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Safety
Q: I keep hearing about pinworms: How will we know if our kid gets them?A: Many aspects of pinworms — how to find them and how they’re spread — are very unpleasant. Fortunately, pinworms usually aren’t a serious health issue. These creatures are small, thin worms that live in the intestinal tract. When an adult worm is ready to lay eggs, she migrates out to the skin around the anal opening and deposits the eggs. This usually happens at night. The presence of the adult worm and/or eggs can... more
Q: Who should parents call if they suspect abuse at daycare?A: If you ever have any concerns that your child has been abused or neglected by a caregiver, contact your child’s doctor right away for advice on what to do next. This may involve an immediate office visit. If the issue is something that goes beyond what a doctor’s office can handle —... more
More than 40 percent of mothers choose to stay at home for a significant amount of time after having children.Reentering the workforce, however, can be a bear.In Moms For Hire: 8 Steps to Kickstart Your Next Career, L.A. film and television producer (and single mother of four) Deborah Jelin Newmyer offers encouragement and solid advice as well as... more
Minneapolis author Eric Dregni remembers being sent to camp at age 6, kicking and screaming.Now a father of three, a college professor and the dean of the Italian Concordia Language Village, Lago del Bosco, in Hackensack, Dregni has published a humorous memoir about the challenges and rewards of overnight camp. You’re Sending Me Where? Dispatches... more
I recently helped organize a casual baby shower at a workplace gathering for a colleague. Thanks to a small group of creative teachers, we were able to pull off a Pinterest-worthy, Welcome Bébé-themed baby shower for our French-teacher mama-to-be. We shared pink cupcakes and offered words of advice over lunch with more than 100... more
Paul and Kristen Abdo (pictured above) of Edina were on their way home from a night out — trying to figure out how long they’d been away and if they had enough cash to pay their sitter — when they realized: There must be an easier way to not only pay the baby sitter, but also to book sitters.So the parents, who have three kids, created their very... more
Looking down at my newborn boy, whose slow, rhythmic sucking matched the metronome of my heartbeat, I felt tears forming at the corner of my eye. But these weren’t tears of joy; they were tears of pain. My neck, my back, my shoulders — everything — felt stiff, sore and tense. As much as I wanted to relax, I simply couldn’t. Instead of... more
It’s the big “but …” of toddlerhood. As in, “This would be the best age, but ...” or “He’s such a sweet kid, but …”If there’s one thing that universally challenges toddler parents, it’s tantrums. Much like earthquakes, they vary in style, duration, intensity and frequency. Between the ages of 1 and 3, these fits are as certain as a fault line... more
The Midwest Fetal Care Center in Minneapolis was a marvel when it opened a year ago, offering life-saving fetal surgeries to babies in utero, including twins. Now the center has expanded its services to include open fetal surgeries with a special emphasis on treating spina bifida.Literally meaning “split spine,” the condition (which begins... more
Jennifer, a mom of two, was standing at the kitchen counter, slicing an apple for her son, Michael, when she heard a horrendous banging noise coming from the other side of the room. She immediately turned around to see her son smashing the door of the refrigerator with a baseball bat.“Stop! Stop!” she screamed as she wrestled the bat away... more
You’ve finally arrived. You’re the parent of teenagers. You’ve made it through the sleepless nights of babyhood, the tedious making of multiple lunches and snacks every morning. You share your home with somewhat independent creatures that may not keep a tidy bathroom, but show glimmers of their own future adultness. It’s hard not to make... more
Q: Can teething cause diarrhea or fever?  A: There are many misconceptions about symptoms associated with teething. Research has shown that low-grade fevers can be seen with teething. However, any temperature of 101 or higher very likely isn’t due to teething, but rather some sort of infection. Looser stools can... more
Social skills can be hard to master for anyone, and the unwritten rules that prescribe them in our fast-paced culture can be all too easy to miss for some children. Where should I sit in the cafeteria? What do I do when I get into a fight with one of my friends? What happens when no one seems to be interested in the same things I am? ... more
Q: Our preschooler has a really hard time sitting ‘crisscross applesauce’ during circle time. He instead sits with his legs in a W shape. Do we need to break him of this habit to protect his knees?A: As you may have already discovered, there are differing opinions on the topic of W-sitting.It can be common for younger children to prefer to sit in... more
Q: Our daughter recently got over strep and a mom at school told us to watch out for ‘PANDAS?’ What’s she talking about?A: PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections. It’s a relatively newly known syndrome, first described in the late 1990s. Revised diagnostic criteria and guidelines... more
Kitestring calls itself “your virtual overprotective mom.”It’s a free, text-based service (not an app) invented by an MIT student who was worried about his girlfriend getting home OK.To use it, you text a time frame to Kitestring. When the time frame has passed, the service sends you a text, asking you to check in. If you don’t respond, Kitestring... more
Bring on the next MasterChef Junior! Sized just right for little hands, this 17-piece intro-to-baking box was a hit during our annual Toy Test.But this gift set isn’t just a toy. All the tools and pieces are designed for real cooking and repeat use.Though technically recommended for ages 3 and older, it seems like a good fit (with supervision) for... more
This teething ring — made from untreated Indian hardwood and finished with vegetable seed wax — features the added bonus of bunny-esque ears made of organic cotton.If you’re feeling overwhelmed by plastic, check out these “teething ears” (available in many prints and colors) — along with rest of the amazing-looking Finn & Emma collection.... more
Whenever I learn that one of my friends is going to have a baby, I promptly begin to panic on her behalf. “Congratulations!” I yelp, hoping my frozen smile will mask my palpable anxiety. I realize how crappy this is. For one thing, I’m taking someone else’s big life event and making it all about me. Furthermore, can’t I just stop... more
Sailing instructor Madison Hobbs had a clear view of all her beginning sailors, working in teams of three to balance and maneuver their 8-foot training vessels, powered only by the steady winds coming off Lake Calhoun.In one boat, kids chatted excitedly, working to angle their sail just right, trying not to tip over. In another, two boys... more
As promised in last month’s issue, Dad’s Night Out (DNO) follows Mom’s Night Out (MNO).I really want to make it clear: You dads need to do this! Though it’s sometimes implied that new fathers inherently have more freedom (you don’t lease your womb to occupants, you don’t breastfeed), you, too, need to remember what it’s like to be autonomous... more
Mothers have a reputation of living their lives for other people. Indeed, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that for me, as a kindergarten teacher-mother of four, I could spend every waking hour doing something productive that involves some sort of service to others, whether that’s cooking family meals, doing laundry,... more
I have no excuse for my consternation. We’ve been warned for years. All along, we’ve heard comments in response to the antics of our kids’ younger personalities, playfully pointed out as little foreshadows of what might be yet to come: Oh, you think that’s bad? Just wait ’til they’re teenagers!She’s so pretty. Better watch out: You’... more
For parents of a child with a disability, it can be a challenge to find a summer camp that’s fun, rewarding and welcoming. “It’s so hard to find activities, especially for girls on the autism spectrum,” one mom told The PACER Center.PACER is out to change that. Every August for the past 14 years, PACER, located in Bloomington, has run its... more
Parents face many factors when deciding whether — and where — to send a kid to summer camp. Do the dates work with your family’s travel plans for the summer? Will your child miss out on a lot of sports or other activities at home? Will she make friends at camp?Will you choose a camp that focuses on sports, religion, outdoor activities,... more
Parents are unwittingly putting children in increased danger because of common car seat mistakes. Here's how to keep your favorite tiny passengers safe.Installation rules, manufacturer regulations, confusing gadgetry and ever-evolving laws that vary by age — trying to understand car seat safety can feel like falling blindly into a black hole.This... more
If your kid’s headphones seem seriously cranked, check out Etymotic’s ETY-Kids5 Safe-Listening Earphones for ages 4 and up.These noise-isolating buds are specially designed for safer sound output, so they’re safe, even when your teen turns the volume up to 11. $39 • amazon.com • etymotic.com more
Take a trip back in time to your childhood and think about how you loved to spend your days.Many of us can remember joyful, uninterrupted hours of play — whether it was spent building LEGO creations, constructing a fort in the woods or dreaming up imaginary worlds for our dolls. Flash forward to today’s jam-packed schedules, increased... more
During my son’s earlier years, I wasn’t a confident parent. And the problem was wildly exacerbated during daycare drop-offs. Instead of emitting calm during the hand-off, I would respond to my son’s every effort to resist our separation.Oh, honey, you don’t want me to leave? How about one more hug? OK: How about I sit here for a bit and play... more
Q: What could cause dark under-eye circles in my toddler?A: The area under eyes has thin and delicate skin, which often will easily show the capillary bed, which can show up in the form of dark, under-eye circles. Among young children, the most common cause is nasal congestion. This can be caused by allergies, smoke exposure, a recent upper-... more
 Q: We saw this supplement at Costco and on Amazon and we were intrigued because our 5-year-old has been presenting some ADHD-like symptoms at school. It promises to ‘support memory, concentration and focus.’ Is it worth a shot before trying prescription drugs? Reviews online seem positive.A: First it should be noted that 5-year-olds are... more
Q: Are all types of child-care centers required to accept children with disabilities? A: Yes. The Minnesota Human Rights Act requires that all public accommodations, such as child-care centers, provide access to their services to individuals with disabilities. Are child-care centers required to accept all children with disabilities?No.... more
Early mornings, sleep-deprived parents, a time crunch and, of course, emotional youngsters, desperate for their parents’ attention. It’s the perfect storm for catastrophe. And yet, that’s when one of the toughest parts of the day looms — the dreaded daycare drop-off. Day after day, we peel away our sobbing offspring and we’re left with a... more
My son started attending his in-home daycare when he was about 10 months old. The thing about in-home daycare is that there’s a certain “family” element to the whole thing. You might get to know your provider’s partner and children. You might catch glimpses of their family life when you run into them after hours at the nearby ice cream shop.... more
Each year, 250,000 children in the U.S. are treated for exposure to cleaning products at home, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.Finding alternatives to harsh, potentially harmful cleaning agents is one way to protect children from accidental poisonings.Fortunately, non-toxic cleaning products can be just as effective and are far... more
There’s regular PlayDoh (playdoh.com) and homemade play dough (tinyurl.com/playdough-mn). And now there’s Eco-Dough, an all-natural play dough made with plant, fruit and vegetable extracts.It’s lightly scented with essential oils (which keep the dough soft and pliable), so your hands smell and feel great — and slightly moisturized — when you’re... more
Squeezy bath toys are super fun! But how do you ever really get them clean?If the very thought of mold potentially growing inside your kid’s bath toys creeps you out, we suggest you check out Marcus & Marcus’ silicone squirting bath toys, which can be taken apart and easily and air dried — or even run through the dishwasher (top rack only).... more
Every month Minnesota Parent receives self-help parenting books filled with stories about how hard to is to parent (and why), but they’re woefully short on solutions. They’re 98 percent backstory. This book — How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk (part of a longtime bestselling series) — actually offers how-to... more
From the beginning of my parenting journey, I’ve looked at the faces of my children with a bit of wonder and awe. I behold them as gifts bestowed upon me. I’ve studied their expressions, their reactions and their moods from the time they were just babes in my arms. I consider it my job to lovingly guide them to pursue who they’re... more
Happy New Year, Minnesota parents!Will 2017 be a no-yell year for you? Will this be the year you finally take care of your marriage/partner/self (and not just your kiddos)? Will this be the year you become perfect and balanced and start going to the gym three times a week again?Of course it won’t. But as Amanda Bell — the #keepingitreal... more
Q: Which baby formula should we choose?A: Though the formula options available on store shelves can be dizzying — organic, iron-fortified, non-GMO, probiotic- and DHA/AHA-enhanced — the good news is, the major “brand name” formulas contain all the essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed for healthy infant growth and development. ... more
Q: Should twins sleep in separate bedrooms?A: Sleeping arrangements for your children is really a matter of what works best for your family. There’s no compelling need for twins to have separate bedrooms, nor do they automatically do best if they’re in the same room, especially when they’re very young. However, keep in mind that, after about... more
It’s tempting to hibernate during a frigid Minnesota winter, but your tots have just as much energy to burn now as ever.Making the most of the season, however, requires a bit of creative thinking — not to mention a lot of winter wear. I was reminded of this recently when I helped my young daughters run their very own hot cocoa stand. (Yes,... more
Last spring, just a few months shy of his 9th birthday, my otherwise healthy, active child began complaining of stomachaches. The first time he complained, I kept him home from school and fed him popsicles and crackers until lunchtime, by which point he had made a miraculous recovery. The week progressed as usual until Friday when he once... more
I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was not a banner year. I don’t want to get too specific; we were all there.Sure, it’s tempting to say something Minnesotan — “Oooooh well, that sure was something, huh? Guess it can’t get much worse than that now, can it?”But I can’t summon the energy to fake some sort of Midwestern obliviousness.... more
Welcome to our Technology Issue!Yes, it’s that time of year when we address one of the biggest distractions human children have ever known — digital media. Given our issue theme, I thought this might be a good time to return to the story of my 8-year-old son and his technology use.Maybe you remember how, in our June Issue, I wrote about the... more
The group of parents now raising tweens is the last to grow up — basically — without the Internet. The good news is that, having received our first email addresses on dinosaur systems as college students, we DO know how the web works. We all have Facebook (well almost all of us), plus most of its cousins. We’re hooked on getting answers... more
White snow, bright sun and dry skin — it’s wintertime in Minnesota! This time of year, typically November through March, people of all ages struggle with skin issues. And for kids, winter can be a particularly uncomfortable time of year. In fact, roughly 20 percent of babies develop dry, sensitive skin, and older kids face special skin... more
I recently took a walk around Como Lake in opposition of typical traffic flow.Not only did I see the knockout fall colors from another angle, but I also looked upon more faces. Intrigued, I actually made an effort to smile and nod — maybe say hello — to each and every person (and dog) I passed.Even if I felt shy, even if the passerby looked... more
If your child is struggling with overeating, it can be incredibly hard to discuss the issue.Aimed at helping parents of ages 10 to 18, Free Your Child from Overeating — written by therapist and mother four Michelle Maidenberg — helps families address the causes of overeating and offers more than 50 mind-body strategies rooted in cognitive... more
Q: My 1-year-old isn’t walking. How can I encourage her to at least try?A: It takes incredible strength, balance, coordination and bravery to take those first steps. Babies typically start walking between age 9 months and 15 months.Babies, who learn to walk best with bare feet, often begin near-walking by “creeping” alongside furniture or walking... more
Q: Our teenager listens to music with over-ear headphones and she CRANKS them so loud! What is her risk of noise-induced hearing loss?A: If you’ve ever been to a music concert and left experiencing ringing in your ears and difficulty hearing, you know firsthand that loud sounds can cause hearing damage. Most of the time, attending a... more
Having a child with a food allergy can cause great anxiety for parents, especially when it comes to sending their children out into the world.These fun, customizable stamps — which feature popular characters such as Minions, Pooh, Darth Vader, Anna and Elsa — can help families keep everyone informed quickly, easily and playfully. $45 •... more
Like me, you may think of the car-buying process as something like grocery shopping at a box store on a Sunday afternoon, only worse. You know it’s going to be painful, but you grit your teeth and get it over with. Sure, you go home with what you need afterwards, but they didn’t have everything you wanted, and you probably spent more than you... more
During a recent dinner conversation with my teens, I asked the age-old conversation starter: Who did you sit with at lunch today?I got two very different responses. As I took their answers in, I realized that this one simple question defines how they each approach life and relationships. When they were youngMy daughter is a 13-year-old eighth... more
My poor children! They were born into a family where their mother and father aren’t afraid to say no — and to mean it. At times, they might think it’s an unfortunate circumstance, but I know that it’s often for their own good.Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of times that my husband and I do say yes, and cave in to requests. But, in our... more
Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE our annual Toy Issue. My kiddos have participated in the official Minnesota Parent Toy Test, and I even rely on the results for holiday ideas. I’ve also genuinely loved checking out all the cool new toy favorites — old and new — with my kids, neighbors, nieces and nephews during each stage of childhood. But the... more
It's time to gather around the crèche, the menorah or the non-denominational dinner table and show Baby what the holidays are all about — spending time with family and friends, honoring our religious/social traditions and getting lots and lots of presents. “What should I get my baby for Christmas?” is a... more
Jennifer, a busy mom of three, wondered if something was wrong when her middle child, Ava, abruptly stopped talking about school.Ava, a first-grader, usually bubbled over with enthusiastic chatter about her friends and her adored teacher, Miss Garcia. Ava had started complaining about feeling sick just before it was time to go to school.One... more
Q: My daughter has started playing hockey. What do I need to know to keep her from ending up in the ER?A: In the State of Hockey, it almost seems as if some children are born with hockey sticks in their hands and skates on their feet. Fortunately, organized youth hockey programs have made safety a priority and have taken a number of steps to... more
Q: My baby boy has white patches on the insides of his cheeks. What is it?A: Generally, when parents notice white patches on the insides of their infants’ cheeks, it’s usually a condition known as thrush.Thrush is an excessive growth of a yeast (fungus) in the mouth and is very common among infants in the first few months of life. The white... more
KoalaSafe creates a new wi-fi network in your home that’s set up just for the kids.You can restrict the hours that the Internet is on, block sites by name or category (such as “adult” or “social media”) or block specific apps (such as Snapchat).You can require YouTube SafeSearch and Google SafeSearch to restrict inappropriate search results, too.... more
Editor’s note: Minnesota Parent asked Alison Feigh, program manager at the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center (and a former classmate of Jacob’s), to answer the question: “What can parents tell their kids in light of the recent news?” Here’s what she wrote.I would tell children that I wish I could have changed the ending of this story.Jacob’s... more
Infant gear can be so ugly!Who’s this stuff for anyway? Babies?Enter modern-American designer Jonathan Adler, who recently partnered with Fisher-Price on a new line of contemporary items, including a chic little vibrating bouncer with a built-in mobile, featuring a signature high-contrast black-and-white fabric, plus walnut wood accents. $119... more
It’s autumn: What better time to get the kids in the kitchen?And what better tools than the Le Petit Chef set from Opinel.Minnesota Parent’s 8-year-old tester (not exactly a huge culinary-arts enthusiast) loved this stainless steel knife-peeler set.Each tool encourages proper hand positioning with strategically placed learning rings that prevent... more
Q: What do you think of chiropractic care for babies? I’ve heard it can cure colic and help with many other infant problems. A: There are a variety of opinions regarding the effectiveness of chiropractic care for infants. I believe if the purpose of the care is mainly to help with soothing, muscle relaxation and using muscle groups... more
Q: We think our newborn could be allergic to cow’s-milk formula. What are the signs?A: Milk-protein allergy is a condition that develops in the first year of life. The most common form is an allergy specifically to the protein in cows’ milk. Symptoms — rashes, stomach upset/discomfort, vomiting and/or diarrhea — can appear within a few... more
Right now, my three boys (ages 5, 7 and 9) are in our upstairs loft wrestling.Sitting at my computer at the kitchen table, I can hear a lot of clomping around and the persistent thumping of feet and arms, all punctuated by the occasional scream and the sound of my upstairs furniture shifting.These are loud and happy wrestling sounds.  I admit... more
Q: Our daughter, 3, is waking up terrified in the middle of the night. Help! A: Night terrors are sleep disruptions that typically occur a few hours after kids fall asleep during transitions between sleep phases. This is different than nightmares, which arise during the dream stages of sleep, late into the night or in the early... more
Q: How many grams of sugar a day is OK for a kindergartener?A: Appropriate sugar intake is an important topic for kids, teens and grown-ups.Americans are, by far, some of the most obese and unhealthiest people in the world, despite our amazing health-care systems.Excessive sugar intake puts kids on a path to struggle with high blood... more
With all the heavy textbooks kids carry — along with tablets and laptops and more — isn’t it time someone came up with a backpack that actually helped them get organized and stay comfortable?We think IVAR’s backpacks come pretty darn close with strategically placed, sewn-in dividers that distribute weight more evenly and reduce lower-back strain.... more
Mosquito bites are the worst!Fortunately, we’ve found a new way to ease kids’ irritation and discomfort: Oilogic’s Bug Bites & Itches Essential Oil Roll-On is made with a blend of lavender, tea tree, lemon, citronella, spearmint and chamomile oils.It’s fragrant, soothing and safe for... more
Students at the University of Minnesota have designed the “world’s first sensory-friendly backpack.”The Nesel Pack (a play on the word “nestle”) is a backpack for kids with sensory-processing issues, including children on the autism spectrum.It features specially designed straps with chest clips that create the feeling of a hug, plus hooks for... more
We're in the middle of a heat wave in Minnesota, and that means hot cars. Hot cars also mean hot car seats. Today I'd like to share a trick I figured out to help keep your little one's car seat (especially the buckles) from getting too hot. The idea came to me a couple weeks ago, and in the heat this past Wednesday I finally tested it out.... more
Q: Our son was stung on his finger by a bee and his whole hand became swollen. Will his next sting be worse or cause an allergic reaction?A: Local reactions to bee stings — redness, swelling, pain and itching — are very common in children.The good news is that previously stung kids aren’t likely to have worse reactions the next time... more
 Broadway is joining the sensory-friendly scene with a special performance of Disney’s The Lion King at 2 p.m. Saturday July 30 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.This one-time performance — geared toward people with sensory, social and learning disabilities and their families — is the first-ever sensory-friendly performance of a touring... more
Shortly after my oldest daughter turned 1, a friend reminded me that this particular milestone meant I could now let her eat peanut butter (the recommendation at the time).What a wonderful idea, I thought. And so one day I whipped up a PB&J for her lunch, she ate it and then she settled down for a nap.When she woke up about an hour later, I... more
I am a Minnesota parent.I have, for the most part, raised my children here. And, on top of that, I'm lucky enough to have a voice as a columnist and features writer at the magazine that represents our parenting community.But I did not grow up here.I grew up in a predominantly white, sheltered community in Southern California, proximal to Long... more
Q: What's the best way to treat a toddler’s sunburn? Ouch!A: Sunburns are especially unpleasant for toddlers because they don’t understand the cause of the pain. Prevention, of course, is really the most important step to take. Sun blocks with an SPF of 30 or higher are important to use frequently, even on cloudy days if your child is going... more
The Twin Cities is home to an increasing number of playgrounds designed for kids of all abilities.St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development is hosting a grand opening on July 20 to celebrate the completion of the multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project at its Minnetonka campus.Among the features is a new inclusive... more
Under the federal law, all public pools and spas must have a variety of anti-entrapment systems installed.But not every pool or hot tub is public and not every pool is compliant with the law, which was named after a young girl who drowned after she was trapped under water by the suction from a hot-tub drain.Here’s what you need to know, courtesy... more
In many ways, our notion of pain during labor comes from cultural expectation, including basically every birth depicted in scripted TV. Mothers scream and sometimes become cartoonishly violent toward their spouses. It’s high drama.But for a growing number of women, even in the U.S., childbirth is viewed as an intense, but not necessarily... more
Q: What products do you recommend for chronic diaper rash? A: Diaper care and the prevention of rashes have become much easier in many ways as diaper technology has evolved. Improved absorbency of diapers prevents persistent wetness on the skin. Changing diapers as soon as they become wet or soiled also helps prevent rashes.Much of the... more
Q: I’m pregnant. What can I do to protect myself against the Zika virus?A: Zika virus disease has become an international health concern because of the multiple countries currently affected by the virus. Mexico, Central America and the northern two-thirds of South America are countries where the virus currently is causing infections.... more
Q: Help! My baby despises her car seat and cries during every ride. A: This is a very challenging situation and a very good question. Being unhappy in a car seat can be related to a number of different causes: She may be tired and a car seat position may be one in which she can’t fall asleep. Some infants are sensitive to... more
Q: Your advice in the November issue — recommending that parents generally avoid multivitamins for their kids (mnparent.com/vita-mn) — prompted me to write. I believe the American Academy of Pediatrics supports the recommendation of a daily supplement of vitamin D. I didn’t see this mentioned in your article. Do you happen to know what... more
Did you know that many household products — upholstered furniture, mattresses and children’s products, especially those containing foam (such as changing table pads and car seats) — can contain toxic flame-retardants?Once thought to slow the spread of fire, flame retardants have proven to be ineffective while also posing serious human health risks... more
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends coughing and sneezing into the upper sleeve to help stop germs from spreading.For a kid with a major cold, that’s a lot of sleeve slime. Enter the Sneeve — a disposable, anti-microbial sleeve designed to absorb the yucky stuff ($6.99 for a box of 7).Sized for ages 3 to 8, the stretchy,... more
Keep Baby warm this winter — and avoid the unsafe use of puffy coats, which can compromise car-seat effectiveness — with the Cocoon ($59) from 7 A.M. Enfant. It has an elastic base for easy installation and removal, plus central and side zippers for quick access. It has a water-repellent outer shell and is machine washable, too. more
Q: Do we need a car seat for our 1-year-old on an airplane?A: Airline travel with young children is no easy task. The planning checklist often includes items needed to ensure adequate entertainment, food, diapering and clothing changes and comfort or transitional objects. But the most fundamental planning must start when purchasing... more
There are few things as magical as experiencing falling snow through a child’s eyes — and Minnesota winters (usually) give us many opportunities to enjoy plenty of snowflakes. And that’s a good thing: It’s important for families to get outside and remain active during winter months. The more active kids are, the healthier they’ll be.Winter... more
My 15-year-old son, like most modern American teenagers, spends a good deal of time on his phone. It’s easy to be one of two things as a parent: I can be tired of keeping up — and just forget trying to understand what Snapchat is — or I can try to keep up. I admit I’ve done a little of both. The first option is much easier.You need... more
Q: Dear Dr. Gustafson: I am writing becausee we are really struggling with our daughter's potty training for pooping.I started to train her when she turned 2. It took her just about a week to pee in the potty. However, she's still having trouble pooping in the potty.I know it generally takes long for No. 2, but we need to get her fully... more
When your child suffers a bump on the head or body, there’s nothing quite so unappealing as a hard, blue freezing cold ice pack. Fortunately, there’s now a better way to bring your kid relief and show some TLC.Thermal-Aid zoo animals are filled with specially milled, de-germinated corn that can hold hot and cold temperatures (yes, without getting... more
If a Boppy pillow and a Bumbo seat got together and had a kid, it would probably result in something a lot like the Hugaboo baby seat ($59.99).This 100 percent polyester floor seat offers leg and back support for ages 3 months and older. It includes an attached seat bottom to keep Baby from sliding onto the floor, plus two hoops for attaching... more
Parents, you know that moment when your kid zonks out in the car: Finally, you can enjoy a bit of peace and quiet!But then you hit a bump, turn a corner or go around a sharp curve, and your kid slumps awkwardly into a cringe-worthy head-bob position. The Cardiff travel headrest ($49.99) — ideal for kids in backless booster seats — provides some... more
There’s a good chance you’ve been hanging with “play groups” since before your child could even roll over. There are so many wonderful ways for parents to connect with peers and likewise expose babies to other babies — even if all that looks like is a small cluster of floor blankets with infants independently exploring their own toes. As your... more
The BubbleBum ($29.99) is an inflatable, portable car booster seat that’s ideal for those times when you don’t have access to your kid’s regular booster. Think vacations, rental cars, taxis or carpooling with friends. We tried it and loved how easy it was to deflate and pack down into a bag about the size of a small loaf of bread (definitely... more
You’ve got a backseat packed with three kids. They each need their seat belts buckled. But two of the buckle slots butt right up against each other — and flop around so the kids end up putting buckles in the wrong slots. Meanwhile, all the kids have varying levels of buckling skills and patience. MyBuckleMate (now available in bright red, $14... more
Life changes dramatically when you have a baby — and that includes your home. Here are five products designed to help families keep their abodes clean and beautiful despite bouncy seats, activity mats and Boppy pillows stuffed into every corner. Cozy crib Stokke, which became a household name in 1972 with its modern Z-line wooden... more
Q: How can we get our son, 4 months old, to sleep through the night? He’s still getting up every three hours.A: Infant sleep training has many notable gurus, Dr. Sears and Dr. Ferber, to name a few, who have devised methods to encourage sleep. The most important thing to recognize is that every baby is different and every parent has... more
Q: When should we start our baby on solid foods? I've heard everything from a few weeks to four months!A: It’s not surprising that parents are confused about when to start solids, because clinicians are too! There’s evidence to wait until six months of age and evidence to start much earlier. Organizations, such as the American... more
Q: How long is it safe to keep infant twins in the same crib?A: Although it may seem harmless or even more natural to have twins in the same crib, this isn’t a practice endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The reason for this is the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Twins are often born prematurely or have... more
A newborn baby. Tiny fingers, perfect little nose, itty-bitty feet, fuzzy little hairs and that delicate, oh-so-soft skin. A newborn photography session truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to document all those tiny details. It’s the very beginning of your child’s story, and she’ll never look the way she does right now, during those... more
Q: Our kids’ backpacks get heavier every year. How much weight can a child safely carry? A: This is an excellent question. Planning for what to put in a child’s backpack is an ideal opportunity to work with your child on effective school and homework planning. A number of health groups recommend that a child shouldn’t carry more... more
Q: I’ve heard that kids with asthma should start their medications before school starts in anticipation of cold season. What do you advise?A: Any child with a diagnosis of asthma, especially if the child has frequent or persistent symptoms, should have an asthma action plan. Some children are especially susceptible to wheezing when they catch... more
Summer activities in Minnesota are terrific for helping children enjoy exercise as well as develop social skills. As with any physical activity, however, there’s a risk of injuries. Ever year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for playground injuries. As an orthopedic surgeon in Minnesota, I see a lot of... more
Q Do temporal thermometers really work? A These thermometers use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature in the temporal artery in the forehead. This artery carries blood from the heart to the head and can give a temperature reading that’s as accurate as a rectal temperature, which is still thought to be the... more
Q Our daughter’s been coughing every night for a week. Would running a humidifier help? A Coughing in young children can be especially difficult to deal with! Often the cough can linger for longer periods than typical for older children or adults.This is partly because a younger child may not be able to generate the same... more
Q When can we give our baby peanut butter? A This is a great question. If you had asked this question a few months ago, it would have resulted in a different answer. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that the introduction of peanut butter, or other allergenic foods, should be delayed until a child is at least 3... more
Are you a free-range parent? Or do you, like me, fall into the “reluctant helicopter” camp?Do you let your children play unsupervised, running around your neighborhood for entire afternoons without knowing their exact whereabouts? Would you let your kids walk home from the park even if it were a mile away and crossed a six-lane highway... more
Parents and grandparents around the world have been wearing infants for centuries, using a variety of slings, wraps and other contraptions. Though the practice is only just becoming a mainstream habit in modern Western culture, companies are offering a dizzying array of devices that allow parents to easily carry children from the newborn... more
Babiators ($20-$30) — designed for ages 6 months and older — look stylin’, yes. But what’s more? They’re nearly unbreakable and, if you do break or even lose them within a year of purchase, the company will send you a free replacement pair, as long as you register your pair within 30 days of purchase (shipping isn’t covered). more
We’ve all seen those Facebook posts and chain emails that recall a simpler childhood — free of cell phones and full of outdoor adventures with boundaries in the form of a neighbor’s corner lot and the end of play time determined by the street lamps flickering on at dusk. We look back fondly on biking to school and epic games of tag, twisting... more
New this spring from high-quality helmet-maker Nutcase, is The Baby Nutty helmet ($44.99) for ages 12 months and older (for heads 47 to 50 centimeters in diameter) — because “Even babies wanna bike.”With the popularity of balance bikes among toddlers soaring, it makes sense to start them young on head protection. Styles so far include Petal... more
One of the most exciting times of a woman’s pregnancy is decorating her baby’s nursery. Like so many new mothers-to-be, I spent hours researching the safest car seats, cribs and toys. I baby-proofed everything in the house. When it came time to convert our spare bedroom into a nursery for our soon-to-be-born daughter, I knew not to use... more
Q: How long is it safe to swaddle our baby? She’s now 3 months old and starting to break out, even as we swaddle her tighter, sometimes double-wrapping her.A: Swaddling infants to help them sleep has been around for a very long time. It’s a classic way of helping comfort young infants and it allows them to sleep for longer stretches. It’s... more
My 2-year-old daughter loves playing in water, so I thought signing us up for some parent/child swimming lessons would be a good idea. It's been really great spending time in a warm pool in the middle of winter. I signed us up to take a Parent & Child Class through Bloomington/Richfield Community Education Services. We've had five lessons... more
Q: My toddler (20 months) is starting to climb out of her crib. Do we need a toddler bed already? A:  Yes. For your daughter’s safety, transitioning to a toddler bed is recommended. The act of climbing out of the crib is dangerous. It could result in a limb fracture from an arm or a leg trapped in between the crib slats, or, because... more
It can be an uncomfortable transition — from “you are my most precious little baby and I will never deny you anything” to “OK, I think we need to go over some rules.” The change often starts with an incident and an impulsive response — perhaps an unexpected step into the street resulting in a resounding, “NO!” Or maybe a crayon to Grandma’s... more
As a first-time parent, keeping track of your child's immunizations can be a bit overwhelming. This is understandable because starting at 2 months of age, almost every "well child" doctor's visit involves at least one immunization. No wonder my daughter seems nervous when she sees people wearing doctor's scrubs.Looking at the immunization... more
I wanted to share this video in case you missed it the first time around... It's a video that EVERY mom should watch. If you've ever felt like you made a bad choice, said something wrong, did something wrong, or questioned yourself as a parent for any reason, you need to watch this. The video shows what a group of moms think about themselves... more
Talking to kids about health, safety and sometimes even sports doesn’t necessarily come naturally to parents. Thank goodness for creative writers! This month, we’ll help you cover some tricky topics, including personal safety and strategies for starting — and even struggling with — sports (from a precocious little girl’s perspective). Miles... more
The baby mobile. That adorable musical nursery accessory expectant mothers envision as part of the ideal nursery for their baby. I was no different. The bedding set I fell in love with was the Disney Baby Peeking Pooh crib set. I've been a Winnie the Pooh fan for as long as I can remember and I'm especially partial to Tigger. The bedding set... more
Q: At what age is it safe to let a child sleep with a pillow?A: It’s recommended to not use pillows for children younger than 2 years old. Young children can easily suffocate with large pillows, fluffy comforter blankets, large stuffed animals and other accessories. A safe crib has a firm mattress without extra padding, blankets, pillows... more
It’s a common scenario for a new mom out in public — a grandmotherly woman approaches you to ooh and ahh over your baby, usually commenting, “It goes so fast!” On the day in question for me, I was out with my 6-month-old son at the grocery store, fielding the usual comments from a friendly older woman. “What a sweetheart!” she said as Felix... more
When Sumi Mukherjee travels to schools throughout Minnesota to talk about his experience with years of childhood bullying growing up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, he starts the conversation the same way each time.“How many of you have been bullied?” he asks.The Plymouth-based writer and speaker then sees about half of his young audience members... more
Q: My son refuses to wear a life vest each time we go out on a boat. What can I do?A: Life vests, especially for younger children and toddlers, are an essential safety need, so this really can’t be optional. If you meet significant resistance, here are some things you can try:• If possible, have your child... more
In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics started encouraging parents to lay healthy infants younger than 1 on their backs for sleep rather than on their side or stomach. In 1994, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development joined in the public education effort with its “Back to Sleep” campaign. The goal was to reduce the risk... more
As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to keep your kids as safe as possible. But when it comes to car-seat safety, it’s often easier said than done.  Not only do the laws change when new information about best practices becomes available, sometimes we assume that the legal requirements (see resources below) are enough, when, in... more
Q: My 3-year-old son was recently diagnosed with severe food allergies. We frequently enjoy picnics during the summer with our friends and family. What can we do to prevent exposure to foods that will cause reactions?A: Be very aware of all the foods available at the picnic. Since you know what foods your child is sensitive to, this will eliminate... more
I learned the hard way, when my kids were little, how quickly fun in the water can turn to danger.My father-in-law and I were seated at the poolside entertaining Elias, then a toddler, while my two older kids took a quick swim before lunch.As 7-year-old Louisa and 5-year-old Sebastian laughed and splashed in the shallow end, joyously demonstrating... more
Q: My 10-year-old daughter is highly allergic to bee stings and has been prescribed an Epi-Pen to use if she ever gets stung. How can I help her overcome her fear of having to use this shot?A: Practice, practice, practice. If it’s been a while since you received this prescription for your child, you may want to check with the office that... more
During the toddler years, you move from baby to big kid, from baby-wearing to holding hands, from “Ah goo” to “No!” complete with foot stomping. This new independence is breathtaking, in every sense of the word. You clap, hoot and holler as your child jumps into the pool — your loving arms outstretched and waiting, heart beating fast. You... more
Q: We’re past the stage of baby-and-me swimming classes. When is a good time to enroll my twin sons in swimming lessons?A: Helping children be safe and comfortable in and near the water can start at a very young age, as you’ve already learned. Once a child is about 3 years old, families can usually find places in their community that hold... more
In October of 2013, Minneapolis mom Sara McLoone and her young daughter Scout packed up their stroller and flew to the country’s Capitol to participate in the “Stroller Brigade.” The gathering’s purpose? To demand a change to the outdated laws overseeing toxic chemicals. While the Chemical Safety Improvement Act hasn’t yet had any major successes... more
My 15-year-old son, Sebastian, had his first taste of night driving a few months ago. He and I had attended a meeting for students who had recently completed or were taking driver’s ed training. Since we had his permit along with us, I suggested that he drive home. Until then, his behind-the-wheel experiences had been limited to brief,... more
If you have a tween, you’ve been parenting long enough to have navigated a number of safety issues regarding your offspring, whether it’s seat belts, sunscreen, or secondhand smoke. But if you’re like me, you may have overlooked a concern that’s been right under your nose all along—or, more accurately, on either side of your head: hearing loss.... more
You receive a text from the mother of your daughter’s friend, asking if she can sleep over at her family’s house that night.You come home from work one day to find a message on your home answering message, from a man who sounds like your son’s physics teacher, requesting that the boy stay after school next week for extra help.You check your kids’... more