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Simple Safety Solutions

Simple Safety Solutions

We love babies. And we know that they love a spot of adventure! We like to provide top tips and advice for parents of mini explorers to ensure they remain safe, happy and able to do what they do best... being kids!

October 19, 2012 at 11:58

Sleep Safety

Baby Sleep SafetyPutting baby to bed can be a worry for many parents. We get the baby monitor out and sit wide-eyed, glued to it to ensure our sleeping beauties are safe.

Amongst the many concerns for parents is suffocations when sleeping. Young babies are very weak, and can’t move in the same way as older children. At this age, babies are most at risk from suffocation whilst sleeping.

It doesn’t require extreme safety measures or checking in on them constantly, just a few simple tips to remember when putting your little one down for their beauty sleep…

A Space of Their Own

Babies need a good safe place to fall asleep. The best way to keep babies safe when they’re getting their 40 winks is in a cot of their own. Many parents take babies to bed with them, especially in the first few months when they seem to wake up every five minutes!

Sadly, some babies have been accidentally suffocated by their parents. It’s not common, but it can be a dangerous option when it’s not necessary. There are a range of cots available to suit all tastes. We love the Emmay Beech Cot which comes with its own mattress and also has a Space Saver version for babies in the transition from basinette to their own cot.

If however you do wish to keep baby closer to you, or they’re not settling in their cot, a Co-Sleeper is the way forward. Easily attachable to your bed, this is the best way to keep baby close, comforted and most importantly, safe.

Bedding

Tiny babies aren’t strong enough to push blankets away from their faces, so it’s important to prevent them from wriggling down under the covers. Putting babies at the bottom of the cot (so their feet touch the end) can stop them squirming down. Because they can’t push bedding away from their faces, duvets or quilts should not be used with babies under 12 months – use blankets or a lightweight sleeping bag instead. Never use a pillow with a baby less than 12 months old.

Furry Friends

Cats love a warm, soft place to curl up. Tragically this can often be next to baby, or even on top of baby in a cot. A cat net will prevent furry friends from coming in for a cuddle, keeping baby safe whilst sleeping.

Tossing and Turning

Although they can’t walk or crawl yet, many babies are very mobile! They’ll wriggle, roll and squirm around, and their small heads can get trapped in narrow places. You can keep them safe by making sure there’s a gap of no more than 4cm anywhere between their mattress and the bars of the cot.

A sleep positioner will also provide support whilst protecting from Flat Head Syndrome.

Getting baby to sleep can be challenge enough, and so worrying about them once they do drop off needn’t be something that troubles you. Consider the world from your baby’s perspective. If anything in the cot poses a challenge or potential danger, take it out. It’s always better to be safe. Knowing you have safety in mind should help you sleep more soundly too!

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August 7, 2012 at 14:35

The Mini Olympics!

Olympics-SSSThe Olympics are in full swing and we’re sure all Direct2Mum fans are getting plenty of TV time clocked up watching the action unfold!

For those with mini Olympians in tow, no doubt they’ll want to get in on the games too, so we came up with a few gadgets for little athletes to keep them in tip top condition…

Cycling

Even the smallest competitors can get on their wheels with the Thudguard Spike Helmet. Famously, the World’s Smallest Cycle Helmet, this ingenious invention helps protect even the smallest of heads from bumps and bruises and can be used out and about or around the home.

Gymnastics

If you have a little gymnast making shapes in the living room, grab a TV Screen Protector – also great for protecting against flying objects for mini shot-putters and javelinists!

Swimming

Swim Fin should be the official sponsor of the mini Olympics based on the fact that it’s just brilliant! Helping to keep little swimmers afloat whilst not restricting the arms like those scratchy balloon-like armbands we had in our day! Check out our Mum and Baby review of the swim fin in action!

Athletics

Running, hurdling, going for the long jump… athletic activity calls for a Thudguard helmet! As seen on The Apprentice, this helmet will protect against bumps and bruises during the games!

For those attempting the High Jump, a secure safety gate will prevent falls on hazardous areas such a staircases. Available in a range of sizes, designs and even colours, our safety gate finder has something for every arena er, home!

Judo

Judo enthusuasts know that rolling around on the floor can take its toll on little bodies! A nice cosy Playmat will keep little bums off cold floors and prevent slips and trips. Meanwhile, for those that prefer to compete in the ring, check out our range of luxury playpens – with built in soft mats and plenty of space, they’re perfect for a good bit of kick action!

Whatever your little athletes get up this Olympic weekend, our job is to ensure their safety, whilst you get stuck into the sports!

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August 7, 2012 at 14:31

Everything But The Kitchen Sink!

SSS-Packing-for-HolidaysAs all of the Direct2Mum fans out there will know, packing a suitcase for a holiday abroad is like a Krypton Factor challenge. Factor in baby essentials and you quickly find yourself abandoning that fourth pair of flips flops and emergency maxi dress.

Nappies, milks, bottles, sterilisers, high spf sun creams, and umpteen changes of clothes (baby’s, as well as your own!)…

Surely you don’t need to pack absolutely everything? Many major holiday destinations now cater so well for families that many products will be available to buy when you get there, saving you suitcase space, and sometimes, money. We compiled a list of a few items to spend your Euros on, and the essentials you should get crammed into that case before you leave…

Baby formula

Baby formula milks are widely available in supermarkets abroad. Cow and Gate and Aptamil are available in some European countries under other brand names, but be aware that they can be a lot more expensive. Some Mums have experienced that milks brought abroad have a different consistency. But you know yourself if your baby would tolerate a change in formula milk or whether you should bob your favourite brand on the packing list.

Baby food

Baby food can be bought in supermarkets and pharmacies in most countries. The flavours may differ from baby food you buy in the UK. Spanish baby food fish dishes have a stronger flavour, in Italy you can find Ostrich flavour baby food! and in France, their range of baby foods available are extremely varied and are considered excellent quality. So there’s no doubt you’ll find something to suit your baby’s palette! If you have the facilities where you’re staying, you could even make your own. Seasonal fruit and vegetables particularly in Spain, France and Italy are excellent great for making baby purees and snacks.

Nappies

A two week supply of nappies, takes up a fair amount of valuable suitcase space. So why not buy these at your holiday destination? Take enough for the flight and the first day or two in case the supermarkets are closed when you arrive. Huggies and/or Pampers, as well as shop’s own brands, are available in most stores. (Pampers are called Dodots in Spain) You’ll easily find wipes too, though they can be more heavily perfumed in some countries. Nappy sacks are a rarer find.

Lotions and Potions

Nurofen can be found in some pharmacies abroad, but Calpol isn’t known to be widely available. It is reassuring to have a familiar brand to give your baby or toddler if they are ill on holiday so it may be a good idea to take some of the 5ml sachets. These are very handy and don’t take up much suitcase space.

Suncreams can be expensive in the UK, and even more so when you find the bottle running dry abroad. Though suncream for babies and toddlers should be a high priority on your list, sun protection clothing is another ingenious way of ensuring safety in the sun, offering an SPF of over 50 and blocking 99.9% of harmful UV rays. These T-shirts and shorts are lighter to carry and will save you on spending a fortune of creams abroad.

Out and About

Several countries in Europe aren’t as up to speed as we are when it comes to facilities. There aren’t as many changing facilities in restaurants, and high chairs are not always available. Consider taking a Toseat in your suitcase, – perfect for seating baby to eat no matter where you are, when a high chair isn’t an option.

If you’re little one will be splashing in the pool whilst away, industry standard certified armbands are a must. You can buy swimming aids in most supermarkets abroad however be wary of their quality. A Swimming Association endorsed Swim Fin slips nicely into your suitcase and is an ingenious buoyancy aid for little sunseekers taking a dip!

By preparing in advance, you can be suitcase savvy well before you set off, eliminating the need for excess baggage and heaving that bulging suitcase to the check in desk! And maybe slip another pair of shoes in there too!

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August 7, 2012 at 14:27

Saving for a Rainy Day!

888756-bigthumbnail-300x225 For those lucky enough to have booked a summer holiday to escape the dismal weather, they’ll no doubt be splurging on a few summer essentials for the suitcase, and looking forward to a week or two in the sun.

For those staying in good old Blighty, flips flops and beach towels remain at the back of the wardrobe as we crank up the central heating and wait for summer to show it’s face!

So, since the British climate isn’t currently living up to expectations, we thought we’d pen a few top tips for summer survival!


Playtime

As weekends indoors seem to be becoming increasingly popular (we don’t blame you!), little ones will need a place to play. This Lindam Fabric Playpen not only comes with a cosy playmat to keep little bottoms warm and snug, but can be used as a room divider, playpen or multi panel gate. The ultimate safe haven for little ones whilst you get on with your never-ending to to list.

Tested to a million bounces (yep!) this Jump About Bouncer will keep active tots entertained for ages! Plus, ensure they get plenty of exercise too!

Safe and Sound

As the winds howls, we’re all cranking the heating up to keep cosy. Keep your little bundles safe with a Fireguard to protect wandering fingers from ferocious flames. Many of our fireguards can be used as room dividers to keep little ones in one place, as well as wall mounted and easily folded away for quick storage when the sun finally comes out!

Little ones spending lots of time indoors can quickly get cabin fever and want to explore. A safety gate will prevent mini mountaineers from tumbles tackling the stairs, plus ensure they don’t wander too far from view!

The humid air can make sleeping less than comfortable promting us to crack the windows open for a bedtime breather! If you’re airing the room, be sure little night owls are safe with these easy to fit window restrictors, allowing you to decide how far the window will open, and preventing little ones from falling out.

Out and About

For those venturing out to brave the elements, this Lambskin Stroller Liner will keep baby nice and snug (you might want to get in too!) Bob on a rain cape to keep out the wind and wetness and you’re good to go! For added protection from the downpour, this handy clip-on Pushchair Umbrella is perfect for hands-free outings!

Hopefully summer will brighten up soon! In the meantime, we plan to keep your little sun-seekers safe, even whilst they’re cooped up indoors!

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April 27, 2012 at 16:04

Inventions for Mums… Made by Mums

In our ever-evolving world of technology, nothing is impossible. So when you’re head-scratching with frustration from products on the market that just aren’t meeting yours or your baby’s needs, what do you do? Invent something that will!

Many of the coolest and most widely used parenting products for babies have been invented by parents like you. You know what’s best for your baby, and what you want it to achieve. So we had a peek at a few ingenious baby products that are 100% invented by Mums…

Buggy Tug

This one is what Mum’s have been waiting for, since we saw the horrific CCTV footage on the news of the pram rolling off the platform at an Australian train station.

BuggyTug inventor Di Mayze undertook some market research and found that 72% of parents had either experienced themselves or knew someone that had experienced an incident of a pram starting to roll away after letting go for a split second. 74% said that their buggy or pram did not come with a safety wrist strap as standard, yet 77% said that they would feel more secure if their buggy had one. Enough said for Di – her wrist strap idea holds the title as the UK’s only detachable safety strap and has seen rave reviews from publications nationwide! Further, buggy straps have now been made a legal requirement in Australia.

My Carry Potty

Amanda Jenner, mother of three, came up with the idea of My Carry Potty almost 10 years ago after an embarrassing situation whilst potty training her eldest son.

Amanda says; “My son would only ever use his own potty which meant taking it everywhere with me in a carrier bag – not very elegant or hygienic! One day, while I was out shopping in a busy high street he needed to go, and it was the disapproving looks as I disposed of the contents down the nearest drain that got me thinking there has to be something better than this. 10 years later I have what I believe is the perfect product to successfully help you through potty training.”

So successful has her idea been, Amanda has won awards including 2010 Women In Business Award, Mother & Baby Best Travel Product and Bizzie Baby New Business Award 2010. She certainly understands ‘Doing the Business!’

Bubble Bum

Grainne Kelly, Mum of two was fed up of lugging around heavy, expensive booster seats when travelling with the family. Her brainwave was The Bubble Bum Child Car Booster Seat – a cost effective, portable, lightweight and inflatable child car booster seat for children aged between 3-11 years.

The Bubble Bum Child Car Booster Seat easily deflates and folds flat enabling Mums (or even the kids!) to carry it about.

Grainne said; “”I created the BubbleBum out of sheer frustration with what is currently available on the market. Modern families do a lot of travelling in cars, coaches and taxis, and bulky, heavy booster seats just aren’t practical to carry around even for one child, never mind if you have two or three. BubbleBum has been designed to be small, light, practical and so easy to use that it’s perfect even for quick taxi journeys. Plus it looks good, so kids don’t mind carrying it around in their rucksacks or schoolbags.”

We can’t argue with that!

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April 27, 2012 at 16:03

The Age of Technology

Baby Safety Gadgets... How Much Is Too Much?

We all want to protect our children from the numerous hidden hazards that lurk around the corners in everyday life, but how much is too much?

If you’ve been to the US recently, you may have caught a glimpse of the body armour babies – crash helmet clad, strapped within an inch of their life into portable carrying chairs, not a chance of swinging their legs due to the battle with thick plastic knee guards restricting any form of flexibility. Or freedom.

Sure, appropriate attire for a run around on the gravel-stoned park. Or to prevent bumps and bruises in those first few wobbly weeks of mastering the art of walking. But full body protection for a nip down the shops with Mum?

Not long ago, babies were only fitted with helmets if they were born with irregularly shaped heads. But in recent years, as manufacturers have come up with nouveau ways to protect our little explorers from bumps and scrapes, we have to ask… where does the line shift from safety to seriously overanxious?

It has to be said, there are some ingenious gadgets today designed to make life easier – less stress for your baby, and peace of mind for you. Wandering fingers are kept at bay as child-locks have become an addition to the cupboards of modern day kitchens, stair gates keep the mini-mountaineers from taking a tumble and in the new age of city-centre-apartment-living, window restrictors are a God-sent necessity for peace of mind on the 4th Floor. All of which serve the purpose of protecting our little adventurers during their curious stages, whilst still allowing them to go about everyday life at ease.

The extreme? Browse the internet and you’ll be overwhelmed by hundreds of the latest ‘must have’ fad gadgets to further aid anxious parents… Specialty feeding spoons which change color when the food is too hot, antidrowning alarms that alert you when they get wet, and the babygrow with built in molecular technology that will determine whether your baby has a fever. Not to mention, the Baby Crying Analyser, which apparently is programmed to recognise different pitches and will tell you whether your baby is tired/hungry/bored/stressed/technophobic?!…

So, where in this new world of technology do we accept and adopt valuable, sensible safety measures and welcome the actual act of parenting, as opposed to filling our lives with hi-tech gadgets that will do the job for us? Surely, it takes the pleasure of being a new Mum out of the equation. Not to mention the money out of your wallet and the fun out of Baby.

Of course, its natural to want the best for your little one, and to take all precautions to avoid serious incidents. But come on, let’s not replace our own role with anything that relies on batteries! (Even though were not exactly feeling like Duracell Bunnies ourselves!)

Families in medieval Europe did not have great car seats. Parents without vaccines or childproof locks relied instead on amulets and rituals to protect their kids. Swaddling, which involved wrapping babies in tight bandages so they couldn’t move and sometimes even hanging them on the wall for safety, was a tried and trusted protective measure to avoid toddlers crawling into danger whilst parents were busy working.

Yes, we have indeed moved on from having our babies resemble a bandaged Mummy, but in an age where technology is ever evolving, let’s stick to the basics and remember that the best protector of your baby, is you. Opt for measures and products that offer you peace of mind, not take over your mind! Nobody wants their little darlings’ first word to be ‘ M…..echanism’

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April 27, 2012 at 16:00

A Highchair with Style!

Just when us Direct2Mums thought there were some baby essentials impossible to make ‘cool’, baby product gurus BabyDan have come up with the highchair with style!

The innovative Angel line from Baby Dan is a new concept offerring a crib, highchair and seat in one!

Designed for newborns up until the early school years., the individual parts; Angel Nest, Angel Rest & Angel Feast can easily be popped on and off the trendy A-Frame stand as and when required, dependant on what baby feels like doing!


The Angel Nest

… a cosy crib where your newborn can sleep safely. The nest comes complete with carry handles and folds down for flat storage or transport.

The Angel Rest

… a soft seat for baby to sit safely, rest or eat their first meals at the table. The seating height allows you to feed your child directly at the table with the rest of the family. This eliminates the risk of having it on the table where it may topple. The Angel Rest can be adjusted into horizontal position in one swift move.

Angel Feast

…the highchair that grows with your child. The brace can easily be mounted and removed without the need for tools and the seat can be turned 180 degrees with ease!

A 3 in 1 baby essential! Now there’s innovation… and style!

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April 27, 2012 at 15:53

Elbows At The Ready!

Surviving the Spring Sales!

Stand by Mums – the biggest shopping spree of the year so far is imminent! As the Spring Sales hit the high street, get baby wrapped up in suitable retail therapy attire, and word to the wise, leave dawdling Dads at home in front of the box!

As we know, sale shopping ranks just below root canal surgery on most men’s list of favourite weekend activities. Few men have the words to follow ‘Does My Bum Look Big In This?’ or the understanding of your need for another ‘essential’ pair of shoes, so when you suggest to your man that the sales are the perfect place to acquire all your baby-related needs, don’t be surprised if he’s slightly less than enthusiastic.

So, with your wallet in one hand, bouncing baby with Mum’s refined-taste-for-the-finer-things-in-life, in the other… it’s time to keep eyes well peeled for a spot of bargain-hunting. If you’re planning to get everything from blankets to baby bouncers over the next few weeks, you may as well try to save a few bob while you’re at it.

A few golden rules before hitting the high street…

Plan Ahead!

Prepare a shopping list of what you need (you can add the ‘what you want’ later!) We all know the scenario of pushing the trolley around the Asda and filling up on treats whilst feeling a bit peckish, or falling sucker to buying 3 boxes of Jaffa Cakes just because they’re on offer! Only to get home, unpack and realise that your array of sugary purchases won’t in fact make a meal for three.

Decide what you need before going and stick to it. Talk to a friend who has a child a year ahead of yours and ask them what you really need. By preparing, it’s a great way to start thinking about what your baby or toddler needs. Imagine your home from their perspective (if you feel like it – and no-ones watching – crawl around a bit) Are they walking? If so, they’ll quickly get the exploring bug so stair gates, playpens and walkers are a must for Mums that don’t yet have eyes in the back of their heads.

If you’re lucky enough to have booked your holiday for summer 2012, now is a great time to save on summer travel accessories for journeys with the kids. Think travel cots, seats and sun shades – saving you more spending money for the beach if you buy in advance!

Safety First!

That designer-looking suede fuchsia, great value car seat may look like the perfect accessory for future Mum and Baby shopping sprees, but before you get spend happy and blinded by it’s beauty, be savvy and do your homework. Does it pass European safety law and testing procedures? Despite your newfound eye for a bargain, this comes second to quality when baby shopping.

Bonding Time!

As us girls know, hitting the sales is crucial to our bonding time and a great opportunity to catch up on the latest goss whilst having a good old rummage. The same goes for you and baby. Think about a baby carrier rather than always opting for the pram. Holding baby closer to you will allow them to see you more (Note: this includes your angry firey-eyed bargain hunter alter ego!) For toddlers, safety straps are a must to prevent lost wanderers in busy department stores. Simply clip them to the pram to keep your little shopper close by.

Know your Stuff!

The sales are a great time to bag a bargain on electrical equipment, which could save you hundreds in the long run.

Check out savings on baby monitors – a must have for any busy Mum wanting peace of mind (and a well-earned post-Easter breather!) Modern baby monitors are much more than just a listening device. You can get an array of new features, with digital options and even video if you want to watch your little one sleep as well as hear them if they wake. The reassurance you get from a monitor can be second to none, so it’s worth doing your research and getting a great deal during the sales to save some valuable pounds.

Click It!

And if you weren’t born with a bargain-hunters elbow grinding approach or a Debenhams store guide imprinted on your memory, you can always leave the seasoned shoppers to it, and enjoy your sales season, with baby, a cuppa and some online shopping on your laptop whilst catching up on Eastenders!

Well… it is looking a bit grey out there.

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March 7, 2012 at 14:34

Five A Day Keeps Little Snackers At Bay

imagesUs Direct2Mums all know that getting our Five A Day can help keep the doctor away, but getting your little ones and their highly fickle taste buds to tuck in, is another matter...

Why do kids need 5 A Day?
Fruit and veg are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals which help children to grow healthily and prevent illnesses, colds and sniffles, while helping to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. They’re also rich in fibre, which keeps a happy tummy and makes our little ones feel fuller for longer.

Another bonus is that fruit and vegetables are low in fat and relatively low in sugar, so are a useful tool to help maintain a healthy weight.


So what counts as a fruit or vegetable?
Fruit and vegetables don’t need to be fresh to count towards your family’s five-a-day. You can also choose tinned fruit and vegetables (make sure the label says ‘No added sugar or salt’); baked beans; dried fruit such as raisins and apricots, or frozen fruit and vegetables. Fruit juice and smoothies count too. However, potatoes don’t, and therefore neither do chips. Sorry!


What is a portion size for kids?

As a guide...
For young children, aged four or five, a portion of fruit or veg is as much as they can fit in the palm of their hand.

For older children and adults, a medium apple, orange, pear, nectarine, peach or banana would make up one portion.

A portion also equals three heaped tablespoons of frozen or tinned vegetables, such as peas, or three heaped tablespoons of baked beans.

Other options include a large slice of pineapple; seven strawberries; three apricots; two broccoli spears; one tomato or one tablespoon of raisins. Yum!

A 150ml serving of 100 per cent fruit juice equals one portion, while a smoothie may count as up to two portions if it contains at least two different types of fruit or vegetables – for example, 80g of whole fruit or veg plus 150ml of a different variety of juice. But watch out – however much your child likes smoothies, this drink can only ever count as a maximum of two portions.


Try to mix it up
For children to get the most benefit from fruit and vegetables, it’s best they eat a variety of different types and colours. This is because different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of fibre, vitamins and minerals. For example, it is better for your child to have a glass of fruit juice, an apple, a tomato, some peas and some sweetcorn... than five apples. That's a lot of apples for anyone!


Dealing with fussy eaters
It may be a good idea to get your children comfortable eating sweeter-tasting vegetables, such as carrots, peas and sweetcorn, before introducing ‘stronger’ tasting ones such as green pepper, spinach and broccoli.

But do encourage your child to try new tastes, and get the whole family involved. Remember that children copy what they see. Give your kids plenty of praise when they try something unfamiliar or that they’re not sure about, but don’t worry if they don’t like it the first, second or even third time – many children go through a phase of being reluctant to try new foods.

Psychologists call this ‘neophobia’ and it’s quite normal. Foods that kids refuse during this phase can often be fruits and vegetables, with some bitter vegetables such as radishes and green pepper being really unpopular.

Psychologists have developed a technique called ‘food exposure’ that can help. This simply means getting your child to try a new food on a number of occasions over a period of time – research shows that those children who taste a food 10 to 15 times are less likely to go on to refuse it, and will eat more when it is given to them. This is because they’ve had time to get used to the new flavour. Trying a new food only two or three times doesn’t give your child enough time to accept the new taste. Another tactic is to get children interested in preparing and eating fruit and vegetables, by making fruit kebabs or smoothies together. At lunchtime, place a selection of vegetables and salads, bread and fillings on the table and ask everyone to make their own sandwich – using at least one vegetable.

However, don’t conceal fruit or vegetables. If children are going to get used to eating that food, they need to know what it looks like!

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March 6, 2012 at 11:50

Surviving the Big Shop... With the Little Ones!

If you've ever gritted your teeth while trying to control an unruly toddler in the imagessupermarket, you'll find the following scenario’s familiar, and educational... !

As we parents know, even the best-behaved children have bad days. Sadly, they seem to come on the day all of your supplies have run out and you have no choice but to face the bright lights of Tesco, little one in tow.

The good news is that by using creativity and forethought, parents can improve the shopping experience for everyone (that being you, baby and the rest of the store!) and turn a necessary chore into a smooth outing.

Plan Ahead

Set the tone for your trip. Discuss what type of behaviour you expect from your child before shopping, and praise them when they demonstrate good behaviour.

Don't shop when you or the kids are hungry and/or tired. Taking a toddler to the store at naptime is only asking for trouble. And be sure to change your baby's diaper or have older children use the potty before you head out. Wet or uncomfortable kids aren't happy kids.

Shopping lists and time are of the essence! The middle of your shopping trip is not the time to decide what to make for dinner that week. Don't even pop your pound into the trolley until you have a well-planned list! If you're familiar with the store's layout, organize your list by aisles to avoid prolonging the trip by going back and forth within the store. Frequent stops lead to boredom and frustration for kids, so keep moving.

Mummy’s Little Helper

Toting a snack and drink will stave off whining from hungry and thirsty children. A sippy cup of milk is a healthy snack that gives a toddler something to do while you shop. In addition, keep a small bag of toys in the boot of the car specifically for longer shopping trips. Let your child choose a toy for that day's trip, and be sure to return the toy to the bag once you've left the shop. Infant toys that attach to trolley handles will save you from reaching down for thrown toys in the aisles.

Kids love to help with the shopping! School age children can put non-breakables in the trolley, find items for which you have coupons, and even comparison shop with you. Toddlers and older kids will be excited when it's their day to have a free choice of fruit or vegetable. Incorporating your child's selection into a meal will give your child a sense that you value his or her input.

Practice Safe Shopping

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), falls from shopping trollies are among the leading causes of head injuries in young children. A CPSC study estimates that since 1985, an annual average of 21,600 children ages five and younger are treated in A&E for shopping trolley-related injuries. Additionally, a 1994 investigation concluded that 51 percent of victims fell from the seat, and 49 percent fell from the basket.

The CPSC recommends parents take the following action to prevent falls from shopping trolleys:

  • Use the bar belts to restrain your child in the seat.
  • Don't allow your child to sit in the basket.
  • Don't allow your child to ride or climb on the sides or front of the cart.
  • Don't allow an older child to push the cart with another child in it.

In addition to following these safety rules, parents may want to invest in wrist bands, or a padded safety strap. These soft devices typically secure in the back so the child can't undo them, and they effectively prevent babies from putting their mouths on cart handles. Fabric wraps that cover handles also achieve the same purpose and keep teethers from gumming an area that's been frequently touched by shoppers (who may have handled packages of raw poultry and meat).

If your child is just too fussy or fidgety for a shopping cart, try putting him or her in an infant or child carrying pack. Slings, front carriers, and backpacks allow your child to be close to you and free up your hands. Older babies may relish a backpack ride for variety and enjoy a "new view" whilst shopping.

Teaching Time

Consider your time at the supermarket with your child as a teaching opportunity. Toddlers may enjoy a homemade book of grocery store foods you can assemble using pictures from magazines—and then you can find the items in the store, too. Talk about the things you buy at the store. Where do apples come from? What colour is a banana? What letter does bread start with? Have your child count the number of tomatoes you want placed into a bag. Visiting the bakery for a "shopper's cookie" and practicing saying "thank you" can become the highlight of the trip.

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