Monthly Archives: January 2014

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Thoughtful Thursday: Mothering AND

One of our students posted THIS article – here is an excerpt:

When A. BRADSTREET interviewed Rachel Zucker and Arielle Greenberg last year, we concluded by talking about motherhood and activism. Zucker observed, “It’s hard, though, because the people that are the best to advocate for women with very young children are women with very young children, but it’s not the right time for them to advocate… I think that, realistically, it’s very hard.”

It’s not just the lack of time or energy that hinders young mothers from acting as advocates—it is also the immense upheaval in expectations, sense of self and confidence that comes with realizing that now you are a mother first and foremost. You may have been a writer. Or you may have been a scholar. But then you have a baby, and everyone, yourself included, forgets for a while that you are and were anything other than the baby’s mother. You know you are not the same, you will never be the same, so you forget that your former strengths, your pre-motherhood strengths, are still there. Even standing up for yourself can make you feel too vulnerable and exposed.

The assumption in the introduction of her article that perplexes me the most, and she articulated well, is that some women feel that motherhood sets everything else behind them.  I have read articles about motherhood suffocating your previous self, and yet I had never been able to peg what “that” feeling is – I get “it” now.

I want to offer a different perspective into motherhood for young mothers as they find their way through the newness of motherhood and transition back into their pre-motherhood confidence.  I believe the beauty of motherhood is that you can be a mother AND everything else. It’s not an “if-then” proposition. I see it as an “if-and”. You are a mother and a writer.  You are a mother and a scholar.

In my case, I am a mother and a teacher and a manager and a salesperson and a writer and my biggest passion, a dancer.  All those things I was before I had children contributed to the skills and the passion I have towards motherhood, because without them, I cannot be the mother that I am for them.  And my first love – dance – and that wonderful feeling of knowing that I found my passion and pursued it and achieved.  It pushes me to remember that my children also have a gift which will feed their passion. I see it as my role to help them find their passion so that they, too, can know what it is to, “do what you love, and love what you do”.

I wonder if that concept is lost to young women because they do not have the perspective of age.  My biggest suspicion is that maybe they haven’t achieved the zenith of their career yet.  Motherhood is now a hurdle for them to jump over as they reach for their moment.

At my age, I am grateful for perspective. I give thanks that as an “older” mom, I “did” my career in my 20’s and did it well.  When motherhood was on the horizon in my 30’s, it was what I desperately wanted.  After being told as a young woman that I might never have children, I was so grateful to be pregnant.

Though I was thankful for my motherhood, I was not quite ready to stop being a dancer/instructor/manager after our first child was born.  I still remember the conversation I had with my mother the day I told her I was going back to work when Puma was four months old.  “What are you talking about?” she asked.  “How can you leave her?”  Thankfully, my going back to work did not mean leaving her at first.  My boss said yes when I asked about bringing her with me.  I just knew deep down that I wasn’t ready to hang up my dance shoes, and if I wasn’t dancing, I wasn’t going to be happy, and who wants to be/have a miserable mother?

By virtue of wanting your pre-child track, you are already choosing to do differently than a traditional role.  Be okay with that.  Own that.  And go forward without guilt or a second-glance backwards.  I believe that only by doing for your heart what you need, can you continue to love your child without conditions, and unconditionally.

Sometimes it requires some creative thinking.  It may require compartmentalizing.  If you really want to be a scholar, a writer, a doctor, a dancer, an artist – whatever it is you were doing or working towards before your Sweet Pea arrived – you can do it and be a mother.  You will probably need help, so form a tribe of parents you trust with whom you can share parenting.  Sometimes you work, sometimes they work, and you all love on the kiddos when it’s your turn.  Most of all, be willing to be flexible.  Maybe there will be a natural progression when you are ready to be The Mother.

When I was pregnant with our second, I knew that I was ready to stop dancing.  By now, we had Puma in childcare.  I wanted to raise our children as siblings – so it was time.  I was ready to stay home.  It was a happy day to “retire” and put my children first joyfully.

Little did I know where my path would lead.  Now we homeschool, I research and learn for the birthwork I do, I write, and keep up with our students.  I am very much a working from home mother with the help of two wonderful nannies.

Back to the actual point of the article: gender bias.  She shares that her husband was able to do something with their child that she had not been allowed to do (enter the Harvard Library), and that other women had the same experience.  I can definitely identify with that.

As far as the “husband” thing – so true in our family story. For us, there is the added dynamic of “white man” and “brown woman”.  There are definitely situations where I ask Bruss to do something alone, or with the kids, because I know he will have a different outcome than if I did/asked/entered in the same situation. This mama has given me the courage to not simply accept the bias anymore.  Instead of working “the system”, I need to stop being complacent and do better.

Life. The fight to conquer injustice and seek equality continues for those of us that will admit the truth that we’re not quite there yet.  Good for you, mama, for calling institutions out on their bias.  You may be unsure, you may not understand exactly who you are or where motherhood fits in to this desire to advocate. By writing about it, you did, thus showing that you are a mother and an advocate.

I propose that anyone is fit for advocacy work.  Maybe you won’t be leading the charge as you have done in the past with a newborn.  You can, however, write letters and send emails, make phone calls, and engage in social media when your Sweet Pea is sleeping.

Believe this: advocating for yourself as a mother is no different than advocating for yourself as a woman or professional.  Your inalienable rights are still your alienable rights – that never changes, no matter which hat we wear.

Motherhood is a crazy journey, at whatever age you embark on it.  Here’s a little secret no one likes to talk about: None of us have it all figured out; and sometimes we think we do, and discover we want to change all that anyway.  Flexibility is one of the hallmarks of your evolving motherhood. It’s a process of learning and growing with our children.

I hope that you, young mother, are able to find the right balance for your motherhood and your profession.  It is possible and it is doable. Jump in with both feet and go for it. Be gentle with yourself as you travel this path. You are going to do this motherhood thing, and do it well with all the lessons you learn along the way.

I close with this quote from musician Andrea Corr:
“I am a full-time mother. At the same time, there’s still music to be made.”

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Reads

This is a hard post to do because I am so painfully aware of copyright infringement! I want to share these books with you and images out of the pages to illustrate why we love them.  At the same time, if any of the authors and/or illustrators see these images and want them taken down, please let me know and I will do so.

Here are some of our favorite books in our Christmas book basket.  We just put them away so we can enjoy a fresh read of them again at the next holiday season.  Some are illustrated versions of songs that we like to sing, others are heartwarming stories of the Christmas tradition and the Christmas season.  And, thanks to one of our SPB families, we have a picture of a Sweet Pea enjoying his reads…mama says there is not a book he doesn’t love…that’s what we like to hear!!

BLOG ww140129 spf.7 BLOG ww140129 spf.6 BLOG ww140129 spf.5 BLOG ww140129 spf.4 BLOG ww140129 spf.3 BLOG ww140129 spf.2 BLOG ww140129 spf.1What is your favorite story of the winter season?

 

Tuesday Tips: Gardening

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Did you know there are a couple of exceedingly easy ways to garden? Literally anyone can get started with a couple of easy steps:

If you are a DIY, want to save $$, you can use THIS handy guide from the Urban Farmer.  Greg Peterson has been home-gardening in the Phoenix area for years, and he makes a lot of his know-how available at no-charge online.  You can also take his classes for a reasonable fee to keep building on your gardening skills.

If you are DIY and can make a little investment in your garden, check out The Tower Garden. Even apartment dwellers can grow their own food using this brilliant upright garden system that uses water and aeroponics to grow food for your table.  You can make one payment or break it out into monthly payments.  I am going to see if I can keep track of what we are harvesting and what the cost for that food would be if we bought it at the farmer’s market.  I am guessing the system pays for itself fairly quickly.

Here’s the scoop on our home garden:
As a family, we are committed to whole food eating.  Our journey on that path started thanks to our son’s food allergies, and we have only gotten better.  Part of that commitment includes growing our own food to the best of our ability.

We started with herbs in planter pots.  140128 tt mint little

We moved into a home with a peach tree.  The kiddos have the joy of eating fresh peaches for a month out of every year.  I also learned how to can and make jam thanks to the incredible yield.

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Our tomatoes are green and ready to be picked within a couple of weeks!!

A couple of years later, we added a raised bed and some rosemary bushes.

Then we added more pots of herbs and some pomegranate when we remodeled the courtyard. 140128 pomegranate 140128 tt mint aloe 140128 tt spearmint chives

Last year we added a Tower Garden.140128 tt tower garden

Here are some of the reasons it is important to us:

  • Connects the Sweet Peas to the earth.  We like for our urban kiddos to get their hands dirty and see, touch and taste dirt!
  • It exposes them to the scope of Creation – every living plant from the smallest flower to the tallest tree started out as a seed in the ground.
  • It teaches them patience.
  • It teaches them that the rewards are worth the effort, and that they are worth waiting for.
  • We have found that the Sweet Peas enjoy the “fruits” of their labor…for the most part, greens…and that they are more likely to eat them if they grew them with their effort.
  • They are learning how to use the herbs we grow to nourish and heal their bodies.

Here is what went into today’s smoothies and we also offered it as a side during lunch and dinner:140128 tt greens

Today we planted garlic, and in the next few weeks we will replenish our herbs with thyme, basil, dill and lemon balm.

Do you home garden?  How/why did you get started? What are some of your favorite crops?

ImportantAble

Home Birth Rights in Arizona and SB1157

2013:
The consumers in Arizona worked REALLY hard and through the legislative process to update the rules and regulations that govern home birth.  A Midwifery Scope of Practice advisory committee and the Arizona Department of Health Services worked together for countless hours to revise the rules and regulations governing Licensed Midwives. The rules were finalized in July of 2013. Because of those revisions to the rules, home birth midwives are able to attend VBACs, starting July of 2014. HERE are the revised statutes as they stand today.

2014 Update:
Senate Bill 1157 (SB1157) was dropped in January 2014.  If passed as proposed, it would make it a prohibited practice from here forward for midwives to attend VBAC (new practice under revised rules & regs), breech (midwives have always been able to do with doctor consultation), and multiples (midwives are not currently able to do anyway).  It also seeks to influence the way in which midwifery rules are revised to make them even more onerous to change in the future.

My initial reaction left me with an incredible headache and heartache.  We did not spend hours organizing and following due process to have a “little language change” affect the rights for home birth that were achieved with respectful dialogue and thoughtful consideration.  After sleeping on it, I got involved and started writing letters and making phone calls yesterday.

As consumers of healthcare, we must ALL speak up for our right to self-determination.  I encourage you to get involved.  If you are willing to take a stand with us, please scroll down to find the  contact information for the representatives we are seeking to respectfully influence.  The key words are To Be Respectful.  We want to add to the dialogue and present ourselves as the informed, albeit passionate, people that we are.

Here is the body of the letters that I wrote to the sponsors of the bill, as well as to the State Senate Health & Human Services committee members:

SB 1157 is taking away our freedom to access the healthcare provider of our choice. Our options as consumers of healthcare are being limited.  This bill will eliminate access that was deemed safe and effective by Director Humble and the Midwifery Scope of Practice committee after many hours of testimony and a thorough evaluation of the most current scientific reviews of evidence-based maternal healthcare.

The right to self-determination is exactly what the women of Arizona spoke up for when it comes to our right to birth at home.  Two years ago, we, the people, organized a position statement, the process of law ruled, and the Midwifery Scope of Practice Committee was formed. Director Humble presided over open, transparent government proceedings and listened to hours of testimony, evidence and the voice of the people.   The committee thoughtfully considered all the evidence and revised the scope of practice.  They agree that in most situations, we the consumers, have the right to choose our provider, and we can choose a hospital, a birth center or the privacy of our home.

As a consumer, I, and others like me, are seeking alternatives to “modern medicine”.  One reason is because forty-seven countries do a better job at keeping women and children alive in childbirth than we do.  Home birth in the USA accounts for less than 1% of the national statistic when it comes to maternal care. Midwifery care is not responsible for the deplorable state of the maternal health care system.  We will not “lay down” any more.  We will use our voices and be heard. The bill to limit our choices as an “emergency measure” is the government entering our homes, our lives, and limiting our freedoms once again.

You may be thinking, “This is just a very vocal minority of passionate women”.  As one consumer wrote, “Even if we are a minority, our country and the government [were] designed in order to protect the rights of the minority against tyranny from the majority. The majority of women may want to march in and out of hospitals, but that doesn’t mean that I, as a part of the minority, should be cattle-prodded into the hospital machine against my informed decisions.”

Please do not limit our choices, our right to choose our provider.  We are intelligent, college-educated women choosing home birth.  There is nothing “lay” about midwives in Arizona as a whole.  Midwives in Arizona are required to sit for a national licensing test – we are making the informed decision and choosing trained, professional providers.

Please re-consider your position on SB 1157.  This bill is eliminating access to safe and effective health care for families that want to birth at home.  All Arizona families, women and infants deserve equal rights wherever they choose to birth.

Respectfully,
Krystyna Bowman
Chandler, AZ

Note: to the committee members I wrote “Please vote NO on SB 1157,” instead of, “Please re-consider your position on SB 1157. ” 

List of research on home birth:
http://www.mana.org/research/section-a-best-available-studies-grouped-by-design-level-of-evidence

Maternal Mortality Rates:
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2223rank.html

Home birth in the USA:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db84.htm

How to get involved: Call, Write, Fax, Tweet!! Thank you for your help – we appreciate you adding your voice to our concerns.

Find your state legislators and tell them you oppose SB 1157:
http://www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp

SB 1157 sponsors:
Senators
Dr. Kelli Ward
Republican – District 5
1700 W. Washington
Room 306
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone Number: (602) 926-4138
Fax Number: (602) 417-3165
kward@azleg.gov

John McComish
Republican – District 20
1700 W. Washington
Room 307
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone Number: (602) 926-5898
Fax Number: (602) 417-3020
jmccomish@azleg.gov

Representatives
Eric Meyer
Democrat – District 11
House of Representatives
1700 W. Washington
Room 121
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone Number: (602) 926-3037
Fax Number: (602) 417-3111
emeyer@azleg.gov

David W. Stevens
Republican – District 25
House of Representatives
1700 W. Washington
Room 312
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone Number: (602) 926-4321
Fax Number: (602) 417-3146
dstevens@azleg.gov

David Livingston
Republican – District 22
House of Representatives
1700 W. Washington
Room 341
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone Number: (602) 926-4178
Fax Number: (602) 417-3154
dlivingston@azleg.gov

 

TWITTER:
The sponsors of SB1157 can be reached on Twitter at
@kelliwardaz
@JohnMcComish
@DrEricMeyer
@LivingstonLD22

 

Health & Human Services Committee:
Nancy Barto – Chairman
Republican – 15
1700 W. Washington
Room 307
Phoenix, AZ 85007
602-926-5766
nbarto@azleg.gov

Kelli Ward – Vice-Chairman
(see info listed above)

Ed Ableser
Democrat – District 26
1700 W. Washington
Room 303A
Phoenix, AZ 85007
602-926-4118
eableser@azleg.gov

David Bradley Democrat – 10
1700 W. Washington
Room 313
Phoenix, AZ 85007
602- 926-5262
dbradley@azleg.gov

Katie Hobbs
Democrat – 24
1700 W. Washington
Room 308
Phoenix, AZ 85007
602- 926-5325
khobbs@azleg.gov

Judy Burges
Republican – 22
1700 W. Washington
Room 302
Phoenix, AZ 8500
602- 926-5861
jburges@azleg.gov

Kimberly Yee
Republican – 20
1700 W. Washington
Room 302
Phoenix, AZ 85007
602- 926-3024
kyee@azleg.gov

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Fun

As it turns out, living in CA and AZ we are not going to have traditional winter pictures…here’s what we have been doing without snow!

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Picnics

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Sand play – at the beach!

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Learning about money at Chandler Museum CTown Suitcase Club

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Blowing dandelion seeds and making wishes

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Learning how to use castanets from Ms. Linda Machado

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Jungle Jill brought some of her pets to show & tell at NatGeo Kids Club

Otter and Charger reacting to an animal visitor

Otter and Charger reacting to an animal visitor

The Sweet Pea Kids little prank that gets me almost every time - including today as I sat down outside to do this post!!

The Sweet Pea Kids little prank that gets me almost every time – including today as I sat down outside to do this post!!

 

 

Tuesday Tips: Green Your Nail Polish

NTNP

Can you tell our nail polish is well-loved?

Have you ever thought about the nail polish you use for yourself, and your children?

Changing your nail polish product is another simple “green” shift you can make in your family’s choices.  Doing so will allow you to avoid some biggie toxins being absorbed right into your child’s bloodstream.  Here are some ingredients that are commonly found in conventional nail polishes that you may want to avoid in pregnancy, and for your children once they are earthside:

  • FD&C colors
  • Formaldehyde
  • Dibutyl Phthalate
  • Toluene
  • Xylene

In our house, anyone who wants their finger nails painted is sitting down for a weekly polish change in Puma’s room.  Since it is used often and liberally, we are definitely keeping on the “green” side of things when it comes to nail polish.

As students of the Bradley Method®, we had a class devoted to avoiding harmful substances (now we teach that class!).  It really opened our mind to all the subtle ways that toxins can enter our environment.  One of the biggest culprits is personal care products.  So, I stopped getting acrylic nails while I was pregnant, and started using Honeybee Garden when I was pregnant with Night Owl.  Then Puma got old enough to have an opinion, and she wanted brighter colors.  We have used Piggypaint, and now we have also added Hopscotch Kids (added bonus…local Phoenix mamapreneur!) to our polish collection.  All three are free of the chemicals, and I know that Honeybee Garden is also free of the FD&C dyes.

New on the scene is Chrome Girl – two mamas in California are behind this company.

So what do you think?  Have you considered switching over to non-toxic nail polishes?  What are your favorite brands if you have made the switch?

 

 

Slide11MondaySlowDown.1

Monday Musings: Slow Down

Slow down – Look your children in their eyes everyday – childhood is fleeting…

This is the gist of what *is not* an original mantra today…I just saw this and wanted to share it with you just in case you haven’t discovered the artist’s page on facebook – you can place an order there if you want to hang this lovely reminder to slow down every day:  https://www.facebook.com/slowdownmummy1

Ironically, I had a day today where I did slow down.  As I have started a calendar/organizer system again, I look at the day and week ahead at night before I go to bed.  I knew that today, we had to get Puma ready for her field trip with her grandparents, so we had to get an early start to her schoolwork.  I didn’t have any anxiety about letting Night Owl have a longer playtime after breakfast because I knew he and I would have some one-on-one time this afternoon to get his reading done.  I knew that this is a day when we are not having to leave the house until 6:00 pm for our activities, so I would have all day to do school with them however it happened, and get writing done.

Oh.My.Gosh.  It was awesome.  Besides a lovely school day with all the Sweet Peas, I did a puzzle with Charger – just he and I.  Otter wanted to do two puzzles…and we did those, too.

Now…to figure out how to do that on days when I haven’t looked at the schedule the night before, or how to do that when the days are beyond full.  They are the most important thing to me – I know that deep in the core of my being.  Time after time I am reminded that they will not remember what I did when they look back at their childhood – they will remember the time we spent together.

I wish I could make every second precious, make every second count.  I wish I was uber-crafty or a gifted baker, or that I loved to spend hours in the kitchen, and still get our schooling done.  Although I am not those things right now, I can do what I do best – read to them, play with them, and remind them that they are loved.

How do you carve out time to spend with your Sweet Peas?  
Do you feel like you have a good system in place to care for them and get the rest of what you “do” done?

If so, please share!  I still have a pile of mail that needs attention…

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Thoughtful Thursday: Mirrors

I have been really struggling the last few weeks.  I have less patience than I ever have for people who do not think about their words and actions, and how they affect our children.

Current Pet Peeves:

  • Projecting insecurities on the children.
  • Treating them as second-class citizens simply because they are smaller.
  • No thought that to children, callousness and forgetting or changing commitments are hurtful.
  • Did they completely forget their own childhood?

I keep telling myself to let it go.  To breathe.  To pray.  I went on a lot of walks while we had guests for the holidays.  Yet, I know I am still holding on to “it”, because I am irritable and not traveling in as much gentleness as I know I am capable of.

My “light bulb” moment happened this morning.  One of Puma’s spelling words is “mirror”.  Watching her spell it, I caught my breath.  Have you heard the saying that the things that bother you the most are probably things that you are doing or that your don’t like about yourself?   That word made me stop and realize that I needed to be introspective, and take a hard look in the mirror.

So I wondered:  Am I so short-tempered with people who can’t treat our children with kindness because I am still struggling with living that every day?  Am I unforgiving because I need to forgive?  Is this so hard for me to see because it is an “in-your-face” reminder of how hurtful I am when I am not gentle, kind, patient or compassionate with them?

Hmmm.   YES.

I can see now that I really do need to let it go.  I am not going to change anything with anger or forced smiles.  I am not going to teach our children anything if I am sullen and angry around the behavior that bothers me.  If I want them to be loving and compassionate, I must also be loving and compassionate, even when it is difficult.  The instant I feel offended for them, I need to forgive, and be compassionate for the pain the people around us are walking around with.

Most of all, I need to remember how much I dislike it when our children are belittled, teased, or talked to with impatience.  That our words are precious.  It is such a lesson for me.  I want to remain present and walk with love.  Always – no matter what else is going on in our day.

It looks like my answer was in the mirror.

Can you help me?  Do you have any tips, mantras, or pointers to let go and forgive others?

Wordless Wednesday: Holiday Retrospective

We (the Bowmans) have really enjoyed our downtime from the computer and facetime with our kiddos!  I hope it was as lovely for Cassandra’s family as it was for ours, to have Daddy home!

Now we are pretty much back into the swing of things – and here is our first #wordlesswednesday for 2014.  I am going to start a page for you to see upcoming themes, and to keep an archive of past pictures so you can take courage – we are busy, messy, and there is still time and space to breathe and to love.

Here are some pictures from our family and some submissions from our facebook fans. As always, we are so grateful for the opportunity to share them – thank you for trusting us to share your images respectfully.

Winter in Arizona - Sweet Pea Kids would be shocked at *winter* weather.

Winter in Arizona – Sweet Pea Kids would be shocked at *winter* weather.

This is how you get three kiddos (in five different costumes) dressed for a Christmas show when Coach is in the audience.  Thank you #beco #butterfly for being a mama-sanity saver once again!

This is how you get three kiddos (in five different costumes) dressed for a Christmas show when Coach is in the audience. Thank you #beco #butterfly for being a mama-sanity saver once again!

Puma is all smiles after the last number in her Christmas show.

Puma is all smiles after the last number in her Christmas show.

My extended family's interpretation of the snowman craft we set out at our holiday party.

My extended family’s interpretation of the snowman craft we set out at our holiday party.

 

Some #glutenfree treats from our favorite bakery in Phoenix #glutenfreecreations

Some #glutenfree treats from our favorite bakery in Phoenix #glutenfreecreations

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Enjoying slow-cooker apple-cinnamon oatmeal in front of the tree on Christmas Eve morning.

An SPB family moment -  Sweet Pea sharing Christmas morning with his grandfather.

An SPB family moment – Sweet Pea sharing Christmas morning with his grandfather.

 

 

 

Winter Meme

Tuesday Tips: Safe Sledding

This meme is making it’s way around facebook these days – so true for me!  In all seriousness, though, there are some considerations for child-safety if you are living in the snowy, frozen areas of the world.

THIS article came across my desktop today – it raises the question if children should wear helmets when they are sledding.  What?! “I went sledding without a helmet, and I turned out fine,” I can hear the protesters crying right now.  I would like to think when we know better, we do better.

Actually, the CDC (HERE) and the State of New York (HERE) both have current guidelines that call for helmets if you are sledding, snowboarding, or skiing with children.  A news station in Daytona has published THESE guidelines that don’t call for helmets.

  • Sled down in a feet-first position.
  • Make sure there are no obstacles, especially at the bottom of the hill.
  • Dress your children in layers
  • Make sure their hands and feet stay dry (to avoid frostbite)
  • When the temperature is around freezing, make smaller children come in for a break every 15 minutes.

While these are practical tips, they don’t account for the fact that once your child sustains a head injury, the damage is permanent.  If it was me and there was any chance of our children suffering a head injury, helmets would be part and parcel of our snow gear (assuming we ever spend time in the snow!!).

Another consideration for cold weather residents – safe car seat practices.  Here are some starting points for you to do your research from Consumer Reports and The Car Seat Lady.

What are some of your winter safety tips for families with young children?