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June 17, 2021

Idle Time Can Land Kids in Hot Water This Summer

With the summer school break upon us, now is the time for parents to consider how they can keep their tween or teen safe and out of hot water amid the glut of seasonal down time.

In addition to health and safety concerns, “there are many unforeseen legal pitfalls parents should be aware of,” says San Diego, California attorney Jeff Isaac.

While specific laws and policies vary from state to state, these are some things to keep in mind over the summer, says Isaac:

1. Curfew:  Many parents have no idea about the laws relating to curfew, which vary from city to city, says Isaac.  Generally, 10 p.m. is the most common curfew time, but there are exceptions. Breaking curfew can result in legal consequences. (And don't even get me started on safety concerns here.)

2. Graffiti and Vandalism: Those who mark up community walls and buildings with graffiti are breaking the law. Kids may find themselves financially liable and may face criminal penalties. Parents also are often found financially liable when their kids damage or destroy the property of others, sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars.

3. Underage Drinking: There are a litany of legal offenses associated with minors and alcohol or drugs, which range from misdemeanors to felonies. This in addition to the threats to the child’s health, safety and well-being.

4. Tobacco Use:
Most retail outlets check the identification of anyone seemingly under the age of 18 who is attempting to purchase tobacco products. Misdemeanor charges could apply if a minor uses a false ID to make such a transaction.

Bottom line: In addition to talking with your tween or teen about health and safety issues this summer, discuss legal consequences as well.

June 16, 2021

STOP Using Zicam Cold-Remedy Nasal Gel & Swabs

Dear Readers,

It's not often that I post an FDA warning as a blog post, but my family has used Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs for a year or two now, and this warming is pretty disconcerting! Please read this and check your medicine cabinet today.

FDA Advises Consumers Not To Use Certain Zicam Cold Remedies...
Intranasal Zinc Product Linked to Loss of Sense of Smell

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today advised consumers to stop using three products marketed over-the-counter as cold remedies because they are associated with the loss of sense of smell (anosmia). Anosmia may be long-lasting or permanent.

The products are:
    --Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel
    --Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs
    --Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size (a discontinued product)

The FDA has received more than 130 reports of loss of sense of smell associated with the use of these three Zicam products. In these reports, many people who experienced a loss of smell said the condition occurred with the first dose; others reported a loss of the sense of smell after multiple uses of the products.

“Loss of sense of smell is a serious risk for people who use these products for relief from cold symptoms,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “We are concerned that consumers may unknowingly use a product that could cause serious harm, and therefore we are advising them not to use these products for any reason.”

People who have experienced a loss of sense of smell or other problems after use of the affected Zicam products should contact their health care professional. The loss of sense of smell can adversely affect a person’s quality of life, and can limit the ability to detect the smell of gas or smoke or other signs of danger in the environment.

The FDA has issued Matrixx Initiatives, maker of these Zicam products, a warning letter telling it that these products cannot be marketed without FDA approval.

“Companies have an obligation to the public to demonstrate to the FDA that their products are safe, particularly when there is evidence they may be causing serious adverse events, and they are marketed for minor, self-limiting conditions like the common cold,” said Deborah M. Autor, director of CDER’s Office of Compliance.

Health care professionals and consumers are encouraged to report adverse events (side effects) that may be related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online, by regular mail, fax or phone.
    --Regular Mail: use FDA postage paid form 3500 and mail to MedWatch, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787
    --Fax: 800-FDA-0178
    --Phone: 800-FDA-1088

For more information:

Does Your Daughter Compare Herself With Celebrities?

I keep hearing about tween and teen girls who think they have to buy the latest clothes (which may not fit the family budget), slap on lots of makeup, agonize in front of the mirror every morning and do everything in their power to look as good as the models and celebrities they see in magazines.

They constantly strive to live up to an image that is just that: an image. Wouldn't we ALL like to have a team of hair stylists, makeup artists and photographers with flattering lighting at our disposal?

Fact is, many celebrities, when you take away all that stuff, look very much like average people. While I won't link to those awful "celebrities without makeup" sites (where they go out of their way to find and photograph celebrities on their worst days), I do think a fair comparison is a healthy thing.

On the left is Kelly Clarkson, certainly an attractive young woman, in an "after" photo.  The hair and makeup folks have done their thing, and a professional photographer has made her look even better.

On the right, here's Kelly with no makeup. Still an attractive young woman. But this photo lets us see that, without all the glitz, glam and Photoshopping that make up a magazine cover shot, people don't looks like magazine covers!

It's important that we talk with our daughters about body image, self esteem and what's REAL in life — as opposed to what they see on the newsstand, on TV, etc. that has been created to sell, sell, sell.

June 15, 2021

Traveling With Kids? Don't Skimp Here

Love, love, love Travel Savvy Mom. So many great tips from moms who live in the real world and who know what it's really like to travel with kids — especially young kids.

Kayt Sukel has written a terrific post today: "Things to NEVER Skimp on While Traveling With Kids." Her top-five list (created after polling other moms on Twitter and FaceBook):

°    An extra seat on the plane (in addition to the reasons listed, I'd also add: safety)
°    Snacks
°    Direct flights
°    A DVD player
°    Something new

Check out her post to get the scoop. Kayt's anecdote about the GREAT deal she got online on a hotel room for her family is worth the read, too. ;)

June 12, 2021

This, Too, Shall Pass

Maybe it's being married to Randy for (wow) 15 years. Maybe it's having a kid who is at the "baiting-mom-and-dad-for-sport" stage. Whatever it is, I've found myself saying "this, too, shall pass" quite a bit lately.

Some days it feels like I'm just a hamster on a wheel: Take Matt to school. Work. Go to the grocery store. Work. Call the cable company-orthodontist-cell-phone-company about the question/problem of the day. Go to the drug store. Work. Pick up Matt. Wonder what to make for dinner. Listen to complaints about homework...

I've had too many conversations with my mom friends that go like this: "Isn't school out YET? I'm so sick of homework. The kids are driving me crazy... Yadda, yadda, yadda." We've all done it, right?

Then this morning I saw an elderly man standing in line next to me at the grocery store, holding a beautiful purple-flowered plant in a cute pot. A surprise gift for his wife? I wondered.

"That's such a pretty plant," I said.

"It's a gift for a neighbor who brought me some homemade soup," he replied. "I wanted to say thanks."

There was no wife waiting at home to be surprised by pretty purple flowers. The kids, if there were any, grew up and moved out decades ago.

"This, too, shall pass." How many times had I said those words to myself? To my husband? To my girlfriends?

And I'm right, of course. Kids grow up and move on. Beloved spouses die. This life that I have with Randy and Matt will never again be exactly like it is this week, this month, this year.

I'm no Pollyanna. I know the next time I'm at girls' night out with my mom friends, we won't all be sitting around painting a perfect picture of domestic bliss. We all have challenges and frustrations.

But I want to remember that sweet old man and his purple flowers tonight when Randy comes home from work. I want to focus on the good stuff when I pick up Matt from school and ask about his day. I want to hold them both a little closer and keep in mind that this sweet life I have with them won't last forever.

Because this, too, shall pass.

June 11, 2021

Is My Child Getting Enough Sleep?

Rubens Two Sleeping Children

During the summer, it can be hard for parents and kids to keep a steady sleep schedule. How much sleep do kids need? Check out these guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation.

Better Sleep Council spokesperson Lissa Coffey offers the following tips to help parents ensure a good night’s sleep for their children.

1.   Set a Regular Bedtime For Your Child — and Stick to It. The Obama daughters have an 8:30 pm bedtime. This is an ideal time to tuck children in, especially when kids need to be up early for summer activities.

2.    Don't Over-Schedule Your Child. Too many summertime activities and commitments can keep children from getting enough sleep. Allow your child plenty of time during the day for outdoor recreation, summer lessons and chores to ensure that they are not up past their bedtime.

3.   Develop a Sleep Ritual That Will Help Your Child Unwind Before Bed. Allow your child at least one hour before bedtime to relax and unwind.  Try relaxing activities, like taking a bath or reading with your child, to help him or her transition into sleep mode.  This is also a special time to share with your child. Avoid loud music and television prior to bedtime. 

4.   Keep Computers and Television out of the Bedroom. The bedroom should be used for sleep only. Watching television or going online can be tempting for children once you’ve tucked them in and left the room.  Also, be sure radio and MP3 ear pods are out of their ears when you say goodnight!

For more helpful sleep tips, please visit www.bettersleep.org.

June 10, 2021

Need a Quickie Dinner Idea for Tonight? (Who Doesn't?)

pasta sauce

I actually got out the crock pot AND the food processor this morning. Chopped up turkey sausage and an onion, sauteed both for a few minutes and added it to a jar of pasta sauce in the crock pot. House smells great! 

I forget how helpful these two items can be — especially during weeks like this, when we're running Matt to and from Wizard of Oz rehearsal constantly!

I love having a crock-pot meal ready to go, but I don't like to spend time on week days doing a lot of chopping and prep work. I'm going to save this idea for crazed weekday nights. Took about 15 minutes to put together. (And that's about as Martha Stewart as I get!)

June 09, 2021

Follow Your Favorite Parenting Magazines on Twitter

Whether you're in Little Rock or Los Angeles, Columbus or Charlotte, there's a parenting magazine near you.

And now you can get up-to-the minute local parenting info — and perhaps even chat with the editor — by following your favorite parenting magazine on Twitter.

Check out this list, which seems to grow weekly, and send these folks a hello tweet!

(Parenting editors, if you'd like to be added to this list, just tweet me at @kathysena or drop a line to kathy@kathysena.com. Thanks.)

Atlanta Parent (GA): AtlantaParent

Bay Area Parent - Silicon Valley (CA): @BayAreaParentSV

Boston Parents Paper (MA): @BostonParents

Calgary’s Child (CANADA): @CalgarysChild

Carolina Parent (NC) @CarolinaParent  

Central Penn Parent (PA): @CPennParent

Charlotte Parent (NC): @charlotteparent

Charlotte Parent Web Editor (NC): @CLTparentweb

Chesapeake Family (MD): @ChesFamily

Chicago Parent (IL): @ChicagoParent

Coastal Family (GA): @coastalfamily

Colorado Parent Magazine (CO): @ColoParentMag

Columbus Parent (OH: @ColumbusParent

Curious Parents (NJ): @curiousparents

Dallas Child (TX): @dallaschild1

Fredericksburg Parent (VA): @FredParent

Genesee Valley Parent Magazine (NY): @GVParentMag

Giggles on the Go (Washington D.C.): @gigglesonthego

Houston Family (TX): @HoustonFamily

Kansas City Parent (MO): @KCParent

L.A. Parent (CA): @carolyngraham

L.A. Parent Health-E blog (CA): @Health_E

LIParentSource.com (NY): @LIParentSource

Little Rock Family (AR): @LRFamily

Metro Family (OK): @metrofamily

Metro Parent (MI): @MetroParent

Neapolitan Family Magazine (FL): neafamilymag

New Jersey Family Magazine (NJ): @njfamilymag

O.C. Family (CA): @ocfamily

Our Kids San Antonio (TX): @OurKidsMagazine

Parenting and Babytalk (National): @parenting

Parents and Kids (MA) @Parentsandkids

Piedmont Parent (NC) @piedmontparent

Staten Island Parent (NY): @SIParent

SW Florida Parent & Child (FL): @gulfcoastmoms

Today’s Parent (Canada): Todaysparent

Treasure Valley Family (ID): @lizbuckingham

Westchester Family (NY): @WestchesterFam

Wilmington Parent (NC): @WilmingtnParent

June 08, 2021

Save $$ on Father's Day Gifts

I recently discovered CurrentCodes.com, a clearinghouse for promotional codes that allows you to get discounts or free shipping at online stores.

Nearly all Web merchants now have a place in their checkout procedure for entering promotional codes. 
CurrentCodes.com identifies these codes and makes them available to everyone. The company’s staff follows more than 2,000 top retailers to make sure the codes are accurate and current.

Just in time for Father's Day, the site offers promotional codes for Jos. A. Bank, Men’s Warehouse, NBAstore.com, ties.com and more.

I'm always up for a discount, and when I'm shopping on the Web, there's nothing better than free shipping! So I'll be checking out CurrentCodes.com for Father's Day.

June 07, 2021

From Munchkin to Tin Man — How Fast They Grow Up

I have "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" on an endless loop in my brain because my son, Matt, is the Tin Man in a 52-kid production of The Wizard of Oz put on by the children's theater program at our church.

Now 13, Matt has been involved in these productions since he was 5. He loves it.

Of course, nothing those kids do goes unphotographed by at least 25 moms. (You've been there, done that, I'm sure.) So I have a wonderful record of every show (I've lost count) from The Nutcracker to Mary Poppins to TWO productions of The Wizard of Oz...

And that allows for a real picture of just how fast time is passing. On days when I'm going crazy running from school to play rehearsal to baseball practice, I'm reminded of the phrase "The days are long but the years are short." Ain't it the truth!

Now I'm watching the current crop of Munchkins (they look so little!) and thinking back to just six years ago to when 7-year-old Matt was a Munchkin himself. Now he's 5'9", covered in silver face paint and metal and singing "If I Only Had a Heart."

It's enough to make a mom's heart pretty full.

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