u.s. study of children’s health seeks ramsey county women

The National Children’s Study — the largest and longest study of children’s health ever conducted in the U.S. — is now enrolling pregnant women and their children in Ramsey County to better understand how a child’s family history and environment influence their health and well-being.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota Study Center (who are leading the study for Ramsey County) will look at what factors contribute to child health problems such as autism, asthma, obesity, diabetes, and attention deficit disorder.  Researchers are currently reaching out to 31,000 households across 16 neighborhoods in Ramsey County to enroll hundreds of women. This unique national study will follow more than 100,000 children in the United States from before birth until age 21.

To find out if you are eligible to join, call 1-866-315-7126 or send an email to  More information can also be found at,, or

pull out a plum

Whole grains and 100% real fruit combine in handy, resealable BPA-free packaging that is easy to squeeze and definitely kid-pleasing. Our child testers all agreed as they held out their hands for more: Plum Organics’ premium organic snacks and meals are delicious. In a variety of flavors and textures and including oats, rice, quinoa, bananas, prunes, and more, these on-the-go packages are great for every day — or emergency hunger pangs. Available at Whole Foods, Target, Linden Hills Co-op, and online at

water safety

Many of you might remember the tragedy of Edina’s Abigail Taylor, who was disemboweled in a kiddy pool in 2007 and died the following year. A Foundation was established in her name and if you have not visited, we encourage you to do soon. At its core is tireless work providing education and advocacy for comprehensive pool and spa safety standards.

Here are some thoughts from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission and Viking Spas on how you can follow safety practices to avoid common injuries including drowning, hair entanglement, body entrapment, or illness or scald burns due to high water temperature.

Begin with a family conversation, setting rules for the spa, pool, or hot tub — both while it is in use and when it is not.

To prevent drowning, hair entanglements and body part entrapments, install anti-entrapment drain covers, tie-up long hair, and avoid getting too close to the drain. An anti-entrapment drain cover helps protect against hair entanglement and body part entrapments. Prevent entrapment by making sure spa drains have a dome-shaped outlet and two outlets for each pump, which will help reduce suction if one drain is blocked. Make sure all spa users know where the emergency cut off switch is. Each year, spa owners should hire a professional to make sure their spa is in safe working condition.

When the spa or pool is not in use, secure it with a protective barrier such as a locking safety cover and self-latching gate for an extra layer of protection. The locking safety cover and gate will ensure that young children do not enter the area without adult supervision.

To learn more about spa safety, visit or For other tips and information on Abbey’s Hope, visit

a fair to remember

On Thrifty Thursday, August 25, it’s just $10 a head to get into the Great American Get-Together, also known as the Minnesota State Fair. For a step back in time, hit the Leinie Lodge Bandshell and see Morris Day & The Time, free with admission, at 8:30 p.m. There’s actually plenty of free entertainment: just go to and click on “free entertainment” under the “entertainment” header. Want to see a master yodeler? Yep — he’s there on the 25th, too. The Belfast Cowboys? Head over to the Bazaar After Dark. Want to sing to your sweetie? Go to Murphy Avenue across from the Pet Center and participate in the first-ever Giant Sing Along, a participatory public art project.

Our pick? No matter how old you are, the Doggies of the Wild West performance at noon, 3 and 6 p.m. has our attention.

Wrap up your evening with a walk through the Midway and watch the fireworks close up the evening. $20? Now that’s a cheap date.

twice as nice

A new Twin Cities chapter of Loved Twice ( has been established. This organization, originally established in the Bay Area, is aimed at providing the first year’s clothing to newborns-in-need. Loved Twice gives each new mother a box containing a boy or girl wardrobe consisting of approximately 75 items. Coordinator Jen Patterson is working with local social agencies to deliver the boxes to area hospitals, shelters, and clinics.

A group of volunteers, along with Patterson, will be launching a metro-wide clothing drive starting August 1. The drive will run the month of August with a goal to provide a year’s worth of clothing to 100 Twin Cities babies. Loved Twice is collecting new and gently-used clothing in sizes 0–12 months, as well as blankets, board books, small (appropriate) toys, and other small items.

If you would like to make a donation (Minnesota Parent will be donating all products from its upcoming Baby issue to the cause, for example), email or visit its page on Facebook at

get a brewed awakening

If a cup o’ joe helps you (or your college-bound kid) get through the daily grind, this coffee-maker from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf might be your new best friend. Its slick design and one-touch feature were a big hit with MNParent staff, and while a certain somebody gulped down all the handy one-cup pods, we took the higher ground and ordered more for ourselves. Accessories include a milk frother and whisk for specialty drinks. Plenty of color options for any décor, about $130 online at

medical record keeping

Minnesota Parent’s physician advisor, Dr. Michael Spilane, stresses the importance of keeping an accurate record of your child’s (and your) medical history on hand. One would think that in our very mobile society, records would be easier to access, but other factors can come into play, Says Spilane, “Patients move to different cities. Patients get ill while traveling. Doctors move to different practices. Insurance requires patients to switch doctors, or switch hospitals. And multiple physician specialists may be involved in a patient’s care, each keeping separate records. The end result is that medical records can be anywhere and everywhere.”

So, what can you do? Spilane suggests everyone become better keepers of their own medical histories.

Start with a ledger, computer file, or even a simple spiral notebook. On separate pages, list Hospitalizations, Medical Illness & Diagnoses, Drug Use & Reactions, Immunizations, Past Surgery, and Tests and Procedures. Be as specific as possible when you list the information. In the Hospitalizations section list the name of the hospital, date of admission, number or days of confinement, reason for admission, and the final diagnostic impression of the treating physicians. In the Drug Use & Reactions section keep track of current medications, past medication use, and any reaction or side effect. Under Medical Illness & Diagnoses list specific ailments and conditions such as broken bones, prolonged illness such as flu, sprains, or sports injuries. Ask your doctor to give you printed copies of test and procedure results so these can also be filed.

The small amount of time it takes to record and update a personal medical history can pay big dividends when you need assistance from a physician who does not have access to formal records. Start now. It’s not too late. And bring your personal medical information along whenever you visit a doctor.