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Children are going to hurt themselves—it's what childhood is all about, right? But it's our job as mamas to minimize accidents and keep them safe from preventable injuries. The good news is there are precautions we can take now to ensure our little ones avoid major accidents that can cause serious harm.

We tapped a few experts (including the American Academy of Pediatrics) who know the child safety ropes and were happy to share bits of advice. Here's what they had to say:

Car seat safety

1. Car seats aren't one-size-fits all. It's imperative to find a seat that fits your child and your car.

2. Shop and purchase from stores that allow you to test the models in your own car before the purchase is complete.

3. The biggest car seat installation mistake parents make is not tightening the seat securely enough. You should not be able to move the seat more than one inch side to side or forward at the seat belt path.

4. Stay rear-facing for as long as possible. Riding rear-facing provides support for the child's head, neck and back throughout a crash event and cradles the head for less chance of an injury.

5. When it comes to straps, you should not be able to pinch any of the webbing between your thumb and index finger. If you can pinch webbing, the harness is too loose. The chest clip should be at the child's armpits.

6. Kids should also ride in the backseat until the age of 13.

7. The same car seat rules apply for trips "just around the block," as studies have shown a large proportion of vehicle accidents happen less than one mile from home.

Joseph Colella is a Director of Child Passenger Safety for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.

Booster seat safety

8. When kids eventually exceed the maximum weight limit for their car seat, it's time for a booster—a step that some parents skip.

9. Without a booster, a child in a crash is more likely to have abdominal and internal organ injuries since adult belts don't fit correctly. A booster positions vehicle seat belts on the strongest parts of the body and away from the vulnerable abdomen.

Joseph Colella is a Director of Child Passenger Safety for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.

Car seat safety for NICU babies

10. Some NICU babies are discharged when they are in the 4-5 pound range. Be sure to research any potential car seat and confirm that it is safe for babies in this lower weight range.

11. When you have a premature baby that gets cold easily, your first instinct is to bundle them up—at home and definitely on the road where they may be exposed to cold weather. But resist the urge. Make sure the car seat harness to be fitted as close to your child as possible.

12. If you're traveling with medical equipment such as oxygen tanks and apnea monitors, be sure to research how best to stow medical equipment (or other potential projectiles). Identify all storage compartments, cargo spaces and strategies for securing items.

13. Don't use non-regulated aftermarket products. Many of these products interfere with the safe functioning of your seat, and some can actually put your baby into an unsafe breathing position.

14. Make an appointment to have your car seat checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). Be sure to mention any special needs your child has (low weight, medical equipment, etc.), and they can offer additional resources.

15. If you don't have access to a CPST, ask about child safety in the NICU—your hospital may have local referrals.

Leah A. Roman is a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

At home safety

16. If something is small enough to fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is a choking hazard.

17. Never leave bathroom trash cans out; make sure they are secured in a locked cabinet. There could be razors, small choking hazards, old medicines, and other dangerous items.

18. The dishwasher contains sharp utensils, and sometimes detergent pods. Detergent pods look like something yummy to eat to little ones and are extremely dangerous.

19. Make sure you have a secure, hard-to-reach place to store your cleaning products and any toxic solutions.

20. The same goes for any alcohol you may keep in the house.

21. Make sure bookcases, bureaus—anything capable of tipping over onto your child—are securely fastened to the wall.

22. Never put furniture, large toys (anything your child is able to climb) near bannisters, railings—anything that your child could climb up and over.

23. To prevent strangulation or any electricity mishaps, make sure all chargers are unplugged when not in use, and out of reach of your children.

From The International Association for Child Safety.

Body safety

24. Teach your children the proper names of their body parts. As soon as your child begins to talk, name each body part correctly including the genitals, i.e. penis, vagina, vulva, buttocks, breasts and nipples.

25. Explain the terms 'private' and 'public', i.e. 'private' means just for you. Talk about a toilet as being a private place but the kitchen, for example, is a public space because it is shared.

26. Teach your child that if someone (i.e. the perpetrator) asks them to touch their own private parts, shows their private parts to the child or shows them images of private parts that this is wrong also.

27. As your child becomes older, help them to identify three to five trusted adults they could tell anything to and they would be believed. These people are part of their safety network. Note: at least one person should not be a family member.

28. Explain that if someone does touch their private parts (without you there) that they have the right to say, 'No!' or 'Stop!' and outstretch their arm and hand.

Jayneen Sanders is a mother and author of Let's Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent and Respect.

Street safety

29. Modeling actions and saying the words out loud, "Stop, look (left, right and left again) and listen," should be part of every stroll when young children are out walking. As well as learning to recognize a crosswalk.

30. No matter how you do it, holding hands is an absolute imperative.

31. Children are impulsive. Even those children who run ahead and seem to always stop when they get to the corner, cannot be trusted to not dash out for a ball or shiny coin or some other distraction.

32. Model good street safe behavior, including not walking and texting or looking at your phone.

Gay Cioffi is an educator who has presented papers at Oxford University, NAEYC Conferences and at the Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. She is the creator of the website littlefolksbigquestions.com.

Food safety

33. Try a new food at home before sending it to daycare. You want to make sure they do okay with it first while you can pay close attention to them.

34. Almonds, peanut, cashews, and more are hard to chew and can have sharp edges. Avoid them and opt for safer versions like nut or seed butter spread on lightly toasted bread or incorporated into a smoothie or oatmeal.

35. Slice whole grapes vertically in half or quarters (do quarters for very large ones) so that the pieces are long and skinny and easy to chew.

36. Kernels of popcorn can be difficult to chew completely and it's very dry, both of which make it hard to chew and swallow effectively. Rice cakes or puffed popcorn cakes can be better options for older toddlers who enjoy crunch.

37. Gummy candy, some gummy vitamins, taffy, gum and the like are really hard to chew and should be avoided.

38. Foods like carrot sticks, celery sticks, apple slices, cucumber slices, and other raw and harder produce can be really hard for little kids to chew. Try shredding them (try shredded carrots closer to 18 months or 2 years old) or choose softer varieties of apples (like Gala) and slice them super thin.

39. Until a child is over 1 year old and often until they're closer to 2 years old, cubes or sticks of bread are easy to get stuck on the roof of their mouths. Try bread lightly toasted and in very small pieces.

Amy Palanjin Amy is a writer, a mother, and creator of Yummy Toddler Foods.

Water safety

40. Whenever inexperienced swimmers are in or around water, an adult—preferably one who knows how to swim and perform CPR—should be within arm's length, providing "touch supervision."

41. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through.

42. Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can't reach. Consider alarms on the gate to alert you when someone opens the gate. Consider surface wave or underwater alarms as an added layer of protection.

43. Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties." They are not a substitute for approved life jackets and can give children and parents a false sense of security.

44. The decision to enroll a child over age one in swimming lessons should be made by the parent based on the child's developmental readiness and exposure to water, but swim programs should never be seen as "drown proofing" a child of any age.

45. Children should wear Coast Guard approved life jackets at all times when on boats, docks or near bodies of water.

46. At the beach, stay within the designated swimming area and ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.

47. Be aware of rip currents. If you should get caught in one, don't try to swim against it. Swim parallel to shore until clear of the current.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics.

On playground safety

48. The playground should have safety-tested mats or loose-fill materials (shredded rubber, sand, wood chips, or bark) maintained to a depth of at least 9 inches (6 inches for shredded rubber).

49. Equipment should be carefully maintained. Open "S" hooks or protruding bolt ends can be hazardous.

50. Never attach—or allow children to attach—ropes, jump ropes, leashes, or similar items to play equipment; children can strangle on these. If you see something tied to the playground, remove it or call the playground operator to remove it.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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It's time to go shopping for your little ones mama. Not long ago we shared the super sale on Hunter boots for us moms, and now the super colorful and water proof boots are on sale for kids! Perfect timing as Spring is approaching and there will be a lot of puddle jumping in our futures.

The sale is up to 50% off in select styles, but in all the colors of the rainbow! We don't know how long the sale will last so act fast because some sizes are already on low stock!


Here are our favorite styles to shop from the sale:

The original grab handle boot in light blue

Original Kids First Classic Grab Handle

Originally $55, the original Grab Handle boot is 50% off right now.

$28

The classic gloss boot in blue

Original Kids First Classic Gloss Rain

Originally $55, the original Classic Gloss boot is 40% off right now.

$33

Chelsea boot in yellow 

Original Big Kids' Gloss Chelsea Boots

Originally $75, the Chelsea boot is 40% off right now.

$45

The original grab handle boot in pink

Original Kids First Classic Grab Handle

Originally $55, the original Grab Handle boot is 40% off right now.

$33

The classic gloss boot in yellow

Originally $55, the original Classic Gloss boot is 40% off right now.

$33

The camo boots

Original Little Kids Storm Camo Rain Boots

Originally $75, the camo boot is 50% off right now.

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We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Jessica Simpson's life seems perfect. She has three beautiful kids, a wildly successful career, a seemingly solid marriage...she has it all, at least as far as we can see. But recent revelations prove that no one really knows what anyone else is secretly dealing with—and Jessica, by her own admission, has been struggling with alcohol issues.

The singer-turned-business-woman recently sat down with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, and it will air on NBC's TODAY Wednesday morning.

"I had started a spiral and I couldn't catch up with myself…and that was with alcohol," Jessica explained. "I would say it openly to everyone. 'I know. I know, I'll stop soon. I'll cut back'," Jessica continued when asked if she realized things were getting out of control. "For me to cut back, like I'm an all or nothing girl, and so I didn't know it was a problem until it was...I completely didn't recognize myself…I always had a glitter cup. It was always filled to the rim with alcohol."

FEATURED VIDEO

She's hardly alone. The rise of #winemom phenomenon is well documented and many parents struggle with substance abuse problems. But Simpson's story proves there is a way to get your life back.

Simpson quit drinking in 2017 after she found herself unable to get her kids ready for a Halloween party. She says she'd started drinking before 7:30 in the morning, before accompanying her husband, Eric Johnson, to a school assembly for their oldest daughter. Later that night she was unable to get her kids dressed in their Halloween costumes. The next morning she was so ashamed. Feeling like she had failed her kids she slept until they left the house, then got up and drank some more.

That episode was her tipping point. She quit drinking (as did her husband, Eric Johnson, who supports her in her sobriety.)



As parents, we know how overwhelming the demands can be...and how easy it is to sink into habits that don't ultimately serve us well. For Jessica, the way to heal was to sever her relationship with alcohol.

"I had to give [drinking] up," Jessica said. "I'm not going to miss another day. I'm not going to miss another Halloween. I'm not going to miss another Christmas. I'm going to be present."

News

Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.

$150

Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌

$34.99

Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.

$99.99

Companion Quilted Backpack

companion quilted backpack diaper bag

Are you off to sit on the beach for a few hours, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.

$178

Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.

$34.99

JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.

$99.99

Little Unicorn Boardwalk Tote

If you're looking to keep things simple + stylish, mamas, this is the bag for you. It's versatile, functional, and will get tons of use well past the diaper days.

$69.95

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

This stunning tote would make the perfect on-the-go bag. It comes with a changing page and a couple pockets on the inside to keep everything organized. Don't forget to personalize it!

$99

Ticent Tote

Ticent Diaper Bag

With nearly 500 reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.

$30.99

Fawn Design Original

Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.

$159.99

Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉

$69.99

Rosie Pope Highbury Hill

Highbury Hill Diaper Backpack

If you're looking to up your style, this chic backpack will help you get there. Lots of inner pockets and zippered compartments make it simple to organize your stuff, and the top flap and wide opening make for quick + easy accessibility.

$159.99

Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.

$90

Petunia Pickle Bottom Pathway

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Tote

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.

$159

Skip Hop Duo

Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

The timeless stripes on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.

$70

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high for both us. I was worried that my lack of patience would get the best of me, leaving her feeling let down and frustrated with me on her new journey of becoming a “big girl." And selfishly, I was tired of washing wet underwear. For her part, my daughter was tired of being asked for the hundredth time if she needed to use the potty.

We both were feeling a little defeated in this new adventure.

I have found too often as a mother that I expect my child to respond new things, like to potty training, as fast and as close to the last blog post, book or opinion I heard or read. What I have learned is that no two children are alike and the moment I release my expectations for where mine should or should not be, we are both brought back to peace and patience.

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So maybe a break was all we needed to start fresh the next day. We headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. My daughter munched on popcorn and chatted away about the weather and pinecones, and listened for the sounds of helicopters—which you hear quite often living on an aviation military base.

Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood I have noticed that I can forget who I am and the strength we possess as mothers. It may not come easily at first, but I grow with each new day. Even potty training—this mundane human activity that is emotional and (quite literally) messy, teaches me much about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.

Potty training has taught me a huge lesson on patience. Patience to be present, to pay attention to what is right in front of me. To be encouraging, to not rush the process, to not place expectations on timing or play the comparison game we often play as mothers.

Patience is needed in every area of parenting and potty training is just one way where we can see as parents where our patience is wearing thin.

I have found that it's when I come from a place of patience and presence that I can then glean wisdom from those messy, mundane, time-consuming tasks of potty training, and find that the waiting, sitting and hours of time spent in the bathroom gives me an opportunity to be present in my child's world.

Whether it be the grocery line, a traffic jam, or cleaning up wet bedding, I learn the art and joy in the small and big moments in motherhood. Giving our children space to fail and try it again as many times as it takes encourages them that they too can cultivate the gift of patience in there own tiny lives.

My daughter speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in my child's world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me." Even in potty training.

Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. In fact, I have come to live for these exhausting, beautiful, and downright messy moments in time. When I push myself to embrace them, rather than just find them frustrating, I stretch and grow and evolve. I become the mother I hope to be.

And to you mama, whether in the midst of sleepless newborn nights or toddler tornados or the midst of potty training, may you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself.

May love and gratitude fill our hearts and peace be with all of us on the journey that motherhood is.

Life
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