By Amy Julia Becker
Even though I'm the mother of three small children, I've never been a huge fan of child safety regulations. I often roll my eyes at warnings on labels. I think back to my own childhood, when Fisher-Price Little People were shaped like cylinders instead of marshmallows, and we still managed to survive. I think back to my helmetless bike riding days. I often tell my kids that I believe in germs and dirt, by which I mean I bypass antibacterial hand wash, and I allow them to play with other kids who have the sniffles (though I avoid stomach bugs like the plague). I also allow them to take calculated risks that sometimes result in skinned knees and sometimes result in greater strength, balance, and flexibility.
RELATED: Parents' Biggest Concerns for Their Kids
So I read the recent Safe Kids Report on the effect of sequestration (aka the fiscal cliff) on children's health and safety with some degree of skepticism. And yet, despite my own laissez faire parenting, this
Blog Posts by Parents.com
- Parents.com | Parenting – Mon, Dec 17, 2012 3:12 PM EST
Parents.com's experts predict the kid-focused health stories you'll be talking about in 2013.
By Richard Rende, Ph.D., and Kara Corridan
1. The Book That'll Change How Mental Health Disorders Are Diagnosed
If you're not familiar with the term "DSM-5" yet, you will be. In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) will publish the 5th version of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The DSM is used by clinicians to diagnose psychiatric disorders, and it's what insurance companies and policy makers use to determine whether a person needs treatment, and what type they need. This latest version is well over a decade in the making, and we've already heard lots of debate over the major changes.
For instance, many people--parents and professionals alike-are worried about the plan to eliminate Asperger's Disorder from the DSM-5 and create one category of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Critics contend that kids who currently have Asperger's will
By Kristen Kemp
Bookworms will love the lineup of parenting memoirs and advice that are scheduled for release in 2013. I know I am. Here are the books I can't wait to read in the New Year.
The Heavy: A Mother Daughter Memoir
by Dara-Lynn Weiss
Did you hear about the mom who put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet and wrote about it for Vogue? Author Dara Lynn-Weiss caused such a stir that she got a book deal. This memoir tells the story from start to finish-how the doctor labeled her little girl obese, and how this mother decided to take care of it. The book is supposed to be brutally honest, and Lynn-Weiss claims that her insights will help other parents in the same situation. (Jan. 15)
Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic's Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows
by Zac Unger
In this memoir, one dad takes his family to Antarctica-Churchill, Manitoba to be exact. In the "Polar Bear Capital of
- Parents.com | Team Mom – Thu, Dec 6, 2012 1:43 PM EST
By Ellen Seidman
Imagine being a woman who's endured sexual abuse, addiction, depression, and a suicide attempt. Hard to imagine, right? Now imagine being a woman who's weathered all that and single motherhood--and parented one of the biggest pop stars of our time. That, friends, is Pattie Mallette, Justin Bieber's mom. "She's the strongest woman I've ever met," Justin says in the introduction to her recently-released memoir Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom, co-written with A.J. Gregory.
As the parent of a kid with special needs, I found myself relating to Mallette's drive to keep forging ahead in life, doing anything she possibly could to help her son succeed in this world-and help herself, too. As she says, "I survived single motherhood by sheer willpower and a ton of prayer." I draw strength for raising Max--who has cerebral palsy--from other strong women I meet, and Mallette is made of super-strong stuff. The book is well written, and hard to put down, especially
By Richard Rende
I just read a terrific series at Time.com about kids and DNA. One of the more intriguing questions posed was: Should you get your child's genome sequenced?
The idea might not seem far-fetched. We hear more and more about how genes predict whether or not we will get a disease. So why not have your child's genome screened for disease genes?
Well, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind (without even thinking about cost or ethics):
Your child's DNA was probably already screened for major disease genes (really big ones that have severe effects on development) when they were born.
RELATED: How Genetics Influence Your Baby's Looks and Personality
Outside of those genes (there's probably less than 100 of them), most genetic markers are really not that informative. They give you some sense of increased risk for a disease - but a whole host of environmental factors undoubtedly contribute as well. This is especially true for "common" diseases -- like most of the
Our gift to you this holiday season is a stress-free shopping guide for the hottest playthings of the year. They topped our kid testers' wish lists!
By Kourtney Eidam with Sarah Rammos and Brooke Bunce
1. Having a Ball Roll and Pop Fire Truck
Encourage your child to crawl with this BrightStarts vehicle that shoots out balls for him to chase. Put it in Park so he can push the buttons and work on his ABCs. 3 months+, $20; toysrus.com
Buy the toy here! >>
RELATED: Age-by-Age Guide to Toys
2. Treetop Friends Musical Crib Mobile
Owls, apples, woodland charm-this mobile pretty much covers the biggest nursery-décor themes of the moment. It also lulls your kid to sleep with music. 0 to 5 months, $45; skiphop.com
Buy the toy here! >>
3. Pour & Float Froggy
Kids will hop at the chance to take a bath with this floating fountain that squirts water from its mouth. It also teaches numbers through songs and counting activities. 9 months+, $18; vtechkids.com
Buy the toy here! >>
4. Koala Ring
- Parents.com | Team Mom – Tue, Oct 23, 2012 12:24 PM EDT
By Debbie KoenigRead More »from Avoid Halloween Candy Overload with Switch Witchery
I'm inviting the Switch Witch over for Halloween this year, but she won't arrive until after my 6-year-old has gone to bed. Are you familiar with the dear old hag? Like Santa or the Tooth Fairy, the Switch Witch visits children while they sleep and leaves a prize. But in this case the prize makes parents happy too, because she swaps it for that overflowing sack of Halloween candy.
We first tried this ingenious ploy last year, when we realized that a triple dose of trick-or-treating at school, at our neighborhood's Witches' Walk parade, and from going door to door-meant that Harry was likely to haul his weight in bite-size sweets. The prospect terrified me, both for him (his teeth!) and for me (how would I resist the siren song of mini-Twix?). So during the week leading up to the holiday, my husband and I clued Harry in to the Witch's existence and asked him what toy he might like to trade for his leftover candy. He'd still be able to eat some, of course, especially
By Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDNRead More »from Peanut Recalls: What You Need to Know
If your family eats peanuts, peanut butter, or other peanut products, you're most likely concerned by the recent slew of recalls of some of these foods because of possible salmonella contamination. Thus far, an estimated 240 peanut products have been recalled, including popular brands such as Trader Joe's and Hines Nut Company.
Last month, Trader Joe's recalled its Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter and eight other products. Sunland, Inc. followed suit and announced a voluntary limited recall of almond butter, peanut butter (including the one made at Trader Joe's) and cashew butters, tahini, and their roasted blanched products. Most recently, Hines Nut Company, Inc. voluntarily recalled its salted jumbo Virginia in-shell peanuts, distributed under Hines or Dollar General Clover Valley labels. The Hines products are sold at Wal-Mart and Dollar General.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35 people from 19 states have reportedly been
By Liesl Den
This past summer we chose not to participate in our library's reading program. At one point, we were chatting with a librarian and she asked if the kids were doing the library's summer reading program. She was shocked when I told her we weren't participating this year. "May I ask why?" she wanted to know. I had a hard time articulating why exactly I didn't want to have the kids join, but it was clear from her demeanor that she thought I was doing the kids a disservice. I replied that my kids love reading and I didn't want them to equate reading with getting prizes.
RELATED: Teaching Your Child How to Read
Besides, my son would only read one or two huge, thick books this summer and would feel frustrated not to have read the huge numbers that the girls would be reading. Nor did I want him selecting easy books just so he could fill up a prize sheet. The librarian actually said to me, "well, this is a competitive world and your son should just get used to it." I smiled
- Parents.com | Team Mom – Wed, Oct 3, 2012 12:24 PM EDT
By Nicole Dorsey
One of the first things you realize when you start filling out domestic adoption paperwork via foster care and the county - in our case Los Angeles County - you realize how many brothers and sisters must be separated during the domestic adoption process because it's nearly impossible to take in two, three or even four siblings.
RELATED: How to Raise an Adopted Child
How can one adoptive family go through the foster-to-adopt plan with more than one child? If you've read this blog before, you know that I chicken out pretty quickly. When all you think your little family can handle is one foster toddler, but there's the chance you'd get a child faster if you agree to foster her siblings, too.
This happens all the time. If me and my family (with husband and bio son Sam) agree to foster siblings we'd have a foster delivery far quicker than usual. I heard from reader Shell, who said she had to look deep inside her heart and soul before she began the adoption process for