Don’t Forget Child Safety When Traveling for the Holidays

Adapted from

Parents of young children may leave some aspects of child safety behind when they hit the road for the holidays, a new study finds.

“Parents are typically vigilant about safety measures, making sure toddlers are always in car seats and that medications and cleaning supplies are locked up or out of reach. But they may be less fastidious while on vacation, leaving medications in open suitcases or on hotel tables or not childproofing a relative’s house,” said Sarah Clark, co-director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll.

“It’s important that parents are just as attentive to child safety risks on trips as they would be at home,” she said in a university news release.

The new report, based on a nationally representative survey of about 2,000 households, focused on parents of kids aged 2 to 5. The researchers found that 15 percent of parents said they didn’t secure their child in a car seat during every car ride — including those in taxis and Uber and Lyft vehicles — during a recent trip.

“Car crashes are a leading cause of injury and death among toddlers, which is why it’s critical that parents plan ahead to make sure their child is properly restrained during every car ride on vacation,” Clark said.

“Planning for car seats can be inconvenient in certain destinations, but going without is never worth the risk,” she noted.

Only about 75 percent of parents said they stored medication away for safety while traveling with their child. About two-thirds checked to make sure that cleaning supplies and weapons were secured when they traveled. And, around two-thirds checked to make sure the hot water temperature at the place they were staying was appropriate.

Just 40 percent of parents took all three of those safety measures, the poll found.

“Traveling with a toddler can be a daunting task,” Clark said. “Many parents spend quite a bit of time planning ahead to avoid meltdowns by scheduling days around naps and packing items that will keep their kids entertained. It’s just as important that parents plan for measures to keep kids safe on the road.”

Clark provided these tips:

  • Bring a car seat (you may be able to check it with an airline for free) or rent one.
  • If you’re staying at someone’s home, ask them to secure medications, household cleaners and other potentially hazardous items, such as guns.
  • Bring safety devices like cabinet latches and baby gates as appropriate.

More information

For more about traveling safety with children, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Power of Music

Why is singing with your little one so important? Listening to music and singing together is a great way to have fun, bond, and help your child learn! Like talking and reading, singing supports your child’s language development. Music introduces children to new words, sound patterns, and much more! These skills help build the necessary foundation for learning how to read.

The power of music extends beyond supporting language development; music also builds social connections! When you make singing a family activity, not only are you building bonds between you and your child, you are also strengthening relationships between siblings.

Whenever possible, play music in your home and select music that you enjoy listening to together. PBS Parents has great tips on how to create a musical home environment for your little one.

Sharing nursery rhymes and lullabies can support your child’s development! It’s easy to create your own lullaby to sing with your baby! Check out this video Too Small to Fail created with Carnegie Hall to learn how you can create a special song for your little one. And for more lullabies, take a look at Carnegie Hall’s new playlist on Spotify Kids.

From Too Small to Fail

Noisy Homes Can Slow a Toddler’s Vocabulary

Background noise can hamper a toddler’s ability to learn new words, a new study suggests.

“Modern homes are filled with noisy distractions such as TV, radio and people talking that could affect how children learn words at early ages,” said study leader Brianna McMillan.

“Our study suggests that adults should be aware of the amount of background speech in the environment when they’re interacting with young children,” said McMillan, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Researchers from the university assessed the ability of 106 children, aged 22 to 30 months, to learn new words. They found they were more successful when their surroundings were quiet than when there was background noise.

But providing the children with additional language cues helped them overcome the detrimental effects of a noisy environment, according to the study. The findings appear July 21 in the journal Child Development.

“Learning words is an important skill that provides a foundation for children’s ability to achieve academically,” McMillan said in a journal news release.

Because of urban settings and crowding, homes in lower-income areas tend to have higher-than-normal noise levels, according to background notes with the study.

“Hearing new words in fluent speech without a lot of background noise before trying to learn what objects the new words corresponded to may help very young children master new vocabulary,” said study co-author Jenny Saffran, a professor of psychology.

“But when the environment is noisy, drawing young children’s attention to the sounds of the new word may help them compensate,” she added.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has more about speech and language development.

SOURCE: Child Development, news release, July 21, 2016

Tips For When Your Toddler Won’t Eat


Adapted from Snotty Noses

Life with toddlers can be tough in so many ways, especially when they won’t eat. It is difficult for them as well as parents. They are transitioning from ‘baby’ to ‘big boy or girl’ and they have SO much to learn, especially rules, communication and language skills. It’s difficult for everyone and on top of that, their eating habits change and suddenly you have a toddler who won’t eat.

They change from ‘baby who eats everything’ to toddler who shouts “NO!” and shoves their plates away. Cups, plates, forks, spoons go flying whilst parents silently (or not so silently) scream in exasperation.

This is normal toddler behavior. It is frustrating but normal.

  1. Be Patient. It’s difficult to stay calm in the face of a screaming toddler but remember you are not alone. All toddlers scream and shout. That is normal.
  2. Keep presenting new and healthy food. It takes time for children to accept a new food. The first time they see it, they probably won’t like it. You just need to keep presenting it. (The norm is 10-15 times but some children take longer.)
  3. Toddlers tastes can change. They may love something one day and then hate it the next.  Likewise, something they have turned their nose up at may become their favorite food tomorrow.  See tip #2.
  4. Let them feed themselves. It’s frustrating and messy but exploring food is a great way for them to learn about the food and to learn how to feed themselves. If they ask for a bit of help that’s fine too.
  5. Don’t pressure them. Toddlers, like most people, don’t like to be told what to do. It will only serve to make them more stubborn. (There is lots of evidence that pressuring children to eat has adverse affects.)

For tips 6-10, visit the Snotty Noses website