Learn what ages children should start doing more things on their own

Girl smilingI work as an occupational therapist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Fox Valley specialty clinic. I also have a Montessori preschool teaching background. One thing I’m passionate about is sharing the benefits of having kids learn to do things for themselves.

As adults we often don’t think about all the things kids can do themselves. Even at very young ages — as soon as kids are able to walk, grab and move — there are things kids can do …Continue reading →

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Top 10 Best Toys of 2012

SantaChildren explore their environment through play. Whether a child is undergoing treatment in a hospital, at home or in school, play is the foundation for learning.

The Child Life team at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin provides opportunities for self-expression, exploration and normalization. From crayons and paper to electronics and everything in between, kids of all ages love to play.

Here is our team’s list of the Top 10 Best Toys of 2012 (with 3 bonus selections):

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How to prevent choking hazards and keep your children safe during the holidays

It is hard to believe that 2012 is almost over and the holidays are right around the corner. This is typically a season when families give and receive a lot of gifts. As someone who works in injury prevention, I know this is also a time when children are at an increased risk …Continue reading →

Halloween safety: What every parent needs to know

As a mom, I know how fun and exciting Halloween can be for children. But as a pediatrician, I also know how important it is for parents to be involved in helping older children stay safe while trick-or-treating.

In the following video, I share what I think parents should know before letting their kids go out trick-or-treating:

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Seven tips to keep your children safe on their walk to school

traffic safetyDid you know pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 5 to 14?

Children younger than 10 never should cross the street alone. Make sure your children follow these safety guidelines when walking to school: …Continue reading →

How I became living proof that carbon monoxide poisoning can happen to anyone, any time

As the Safe Kids Wisconsin coordinator, I teach children and families how to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, and I provide CO alarms to homes with children. I tell families to have furnaces, water heaters and other fuel-burning items serviced on a regular basis to make sure they are working properly. Statistics show an increase in CO poisonings in the colder months. However, CO leaks can happen any time of the year — as I found out firsthand.

I awoke to the CO alarm going off in the middle of the night. My first thought was that the …Continue reading →

Leaving your child home alone: How old is old enough?

Summer is half over. Are you starting to hear your kids say things like, “I’ll be fine at home, I don’t need to go to camp?” When my son was 11 years old, he wanted to spend the summer home and not at day camp. My husband and I both work, and we weren’t comfortable with the idea. We sent him to camp that summer and the summer after that too, but his request did give us food for thought. We began to consider the right age to …Continue reading →

1,000 ways we’re keeping our kids safer

Car seat collection event

More than 1,000 car seats were collected and dismantled during the event.

Recently, Safe Kids Wisconsin held its first statewide car seat collection event. Our goal was to remove expired, recalled and damaged seats from circulation to ensure they aren’t used after purchasing at a rummage sale or picked up off the curb. And, it was a great opportunity for families to clean out their basements and garages to get rid of old car seats that were just too hard to throw in the trash. Some seats were older than 30 years old!

Together with local organizations and groups, we dismantled more than 1,000 seats! They were stripped of harnesses, fabric covers, screws, bolts and rivets – …Continue reading →

Teens plus drowsy driving equals a dangerous situation

Sleepy drivingFor many high school students, summer vacation means late nights out with friends, summer jobs, sports tournaments and overnight camps. Juggling all the summer activities can add up to irregular sleep schedules and too little sleep, putting teens at risk for drowsy driving.

Teen drivers are new to the road and need to be alert and free of distractions when driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teen drivers are four times more likely to be in a fatal car accident. That statistic would probably be higher if it …Continue reading →

How to avoid burns and bites during the summertime

Most would agree that summer is the best time of year to be in Wisconsin. Boating, camping, swimming and festivals are definitely a ritual this time of year. Unfortunately, all good comes with some bad and summer is no different. If not prevented adequately, sunburns and bug bites can quickly turn into a roadblock to your summer plans. Luckily, there are safe and easy ways to ensure these issues become nothing more than a minor speed bump during this season. Following these simple preventive measures may even …Continue reading →