Is it safe to travel with kids during the pandemic?

For many families, travel plans are up in the air.

Woman-traveling-with-child-wearing-masks
Images By Tang Ming Tung

Parents across the country are wondering whether it is safe to travel with kids right now. Unfortunately, the answer to that question isn't straightforward. It depends on your family's vaccination status, who you plan to see, what you plan to do, and how you plan to get there.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because "travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19."

The CDC says fully vaccinated people can travel safely within the country. They don't need to get tested for COVID-19 before or after their trips and they don't need to self-quarantine. While the CDC says you don't need to wear a face mask if you're fully vaccinated and outdoors, they do recommend wearing your mask in busy areas, like airports and bus stations, and they recommend masking both indoors and outdoors for those who are unvaccinated, like kids under 12.

Airlines and epidemiologists say that it's safe to fly again thanks to hospital-grade air filtration and rigorous cleaning and screening practices—although, unlike in the early days of the pandemic, planes taking to the air these days are rarely empty enough to allow for 3 feet (never mind 6 feet) of social distancing between passenger groups, especially during peak holiday travel times. On airplanes, proximity to an infected person is the most important factor to be worried about, but the risk of getting infected on an airplane remains relatively low.

Public health experts agree that while there's no such thing as a no-risk trip during the pandemic, there are ways to significantly reduce your family's risk of getting sick, including wearing masks when traveling by plane, train or bus, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer—especially after contact with high-touch surfaces—and keeping physical distance whenever possible from your fellow travelers.

Here's how to decide whether to travel with your family and how to reduce risks if you do travel.


How do we know if it's safe to travel as a family?

Unless you are fully vaccinated, the CDC still discourages nonessential travel. Because vaccines are only available for those ages 12 and up this may mean that younger members of your family may not yet be vaccinated. In those cases, the CDC encourages individuals to consider the following questions:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you're going? You can get infected while traveling.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community? Even if you don't have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling.
  • Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip? Being within 6 feet of others increases your chances of getting infected and infecting others.
  • Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? Older adults and people of any age who have a serious underlying medical condition are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19? If you get infected while traveling you can spread COVID-19 to loved ones when you return, even if you don't have symptoms.

Still not sure whether to plan that family trip? Here's another way of thinking about travel safety during the pandemic.

Epidemiologists identify the risk factors for coronavirus transmission in terms of "time, space, people, place." Put another way, the least amount of risk involves the shortest possible amount of time spent with the most possible space between the smallest number of people in the largest possible place (preferably outdoors). Airline travel, train travel and hotel stays—all of which by definition involve a large group of people confined in a small amount of indoor space—present a challenge for families worried about the risk of virus transmission.

That said, it's up to individual families to decide whether travel feels right and safe for them. If your family includes even a single unvaccinated, immunocompromised or older individual, your tolerance for risk is going to remain low—or close to zero—and you're likely going to want to stay close to home. Likewise, if you are pregnant or the parent of a newborn infant, you might want to remain cautious about travel.

If you live in or are traveling to an area where transmission levels are low and declining, plus you're able to take social distancing and cleaning precautions during your trip and no one in your family belongs to an at-risk group, you might decide that family travel is a risk you are willing to take (with reasonable precautions for yourself and others) for the sake of your mental health and your children. If this is the case, you're taking the position that's right for you. If you decide you're not ready, then that's what's right for your family. You know your family's particular situation best.

Here's how experts break down various kinds of travel risks and how to minimize them if you do decide to travel.

Is it safe to fly right now?

is it safe to fly with kids during pandemic

Airports and airlines are doing everything they possibly can to reduce the risk of virus transmission on airplanes and keep passengers safe, including temperature checks, health screenings, reducing contact points during baggage check, check-in, security and boarding, frequent deep cleaning and modified seat booking. But every airline and airport has different practices (just like the pandemic guidelines for everything else from reopening schools to requiring masks, it's all a patchwork), and no one can guarantee that it's impossible to get sick from flying.

One bit of good news about airline travel and coronavirus: The likelihood of getting sick as a result of filtered and circulated cabin air is low. That's because most planes use the same kind of HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters that are used in hospital operating rooms to remove infectious particles and viruses from the air. Airborne viral infection on a plane is only likely if you're stuck sitting near a sick person—not just if a sick person happens to be somewhere on the plane.

Also, we know a lot more about how the coronavirus can spread during air travel than we did at the beginning of the pandemic, and the news is mostly reassuring. The main infection risk of air travel during the pandemic, as recent studies have suggested, isn't touching the seat-back tray table or even breathing the air in the plane, but rather coming into close, sustained contact with an infected person on the plane with you. Some studies suggest that your risk of infection on an airplane is surprisingly low as long as everybody (including your family) wears masks.

If you do decide to fly, there are ways to reduce your family's risks—but they involve advance planning, preparation and a not-minuscule amount of tolerance for the hassle. Here's how to minimize your risks if you do fly:

  • Become an expert on your local airport's check-in, screening and security procedures—these are changing often, and you don't want to be surprised.
  • Download your airline's app and have your boarding passes pre-loaded on your phone.
  • Choose a window seat, or wherever you can be seated farthest from other passengers.
  • Some experts suggest checking bags to reduce the number of touch-points for your stuff—but the fact is any luggage you bring is going to be in contact with a lot of surfaces regardless.
  • Wear a mask, obviously—all major airlines still require them for passengers older than 2 years of age, except when eating or drinking, and the CDC has provided guidance encouraging airlines to eject passengers who won't wear masks.
  • Eat before or after you go to the airport, so you don't have to remove your mask to eat while on your flight or to eat in the airport.

Is it safe to fly internationally right now?

Nonessential international travel is discouraged by the CDC unless you are fully vaccinated. However, even vaccinated individuals can still get and spread COVID-19. Restrictions also still apply to international travel to and from many countries. The CDC asks all international travelers to get tested with a viral test three to five days after returning from any trip abroad, and to self-monitor for any symptoms.

If you do need to fly abroad, be sure to follow local and national public health and travel guidelines for your destination, and during the flight, follow the suggestions above.

Something to be aware of: The CDC has created a global COVID-19 risk assessment map that you can consult here. If you're planning international travel, you might want to consult this map to learn more about potential risks and restrictions.

Another important note: All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States.

Is it safe to stay at a hotel right now?

Let's be real: Hotels are full of people you don't know (who come from all over the place) staying indoors for lengthy periods of time. They definitely don't meet the optimal "time, space, people, place" criteria for lowering the risk of transmission.

That said, if your family limits time spent in public areas like the lobby, elevators, restaurant or an indoor pool, that can reduce your risk. Wearing masks and maintaining distance outside your room are also must-dos.

Send one person from the family to the lobby to check-in, ride the elevator with as few other people as possible (in some hotels, lobby waits may be long as elevators are restricted to one family unit per ride), wash hands as soon as you enter your room or touch any high-contact surfaces, and ask that housekeeping be suspended during your stay in order to minimize the number of people entering your room.

Is it safe to take a road trip right now?

Driving in a car with members of your family that you've already been in daily close contact with is safe, experts say. That said, states' travel restrictions vary, so if you're crossing state lines and staying for longer than it takes to refill your gas tank, you will want to be aware of where self-quarantine is expected from out-of-staters.

Is staying with another family safe?

If both families have been limiting their exposure and can agree on certain safety considerations without damaging a valuable relationship, vacationing with another family can be a safe family travel option.

In the best-case scenario, according to experts, both families have been vaccinated or tested negative for the virus within days of departure; both families have been quarantining and limiting their exposure to others; both families agree in advance about what constitutes safety precautions before and during the trip; and, crucially, both families keep to themselves and limit exposure beyond their "bubble" while they are staying together.


[This was originally published June 4, 2020. It has been updated.]

Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn on how they’re ‘sneak teaching’ kids with their new show "Do, Re & Mi"

The best friends created a musical animated show that's just as educational as it is entertaining

Amazon Studios

This episode is sponsored by Tonies. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn have been best friends since they met as young singers and actors more than 15 years ago, and now they're collaborating on a new Amazon Original animated kids series called Do, Re & Mi. The show, which follows best birds Do, Re and Mi as they navigate the world around them while also belting out catchy tunes, is just as educational as it is entertaining.

On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Bell and Tohn talk to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about how they're "sneak teaching" kids with their new show and why music is such an important focal point.

"It was basically our mission from the very beginning to 'sneak music education' into kids' lives, hands, brains, all of it," Tohn admits.

"There's so much science and data to support that [music] helps kids, their brains grow with math, with social skills. It literally can change your neuroplasticity. You can put music of their favorite genre or timeframe on, in an Alzheimer's ward, and they will come back online for a couple minutes. I mean, it's crazy," Bell, who has two daughters of her own, adds. "You know, music can bind a lot of families together. It can bind friendships together. And it's just a show that you can feel really good about. We want to get it in front of as many kids as possible, because I don't like the fact that some kids won't have exposure to music. Their brains deserve to grow just as much as everyone else's."

The first season of Do, Re & Mi premiered on September 17th and its creators recorded 52 different songs for the show that range from reggae and pop to country, blues and jazz.

"That's what's so exciting about this show," Tohn gushes. "Not only are the lessons we're teaching for everyone, but every episode has a musical genre, a musical lesson and an emotional lesson. And so there really is so much to learn."

Elsewhere in the episode, Bell tells Tenety about how she made literal toolboxes that carry different regulation tools to help her kids calm down (one is "find a song you love and sing out loud") and why having a village is crucial to surviving motherhood, especially in a pandemic, while Tohn details her special friendship not only with Bell, but with her daughters, too.

To hear more about the show, Bell's experiences in motherhood, and her enduring friendship with Tohn, listen to The Motherly Podcast for the full interview.

Entertainment

12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

Eager to get out and go? Start here

Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

Tayla™️ XP Travel System

Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.


Add to Babylist

$849.99

Iora Bedside Bassinet

Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.


Add to Babylist

$249.99

Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.


Add to Babylist

$119.99

Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.


Add to Babylist

$219.99

Coral XP Infant Car Seat

With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.


Add to Babylist

$399.99

Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.


Add to Babylist

$289.99

Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.


Add to Babylist

$329.99

Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.


Add to Babylist
$499.99

Tayla Travel System

This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.


Add to Babylist
$699.99

Modern Diaper Bag

When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.


Add to Babylist

$129.99

Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.


Add to Babylist
$299.99

Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.


Add to Babylist
$599.99

Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

This article was sponsored by Maxi-Cosi. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Boost 1

This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.


Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

Woodland Snug comforter

Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.

$249

Braided Pom Pom Throw

Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.

$145

Lumbar pillow

sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?

$65

Crystal infused sleep mask

sunday citizen sleep mask

Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.

$40

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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10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.


1. "You're safe here."

If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

Back to School

Your seven-month-old baby is curious about the world around them—and the ways they are focusing their energy is proof they are eager to explore. Unlike those earliest days of parenting when "playing" with your baby seemed all-but one-sided, your active and engaged seven-month-old loves interacting with you.

Although your baby may not be on the move quite yet, you probably realize now the developmental milestones of crawling and walking are right around the corner. That makes this the right time to baby-proof the house! By keeping track of what milestones your baby is working on achieving, you can support their development and consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.

Seven-month-old baby milestones

Here's what The American Academy of Pediatrics says about seven-month-old baby milestones.

Senses:

  • Big news! At seven months, your baby now has full color vision, the ability to track moving objects and mature distance vision. Any uncoordinated eye movements (such as going cross-eyed) should have resolved.
  • Your baby has been listening since day #1, but now is developing more and more language comprehension. Not only can your baby distinguish emotions based on the tone of voice, but they should also recognize their name and understand the word "no."

Motor Skills:

  • Your seven-month-old baby is increasingly steady while sitting independently and may not need to keep their hands on the ground for support.
  • While standing with support, your baby should be able to keep all of their weight on their legs.
  • Your baby can transfer objects from hand to hand and uses a raking grasp to grab things.

Social and Emotional Skills:

  • Your little social being enjoys interacting with other people—and observing their actions.
  • Your seven-month-old baby uses their voice to express their feelings. They also feed off others' expressions of emotion.

How to support your seven-month-old baby’s development this month

Up for a little homework assignment, mama? Here are some seven months old baby activities to support your cutie's development.

  • Help your seven-month-old baby understand emotions by (at least occasionally) making exaggerated happy or sad faces when reacting to them.
  • Play with your seven-month-old baby by hiding a toy under a small blanket or towel and encouraging them to find it. With a sense of object permanence, they can be "in" on the game now.
  • Engage your four-month-old baby's senses by looking through a family photo album and naming the people. Or read a Say & Play Photobook to encourage discovery and memory.

It’s science: Your baby loves ‘talking’ to other babies

According to a study from the Acoustical Society of America, 5-month-old babies had 40% longer attention spans when listening to other babies "talk" than adult vocalizations of the same vowels. Not only are babies more interested in talking with each other, but these early conversations also promote the development of more advanced language skills. (Don't take it personally! The researchers stress that it's still important for parents to talk with their babies, too.)

With a seven-month-old baby, it can simultaneously feel like just yesterday when they were a teeny newborn—and so long ago when you consider how much they've developed. While they are focused on learning and playing, we know you may feel more pressure to help them hit every baby milestone "right on schedule."

But the truth is that babies progress at different paces and usually focus their attention on different things. Bring up any questions with their pediatrician. And, remember, you've got this.

Seven-month-old baby 101:

newsbreakapp

Boppy recalls millions of newborn loungers after products linked to infant deaths

The recall comes just weeks after the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned caregivers about the risks of using the products for infant sleep due to rising cases of infant death.

Poshmark

Boppy is officially recalling over 3 million newborn loungers after the products were recently tied to a string of infant deaths. An investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission earlier this month urged parents to stop using the products immediately after eight infant deaths were linked to the use of the loungers and nursing pillows for sleep.

All three models of the Boppy Newborn Lounger have been recalled: the Boppy Original Newborn Lounger, the Boppy Preferred Newborn Lounger, and the Pottery Barn Kids Newborn Boppy Lounger.


"In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, The Boppy Company is conducting a voluntary recall of its Newborn Lounger to address a risk of infant suffocation," the company writes in a statement on its website. "Infants can suffocate if they roll, move, or are placed on the lounger in a position that obstructs breathing, or roll off the lounger onto an external surface, such as an adult pillow or soft bedding, that obstructs breathing."

Eight reports of infant deaths have now been associated with the Boppy Newborn Lounger due to suffocation during sleep, each death occurring between December 2015-June 2020.

In October of 2020, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned caregivers about letting their infants sleep on lounging pillows and nursing pillows. The federal agency is responsible for overseeing thousands of home goods, and they declared these pillows unsafe for infant sleep.

The Boppy nursing pillow and newborn lounger are incredibly popular, and are staples to just about every expecting parent's baby registry—including my own, twice. They are supposed to help support a breastfeeding mama and make nursing her little one easier. The lounger is great for propping babies up while they're awake, so you can coo at them from a cushion instead of the floor. And while these items are great, amazing even, for those (supervised) uses, they can present a grave danger to a sleeping infant.

When babies are left unattended or sleeping on these pillows, they can roll over or their heads can fall in a way that blocks their airway—which leads to suffocation. Last fall, the CPSC linked 28 infant deaths from 2012 to 2018 to these pillows made by a variety of companies, including Boppy.

Consumer Reports found that seven additional deaths have occurred since the CPSC warning in 2020, due to unsafe sleep practices with nursing pillows and loungers made by Boppy.

The data, listed in the saferproducts.gov database, found that most of the fatalities happened after parents put their babies to sleep while they were propped up by the pillow or lounger. The babies rolled over into the soft, cushy fabric and were unable to breathe.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended babies be put to sleep alone, in their own space, while flat on their backs and lying on a firm surface. No crib bumpers, no blankets, no stuffed animals, and no pillows—at least not until a baby reaches toddlerhood, and are able to move things away from their airway if necessary.

"We are devastated to hear of these tragedies," a Boppy spokesperson told Consumer Reports. "Boppy is committed to doing everything possible to safeguard babies, including communicating the safe use of our products to parents and caregivers, and educating the public about the importance of following all warnings and instructions and the risks associated with unsafe sleep practices for infants. The lounger was not marketed as an infant sleep product and includes warnings against unsupervised use."

If you've purchased a Boppy Newborn Lounger recently, you can apply for a refund here.

An earlier version of this story focused on the Consumer Reports story and was published on September 10, 2021. It has been updated to reflect the current news of the recall.

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