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The Dangers of Highchairs

If you are like most new parents, you are hyper-aware of all possible dangers and have taken every step to ensure that your little bundle of joy will be safe in any circumstance. Guests are given hand sanitizer and face masks if they might cough, car seat straps are double checked for proper fit, bottles and binkies are sanitized between each use and clothes are washed in special detergent before wear. While these steps are all great ways to protect your child, there can be unseen dangers lurking in the places that you least expect. In fact, one of the biggest culprits can be sitting right in your own kitchen: the baby high chair.

High Chair Dangers

Using a high chair at home or in a restaurant is a great way to keep your child upright and ready for a meal. It can also keep squirmy toddlers confined to make feeding times easier. While these are all logical benefits, there are several risks of high chair use that many new parents are not aware of. These can include injuries from falling as well as diseases from hidden germs.

Germs

You probably use hand sanitizer on your baby’s hands when you eat out, but placing your child in a high chair can introduce a host of new germs. The Daily Mail used swabs to test the high chairs in 30 different restaurants and made a startling discovery – there were several times more germs on a baby’s high chair than on the average public toilet.

In general, public toilets harbor eight bacteria per square centimeter. The average high chair among those tested was home to 147 bacteria per square centimeter. Some restaurants boasted high chairs with up to 1,200 bacteria in each square centimeter. A few of the germs found included E-coli. Staph aureus and enterococcus feacalis. Another study found that 60 percent of the trays on high chairs were contaminated with Coliforms, a certain type of bacteria that is left from soil, unwashed vegetables, raw meat and fecal matter.

While most restaurants will ensure that any spills are wiped off of high chairs after use, researchers reported that sometimes the cleanest looking seats actually held the most germs. The seat cushions proved to be the biggest culprit for harboring bacteria. Since young children generally eat with their hands while in high chairs, they are likely putting those germs straight into their mouths.

What You Can Do

Many parents have found that the same covers used in grocery store shopping carts can work on restaurant high chairs to protect their baby’s health. You can also use a thin blanket to ensure your child does not touch any surface of the high chair, but the best advice experts can give is to thoroughly wash everyone’s hands before and after eating. If possible, you can even keep the child in his or her car seat or on your lap during the meal.

Falls

First, we’ll talk about falling. The Atlantic reports that one child will go to the emergency room every hour after a fall from a high chair, totaling 9,400 children each year. This number rose over 20 percent from the years 2003 to 2010, signaling the need to make some changes. While a fall can result in a simple scrape or bruise, bone fractures and brain injuries are also possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the highest rate of emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries occurs in those who are under four years old. Many of these injuries are due to falls, some from high chairs.

What You Can Do

Some experts suggest that parents place their children on the floor and forego high chairs altogether. If this seems extreme, there are other options you can choose to protect your baby’s health, including the following:

  • Place the high chair at a lower height. The farther your child falls, the more likely he or she will be injured and the more severe the injuries may be.
  • Do not place a child in a high chair until he or she is able to sit without support.
  • Secure wheel locks anytime the high chair is in use.
  • Check high chair recalls. If you have a damaged or defective high chair, your baby is more likely to suffer a fall. You can check the government’s official website for recalls.
  • If you buy your high chair secondhand, be sure that it has a 5-point adjustable harness and that all clips are in perfect condition. Tighten all screws and bolts and check for any cracks or tears.
  • Strap your child in correctly. Today.com states that two-thirds of parents who knew what their child was doing before the fall reported that they were standing or climbing in the high chair. Children can also slip or wriggle out of loose straps, so be sure they are fitted tight, especially the crotch strap.
  • Be sure your high chair has a sticker from the American Society for Testing and Materials or the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to prove that it has been tested and approved for safety standards.
  • Keep away anything that the child can use to pull, push or kick the chair over.

Maintaining safety can be a little harder when you are not at home. If you are in a restaurant and use a baby high chair, be sure that is has proper, working straps. If it doesn’t, feel free to ask the server for a new one.

Burns

Burns are another danger for babies who are in high chairs. If you push your child up to the table so she or she can eat with the rest of the family, be sure that there is no way a burn could occur. Make sure all pan handles are out of reach as well as any containers of hot food. Spills can also burn a baby, so it’s better to keep any hot liquids off the table.

While high chairs offer a host of benefits to parents, they also carry a fair amount of risks. By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to avoid danger and keep your baby safe. For more tips and tricks from trusted parents, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Your Baby’s Feeding Schedule

You snapped the pics of your messy-mouthed munchkin starting solids and shared the first meal milestone, and now you’re wondering where to go from here. How much baby food should you feed your little one and when should you start on a three-meals-a-day plan? What’s the ratio of solids to liquids — and should both be on the menu at the same time? Read on for answers to these questions and for simple guidelines to setting up a baby-food feeding schedule.

HOW OFTEN AND AT WHAT TIMES SHOULD I FEED BABY SOLIDS?
The “perfect” time of day to feed your baby is whatever time works for both of you. If you’re breastfeeding, you might try solids when your milk supply is at its lowest (probably late afternoon or early evening). On the other hand, babies who wake up bright-eyed and eager might be happy to sample solids for breakfast. You’ll quickly learn when she’s interested in eating and when she isn’t, which she’ll show you by opening her mouth wide and willingly taking bites versus fussily turning her head away from the spoon you offer her. Follow the cues and don’t force feedings — you can always try again later.

Start with one meal a day, then move up to two (try one in the morning and one in the evening) for the next month or so. As your baby gets older, you can work up to three solid meals a day with a snack or two in between.

HOW DO I INCORPORATE BREASTFEEDING OR BOTTLE-FEEDING ONCE I INTRODUCE SOLIDS?
Even though your baby is now slurping food from a spoon, the bulk of her nutrition will still come from breast milk or formula. Consider the solids you serve as healthy supplements and a chance for your sweetie to explore new tastes and textures.

So when should you bring out a bottle (or your breast) and when should you dish out solids? There’s really no set rule. Some moms find that an appetizer of milk or formula is a good way to start off a meal, so their little ones aren’t too hungry to settle down to eat. Other moms offer solids as a first course and milk or formula for dessert. Then there are moms who like to completely separate solids from nursing or bottle-feeding sessions. Since there’s no right or wrong, experiment until you find a feeding schedule that works for you.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I FEED BABY IN A SITTING?
A good rule of thumb when you’re figuring out just how much to give your little one during each meal: Start small and work your way up. While your baby’s first meals may have consisted of a teaspoon or two of cereal, once she gets the hang of eating, you can use the following food schedule as a general guideline:

4 to 6 months:

24 to 36 ounces of formula or milk (or 5 to 8 nursing sessions a day)
1 to 4 tablespoons of cereal once or twice a day
1 to 4 tablespoons of a fruit and vegetable once or twice a day.

6 to 8 months:

24 to 36 ounces of formula or milk (now that your baby’s a more efficient nurser, you’ll probably breastfeed her 4 to 6 times a day)
4 to 9 tablespoons of cereal, fruit and vegetables a day, spread out over 2 to 3 meals
1 to 6 tablespoons of a meat or other protein (like yogurt, cottage cheese or crumbled egg) a day
9 to 12 months:

16 to 30 ounces of formula or milk (or 3 to 5 nursing sessions a day)
Around 1/4 to 1/2 cup each of grains, fruit and veggies twice a day
Around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dairy foods a day
Around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of protein-packed foods a day.

Just remember that every baby is different and every day is different, too — feeding problems arise, and your little eater may be happy to chow down one day and clamp her tiny mouth shut the next. Sure, it’ll take some trial and error to figure out the best feeding schedule for your baby, but as long as your little one is eating a variety of foods and growing and thriving, you can rest assured that she’s well fed.

 

Early Potty Training Method

Elimination communication is a method of early potty training by which a parent carefully watches a baby for signs that she’s about to pee or poop. As soon as the baby “announces” that she needs a potty break (she may squirm in a certain way, for example, or grimace or grunt), Mom or another caregiver gets her to a toilet or potty pronto and holds her over it bare-bottomed so that she takes care of business there and not in a diaper. Some parents begin elimination communication as early as a few weeks, others wait longer, but no matter how old (or young!) a child, early potty training has its benefits. Here are some of the biggest advantages.

EC reduces the need for diapers. Most infants need to be changed from five to ten times a day. And even though babies need fewer diaper changes as they get older, the number of nappies they go through will reach into the thousands by the time they’re toilet-trained. Most parents who do infant potty training use diapers some of the time (overnight, for example, or when they’re on the go), but even so, elimination communication can cut the total number drastically.
EC is easier on the pocketbook. This math is easy: Using fewer diapers means less money spent buying them!
EC is easier on the environment. Disposable diapers eat up resources when they’re manufactured and pile up in landfills after they’re used. Washing cloth diapers uses water and energy. When it comes to the environment, neither option is better than the other, but using fewer diapers of either type by going the elimination communication route is unquestionably the greenest way to go.
EC may be more comfortable for babies. Minus the bulk around her bottom, a baby can kick her chubby little legs and otherwise move more freely than she might wrapped in a nappy.
EC can stave off diaper rash. A sore, red tushie is typically caused by a trio of factors: moisture trapped against skin that’s enclosed in an airless environment and exposed to potential irritants, such as the residue from urine or feces and/or chemicals like the fragrances in a wipe. Most of these rash-raisers are non-issues when a baby spends less time in a diaper.
EC encourages bonding. Elimination communication requires keeping an almost-constant eye on a baby in order to catch her when she needs to pee or poop. Not only does this increase the quantity of time a parent (or caregiver) spends in contact with her child, it can enhance the quality of those close encounters by requiring Mom to really pay attention to how her baby expresses her needs.
EC is natural. At least, it’s natural when you consider that worldwide, most mothers deal with their infants’ toileting needs without using diapers. Particularly in Asia and Africa, babies are toted around with their butts bare. When they show signs of needing to relieve themselves, their mothers simply hold them away from their own bodies.

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