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Your little crawler has suddenly taken a new interest in the cat – but your independent kitty would rather be left alone, thank you. Here are some suggestions for keeping the peace before something scratchy goes down.

Always supervise. Make it clear that playing with the cat’s tail or other parts is a no-no, and never leave your cat and your baby together unsupervised.

Protect food and litter. Keep your baby away from your cat’s water and food, and put the litter box somewhere the cat can reach but the baby can’t.

Make an escape hatch. Make sure your cat has places where it can escape. Try installing a baby gate to close off a private area, like a basement room, so your cat can retreat.

Rearrange furniture. Give your cat her own chair pushed against a wall so she can retreat from the baby either by perching on its back or by hiding underneath it.

Monitor vermin. Don’t forget to have your cat checked for worms and to give her regular, nontoxic flea and tick treatments. Wipe down eating surfaces if your cat walks across them, and remember to keep the litter box covered when not in use to prevent transmission of parasites from cat to child.

Treat bites and scratches. Cat scratches can be especially prone to infection because of the way a cat’s germy claws can hook into skin. Wash any bites or scratches with salt water, and report any scratches to your pediatrician that show signs of infection or don’t heal in a few days.

Sandy and Marcie Jones are the authors of Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy & Childbirth. Order your copy from Barnes & Noble


Boo-boo bag to the rescue

Whether you are going on a family vacation or just to the playground, it's a good idea to pack a first-aid kit. If you have little ones, you’re going to need it sooner or later.

The organizational experts over at momAgenda suggest you make your own medical supply kit in a plastic zip bag and just keep it in your car. That way it will always be there when you need it.

Here's what to include in the bag:

  • Band-aids
  • Pain relievers (Children's TYLENOL or MOTRIN and some Advil for Mom)
  • Children's Benadryl (in case of an allergic reaction)
  • Neosporin (or other anti-bacterial cream)
  • Aloe (in case of a sunburn)
  • Thermometer

With a bag full of these supplies, you should be covered in the event of a mishap. But as we moms know, sometimes it just takes a kiss or a hug from mom or dad.


The Daddy Way

Up in the air?
Dad’s lifting baby up toward the ceiling again. Your heart grips, but the baby’s gurgling happily away. You know it’s safe, but you still want to jump in. You’re not alone.
For lots of new moms, the feelings of love and protectiveness that you have for your baby can be truly overwhelming. Sometimes, when you see dad playing with the baby in a different way than you would, it can be hard to know the line between being overprotective and being just protective enough.
Fun sure. But safety first.
You do want to make sure anyone handling a baby under 4 months always keeps baby’s neck and head supported: no tossing in the air, shaking the baby’s shoulders, or putting her in a jumping gym or backpack carrier just yet. But baby can benefit from being exposed to lots of different styles. Different voices helps her learn language. Being held and carried by others will give her new perspectives on the world (and give mom’s arms a little rest, too).

Carrying the baby in a cradle hold, having tummy time on Dad’s chest or holding her draped over a forearm in a “football hold” with her head and neck supported are all safe and wonderful experiences dads and babies can share. Giving Dad his full share of baby-handling experience can help to strengthen his bond with the baby while boosting his fatherly confidence, too.

Go dad, go.
Letting baby have lots of dad time will enrich your baby’s repertoire of experiences, and who knows, Dad may even discover new soothing techniques or baby games that all three of you can enjoy.

Sandy and Marcie Jones are the authors of Great Expectations: Best Baby Gear. Order your copy from Barnes & Noble

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand


The Real Dirt On Baby Clean

When it comes to dropped pacifiers or food, forget the five-minute rule: Any transfer of germs, dirt or what-have-you happens on contact. But should you freak out if a pacifier or banana hits the floor? Depends on where it’s dropped.

The reality is that germs are everywhere. If someone with a cold sneezes or coughs, the germs can land on surfaces and be spread to baby’s nose, mouth or eyes by touch. The good news is you can protect your baby from infection by:

  • Washing your own hands often
  • Keeping shared toys and surfaces clean with a ten percent water-and-bleach solution or other disinfectant
  • Using sanitizing wipes or changing pads on public surfaces – for instance, on shopping-cart handles and public changing tables

If you’re at home, a quick rinse of the food or binky to wash off lint and germs is probably all you need to do. But if the pacifier falls on the floor of a rest-stop bathroom, you might want to take it out of circulation until you can fully sanitize it by boiling it for 15 minutes.

But don’t sweat the dog slobber: Your baby can’t catch any parasites from dog toys or a quick lick on the cheek or high chair tray. If you let your pooch clean your high chair or dishes after a meal, it doesn’t hurt to rinse the baby’s tray and dishes thoroughly in warm, soapy water or in the dishwasher, though.

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand



How to Child Proof Your Home Before and After Baby Arrives

By Bethany Kandel for

Most parents begin to worry about how to safeguard their little one from all the dangers in the outside world even before baby arrives on the scene. For peace of mind, you can begin by making your home baby-safe and secure during your pregnancy and beyond with some simple childproofing steps; many of which are common sense.

Experts advise you to get down on your hands and knees to see how things look from a baby's perspective. Where would you go? What can you reach? What would you touch?

Remember that childproofing is not a one-shot deal. As baby reaches different levels of mobility - crawling, toddling, walking -- you will have to ramp up your protective tactics. Some of these suggestions can wait until baby becomes mobile and can roll, crawl or move toward danger, but it's never too soon to begin thinking about the potential hazards and how they can be fixed. You can even put some safety items like cabinet and toilet seat locks on your gift registry for use when the time comes.

Here is a room-by-room checklist to get you started:



  • Cover electrical outlets.
  • Use gates to keep stairways, exercise equipment and other potential dangers off limits.
  • Install window guards or window stops
  • Make sure heavy bookshelves, dressers and even appliances like television sets and lamps are bolted down and cords are hidden. Put heavier items on lower shelves so furniture is not top-heavy.
  • Cover sharp edges and corners.
  • Put non-slip pads under all rugs.
  • Replace any looped cords on blinds or curtains.
  • Move plants out of reach and get rid of any that are poisonous if ingested.
  • Get out of the habit of leaving coins, keys, matches, mints, paper clips and other small items in bowls or on counters around the house. Even purses should be hung out of reach because they often contain medicine and other safety hazards.
  • Program numbers for your local Poison Control Center into your mobile phone -- and post next to landlines -- as well as those for the pediatrician, grandparents and other nearby neighbors in case of emergency.



  • Do not use hand-me-down cribs from before 2011, when federal safety requirements were tightened. Vintage cribs from your own childhood should never be used even for a visit to grandma's house.
  • Be sure to position the crib and changing table away from windows, lamps, hanging wall decorations, electrical or blind cords, shelves and climbable furniture.
  • Keep the crib clutter-free without pillows, heavy quilts, fluffy blankets, bulky bumpers or large stuffed animals that could be a suffocation hazard or a larger child could use to climb out.
  • Place diapers and all changing supplies within reach of the changing table so you never have to leave baby unattended to retrieve something.



  • Set hot-water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Attach a toilet lock.
  • Store all toiletries and cleaning products on high shelves or in cabinets with baby locks. Remember, even perfume, nail polish remover, baby oil, mouthwash, rubbing alcohol and deodorizers can be hazardous.
  • Always unplug electrical appliances like curling irons after use and store them safely.



  • Put latches on dishwasher and all lower cabinets and drawers.
  • Affix a stove shield or stove-knob covers. Use back burners when possible, and always turn handles toward the back.
  • Keep pet food bowls and litter boxes out of reach.


Living/Dining Room

  • Store knick-knacks on high shelves.
  • Use a fireplace screen and store fire utensils and matches away from baby.


7 Tips for Baby Proofing Your Home for the Holidays

By Lauren Jimeson,

The holiday season is in full swing, and while I love this time of year, it also makes me extremely nervous for a number of reasons. This is our first year spending the holidays in a house rather than a small apartment. I've dreamt of the decorations that will fill the house and the tree that will glow in the corner of our living room. But while it's fun to dream, I know that I also need to face reality. Holiday decor and children can be an unsafe combination.

Now that Macks is into everything in our house, I can only imagine that it will get worse once we have more decor indoors. Keeping him safe is my top priority, so I went to the expert to see how I can keep our home safe this holiday season. Since having a home during the holidays is new to us, I asked Kimberlee Mitchell, Child Safety Expert & Founder of Boo Boo Busters, for her tips on how to baby proof our home for the holiday season. She gave me some great tips and I wanted to share them with you so that you, too, can have a safe home for the holidays.

1. Remember, They Have All Eyes on You - It's fun to get the kids involved in decorating, but we should be mindful of climbing up onto counters, chairs, ladders, out windows, and other things that are somewhat dangerous. Our children are quick studies of our actions, so we need to be sure that we are making safe choices. It's best to do to real dangerous work while the kids are sleeping. It'll be more magical for them to wake up to see it all transformed anyway! Do not leave the ladders, staple guns, or tools around and accessible.  If you stand on the kitchen table to hang decor, don't be surprised to soon see your toddler on the kitchen table as well.  If you hold nails or screws in your mouth while working, guess who will aim to do the same? It's always a good idea to be mindful of what we are doing around our children to make sure that it's safe for everyone in the family.

2. Use Just Wrapping Paper - When wrapping gifts, just use wrap. Stay away from decorating the gift wrap with bows and ribbon that could pose a strangulation hazard, any type of tape that they could ingest and choke upon. Don't decorate the gifts with ornaments; your child will have access to that and if they are glass, they could break and choke. It's just not safe. Perhaps wrap everything in paper, and then when it's time to hand out to family, have a bag of bows handy and slap a bow on it!

3. Think "Less is More" with Decor - When you have a baby crawling around and/or learning to walk, just as Macks is, less is more when it comes to decorations.  Mitchell found that when her kids were little, pulling out 1/3 of the decor was less pressure on her both for set-up and take down, plus it made navigating the baby away far easier. Pick your favorite decor and display it out of reach, but consider forgoing the small glass figurines that are breakable and a magnet for a baby. Clutter will lead to chaos. Less decor will translate to less stress and allow for you to relax and enjoy far more this holiday season.

4. Opt for a Mini Tree - There's no escaping it: Babies make a beeline for Christmas trees. To make for a stress-free holiday season and a "No No"-free environment, opt for a mini tree(s) this year and display it on a tabletop or counter. Get that gorgeous mini Douglas fir or flocked tree you've been wanting for years and then decorate it with your favorite ornaments. Or splurge and create a tree in the new color scheme you see in all the magazines - it's small, so it won't be that pricey! Keep the others packed away this year and enjoy the simplicity.

5. Consider Your Gates/Barriers - Work with the existing babyproofing you have already installed in your home during the holidays. If you have gates installed, display decor on the other side of the gate. You might have to reposition a few things this year, but it will allow you to decorate without worry.

6. Beware of Candles - Candles are often used to make the home smell wonderful; however when there are little ones around, it makes sense to skip them or only burn them when the baby is down.

7. Enjoy Your Peace of Mind - Childproofing our home will give us so much peace of mind throughout the holiday season and year 'round.  When our family or friends' kids come over, we can feel that confidence, as will our guests, and it makes relaxing so much easier. Sure, it might take some time to see exactly what you need and it could cost more than you intended initially; however, it pays precious dividends day after day, and year after year, as you are able to enjoy knowing you've covered your bases and have left no safety stone unturned!

After speaking with Kimberlee Mitchell, I now feel so much more prepared for the holidays. This is a special time of year for everyone in the family, especially Macks, because it's his first time celebrating the season. With these tips, I can enjoy the season knowing it will be a safe one.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!


6 Natural Ways to Bring Down Your Child's Fever

By Mary Fischer, CafeMom

There's really no worse feeling a mom can have than seeing our kids sick and miserable, especially when they're up in the middle of the night suffering from a fever.

And while there are certain things you can give to try and bring down their temperatures -- not all parents want to medicate their toddlers, especially without having them seen by a doctor first. On top of that, sometimes our poor little ones feel so icky, they refuse to take the meds in the first place.

But there are a few other methods of reducing a fever you can try that are completely natural and will hopefully help your child feel a bit more comfortable so he/she can get some rest.

  1. Dress him/her lightly -- Your child's body needs to cool down, so take off a layer or two to move the process along.
  2. Encourage liquids -- This can be tricky especially if they have an upset tummy, but even giving a teaspoon of water every few minutes will help.
  3. Lukewarm bath -- It's amazing how well this one works ... believe me, I've tried it. Put your toddler in a lukewarm bath for a few minutes. The thermometer reading should go down immediately afterward.
  4. Cold compresses -- Placing cool washcloths on the forehead, wrist, and groin, where blood vessels are close to the skin's surface, will help with cooling.
  5. Sponge bath -- If you don't want to put your child in the tub, try a lukewarm sponge bath instead to help lower the fever.
  6. Offer ice cubes -- If your toddler won't drink, try giving him an ice cube or ice chips to suck on. It will help get some fluids into him to prevent dehydration and will also help to cool him.


Do you have any other tricks for home remedies for fevers?


Top 5 Things That Change When Baby Starts to Move

By Chad Carter, Disney Baby

My baby's first steps are the entrance to a world of new beginnings. What used to be so "far" is suddenly just a few wobbly steps away. As a dad, before my eyes, I get to watch my little guy start exploring, cause joyful mischief, and find a world of excitement all on his own.

In recent weeks, our house has been filled with "moving" moments that make a father proud-as well as make any parent realize they needed to prepare! To help with that, here's a look at the top 5 things that change when baby starts to move.

5. Your Home - Cupboards, ovens, drawers, laundry... it's all fair game now. If they hadn't been exploring before, with their newfound freedom, those baby latches better be on tight. Folded clean clothes will become a pile on the floor, placemats in the bottom drawer will be strewn across the kitchen floor, and everything becomes a destination. A place to celebrate the journey.

4. Your Job Description - When those tiny toes start moving across the floor, I instantly turn into a cheerleader, motivator, and backseat driver. While we're still using a learning walker, I can't get enough watching him cruise the kitchen with me cheering him along! As I gently steer and direct from behind, he's ready to race into the outstretched arms of Mom, waiting for him. We try to keep him safe, while setting him free. Sounds of giggles and glee fill the house (and that's just from me).

3. Your Memory - As a new parent, these first 11 months have been a whirlwind of exhaustion, excitement, and memories. We've filled phones, memory cards, and our minds with beautiful visual images of all his firsts. And his first steps will be like starting anew - a transition, a change, an exit from baby into toddler. Any parent can tell you when their kid started walking, it's a memory-making moment that stays with you forever.

2. Your Baby - The feeling of freedom is something we as adults can often overlook. As babies take their first steps, it's a feeling they've never experienced. The look on their face, the excitement, and confidence they gain from those first steps forward may be forgotten by them, but will live on with you. Maybe even captured on camera? You'll never forget their look of experiencing freedom for the first time!

1. You - Keeping up with a baby is hard when they're crawling. Now that they're walking, you're on the go with them at all times. Holding their hands to keep those unsteady feet sturdy and strong as they go. From this point on, you'll be chasing, wrangling, and loving every, nearly every moment of it. They're growing up, wanting to tackle new challenges, and ready to let you lead them (from behind) into the next steps of life.

As a parent, there's nothing quite like the feeling of those first few steps. They're conversation starters, office bragging material, and sentimental feelings that tug on your heartstrings as your baby grows up. With camera or phone in hand, you follow them around, waiting to document these first steps into a new stage.

And if you're like me, conflicted feelings may just wash over you. I'm elated for those first few steps... only to realize as my mini-me is moving forward, I'm taken back to all those cuddly moments after his birth.


Six Ways to Keep Baby from Getting Sick

By Elena Donovan Mauer,

During cold and flu season, it's tough enough to keep yourself healthy, let alone your brand-new baby (with a brand-new immune system). Use these strategies.

Watch where you take her (at least in the beginning)

We know you want to show off your new baby, but during the first two months, try not to take her anywhere where there will be crowds of people. "If a newborn baby gets a fever of 100.4 or higher, she'll have to go to the hospital and get a complete workup," said Dr. Alanna Levine, a pediatrician at Orangetown Pediatric Associates in Tappan, N.Y. So it's just not worth bringing her around all those germs. "Don't take her to shopping centers or restaurants," said Levine. "Outdoor spaces are perfectly fine, but you don't want to risk someone coming over and sticking their face close to the stroller."

Be a nag about hand washing

It may seem paranoid or nitpicky, but it really is important that you ask anyone who's going to hold your newborn to wash his hands first. That will help prevent the spread of cold, flu and other viruses to your little one. If you know family members are sick, ask them to wait until they're better before they visit with the baby, no matter how excited they are about it.

Don't stop breastfeeding

On the other hand, if you're nursing and you've got a cold or the flu, you shouldn't stay away from baby at all. In fact, you should keep on breastfeeding her, since you'll be giving her antibodies to whatever you've got through your breast milk. "You've probably passed along immunity to her," explained Levine.

Vaccinate (we're talking about you)

Babies aren't eligible for the flu shot until they're at least 6 months old. And the whooping cough (aka pertussis) vaccine? Well, it takes a series of shots before baby is fully immunized. You can help protect your child, Levine said, by making sure you get a flu shot and a booster for the pertussis vaccine, if you haven't had one recently (check with your doctor if you're unsure whether you need one). "Get immunized soon after delivery," said Levine. "I recommend that anyone who'll be caring for your baby get immunized too."

Teach your older child what to do

If you've got an older child in day care or school and you're worried about him bringing germs home, you obviously don't want to do anything extreme, like send him off to a relative's house for two months or freak out every time he wants to touch the baby. "You don't want your older child to feel like they're a threat to the baby," said Levine. "It's important to be cognizant of his feelings."

Instead, teach him proper infant etiquette: Always wash hands before holding the baby. Cover sneezes and coughs. Blow your nose into a tissue and throw it in the trash can. And be sure not to schedule any playdates at your home until baby's out of the newborn phase.

Play by the rules

Most day cares have specific rules regarding bringing sick kids in - babies may not be allowed back there until they've been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Rules like this are in place for a reason - so illnesses don't spread as easily. Sure, if your kid's the sick one, it doesn't help you out, but it's important for all parents to respect the rules - the idea is that at some point, they'll help keep your kid healthy.

Have an older baby or toddler? Levine also stresses that making sure she's eating healthfully - a variety of nutritious foods - and sleeping enough is important for keeping her healthy. "A 1-year-old should sleep about 12 to 14 hours combined throughout the day and night," she said. Of course, that doesn't mean your child will never get sick. "It's normal for a small child to get about 12 respiratory illnesses in a year - that means your child could be sick as often as once a month," explained Levine. "That concerns some parents, but as long as there are no serious infections, it's nothing to worry about."

(For pregnancy and parenting advice, tools, photos, and more, visit


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Image: Getty Images


5 Ways Your Pet Could Be Bad (or Good!) for You and Baby


By Elena Donovan Mauer,

Luckily, you don't have to send Scruffy or Mr. Tangles away once you find out you're pregnant. But you do want to make a few changes to keep you and baby safe.


Changing the litter box is a no-no when you're pregnant. That's because cat feces can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be spread to humans. Toxoplasmosis is extra-scary during pregnancy because it can cross the placenta and harm your unborn baby. So while you're expecting, leave any kitty poop cleaning to your partner. You'll also want to avoid undercooked meat, wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw food and wear gloves while gardening.


If you're an animal lover who happens to have allergies, you'll want to talk over with your doctor what allergy medicines you can and shouldn't take during pregnancy.

There's no way of knowing whether baby will be allergic to your pet, but what's cool to know is that some studies have suggested that children who grow up with pets are less likely to have allergies to them. But never say never. If you suspect baby has allergies to your pet, it's worth a mention to her pediatrician, who can check her out.


Hamsters, guinea pigs and mice can carry a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), an infection that can cause severe birth defects and miscarriage. So if you've got a rodent at home, avoid cleaning its cage, and by all means, don't touch its saliva, urine, blood or droppings. Some moms-to-be put cages in a guest room or somewhere else they don't spend much time in while they're expecting.

As for snakes, lizards, turtles and other exotic pets, you want to be concerned with germs like salmonella, which they can carry. Try to avoid your reptile (your partner can clean up!), and if you do touch it, make a point to wash your hands thoroughly afterward. Also, clean any surfaces it's been in contact with.


Overall, dogs don't pose much of a risk to pregnant women. In fact, many of our friends swear their dogs were extra-affectionate with them. But don't dismiss the fact that dogs and some other animals can act pretty unpredictably - you don't want to risk injury to your belly if Fido gets really excited while playing and jumps on you. If your dog is a jumper - especially if he's particularly big - it might be time to take him to a training course and focus on trying to get him to stop.


Actually, training is also a good idea if your dog has any other bad behaviors, even if they seem minor now. That's because babies are possibly even more unpredictable than animals. They can pull your pup's hair or tail, grab him or startle him pretty easily. And if your pooch sometimes acts out in anger or fear, it's super-important to get him in line before baby arrives. Talk to a dog trainer about how to break any scratching, biting or pouncing habits ASAP.

Once baby comes along, make it a point not to ever leave your pets alone in a room with him or her.

For pregnancy and parenting advice, tools, photos, and more, visit


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Image: Getty Images

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