Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Undercover Mama giveaway ends this week!

The Undercover Mama giveaway ends this friday, 10/1, at 11:59 p.m. EST.  The winner will be drawn Saturday via Random.org.

GOOD LUCK!


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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Car Seat Safety

 This is a big and controversial issue but I have an opinion and I'd like share it.  Hopefully, it won't scare anyone away!


Let me preface this by telling you that I am not perfect.  I've made my fair share of mistakes.  Also, let me apologize ahead of time should I sound like I'm on a soap-box.  That is not my intention.  My intention is to share my opinion as well as the reasoning behind my opinion. 

When Adam was young, I turned him around in his car seat when he hit 20lbs and if I recall correctly, he was not a year old yet.  The only people I talked to about parenting stuff at the time were my parents and things had changed so much from when I was a child that their advice was outdated so no longer the best advice.  They meant well though and I'm grateful to have had their help.


I was 16 when I had him so I was completely clueless and thought that it was 20 lbs OR 1 year and that he was completely safe forward facing.

When he was about 3, I put him in a booster seat (with a back) because he exceeded the height and weight limits of his car seat.


I never thought he was unsafe.  I trusted the products I bought and trusted that the ages listed on the box were safe ages for use.  It wasn't until I was pregnant with Logan that I learned differently.


First and foremost, the law in a lot of states is that a child must remain rear-facing until they are 20 lbs AND 1 year old.  Both criteria have to be met.  After they are 20 lbs AND 1 year old, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that you leave them rear-facing for as long as possible.  The 20lbs and 1 year criteria are minimum requirements and do not mean that you must turn them around.  When they are rear-facing, they are safest.  During an accident, the rear-facing seat will essentially cocoon up against the seat and create a little protective bubble for your little one.  As long as they haven't exceeded the height and weight limits, this is the safest place for them to be during an accident.


When you must turn them around, they should be in a 5 point harness until the time that they can move to a booster seat.  You'll have to check your state laws but it is illegal in most circumstances to put a child under the age of 4 in a booster seat in the state of PA.  Yes, you read that correctly, if they are not 4 years old, you cannot legally put them into a booster seat in PA.  This is not up for debate.  This is a legal fact.  There are some exemptions but for most children, they must remain in a 5 point harness car seat until they are 4 years old.

Again, the law is a minimum guideline.  You do not need to put them into a booster at 4 if they still fit in their car seat.  A 5 point harness is going to offer far more protection than a standard lap/shoulder belt can.  The current recommendation is to leave them in the car seat for as long as possible until they exceed the height/weight limits.



When you do move them to a booster, you must once again check your states laws.  In PA, a child must remain in a booster seat until they are 8 years old.

The PA law reads as follows: 

"§ 4581. Restraint systems.
(a) Occupant protection.--
(1) Any person who is operating a passenger car, Class I truck, Class II truck, classic motor vehicle, antique motor vehicle or motor home and who transports a child under four years of age anywhere in the motor vehicle, including the cargo area, shall fasten such child securely in a child passenger restraint system"
There is little room for argument as you can see because it does specifically say any child under four (4) years of age must be in a car seat.


"(1.1) Any person who is operating a passenger car, Class I truck, Class II truck, classic motor vehicle, antique motor vehicle or motor home and who transports a child four years of age or older but under eight years of age anywhere in the motor vehicle, including the cargo area, shall fasten such child securely in a fastened safety seat belt system and in an appropriately fitting child booster seat"

Again, very little room for debate here. The only questionable thing is the fact that it does leave room for one to interpret that you must legally switch your 4 year old to a booster seat.  I, however; do not believe that it was meant to be interpreted that way as that is just nonsense.  Again, a 5 point harness will obviously provide more protection.

Finally, the exemption:
"(g) Exemptions.--Exemptions will be allowed if it is determined, according to the rules and regulations of the department, that the use of a child passenger restraint system or child booster seat would be impractical for physical reasons including, but not limited to, medical reasons or size of the child."
 Yes, this last bit quite literally means that if your child has a medical reason or is legitimately too big for a car seat, they can use a booster or if they are legitimately too big for a booster, they can use the standard lap/shoulder seat belt.  This is probably not a judgment you will be able to make on your own as there are car seats out there that go to 70 lbs, 80lbs, convertibles that go to 65 lbs with the harness and 100lbs with the belt positioning booster, and boosters that go to 100lbs.  I wouldn't be surprised if you were just required to get another seat if the child has outgrown their seat but is still within a size and age where a proper restraint system can be used.  Can't afford one? Well that's fine too! The government often has programs for free seats!  PA has a fund in place for our citizens just for that:
"§ 4582. Child Passenger Restraint Fund.
A Child Passenger Restraint Fund is established in the General Fund as a special restricted receipts account hereby earmarked for and appropriated to the department. This fund
shall consist of all fines deposited pursuant to section 4581(b) (relating to restraint systems), all Federal funds granted for said use and any moneys donated into the fund. All such funds shall be used solely for the purpose of purchasing Federally approved child restraint seats or appropriately fitting child booster seats and making such seats available to qualified loaner programs within the Commonwealth. A qualified loaner program shall be one determined by the department to loan Federally approved child restraint seats or appropriately fitting child booster seats to parents or legal guardians of children under eight years of age who, due to financial or economic hardship, are unable to comply with the provisions of this subchapter. The department shall adopt such regulations as are necessary to effectuate the purpose of this section.
(July 15, 2004, P.L.694, No.75, eff. 60 days)"

You can view the law here: http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/vehicle_code/chapter45.pdf

Do you think it's harsh? I don't.  I look at it this way, being in a car seat for an extended period of time will in no way hurt your child (as long as they fit).  Sure they'll whine that their friends don't have to use it but I would much rather have a whiny and safe child than have the horrible misfortune of getting into an accident and having them get hurt.

Xander is the only one of my boys who is still rear-facing but Logan was rear-facing for a long time and Xander will be too for as long as possible.  Why? Again, the seat acts as a bubble during a collision.

Logan is still in his 5 point harness and will stay there despite being 4 years old and 40lbs. Why? It is my opinion, as well as many professionals,  that a 5 point harness offers far more protection.


Adam is currently booster-seatless but this is not my choice.  This is a battle that I lost.  I still feel that he needs it but circumstances have risen (for example, people believing that I am both a know-it-all and a worry wart and I do tend to worry a lot, but, I find the former to be insulting.) that have basically led to him being without his seat.  Believe-you-me, I am NOT a happy Danielle.  We will be doing the 5 step check with Adam and if I am not satisfied, he will be returning to his booster.  Why?  I've read horror story after horror story about internal decapitation.   Google it if you'd like (but it's really exactly what it sounds like and it's from the seat-belt hitting the neck with extreme force due to improper positioning)- but be warned, it is not pleasant.  It is of the utmost importance to me that the shoulder belt properly fits Adam (and the other boys when they're older).  His life is far more important to me than what his friends are doing.


This is such a huge thing that most people debate over but I can't really figure out why.  It is just flat out illegal in a lot of states to turn your child forward facing before 1 year AND 20 lbs, put them in a booster before 4, and put them in the standard lap/shoulder belt before they're 7 or 8 so why are people debating it?  It's against the law! It's not really open for argument.  The only thing that is open for discussion is whether you should turn them around promptly at 1 year AND 20 lbs, put them in a booster promptly at 4, or into a seat-belt as soon as the law allows.  Everything else is required by law.  If you ask "should I turn my 22 lb, 9 month old dear child forward facing?" the answer should always be "No." because it's both unsafe and illegal.


So should you turn your child around even though they haven't exceeded the height/weight limits? In my opinion, no.  Should you put your child in a booster even though they still fit in their car seat? Again, in my opinion, no.  Should you let your 4 foot tall, 8 year old ride without his booster seat? Well, I don't think so.


Here's the bottom line folks- they're your kids.  Ultimately it's your call to make but remember: you love them, you want them safe, and putting them into that seat is not hurting anything whereas not using the seat may result in someone being hurt.  Sure, you could be the safest driver out there, but the legobucket* in the lane next to you may not be.  If that LB comes swerving into your lane, there's not going to be much you can do to avoid the collision.  At least drive knowing that your children are properly secured.  That's my view anyway.


You don't have to follow my advice.  I'm not some big professional person who is paid to know this stuff.  I'm just some person, on the internet who's blog you're reading.  I am, however, providing you with the links to reputable sources so that you can educate yourself on the matter and make an informed decision for your children and their safety.


Links:
AAP Recommendations:
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families-2010.aspx
http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/carseatsafety.cfm

5 Step Check:
http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm
http://www.utmedicalcenter.org/cms/Emergency+and+Trauma+Services/Tools+and+Assessments/Booster+Seat+5-Step+Test/334.html

PA laws:
 
http://www.saferoads.org/state/boosterPCPSPennsylvania.pdf
http://www.buckleuppa.org/
http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/vehicle_code/chapter45.pdf

NY laws:
http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/broch/c-1.htm

Please search for your states laws to find the most up to date and accurate information for your state but also remember- the laws are minimum requirements, the AAP policy reflects the current safety recommendations.  I found my states laws by searching for "PA car seat laws" but "[your state]'s child restraint laws" should work as well.



I do apologize again if any of that came off soap-boxy.  This is my opinion and you certainly are entitled to your own but I wanted to share mine and the sources of it. :)


*The term "Legobucket" arose when I was a child and my uncle swore at a passing car while driving.  My mom asked him if he could find another word because I was in the car and he started calling people "Legobuckets" instead of bad names.


Best wishes, and as always, DFTBA.


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Monday, September 27, 2010

Rockin' Baby Slings


We loved our Rockin' Baby ring sling for when Xander was smaller and even now, at 26lbs, Ed can wear him in it without problems.


I bought it second hand from www.thebabywearer.com and instantly fell in love.  I'm not new to babywearing but this is my favorite ring sling by far.  The fabric slides nicely through the rings but not too easily that one needs to worry about the baby falling.  It's super comfy and the pocket is just an awesome extra.


A friend of mine on Facebook asked "where did you get that sling?" so I directed her to both the Rockin' Baby site and to TBW.  Sadly, she came back and said that Rockin' Baby was going out of business!


To anyone out there who has also noticed that they're closing, I have some TERRIFIC NEWS FOR YOU!

I received an e-mail from Rockin' Baby slings asking me to pass the following news along to my readers:

"Hi there!

We have a great deal we thought your readers would be interested in. We wanted to let you know that we are selling out of all of our stock at Rockin' Baby Sling, with all of our prices reduced up to 70%! Please pass on to your readers that all of slings and pouches are currently $40.00 each until they've sold out. Rockin' Baby will be re-born under new ownership in January, so look for great new fabrics and designs then!

Thank you!

Lisa and Natasha"

I am personally THRILLED to hear that they are not gone forever! While Xander has gotten a bit too heavy for a ring sling, my Rockin' Baby sling is still my favorite ring sling and I'm holding onto it for any potential future children. <3

So go and shop, enjoy the discounted prices and stay tuned for the re-opening in Jan! http://www.rockinbabysling.com/

 


Best Wishes and as always,
DFTBA!


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1 Course Down!

Saturday was the last day of my Computer Literacy course through The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (Online Division).  My major is digital design and I've been using computers since I was knee-high to a grasshopper but it was recommended that I take the comp. lit. course because of the Adobe programs that were being taught.

I have to say, I am VERY glad that I took it!  The Microsoft Office portion of the program pretty much went over stuff that I had already learned in high school but I had never used Adobe Illustrator and the information I learned from the course was extremely beneficial!



I've been playing with it ever since and I think I'm in love!  Here's some stuff I've made (not for school assignments but in hopes of opening a small business so I apologize for the spam!):


Anyway, I thought my next courses started immediately after this one but it appears that they don't.  When I was looking over the calendar, I noticed that I have a good week off before my course next starts! WOOHOO for an unexpected break! YAY!

So...I expect more blogging and more sleep to come in the next week lol!


BEST WISHES! oh and don't forget to be awesome!




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Friday, September 24, 2010

The World is Full of Awesome.

Because of the extremely kind actions of some people, James was able to get enough money to take Chomp-Chomp to the vet!!!

It is VERY comforting to me every time I see such wonderful acts of kindness!

FEEL BETTER CHOMP-CHOMP!!!

http://milkymomma.blogspot.com/2010/09/chomp-chomp-needs-your-help.html

Pear Tree Greetings giveaway

The Pear Tree Greetings Halloween Sticker giveaway ends in 2 weeks on 10/7.  GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!



Undercover Mama giveaway ends next week!

The Undercover Mama giveaway ends on 10/1 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Good luck everyone!
  


Chomp-Chomp Needs your help!

Nerdfighters and non-Nerdfighters alike, I come to you in this time of need, to ask that you help poor Chomp-Chomp.  Chomp-Chomp is James@War's good feline friend and he has swallowed a ribbon that now needs to be surgically removed.

You can find more information here!  We all thank you!!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Undercover Mama Review & Giveaway! Closed


I feel awful because I meant to get this up much sooner but between Logan's birthday, my nephew's birthday and adjusting to being a student again, I've been pretty busy and tired! I'm so glad that I've gotten into a good groove again!  WOOHOO!

I had the chance to review an Undercover Mama nursing tank.  I've worn this thing all over the place.  I'm completely obsessed with it now.  This top is super comfy, it's long enough that my belly stays covered, it's soft and it allows me to wear a bra that I know can easily support my busty self!  It's well constructed and the sizing is generous.  I reviewed a medium and I am fairly busty (34F) and the medium was a great fit! I have some nursing tanks that offer good support but I still favor a couple of my bras and it's nice that I can still wear them and just attach the Undercover Mama top right to the bra!

For Logan's birthday party, I wore it as a stand alone shirt.  I normally wouldn't suggest doing this if you're wearing a racerback bra like I was but it was so hot that I really couldn't imagine having another shirt on and I wasn't anywhere fancy so I just went with it.

I think my favorite use is with our Ergo because I can easily access my breast to nurse Xander!

Honestly, I love this shirt so much that I think I'll use it in the future when I go back to wearing regular bras as well.  Again, it's very soft and comfy.

To use the shirt, you just simply slide the hook over the fabric just below your nursing bra clasp and then when you open your nursing bra, the shirt goes with it!  It really is a brilliant invention!

Please excuse the pictures- I'm not very photogenic!

Fussy baby needed a nao

Win one of your very own!
Undercover Mama is giving one of my readers their choice of fall color Undercover Mama (Brown or Cream)!

Mandatory entry:
Follow and fan Undercover Mama on Facebook/Twitter and comment below that you did! 

Additional entries:
  1. Follow me publicly and comment below that you did
  2. Comment below with what color you'd choose if you won. 
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  GOOD LUCK!
Giveaway will end 10/1/10 at 11:59 PM EST and winner will be chosen via random.org on 10/2.  Winner's prize will ship for free within the U.S. or Canada.  If you live outside of the US or Canada, then you will be responsible for covering shipping costs. I received the tank top I reviewed but I was not otherwise compensated for my review.





Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pen to Paper

So I wasn't able to complete my Pen To Paper Challenge due to life being overwhelming and the temporary misplacement of my cards hehe.  Since I've adjusted to my new life as a student and found my cards, I've gone ahead and written my notes as I had originally intended!


The first one was to someone whom I haven't seen in 10 years.  We were inseperable! There's a pretty funny story about our meeting too!  When we were about 10, I came home from school the one day and my Grandma said to me "I heard there's someone who is pretty excited that you're back!"  We had temporarily been living in Maryland and had just moved back to New York and apparently this person was THRILLED that I was back.  I looked at my Grandma and asked her what she was talking about.  In response, she asked me if I knew a girl named Heather.  To be perfectly honest, I had NO IDEA who this Heather person was!  Then my Grandma told me that Heather is her sister's granddaughter which made her my third cousin!

I had my friend Faron point her out to me in gym class the one day and we were the best of friends after that!  We were together at every possible opportunity and had tons of fun together.  A few years later, I moved to PA and unfortunately, I have not seen her since!  That move was particularly tough on me because I was so far away from my best friend!

I found her recently on myspace and then on facebook and we had the chance to reconnect.  I still haven't had a chance to go back and visit her but I am dying to!

My last card is to my aunt whom took me to battlefields, national parks, and all kinds of educational places when I was a child.  I believe she is part of the reason why I love to learn!  She also gave me an art kit many years for Christmas because she knew that I love to draw.

 




September's Pearista code and Giveaway ends 10/7



Throughout the month of September, enjoy 10% off anything and everything Halloween! Halloween Invitations, Halloween Photo Cards, Halloween Personalized Stickers and more!

Use code PEARSEP10. Shop Pear Tree Greetings' Halloween Collection

This month Pearista is giving away 24 free Halloween Personalized Stickers for one of my readers!  Check out the new Halloween Photo Cards and Halloween Invitations collections!


Would you like to win?
All you have to do is comment below!  Please be sure to include your e-mail address so that I can contact you should you win. (email{at}domain{dot}com is fine if you don't want the spammers to get it ;))


Giveaway ends on October 7th at 11:59 P.M. and winner will be chosen on October 8th via random.org. Winner will have until the end of October to redeem their free stickers.

GOOD LUCK!





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