Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Drowning: A Summertime Danger

Drowning is a summertime liability, especially for kids. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second most common cause of death in children and ranks fifth overall for unintentional injuries in the US. Uninformed bystanders assume that someone who is drowning will draw attention to themselves; however, drowning can be eerily quiet. When children are in water, they tend to make noise. A quiet child, therefore, should be the focus of attention. Here are some signs of what drowning could look like
  •  A drowning person’s mouth bobs below the surface, with little time to come up for air 
  •   A drowning person won’t speak because breathing is the priority
  • When drowning, the arms are pushing down against water, making it hard to wave 
  •  Drowning struggles happen in 20-60 second intervals, before going back under

The second form of drowning that is rarely discussed is called dry drowning. People with asthma or breathing problems are more at risk. Dry drowning occurs after a problematic incident where water has been forced into the lungs. Severe cases can result in death within 1 to 24 hours. Here are some signs of what dry drowning could look like:

  • Continued coughing for many hours after the water incident
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  •   Chest pains
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness
  • Paleness of face

Dry drowning can occur when someone has been knocked down by a wave or jumped into the water with their mouth open. If diagnosed early, the treatment involves supplying oxygen to the lungs and jump starting the breathing process.
Effective ways to avoid drowning accidents include teaching proper swim techniques such has holding the nose when jumping into a body of water, the importance of arm and leg coordination, and breathing styles. The most effective way to avoid a drowning accident is to never take your eyes off the kids, especially when they are in water. That also means, no texting while with children near, or in, water.

Excerpt from: msnnews.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Keep Summertime Professional

Summertime is a very relaxed time of the year. With warm weather plans filling nanny and family schedules, people tend to become more informal. In order to remain orderly during the more “casual” months, try implementing these professional habits into your daily routine:

Keep off hour activities private.
Employers are proactive when researching their employees to gain further insight. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Check all privacy settings to insure no one has access to private content. Any unprofessional sightings can result in negative consequences.

Be productive during downtime.
When charges are napping, it’s easy for a caregiver to become relaxed and neglect other job duties. When the opportunity for downtime arises, try walking around the house to tidy common areas, prep for upcoming mealtimes, or throw in a load of laundry.

Avoid unnecessary accidents.
Caregiver belongings have become a new danger in the home. Beach bags and pocketbooks contain pill bottles, electronics, sharp grooming items, and harmful chemicals such as sunscreen, nail polish, or makeup. Keep all personal belongings up and out of reach of charges.

Schedule action packed activities.
Research local events and consider creating a weekly calendar for charges. Being outdoors and visiting local attractions help make the most out of the summer months. Try taking a trip to the zoo, aquarium, amusement park, local museum, and maybe a day trip down to the beach.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Art Therapy for Kids

Art therapy helps children easily express themselves in a more artistic, and creative, way. When children are younger, they tend to have a difficult time expressing themselves verbally. As a result, they sometimes act out or become frustrated. Using pictures and art allows for kids to create an alternative means of communication.
            In everyday life, art therapy is used to help kids with mental health, learning disabilities, emotional problems, or illness. It also helps kids deal with loss or grief. While they may not fully understand the scope of a situation, art will allow them to express what they do understand, opening the door for conversation.
            Art therapy can also be used to help children achieve self-awareness. They have the opportunity to express their feeling and perceptions about the world. Through art therapy, kids can help get a better understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, interests, or concerns.
Next time a charge appears frustrated, or is having a difficult time expressing emotions, try using pictures or figures that resemble feelings. Studies show that art therapy is helpful for children of all ages and races.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Playground Precautions

The warm months have arrived, which means it’s time for fun-filled days on the playground. While the playground is full of laughs, giggles, and friendly conversations, it is also the scene of many summertime injuries. Every year, hundreds of thousands of kids are injured on the playground while parents and caregivers are just feet away. Here are a few helpful tips to make trips to the playground fun times to remember:

Check for deep mulch. Mulch and wood chips are packed on playgrounds for a reason. If kids fall, the soft texture will reduce the risk of injuries.

Check anchors. Ensure that swings and monkey bars are stable in the ground.

Check clothing. Be sure all shoe strings are tied. Tangled strings cause many kids to fall while playing.

Touch before playing. The sun can cause playground equipment to become very hot, which could lead to burns on kids’ sensitive skin.

Now that the ground is prepped, the equipment is secure, and temperatures are just right to play, go out and enjoy the summer months. Enjoy the next three months of long days playing in the park, before you know, fall will be knocking on the door!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Should You Be CPR Certified?

CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is an emergency procedure used to preserve brain function when someone exhibits abnormal or unresponsive breathing. CPR instructors advise everyone, especially those caring for children, to become certified. When children stop breathing, the risk of brain damage is heightened and chances of survival are lowered. Parents and caregivers can choose a convenient location close to their home and become certified in a day. For those who have already gone through the CPR training class, certification renewal can be done through an online class.
            Certification is important for many reasons, the most primary being that it can save a life. When a CPR necessitated event occurs, people tend to get nervous and panic. If someone is CPR certified, she is prepared to react quickly and calmly. Attempting CPR when not certified can result in injury. Many common mistakes include chest bruising, inadequate breathing, and incorrect timing between breaths and chest pumping. If there is an emergency, call 911, then administer CPR. For those unfamiliar with CPR, finding someone who can perform the procedure or relay the process step by step is the best choice.
            According to CPR training administrators, effective CPR can triple the survival rate of someone in danger. The human body is only made to survive four to six minutes after the heart stops beating. That usually does not give emergency responders time to reach the injured party, which is why effective CPR training is important. For small children whose body organs are not as developed as those of an adult, the response time needs to be expedited. Doctors should advise parents to get certified, followed by parents suggesting caregivers to do the same. A few hours of training could be worth a life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Has Arrived & Brought Allergies Along For the Trip

Did the polar vortex intensify pollen counts? The answer is yes! Now that winter is over, adults and children are trading in winter coats for tissue boxes because allergy season is in full force. Unfortunately, since this record setting winter was brutally cold, allergy season has arrived earlier and more severe. When trees undergo a wet winter, mold develops causing them to release high amounts of pollen. With high pollen counts in the air throughout the country, and flowers blooming, allergy sufferers are urged to prepare for a rough couple of weeks, and worse, possibly months.
Allergy sufferers begin to notice watery eyes, congestion, runny noses, sinus headaches, and sneezing. Common combat solutions?

             ·         Place air purifiers in the home
             ·         When pollen counts are high, use the air conditioners, keep windows closed
             ·         Shower before bed, remove access pollen off of the body
             ·         Use neti-pots to clear nasal passageways

In addition to using home remedies to fight allergy symptoms, don’t forget to check expiration dates on allergy medication and nasal sprays, and keep a ready stock. There is also a new allergy medication, Oraiair, made up of freeze-dried grass that helps with allergies (ask doctor before use). If over the counter medications don’t work, visit the doctor and let them prescribe a medication based on specific symptoms.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Let Imagination Flow!

Imagination and childhood go hand and hand. Imaginary play allows children to invent creative problem solving techniques, while giving them the ability to venture away from daily structure and expand thinking. Imagination thrives when encouraged by parents and caregivers. Here are a few tips that boost this form of “fun thinking:”

Set limits. Kids have to be taught the difference between imaginary and reality. It’s okay to allow them to use a blanket and pretend they are superheroes saving the word, but they have to understand that the superhero belongs at home or at the playground, not in the aisle of the supermarket.

Embrace imaginary friends. Psychologists suggest that imaginary friends are normal and exhibit a creative, social child. Most kids grow out of this phase as they get older. The only time parents and caregivers should be suspicious of an imaginary friend is when kids start to blame their “friend” for bad behavior. If this occurs, explain to children that they are responsible for their own decision-making behaviors.

Grab a book. While reading is essential to intellectual development, it also adds fuel to the part of the brain that encourages imagination. The vibrant colors, various characters, and enticing adventures take kids away on a magical journey. Next time you’re reading a book to your charge, try reenacting the story.

Limit screen time. The easiest thing to do with energetic kids is to sit them down in front of the TV or tablet screen, but that actually stifles imaginary growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no TV for children under two years old, and only 30 minutes per day for toddlers. As long as kids are sitting in front of a screen, they are being fed information instead of exploring the topic using their imagination.

Allowing kids to step out of the box and entertain themselves is great for child development. A free imagination opens the door for a more creative child to emerge!

Idea from: babycenter.com