Monday, May 31, 2010

What About Health Care Reform for Our Veterans on this Memorial Day?

By Polly Psi

Many people comment about the planned health care changes that the system, as proposed, shares many similarities with socialist systems that provide universal health care. These commenters, many opposed to the proposed changes on ideological grounds, usually neglect to mention that the Veterans Administration (VA) and the care it provides is clearly "socialism."

The VA was created because capitalism failed to provided adequate or affordable health care to many veterans, especially those with chronic needs.

The VA has managed to provide comprehensive care to a diverse group of veterans, often with complex health issues, more cheaply than care is provided to the general public by private insurance and private providers.

Also, the VA buys and dispenses medications and supplies more efficiently than the Medicare system.

The VA has often been at the forefront of new protocols, comprehensive data collection, and coordinated care. There are many improvements that critics and users of the VA cite of the care they provide. Yet, there is much to learn from the VA also.

Perhaps the biggest lesson is not to fear what the system is called but to pay attention to the results.

Although Memorial Day is celebrated as the first day of summer, please don't forget to remember those who lost their lives defending our country and the loved ones you have lost this Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

High Quality Child Care Does Matter

Interview with Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making About High Quality Child Care

While I was feeling sorry for myself for not being able to afford to attend the International Nanny Association Conference in San Francisco this year, I lucked-out and was spontaneously invited to attend a book signing with Ellen Galinsky the author of Mind in the Making that same weekend.

I am excited to discuss the book Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs in the June 2010 issue of Be the Best Nanny Monthly Guide (which comes out tomorrow) and will discuss the book more thoroughly on this blog after our health reform timeline series, starting on Saturday, June 12th.

In the meantime, I would love to share with you this interview with Ann Pleshette Murphy from ABC News Now on the topic of quality child care and the recent report released by the National Institiue of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) with the author of Mind in the Making, Ellen Galinsky.

As if nannies didn't know this before we know now -- high quality child care does matter!

See the interview in the sidebar or click here to see the interivew on the ABC website. Click here to see the NIH News video about the study.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Children's Books

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

Memorial Day Surprise
By Theresa Golding, Alexandra Artigas (Illustrator)

A mother tells her son that there is a "big surprise" at the Memorial Day Celebration. As the boy watches the parade, he asks if each part of the parade is the "surprise" - from the marching band, to waving flags, to children riding their bikes with red, white and blue streamers, and to firefighters in their truck. Mother always tells him that the real surprise is even more special. At the end of the parade, people stand and applaud. The boy then sees his grandfather, a veteran, being pushed in a wheelchair. His surprise is realizing that his grandfather is a hero.

The Wall
By Eve Bunting, Ronald Himler (Illustrator)

A young boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to find Grandpa's name. What makes "The Wall" so moving is that instead of answering questions it will get children to ask them. A great book to open discussion with the class about war and it's consequences.

Let's Get Ready for Memorial Day
By Lloyd G. Douglas

A girl's class prepares for Memorial Day by learning about the holiday from their teacher and making flags, and later she goes to a war memorial with her father to honor those who died.

Do you have a favorite book you want to share with nannies and au pairs? Simply emails with your suggestion. Stop by next Saturday for another Weekly Trip to the Library.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Health Care Reform Timeline 2011

Preventive and Wellness Measures to Provide in 2011

- Eliminate copays for preventive services for Medicare beneficiaries.

- Provide grants to small businesses to establish wellness programs.

- Develop a national strategy to improve health care and preventive services.

- Provide personalized risk assessments for Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

- Provide incentives for behavior modification programs.

- Require chain restaurants to disclose nutritional information of menu items.

- Vending machines will also have to display nutritional information.

- Establish new trauma centers to improve emergency room care.

- Coordinate and intergrate services for uninsured and underinsured low-income nad high risk health care recipients.

- Increase training and support for primary care health care physicians.

- Increase access to training nurses and others engaged in primary care.

- Provide a 10% Medicae bonus payment for primary care physicians and general surgeons.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Health Care Reform Timeline

Reform to Happen in 2010

Long-Term Care:

Initiate a process of establishing a voluntary insurance program that will expand and lower costs of community-based housing and living assistance for the elderly and disabled.

Medical Malpractice:

Initiate a five-year demonstration program to allow states to develop alternatives to current tort litigation methods.

Health Care Personnel:

Establish teaching centers to provide increased opportunities for residency training of health care providers.


-- New taxes on pharmaceutical companies.
-- Exclude certain over-the-counter products from HSA accounts.
-- Tighten tax credits on HSA disbursements.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Health Reform Timeline 2010

Medicare and Prescription Drugs

Medicare This Year:
-- Provides $250 rebate for those who reach the 'donut hole.'
-- Ban new physician-owned hospitals in Medicare.
-- Expand Medicare coverage to individuals who have been exposed to environmental health hazards.
--Coordinate coverage for dual-eligibles.
-- Justify productivity and efficacy of Medicare providers.

Medicaid This Year:
-- Cover childless adults and family planning services through state programs.
-- Adjust rebate percentage for brand name drugs.
-- Provide CHIP services for eligible children of state employees.

Prescription Drugs This Year:
-- Accelerate approval of generic biologic drugs

Quality of Care This Year:
-- Compare efficacy of different protocols.
-- Prepare for national emergencies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"I'm Jealous Of My Nanny:" A Mom's Honest Confession

Check out this link to with a quote from fellow nanny Michelle LaRowe.

Health Reform Timeline

In 2010 Expect Insurance Reforms

If it seems not much has happened since the health reform law here are some health insurance reforms to be implemented this year:

  • Require insurance plans to allocate at least 85% of premiums for benefits for large groups, 80% for small groups. Rebates start January 1, 2011.

  • Review all premium increases for justification of amount.

  • Establish a temporary high-risk pool to provide coverage for uninsured with pre-existing conditions.

  • Health plans must provide certain preventative coverages without co-pays.

  • Provide coverage for adult children up to age 26.

  • Provides tax credits for small businesses to provide health insurance for employees.

  • Eradicate limits on lifetime benefits.

  • Provide temporary reinsurance program for young retirees not eligible for Medicare.

  • Medical personnel and hospitals: Establish a national strategy for increasing the number of health care professionals .

  • Increase training of health care personnel through scholarships and loans.

  • Require a larger number of services from non-profit hospitals.

  • Impose 10% tax on indoor tanning services.

Do you feel health insurance reform will be beneficial to you?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nanny Asks About Heath Care Reform

Heath Care Reform for Young Adults

After posting information about health care reform last week, several nannies emailed us with questions. Below is one question from a 23-year-old nanny named Sara.

Question: I am 23-years-old and working at my first live-in nanny job. The family I work for does not offer health insurance benefits. I feel I don't make enough to afford to pay the premiums myself. Will health insurance reform help young working nannies like myself?

Answer: Many young adults, like yourself, are uninsured because their jobs don't offer coverage, or they simply feel they are healthy and won't need health insurance. With the new health care reform law there is a safety net expanded for uninsured young adults by allowing them to remain on their parents' insurance until age 26. The coverage starts in September. You can expect premiums to increase slightly. The premiums for young adults are expected to be between $50 to $100 per month. Federal regulations will not invalidate state laws that provide coverage after age 26. Although medical insurance is mandated but dental and vision are choice of insurer.

Please feel free to email Stephanie @ Best Nanny (with no spaces) with your health care reform questions.

Do you work as a nanny and receive health insurance as a benefit of your job?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

BPA Dangers on 60 Minutes

Phthalates: Are They Safe?

I am watching 60 Minutes right now and Lesley Stahl is discussing phalates and the dangers of BPA -- the chemicals found in soft plastic products that we use everyday. They are so common, that traces of them can be found in everybody.

We discussed BPA found in baby bottles in January and February including that BPA is found in baby bottles that care labeled "BPA-Free." We posted how nannies and au pairs can reduce BPA exposure, we discussed the FDA warning about BPA exposure, and we reviewed BPA-Free baby bottles.

The experts being interviewed on the 60 Minutes right now say there are more studies needed to prove the dangers. But, in the same interview the experts admit there is data showing possible links to birth defects in baby boys.

Are you concerned about phthalates found in soft plastic products? Have you thrown out all plastics with BPA in them?

Huggies Launches Line of Diaper Jeans

Kimberley-Clark will be selling Huggies Little Movers Jeans for a limited time in June and July. They aren't actually denim, but are printed with a jean-like pattern, including faux belt loops and pockets.

"Jeans have always been a Mommy fashion must-have, but now it's time for their little ones to steal the style," said Stuart Schneider, senior brand director of Huggies, in a press release.

"The design helps babies stay trendy while keeping dry with the same revolutionary design and proven leakage protection that moms have come to know and trust from the Huggies brand."

Huggies Jeans Diapers are available in three sizes, from size 3 (16-28 lbs) through size 5 (over 27 lbs) for a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $9.59 for a jumbo pack and $19.99 for a big pack (diaper count varies based on diaper size).

Do you think you will try these diapers with the children in your care?

Highlights of the 2010 International Nanny Association Conference

This weekend was the 25th International Nanny Association (INA) Annual Conference at the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, California.

Keynote speaker was Mary Beth Phillips, Founder of TrustLine, a model program designed to check the background of childcare providers. She has been honored at the White House for her work in preserving health and safety standards for childcare. She is currently the executive director for the California Association of Family Empowerment Centers, an advocacy agency providing technical assistance, support, and coordination for fourteen non-profit Centers throughout the State. She spoke on the issue of improving quality childcare.

During the 2010 INA Conference nannies could review and take the INA Nanny Credential Exam. Some of the workshops for nannies included: American Red Cross Water Safety Certification, A Day in the Life of a Newborn Care Specialist, Learning Through Play, Court Mandated Reporting, Lesson Plans, Working with Families in Stress, Positive Discipline with Teens, Teaching Skills Through Play and Stories, Secrets to an Outstanding Resume, and nanny coaching. There were workshops for nanny placement agencies as well.

The 2010 INA Nanny of the Year Award was presented to Greta Schraer, a professional nanny from Ohio. To see her acceptance speech just visit her CincyNanny blog by clicking here.

Be sure to stop by the INA website in the coming days to see a conference wrap up, learn more about the INA, and benefits of becoming a member of the organization.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Child Left Inside & Nature-Deficit Disorder

Book Review Last Child in the Woods

It is Spring and soon it will be Memorial Day -- the perfect time to take children outside. Working as a nanny or au pair it's easy to focus on our household duties, like laundry and tidying up, and forget to schedule outdoor fun with children each and every day. That is why Be the Best Nanny Newsletter is sharing the book review of Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv from AMC Outdoors.

AMC Outdoors, May/June 2010
The Nurture of Nature
By Kristen Laine

Five years ago this May, Richard Louv, a newspaper columnist from San Diego, published his seventh book. The book advanced the same theme found in his previous six: a plea for stronger communities and more engaged parenting. Yet this one would catapult Louv and his life's work onto the national stage and inspire a grassroots movement on an international scale.

The title of the book was Last Child in the Woods. But it was the subtitle, "Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," that unexpectedly fueled the book's popularity. The phrase "nature-deficit disorder" did not reflect an existing medical diagnosis. Using the language of disease, however, allowed Louv to diagnose societal ills in a way that resonated with readers. It gave him a perfect sound bite.

The book summarized decades of research—in sociology, education, public health, family science, and medicine—and made a persuasive case that nature-deficit disorder was a critical national problem. Louv linked that single disorder to widely ranging aspects of modern culture: childhood obesity, relentless exposure to electronic media, playground lawsuits, a narrow focus on testing in public schools, parents' increasing fear of strangers, stress in over-scheduled children. Then he used additional research—and his rhetorical skills—to persuade readers that reconnecting children with nature could cure it. He took a host of complex, seemingly unrelated problems and offered a single solution for all of them: Get children to spend more time outdoors.

A common platform
Louv's argument touched a broad cross-section of society. It addressed the mother concerned about the hours her son spent playing video games; the teacher who faced fidgeting children in schools that had removed recess from the school day; the pediatrician who saw overweight patients at ever younger ages; environmental groups that saw fewer young people getting involved. Suddenly, it seemed, people with a diverse spectrum of concerns found something in common to rally behind.

Several key elements helped Louv turn his message into a movement. He had his rallying cry, but he needed an organization to translate interest into action. With Cheryl Charles, who had founded and run several environmental nonprofits, he created the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) in April 2006. The new organization connected groups that had been working, in some cases for decades, on issues related to nature-deficit disorder. The network gave them a common platform, raised their profile through Louv's star power, and gave them opportunities to collaborate.

Marilyn Wyzga, an environmental educator with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, was typical of the activists inspired by the new network. She heard Charles at a conference, and in January 2007 convened a statewide summit on reconnecting children and nature that brought together decision-makers from health, education, government, and state agencies. Later that year, she organized a forum in the state capital, and 1,000 people turned out to hear Louv speak. The New Hampshire Children in Nature Coalition became the first statewide comprehensive collaboration and a model for other states.

The campaign quickly grew to include efforts in nearly every state in the U.S. Connecticut launched a program to encourage families to visit its underused state parks. New York City created green garden spaces just for kids. An environmental charter school got off the ground in Rhode Island.

Schools and beyond
Recognizing the key part that schools might play in the movement, Louv introduced the phrase No Child Left Inside in his talks. The phrase intentionally contrasted C&NN's goals to the No Child Left Behind education act, which had moved testing to the center of education reform and had the unintended consequence of stripping recess and other outdoor time from many school schedules. A "No Child Left Inside" (NCLI) coalition of more than 1,500 organizations, including AMC, is now supporting joint bills to add environmental education guidelines and funding to the reauthorization of the federal education act. More than 40 states are crafting environmental literacy plans; in New England, four states that share standardized testing (Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) are collaborating on a regional plan. If the NCLI legislation passes as expected, it will be a landmark victory for environmental educators.

By the end of 2009, C&NN had gone international. It counted more than 65 initiatives at the city, state, regional, and Canadian provincial level, as well as programs outside North America. The efforts ranged from safe routes to school to one-page handouts encouraging pediatricians to prescribe the outdoors in well-child check-ups to a "green hour" initiative promoted by the National Wildlife Federation recommending one hour a day in outdoors play for all children.

Five years after the book's publication, the movement has created something environmentalists have long hoped for—a tent large enough to include most Americans. That big tent makes possible the "deep, lasting cultural change" that Louv believes is necessary to reconnect children and nature.

New research extends the benefits to society when children have ongoing, direct experiences in nature. The route to active concern for the environment as an adult, according to these studies, is to spend a childhood experiencing “wild nature.” Unstructured, independent play in nature creates the strongest attachment. But just as crucial to the nature-child connection, according to this research, is “a mentoring adult” who teaches a child respect for nature.

Please click here to read the entire article at the AMC Outdoors website.

Stop by next Saturday for another book review for nannies and au pairs.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Health Reform and Kids

In general, the health care reform bill expands coverage for kids, adolescents, and young adults.

No denial for pre-existing conditions. Health care reform prohibits insurers from excluding from coverage children with pre-existing health conditions. This provision takes effect immediately. The law also prohibits insurers from excluding adults with pre-existing conditions, but may not be mandatory until 2014.

Older children and parental insurance. Dependent children up to age 26 will be able to stay on their parents' family policy. There’s no special regulation as to what this will cost, however.

Children's health insurance program. Kids' eligibility for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program CHIP which helps lower-income families, must be maintained. . States will not be able to cut children from the program until 2019.

More preventative care. Qualified health plans will have to provide – with no cost-sharing – immunizations and other preventive health services for infants, children, and adolescents. This provision takes effect within six-months after the health reform bill became law.

Less reliance on emergency rooms. And of course with more preventative care and having a pediatrician or family physician there will be less need for trips for children to emergency room.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Improving America's Health Care Delivery System

This week we have been discussing health insurance reform. Today we will list how the new legislation may improve health care delivery system for American nannies.

Heath insurance reform also improves the way Americans get their health care by:

1. Providing financial incentives for physicians who provide primary care services and investing in programs to increase the number of primary care practitioners, especially in under served areas and rural communities.

2. Simplifying paperwork and improving medical records technology so doctors can spend more time treating patients and less time dealing with health care bureaucracy

3. Wider availability

4. More use of standardized, proven treatments

5. Better dissemination of information to health care providers

6. More jobs for more patients which means more paperwork.

7. Providing funding for community health centers to help ensure that families have access to primary care in their communities

Tomorrow: Health Reform and Kids

If you have any health care reform questions feel free to ask them in the comments below or email Stephanie @ (no spaces) and we have a political science graduate on staff to answer your questions.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Making Coverage More Affordable, Portable, Stable for Nannies

Monday we discussed how health insurance reform benefits working, breastfeeding mothers. Tuesday we listed the immediate benefits of health insurance reform. Today we list ways health insurance reform increases coverage and improves portability and stability of your existing coverage.

Some of the ways health insurance reform increases access to coverage and improves the portability and stability of existing coverage include:
  • Encourages more use of trained health care workers that are not physicians

  • Tries to discourage use of specialists for accepted and proven protocols

  • Less use of "defensive" tests

  • More preventive care

  • More use of generic drugs

  • Improved purchasing of supplies

  • E-records

  • Expands insurance pool to include healthier sub-groups

  • Insurers must spend at least 80% of premiums on benefits

  • Providing billions in tax relief to help Americans afford health insurance

  • Ending the hidden tax that Americans who already have health insurance are already paying to cover care for those who don’t have coverage

  • Establishing health insurance exchanges that ensure Americans access to coverage, provide additional choices, and competition for Americans who buy their own health insurance, and insure that citizens always have access to a variety of quality, affordable choices in health insurance, even if they change their jobs, lose their jobs, or move

  • Establish a new voluntary long-term care program that will give seniors and people with disabilities greater ability to stay in their homes
Tomorrow: Improving America's Heath Care Delivery System

Do you think health insurance reform with make health coverage more affordable for you?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Immediate Benefits of Health Insurance Reform for Nannies

In January 2010 I went to the emergency room and was admitted for two days. The charges are over $18,000 in hospital and medical bills for two days of hospital care. For other nannies like myself, health insurance reform is a sign of hope for our future medical expenses.

Without health insurance reform, the number of uninsured Americans would have dramatically increased over the next decade. Hospitals would have lost even more money from having to provide care to people without insurance, thousands of businesses would have seen their premiums skyrocket, and fewer people would have health insurance through their employers.

Some of the immediate benefits of health insurance reform include:
  • Providing access to coverage to uninsured who have a pre-existing condition by 2014

  • Reducing and then banning annual limits of coverage

  • Barring insurance companies from arbitrarily dropping your coverage

  • Eliminates insurance eligibility rules that discriminate in favor of higher wage employees

  • Ensuring Americans who already have coverage get access to free preventive care like mammograms

  • Cutting brand-name prescription drug costs in half for seniors on the Medicare Part D "donut hole"

  • Giving Medicare beneficiaries access to free preventive care and a free annual check-up

  • You can keep your current insurance coverage if you choose to

  • Helps early retirees, ages 55 to 64, offset cost of premiums

Tomorrow: Making Coverage More Affordable, Portable, Stable

Do you think health insurance reform will help you afford medical treatment in the future?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pesticides Tied to ADHD in Children

Wash Produce Thoroughly

If you didn't think buying organic to avoid pesticides was important you might now.

Children exposed to pesticides could have a higher risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study supported by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The study concludes American's should always wash produce thoroughly.

Researchers tracked the pesticides' breakdown products in children' urine and found those with high levels were almost twice as likely to develop ADHD as those with undetectable levels.

The findings are based on data from the general U.S. population, meaning that exposure to the pesticides could be harmful even at levels commonly found in children's environment.

There are about 40 organophosphate pesticides such as malathion registered in the United States, the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

The study included 1,139 children between 8- and 15-years-old. The study found the odds of having ADHD rose with the level of pesticide breakdown products.

For a 10-fold increase in one class of those compounds, the odds of ADHD increased by more than half. And for the most common breakdown product, called dimethyl triophosphate, the odds of ADHD almost doubled in kids with above-average levels compared to those without detectable levels.

What can you do? Wash produce. Consider buying organic. Click here to see a shopper's guide to pesticides.

Do you buy organic produce for the family you work for?

What Health Care Reform Means for Nursing Mothers

By Erinn Springer

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the recently passed health insurance legislation, has a few provisions that will really benefit nursing mothers in the workplace. When President Barack Obama signed the legislation, employers with more than 50 employees were then required to provide nursing mothers "reasonable break time" to express breast milk.

Before the legislation, 17 states already had laws that required employers to provide nursing mothers breaks to collect breast milk. Now nursing mothers around the country will have that same privilege. The legislation grants women up to a year to take these breaks.

Not only will nursing mothers get time but also a private location to express milk. Health care reform requires employer to provide nursing mothers space to express milk that is private and not located in a bathroom.

The U.S. Department of Labor will determine how much time will be necessary to grant women these breaks and whether the time used on these breaks will be compensated.

Employers with less than 50 employees will not have to meet any proposed requirements if their compliance presents an "undue hardship." If a business can prove an undue hardship it means that it cannot comply with the legislation without difficulty or large expense to the small business.

This law will have a large effect on women that work hourly and are eligible for overtime benefits. Women on salaries are not covered by this provision but many companies have accommodations for working mothers.

Nursing mothers will be able to breast feed their children for longer time periods and will not have to quit because of working conditions. This is a huge win for mothers across the country.

Tomorrow: Immediate Benefits of Health Insurance Reform

If you work as a nanny or au pair does the working mother that hired you express breast milk at work?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Do Nannies Provide Quality Child Care?

Low-Quality Child Care Can Have Lasting Impact
Study finds behavior and academic problems persist through age 15

Low-quality care in the first few years of life can have a small but long-lasting impact on a child's learning and behavior, according to new results from the largest, most authoritative assessment of child rearing in the United States.

The federally funded study, which has been tracking more than 1,300 children since 1991, found that obedience and academic problems among those who received low-quality care in their first 4 1/2 years of life persisted through their 15th birthdays, suggesting the potential for lifelong difficulties. Please click here to learn more about the study.

The differences between teens who received low- and high-quality care when they were very young were relatively small, and the endurance of these disparities startled.

"The fact that you have this persistent association is pretty remarkable," said James A. Griffin of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which is funding the research being reported Friday in the May-June issue of the journal Child Development.

Several experts praised the findings, saying they underscore the urgent need for local, state and federal governments, employers and others to improve access to high-quality child care.

"I think it is shocking that we don't have a much higher proportion of our children . . . in excellent, quality child care," said Sharon Landesman Ramey, director of the Georgetown University Center on Health and Education.

For the study, which began in 1991 amid growing concerns about the effects of parents' increasing reliance on outside child care, researchers in Arkansas, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin followed 1,364 infants of various ethnicities, races and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The researchers collected detailed information about the type and quality of care the children were receiving through age 4 1/2 , including whether their custodians were parents, other relatives, nannies, babysitters or day-care centers in or outside a home, as well as the number of hours of which kind of care each child received. The subjects underwent tests assessing their academic and cognitive skills, and parents and teachers answered questionnaires about each child's behavior. The quality was assessed based on observations of a host of factors, including the caregivers' warmth, sensitivity, emotional support and how much cognitive stimulation they provided.

Influence of family more important

The researchers previously reported that toddlers who received higher-quality care had fewer behavior problems than those receiving lower-quality care. The type of care, whether it was inside or outside the home, did not seem to matter, although day-care centers appeared to be related to more acting out among first- and third-graders. Kids who received high-quality care scored better on tests measuring math, reading and other cognitive skills throughout elementary school.
Researchers had speculated that the negative effects of lower-quality care would disappear as the influence of other factors, such as peers, teachers and maturation, overcame the early childhood experience. But in the latest analysis of the data, they discovered that teenagers who had received higher-quality child care were less likely to report engaging in problem behaviors such as arguing, being mean to others and getting into fights. Those who spent more hours in child care of any kind were more likely to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors. And those who received moderately high- or high-quality care scored higher on tests gauging cognitive and academic achievement.

"What was the surprise for us was that the effects at age 15 were the same size as we had seen in elementary school and just prior to school entry," said Deborah Lowe Vandell of the University of California at Irvine, who led the analysis. The researchers stressed that the benefits of higher-quality care were modest — a difference of just a few points on standardized tests measuring reading, math, memory and other cognitive abilities, and self-reports of behavioral problems. Other factors, such as the influence of parents and family members, were clearly more important. However, the findings held true even after the researchers took those and other factors into account.

The researchers plan to continue following the children.

"The likelihood is these can affect children throughout their lives, and not just low-income children," said Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit research center.

© 2010 The Washington Post Click here to read article. Click here to see how higher education creates quality care which commands higher salaries.

Do you think nannies provide high-quality care?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekly Trip to the Library for Au Pairs and Nannies

Review of The Sleepeasy Solution

For many weeks we have been reviewing infant sleep training books. Just type the word "sleep" to search our blog for previous reviews by Dr. Harvey Karp, Dr. Richard Ferber, Elizabeth Pantley, William Sears, Gary Ezzo, Gina Ford, and Kim West.

The next book in the series is The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5 by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack.

Jennifer Waldburger, LCSW, is a trained psychotherapist and partner of Sleepy Planet, the preeminent parenting/sleep company in LA. She is a former writer and editor for Town & Country, Redbook, Good Housekeeping and Harper's Bazaar.

Jill Spivack, LMSW, is a psychotherapist who worked as a pediatric sleep consultant who co-founded Sleepy Planet, Inc., in 1999. The two offer private sleep consultations for celebrity clients and others, standing-room only workshops and regular keynotes at Baby Expos with audiences of over 300. They have appeared on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, Inside Edition (feature piece) as well as in The Wall Street Journal and Fit Pregnancy.

The key to their method is addressing the emotional needs of both the parent and child because not addressing the parents needs as well, most sleep methods fail. The techniques are based on well established behavioral principles, are results oriented. Rather than being a strict "cry it out" method they try to emphasize teaching a child how to "soothe itself method" with occasional crying.

Breastfeeding is addressed because breastfeeding parents have a harder time keeping their babies asleep during the night. They recommend giving the child an item that they are to associate with the parents in their bed. How to help a child who gets hungry, thirsty, or scared at night. How to wean a child that is over 15-pounds and older than five-months old, from having milk before bedtime. They describe how to make the child’s room desirable for sleep, to read books, change clothes, and dim the lights before bedtime. Subjects such as family-beds, post-partum depression, and teething are also addressed.

The authors are open-minded in their writing when addressing the different parental styles. This book is easy to read, compassionate, and they claim within five days you will see major results.

Have you used this book successfully? Do you prefer a gentle or strict infant sleep method?

Friday, May 14, 2010

P&G dismisses Dry Max Pampers rash rumors

By Martinne Geller
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Procter & Gamble Co called reports that its new Pampers with Dry Max cause rashes and other skin irritations "completely false" as it aimed to contain a public relations threat to its biggest diaper innovation in 25 years.

The world's largest household products company said on Thursday that Pampers has been the subject of "completely false rumors fueled by social media."

The statement comes a day after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it launched a probe into the new diapers after some parents complained that they appeared to be the cause of rashes and chemical burns on their children.

Pampers recently updated its Swaddlers and Cruisers diapers with a thinner, more absorbent technology, which P&G has called its biggest diaper innovation in 25 years. The company has said the product went through extensive testing.

"These rumors are being perpetuated by a small number of parents, some of whom are unhappy that we replaced our older Cruisers and Swaddlers products while others support competitive products and the use of cloth diapers," said Pampers Vice President Jodi Allen in a statement.
She added that some of those parents "specifically sought to promote the myth that our product causes 'chemical burns.'"

The company said it has received fewer than two complaints about diaper rash for every one million diapers sold, which it said is average for its business.

Click here to read rest of the article.
Have you used Pampers dry max diapers? Do you like them?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

7-Year-Old Girls Dancing in Lingerie! What's Your Reaction?

Have you cared for children that dressed in clothing you thought was inappropriate or too sexy?

This YouTube video is being broadcast by news media all over the country. The 7-year-old girls are performing at World of Dance, "the largest U.S. Urban Dance Competition."

Undoubtedly the girls are talented dancers. But, is it going too far to allow them to dress in lingerie while dancing in a sexy style? What do you think?

Have any of your charges dressed in clothing you thought was inappropriate or too sexy?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The developmental milestones parents obsess over are meaningless.

Can Your Baby Wield a Machete?
By Nicholas Day

This article appeared on the Slate website. Click here to see original article.

Photo of Arnold Gesell, a psychologist and pediatrician who was a pioneer in the field of child development.

My son Isaiah sat up late. He crawled late, too, according to all the books, and he agreed to walk only when he was pretty sure he wouldn't fall. With the exception of his remarkable ability to name dump trucks, garbage trucks, and every single apple in the produce section, he shows every sign of talking late, too.

Late, early, on time: In our what-to-expect era, when baby websites offer weekly, birthdate-timed developmental newsletters, parents can hardly avoid knowing where their child falls on the developmental spectrum. As Isaiah has stumbled through his first years, he's been accompanied, via child-rearing guides and websites, by the phantom presence of a typical child, whose textbook development sometimes has made Isaiah seem like Leo the Late Bloomer.

But when parents today worry about their child not meeting developmental norms, especially for motor skills, they're too often worrying needlessly. The typical child, it turns out, is a myth. But someone forgot to tell the parents.

Arnold Gesell, a pioneering developmental scientist at Yale, came up with the theory of developmental norms—the idea that there is a normal way for humans to develop—a little less than a century ago. Gesell believed that motor development was a question of neuromuscular maturation: Motor skills developed as the brain matured. It followed that all infants had to pass through the same series of developmental steps, in the same order, at the same times. Gesell just had to map what those steps were and when exactly they occurred.

He did so in astonishing, migraine-inducing detail. Using cameras to record the tiniest details of infant behavior, Gesell described the appearance of 40 different motor skills and the developmental stages of each of those skills: 23 stages of crawling, 58 stages of grasping, 53 stages of rattling. His work was rigorous, seemingly authoritative, and the basis for the first charts depicting how infants should develop. These showed babies as they moved in a strict, perfectly timed procession from lying to rolling over to sitting to crawling, and so on. Gesell's work was hugely influential: It cemented the concept of developmental norms, and the separation of normal and abnormal, into the popular consciousness. Gesell's books and the movies of infants produced by his laboratory made him famous, an early child-rearing expert. This video offers a sense of his patient, painstaking style and the quiet grandeur of his pursuit.

Yet Gesell himself knew that his norms weren't set in stone. As Ann Hulbert writes in Raising America, her magisterial history of modern American child-rearing advice, he warned that norms " are readily misused if too much absolutist status is ascribed to them,' as he knew from having arrived at them by observing countless deviations."

But the idea of developmental norms was too seductive to be rejected. It provided parents and pediatricians with guidelines and expectations. For almost a half-century after Gesell, the proper sequence and timing of development were treated by developmental psychologists as sacred; any deviation was dangerous. For example, the theory of "neurological organization," devised by the psychologist Carl Delacato, held that if an infant failed to take the expert-marked path for motor skills, her reading and language skills would veer off ! course, too. New research was largely limited to creating more precise norms—to making norms yet more normative.

The problem with all of this is that the theory of neuromuscular maturation turned out to be fundamentally wrong. Even during Gesell's ascendancy, there was ample evidence of the amazing plasticity of human development. Beginning in the 1960s, developmental psychologists conducting ethnographic research in different cultures discovered that infants around the world skip various developmental stages or develop key skills more quickly (or slowly) than American children. As a classic paper showed, for example, infants in a farming village in Kenya sat up and walked far sooner than their Western counterparts, but only when raised in traditional ways, which encouraged these skills. Moreover, different cultures have their own internal sense of what's normal. In one wonderful study, English, Jamaican, and Indian mothers living in the same city were asked to predict when their newborns would reach certain motor milestones. Remarkably, each group's expectations turned out to be accurate—even though they frequently varied by several months. As the (epically cute) new Babies documentary makes clear, culture matters.

All this reflects how infants actually develop: Babies take different routes to the same destination. There's no right way to learn to walk, for example, and there's scarcely even a right time: The accurate range for when babies should start extends from 8 months to almost 20 months—an amazingly, almost meaninglessly broad stretch of time. The most interesting research on motor development in recent years treats it as the product of many different systems: the infant's environment, personality, nervous system, and! personal physical limitations. When all these variables interact, you get a lot of different results, as countless studies have made clear. You don't get a chart that looks like something out of The Ascent of Man.

But the idea of the typical child is ever with us, never mind the volumes of research disproving it. As several prominent developmental psychologists have written, somewhat despairingly, "Ages and stages so thoroughly pervade our conception of motor development that every pediatrician's office and developmental textbook sports a requisite table of developmental norms." These charts and tables make us anxious and shrink our sense of the possibilities of infancy. There's no chart that can make sense of this photo of an 11-month-old Efe infant, in a rain forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, carefully cutting a fruit in a half with a machete.

Of course, parents want some sense of what their children should be doing, and knowing that their baby girls technically might be able to use a machete won't help much. But false milestones and misleading developmental narratives aren't helping, either. It's a sorry state of affairs: Even as developmental psychologists have discarded the idea of universal developmental milestones, those milestones are the only things many parents know about developmental psychology.

We should start by erasing the word normal from the developmental ! vocabulary: What's typical in infancy is variation. Rather than a multitude of milestones, parents would sleep better with fewer but more relevant guidelines, an acknowledgement of how unstructured infancy actually is. At our pediatrician's office, I recently discovered a rare such example: a CDC flyer with the heading, "It's time to change how we view a child's growth." It lists a few key achievements for the end of each year, helping parents sift out actual problems. If a baby doesn't respond to "no" at the age of 1, for example—even if "responding to" just means ignoring—that's probably worth mentioning to the pediatrician.

I can report that Isaiah, who has always lagged behind his mythical normal counterpart, has met all the milestones on the CDC's short list. As a proud parent, though, I'm a little aggrieved it fails to recognize his deep talent for apple taxonomy: He's clearly way ahead of his peers.

Have you ever cared for a child with developmental delays? Do you think parents place too much meaning on children's developmental milestones?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why Can't I Record the Nanny's Conversation?

Covert Audio Laws Explained by Brickhouse Security

Many parents turn to nanny cameras in order to put their minds at ease. But as audio and video recorders such as nanny cameras become more advanced, less expensive, and more prevalent, people are starting to question what is and what isn’t legal when it comes to recording. Even though it may seem perfectly legal to use a surveillance camera with audio to record your nanny within your own home, there are some issues that may get you in trouble with the law.
Generally speaking, using a nanny camera to record covert video is fine, as long as you get the people entering your home’s consent. You may be thinking, well doesn’t that defeat the purpose of recording covert video if the person that I’m recording knows about it? Not exactly. When you hire a nanny, if you both agree that the home owner may be video recording them, you don’t need to tell the nanny exactly what is recording them or when it is recording. Instead, alerting the nanny that you are recording covert video may deter the nanny from any wrongdoing in the first place.

When you’re using a camera that records both video and audio, this is where the laws become more tricky. Although the laws surrounding audio recording vary by state, below are some guidelines to consider before using covert audio and video equipment. Please take into consideration that the laws are constantly changing and are different from state to state, so you really must contact a trusted lawyer for your particular situation.

Is covertly recording what your nanny is saying illegal?
Yes. If you want to find out what your nanny is saying and you decide to use a product with covert audio or a covert audio recording device without telling the nanny that you’re recording, it is illegal. It is illegal to record what someone else is saying without their consent because it falls under Federal Law 18.2-2512, which means that all parties must consent to being recorded. Title 47, Chapter I, Part 15, Section 15.9 iterates that parties other than law enforcement officials must have consent from all parties involved in order for audio recording to be legal.

You can’t record audio within a home because there is a reasonable expectation of privacy when a nanny is in a home, speaking at a normal volume. The nanny does not expect that a person standing on the street will be able to hear her conversation, therefore it’s considered private. That being said, the very same person on the street might be able to catch a glimpse of the nanny standing in the living room. That means that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy within the living room and that’s the rational behind being able to covertly record video but not audio.

Simply stated, if you do not obtain consent from the caregiver to record audio, you are not allowed to record. If you choose to record the audio anyway, you could face up to five years in a federal prison for breaking the law.

How do I record the nanny legally?
If you still want to record the audio of your nanny, you must follow a few steps to be in accordance with the law. First, you must obtain consent from the person being recorded. Next, you must make the camera and/or the microphone obvious to the person being recorded. That means if you buy a covert camera that has no indication that it’s recording audio, it is illegal. Lastly, you must state in writing and visibly on the camera that audio and video are being recorded, and again make this posting obvious.

If you only want to record the video of the nanny talking on the phone from a camera, you may position the camera (either hidden or in an obvious manner) to catch her talking on the phone. In other words, you may record video her talking on the phone but you cannot covertly record the audio under any circumstances because of the expectation of privacy. Again, wiretapping is illegal - so don’t do it.

Final Words
In general, video recording is legal when it occurs in a place where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. Audio recording is illegal, unless consent is obtained from all parties. When in doubt about recording, you must contact a trusted lawyer in your state to help guide you through the laws.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Easy Ways to Help Kids Build Their Vocabulary for Nannies and Au Pairs

Help a child build a better vocabulary, and he'll be a better reader, writer, and speller. Try these activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Find Fun Words
As you are reading point out interesting words to the child. For example, words that are fun to say like buzz and gigantic; words with double letters such as football and bookkeeper. Ask the child to look for words he likes too. Keep a notepad hand where you both can job down favorite words. Then, pass the notebook around at dinner and use the words to make up a story together.

Play Word Games
Stock up on games like Quiddler, Pictionary, and Word Rummy. You can also make up your own games. In a restaurant, take turns calling out a word from the menu: the first person says a two-letter word, the next person a three-letter word, and so on. Whoever find the longest word wins.

Use More Words
Using a variety of words will help the child to improve her vocabulary. For example, you might say, "That joke is hilarious" rather than just saying it is funny. On car rids or in waiting rooms, start conversations about words. How is tiny different from little? Talking about words will help the child choose the perfect word when she speaks or writes.

Do you have any fun word games to suggest other nannies and au pairs try?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day for Nannies

A Mother By Any Other Name
By Candi Wingate,

Happy Mother’s Day! Those are wonderful words for a mother to hear. A mother loves her children unconditionally and plays a pivotal role in shaping who they become. Yet a mother does not do this alone: most children are blessed with a host of people who love them and act in a mother-like role with them. There may be a teacher or two who took a personal interest in them. There may be a Scouting leader that they bonded with, or the mother of a close friend. And, for many children, they have the blessing of a loving, nurturing nanny.

A nanny is a mom-away-from-mom. When mom cannot be available, a nanny is there for the children. A nanny loves unconditionally. She kisses ouchies; encourages intellectual, emotional, and social development; and provides an experientially safe space for the children. She does all the things that the mother would do if the mother were available. Thus, she too plays a pivotal role in shaping who the children become.

As Mother’s Day approaches, many families will ensure that a small token of appreciation is given to their nannies to recognize their mother-like role in the household. When children become old enough to make or purchase greeting cards and small gifts for Mother’s Day, many will (with help from their parents) provide their nanny with a card and small token of appreciation. Many nannies report that hand-made cards and gifts from children are among the greatest treasures they’ve ever received.

Tangible items (cards and gifts) notwithstanding, Mother’s Day is about expressing appreciation for mothers. Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and job titles (some go by "Mom" while others may go by, for example, "Nanny"). For all the people who have loved us in a mother-like role, for all the people who have loved our children in a mother-like role, today is the day to let them know how much they are loved in return. So, for all the nannies who have loved the children in their care and helped shape and direct their lives, happy Mother’s Day!

A Gift for Your Mom Boss for Mother's Day

Glenda Propst of describes a gift that nannies can give to their Mom Boss for Mother's Day. Click above to see how to make her gifts.

Did you give your Mom Boss a Mother's Day gift?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford

Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs

I work as a nanny and the parents that currently have hired me to care for their children are using The Contented Little Baby Book, by Gina Ford to develop routines and a sleep schedule with their infant.

I am a Dr. Karp Happiest Baby on the Block enthusiast. I love his gentle methods of making a baby calm and comfortable in their first three-months. I love swaddling the infant, saying “shush,” and swinging her to make her comfortable.

The biggest controversy about Gina Ford’s methods is that one of the UK's leading baby authorities, Dr. Penelope Leach, says babies left to cry at night can suffer from brain damage. Gina Ford’s stance that a few minutes of crying by an infant isn’t abusive and babies need to cry a little to learn to settle themselves to sleep (rather than be parented to sleep). A study Penelope Leach refers to states that the level of cortisol is increased if the baby is left to cry. It is a stress hormone, which according to Leach, may damage the brain of the baby.

In defense of Gina Ford, the study says babies left to cry for 30-minutes or more are at risk and we have never allowed the baby to cry for more than 10-minutes at a time. I never read in her book to let a baby cry for half-an-hour.

Another “hot topic” is that Gina Ford explains if you can avoid using a pacifier constantly, that’s one less habit to break when a child becomes dependant on the “binky.” While Dr. Karp explains sucking is a natural reflex and does it matter whether a baby sucks a breast nipple, bottle nipple, finger, or pacifier?

Also, new studies prove that sucking a pacifier every time an infant is laid to rest reduces Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

It’s unclear why pacifiers offer protection from SIDS, but studies have found that babies who use pacifiers at sleep time are less likely to die of SIDS by 90%! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pacifiers, for sleep times only, as one way to help reduce the risk of SIDS.

The AAP statement says that “the reduced risk of SIDS associated with pacifier use is compelling” so “until the evidence dictate otherwise” babies should be offered a pacifier at nap time and night time. If the baby is breastfed, the pacifier should be introduced at one-month of age. One thing that’s important to keep in mind is that the pacifier shouldn’t be forced. If the baby doesn’t take it – just let it be.

So, what does a nanny who loves gentle methods of infant sleep approaches who works for a family that follows a strict method? Always follow the parent’s directions and incorporate both methods in helping the infant sleep. We follow Gina Ford’s schedule and methods of developing routines. We also use Dr. Karp’s methods to soothe the baby if she is upset or before taking a nap, or going to sleep. We simply make sure the infant is in her crib sleepy, but still awake, so she can learn to fall asleep on her own.

By following Gina Ford’s schedules, at six-weeks the baby I care for started sleeping through the night and at three-months she now averages nine-hours of sleep per night before needed her morning feeding.

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer a gentle or strict infant sleep method?

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Friend for Life

Pros and Cons of Being a Live-In Nanny
An Interview with Live-In Nanny Nancy Lacey

Nancy Lacey is a nanny originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma has been working as a live-in childcare provider in Beverly Hills, California for the same family for six-years. Lacey says some of the perks of her job have been, "Meeting other nannies. Some even work for celebrities."

But, she admits it was not an easy adjustment at first. "I was very homesick for the first few months and used to call my parents crying all the time," says Lacey.

She continues, "The hardest part of being a nanny is the schedule. The parents were so spontaneous changing my schedule all the time."

Lacey explains, "I had to sit down with the parents and explain I was exhausted and that I needed to develop a set schedule so I could plan my time-off as well."

"Since that talk things have improved and I truly love my job," she says.

"Working so closely with the children is so rewarding. I can see my personal influence in their development and feel so fortunate to have had this working experience," says Lacey.

Lacey's advice to others considering moving to become live-in nannies, "The homesickness bug eventually bites. But be patient. You will get over being homesick."

She recommends, "Allow the family to help you get over the hump so you can enjoy the experience."

"I know I sound like a brochure but being a nanny is one of the most rewarding and worthwhile jobs you can have. If you love being with children, are dedicated to keeping them safe and happy, and are interested in educating and stimulating them to prepare for later life then becoming a nanny is ideal career for you," explains Lacey.

"Just a few of the aspects of the job I will treasure most is forming a close relationship with the children, being trusted by the parents allowed the responsibility for every aspect of their well being, creating a happy and inspirational environment for the children, and I have loved watching them grow and develop," says Lacey.

She says, "If you love children and want to see another part of the country being a live-in nanny is a great and rewarding opportunity."

"I love the family very much now and no matter where I move, they will be my friends for life," says Lacey.

What do you think are the pros and cons of working as a live-in nanny? Have you kept in touch with your former employers and their children after you end a job?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Live-In Nanny Loves to Travel

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Live-In Nanny
An Interview with Live-In Nanny Mariana Gonzales

Mariana Gonzales is a 19-year-old live-in nanny that moved from Los Alamos, New Mexico to Bethesda, Maryland who has loved becoming a working member of a family.

Gonzales boasts about her favorite part of being a nanny is, "I personally love traveling and have been paid to accompany the family on trips."

Gonzales continues, "Not only have I traveled all over the east coast including Disney in Florida but I even got to see London and Paris which I never could have afforded myself."

Gonzales does warn, "Some nannies feel overworked and overwhelmed when traveling with the family. I happen to be lucky to work for very fair parents who compensate me generously with both money and time-off."

"I am allowed to take the children to any tourist attractions. museums, anywhere we want to go and they pay for everything," says Gonzales.

Gonzales recommends, "I would advise young women who do not have their own children yet to consider working as nannies as a way to travel the country and even the world."

What do you like most about working as a live-in Nanny?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Working as Nanny Can be a Great Resume Builder

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Live-In Nanny
Interview with Live-In Nanny Patricia King

Patricia King is a 23-year-old nanny with a degree in early childhood education. After finding it hard to land a permanent teaching job she decided to move from Sherwood, Oregon to Basking Ridge, New Jersey to work as a live-in nanny. She has found the nanny job to be a great learning experience.

King explains, "While earning my degree I learned about being a teacher and how to work with parents from within the classroom. Now I get to learn about the children and parents from another perspective -- inside their home."

She continues, "I have been taught how to assign homework. But now I see how difficult it can become managing a lot of homework with extracurricular activities and busy lives. What an eye-opener for me."

"Caring for the children and communicating effectively with the parents and children as a nanny only adds precious skills to my resume," says King.

She admits that the most difficult part of being a live-in nanny has been privacy. "When I first moved to New Jersey the family had never hired a live-in nanny before," says King.
"At first the children did not know they couldn't go in my room any time they pleased," says King.

She continues, "Although I felt we lacked some personal boundaries in the beginning it seems trivial now. The members of the family changed immediately and give me plenty of privacy now," says King.

The live-in nanny recommends, "The most important thing for nannies to remember is to maintain some professional objectiveness with the job. Remember, this is a job, not your own family," says King.

Do you think working as a nanny has helped your resume?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

40 Children's Pain, Cold, and Allergy Meds Recalled

Throw Out Children's Tylenol, Motrin, and Benadryl

A voluntary recall has been issued for more than 40 over-the-counter drugs for children, including Tylenol and Motrin, because they don't meet quality standards.

"This recall is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse medical events," McNeil Consumer Healthcare said in a statement Friday. "However, as a precautionary measure, parents and caregivers should not administer these products to their children."

FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg gave a similar recommendation in a statement Saturday, saying, "we want to be certain that consumers discontinue using these products," though she called the chance for serious health problems "remote."

"Some products in the recall may have a higher concentration of active ingredient than specified while others may have inactive ingredients that don't meet testing requirements, the company said.

The company said it issued the recall after consulting with the Food and Drug Administration. The affected brands include: Tylenol Infants' Drops, Children's Tylenol Suspensions, Children's Tylenol Plus Suspensions, Motrin Infant Drops, Children's Motrin Suspensions, Children's Zyrtec Liquids in Bottles and Children's Benadryl Allergy Liquids in Bottles.

The drugs were made in the United States and distributed to Canada, the Dominican Republic, Dubai, Fiji, Guam, Guatemala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and Kuwait.

"There are a number of other products on the market, including generic versions of the recalled products, which are intended for use in infants and children and are not affected by the recall," the FDA said Saturday in issuing guidance to parents.

More details are available by calling 1-888-222-6036 or visiting McNeil's website.


Monday, May 3, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Live-In Nanny

Overcoming Homesickness
An Interview with Live-In Nanny Donna Moore

This we week we will speak with four young women that moved across the country to work as a live-in childcare providers.

Donna Moore is an 18-year-old high school graduate originally from Birmingham, Alabama that moved to Fairfield, Connecticut for a year to work as a live-in nanny. She has found that working for a family with three children has been a great opportunity.

The live-in nanny explains, "The family welcomed me with open arms and have been very generous providing me with a beautiful apartment above their garage, a car to drive on my free time, all my meals, and travel expenses."

But Moore says that it wasn't easy adjusting to the new home and job. She explains, "The hardest part of becoming a nanny was that I became very homesick. During the long hours without the parents in the house I felt lonely only caring for children."

The job was not as easy as she had expected either. She says, "The job is not glamorous. I did not realize what a physically exhausting job caring for kids in a huge home would be."

But, the family included her in all weekend outings and socializing opportunities and encouraged her to invite other nannies over for sleep-overs which eventually helped her from feeling homesick. Now, she loves the job.

Moore says, "My favorite part of being a nanny has been being able to travel to New York City on my time-off. I would not have been able to afford to travel to New York City had I not worked and lived close by to Manhattan this year."

She says to those considering becoming a live-in nanny, "The best advice for nanny candidates about to move across the country to become a live-in nanny for the first time is to remember that first and foremost you are moving for a job."

But, Moore explains, "If you don't mind working hard, long hours then the benefits of moving across country for a year can be a great learning experience."

Are you a live-in nanny that has felt homesick? How did you cope moving to a new town?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May To-Do List

May. The very name of the month implies uncertainty and redundancy; may also means may not, even when not stating both. Here are some thoughts for changing "may" into "can."

Thinking of eating better? Do it now. Less fried food. Less processed food. Less salt. More fruit. More vegetable. More high quality food , less quantity.

It is spring. Change your hair style. Check out new styles online.

All that stuff in your way? Make a decision. Sell, donate, gift, or trash. Control your stuff, do not let stuff control your life.

Decide to decide. Procrastination burdens the mind. Devise a system to make a decision. If needed, research, ask for advice and referrals, then decide. Making a decision and moving on lessens stress and brightens spirits.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Proctor and Gamble Dismisses Dry Max Pampers Rash Rumors

By Martinne Geller

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Procter & Gamble Co called reports that its new Pampers with Dry Max cause rashes and other skin irritations "completely false" as it aimed to contain a public relations threat to its biggest diaper innovation in 25-years.

The world's largest household products company said on Thursday, May 6, 2010 that Pampers has been the subject of "completely false rumors fueled by social media."

The statement comes a day after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it launched a probe into the new diapers after some parents complained that they appeared to be the cause of rashes and chemical burns on their children.

Pampers recently updated its Swaddlers and Cruisers diapers with a thinner, more absorbent technology, which P&G has called its biggest diaper innovation in 25-years. The company has said the product went through extensive testing.

"These rumors are being perpetuated by a small number of parents, some of whom are unhappy that we replaced our older Cruisers and Swaddlers products while others support competitive products and the use of cloth diapers," said Pampers Vice President Jodi Allen in a statement.
She added that some of those parents "specifically sought to promote the myth that our product causes 'chemical burns.'"

The company said it has received fewer than two complaints about diaper rash for every one million diapers sold, which it said is average for its business.

Late on Thursday, May 6, 2010 class action law firm Keller Rohrback said it was investigating possible claims against the company.

Click here to read entire article.

The Sleep Lady Shuffle

Review of the Good Night, Sleep Tight Book and Workbook

In April we began reviewing books that discuss infant sleep methods. There are firm methods like Ferberizing (and Gina Ford disussed in the April 2010 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter) and gentle methods like Attachment Parenting with a whole lot of methods in between the two extremes.

Today we continue the series with The Sleep Lady Kim West and her book and workbook Good Night, Sleep Tight series. We particularly like that she publishes a workbook along with the book. Her method is somewhere between the strict and gentle methods in that she thinks babies need to learn to settle themselves, that they need schedules and routines, but she does not encourage letting a baby cry-it-out for long periods of time.

Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go to Sleep, Stay Asleep, and Wake Up Happy By Kim West and Joanne Kenen

Kim West has been given the nickname ‘The Sleep Lady." Her infant sleep approach recommends routines and schedules but is a more gentle method than Feberizing. She does not advise caregivers leave a baby to cry-it-out for long periods of time.

The first four chapters provide a great foundation for understanding how children sleep and why it is so important to help teach them to self-soothe and to not rely on their parents to help them get to sleep in the middle of the night.

She recommends developing routines to help the child know when it is time to eat, sleep, and play. This gives the child a sense of security in knowing what is coming and what is expected of them. The author acknowledges the need for some flexibility and directs parents to follow their instincts about what will work best for their child. The author believes that sleep is a learned skill and in this book she explains how parents can teach their infants to sleep.

She starts with newborns, showing parents how to avoid sleep problems from the beginning. She has solutions for older babies, and children who have developed poor bedtime, nighttime, or nap time habits too. The Sleep Lady method includes a gentle, practical, step-by-step program called The Sleep Lady Shuffle. The Sleep Lady Shuffle has proven effective for hundreds of families.

Good Night, Sleep Tight also discusses co-sleeping, bedtime strategies for twins and siblings, and dealing with nightmares and illnesses. She offers tips on how to minimize sleep disruption when families travel or experience other breaks in routine.

Also included in the book are stories from parents about how the Sleep Lady method has worked for them. The stories are not only supportive to parents, but show how easily the Sleep Lady Method can be adapted for different parenting styles.

Good Night, Sleep Tight offers a practical, gentle, easy-to-follow remedy that will work for all families in need of nights of peaceful slumber.

The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook

The Workbook is a great companion to the book. The Workbook includes a step-by-step guide. It is organized by age and by process. The Workbook can be used as a stand alone guide with an essential to-do list, sleep plans, tear out sleep logs, sleep manner sticker charts, and a certificate of completion for celebrating success.

There are several sample plans with specific times for waking up, feedings, naps, bath, and bed times. There are plans for babies who need feedings during the night, and older kids who do not. Then there is a section with blank spaces which the reader could fill in to create their own plan. These are thirteen-day plans (they could however, take longer). At the end of the book, there is a sleep log where you can record your progress.

In chapter 12, there is a list of resources containing bedtime stories, books with information on childcare, books for new siblings, bedtime music, websites related to sleep, and information on postpartum depression.

What has worked for you? Do you prefer the strict or gentle methods of getting infants to sleep?