Toddlers

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World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) released their nominees for the “10 Worst Toys of 2015.” They are warning parents to take precautions when buying toys, especially online. Some of the toys on the list seemed super safe, but WATCH revealed looks can be deceiving.

 

 

Check out the list below and visit WATCH’s website for more information on toy safety and recalls.

“BUD” SKIPIT’S WHEELY CUTE PULL ALONG

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$29.99
Bunnies By The Bay
Amazon.com, Ebay, Bunniesbythebay.com “babies 6 months and older”
None

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This soft, plush puppy pull toy is marketed for infants as a “friend” who is “ready to roll.” The furry pet rests on two sets of red wooden wheels with blue hub caps. On June 16, 2015, certain lots of these toys were recalled because the hub caps “can break or come off at the wheel, posing a choking hazard for young children.” After issuance of the recall, a similar toy, purchased online, exhibited the same potential for the “choking hazard” identified in the government’s recall notice.

Budpulltoy

FOAM DART GUN

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$13.99
GD.Jiefeng Toys
Amazon.com, Ebay
“For Ages 3 & Up”
“WARNING: Do not aim at eyes or face. TO AVOID INJURY: Do not modify darts”, and other warnings (package only)

HAZARD: REALISTIC TOY WEAPONRY!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! In today’s world, there is no excuse for outfitting children with realistic toy weapons designed to produce potentially dangerous and unnecessary thrills. Existing regulations addressing the hazards associated with such “toys” are inadequate. Detailed replicas have resulted in a number of deaths through the years and should never be sold as toys.

DartGun

STATS 38” QUICK FOLDING TRAMPOLINE

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$49.99
Toys R Us, Inc.
Toys R Us, Ebay
“6+”
“CAUTION: Performing any physical activity presents a risk of injury. Adult supervision required” (packaging), and other warnings/cautions on packaging and packaging insert

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR HEAD, NECK AND OTHER BODILY INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This trampoline is sold in the toy aisle for children as young as 6-years-old. Remarkably, the package insert cautions, in part, as follows:

“Landing on the head or neck can cause serious injury, paralysis, or death, even when landing in the middle of the bed.”

Further, despite an instruction that the product be used “only with adult supervision,” a photo on the packaging shows a child bouncing alone. The many hazards associated with trampoline use should make it apparent to manufacturers and retailers that such equipment should not be sold as a playtime activity for young children.

Trampoline

POO-DOUGH

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$4.99
Skyrocket Toys LLC
Kmart, Amazon.com, Walmart, Toys R Us “3+”
“ALLERGY NOTICE: CONTAINS WHEAT” (package only)

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR ALLERGY-RELATED INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! It is difficult to envision the play value of a “toy” inviting children to “[m]ake your own poo!” so that it “[l]ooks like the real thing!” The product, which consists of a “poo mold” and three cans of brown “Poo-Dough compound,” contains an “allergy notice” on the throw-away packaging that the dough contains wheat. Allergic reactions to wheat include symptoms ranging from hives, headaches and difficulty breathing, to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

PooDough

SPLAT X SMACK SHOT

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$10.00
Imperial Toy LLC
Walmart, Amazon.com, Kmart
“Ages 8+”
“WARNING: Do not aim or shoot at people or animals”; “Launcher should never be aimed at eyes, face, people or animals”; “Anyone within close distance…should be alerted prior to firing…”; and other warnings

HAZARD:

POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! The “Smack Shot” is similar to a slingshot, and is sold with ammunition capable of firing “up to 100ft!” The many warnings and cautions include “alerting” anyone within “close distance to the intended target….”

SmackShot

KICK FLIPPER

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$19.99
Playsmart Inc.
Amazon.com, Learning Express
“5+”
“CAUTION – Do not use on stairs, hills, or inclines”, and other cautions

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR HEAD AND IMPACT INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! The “Kick Flipper” is a rigid plastic board marketed to children “[l]ike a skateboard without wheels!” Young users are encouraged to “[l]earn tricks” and “Kick it! Flip it! Pop it!” The manufacturer makes no mention of safety gear, and the children pictured on the packaging are not wearing helmets or other protection.

Kick

LEONARDO’S ELECTRONIC STEALTH SWORD

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$24.99
Playmates International Company Ltd.
Toys R Us, Amazon.com, Ebay
“Ages 4 and up”
“WARNING. Not suitable for children under 3 years. Small parts”

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR BLUNT FORCE INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Young children are encouraged to engage in a “Ninja Battle” with this rigid, plastic sword associated with a well-known Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character. The blade has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries.

LeonardoSword

KID CONNECTION DOCTOR PLAY SET

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$4.97
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Walmart, Amazon.com, Ebay “2+”
None

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR INGESTION AND CHOKING INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This multi-colored play set, sold for oral-age children, includes “[e]verything you need to play doctor!” Among the medical devices included is a thin plastic “tongue depressor” measuring approximately 43⁄4 inches in length. Small children are effectively invited to introduce this implement into their mouths, presenting the potential to occlude the airway.

Doctor

PULL ALONG ZEBRA

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$20.99
Early Learning Centre
Amazon.com, Kmart, Brookstone, Village Toy Shop “12-36 months”
“WARNING – Remember babies and young children have no idea what is dangerous or potentially harmful, so supervision is important….”

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR STRANGULATION AND ENTANGLEMENT INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are permitted to market “pull toys” like the “Pull Along Zebra”, with a cord measuring approximately 21 inches. The toy is intended for babies as young as 12 months old.

Zebra

JURASSIC WORLD VELOCIRAPTOR CLAWS

Price:
Manufacturer or Distributor: Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: Warnings:

$19.99
Hasbro
Target, Amazon.com, Toys R Us, Walmart, Kohl’s “Age 4+”
“WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts will be generated. Not for children under 3 years”

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE AND FACIAL INJURIES!

W.A.T.C.H. OUT! These oversized claws, based on images and characters from the popular Jurassic World franchise, are sold to enable 4-year-olds to “claw like a raptor!” No warnings or cautions are provided regarding the potential for eye and facial injuries.

Raptor

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No School! The fun only lasts so long and then there are the 265 variations of “I’m Bored!” from the kids. We’ve got a few ideas to help you keep your sanity and keep the kids from dying of boredom. What would you add to our Snow Day Survival Kit?

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Day

Mom, don’t worry, if there is any day to let your kids bingewatch shows and movies, it is a snow day. Check out our list below. Maybe you have a movie in mind and want to see where it is available. Check out Can I Steam It? to see if your favorite show or movie is available on any streaming service or DVD.

Top 10 Kid’s Movies on Netflix for Snow Days

  1. Snow Buddies
  2. Cool Runnings
  3. Zathura
  4. Earth to Echo
  5. Hoodwinked
  6. Thomas & Friends: Merry Winter Wish
  7. Bob the Builder: Snowed Under
  8. Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie
  9. Christmas With the Kranks
  10. Get Santa

Boredom Busters

Make homemade flubber, snow paint, or build a fort! Check out our Boredom Buster Board on Pinterest for more great ideas. One of my favorites is activities to do with LEGO blocks. Build a city, build your dream home, or create a LEGO room.

111bo43sdfa

Hot Chocolate Recipes

If there is ever a day for hot chocolate, it is a snow day. Check out Pinterest for 1,347,697 variations on hot chocolate. Of course, you can always just buy chocolate milk, warm it up, and throw in a few marshmallows or whipped cream.  It’s a snow day, there is no judgement.

IMG_20141129_015155

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Halloween is all about the treats and getting something for free is definitely a treat.  Here are some of the freebies you can score on Halloween this year.  If you see something we’ve missed, send us a message on Facebook or email and let us know so we can add it to the list.

 

 

 

 

IHOP is giving away free “Scary Face Pancakes” on October 30, the day before Halloween, to children 12 and under.

Krispy Kreme is giving all customers who wear their Halloween costumes to the store on Oct. 31 a free doughnut.

Chuck E. Cheese’s wants to give your kids 50 Free Tickets.  Now through October 31, kids who come in costume to Chuck E. Cheese’s will get 50 free tickets per day.

 

We know, these aren’t free, but they are super good deals.

Chipotle is selling $3-dollar “booritos”  There is a  Customers must add “something unnecessary” to their Halloween costumes, as Chipotle attempts to draw attention to the fact that their competitors serve food with “spooky and unnecessary additives.”

Sonic will be selling corn dogs for just 50 cents. You can hit them up during Happy Hour and save a lot while fueling up for trick or treating.

Wendy’s is giving away free Junior Frosties to customers who purchase their Halloween coupon booklet for $1. (Proceeds go to Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.)

Baskin-Robbins is discounting scoops in celebration of their birthday. Enjoy any scoop for $1.31 at participating Baskin-Robbins shops nationwide on Halloween.

 

 

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Halloween can be a fun night and the kids and parents reap big rewards, but it is important to stay safe. Here is a video reminder from the Colorado Springs Police Department on how to stay safe while trick or treating.

Going trick-or-treating? Check out these safety tips from the CDC.

alphabet letter s

Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

alphabet letter a

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

alphabet letter f

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

alphabet letter e

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

 

alphabet letter h

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.

alphabet letter a

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

alphabet letter l

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible.

alphabet letter l

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

alphabet letter o

Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

alphabet letter w

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

alphabet letter e

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

alphabet letter e

Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

alphabet letter n

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

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It isn’t too difficult to come up with a theme for a kid’s birthday party.  Most kids are more than willing to tell you at least two or three things they absolutely love and want to be a part of their party. Those things are usually super heroes or princesses.  Remember when McDonald’s parties were popular? You’ve probably heard dozens of ideas, but this one is the most unique birthday party idea I’ve heard of.

 

A little girl from Arkansas said she wanted a CVS themed birthday for her fourth birthday.  Her mom, Sarah Fortune Gill, said Iris REALLY, REALLY loves the store.  Why? Because she says it has all her favorite things.

Her mother said that when her daughter asked for a CVS party, she complied. “One day it won’t be so simple to make her happy, so for now I take her to CVS when we have a few extra minutes to spare and try my best to make her birthday party special, as tricky as it may be (after all, there are no Pinterest boards for this, folks).”

She said Iris has loved CVS since she watched their local store being built.  They pass it regularly on their way to her school.  When she asked Iris where she would rather go, Disney or CVS, Iris said Disney AND CVS.  Mom did an amazing job and put on an awesome party.  She shared pics of the big day on her blog.  CVS even sent over lots of goodies to help make the CVS celebration a success.

 

Kids love playing with LEGOs, so why not use them to help your kids learn? Here are five LEGO oriented Learning ideas we found on Pinterest.  These were some of our favorite ideas, but there are tons more where these came from. For more ideas check out:

HomeSchoolEncouragement.com – Ideas for learning and the only thing you need are LEGO blocks.

Learning With LEGOS – MIT Videos – MIT explains DNA, molecules, and more with LEGO.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – LEGO encourages STEM oriented learning. Go beyond the basic LEGO blocks with these awesome sets.

 

 

Do you have any favorite ways to use LEGOs to help enhance your kid’s learning experience?

 

 

 

Build Stories with LEGO – This example from Pinterest uses a kid favorite, Good Night Gorilla, but you can build almost any story. Instead of a diorama, try using mini-figures and basic blocks to recreate favorite scenes and stories.

Learning With LEGOS
Retell stories with LEGO scenes

Add and Subtract With LEGO – This is probably one of the easiest and most simple ways to use blocks to learn. While they are at it, maybe they can sort the thousands of blocks all mixed together in that large bin.

LEGOS
Add, subtract, multiply, and divide using LEGOS.

 

LEGO Marble Run – Learn about speed and angles by building a marble run.

Learn with LEGOS
Make a marble run with LEGOS. They don’t even realize how much they are learning.

 

Letters, Counting, and Measuring with LEGO – This LEGO lap book is perfect for Pre-K and Kindergarten learners.  It’s all in one place and simple to use.  The best part is that it is FREE thanks to the amazing mom at Walking by the Way.

LEGO worksheets
LEGO worksheets are a great way to stick with the LEGO oriented theme.

 

Learn Fractions With LEGO – Fractions can be difficult to understand, but use a few LEGO bricks for a visual concept that most people instantly understand. My kids are in 4th and 7th grade and we still pull out LEGO bricks to help understand math concepts.

 

LEGO Learning
LEGOS make learning fractions super easy.

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Does your child have a regular sleep schedule? Does he seem to have problems going to sleep? Does she have night terrors? These could be problems that follow your child into adulthood and cause serious problems.

 

 

 

 

 

A recent study found a link between poor sleep in children and mental health problems.  Researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London, and Tel Aviv University found that insomnia, disturbed sleep, and nightmares in children are linked with mental health problems for older children and adults.  “Disorders typically start early in life so it’s negligent to ignore the childhood and adolescence period when trying to understand the development of psychopathology.” according to Dr. Alice Gregory.

Nightmares and night terrors have been related to psychotic episodes such as schizophrenia.  Children who have irregular sleeping patterns or who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be diagnosed with mania or bi-polar disorder.

Regular sleep routines, enough sleep, and healthy sleep habits can help children stay healthier.  While they admit co-sleeping could cause poor quality sleep, it is a solution to help children deal with anxiety.

 

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When my babies were little I wore them in a wrap.  I didn’t let anyone touch them and I made sure if anyone held them they weren’t sick and had washed their hands.  I know, it sounds overprotective, but they never got sick and stayed healthy.  When I saw this post on Facebook, I felt good about my choice.  Now, I’m sharing with you so you can be on the safe side and protect those babies.

 

 

 

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) impacts about 70% of US adults.  The most common virus is HSV-1 or cold sores.  Most adults and some children get these on or in their mouths.  They are painful, annoying, and highly contagious.

Mom, Claire Henderson, wants parents to know how horrible Herpes can be for a baby.  She posted frightening pictures of her daughter on Facebook in order to warn parents. Here is what she said:

“Please share this with every new mum and pregnant woman you know… COLD SORES CAN BE FATAL FOR A BABY. Before 3 months old a baby cannot fight the herpes virus. If a baby contracts this it can cause liver and brain damage and lead to death. I know this sounds like I am scaremongering but if my friend had not told me about this my baby girl could have been very seriously ill. I noticed the signs early and got her to A&E, we have now been in hospital on a drip for 3 days and have got another 2 to go. She was VERY lucky, all her tests came back clear. The moral of the story is DO NOT let anyone kiss your newborns mouth, even if they don’t look like they have a cold sore- 85% of the population carry the virus. And if someone had a cold sore ask them to stay away until it has gone. Everyone who I have spoken to had not heard of this before and so I felt it was important to share Brooke’s story and raise awareness to stop anyone else going through what we have this week.”

Parents, DO NOT let anyone, even family members kiss your babies on the face.  This is a life threatening virus for infants. It is probably a good idea not to let anyone with herpes kiss your children either. In fact, no kissing when cold sores are a potential.

 

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There are so many fruits to choose from, but American kids favor one above all: Apples.

According to a study of over 3,100 children and teens, researchers found that kids eat consume their fruits whole about 53 percent of the time, through juice 34 percent of the time, and the rest of the time is through mixed-fruit products and beverages that aren’t 100 percent fruit.

Here’s how fruits placed:

  • Apples 19 percent
  • Citrus juice 14 percent
  • Apple juice 10 percent
  • Other fruit juices 9 percent
  • Bananas and Melons
  • Berries, citrus fruits, grapes, peaches

Study author, Kirsten Herrick, with the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, said that “substituting whole fruits for 100-percent fruit juices is always a good choice.” This is especially important because only about 40 percent of kids in the US are getting their daily intake of fruits.

The research found that among kids males and females, rich and poor, there were no differences in fruit consumption.  However, black kids are more likely to drink fruit juice than kids of other races. Kids from Asian heritage eat the most whole fruits.

The big takeaway from this study is that kids need to eat more whole fruits.  Check out Choose MyPlate for ideas to up your kid’s fruit intake.

We want to know your kids’ favorite fruits. Do you have any special recipes or tips for getting your kids to eat more fruit?