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    Sigh. When I came across an article this morning over on Today debating whether or not putting a child on a "leash" is acceptable, I tried my best to keep an open mind since I've always had such a strong opinion on the subject. To put it quite simply -- I can't stand them.

    And yes, I said a "leash," as in one of those little backpacks toddlers wear with a harness attached to them that parents hold onto so their little ones don't wander off in public.

    I won't lie -- as I read through some of the points made by Katy Maher, a "pro-harness" mom, I nodded my head a little because she sort of makes sense. She likes using the leash because it allows her child to be able to safely "explore" while they navigate the streets of Chicago.

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    Have you heard about the picture of a child tied to a lamp post by a leash that was taken at a St. Patrick's Day parade in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania over the weekend?

    Yep. Someone snapped a shot of a little kid who appears to be no more than 2 or so watching the festivities of the day -- all while tethered to a pole.

    And by leash, I mean one of those backpack things that some parents use to keep tabs on their kiddos in airports and other crowded places.

    There is no word on who took the photo, or whether or not the parents were nearby (or possibly even took the pic as some sort of joke). Regardless, it's causing quite the stir.

    Check it out.

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    When we put our kids in their car seats -- coats off, buckle here, buckle there, snap, snap, snap, secure -- we feel like we've got them in this chamber of safety. It seems so safe, when we put on our own seat belt, we think, Wow, that's it? Even with all the buckling and protection that a car seat offers a child, adults are still safer in the event of an accident with our simple seat belt. This is because kids' bodies just aren't as developed or able to survive an accident without an increased risk of harm. We have to be on top of the latest car seat safety rules. Thankfully federal regulators are and have proposed a new standard for car seat side-impact protection. But this so-called new standard has been trying to get passed for a decade.

    As it is now, the side-impact protection on many seats is not safe enough because car seats were only required to test based on accidents from the front. There's a good chance your kid's car seat isn't as safe as it could be.

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    Getting into a car accident with our kids in the vehicle has to be one of the scariest scenarios any parent can conceive of -- which is something one man knows all too well this week.

    While traveling on the highway, Xavier Robinson's car was hit from behind, which caused him to lose control -- resulting in the car flipping over four times and landing in a ditch. And all he could think about while the accident was taking place was his little cousin -- who was traveling with him that day in the back seat.

    After he crawled out of the car, he immediately discovered that 4-year-old Vallillian Burns had been thrown from the vehicle. Luckily, she was alive and only had a small scratch on her cheek. And you can probably guess what Xavier credits with saving her life.

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    Before you spend your holiday weekend doing a little late-fall cleaning in your little one's room, make sure you're aware of this super-important news concerning two popular toddler and children's clothing items that have recently been recalled. Little Willy's Hooded Sweatshirts and American Boy and Girl's "Susan" Sandal have been recalled because both pose choking hazards, according to manufacturers.

    Recalls are always frightening, but here's everything you need to know.


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  • Mom Moment

    15 Things Only Crunchy Moms Worry About

    posted by Jenny Erikson October 25, 2013 at 11:28 PM in Toddler
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    Crunchy mamas. Also known as granola, natural, earthy, or just plain old hippie moms. They are the gurus that don’t worry about whether Baby Einstein will turn their babies into TV addicts, because they probably don’t even own a set. They cloth diaper, co-sleep, and delay vaccinations -- if they don’t opt out entirely.

    But not everything is always roses, no matter how nutrient rich the organic compost is. Here is a list of 15 things that only crunchy moms really worry about.

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    Protecting your toddler from the sun is tricky. You probably want to use the most non-toxic sunscreen you possibly can. So that means those giant, cheap cans of aerosol sunscreen spray are not such a great choice, especially for small children. But how to get the stuff on a little person who won't sit still long enough?

    Here's a list of toddler-friendly, non-toxic sunscreens you may want to check out. A lot of these are sunscreen sticks, which I LOVE. Instead of trying to grab your child with slippery sunscreen lotion all over your hands, you just grab your kid and "draw" the sunscreen all over them. The stuff is often chalky, so you can tell what you've covered. But since they're still young, they don't care how it looks (well, most toddlers won't).

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    I almost didn't believe it when I read it because it seems to insane, but apparently it's true. A whole 25 percent of American kids age two and under have their own smartphone. Their! Own! Smartphone! That's one in four toddlers. WTF, parents, really? Suddenly I'm picturing thousands of toddlers wandering the streets, looking up Grandma's address on Google Maps and calling their friends for playdates. Isn't that what their parents are for? I can't imagine why you'd ever buy a toddler a smartphone.

    Oh wait, yes I can. The "educational" games. This is the new justification for handing over an iPhone to your two-year-old. Because they're going to learn stuff from it and get smarter. Riiiight.

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  • I Won't Put My Son on a Leash

    posted by Bob Meadows May 17, 2013 at 8:07 PM in Toddler
    162 +SHARE

    My son is running. He’s no Usain Bolt, but he’s pretty quick. Rumor has it, he will only get faster. So the question is: Will I use a restraint for him, one of those backpacks shaped like an animal that has a really long tail? The answer: No! I will not put a leash on my son.

    His safety is my chief concern, so I don’t care that the harness might embarrass him or make him look like an ancient Mike Myer’s sketch on Saturday Night Live. (And I do allow concessions for children with medical issues that may make a restraint a requirement and for parents who have more than one child to keep an eye on). But if you have only one child, like me, you should be able to keep your little one out of harm’s way when walking down the street.

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    We're all still trying to figure out how we feel about children and technology -- especially when it comes to younger kids, like toddlers. How much is too much? Should they avoid tech toys altogether? Shouldn't toddlers just be wandering in sun-lit meadows, picking flowers and creating wet-felted gnomes?

    That would be lovely, but it's definitely not the world most of us live in. By now it seems like most parents let their toddlers have at least a taste of screen time every so often. And then there are the parents who give their kids LOADS of screen time. Way too much. Doctors are starting to see the dangerous effects of iPad addiction in toddlers. Yes, toddlers.

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