo and visit with the Easter Bunny himself.
Saturday, April 1
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Stanford Shopping Center Pavilion (between Macy’s and Tiffany & Co.)

Easter Egg Hunt
Children aged 1 through 10 hunt for candy and prize filled eggs at the Downtown Los Altos annual event. Enjoy crafts, face painting, a balloon artist and games – even meet the Easter Bunny. There is a 5 egg limit per child and participants should plan on bringing their own basket. Hunt begins at 10 a.m.
Saturday, April 8
10 a.m.
Downtown Los Altos
Main and State Streets

Carlmont Village Shopping Center Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Separated by age groups (0-1 at 10:30 a.m., 2-4 at 11 a.m., 5-6 at 11:30 a.m., 7-9 at noon) and sponsored by the Carlmont Merchant's Association, the Carlmont Village Shopping Center Annual Easter Egg Hunt lets kids hunt for eggs with prizes that can be redeemed at sponsoring businesses.
Saturday, April 8
10:30 a.m.
Ladera Garden & Gifts
2027 Ralston Ave., Belmont

Spring Egg Hunt
Separated divisions (under 2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10) with special golden eggs in each division make up Pacifica's Spring Egg Hunt (1 of 2). There will also be a jelly bean contest and visit from the Easter Bunny.
Friday, April 14
4 p.m.
Fairmont Park
649 Parkview Circle, Pacifica

Spring Egg Hunt
Regardless of the weather, the Hillview Park Spring Egg Hunt is open to any child (walkers through age 10) with activities and visits from Fun E. Bunny between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Egg hunt begins at 10 a.m. and no registration is required.
Saturday, April 15
10 a.m.
Hillview Park, Soccer Field
97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos

Burgess Park Egg Hunt
The Easter Bunny will make an appearance with toys and candy- and- toy-filled eggs for children under 8. There will be bounce houses, crafts and photo opportunities with not only the Easter Bunny, but with fire trucks – including “Old Tom,” an antique engine. Children are allowed to collect four eggs and should bring their own basket/bag.
Saturday, April 15
10 a.m. - noon
Burgess Park
701 Laurel St., Menlo Park

Kelly Park Egg Hunt
Now in its eighth year, the Kelly Park egg hunt has provided residents with crafts, jelly bean guess game, magic show, music and plenty of photo opportunities. Kids will scramble for plastic eggs (staggered starts) filled with treats. This event is co-sponsored by Fire Station 77 and the Menlo Park Fire District. Children are allowed to collect four eggs and should bring their own basket/bag.
Saturday, April 15
10 a.m. - noon
Kelly Park
100 Terminal Ave., Menlo Park

Egg Adventure Hunt
Designed for children ages 3 through 10, the Belmont Egg Adventure Hunt will have plenty of eggs for you to search for with your own basket. Bring your camera and take photos with the Easter Bunny while enjoying games and refreshments.
Saturday, April 15
10 a.m.
Twin Pines Park
30 Twin Pines Lane, Belmont

Pacifica Spring Egg Hunt
Come out for a jelly bean counting contest, special golden eggs and a visit with the Easter Bunny at the Spring Egg Hunt at Frontierland Park. Hunts will be organized by child's age (under 2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10). 
Saturday, April 15
10 a.m. - noon
Frontierland Park
900 Yosemite Dr., Pacifica

Purissima Park Easter Egg Hunt
Three separate hunting zones (set up for each age group) will be available beginning at 11:30 a.m. for children 5 and under and noon for children 6 and older at the Purissima Park Easter Egg Hunt. Bring your Easter basket and get ready to search for over 5,000 eggs which can be redeemed for prizes, snacks and goodies. Bring your own hard boiled eggs and decorate with dye kits that will be available. 
Saturday, April 15
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Purissima Park
27500 Purissima Rd., Los Altos Hills

Tags:  easter  easter bunny  easter egg hunts 

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Study: Children With Excessive Screen Time Habits at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In a study conducted at the University of London found that children who spent three or more hours a day in front of television, tablet or computer screens were at a higher risk for developing diabetes.

According to the study, children who turned in play time for screen time scored higher on measures of body fat and had higher levels of resistance to insulin to peers who spent an hour or less engaging in sedentary activities.

Recently published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, the study analyzed data of almost 4,500 children between nine and 10 collected between 2004 and 2007 from the Child Heart and Health Study in England. Researchers looked at the length of time children spent watching TV or playing video or computer games. It took into consideration physical measurements, body fat and 2,031 of the children’s physical activity.

Children who reported spending three or more hours in front of the screen scored higher in levels of insulin after fasting, estimated insulin resistance and levels of leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite, all of which are associated with type 2 diabetes.

Parents should encourage their children to have an active lifestyle and eat healthy, balanced diet to help counteract screen time. Read the entire study here.

Tags:  study 

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Hip Hip Hooray for Rummage Sale Day

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Updated: Monday, April 3, 2017

PAMP members and non-members spent this past Sunday (Mar. 19) finding deals at the 2017 PAMP Rummage Sale.

Held at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto, at least 200 people came out to shop for previously loved children’s toys and games, maternity and kid’s clothes, household items and baby gear.

PAMP-member volunteer Ashwini Parsana has volunteered at the Rummage Sale for the past three years, taking advantage of the incentive to get in early.

“I’ve been part of PAMP for three years and I volunteer for every Rummage Sale,” she said. “It’s a great incentive that we get to shope early if we volunteer and it’s a great way to meet new parents. When you’re volunteering you get to socialize a little, you get to shop a little. I just enjoy it every year.”

Volunteers got access 15 minutes prior to the doors opening at 8:30 a.m. and some, like Ashwini, knew exactly what they were looking for. 

“I found lots of books and toys and clothes,” she said, noting that in addition to shopping for her daughter, she was searching for things for her sister, who recently had a baby.

There was “tons of stuff and tons of age groups and varieties,” she said, adding that there was “something for everyone.”

PAMP’s next event is Spring Fun Day at the Farm on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information or to register.

Tags:  events  pamp events  rummage sale 

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Spring Fun Day at the Farm Coming Soon

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring has sprung! Days are getting longer and the weather is warming. For PAMP kids, it means more time outside and more fun in the sun.

PAMP is kicking off spring with its annual Spring Fun Day at the Farm. This year, due to its popularity, PAMP is upping the ante with a third farm day.

Always held at Pastorino Farms, 12391 San Mateo Road in Half Moon Bay, come on out to ride a pony, pet furry farm friends, take a trip on the farm train, jump in the bounce house and enjoy the flower and gift shop all while spending time with other PAMP families and friends.

We’ll provide a selection of snacks – granola bars, fruit chews, cookies, crackers and chips – as well as bottled water, but encourage you to bring a lunch and relax at the Pastorino Farms picnic tables. It will be a fun-filled day for everyone.

As a must-see event, make sure to sign up for $10 per PAMP member family. Invite your friends too! Non-PAMP members can snag a spot for $25. Register today as spots fill up quickly and you won’t want to miss out!

Pastorino Farms is only 30 minutes from the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area. Come and enjoy all of the great activities and spend time with fellow PAMP members. The event starts at 10am, but you’re welcome to come up at any time and spend as much or as little time as you want. Children of all ages are welcome.

Want to get in for free? The best way to get in on the fun without paying is to volunteer. We’re looking for volunteers to help out at the event. Interested? Email


Tags:  events  fun day at the farm  pamp events  spring 

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Study: Babies Injured by Nursery Items Every 8 Minutes

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A study published in the Pediatrics journal this week said that more than 66,000 children under the age of three find themselves in the emergency room for accidents involving nursery products.

Averaging out to one emergency visit every eight minutes, the study examined emergency room data over the period of January 1991 through December 2011, with nursery product-related injuries jumping nearly 25 percent over the study’s final eight years.

The most common injury was a fall and the most common culprits were baby carriers (20 percent), cribs/mattresses (19 percent) and strollers (17 percent). In a whopping 81 percent of cases, injuries affected the child’s head, face or neck.

New safety standards in June of 2011 make cribs made prior to then no longer compliant and parents are encouraged not to use used car seats because there is no way to track if the safety system had been involved in an accident. Further, the study suggests parents use the four Rs of safety: research, check for recalls, register the product and read the entire manual. Recall information can be found at Read more at USA Today.

Tags:  emergency room  study 

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