Your Toddler

Are Little Girl's Toys Too Sexy?

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Peter Pan may never have grown up, but Tinker Bell and her fairy friends definitely have. The Disney Fairies boast hourglass figures, coy glances and barely-there mini dresses. In short, these girls aren’t your mama’s pixies.Notice anything new about the dolls and ponies that your daughter picks up at the toy store these days? Once you get a good look at them, do you think they may be a little too hot-to-trot? You're not alone.

An article on this week’s MSNBC’s website, offers a look into the world of children’s sexed-up play things. Peter Pan may never have grown up, but Tinker Bell and her fairy friends definitely have. The Disney Fairies boast hourglass figures, coy glances and barely-there mini dresses. In short, these girls aren’t your mama’s pixies. Even trolls have come of age. Those formerly stout, pug-nosed kewpies, have reemerged in a new slim, thigh-baring line called Trollz. Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake have become tweens and shed their baby fat.  And et tu Holly Hobbie? She’s traded her prairie dresses for a saucy wardrobe and lightened locks. In recent years, Disney, Mattel and other major companies have revisited a host of iconic dolls and turned them into freshly tarted-up — or at least more grown-up —toys. New lines, like the Monster High Dolls and hot-to-trot Struts horses (yes, horses),  came out of the gate tramping it up and they're making some parents — and psychologists, uncomfortable. “They send the message to kids that you can’t just be you,” says Lori Mayfield, a 30-year-old mother of four from Draper, Utah. “It seems like toy makers are setting up our kids.” While she likes the Disney fairies because they “have a good friendship and there’s always a lesson to be learned,” she says that even she and her husband, Chad, were startled by their saucy style. The actually found themselves recently debating which fairy is the hottest. (Consensus: Silvermist.)  Mayfield, who runs the blog, Twinfinity from her home, says she and her husband strive to teach the kids that beauty comes from within, but frets that her 6-year-old daughter is already asking to wear makeup and worrying whether her coat makes her look fat. Dale Atkins, a psychologist says she's upset about what the revved-up dolls are teaching girls about their own appearance.  “When we have these ridiculous models —sexualized children, and horses with long eyelashes that are flirtatious and all of that — it sets up this ideal of beauty and body image that kids have to pay attention to because they can’t not pay attention to it. And they feel less good as they’re trying to develop a good sense about their own bodies," she says. "The sexualized aspect just makes them feel like they're only good if they are objectified. ... And it's all so subtle, for a child anyway. We parents and adults look at this and say, 'Oh my gosh, this is so blatant, but in fact it's subtle because kids are playing with these things and then they look in the mirror." But representatives at Mattel, the makers of the wildly popular Monster High Dolls, say its controversial line of toy dolls, featuring the teen offspring of monsters, aims to show kids it's OK to be different. “Monster High is all about celebrating your imperfections and accepting the imperfections of others," says Margaux Vega, spokeswoman for Mattel.  She acknowledges that the dolls, which sport fishnet stockings, heavy makeup and ultrashort skirts, appeal mostly to 5- to 7-year-olds. But they also have online personas and webisodes aimed at older kids that tell each doll's back-story. "Clawdeen Wolf is the teenage daughter of a werewolf. In the webisodes, she has to shave and wax and pluck between classes," Vega says. "Girls of a certain age know about the embarrassment of unwanted hair in unwanted places.” 'Why does she look like a boy?' It's gotten so that some kids, even young tots, expect that dolls will look like they've already been through puberty.  When Joy Oglesby showed her daughter, Lauren Welmaker, a picture of the old version of Tinker Bell in a library book, the 4-year-old, who has all the new Disney fairies, wondered: "Why does she look like a boy?" Oglesby, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has seen Struts horses, which have long eyelashes and wear high heels on their hooves, and says her daughter would love one. "The mane is silky and she would be attracted to the eyes, and the accessories that come with it. It looks very girly, I'm not sure why she gravitates to this kind of toy, but I'm not worried about it yet." But the effect of titillating toys creeps in slowly, says Peggy Orenstein, the author of the bestseller “Cinderella Ate my Daughter.” “Girls don’t naturally want to be sexy — they want to be girls,” says Orenstein. “That is natural. [But] when they continue to see images of toys that are supposed to be age appropriate emulating sexiness, then that un-natural aspiration, becomes natural.”  Orenstein says toy manufacturers began following the marketing strategy “Kids Getting Older Younger” when they realized that toys marketed towards kids between the ages of 8 and 12 were attracting kids who were in the 3-year-old to 8-year-old age range because they wanted to emulate their older brothers and sisters. But Donna Tobin, director of global brand strategy and marketing for Hasbro, says the company actually has gone the opposite direction with makeovers for its toy My Little Pony, aimed at girls ages 3 to 6. "We want our girls to stay little longer!" she says. "Look at My Little Pony. She’s cute. She’s pretty. She’s pink. She may have a different look, but she has always stood for friendship. We’re not about ipstick or shaving." As younger kids gravitate to older toys earlier, their big sisters and brothers often have already closed up their toy boxes and moved on to other things. At ages 6 and 8, sisters Amanda and Sophia Oliva of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., aren't interested in playing princess anymore, says their mom, Lauri. When they play dress up, they pretend to be models. And their newest obsession is with teen music sensation Taylor Swift. “Now, everything in our house is about Taylor Swift," says Lauri Oliva, 46. Sophia tries to emulate her. She'll sing and dance Taylor Swift karaoke songs in the mirror.” For Sophia's birthday, all she wanted was tickets to a Swift concert. "Kids are 8 going on 15 these days,” she says. What is old is new again Some kids' toys aren't necessarily being marketed to kids, but rather to their parents, says Reyne Rice, trend specialist for the Toy Industry Association. She says updating the look of a toy is a way manufacturers can appeal to the new generation of consumers while still tapping into the nostalgic interest and collector dollars of the older generation.  “A lot of these toy manufacturers realized the interest in brands that have been around for generations and realized there was still interest in the brands — from both the children as young as 3, as well as their parents,” says Rice. But Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist, suggests parents actually seek out their old favorites instead of embracing some of the "refreshed" versions. “You have to use your judgment,” she says — and maybe hit up eBay or garage sales for the classic versions. “If you have a choice, I’d take the old Strawberry Shortcake.” Saltz says these sexed-up toys and childhood icons go in the same category as violent video games and PG-13 movies: Parents need to take a close look, evaluate them for themselves, and decide whether they’re appropriate. Melissa Walker, 41, of Southlake, Texas, walks the line of finding suitable toys for her daughters Gabrielle, 6, and Adeline,4, while letting them indulge their interests. Gabrielle loves the Disney fairies and says her favorite is Rosetta, "because she's pink and that's my favorite color. And because I like flowers and she makes flowers." (Rosetta is the red-headed fairy with a "garden talent.") Walker doesn't mind the Disney fairy makeover because of the overall message they send. "They control everything. They are in charge of seasons, of things working. They are good role models," says Walker. But she draws the line at sexy doll clothes. On a recent shopping trip to Costco, Walker saw a big bin of Barbie clothes, but despite her daughters' love for the doll, her cart remained empty. "There was not one outfit that wasn't a 'hoochie' dress. I guess it was the 'Barbie Goes Wild' collection. We didn't buy anything. There's no reason for that," adding that she's happy to buy Barbie outfits where she looks like a doctor or a princess or a soccer player. Walker has a strict "no exposed belly buttons" rule in her house, and figures her kids' dolls should follow it, too. "We don't want to plant that too soon," she says. "We'll have that fight soon enough."

Your Toddler

“You’re a Do-Do Head.” Toddler Name-Calling

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Sooner or later your sweet little toddler will blurt out a string of words that sounds a lot like an insult. You might hear something like  “You’re a do-do head.” or the ever popular “You’re stupid.”  It may stop you in your tracks and make you wonder… “Did I hear that right?” 

Toddler rage can get pretty intense and if you’re a toddler you’re not really capable of saying exactly what’s got your big girl or boy panties in a wad. As a parent, you might have to restrain yourself from giggling the first time or two insults are hurled, but after awhile you’re really going to want to put a stop to it. First of all – it’s annoying when the cuteness wears off- and secondly, you don’t want your child insulting everyone whenever they get the urge, and finally they need to learn how to control their impulses.

Sometimes parents, caregivers or babysitters get right down on a toddlers level and the fight begins. No one wins in this situation.

So how do you put a stop to your preschooler’s name-calling and its first cousin “potty mouth?” Well, there are several approaches you can try. Since every kid is different, some of these tips will help some and not others. But don’t give up and don’t lose your cool (too often.)

  1. Take the fun out of name-calling. Let’s face it; name-calling for a toddler is a blast. They get a quick response and it can be very amusing watching mom or dad blow up right in front of them. Oftentimes they get giggles from their parents, or equal rage. For a toddler that’s a lot of exciting attention. Instead, calmly respond. “I don’t like that word, please don’t use it.”  It’s simple and to the point. Continue doing whatever you were doing before your child decided to let you know you weren’t behaving the way they wanted you to.
  2. Help your child find the language they need to explain what they are feeling. Angry insults usually come from frustration, and ha-ha insults from getting positive re-enforcement in the way of laughter and making a big deal of whatever is said.  To a toddler, cracking mom and pop up on a regular basis is a hoot till mom and pop get tired of it. Take the time to look at the situation that was going on right before the outburst. Was there something he or she wanted? Was he or she hungry, tired, thirsty, bored? Express what you think they were really wanting to say, such as: “You really wanted more cookies; they taste yummy. You're mad that mommy isn't letting you have them.” See if they respond that you have acknowledged their true complaint. Work with them a little while to help them find the right words.
  3. Give the anger a release valve. Offer your toddler a pillow to hit on or allow them to stamp their feet…. for a limited amount of time. Anger is normal – we all have times when we get angry. Expecting a child to not get angry or express it is not reasonable. Help them learn how to express anger appropriately and move on.
  4. Acknowledge your child’s need for independence. That’s a tough one because they aren’t really independent. But they are beginning to understand that they can have some say in their life choices. Help your youngster feel more empowered by allowing her to choose which shoes to wear, or what she has for snack time. When children are constantly being told what to do, they are more likely to try to exert some sense of power with behaviors like name-calling.
  5. Don’t reward name-calling. I think that says it pretty clearly. If you want to entertain a power struggle with a toddler, you’ll probably come out on top in the long run, but feel worse about your behavior than theirs. A better approach is to not reward name-calling by either over-reacting or giving in to demands. If he or she doesn’t get what they want after a name-calling session, they’ll eventually learn that name-calling doesn’t work.
  6. “Ouch.”  Some parents find it effective to use this simple phrase to let their children know that they have crossed the line. It sends a brief message in a neutral way that can have a real impact because it is delivered without a lot of words that a child might otherwise tune out.
  7. Where did you learn to act like that? Kids are great mimics. They learn by watching and listening. If you name-call when you’re angry, or someone they spend a lot of time around is a name-caller, you can see where they might pick it up. I’ve always thought if you want to see a reflection of yourself – watch how your toddler behaves.
  8. And finally, the hardest method of dealing with name-calling – don’t laugh. OK, now stop right there… not one more giggle. See? It’s hard. Once the laugh train is going full steam, it’s difficult for the conductor to stop it. Do your best to maintain a poker face even when the name-calling is silly. There are lots of more positive things to laugh with your child about.

Most children try name-calling when they feel hurt or out-of-control. If you find yourself at the beginning of the name-calling phase, control your own behavior and offer your child a way to help express what is going on with them. It’s one of those childhood expressive periods that needs some direct guidance and management before it becomes a pattern of bad behavior.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/25/parent-coach-name-calling_n_1791306.html

Your Toddler

Baby Gates Responsible for Almost 2000 ER Visits

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You install baby gates to keep your little one from falling down stairs or away from areas in the house that are not baby-proofed.  But baby gates do not always prove to be safe. In fact, the number of children treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to baby gates has quadrupled since 1990.

A new study, conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, has found gates can lead to injury if used incorrectly.

From 1990 through 2010, ERs treated an estimated 37,673 children under the age of seven for baby gate –related injuries.

The study used data obtained from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The researchers found that more than 60 percent of the children injured were younger than two years old, and they were most often injured by falls down stairs after a gate collapsed or when it was left open. Injuries caused by these accidents lead to soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, and traumatic brain injuries, said the researchers.

Cuts were the main injury for 2 to 6 years-olds from climbing on the gate.

The most common injuries were bumps, bruises, cuts and lacerations. However, over 16 percent were traumatic brain injuries, Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., the senior and corresponding author and associate professor of Pediatrics, Center for Injury Research and Policy at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, told Healthline.

McKenzie offered this advice to parents, “Gates are a common, if not essential, safety device in homes to prevent young children from potentially hazardous stairways, and to limit access to restricted areas — for example, the kitchen when you are cooking. Current recommendations suggest that gates be installed in stairways and between rooms in homes with children between six months and two years of age, or until the child has learned how to open the gate or when the child is able to climb over the gate.”

Parents are not the only ones that need to be aware of these guidelines. Grandparents and caregivers should also know about the recommendations.

“When your grandkids come to visit, it is essential to have the correct types of gates in place to keep your grandkids safe in your home. You can be strategic in limiting children’s access to dangerous areas by installing gates at the top and bottom of stairs and between rooms. Also, do not use the old accordion-style gates. The sale of these gates was banned because of the risk of strangulation. Make sure any gates you use meet current safety guidelines,” said McKenzie.

The researchers offered these baby gate safety tips:

-      Use hardware-mounted baby gates at the top of stairways.

-      Gates that only press against walls, called pressure-mounted gates, are not secure enough to prevent falls.

-      Install gates in homes with children between six months and two years of age.

-      If possible, remove the gates when the child turns two, or when the child has learned to open the gate or climb over it.

-      If you can’t remove a gate because of other children in the home, use a gate without notches or gaps that could be used for climbing.

The study was published in Academic Pediatrics.

Source: Sandra Levy, http://www.healthline.com/health-news/baby-gates-injuries-emergency-room-050514

Your Toddler

Arsenic In Fruit Juice

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There’s been a lot of media coverage about the pros and cons of giving children fruit juice to drink. Now a new study conducted by Consumer Reports says that 10 percent of juices tested by the magazine had arsenic levels higher than allowed in water by the Food and Drug Administration.

Brands including Apple & Eve, Great Value, Mott's, Walgreens and Welch's had at least one sample that exceeded the 10 parts per billion threshold, it said. Other juices with low arsenic levels include: America's Choice Apple; Tropicana 100% Apple; and Red Jacket Orchards 100% Apple.

One of the big concerns is that so many children drink fruit juice daily. Arsenic can accumulate in children’s bodies over time, and raise their risk for cancer, and other serious illnesses.

The 88 samples came from 28 apple and three grape juice brand products that were purchased by Consumer Reports. They included ready-to-drink bottles, juice boxes and cans of concentrate from different lot numbers at stores around New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The Juice Products Association responded to the report by saying that comparing juice to water was not appropriate.

The FDA has different guidelines for juice than it does water. While the guideline for water is 10 ppb of inorganic arsenic, juices are allowed higher levels at 23 ppb.

"Fruit juice producers are confident the juice being sold today is safe," said Gail Charnley, a toxicologist for the juice association.

“They showed that the juice samples they tested met the Food and Drug Administration’s limit on arsenic in juice,” Charnley said. “The toxicologists and the food safety experts at the FDA set that limit in a precautionary public health based kind of way. And the food industry is committed to meeting those limits.”

The FDA is willing to look at it’s fruit juice standards and possibly make some adjustments.

"We welcome the research that Consumer Reports has undertaken and look forward to reviewing the data that formed the basis for their story and their recommendations,” the agency noted. “We continue to find the vast majority of apple juice tested to contain low levels of arsenic, including the most recent samples from China. For this reason, FDA is confident in the overall safety of apple juice consumed in this country. By the same token, a small percentage of samples contain elevated levels of arsenic. In response, FDA has expanded our surveillance activities and is collecting additional data”

Consumer Reports also found about one-fourth of all juice samples had lead levels at or above the federal limit for bottled water, it said.

The advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, Consumer Union, said in the report these findings should be enough to prompt the federal government to establish arsenic limits for juice.

The FDA has conducted recent tests on fruit juice after Dr. Mehmet OZ talked about high levels of arsenic, in children’s fruit juice, on his television show. The FDA said its results showed very low level of total arsenic in the samples it tested.

One of the issues the FDA had with Oz’s study was its failure to separate out measurements of inorganic and organic arsenic. Studies have linked inorganic arsenic to a variety of cancers. But many consider organic arsenics – especially the types commonly found in seafood - to be safe.

As far as Consumer Reports is concerned, that’s not a proper way to evaluate arsenic in drinks and food.

“Questions have been raised about the human health effects of other types of organic arsenic in foods, including juices,” the magazine noted. “Use of organic arsenic in agricultural products has caused concern. For instance, the EPA in 2006 took steps to stop the use of herbicides containing organic arsenic because of their potential to turn into inorganic arsenic in the soil and contaminate drinking water.”

Beyond this, there’s evidence that organic arsenic converts into the inorganic form when chickens consume feeds that contain the compound, Consumer Reports researchers noted.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  has also weighed in on giving kids fruit juice to drink.  Their website notes that drinking too much juice can contribute to obesity, the development of cavities (dental caries), diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems, such as excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pain.

The AAP suggests that:

  • When you give your child juice, it should be 100% pasteurized fruit juice and not fruit drinks.
  • Infants under 6 months of age should not be given juice, although many Pediatricians do recommend small amounts of juice for children that are constipated.
  • Infants between 6 and 12 months can drink up to 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day, but should do it only in a cup, not a bottle.
  • Younger children aged 1 to 6 years should have only 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day.
  • Older children should be limited to 8 to 12 ounces of juice a day.
  • Instead of juice, children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits.

The arsenic study will be featured in the January, 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine and is available online.

 

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Sources: 

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45491242/ns/today-today_health/#.Tt6znZgzJnY

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/us-arsenic-juice-idUSTRE7AT231...

Your Toddler

Mother’s Low Vitamin D Linked to Child’s Cavities

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Want to make sure your baby has strong teeth and few cavities as he or she matures? A new study says that moms-to-be should who receive a sufficient amount of vitamin D during pregnancy, are providing their infant with a better chance of fewer cavities when their teeth come in. Previous studies have shown a link between low vitamin D in mothers can lead to defects in the enamel of their toddler’s teeth. Enamel starts developing while the baby is in the womb. Dr. Robert J. Schroth from University of Manitoba's dental school in Winnipeg, Canada, and his team wondered whether low vitamin D levels in mothers during pregnancy would also translate into higher cavity rates for their toddlers. They measured vitamin D levels in the second or early third trimester in 207 pregnant women and then examined the teeth of 135 of their children when they were an average of 16 months old. The mothers were from predominately poor, urban neighborhoods. Most of the women’s vitamin D levels were in the normal range, but about a third had below normal levels. Depending on the definition of cavities the researchers used, 23 to 36 percent of the toddlers had cavities. Prenatal vitamin D levels were significantly lower in women whose toddlers later had cavities than in women whose toddlers did not have cavities, according to findings published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers noted a direct relationship between low vitamin D levels in mothers and a higher number of cavities in their toddlers. "Prevention efforts should begin during pregnancy by bolstering maternal nutrition, either through improved dietary intake or supplementation with vitamin D" they said. While some experts recommend that women take vitamin D supplements during pregnancy, not everyone agrees. Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel from the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle disagrees that all pregnant women need vitamin D supplements. "In place of supplementation, I would recommend maintaining proper vitamin D levels during pregnancy the natural way - enjoy the sun, choose foods such as wild salmon, ahi tuna, mushrooms and eggs. Additionally, reducing carbohydrate intake will reduce the body's need for vitamin D," he told Reuters Health in an email. "Avoid sugar. It is a necessary fuel for dental cavities and it burns up vitamin D," Hujoel added. Natural vitamin D is found in small amounts in foods such as herring, mackerel, sardines and tuna. It’s also available in certain drinks such as vitamin D fortified milks and juices. More and more foods are fortified with vitamin De such as eggs and cereal. But most vitamin D – 80% to 90% of what the body gets – is obtained through exposure to sunlight. Source: Will Boggs MD, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/21/us-low-vitamin-toddlers-idUSBR...

Your Toddler

Got Water?

Too many children are getting much of their water from sweetened beverages rather than plain old H2O, the researchers found. The study also revealed that those who drink water consume fewer sweetened beverages and eat fewer high-calorie foods.Children in the United States are not drinking as much water as they should, and the deficiency can have far-reaching implications, a new study suggests.

"Even mild dehydration can affect physiological function, and cause fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches and dry mouth," said Samantha Heller, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., who was not involved in the study. Impaired cognitive and mental performance are also linked to inadequate hydration, said Heller. According to the study, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, depending on age-only 15 to 60 percent of boys, and 10 to 54 percent of girls drink the minimum amount of water recommended by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. Too many children are getting much of their water from sweetened beverages rather than plain old H2O, the researchers found. The study also revealed that those who drink water consume fewer sweetened beverages and eat fewer high-calorie foods. The research looked at the water intake of 3,978 boys and girls, aged 2 to 19 years, who had been included in a national nutrition study from 2005 to 2006. The investigators found that water intake from all sources varied by age: 2 to 5 year-olds drank 5.9 cups a day. 6 to 11 year-olds got 6.8 cups, and 12 to 1-year-olds consumed 10.1 cups daily. Girls generally drank less than boys. The findings also suggest that kids of all ages are more likely to drink beverages, such as sodas, tea or milk, and not water at mealtime. Water makes up 55 to 75 percent of total body weight, said Heller. "We cannot live without water for more than a few days because our bodies cannot store water. Thus, it is essential we replace the water our bodies lose every day." Heller, a nutritionist and dietitian, advises starting children on water early. "Give them water instead of sweetened beverages during the day and between meals," she said. To make it more appealing, put sliced cucumbers, oranges, lemons or strawberries in ice water, she suggested.

Your Toddler

Tips For Raising A Toddler

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Need help with your toddler? Here’s an easy guide with nine tips containing common mistakes and helpful remedies.

1. Be Consistent. Toddlers do best when they know what to expect, whether it's what time they bathe or go to bed or what consequences they'll face for misbehaving. The more consistent and predictable things are, the more resilient and agreeable a toddler is likely to be. Fix it: As much as you can, keep regular routines for your child. Consistency can be a challenge when parents (or other caregivers) don't see eye to eye. Not sure how best to react if your child dumps food on the floor or ignores bedtime? Sit down with your partner ahead of time to decide on an appropriate response -- and stick with it. "You don't want to send mixed messages," says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, the author of Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions about Babies and Toddlers and a pediatrician in private practice in Los Angeles. "You really want to be consistent." 2. Focus on Family Time It's delightful to spend time with the whole family. But some parents go overboard on family time. "Kids cherish time alone time with one parent," says Thomas Phelan, PhD, a clinical psychologist in suburban Chicago and the author of several parenting books, including 1-2-3 Magic. "One-on-one time is fun for parents too, because there's no sibling rivalry to contend with." Fix it: What's a good way to spend one-on-one time with a toddler? Phelan recommends simply getting down on the floor together and playing. 3. Offering Too Much Help Some parents jump in to help a toddler who is having trouble doing something. Before you do, consider the possibility that by helping your child complete a puzzle or put on a shirt, you may be sending the message that he/she can't do it alone -- in other words, that the child is incompetent. "Parents who offer too much help may be sabotaging their young children's ability to become self-reliant," says Betsy Brown Braun, the Los-Angeles-based author of You're Not the Boss of Me. Fix it: "We need to teach children to tolerate struggle," Braun says. Of course, there's nothing wrong with offering praise and encouragement. "Be a cheerleader," Brown says. "Say, 'You can do this!'" 4. Talking Too Much Talking with toddlers is usually a terrific idea. But not when it's time to rein in errant behavior. Imagine a mom has just said "no" to her 2-year-old's request for a cookie. The child fusses. Mom explains that it's suppertime. The child grabs a cookie anyway. Mom takes it away, and tries again to explain herself to her now tearful child. Back and forth it goes, with mounting frustration on both sides. "Talking can lead to what I call the talk-persuade-argue-yell-hit pattern," Phelan says. "Toddlers are not adults in a little body. They're not logical, and they just can't assimilate what you are saying to them." Fix it: What's the smart way to lay down the law? Once you tell your toddler to do something, Phelan says, don't talk about it or make eye contact. If the child disobeys, give a brief verbal warning or count to three. If the child refuses to toe the line, give a time-out or another immediate consequence. No explaining! 5. Avoid Only Kiddie Food Does your toddler seem to eat nothing but chicken fingers and fries? Are goldfish crackers the only fish he or she eats? As some parents realize too late, toddlers fed a steady diet of nutritionally iffy kid's foods may resist eating anything else. Fix it: Encourage your child to try "grown-up" fare. "A good percentage of kids are willing to try a new food if they see mommy and daddy enjoying it," Altmann says. "If they push back, keep putting it on their plate. Some kids need to try things a dozen or more times before they take to it." Her advice:  As long as there's something your child can eat on the plate, don't worry. Do not allow yourself to become your child's short-order cook. 6. Getting Rid of the Crib Cribs do more than keep little ones safe. They promote good sleep habits. A toddler moved too soon into a "real" bed may have trouble staying in bed or falling asleep, and so may end up climbing into bed with mommy and daddy. "Some moms wear themselves out because they have to lie down with their child every night," Altmann says. "They don't realize they're the ones who set the pattern." Fix it: When is it time to get rid of the crib? When your child asks for a bed or starts climbing out of the crib. For most kids, that comes between the ages of 2 and 3. 7. Potty Training Some parents cajole their children into using the toilet when they think it's time -- and issue harsh reprimands when things go awry. That can lead to a power struggle. Fix it: "Children learn to use the toilet when they're ready," Altmann says. "The process shouldn't be rushed." But you can set the stage. Show your toddler the toilet. Explain its use. If you feel comfortable doing so, let your child watch you use the toilet -- and offer praise if he or she gives it a whirl. 8. Too Much TV Time Toddlers who watch lots of TV often have more trouble learning later on. And studies suggest that kids under the age of 2 can't really take in what's being displayed on TV and computer screens. Fix it: Keep your toddler busy with reading and other, more creative pursuits. Have conversations-and encourage talking as well as listening. "The longer you can hold off exposing your child to TV, the better," Altmann says. 9. Trying to Stop a Tantrum Some parents worry that an out-of-control child makes them seem like ineffectual parents. But all toddlers have tantrums. When they do, it's pointless to try to talk them out of it -- even if the drama is unfolding in front of company or in a public place. "When we are in public and dealing with a child, we feel judged," Braun says. "We feel like there is a neon sign over our heads saying we are incompetent parents." Fix it: Braun says parents must remember that the child matters more than the opinions of other people -- especially strangers.

Your Toddler

Would You Choose the Chubby Toddler?

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Once upon a time having a chubby toddler was a sign of prosperity. Parents, grandparents and friends loved to pinch the little one’s plump cheeks and say something along the lines of “look at those fat little legs and cheeks… how adorable!”

Little fat legs and cheeks are no longer a sign of wealth or health. They’re more likely to be an indicator of obesity or morbid obesity in a baby or toddler. Amazingly, many moms still believe that chubby equals cute and that their roly-poly child will eventually grow out of the “baby fat.”

According to a new study, parents of overweight toddlers mistakenly think their children are normal weight, and mothers of normal weight or underweight children wish their little ones were plumper. 

The findings were based on a study that involved 281 mothers from low-income households who had children between ages 12 and 32 months. Mothers were shown seven silhouettes of toddlers of various sizes, and asked to choose the silhouette that best matched their child.

About 30 percent of children were considered overweight by the researchers, based on a ratio of the child's weight and length.

About 70 percent of all mothers in the study were inaccurate in their assessments of their child's size, meaning they chose a silhouette that was at least two sizes larger or smaller than their child's true size.

Mothers of underweight children often knew their child was not healthy—they were 9.5 times more likely to choose the silhouette that matched their child's body size compared with mothers of healthy-weight children.

About 70 percent of mothers of healthy-weight children, and 80 percent of mothers of overweight children said they were satisfied with their child's body size. Four percent of mothers of overweight children even wished their child were even larger, the researchers said.

"That suggests we may have a lot of parents who are trying to fatten up their babies," said Dr. Eliana Perrin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, who wrote a commentary on the research in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Because mothers in the study were primarily from low-income households, and most were overweight or obese themselves, the findings may not be an indication of the population as a whole, the researchers said.

"There's this misperception that a chubby infant or toddler is a healthy infant or toddler," said study researcher Erin R. Hager, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics, Growth and Nutrition. In addition, with so many overweight and obese kids in the United States, the view of what is a normal may be shifting, and now larger is the new norm, Hager said.

Researchers also noted that doctors should also help parents be more aware of what constitutes a healthy weight for toddlers.

The only real way for parents to know if their child is overweight is to plot their weight and length on a growth chart for their age, Hager said. Children are considered overweight if they fall in the 85th to 94th percentiles of the growth charts, and obese if they are in the 95th percentile or higher.

The child’s pediatrician or family doctor could be adding to the parent’s confusion.

When doctors use the charts, they tend to plot weight and height separately, and without both pieces of information, parents end up not knowing that their child is above normal size for his age, Hager said.

A recent study found more than 75 percent of parents of overweight children said that their doctors never told them that their child was overweight.

The concern among scientists is that children's eating habits are shaped when they are very young, said Dr. Stephen Cook, a member of the Executive Committee of the Section on Obesity for the American Academy of Pediatrics and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"Kids who gain weight as toddlers tend to hold onto weight longer and tend to be overweight and obese in adolescence and adulthood," said Cook, who conducted a similar study in older children.

Some researchers feel that with the epidemic of obesity in this country, people are losing the ability to discern what is a healthy weight and what is overweight or obese. That’s not good news for adults or children. But as more information becomes available for parents to research and read, awareness is slowly improving. If you’re concerned your child is carrying too many pounds for his or her height and weight, check with your pediatrician or family doctor and ask for an evaluation.

Sources: http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/2557-toddler-body-size-overweight.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47329655/ns/health-childrens_health/#.T6lnse0zJnZ

Your Toddler

Recall: Kid’s Sunglasses Due to Heavy Lead Content

2.00 to read

Kid’s sunglasses; they’re cute, practical and occasionally end up in the mouths of little ones that are teething or just playing around. That’s not necessarily a bad thing unless the sunglasses are coated in lead.

That’s the reason that FGX International is recalling about 250,000 sunglasses marketed to and sold for children. The surface paint on the sunglasses contains excessive levels of lead, which is prohibited under federal law and dangerous for children’s health.

This recall includes 20 styles of Disney, Marvel and Sears/Kmart brand children’s sunglasses. They come in a variety of colors and with printed images of characters on the frames.

The following recalled style numbers are located inside the sunglasses’ left temple arm:

Style#

Brand 

S00014SVS999

Marvel Spider-Man

S00014SVSBLU

Marvel Spider-Man

S00014SVSRED

Marvel Spider-Man

S00021LKC999

SK2 Sears /Kmart Private Label 

S00021SVS999                                     

Marvel Spider-Man 

S01551SDB999

Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 

S02964SJN440

Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates          

S02964SJN999

Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates          

S03683SDC999

Disney Cars 

S04611SDC001          

Disney Cars 

S04611SDC080          

Disney Cars 

S04611SDC400         

Disney Cars 

S04611SDC999

Disney Cars 

S07786SMS500

Disney Doc McStuffins 

S07786SMS650

Disney Doc McStuffins 

S07786SMS999

Disney Doc McStuffins 

S07840SDC999          

Disney Cars 

S07841SDC001         

Disney Cars 

S07841SDC440          

Disney Cars 

S07841SDC999          

Disney Cars

The sunglasses were sold at Bon Ton, CVS, K-mart, Rite-Aid, Walgreens and other retail stores nationwide from December 2013 to March 2014 for between $7 and $13.

When the body is exposed to lead — by being inhaled, swallowed, or in a small number of cases, absorbed through the skin — it can act as a poison. Exposure to high lead levels in a short period of time is called acute toxicity. Exposure to small amounts of lead over a long period of time is called chronic toxicity.

Lead poisoning can lead to a variety of health problems in kids, including:

  • Decreased bone and muscle growth
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
  • Speech and language problems
  • Developmental delay
  • Seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)

If you’ve purchased or been given a pair of these sunglasses, they should immediately be removed from your child’s possession. You can return them to FGX International for a free replacement or refund, including free shipping and handling.

Consumers can contact FGX International toll-free at (877) 277- 0104 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.fgxi.com and click on “Recall” for more information.

Sources: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/FGX-International-Recalls-Childrens-Sunglasses/#remedy

http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/lead_poisoning.html#

Kid's Sunglasses recall

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