Medicines Can Hurt…Use and Store Carefully

medicines

Each year, nearly  500,000 calls to the Poison Control Center are about children ingesting medicines that belong predominately to parents and grandparents.

Safe Kids Worldwide shares the following tips about keeping your child safe from medicines that could have serious consequences for them.

Store Medicines Safely

  • Put all medicines up and away and out of sight including your own. Make sure that all medicines and vitamins are stored out of reach and out of sight of children. In 3 out of 4 emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to a parent or grandparent.
  • Consider places where kids get into medicine. Kids get into medication in all sorts of places, like in purses and nightstands.  In 67% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the medicine was left within reach of a child, such as in a purse, on a counter or dresser, or on the ground. Place purses and bags in high locations, and avoid leaving medicines on a nightstand or dresser.
  • Consider products you might not think about as medicines. Most parents store medicine up and away – or at least the products they consider to be medicine. They may not think about products such as diaper rash remedies, vitamins or eye drops as medicine, but they actually are and need to be stored safely.
  • Close your medicine caps tightly after every use. Choose child-resistant caps for medicine bottles, if you’re able to. If pill boxes or non-child resistant caps are the only option, it’s even more important to store these containers up high and out of sight when caring for kids. And remember, child-resistant does not mean child-proof, and some children will still be able to get into medicine given enough time and persistence.
  • Be alert to visitors’ medicine. Guests in your home may not be thinking about the medicine they brought with them in their belongings. In 43% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the medicine a child got into belonged to a relative, such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle. When you have guests in your home, offer to put purses, bags and coats out of reach of children to protect their property from a curious child.
  • Be alert to medicine in places your child visits. You know to store medicine safely in your home, but do you ever think about medicine safety when your child isn’t at home? Asking people your child visits to put their medicines in a safe place works for some parents, but it may feel socially awkward to others.  Another option is to take a look around to see if any medicines are stored within reach and deal with any risks in sight.
  • Even if you are tempted to keep it handy, put medicine out of reach after every use. When you need to give another dose in just a few hours, it may be tempting to keep medicine close at hand. But accidents can happen fast, and it only takes a few seconds for children to get into medicine that could make them very sick. Put medicine up and away after every use. And if you need a reminder, set an alarm on your watch or cell phone, or write yourself a note.

Give Medicines Safely

  • Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Proper dosing is important, particularly for young children. Kitchen spoons aren’t all the same, and a teaspoon and tablespoon used for cooking won’t measure the same amount as the dosing device.
  • Keep all medicines in their original packages and containers.
  • Take the time to read the label and follow the directions. Even if you have used the medicine before, sometimes the directions change about how much medicine to give.
  • Even if your child seems really sick, don’t give more medicine than the label says. It won’t help your child feel better faster, and it may cause harm.
  • Read the label and know what’s in the medicine. Take the time to read the label and follow the directions on your child’s medicine. Check the active ingredients listed on the label. Make sure you don’t give your child more than one medicine with the same active ingredient, because it puts your child at risk for an overdose.

Communicate to Caregivers

  • If you are depending on someone else to give your child medicine, communicate clearly to avoid double dosing or dosing errors. More than 67,000 parents call poison control centers about dosing errors each year.
  • Write clear instructions to other caregivers, including what medicine to give, when to give it and the correct dose.

Get Rid of Medicines Safely

  • Clean out your medicine cabinet. Reduce the risk of kids getting into medicine by getting rid of unused or expired medicine. Many communities have a medicine take-back program. This is an easy way to get rid of your unused or expired medicines.
  • To dispose of it yourself, pour the medicine into a sealable plastic bag. If the medicine is a pill, add water to dissolve it. Then add kitty litter, sawdust or coffee grounds to the plastic bag. You can add anything that mixes with the medicine to make it less appealing for children or pets.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that certain medicines are so dangerous they should be flushed down the toilet.

Talk to Your Kids about Medication Safety

  • Talk to your kids about medication safety. Even if their medicine tastes good, don’t compare it to candy to encourage kids to take it.
  • Speak with older kids about the dangers of misusing or abusing prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Educate Grandparents

  • It is estimated that in 38 percent of ER visits involving a medicine poisoning, the medicine belonged to a grandparent. Talk to grandparents about being extra mindful with medicine or pillboxes when children are around.
  • Don’t forget to remind other family members and visitors as well.

Put the Poison Help Number in Your Phone

  • Put the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) into your home and cell phones. You can also put the number on your refrigerator or another place in your home where babysitters and caregivers can see it. And remember, the poison help number is not just for emergencies, you can call with questions about how to take or give medicine.
  • If your child has collapsed, is not breathing, or has a seizure, call 911.
  • Do not make children vomit or give them anything unless directed by a professional.

You can download these tips about medicines here.

 

 

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Establishing Bed Time Routines

mother reading to child before bedAs parents we all know that going to bed can be the toughest time of day for young children because it means separation from us and things they enjoy doing.

Bed time can, and often does, become the toughest time of our day as parents. Trying to get our children to bed on a regular schedule for their sake and for our ours can be a real challenge. They need a routine to insure a good night’s sleep. We need down time…our own time to unwind or get to things we can’t do when our children are up and need our attention.

The Sleep Foundation (http://www.sleepfoundation.org) shares information and sleep tips that may make nightly separation and a good sleep a regular happening and not a sometime thing.

Knowing that preschoolers often have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, parents will have the most success if the stick to a regular bed time and a consistent bed time routine.

The bed time routine needs to be relaxing and have a calming effect. Storytellings, a lullaby, a bit of gentle cuddling are often successful in preparing a child for sleep.

Children need to get comfortable with their sleep environment. They need to sleep in the same sleeping environment every night. The room needs to be cool, quiet and dark, There should be no TV or computer game viewing equipment in the room.

School age children (5-12) need to unwind from the demands and stimulation of school, doing homework, and after school activities that can make it difficult to fall asleep. Research on sleep disturbances for this age group has found that consuming caffeine beverages, such as colas, extensive TV viewing, playing online computer games or surfing the net close to bed time are  major contributors to sleep problems.

Inadequate sleep is a blue print for daytime difficulties such as irritability, poor academic performance in school and social and behavioral problems.

This age group needs to understand the importance of good sleep. Parents and children need to talk about the need for a consistent bed time routine and stick to that routine whenever possible.

Just as with younger children, a winding down time is helpful: listening to soft music, reading a suitable book, working at a quiet hobby are all good choices.

The bedroom needs to be cool, dark and quiet and free of a TV, computer or any electronic game viewing equipment.

Establishing and adhering to bed time routines is not easy. It often takes much effort and patience. But, helping our children develop and maintain good sleep habits is a wonderful life-long gift that only we can give. It makes going to bed much easier.

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The Bobbin Girls

A few weeks ago we featured an article, Down-in-the-Mines at 9, by Ned Campbell, about young boys working in the coal mines; this article, also by Ned Campbell, is about the Bobbin Girls, the young girls who worked long hours in the textile factories.

image of one of the Bobbin Girls in a textile mill

In the early 1900’s America was industrializing rapidly and one industry that was very profitable was textiles. Textiles are the fabric that will make clothing. Weaving the threads of cotton or wool together in large steam powered machines would produce the fabric. Women worked the mills and young girls, often their own daughters, worked at keeping the machines well supplied with bobbins of thread.

 

picture of one of the Bobbin Girls

The above picture is of one of the spinners in a Cotton Mill. She has been in the mill one year. Sometimes she works at night, and makes 48 cents a day. Out of 50 employees, there were ten Bobbin Girls  about her size.

Websitehttp://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/childlabor/

 

 The noise of the looms

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OES84dRCLM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi32teGBOXA

The Industrial Revolution: A Boon to Industry, A Bane to Childhood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHmqEqJN59o

Before child labor laws were enforced in this country, the Bobbin Girls worked long  days, in unhealthy conditions, in the textile mills.

Source

image of Ned Campbell, coach

Ned M Campbell is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches United States history at a public high school in Brooklyn, NY. He is a published writer, and a volunteer contributor to “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in the “Can Do” Street program.

 

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Bringing Germs Home From School

 

As a habitat for germs, a school is not that different from any other location on our germ-filled planet.

Bacteria and viruses are always with us, and we literally couldn’t live without them. In fact, there are 10 times as many microbes in a healthy human body as there are actual human cells, and many of those microbes play critical roles in our survival.

Of course, not all germs are benevolent and schools, though they may be no more crowded with germs than offices or homes, are excellent environments for the transmission of all sorts of germs from person to person.

Children are particularly good at passing germs among themselves. They share paper and scissors in the classroom. They might share a drink at lunch. At recess, they do a lot of touching. To make matters worse, they are not very good at keeping themselves clean, and, even if they could be counted on to wash, they don’t always have easy access to soap and water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control,  the primary means of transmission is by sneezing and coughing, when infected droplets spread through the air and reach the noses and mouths of people nearby. Those droplets can also reach other surfaces, and infection can be spread to someone who touches an infected surface and then touches his eyes, nose or mouth. According to the CDC, some of those infectious agents can live for two hours or more after they land.

It follows, then, that avoiding germs at school depends on the behavior of people in two different situations.

On one hand, there are the children who are already ill, including those who have not yet begun to develop a full range of symptoms. The CDC recommends that those children cover their coughs and sneezes, preferably with a tissue, and wash their hands after every cough or sneeze. If tissues are not available, coughing or sneezing into the crook of the elbow is a better option than using the hands.

No one can guaranty that those practices will always be followed, so children who are in the vicinity of sneezing classmates may have to take some of their own precautions. For them, the two most important steps are washing hands frequently and trying not to touch their own eyes, noses and mouths after they have touched a potentially infected surface.

When children remember to use them, soap and water are effective against germs, but a quick rinse is not enough. It is important to spend enough time washing.  Many authorities recommend the “Happy Birthday” method: Wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing the one song all kids know, “Happy Birthday to You,” two times from beginning to end.

When children do not have the option of soap and water, gel and alcohol-based sanitizers kill germs just as well.

School bathrooms have more than their share of germs, but at least they are equipped with sinks that kids can use. Even so, children should learn to avoid touching surfaces like doorknobs and taps when possible, and to use a paper towel when touch is unavoidable.

In the end, there is no magic bullet.

Germs are everywhere, but children can take some simple steps to minimize, if not eliminate, the chance of coming down with a miserable cold or flu.

Sources:

This guest post is by Staci Marks, an earlier contributor to this site. Ms. Marks has a passion for health, fitness and exercise, which has led her to pursue a career in writing. She works as a part-time health-care writer at www.healthinsurancequotes.org/articles/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=human-microbiome-change

www.webmd.com/parenting/d2n-stopping-germs-12/germs-at-school?

 

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What Makes a Cruise Family Friendly?

Norwegian Jade cruise ship

            Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Do you ever think about taking a cruise, but can’t imagine how you will manage several days at sea with young children? When you begin to think about what it would be like to have the luxury of being on board a floating resort to a place you have always wanted to see, does your head flood with thoughts of dealing with dirty clothes, meals that aren’t kid-friendly, or worse yet, being trapped at sea with bored kids?

Then there are the what ifs that come to mind. What if one of us needs medical care while on the cruise ship? What if we have food allergies? What if we don’t have the right clothes  to wear?

During the past 14 years of my cruise travels, I’ve watched cruise ships evolve into cost-effective, affordable luxury vacations for families. Most cruise lines are family-friendly providing a variety of daily activities for every member of the family from grandparents down to little ones in diapers.

While children participate in complimentary, age appropriate day and evening youth programs conducted by trained staff,  adult members of the family have the free time to enjoy all the activities the cruise offers.

Cruise ships also anticipate the needs of families traveling with children as a standard practice. High chairs and cribs are available.The ship store carries diapers and other child care necessities, dining rooms have a supply of coloring materials on hand, and have a kid friendly menu. Each cabin on the ship is equipped with a refrigerator that can store baby bottles as well as healthy snacks.

The following services make a cruise family-friendly:

Cost-effective vacation: A cruise is often more cost-effective than a land resort vacation because most cruise costs are included in the per person rate for the cruise, including:

  • Meals/ snacks: All meals in the complimentary dining rooms, snacks such burgers, fries and hot dogs on  the pool decks, desserts  and unlimited coffee, tea, juices, milk, and soft serve ice cream are free throughout the trip. Soda and alcoholic beverages cost less if purchased through a beverage package.
  • Sea activities: Throughout the trip, all activities during the day and in the evening are free with the exception of the  game arcade, casino, and spa services.
  • Youth programs: All youth programs are complimentary. Program participation is on a first come, first served basis. Children are grouped by age. Staff are trained professionals experienced in providing recreational activities and supervising children and teens. There are children’s programs and programs for teens. Programs begin at 9 AM, break for lunch with family, begin again in the early afternoon and go until 5 PM. Evening programs begin at 7 PM and close at 10:30 PM. During land excursion days, children can remain in the youth programs. There is a small fee for staff supervision of  children remaining in program during meal times. To view a sample of a youth program,  Read About the Splash Program.
  • Family activities: In addition to pool side activities, water slides, basketball, table tennis, and shuffleboard, some ships have a bowling alley, volleyball and tennis courts. The library stocks current best sellers, and popular board games.
  • 2 Kids Sail Free is offered on several cruise ships making for an affordable family vacation. Other cruise ships offer reduced rates for children. Ages vary by cruise line from 17 years and under to 12 years and under.  Other cost saving promotions include on board credits that cover specialty dining packages for 2, beverage packages for 2, Internet access discounts, and shore excursion credits. Special group packages not only reduce the cost of a cruise, but also provide additional amenities not offered with regular cruise packages.

Laundry: Cruise ships either have self-service laundries on most floors, or they offer discounts for laundry services. You put the laundry out after dinner and it is delivered to your cabin, usually the next evening. If laundry service is an issue for you, before you book a cruise, check with the cruise line to determine if the have self service, a fee-based laundry service or both.

Dining: Cruise ships offer several complimentary restaurants including 2+ traditional dining rooms with waiter service; a less formal buffet dining experience, featuring a variety of ethnic foods and  a few eateries featuring pub foods or desserts. Another option is the Specialty Dining offerings that carry a charge, such as a steak house, dinner theater, French, Japanese or Italian restaurants. The charge connected with eating in these restaurants is less that what the same meal would cost at a land restaurant.

Medical Care: Cruise ships have on board medical services that are open for several hours a day, and a  medical staff on call round the clock.

This cruise article is the first of several  that will be published over the next two months. As the time clock on the right indicates, “Can Do” Street is scheduled to launch a new website, a resource for families who want to know more about the cruise experience. 

The next article, “Resorts at Sea” will published Sept 14th. It will introduce the amazing features of the new cruise ships to be launched in 2018.

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