Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Safety Tip: Lawn Mowing

Each year many children are injured severely by lawn mowers. Power mowers can be especially dangerous. However, most lawn mower-related injuries can be prevented by following these safety guidelines.

When is my child old enough to mow the lawn?

Before learning how to mow the lawn, your child should show the maturity, good judgment, strength and coordination that the job requires. In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be at least
  • 12 years of age to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower safely
  • 16 years of age to operate a riding lawn mower safely
It is important to teach your child how to use a lawn mower. Before you allow your child to mow the lawn alone, spend time showing him or her how to do the job safely. Supervise your child's work until you are sure that he or she can manage the task alone.

Before mowing the lawn:

  • Make sure that children are indoors or at a safe distance well away from the area that you plan to mow.
  • Read the lawn mower operator's manual and the instructions on the mower.
  • Check conditions:
    • Do not mow during bad weather, such as during a thunderstorm.
    • Do not mow wet grass.
    • Do not mow without enough daylight.
  • Clear the mowing area of any objects such as twigs, stones, and toys, that could be picked up and thrown by the lawn mower blades.
  • Make sure that protective guards, shields, the grass catcher, and other types of safety equipment are placed properly on the lawn mower and that your mower is in good condition.
  • If your lawn mower is electric, use a ground fault circuit interrupter to prevent electric shock.
  • Never allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on lawn mowers or garden tractors.

While mowing:

  • Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes with slip-proof soles, close-fitting clothes, safety goggles or glasses with side shields, and hearing protection.
  • Watch for objects that could be picked up and thrown by the mower blades, as well as hidden dangers. Tall grass can hide objects, holes or bumps. Use caution when approaching corners, trees or anything that might block your view.
  • If the mower strikes an object, stop, turn the mower off, and inspect the mower. If it is damaged, do not use it until it has been repaired.
  • Do not pull the mower backwards or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
  • Use extra caution when mowing a slope.
    • When a walk-behind mower is used, mow across the face of slopes, not up and down, to avoid slipping under the mower and into the blades.
    • With a riding mower, mow up and down slopes, not across, to avoid tipping over.
  • Keep in mind that lawn trimmers also can throw objects at high speed.
  • Remain aware of where children are and do not allow them near the area where you are working. Children tend to be attracted to mowers in use.

Stop the engine and allow it to cool before refueling.

Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before:
  • Crossing gravel paths, roads or other areas
  • Removing the grass catcher
  • Unclogging the discharge chute
  • Walking away from the mower
**This information is based on the American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statement Lawn Mower Injuries to Children, published in June 2001.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interesting FACT: Lighting more likely to be male victims

Dr Jopling read this article on NPR today and we thought it was very interesting. Something to think about.......

"More than 80% of lightning victims are male. Be a force of nature by knowing your risk, taking action and being an example"
Eighty percent seemed to us pretty significant, so we turned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and asked, "Why?"
Susan Buchanan, a NOAA spokeswoman, said the agency had not conducted any formal studies, but NOAA and its partners had batted around a few theories.
— First, men take more risks than women. "If you look at the percentage of men who take part in high risk sports, that might give you an idea," said Buchanan.
— Men typically spend more time outside.
— Men, said Buchanan, don't want to be seen as "wimps." This theory, she said, was backed up by talking to the Boy Scouts, who said no one wants to be the one to say it's time to go inside.
— More men have jobs that require them to work outside.
We thought it might have to do with height, but Buchanan laughed at the suggestion.
As for NOAA's safety advice for lightning: "When thunder roars, go indoors." If can hear it, said Buchanan, you're close enough for a strike. Buchanan said you should also wait 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder to continue outdoor activity. NOAA has some more information on its website.
On average, 54 people are killed by lightning a year.

** info from

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Safety Tips: Bike and Helmet

Safety is our top concern and we wanted to give you a few tips while your children are out playing this summer! Remember if you have any questions please call us and always remember to have your children wear a helmet! Have a SAFE and wonderful summer!



  • Do not push your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike until he or she is ready, at about age 5 or 6. Consider the child's coordination and desire to learn to ride. Stick with coaster (foot) brakes until your child is older and more experienced for hand brakes.
  • Take your child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he or she can try it out. The value of a properly fitting bike far outweighs the value of surprising your child with a new one.  For more information on finding the proper fit, go to
  • Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to "grow into." Oversized bikes are especially dangerous.
  • Your child needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. Many accidents happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets.  Children learn best by observing you. Set the example: Whenever you ride, put on your helmet.
  • When purchasing a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the CPSC safety standard.
  • A helmet protects your child from serious injury, and should always be worn. And remember, wearing a helmet at all times helps children develop the helmet habit.
  • A helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head, not tipped forwards or backwards.  The strap should be securely fastened, and you should not be able to move the helmet in any direction.  If needed, the helmet’s sizing pads can help improve the fit.


  • Children should never ride skateboards or scooters in or near traffic.
  • All skateboarders and scooter-riders should wear a helmet and other protective gear; wrist guards are particularly important.
  • Communities should continue to develop skateboard parks, which are more likely to be monitored for safety than ramps and jumps constructed by children at home.
  • While in-line skating or wearing Heelys, be sure to wear appropriate protective equipment and only skate on designated paths or rinks and not on the street.
**Info from the AAP and

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Safety Tips: Firework and Bug safety

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Safety Tips: Sun and Water

The AAP always puts out great reminders for safety and summer! Here are a few tips. Click on link below for the full article! We hope you have a fun and safe summer!

Fun in the Sun

Babies under 6 months:

  • The two main recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn are to avoid sun exposure, and to dress infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn. However, when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area.

For All Other Children:

  • The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Be sure to apply enough sunscreen -- about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  • Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

Heat Stress in Exercising Children

  • The intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels.
  • At the beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, the intensity and duration of exercise should be limited initially and then gradually increased during a period of 7 to 14 days to acclimatize to the heat, particularly if it is very humid.
  • Before prolonged physical activity, children should be well-hydrated and should not feel thirsty. For the first hour of exercise, water alone can be used. Kids should have water or a sports drink always available and drink every 20 minutes while exercising in the heat. Excessively hot and humid environments, more prolonged and strenuous exercise, and copious sweating should be reasons for children to substantially increase their fluid intake. After an hour of exercise, children need to drink a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage to replace electrolytes lost in sweat and provide carbohydrates for energy.
  • Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat. Sweat-saturated shirts should be replaced by dry clothing.
  • Practices and games played in the heat should be shortened and more frequent water/hydration breaks should be instituted. Children should seek cooler environments if they feel excessively hot or fatigued.

Pool Safety

  • Never leave children alone in or near the pool or spa, even for a moment.
  • Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.
  • Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can't reach.
  • If the house serves as the fourth side of a fence surrounding a pool, install an alarm on the exit door to the yard and the pool.
  • Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd's hook — a long pole with a hook on the end — and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool. Choose a shepherd’s hook and other rescue equipment made of fiberglass or other materials that do not conduct electricity.
  • Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
  • Children ages 1 to 4 may be at a lower risk of drowning if they have had some formal swimming instruction. However, there is no evidence that swimming lessons or water survival skills courses can prevent drowning in babies younger than 1 year of age.
  • The decision to enroll a 1- to 4-year-old child in swimming lessons should be made by the parent and based on the child’s developmental readiness, but swim programs should never be seen as “drown proofing” a child of any age.
  • Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult – preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR – should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
  • Avoid entrapment: Suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer underwater. Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers. Ask your pool operator if your pool or spa’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act. If you have a swimming pool or spa, ask your pool service representative to update your drains and other suction fitting with anti-entrapment drain covers and other devices or systems. See for more information on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.
  • Large, inflatable, above-ground pools have become increasingly popular for backyard use. Children may fall in if they lean against the soft side of an inflatable pool. Although such pools are often exempt from local pool fencing requirements, it is essential that they be surrounded by an appropriate fence just as a permanent pool would be so that children cannot gain unsupervised access.

Boating Safety

  • Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats or near bodies of water.
  • Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child. The jacket should not be loose. It should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted.
  • Blow-up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should not be used as life jackets or personal flotation devices. Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection, and to set a good example.
  • Adolescents and adults should be warned of the dangers of boating when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and even some prescription medications.

Open Water Swimming

  • Never swim alone. Even good swimmers need buddies!
  • A lifeguard (or another adult who knows about water rescue) needs to be watching children whenever they are in or near the water. Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water – use “touch supervision,” keeping no more than an arm’s length away.
  • Make sure your child knows never to dive into water except when permitted by an adult who knows the depth of the water and who has checked for underwater objects.
  • Never let your child swim in canals or any fast moving water.
  • Ocean swimming should only be allowed when a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Teach children about rip tides. If you are caught in a rip tide, swim parallel to shore until you escape the current, and then swim back to shore.
**Info from and the AAP
CLICK HERE for the full article

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Internet Safety Month

June Is Internet Safety Month

For the most part, the Internet is a rewarding place for both kids and teens, but the potential risks to their privacy and personal safety are real. While surfing the Web, your children may stumble upon disturbing information or images, or they may innocently accept or share files that could expose your family to Internet thieves or computer viruses. They may encounter cyberbullies who try to embarrass or intimidate them. Even worse, your children may unknowingly communicate with child predators, who use the Internet to befriend vulnerable children by pretending to be another child or a trustworthy adult and then try to persuade them to meet in person.
Social networking sites are beginning to add additional safeguards for young users. Security software also offers some protection. But being aware of the risks and engaging with your children about safety are the most important things you can do to keep your family safer online.

See the links and resources below for information from and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP

Internet Safety Tips (Audio)Log On to Safety
How to Talk to Your Kids Using Technology
A Minute for Kids: Social Media and Your Child (Video)
AAP SafetyNetThe Internet and Your FamilySet the Rules for Internet Use

**info from

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

10 Best Books for Thinking Parents

10 Best Books for Thinking Parents

This month the Parents magazine put out there top Books for Thinking parents. We love this list and Dr Omara added one at the end. Also click on the link below to see Dr Joplings Book resource list! We hope as your children are reading this summer you can pick up one of these books for yourself! Happy Reading

1. Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky
Here's a book that requires a highlighter and notepad - it's really exceptional. The seven essential skills, according to Galinsky, are 1. Focus and Self Control, 2. Perspective Taking, 3. Communicating, 4. Making Connections, 5. Critical Thinking, 6. Taking On Challenges, 7. Self-Directed, Engaged Learning. A must-read!

2. NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
This book will change everything you think! The authors take the latest science and apply it to parenting in areas like motivation, praise, sibling relationships, sleep, and more.

3. Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential by Eileen Kennedy Moore, PhD Mark S Lowenthal, PsyD
This book is exceptionally helpful! It talks about tempering perfectionism and tells us parents to resist giving pointers to our kids (aka. shut up and listen, in my words.) I loved the chapters on temperament, sensitivity, cooperation, joy, and . . . heck, it's all good.
Read an exerpt on Goodreads.

4. Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder by Mariah Bruehl
Bruehl is a former teacher who makes play and learning accessible to parents at home with kids. I loved this book and highlighted at least half.

5. Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn – and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D. & Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D.
Parents, before you put your child into preschool, READ THIS BOOK. The research overwhelmingly shows the difference in how play is essential for child development in math, reading, verbal communication, science, self-awareness and social skills. NOT academics. It's very compelling.

6. Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina
The science of a child's growing brain is explained in layman's terms by the hilarious Medina. Check out his online videos, too - they're great.

7. No Regrets Parenting: Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids by Harley Robart, M.D.
A quick read with gifts of wisdom for busy parents about being present in the life of our children.

8. Different Learners: Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child’s Learning Problems by Jane M. Healy, Ph.D.
An eye-opening book that synthesizes the latest brain research and helps us understand what learning issues are genetically based and which are triggered, or both. Not only that, this book explains how to nurture a child's brain versus trigger learning problems.

9. Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross
I got a lot out of this book about reducing the amount of clutter, even reducing sensory overload. I loved how this book helped me with routine and ritual. It's fantastic!

10. Fun On the Run by Cynthia L. Copeland
I keep this book with me - it's got lots of creative ideas for things to do anywhere - waiting at the doctor's office, restaurants, car rides, it's an essential
Dr Omara's book suggestion:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Guest Blog: Summer Reading Engagement Tips

Summer Reading Engagement Tips

What to read?
Emily A. Swan, Ph.D.

It has been a pleasure to write about ways to help parents engage their children with books! I hope you have learned some things to put into practice in your own homes. I’m sure there are things that have validated what you are already doing! So keep up the good work!

This is the final guest blog, so I will provide some fun SUMMER READING TIPS and a few of our favorite book titles!

Summer Reading Tips

Bottom Line: The most important thing you can do for your kids over the summer is encourage them to READ! In fact, READ WITH THEM. It should NOT, however, be part of a list of chores.

As parents, you can't tell your kids to read and then not read yourself. You need to get caught reading. . .OFTEN. The best thing is to read TOGETHER! It's amazing how fun it is and how much it builds a relationship with your children. It should be on the list of FUN things to do, because it is SO MUCH FUN!!

So, HOW do you make it FUN? Well, it helps to have a GREAT BOOK!! Here are a few (really, just a few; there a so many others out there) that we love at our house. These are books we have read aloud or have read over and over. We hope you try some of them.

Chapter Book suggestions for younger children, age 5-6 and up:

Every girl from grade 1 up (including high school!!) should read The 100 Dresses! It's not so much about dresses as it is about friendship and forgiveness! I HIGHLY recommend that EVERY GIRL read this book and moms can read along with them. It's SUCH a great book with a wonderful message. We read it every year.

For BOYS, a book about adventures to the moon with a boy and his dog is Journey To The Blue Moon. The language in this book is hilarious! It is so much FUN to read aloud. Boys of all ages will love to listen to it or they can read it on their own from about grade 3-4 up.

I also cannot stress enough how fabulous a writer Kate DiCamillo is! We have read everything she's written and are always waiting for her next book. I have just recently read The Tale of Despereaux with my 5 year old car and truck-loving, bike-riding son. He always says "Just one more chapter. Don't stop reading yet!" Those are my favorite words! The language in The Tale of Despereayx is incredible and draws kids of ALL ages into the story. If you've seen the movie, so what. Read the book and then watch the movie. We loved comparing the movie to the book after we read the book. The books are ALWAYS better than the movies! Read this one for sure. It's for all ages. Other favorites we have read over and over by Kate DiCamillo include Because of Winn Dixie, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and The Mercy Watson series! After Tale.. we read The Miraculous Journey… and my son loved that one too.

Another incredible writer we love is E.B. White. We read Charlotte's Web about every summer too. Trumpet of the Swans (no relation!) is also fabulous.

Other great book suggestions for kids in grades 4 up include:

Moon Over Manifest

Walk Two Moons

When You Reach Me

A Long Way from Chicago

The View From Saturday

Inside Out and Back Again

The Secret Series

A Series of Unfortunate Events (all 13!)

Each Little Bird That Sings (dog book. beware. Dog books are sad!)

Shiloh (another dog book)

Where the Red Fern Grows (really sad dog book)

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (series)

A Year Without Autumn

The Bridge to Terebithia

The Mysterious Benedict Society (series)

The Willoughbys

The Giver (Lois Lowry is an amazing author too!)

Number the Stars

Maniac Magee (and many other Jerry Spinelli books! Great books for boys!)

(you'll notice I don't have the Hunger Games series on this list. Parents have asked me about what I think about this series. I know how popular it is right now. I personally think it is not appropriate for kids under the age of 13 or 14. I don't care about popularity. Please use your own parental guidance; some children do fine with it. Other kids are very sensitive, and in that case, I do not recommend it until Jr. High.)


If you are traveling, whether it's to Lake Powell or to France READ ABOUT IT! What INTERESTS do your kids have? Get books about your kids' INTERESTS!! What do they talk about? nature, bugs, sharks, tide pools, beaches, tornadoes? Get books about what your kids talk about. Read with them and keep talking. Read on the trampoline, at dusk. Read in a tent when you're camping, by flashlight. Read a chapter a night, EVERY night, all summer! Seriously. You can never get these early years back. The time you spend NOT reading can NEVER be made up in any other way. Remember that you want to expose your kids to millions of words per year and you now have a nice, long, summer to catch up! Set a goal to have your child read 10 books over the summer, or 5, whatever. Then, if they meet their goal---BUY THEM MORE BOOKS!! No prizes, candy, stickers, games. Books are the rewards for reading. Getting smart is the reward for reading. Building a relationship with your kids is the reward for reading with your kids. Having a great conversation at dinner, unplugged, is the reward for reading!

Salt Lake City Library has GREAT Summer activities planned at various branches!

Dinosaur Train Nature Trackers

Magician Paul Brewer

Superhero Storytime

Zoo Mania

Phun with Physics

Dream Mural Workshop with Discovery Gateway

The Lion and the Mouse

Build Me a Story

Storytime in the Garden

…and SO much more!

Check out the great summer schedule at

Make it a GREAT SUMMER!!

If you are interested in how to build literacy skills over the summer with your preschooler or Kindergartener. . . My business partner Michelle Roderick and I have created a tool for parents to maximize the time they spend reading to their young children. One tool that will soon be available to parents, grandparents, babysitters, or other caretakers, is our product called DiscoverLit Kits. These wonderful kits are designed around a book (e.g., Bugs) and we have written research-based activities around these wonderful books that increase comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, word study/phonics, and writing. We include easy step-by-step instructions for mothers and others that are easy to follow. We also integrate math, science, or art into our kits to extend learning. They help parents and children discover the fun of literacy. . .in a kit. The kit ships right to your door and all of the materials for the activities are included IN the kit. Simply choose an activity per day. Do as many or as few as you want. You can do them in any order. Easy. Convenient. Portable. We take parents and young children through the steps of creating interest, questioning, discovering, reading, sharing, and making connections. Our goal is to help parents know how to prepare their Preschooler or Kindergartener for school during the summer months. We will soon have kits for grades K-1 too. By fall, we’ll have kits for grades 2-3 and 3-4. We are excited to be able to help parents motivate their children in fun, meaningful ways that truly build lifelong skills and build special relationships between parent and child, by reading together.  

****We can not thank Emily enough!! We hope this give you a jump start to your reading programs this summer! Stay tooned for a great class that we will be offering!!