That stuff we all worry about.

Now that summer’s heat is here, it feels like a good time to remember that leaving your child (or pet) in the car can be deadly (not that you should ever be doing this anyway).

In the U.S., 9 children have died this year already because of heat stroke.  These figures come from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  NINE KIDS!  That’s crazy sad to me.

MyChamplainValley.com posted a short news story about this and interviewed David Grass, the Environmental Health Surveillance Chief of the Vermont Department of Health.  He had this to say about leaving your kid in the car:

It’s particularly dangerous because the internal temperature of a car [can] increase as many as 20 degrees in 10 minutes. So it can really take minutes for conditions where heat stroke can occur.

When in temperature inside a car reaches 87 degrees, you are 8 times more likely to go to the emergency room because of a heat related illness.

 

Free Movies Coming to Amazon Prime in June

Some great kids programming is coming to Amazon Prime this June.

  • The Black Stallion (1979)
  • Wayne’s World (1992) …Perhaps this one is best for teens!
  • Lego Ninjago: Season 1

If you don’t already have a Amazon Prime subscription you can sign up for a free trial.  We love our Prime subscription.  Besides tons of great video content, you get free 2 day shipping on thousands of items.  We buy a LOT of diapers and wipes this way.  🙂

Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/movies/2016/05/coming_to_amazon_prime_in_june.html

Coming to Netflix this June: Dinosaurs

Attention Mom and Dad, June 2016 will see the addition of three movies super popular with young adults and kids: JURASSIC PARK!

Available June 1:

  • Jurassic Park (1993)
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
  • Jurassic Park III (2001)

Other kid friendly series hitting Netflix are:

  • LEGO Friends: The Power of Friendship – Season 2 (June 10th)
  • All Hail King Julien – Season 3 (June 17) This is based of the hit movie franchise Madagascar.

SOURCE: http://www.whats-on-netflix.com/coming-soon/june-2016-new-netflix-releases/

Does a late dinner lead to Childhood Obesity?

Here is an interesting story reported by FoodNavigator.com

Researchers at King’s College in London have not been able to establish a significant link between eating dinner after 8pm and obesity in children. These findings contradict published research that believes circadian rhythms are impacted by meal times, which interfere with metabolic processes within the body.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), estimates of the number of overweight infants and children in the WHO European Region rose steadily from 1990 to 2008.

This is important because more than 60% of children who are overweight before hitting puberty will be overweight in early adulthood.  That’s a crazy high number!

Research had currently suggested that eating late dinners could contribute to obesity in adults and children – until now.

7 Educational Toddlers Toys. [w/ video review]

It seems like all the kids we know are all turning 2.  With that in mind, here are 7 educational toy ideas for toddlers.  Most of the age ranges on these toys fall within 1-3 years. We worked to keep these gender neutral as well.

Sesame Street Elmo’s On the Go Letters
24 months – 4 years

This toy is a great option for little ones to help them learn their letters.  The toy is a puzzle where the letters fit into their designated slot, and below each is the image of a word that starts with the corresponding letter.  At the bottom of the board is a slot that can fit 3-4 letters to spell simple words.  All of the letters fit back into their spots and the whole case fold closed with handles for easy on-the-go transport.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair
12 month – 3 years

This is a very interactive toy for ages as young as 12 months.  The chair can be programmed to match the age of your child, from the simple concept of “up and Down” at 12 months, to more imaginative play from 24 months and up.  It has songs, a remote, says phrases, and includes a book to flip the pages.  The fact that this chair grows with the child and adapts to their new abilities, makes it a great option for any toddler.

VTech Little Apps Tablet, Black
24 months – 5 years

This toy tablet offers 8 activities for your toddler to play with.  From a keyboard for playing music, to learning letters, numbers, and matching this toy packs a lot of options into a smaller package.  We always have mixed feelings on these digital noise making button pushing toys – but this has always proven to be a popular best seller so we wanted to include it.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench
24 months – 4 years

All toddlers love to hammer (our little boy does, at least!) This toy offers them endless hammering fun, teaching coordination and colors.  As you hammer down one peg the opposite peg begins to rise. I love this idea as it helps to avoid the meltdowns we have encountered on similar toys that need to be manually reset.

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Crawl Around Car
6 month – 3 years

This car is a great toy that grows with your child.  Starting out early at 6 months it teaches the most simple of concepts (open/close) and grows to pretend play (let’s drive to the zoo!) From sitting/crawling, to walking/climbing, this toy really is fun for all ages.  We wrote a full review of this when our tyke hit one year and it’s still a winner now that he’s two.

First 100 Words (Board Book)
by Roger Priddy
1 to 3 years

This is a fun book with 10 pictures on each page for you to teach and then quiz your child.  Photos are of everyday items that they would see outside (animals, vehicles) to inside (bath time, mealtime, toys.) Something your child will have fun flipping through and pointing out the pictures they know.

Make sure to also check out Roger’s other bestseller books in this series: First 100 AnimalsNumbers Colors Shapes.

 

Fisher-Price See ‘n Say The Farmer Says Toy
18 months – 4 years

The good Ol’ See ‘n Say.  This toy has been around for ages and stays a great classic.  Kids love to pull the lever handle and see the cause and effect of arrow spinning in the center.  Which animal will it land on? What sound does the animal make? Tons of fun for toddlers and nostalgic for adults.

3 Star Wars gift ideas that will make you the greatest gift giver, ever.

With the release of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS combined with the end of the Christmas shopping season, we wanted to take a moment to point out three super cool Star Wars gift ideas for young kids, adults, and teens.  If nothing else, you gotta check out #3.

01: Star Wars The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon

Designed for ages 4 and up this is one gift that will make any Star Wars fan jump with excitement.  It’s a 20 inch toy Millennium Falcon, the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, and the coolest spaceship ever. This version gets even better as it shoots Nerf darts; so, basically Christmas has been saved.  It also comes with 3 characters, including Chewbacca.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Battle Action Millennium Falcon

02: Star Wars Battlefront

We all know that once we watch The Force Awakens we are going to want to relive it. Luckily this year also brought us the super popular video game Star Wars Battlefront.

This first person shooter might be a little to wild for little kids (blasters, fighting stormtroopers, explosions, etc) but dad and his nerd friends are going to go NUTS for this. Mom too. And, with versions available for Xbox, PS4 and PC you can make sure that no-one if left out of the fun. The story line takes place during the original trilogy, so it’s a perfect mix of old-school cool and modern video game excitement.

This being Star Wars you know there are a bunch of collector’s editions too. While not needed to have the fun, they are an easy way for you to spice up this gift even more. Check out the trailer below.

03: BB-8 App-Enabled Droid

Finally, this last toy BLEW MY MIND. You need to check out the BB-8 App-Enabled Droid.

Basically it’s a mini version of the new droid BB-8 – the one with the floating head – as seen in the The Force Awakens. Why is this so cool?  Because I can’t figure out how they actually made the thing work in real life.  You can control it via your phone, it takes voice commands, and the reviews on this are astounding.  It actually works and lives up to the promise… FOR ONLY $150!

Check out the video below, and if you don’t want one after seeing it in action then check you pulse because you may be dead. If you need a gift that will blow the mind of any Star Wars fan, this is it.

Perfect for the teen in your life who is addicted to their phone, this is a great way to get them off of Minecraft and – maybe just maybe – on their feet to explore with BB-8.

Seven Picture Books about Awkward Subjects

After the popularity of our post listing 21 Must Own Board Books we started to think about what books might be overlooked.  After walking into a children’s book store and seeing the classic, “Everyone Poops” it dawned on us: Books about Awkward Subjects!

So after a lot of research and reading we curated a list that goes everywhere from farting to porn to dealing with divorce.

Please enjoy, Seven Picture Books about Awkward Subjects!



Everyone Poops
by Taro Gomi & Amanda Mayer Stinchecum

  • Age Range: 1 and up

Everyone Poops is such a classic that it inspired this list. A great way to introduce potty training to your little one, it explains to your kids that everybody poops, from elephants to mice, and it explains where creatures do the deed, what it looks like and how it smells.   This humorous book keeps children entertained and hopefully, ultimately, more relaxed about the whole idea of using the potty.  Like many parents before us, when the time comes to potty train our little guy, this will be the first book we take off our library shelf.



It’s Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends
by Robie H. Harris & Michael Emberley

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years

It’s Not The Stork is a great book to assist in talking to your children about the inevitable Birds and the Bees. It has age appropriate information about anatomy, reproduction and even good and bad touching. It is very easy to navigate with bright, colorful illustrations that keep children engaged.

For many people this is a very taboo subject, but knowledge is power, and the more your children know the better decisions they can make later in life. This book will assist you with the uncomfortable conversations, and help you to discuss the importance of good versus bad touching, something that is so important to teach your children.

Starting these conversations early, before they can become taboo will helps make children feel more comfortable and able to discuss and ask questions as they get older.

Also check out It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families for kids aged 7-10.



The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts
by Shinta Cho & Amanda Mayer Stinchecum

  • Age Range: 2 and up

Obviously, this book is hilarious.  I mean, what kid doesn’t love talking about farts.  Beyond a genuinely hilarious text written in a frank and informal style, this book is actually informative and includes a diagram of the digestive system and other illustrations to explain the science behind digestion and… Well, farts.  Want to know what foods make gas stink? How about the amount of gas you pass each day?  I bet you do now; and, most likely your kids want to know too.



I Said No! A Kid-to-kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private
by Kimberly King, Zack King & Sue Rama

  • Age Range: 4 and up

I Said No! is a kid friendly guide to understanding personal boundaries.  This conversation is critically important and this book will help your child prepare for any circumstances he/she may encounter.

This book is told from a child’s perspective, and using child-friendly language it covers inappropriate touching, how to deal with inappropriate actions and/or threats, and when touching is appropriate and with whom.  This book is written in a flexible nature allowing it be used with older kids.

One area we like is that this book gives prompts for you to discuss specific concepts with your own children on your own terms.  For example, parents may be uncomfortable using the true anatomical terms vs. cutesy terms so the book provides a nice segue so that you can explain using your own terminology.

I would say this is a must have book for anyone looking to teach their child about the dangers of inappropriate touching.


Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids
by Kristen A. Jenson M.A., Debbie Fox and Gail A. Poyner Ph.D.

  • Age Range: School age and up

Yep.  We found it.  A book to help you talk to your kids about porn.

Written as comfortable, read-aloud story it tells the story of a mom and dad who are teaching their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it.  While this might be a book you want to read in advance to make sure it aligns with your views on sex education these are conversations you should be having in this modern internet era.

The theme of this book is that your child will eventually be exposed to porn, most often by accident. As a result they need to know what it is so that they can handle the potentially shocking images without trauma.

The thrill a child receives from viewing forbidden content can lead to addictive behavior so this book also contains detailed sections on addiction.  These self-awareness skills may prove helpful later in life when your child is confronted with drugs and alcohol.



Potty
by Leslie Patricell

  • Age Range: 1 – 3 years

Picking a traditional potty training book for this list was insanely difficult.  We decided to focus on a good entry to the topic and Potty by Leslie Patricelli answered that call. With simple text it’s easily memorizable by  your toddler, making it a great book that they can “read” while sitting on the potty themselves.  But, the secret trick is that the sparse text is spread out over 28 pages making is a nice slow process where your child can look at the pictures, giving them (and you) the time to sit and wait for something to happen.

I essence the story focuses on a toddler who has to “go potty.” Scared the child investigates what the dog and and cat do for their own potty needs. Several pages later, and after some hesitation, the toddler tries the potty where they find success.

It would be nice if this book included more about “post potty” time like wiping and washing hands, but I think the intention here is to get kids used to the idea and concepts.  Many parents report great success after reading this book at bed time for several nights before actually having their own child try the potty.



Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce
by Tamara Schmitz

  • Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Standing on My Own Two Feet is a beautifully illustrated story about a little boy who’s parents are going through a divorce. If a book can put a positive spin on a painful topic, this one can – provided you are sharing custody. The story aims to teach your child that even though Mommy and Daddy can’t be together anymore, they both still love him and the divorce is NOT the child’s fault.  It will teach your child that having two homes isn’t a bad thing and that your child can still be happy.

The Dancing Baby That Changed Law

You may remember the news back in 2007 about how Universal Music Group freaked out and got YouTube to take down a 29-second long video of a baby dancing.  Why?  A song by Prince was playing in the background.  What is amazing to me is that the audio quality is so horrible that I’m practically unable to recognize the Prince song being played and I am a Prince fan!  This was shot back way in 2007 when YouTube was but an infant itself.

Universal claimed that the video was copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The ironically named Stephanie Lenz (get it?  Lenz? Like a camera lens?), who uploaded the video and is the mother of the baby, sued Universal for wrongly targeting lawful fair use.  This is pretty amazing when you think about it.  How many mom’s and dad’s would have just rolled their eyes and taken the video down?  Nope, not Lenz.  She knew this was stupid and fought for your rights to post your home movies.

The story caught the attention of the media at first, but as it slowly made it’s way though the courts everyone forgot about it. Now we finally have a decision that impacts the video she uploaded and extends way beyond into the thousands of videos upload by parents each year to Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.

On September 14th a three-judge panel in San Francisco’s federal appeals court sided with the dancing baby and ruled unanimously in favor of Lenz, saying that copyright holders must consider whether a use of material is fair before sending a take-down notice.

NPR’s Laura Sydell put it succinctly saying, “Fair Use permits people to use copyrighted material in certain situations like satire or news. Now three judges on the 9th circuit say that unless Universal evaluated whether it was fair use, it may have violated the rights of the video maker. The case is significant because critics say copyright owners like Universal abuse the take down process often at the expense of free expression.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, who represented Lens in the lawsuit, pointed to how this ruling will impact the 2016 presidential election by stating, “The decision made by the appeals court today has ramifications far beyond Ms. Lenz’s rights to share her video with family and friends. We will all watch a lot of online video and analysis of presidential candidates in the months to come, and this ruling will help make sure that information remains uncensored.”

So the next time you take a cute video of your kid dancing to a gratuitously sexual 80’s pop-funk genius – don’t fret.  That video is YOUR video.  This extends beyond kids too… Is the dog doing something stupid?  Quick, get a video! Let’s Go Crazy!

 

Man Attempts to Steal Baby from Car

File this under, “Reasons to never leave you house.”

Local news affiliate WMAZ in Georgia reported a nightmarish tale that makes me want to invent a 6-point car seat harness that shoots lasers and is protected by a cage of razor wire.

After taking her daughter to a doctor visit, Isabel Midence, 35, of Lawrenceville GA swung into a McDonalds for breakfast. She was shocked when she went to exit her car stating, “When I was ready to get out, someone opened the door.”

A strange man had opened the door and was actively trying to steal Isabel’s daughter from her car seat. “Her left arm got stuck with the belt” she said. His reaction? He pulled the baby out by her neck.

Yes, by the baby’s neck.

Luckily Isabel was traveling with her father and the two of them worked to fight off the kidnapper. As she held onto her baby for dear life she used the most basic of tools as a weapon, her teeth!

“When I was fighting with him I kicked him, and bit him because I was holding my baby in my arms,” she said.

Now that’s a move you don’t see in MMA. Well done Isabel!

After the man ran off, police tracked him to a nearby hotel where they found Sterlyn Reynolds, 19, and charged him with Kidnapping and Cruelty to Children. Reynolds told police he had no knowledge of what happened. If you are concerned about him being a case of mistaken identity, police arrested him because he fit the description and he had a bite mark on his arm.

I can’t even imagine the post traumatic stress this mom is going to deal with after this incident. When my kid walks near a table with sharp corners I feel freaked out. This would make me live in a locked down bunker.

I’m fascinated to know what the motivation was for the alleged Sterlyn Reynolds. What type of scum bag tries to kidnap a child, and how crazy do you need to be to try and steal a kid out of a buckled carseat?!