Thursday, December 31, 2009

Counting the blessings

This year, we are closing a decade as well as a year, and I'm sure much will be written about the many serious, world-changing events of these past 10. I'm focused on a more local take, thinking about what these years have meant to my family and the memories they hold. Like many, we have had children and lost parents. Our professional lives have had ups, downs, and changes. We have had wonderful times, and challenging ones. Sickness and health. As we start 2010, I'm going to count the blessings, though, and look forward to the adventures ahead. What are you most grateful for, as we close the year? Share your thoughts below. And, have a very happy New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


If you have children in elementary or high school, they are likely off this next week. If you are also lucky enough to be home or home from work, it is a unique chance to connect, after the fun chaos of the holiday season. We take time to play with the new toys, cuddle up in front of a fire or a movie, and enjoy, at least for a little while, a slower pace. I love this time, although it is a bit unnerving how quickly it arrives, again, a reminder of time passing. So, this week - cherish the quiet time and the joy of the season. Best wishes for peace and happiness in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Important Winter/Holiday Water Safety Tips for Toddlers and Infants

While we don't often think about water safety during the holidays, it is a critical time to be vigilant, warns the Infant Swimming Resource(, a provider of self-rescue swimming lessons for babies and toddlers from six months to six years old. The organization just announced the following winter water safety tips to help families protect their young children as they travel this holiday season. Please read, and pass this link along to your family and friends.

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, “Eighty-eight percent of children were under some form of supervision when they drowned.” 1

"The holiday season represents the highest probability of distractions and breakdown of normal supervision routines," said Harvey Barnett Ph.D., pediatric drowning prevention specialist and founder of Infant Swimming Resource. "If a child is missing, check the pool first."

Holiday and Winter Water Safety Tips

1. CEO Supervision (Constant Eyes On) - Never turn your back on your child around water. It takes just seconds for him/her to be in serious trouble. Segment the supervision responsibilities so there are never questions about which adult is responsible for watching the child and be aware of the distractions unique to the winter months: holiday parties, house guests, etc.

2. Educate Others - When traveling to relatives’ and friends’ homes they may not understand the importance of keeping gates closed, doors locked, closing toilet seats, emptying buckets, etc. Visiting family, holiday parties and celebrations can lead to breakdowns in routine supervision and effective barriers to the water.

3. Decoration Hazards - Decorations and lights can pose problems with young children around the house and water. Watch for lights and electrical cords around water, make sure no outside decorations provide a means for a child to climb over a fence or open a locked gate.

4. Maintain Pools in the Winter - Keep pools well-maintained with clear water even if it is too cold to swim. If someone falls in, they can be seen and be helped faster. Pool covers need to be drained of accumulated rain water and free of debris.

5. Hot Tubs - Supervision must be one adult per child due to the high temperatures and turbulence of the water in a hot tub. When young children are in the hot tub, keep the temperature below 90 degrees Fahrenheit and limit exposure to less than ten minutes.

6. Bath Tubs - Do not allow anyone who is uneducated about bath tub safety to bathe your child. Consider bathing an infant or young child in a tub with a handheld shower attachment, eliminating the risk of drowning in accumulating bath tub water.

7. Self-rescueTM Skills – Teach young children self-rescue skills. In addition to pool fences, alarms and gates, it can be another layer of defense. Survival swimming and a demonstration of the roll-back-to-float skills prior to all water recreation is vital year round.

For a full Family Aquatic Safety Checklist from Infant Swimming Resource visit: