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This is not a story about breast feeding. But it is a story that every parent of an infant should read. It’s about car seat safety.
Consumer Reports just released a new study of infant car seats. The tests subjected the seats to the same collision tests required for cars, and the results were downright frightening. (If you want a real scare, watch the video on the Consumer Reports site).
For ratings of all the seats tested, click here. Now here’s a quote from the story.
Cars and car seats can’t be sold unless they can withstand a 30-mph frontal crash. But most cars are also tested in a 35-mph frontal crash and in a 38-mph side crash. Car seats aren’t.
When we crash-tested infant car seats at the higher speeds vehicles routinely withstand, most failed disastrously. The car seats twisted violently or flew off their bases, in one case hurling a test dummy 30 feet across the lab. Here are the details:
Of 12 infant seats we tested, only 2 performed well: the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS.
Nine infant seats provided poor protection in some or all of our tests, even though they meet the federal safety standard. One seat, the Evenflo Discovery, didn’t even meet that standard. We urge federal officials to order a recall of that seat.
Infant car seats sold in Europe undergo more rigorous testing than do models sold in the U.S. Indeed, when we crash-tested an infant seat we bought in England, it was the best in our tests. An infant seat sold in the U.S. by the same manufacturer failed. (See European models.)
Our findings offer added evidence of problems with LATCH, the federally mandated attachment system for child car seats. Most car seats performed worse with LATCH than with vehicle safety belts. And LATCH attachments aren’t always easy to use.
So here’s what Consumer Reports recommends you do:
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, strongly believes that NHTSA should strengthen safety testing for car seats so that it is comparable with the tests conducted on new cars. That means including a side-crash test. If the New Car Assessment Program is any indication, crash performance improves when results are publicized.
The agency also needs to revisit the LATCH standard. Automakers should make anchors and tethers easy to access. And LATCH anchors should be required in center-rear seats.
For now, here’s how to keep your baby as safe as possible while traveling:
If you’re shopping for an infant car seat, buy one of the two we recommend. (See the Ratings.)
If you already own a Chicco KeyFit, Compass I410, Evenflo Embrace, or Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP, use it with vehicle safety belts, which passed our tests, not with LATCH, which didn’t. If you can’t get a tight fit with the safety belt, buy one of the two seats we recommend.
If you own a different infant seat, consider replacing it with the Baby Trend Flex-Loc or the Graco SnugRide with EPS.
Secure your child in the center-rear seat if the car seat can be tightly fastened there. Go to www.nhtsa.gov to find a free car-seat inspection station near you.
Send in the registration card that comes with new car seats, so that the manufacturer can contact you if the seat is recalled.
Remember that any child car seat is better than no seat at all.
Now, for the responses to this story: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had already admitted that the LATCH system was confusing to parents. Interestingly, The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association has questioned the results of the Consumer Reports study.
As for us, we have the Britax Companion infant car seat that didn’t rate so well. Very disappointing. I’ve always been a huge Britax fan. To me, their products are the Volvos of car seats. A little clunky in design, but super safe. In fact, The Britax was previously Consumer Reports’ top-rated seat based on the federal standards. And in terms of personal experience, when The Bortski was about 5 months old I got rear-ended at a stop sign. He was totally fine, thanks to his Britax infant seat.
As for The Bear, given his age and size I think we’ll move him out of his infant seat and into one for an older kid. For now, I’m most likely sticking with Britax. But I’ll keep my eyes out for any further reports.
We’ve all heard the general advice to drink 8 glasses of water a day. But if you’re pregnant or breast feeding you need even more fluids. Personally, after both kids were born I was always thirsty. Constantly. I always had a glass of water on my night stand. If I didn’t, I found myself begging my husband to get me a glass.
So how much water should you be drinking? Dr. Sears, in “The Breastfeeding Book,” recommends drinking at least ten 8 ounce glasses of water a day (page 74). He says try to drink a glass of water every time your infant feeds. Then add in a few more glasses during the day.
But if you’re like me, and you easily lose track of what you’ve had, here’s another way to gauge if you’re getting enough water. DrSpock.com says:
Breastfeeding mothers may feel thirstier than usual. You can gauge your fluid intake by looking at your urine; if it’s dark, you need to drink more liquids. No scientific studies have found that drinking more fluid will result in producing more breast milk; however, not getting enough to drink can affect how much milk is produced.
Dr. Sears, on the other hand, says (p. 74): “Because milk-making hormones help your body conserve water, failing to drink enough water will not affect the fluid content or volume of your milk. But not getting enough fluids can contribute to maternal constipation, fatigue and impaired concentration.” Also, remember, anything with caffeine is actually a diuretic and fruit juices have extra caolories.
Given all this, it makes sense that Jennifer at The Lactivist started a new blog chain, asking other bloggers to post a picture of their preferred mode of consuming all that water. She showed us her big huge blue mug.
Here are some other moms who have been tagged along the way: Natural Moms want a glass that won’t break so often. Nature Moms has a great shot of her mug in the desert where she hikes every day. Sinead at Breastfeeding Mums drinks so much water her doctor was worried she had diabetes (she doesn’t). BabyTalkers has one enormous bottle that she sips at all day while her son works on his sippy cup!
Now you can see my hydrating attempts in the photo above. I’ve got the Brita and glass of water on my desk at all times. And when I’m out doing errands or taking the boys to the park, I’ve always got a bottle or two of Poland Spring water stashed under the stroller.
In reality, I find it hard to drink enough water. Sometimes half a day goes by before I realize I haven’t had anything except a cup of coffee. So this post has actually been a good way to remind myself to drink up! And now it’s my turn to remind a couple of other bloggers. I tag…Haiku Mama and The Mommy Blawg.
When The Borstki was about 15 months old we had an amazing revelation–he was memorizing the books we read. Here’s how we figured it out. I picked up the Dr. Seuss book “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket” and started to read. “Did you ever have the feeling there’s a ZAMP…” When I paused, simply to take a breathe, The Bortski said “in the LAMP.” Yes, that’s right, he finished the sentence for me. At first I thought it was a fluke. So I kept going. “Or a NINK…” And he did it again. “In the SINK.” Then it happened with other books too.
So now, I’ve found another one I’d like to add to his repertoire. “Near Mama’s Heart,” by Colleen Newman is a book about breast feeding. It’s got a catchy rhyme and beautiful photos of kids breast feeding. You can see mom’s feeding while hiking, sleeping, sling wearing and picnicking.
Newman self-published through Trafford Publishing. The back of her book has endorsements from Harvey Karp, M.D. of “The Happiest Baby on The Block” and breast feeding maven Kelly Bonyata, of Kellymom.
You can order “Near Mama’s Heart” on Colleen’s website, MyBabyAndMore. You can also click on this link to a promotional piece for the book on YouTube. This video gives you a sneak peak inside the book’s covers.
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Greetings 2007! Did you make any resolutions for the New Year? My fellow breast feeding bloggers came up with some of their own. Tanya of The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog writes about ways we can all support breastfeeding moms. Jennifer of The Lactivist has three plans: drinking more water, volunteering and not over-extending herself with too many committments. Sinead of BreastfeedingMums Blog wants to make some big changes around her house, including planning more family time. And Angela of Breastfeeding123 takes on what may be one of the most popular resolutions…getting some exercise. As for our guest bloggers… Natural Mom’s Talk Radio wants to improve the tone of her voice, and Momma’s Angel has big plans for her daughter’s second year.
So what do I have in mind? I’m resolving to get organized. Yes, it will likely prove futile. But at least I can give it a try. Here’s my post, first put up a couple of days ago….
Home, Sweet, Home. Sometimes, it’s messy. Somtimes it’s clean.
If, for instance, you showed up unannounced at 4:00 p.m., here’s what you would find in our apartment. A pile of laundry, cleaned, but unfolded. A hurricane of toys in The Bortski’s bedroom. A tangle of strollers, coats and shoes in the hallway. A “fort” constructed out of blankets, draped over the sofa and coffee table. A semi-circle of pillows around The Bear and his toys, just in case he topples over while playing. A fine layer of crumbs in the kitchen.
On the other hand, if you stopped by about four hours later, you would find the toys stuffed into bins. The living room returned to a semblance of sophistication. The dishwasher and washing machine humming in harmony. Shoes in the shoe rack. Newspapers and magazines neatly stacked. Strollers all in a row.
It’s an ongoing battle, this fight against the natural chaos of daily life. It’s kind of like trying to prevent the incoming tide from destroying a sandcastle. I know it’s futile. And yet, I persist.
I find disorganization distracting. Clutter makes me cranky. Before I sit down to write, I have to spend at least 15 minutes loading and unloading the dishwasher, washing the high chair tray and clearing the path to my desk.
Each day I face-off against rogue sneakers, two overflowing Diaper Dekors, and a migrating Aeron chair.
So I find myself at odds with the “anti- anticlutter” movement described recently in The New York Times article, Saying Yes To Mess.
An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.
For the record, I’m not one of those “really neat people,” and that’s why my New Year’s resolution is to get organized and de-clutter. And it appears I’m not alone. Getting organized is a pretty common New Year’s resolution. In fact, according to The New York Times article, The National Association of Professional Organizers says January is Get Organized Month.
Here’s my plan. Not only will I continue to beat back the daily mess in our apartment, I’m actually going to take care of the other messes, the ones you can’t see. The ones I never let anyone see because I can hide them behind a door, under a bed or in a drawer.
Here are my top ten missions:
1. Organize my sock drawer. Throw out pre-pregnancy bras that don’t fit.
2. Clean my purse. Throw out old lipsticks, ancient receipts, empty Purell bottle and crumpled nursing pads.
3. Donate unused kids’ toys and clothes to Baby Buggy.
4. Organize the stack of research papers for my book, “Mama Knows Breast” (Quirk Books 2007). Prevent future pile-up of papers by following the OHIO principle– “only handle it once.”
5. Put stack of photographs in an album.
6. Edit together two years worth of family videos. Step one, buy new computer. Step two, learn video editing software.
7. Organize kitchen junk drawer. In other words, move the matches and batteries so The Bortski can’t reach them.
8. Collect stray change and take it to the Coinstar at the supermarket. Donate said change. Bring The Bortski so he can see how the machine works.
9. Figure out a way to curb the sprawl of keys, cell phones, iPod and Blackberry.
10. Do SOMETHING, in fact, DO ANYTHING, about the coat closet.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that my husband pitches in. He’s great with trash, recycling, folding laundry and putting things on the top shelf of a closet. I also have a cleaning lady who does the real dirty work once a week.
So why am I setting my sights higher than keeping after the daily mess? Perhaps because I pine for the perfection you find in magazines like Real Simple. I yearn for a Zen like calm even when I open closet doors. I don’t want to have to literally shut out the mess.
But is this really possible? In all honesty, I’m terrible at keeping resolutions. I always seem to be able to stick to my plan for a month or two. But then, things start to slide. Stuff happens to get in the way. There’s a deadline for work. Someone gets sick. I “mess up” and we’re back to square one.
So perhaps, the so called “anti-anticlutter” people don’t have this so wrong after all. What’s so bad about a little mess? I’m busy! Maybe I’ll get my sock drawer organized once, but I’d rather “play trains” than match mismatched socks. Maybe I’ll clean my purse tonight, but I’ll always be too rushed to do anything more than shove a receipt in my bag and push the stroller out of the store before the screaming escalates. Maybe I’ll file my papers this month, but I’d rather sit on the sofa with my husband than take care of this each night.
In fact, if I let some of the daily mess slide, I’d be free work on some other resolutions. I could go to bed at 10:30. Exercise at least three times a week. Start my next book. Have a weekly “date night” with my husband and read more books to The Bortski and Bear.
You know, maybe I should have a new mantra for 2007. “Mess, Sweet, Mess.”
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