Preventing Hot Car Tragedy

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This is the time of year when the weather warms up and the news becomes filled with horror stories of babies and toddlers accidentally forgotten in the backseat of a car. Instead of waiting for the tragedies to hit the headlines, start taking precautions now that will help ensure that it will never happen to you.

The issue of children overheating in cars is not a simple one. Sometimes it happens with changes in routines that cause parents to forget that the child is there. Sometimes it is intentionally leaving a child there for the convenience. What they have in common is that no one plans for the outcome.

Children who are rear-facing, have the potential to nap in the car or who cannot get out of their car seat on their own are the most at risk.

Here are some ways to prevent heat stroke and death in a hot car:

  1. Don’t leave your child in the car on purpose, not unless you can see and hear them. We aren’t suggesting you should become a hyper-vigilant, paranoid person about this, but make sure that your child can be seen and heard if you are out of the car and they are in it. Even if the windows are down, your car is going to heat up more than outdoors and have less breeze. Children and babies cannot cool their bodies the same way that adults can, so your child will overheat faster than you would, when you may not be breaking a sweat yet.
  2. Lock your car doors when you leave it (with your kid!) so that your child cannot sneak back in while playing. Keep your keys out of reach inside the house.
  3. Always put your purse, your phone, and anything else you will need at your destination in the backseat with your child.
  4. Arrange the car seats in your vehicle so that if possible, the quietest/youngest child is behind the passenger where they’re more likely to be seen, instead of behind the driver.
  5. Never assume that someone else has gotten your child from the vehicle – always do it yourself or ask immediately.
  6. When there is a change in schedule, change in route, etc., take extra precautions: put a toy in your lap, play kids music on the radio, put the diaper bag directly beside you – do SOMETHING to jog your memory and remind you that there’s someone back there.
  7. If your child goes to daycare, check with them about their policy regarding unplanned absences and see if they have the policy of calling home/work to find out where your child is.
  8. Make sure that anyone else transporting your children (spouse, grandparents, friends, etc.) are aware of the dangers and take precautions also.
  9. Don’t assume that this won’t happen to you.

Keep your eyes open! At work, at the mall, when you’re out, have a quick glance in other people’s cars. Yes, you might seem creepy, so maybe just stick to the one’s with car seats and if caught, say you’re in the market for a new one and ask if they like it ;)

All of the above applies to pets as well. No one likes seeing an overheated dog trapped in a car! Cracking the window is not helping the heat, so don’t leave them in the car.

 

National Immunization Awareness Week

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The Ministry of Health has launched a National Immunization Awareness Week to promote facts and information about immunizations and to remind people to update their own immunizations and their children’s. The recent outbreaks in the United States as well as in Quebec and here in Ontario are a good reminder that these diseases are only absent when we protect ourselves. Immunizing your family protects not only your family, but also children and adults who cannot be immunized due to age, allergies, medication or compromised/suppressed immunity due to things like cancer treatment or organ transplant. Our most vulnerable populations rely on us to keep up our immunizations.

GET THE APP

Immunize Canada has created an app for your smart phone or device to keep track of your family’s vaccinations and to make sure that they’re up to date. The app also has reminders for when someone is due for a vaccination, tips on how to prepare your children for their immunizations, recommendations for vaccines if you’re travelling, and notifications of outbreaks.

We are careful to keep our children updated, but when is the last time you had your own immunizations updated? See a full list of immunizations for adults HERE and check in with your GP to see if you are updated.

 

We at LondonMoms recognize that vaccinations are a polarizing topic and that those who are anti-vaccinations will not be swayed by the Ministry of Health or any other pro-vaccine source. If you would like to discuss vaccines further, please visit the forum and either search for old discussions or start your own!

Sock Walk

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Earth Day is this week and so we are bringing you some more fun things to do to get your kids out in nature and thinking about their planet.

A Sock Walk is a great way to get kids thinking about native plants (and weeds!) in their environment: where they come from, how they spread,and how they grow. It’s a step up from the classic bean plant that kids grow in the elementary school years when they’re learning about seeds.

WHAT YOU NEED

1 sock per person

1 Ziploc baggie per sock OR one pot of dirt per sock

HOW TO DO IT

Head on down to your laundry room and grab a couple of those single socks whose mates have just disappeared forever or the socks with the huge holes you keep planning on mending (but never will).

Head out to your nearest park, field, overgrown meadow, forest or wooded area, Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) or any other place that is growing naturally and wildly.

Slip a sock over one of your shoes and have your kids do the same.

Walk around until your socks get good and dirty. Be sure to walk through any areas with plants growing (but safely! Don’t crush anything and stay on the path when required!).

Take off your socks carefully, turn them inside out to keep anything stuck to the sock safe.

When you get home, turn your sock right-side-in and put it either in your Ziploc baggie or in your pot of dirt and lightly cover it with more dirt.

Spray your sock with water in the baggie or water your pot.

Tape your baggie to a sunny window/place your pot on a warm, sunny window sill.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

Wait a week or two and see what grows. Make sure you keep watering your sock as needed. If you have picked up any seeds along your way, your socks will sprout!

First Aid Kit

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It’s not something that you often think about, but having a fully stocked first aid kit is even more important as a parent. We are entering the season of bumps and scrapes, and unfortunately those bumps and scrapes can require more than just a bandaid. To be sure that you are able to treat whatever your family needs treating, pull out your first aid supplies and make sure that nothing has expired and everything is still sterile and ready to use.

The Canadian Red Cross recommends that you have the following set aside in a bin or container dedicated to first aid supplies. Clearly label your kit, make sure that it is portable, and have it somewhere that your kids can access in case of an emergency. If supplies are used, be sure to restock as soon as you can.

FIRST AID SUPPLIES

  • emergency numbers for EMS/911, your local poison control centre and your families’ doctors
  • home and office numbers for family members, friends or neighbours who can help
  • sterile gauze pads (dressings) in small and large squares to place over wounds
  • adhesive tape
  • roller and triangular bandages to hold dressings in place or to make a sling
  • adhesive bandages in assorted sizes (band-aids)
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • safety pins
  • instant ice packs
  • disposable non-latex gloves, such as surgical or examination gloves
  • flashlight with extra batteries in a separate bag
  • antiseptic wipes or soap
  • pencil and pad
  • emergency blanket
  • eye patches
  • thermometre
  • barrier devices such as a pocket mask or face shield
  • coins for a pay phone (50c)
  • Canadian Red Cross first aid manual

If it seems overwhelming to collect all of this stuff, you can buy pre-made first aid kits with everything you need from places such as Amazon.ca, well.ca, and walmart.ca.

While you are cleaning out your medical supplies, you should also take a moment to check the expiration dates on any medicine in your cabinet and restock if necessary – ibuprofen, Polysporin, After-Bite lotion, acetaminophen, allergy medication, anti-nausea medication, and decongestant are pretty standard needs in both child and adult varieties. Take any expired medication to your local pharmacy for proper disposal instead of throwing it into the garbage and contaminating our environment!

The New TV

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Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Netflix. And if you still have cable, you have probably heard about the two latest creations by Rogers and Bell to compete with Netflix – Shomi and CraveTV, respectively. With the very recent announcement by the CRTC that our cable options are going to change dramatically very soon, there is a good chance that on-demand viewing is going to be come even more popular. Confused about which is best for you? Here are the basics:

NETFLIX

AVAILABLE TO: anyone with an internet connection.

HOW IT WORKS: movies and TV shows are streamed through your internet connection and played on whichever device you choose; your smart TV, smart phone, gaming device, tablet, Apple TV, etc.

THE PROS: Netflix has the edge in sheer volume of movies, as well as Netflix-exclusive shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. You aren’t attached to a larger cable company with Netflix, so you can drop your cable provider entirely if you choose and it can be watched on your smart TV or on your TV through Apple TV or some game consoles.

THE CONS: since it is streamed, regardless of how or where you watch it, you will eat through your monthly internet allowance pretty quickly without an ‘Unlimited Data’ option. Netflix Canada has gotten a bit of a reputation for not being as good as the American Netflix. You may still need to pay for a separate cable bill if you want to watch TV programming that you cannot get online.

THE COST: The first month is free, after that it is $7.99/month if only one person is watching at any given time, $8.99/month if you want to be able to watch something different than your kids, and $11.99 if four people in your family want to watch their own shows at the same time.

SHOMI

AVAILABLE TO: anyone subscribing to Rogers (Shaw) cable and/or internet.

HOW IT WORKS: similar to Netflix, movies and TV shows can be streamed through your internet connection and played on the device of your choice. Unlike Netflix, if you have Rogers cable, you can also watch Shomi on your TV without using the internet (aka, no data).

THE PROS: if you are going to watch most of your programs/movies on your TV, you won’t have to upgrade to the unlimited internet package. If you already subscribe to Rogers, the addition is easy and added to your Rogers bill monthly. They are beginning to get newer content like Vikings, Sons of Anarchy, Parenthood, American Horror Story, Jane the Virgin, The Blacklist, and Outlander.

THE CONS: the shows and movies are mostly older, which is fine if you have young kids who don’t know any better or you want to binge watch old movies/shows you never had time to watch before now (Veronica Mars, anyone?). If you are looking for new release movies, you won’t find them here. If you are going to watch most of the programs on a device that isn’t hooked up to your cable, you will be using your internet connection and might want to upgrade to the unlimited data package.

THE COST: the first month is free, then it is $8.99/month with your Rogers package.

CRAVETV

AVAILABLE TO: anyone subscribing to Bell cable.

HOW IT WORKS: shows can be streamed through your internet connection via the website or the CraveTV app. It can also be watched through your TV in the On Demand option. It is not yet possible to stream it on your smart TV or through your game console, though they promise that that will one day be available.

THE PROS: CraveTV has scored HBO and Showtime’s catalogues – Sex and the City, Entourage, the Sopranos – as well as classics and new classics like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Seinfeld, and My So-Called Life.

THE CONS: They only do TV shows, not movies. You must be a Bell cable subscriber. The viewing options aren’t as universal as Shomi or Netflix.

THE COST: $4/month with your Bell cable package.

International Day of Acceptance

International Day of Acceptance
International Day of Acceptance is a day dedicated to social acceptance of disability and to honor the late Annie Hopkins, founder of 3E Love, and creator of the International Symbol of Acceptance. We have children, parents, siblings, partners, coworkers, friends, neighbours, cousins, clients, teachers, and peers living their lives with disabilities, perhaps you are as well. Today is a day to take a step toward accepting and embracing what makes us different and diverse. See how you can make a difference and join the movement at www.dayofacceptance.com.

Who is Annie?

Annie Hopkins was amazing. She didn’t want you to think she was, but she was…
Annie was born into a world that tried to limit who she could be and what she could do. She grew up seeing her peers and role models with disabilities face discrimination daily, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes indirectly. Annie lived in a society where people with disabilities were not portrayed in the media as beautiful, able, or equal members of a community. She entered her teens knowing that she wasn’t expected to pursue a higher education or to live independently. She lived life knowing that strangers thought more about her disability and presumed life expectancy than they thought to say hello as she rolled by. Annie didn’t care. In fact, she was calculatedly reckless in how she chose to live, always pushing the boundaries of what people thought she could do and using her experiences to educate others…
Annie was everything a person hopes to be as a family, friend and community member. She was generous, courageous, and empathetic and she lived how people all wish to live. Annie embodied the very best spirit that humankind has to offer one another, and the world.
Annie Hopkins was an advocate, entrepreneur, artist, and student, who demonstrated what is possible when you love life.

3E LOVE

In 2007, she recruited her brother Stevie to help her start a company to spread her message. She created 3E Love with the idea that her “Wheelchair Heart” symbol unified people of all abilities and it ignited conversations every day that would help change attitudes for the better. Her ideas didn’t stop there: she wanted to create a disability owned and disability operated social entrepreneurial endeavor that one day, would be successful, would further empowerment and would demonstrate what can be achieved with a positive love for life and changing perceptions.
Social acceptance is the key… not the pity and ignorance with which she grew up.
Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life!
Unfortunately, on January 20th, 2009, the survival of Annie’s message was threatened when she passed away from unexpected complications to a simple medical procedure. Overwhelming support from friends, family, and the disability community helped keep her ideals alive. Stevie Hopkins, her brother who helped her start 3E Love, took the reins and never looked back.

International Day of Acceptance

International Day of Acceptance began in the beginning of 2010. Stevie and his family were not looking forward to the Chicago winter, the snow, and everything else that would remind them of losing Annie. 3E Love and Annie’s message had become Stevie’s primary source of strength and hope during the first year after Annie’s passing, and so he had the idea to change January 20th from a day that represents sadness and loss to a day that represents Annie’s message of empowerment and loving life. If people all over the world would embrace their challenges and accept others no matter their ability, Annie’s message and lifestyle would be alive forever. People on the internet from all over the world responded positively and got everyone they knew involved. Even if they did not own one of our t-shirts to wear, or could not afford temporary tattoos or stickers, they drew the symbol on their hand, made homemade posters, posted about it on social networks, and did everything they could to show the world that they were a part of this acceptance movement. January 20th would now and forevermore be an International celebration to celebrate Annie’s life, her ideas, and the 3E Love movement instead of mourning her loss.
Tell the world that you are accepting of people with disabilities. As our parents, siblings, relatives, spouses, children, lovers, coworkers, teachers, personal assistants, friends, and anyone else – you also have a role in our culture and life. You can start change by demonstrating acceptance and showing the world that you embrace people of all abilities.

Start the conversation of acceptance today!

* Change your Facebook profile to the International Day of Acceptance logo
* Post the logo to your Facebook wall
* Tweet, share, forward this post
* Draw the wheelchair heart logo on your hand and let people know your message
Reposted with permission from 3ELove

Changes to Universal Child Care Benefit

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If you have children under the age of 18, the Universal Child Care Benefit is something you are now entitled to as of January 2015. Before you go scrambling to your bank statement for this month, you should know that although the tab starts collecting this month, the cheque won’t appear until July.

Here is the breakdown of how much you can expect to receive and when:

Children ages 0 to 5 years, 11 months

Since 2006, the Federal government has been providing families with $100 per month per child in this age range. As of January 2015, families will receive $160 per month per child currently in this age range. However, the first installment will not arrive in your mailbox or bank account until July 2015. You will receive payment for January to July in one lump sum, followed by the monthly payments of $160 until your child’s 6th birthday.

PREVIOUSLY: $100/month = $1200/year  Continue reading

New Year Money Challenge

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While you are picking your new Word of the Year, it is also a good time to give a little thought to your financial situation. If saving nearly $1400 this year sounds like a good idea, then you might want to consider doing the 52-Week Money Challenge. This isn’t a new thing. If you’ve been on Pinterest over the last few years, you may have seen the chart or variations floating around on Facebook. The idea is very simple: for each of the 52 weeks in the year, you save $1 to $52. At the end of the 52 weeks, you will have saved a total of $1378.00. Easy!

There is a bit of conversation online about the ‘best’ way to do the savings challenge. Here are a few suggestions, find the one that works best for your personality.

LEAST TO MOST

The original challenge has you saving $1 on week one, $2 on week 2, $3 on week 3, up to $52 on week 52. This way, you begin gradually. Saving $1 is painless at the start and in the first month you’re only saving $10. By the time you get to the end of the challenge, you will be accustomed to putting aside the money.

MOST TO LEAST

Staying committed to a challenge that gets harder and harder is definitely a downside of the original challenge. An alternative that has been suggested is that you do it in reverse – start by saving $52 in week 1, $51 in week 2, $50 in week 3, down to $1 in week 52. The original hardship of saving is over with and by the end of the first month you will already have $202 saved. Saving will only get easier from there!

MIX IT UP

The biggest drawback of both of the above versions is that both December and January are likely two of the hardest months to scratch up a spare $202 to set aside, so if you start easy, December 2015 is going to be tight and if you start hard, you better hope you didn’t over spend at Christmas! A third option is to have your spreadsheet of the different amounts you are going to need to contribute and then just put in what you can, when you can, and cross off that amount on your chart. You could even balance the amounts over the month, for example doing $52, $51, $1, $2 the first month, $50, $49, $3, $4, the second. You will average about $115/month in your savings if you do it equally.

DOUBLE DOWN

$1378 would be an amazing amount of money to have at the end of the year, but if you have a bigger goal in mind for the start of 2016, you might want to save some more. Consider doubling the amounts for a savings of $2756 at the end of the year, just figure out which month would be easiest to save $404 and go from there. Still not enough? Triple it! $4134 is a great chunk of money to have.

HIDING THE CASH

There are a few different methods of storing your money. Pinterest proposes that you have a Mason jar on your kitchen counter, out where you can see it so that you never forget. Attach a copy of your payment schedule to the jar and mark it off as you go. You will always know how much is in there and how much you have to put in each week. My recommendation – GLUE THE LID. Having cash sitting out on display could be very tempting, too tempting! Especially if you have a kid or partner who ‘just needed a dollar’ or ‘promise they’ll pay it back’ or any number of excuses. If they container you put it in cannot be opened, then there is no risk of that money depleting instead of increasing. Poke a hole in the lid and watch it fill up.

BANK IT

Depending on your bank and the way your bank accounts are set up, you could do simple online banking and transfer money over from your chequing to your savings account every week. Insure that you will not have additional bank fees for doing this or you may not end up saving anything! Not having the cash present will save you from the risk of cracking open your jar in a desperate moment. Make a note on your calendar every week or tape it to your laptop so that you don’t forget to make the transfer.

Make a plan and start dreaming about what you’re going to do with your money!

Potlucks and Parties, Oh My!

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I don’t know about you, but my life for the next three weeks is packed with parties, dinners, potlucks, get togethers, and a zillion other social events with food involved. Even one of my children’s classes is having a potluck party! This is when we all become divided as adults - one group will have actually prepared food at their house, one group will buy something en route to the event… and the other group will have forgotten altogether (no worries, there’s always enough food, am I right?). I prefer to make something, whenever possible, and fortunately, I have a few recipes that I am always ready to whip up at short notice. All it takes is a few ingredients that you probably already have and maybe one or two new things that you should just stock up on for the next month.

BEER AND CHEDDAR BREAD

I know, half of you just tuned out. Bread?? TRUST ME. This is the simplest thing ever. Most of these ingredients you probably already have, just make sure that you have a case of beer – yes, a case, you’ll want to make this over and over once you’ve tasted it! This is my go-to recipe for potlucks and pretty much any night of the week that I serve stew, chili or soup for dinner. It’s so simple, my 6 and 8 year olds now make it themselves up until the beer and the oven parts. It’ll be a hit at every potluck you bring it to, lunch or dinner.  Continue reading

Countdown to Christmas

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It is the last week of November now, which means Christmas is about to hit us full force and there won’t be anymore excuses about why it should be holding out. If you are Christian, the season of Advent begins in one week, and if you’re not you are probably still planning on counting down the days of December in some memorable way. The countdown is not only a great way to celebrate the season of Christmas, it also gives a visual to young children who do not yet understand the concept of time or calendars yet. Instead of answering “Is it Christmas yet??” twenty-four times in a row, you can just point them to their countdown and remind them that the end equals Christmas. Here are a few ideas on how to countdown the days.

ADVENT WREATH

The traditional Christian countdown is the wreath with four (or five) candles, one is lit each week until all four (or five) are lit. Your local parish will likely be selling or giving away prayer books or sheets with a reading for each night while you light the wreath. This is a great way to bring the Christmas season back to the birth of Christ.

CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN

For the very affordable price of $1.50, you can get a chocolate Christmas countdown with windows to open daily until Christmas Day. They can be purchased just about anywhere and for that price and minimal effort on your part, you can keep all of your kids happy by buying one for everyone.

DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN

I’m separating the cheap chocolate countdowns from the more expensive ones, not only due to price but also taste. The more you pay for your chocolate calendar, the better the chocolate. Everyone from Laura Secord to Lindt puts out a calendar this time of year and the treats inside can be downright luxurious. You may want to save one of these calendars for yourself. We won’t tell.

TOY COUNTDOWNS

A few companies have realized that not every family wants to have their children starting the day with chocolate and have begun to create countdowns with other things. LEGO, Playmobil, and Kinder Egg (which is the best of both worlds?) are examples of other countdowns you could get for your children. These cost about $20-$40 and will leave your child with a months worth of small toys.

DIY CHOCOLATE COUNTDOWN

If you’re smart, you’ll realize that the bridge between the cheap calendars and the pricey ones can be made by creating your own. This also works better with multiple children. Simply buy a countdown calendar with openings big enough to hold one treat per child/person. The upfront cost can range between $10-50 depending on how fancy you want it to look, then a few bags of treats each year will have you all set indefinitely. For the truly ambitious, have a look at Pinterest for inspiration. People have used everything from muffin tins to plastic shoe holders to make their own countdowns.

RANDOM ACTS OF CHRISTMAS

If you’ve invested the money in a countdown with doors or you have created one of your very own, another idea is to ditch the treats and put Christmas activities in the doors. Activities can range from doing daily Random Acts of Kindness/Christmas, driving to see the lights, watching a Christmas movie, singing a carol, baking cookies, buying a gift for an Angel tree, or any other activity that will get everyone cheering Ho Ho Ho! Just make sure you have your calendar handy while you think up things to do – nothing worse than having to tell the kids that today’s activity is not going to happen because staying up late for a movie just doesn’t happen on a Tuesday when there are gymnastics lessons to get to.

BOOK OF THE DAY

Three kids in, we have a lot of Christmas books. Thirty-seven to be exact. The reason I know this is because one of our traditions is to wrap them all up and open one per day for bed time stories. If you don’t have that many Christmas books stocked up, you can still do this! Just pick 24 of your kids favourite books and wrap them up, or get to the library and wrap up some of their stories (just make sure they’re unwrapped and read before your three weeks are up!). The fun in this activity is just in opening the present and having that time together every night.

STANDARD COUNTDOWN

If you want to avoid an abundance of both gifts and treats before the big day, you can also do the standard 25 day countdown. Crossing off days on a calendar, adding or removing items from a Christmas scene, Christmas magnets on your fridge, chalkboard countdowns, homemade, store bought, the options are endless.

ELF ON THE SHELF

Oh, yes, I did bring up that controversial little creature. If you hate the whole idea, fair enough, skip to the next idea. For the rest of us, the good old elf can bring a lot of fun to the days before Christmas. S/he can simply show up and move around your house every night or s/he can actually cause fun or mayhem while the kids are asleep, it all comes down to how creative and motivated your elf is. Pinterest is bursting with Elf ideas for you newbies who haven’t had their Facebook feeds clogged with it for the last five years. If the Elf isn’t your style, check out Dinovember and let your imagination run wild.

ADULT COUNTDOWNS

If you or your significant other really want to amp up the holiday countdown, create a grown up version! Beer-a-Day or Wine-a-Day creations are all over the internet. I’m not sure I’d make it through a month with that much wine, but I’d definitely have enough to get me through to 2015! Other retailers have come up with adult countdowns that won’t induce such a hangover, like David’s Tea with their Tea-a-Day countdown. Head to one of the coffee stores that sell the individual K-cups and create your own coffee countdown. Really, the options here are endless. Think about what you would love 25 days of and treat yourself!