National Child Passenger Safety Week (sponsored by Diono)

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Phoenix says “Hi!”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a child under the age of thirteen is involved in a crash every 33 seconds.  Fortunately, due to growing awareness of the importance of car seat safety and the dedication of car seat manufacturers to the highest quality and safest products possible, most of those crashes are not fatal.

We can’t control whether or not our child will be in an accident, but we can control some important factors that will increase their chances of surviving in the event of a crash:

  1. Make sure the car seat is installed correctly.

Yeah, I know—no one reads instructions anymore.  This is one time, however, where you should read the installation manual carefully.  Every car seat must be secured with either the LATCH system or the seat belt.  Once installed, the car seat should fit tightly and should not move more than one inch in any direction.  If you’re not sure if you’ve installed it correctly, check out the videos here and here, or visit your local police or fire station.  Most of them offer free car seat inspections.

  1. Make sure your child is buckled in properly.

The harness should fit your child snugly enough that you’re unable to pinch any extra material on the strap.  All straps should be flat and not twisted.  Additionally, the chest clip should be at armpit level.  Anything lower than that can cause damage to the child’s internal organs in the case of an accident.  If the neck pads that come on most car seats interfere with correct placement of the chest clip, remove it.  Yes, you want your child to be comfortable, but their safety is more important.

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Children are much safer in a rear-facing car seat.
  1. Keep children rear-facing as long as possible.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children should remain rear-facing until they are two years old and at the maximum height and weight for the car seat.  Many parents feel that they should turn the car seat around the first birthday.  While the AAP cites one year and 20 lbs as the absolute minimum for front-facing children, studies have proven that children are five times safer in rear-facing car seats, and are 75% less likely to be killed or injured in the event of a crash.  This is because rear-facing seats distribute the force of the crash over the entire body, doing a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine.

  1. Make sure children are in the appropriate car seat for their age, weight and height.

Check the weight and height limit on your car seat.  Most infant “bucket seats” can only be used until 35 lbs and 36 inches.  Many convertible seats will allow you to keep rear-facing your child up to 45 lbs.  After that, a toddler or booster seat will be needed.  If cost is an issue, consider buying a car seat that will grow with your child’s needs, like the Diono Radian rXT, which converts to carry children from 5 – 120 lbs, making it the only car seat you’ll need.

  1. Discard car seats after “expiration.”

Car seats expire in one of two ways.  The first is when they hit their expiration date, which is usually printed on the seat itself.  Most car seats expire six years after they were made (the date of manufacture).  The second way is after they’ve been involved in an accident.  You can contact the manufacturer or your car insurance company for more information about replacing a seat that was in an accident.  This is the major reason why it’s never a good idea to accept a used car seat, because their integrity is compromised after an accident (even if there’s no visible sign of damage).

Saturday, September 24th, 2016 is National Seat Check Saturday, so as you load up the car to enjoy your weekend, stop and make sure that everyone is riding safely.

For more information on car seat safety, visit the experts below.

babydroppings chose to partner with Diono to bring you this important message this weekend.  We believe that Diono has an extraordinary commitment to safety and empowering parents to make educated choices for their kids.  I received no monetary compensation for this post, only the product for testing and review.  As always, all opinions are mine.

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Shopping From Home With #Groupon Goods #ad

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Image courtesy of Groupon.com.

This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are true and 100% my own. 

When a person becomes a parent, lots of things change.  Life becomes more meaningful in so many ways…and much more complicated in so many others.  Once I had kids to contend with, basic things like shopping for groceries became so much more difficult.  (Ever tried to push a cart and a stroller?)  I found myself spending more money on the things that I always bought, because the convenience of online shopping, as well as buying the first thing I saw that fit our needs, was well worth the premium.

Fortunately, when shopping for household essentials, technology, gifts and baby stuff, I don’t have to feel like I’m always spending more than I should.  Groupon Goods has a ton of items in just about every category that you can think of.  I’ve bought toys, power packs for our phones, extra iPhone cables and headphones (our kids apparently like to eat them), dog beds, playpens, sheets, pillows and even shower heads from Groupon.  I’m always stunned at how well-priced the items are for the value.  There are literally thousands of items to choose from at any given time, and they save me the hassle of lugging a baby gate and a baby simultaneously.  Plus, it’s really fun to scroll down the lists of what’s for sale—I’ve gotten some great gift ideas from shopping around on Groupon!

Groupon Goods is definitely my go to resource when I want to get technology or home goods at a great price with no fuss.  What have you bought lately?

Breastfeeding Almost Made Me Quit My Job

Allaya pumps on her break at work.
I love my job. I’ve been teaching adult education classes for the last three years, and I feel that helping people establish their new careers while simultaneously teaching them about finance is rewarding and important work. However, since I came back from maternity leave, I’ve thought about quitting before every. single. class.

The night before I’m supposed to teach, I begin to feel the tide of anxiety rising. I fight the urge to kick and scream, throw a temper tantrum, run into traffic, anything to not have to teach. Pushing down the growing sense of despair, I pack my lunch, print out my rosters and hunt for a clean baby bottle for the hand pump tucked discreetly in my purse.

Because my schedule is so tight (it’s set by the state of New York) I have to be extremely purposeful about my breaks. I can pump, I can pee, I can eat. I cannot do more than one of these things. Generally, I choose to pump, standing in the bathroom on the second floor where none of my students will walk in on me.

I am blessed to do what I love, I am blessed to have wonderful supervisors, and I am blessed to have been able to nurse my baby for a year. But more than anything I’m thankful that I only teach a couple of times a month. Ten hours with no bathroom break, ignoring my hunger as I watch my students walk back into class late with McDonald’s, and then running straight home to fight my baby over my paperwork and laptop has worn me out. Some women do this daily, and if I had to I would’ve quit long ago.

There is a moment in each day where I get into a flow, and I’m so full of passion and excitement that I forget how hungry I am, or that I have two cotton pads stuffed in each cup of my bra. It’s then that I remember that I love what I do. But if not for that, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain my energy weekend in and weekend out. Because like most women, when forced to choose between doing my job to the best of my ability and taking care of my child, I chose to do both, and I suffered as a result.

Here are a couple of things that I decided to prioritize while I continue to nurse and work:

Staying hydrated. 

– I try to drink a water bottle on each break and bring a large container of water and chia seeds to sip during class. Getting dehydrated makes me more sluggish and cranky, and affects my production.

Quick, nutrient dense snacks.

– Chia seeds are great, and so are these little things called Nut Punches (80 cal and 4g of protein). I also like Greek yogurt and fruit and veggie squeeze pouches. It helps to take the edge off the hunger and keep the headaches away.

Resting when possible. 

– This is particularly hard for me, because I am type-A to the max. But working nearly ten hours straight takes a toll on anyone. Sometimes I have to admit I’m human and just sit quietly. No pumping, no talking, just sitting and breathing.

Making up for it at home. 

– When I’m home, I try to eat big meals and drink lots of fluids to make up for the calories that I don’t get during the day. I also try not to pump, so I can give my nipples a break (sorry if that’s TMI, but nursing moms will know exactly what feeding a teething baby + pumping three times a day will do).

Cutting myself some slack. 

– Again, this isn’t the easiest thing, but it’s temporary. On the weekends where I teach, I don’t clean or stay up late. I try to take care of myself and my baby and let everything else go. If there’s one thing parenting has taught me, it’s that if I’m not taking care of myself, my ability to care for others suffers as well.

Like most of raising children, breastfeeding is not easy, but l believe it’s worth it. Not because of the health benefits or the fact that it’s free or the bond with baby (although I believe in all that too). It’s because it teaches you that you can’t have it all, but you can have all the important stuff.

Oh, and my job? There’s a contest going on right now…and currently, I’m ranked number one.

National Breastfeeding Month Profiles: Kimmy

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Photo courtesy of Kimmy and her family.

Taking on parenthood with passion and a wry sense of humor, Kimmy is the mother to an adorable fifteen-month-old boy.  She shares avidly with her online community her views about politics, breastfeeding and day-to-day life.  Kimmy has been known to spend the occasional Sunday morning dancing with her son and eating pancakes. Continue reading

National Breastfeeding Month Profiles: Kerri

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Photo courtesy of Kerri and her family.

Mother of two, Kerri is a teacher, volunteers with her local ministry, and takes graduate classes.  Her youngest child, now nearly eleven months old, struggled with lip and tongue ties as well as gastrointestinal discomfort.  Both children are now thriving thanks to her dedication and selflessness, as well as her apparent ability to get by without sleep.  When she’s not teaching, taking care of her family, or volunteering, Kerri runs an Etsy shop creating keepsakes for parents. Continue reading

I Can’t Afford ‘Em: A Closer Look at Delaying Pregnancy

Back in my day, college was only 25¢ a semester!

For years, I’ve known that I wanted to have children. I’m a Cancer, after all. I grew up identifying myself with a “maternal nature,” and as an adult, fantasized about getting pregnant. But like many other people of my generation, I tempered my baby fever with the knowledge that we were just not financially ready to have kids. So I made lists of all the criteria I would need to meet before having them.  Continue reading

Product Review: The Spoon Cocoon

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With every new leap forward in baby’s development, there comes a litany of new things to learn and be responsible for. I thought feeding was one of those things that I didn’t have to worry about anymore. After all, we had gotten breastfeeding down to an art. So imagine my dismay when my pediatrician informed me, with unsubstantiated glee, that we were cleared to start solid foods.

Let me tell you this—if I had my way we would breastfeed forever. One of the things I love about nursing is how easy it is to do on the go. I don’t have to worry about washing bottles or warming food—I can just whip it out and nurse my daughter wherever, whenever.

Thank goodness that there are moms out there that are a step ahead of me, like Cynthia Silver, the founder of Baby in Tow. They make an awesome little product called the Spoon Cocoon, which appeals generously to my convenience-driven, germaphobic nature.  Continue reading

The Unappreciated Value Of The Mommy Blogger

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Hold Me, Don't Hold Me

“What am I doing?”

It’s a question I mumble to myself throughout the day, after I find myself mindlessly putting the milk in the cabinet, or re-snapping the baby’s onesie without first having put on a clean diaper.

More than parenting snafus, it’s one of the many questions my husband and I ponder regularly when trying to make giant, life-altering decisions, while we both navigate and attempt to avoid the rat race we currently find ourselves in. Where should we live? What should we do? What are we doing?

More recently, it’s been a question that pounds in my head with every tap of my keyboard, as I sit and write out things for my blog. With so much on my plate, finding time to write has been hard, but more than that, I constantly question what the purpose of my writing is. What am I trying to say?

A few…

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