Thursday, September 30, 2010

Millions of Fisher Price Toys Recalled!

Today Fisher-Price recalled millions of infant play zones, playgrounds, and other toys.  The recall includes 7.15 million trikes, 2.9 million infant toys, 1 million high chairs, and 120,000 cars and ramp ways.

Luckily no deaths have been reported involving any of the recalled items, but associated injuries include choking and cuts requiring stitches.

Apparently the tricycles have a protruding key that could cause injury. The high chairs have pegs on the chairs' legs which can cause cuts, and the cars, ramp ways, and infant toys have faulty parts that pose choking hazards.

Check the list below and if you have any of the items, stop using them and call Fischer Price for repair kits and replacement parts. Supposedly the defective items have already been pulled off store shelves.

Contact Fisher-Price for a free replacement kit by calling (800) 432-5437 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time, or visit the company's website.

See photos of the recalled toys on the CPSC's website

Products affected by this recall:


  • 72633 Hot Wheels Trike
  • 72639 Barbie™ Butterfly Trike
  • 72642 Lil' Kawasaki® Trike
  • 72643 Tough Trike
  • 72644 Tough Trike
  • 72792 Kawasaki Trike
  • B8775 Kawasaki® Ninja® Tough Trike
  • B8776 Barbie™ Tough Trike
  • K6672 Nick Jr./Dora the Explorer Tough Trike
  • K6673 Go, Diego, Go! Tough Trike
  • M5727 Barbie™ Tough Trike Princess Ride-On
  • N6021 Kawasaki Tough Trike
  • T6209 Thomas & Friends™ Tough Trike
  • V4270 Go, Diego, Go!™ Kid-Tough™ Trike


  • T4261 Little People® Wheelies™ Stand 'n Play™ Rampway
  • V6378 Little People® Wheelies™ Stand 'n Play™ Rampway Gift Set

Infant toys with inflatable balls

  • 73408 Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Cruise Playground™
  • B2408 Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Slide Arcade™
  • C3068 Ocean Wonders™ Kick & Crawl™ Aquarium
  • H5704 Baby Gymtastics™ Play Wall
  • H8094 Ocean Wonders™ Kick & Crawl™ Aquarium
  • J0327 1-2-3 Tetherball
  • K0476 Bat & Score Goal™

High Chairs

  • 79638 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • 79639 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • 79640 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • 79641 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • B0326 Deluxe Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • B2105 Deluxe Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • B2875 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • C4630 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • C4632 Link-a-doos™ Deluxe Plus Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • C5936 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • G4406 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • G8659 Aquarium Healthy Care High Chair™
  • H0796 Deluxe Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • H1152 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • H4864 Aquarium Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • H7241 Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • H8906 Close to Me™ High Chair
  • H9178 Easy Clean™ High Chair
  • J4011 Easy Clean™ High Chair
  • J6292 Easy Clean™ High Chair
  • J8229 Easy Clean™ High Chair
  • K2927 Rainforest™ Healthy Care™ High Chair
  • L1912 Healthy Care™ High Chair

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recycle Me!

With today's economy we are all looking for ways to save money!  Especially when it comes to things that we need for baby.  Items specifically made for a baby can be outrageously expensive.  Now, I am not one to sacrifice safety for cost, but here are some safe substitutes for things that you may need for your little one, and already have laying around your home!

Sunshade for Car Seat
This may sound ridiculous now that it is the last day of summer, but for those of us that live in the desert, where it is still 109 degrees this may be a useful tip.  Once Dylan transitioned out of the carrier to the "big boy" car seat, I started looking for a way to keep it cool if we were out shopping or the car was parked somewhere out in the sun.  Some days when Dylan and I return to the car, even after as little as 30 minutes, the temperature of the car is over 180 degrees.  I can't even sit him in his seat!  I looked online for solutions and found a cooler cover for about $40...but I thought there has to be a better solution.  One day, instead of  placing my reflective sun shade in the windshield, I simply opened it and placed it reflective side up, over the car seat.  What do you know, it worked!  The straps and buckles were cool to the touch and the seat padding was much cooler then without.  The best part is, that if you don't already have one, they cost about 5 bucks at Walmart!

Tupperware as Toys
Many of you probably already do this, but a friend recently suggested this to me and it is amazing!  Babies have a natural affinity to plastic containers!  My son has a bucket full of toys, but he will sit on the kitchen floor for 20 minutes chasing a plastic lid around the floor.  I have started putting his Cheerios inside some of the small containers an placing the lids half on, and letting him work the lids off.  He loves the rattling sound of the O's inside when he shakes it, and it really works his fine motor skills to take the lids off.  Just make sure to properly clean the containers before giving them to your little one, and make sure there are no sharp edges around the opening or on the lid.

Laundry Basket as Push Toy or Activity Table
Laundry baskets can serve dual purpose if you have a pre-walker at home.  An up-side-down laundry basket is the perfect height for a little one to pull up to stand.  The wide base creates a sturdy surface for standing and playing.  When your baby gets ready to take his or her first steps, the up-side-down laundry basket makes a great push toy.  Pushing on carpet creates more resistance and makes it easier for baby to control the speed.  If you don't have carpet, control the resistance by keeping a hand on the basket to slow it down. As with all infant push toys never leave your baby unattended and wipe down the bottom of the basket before letting baby play with it.  Never give your baby a broken laundry basket and check thoroughly for sharp edges.

Turn Unused Shirts into a Breastfeeding Cover
Are you tired of wearing an "apron" around your neck when breastfeeding in public?  If you are like me, I am a full supporter of breastfeeding in public, but could never bring myself to "bear it all" when sitting at a restaurant or at the shopping mall.  I used the Utter Covers and Hooter Hiders...whatever fancy name you want to call it, but it is still an apron for your neck!  Recently I was cleaning out my closet, full of clothes that I no longer wear...for various reasons.  But came across some shirts that I was getting ready to donate.  I thought, "Gosh, what if I can turn these into stylish breastfeeding covers?"  I am not a seamstress, but I can sew a simple stitch and that is all you need.  Instructions below:

1. Use a shirt that is loose fitting and longer then your waist line.  Avoid polo shirts or shirts with wide collars. The materiel should be breathable and lightweight, as baby will need to be able to breathe underneath while you are breastfeeding.
2. Cut tags out of shirt and make single cut up the middle of the BACK of the shirt.  You may hem edges of opening for a tailored look.
3. To ensure that shirt will stay in place, sew small "pocket" to hold large washer or 2 quarters at top corners of each side of the opening.  This will weight down the back and prevent the cover from slipping off your shoulders while in use.  Wear the shirt with the opening at your back with the closed part of the shirt covering baby.  It takes about 5 minutes to complete and people may not even know you are feeding a baby under that fabulous shirt!
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweet Potato and Spinach Pancakes...Yummy!

This is a really easy recipe that I have been using for my son now that he refuses to be fed by a spoon.  This delicious recipe is great for your little finger foodie or toddler.  I make the pancakes in large batches and pop them in the freezer.  Take them out whenever…breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.  Your little one will love them, if you don’t eat them all yourself!  I tried making a couple of sweet potato pancake recipes that I found online, but for some reason they all turned out really doughy in the middle, no matter how long I left them on the skillet.  After some trial and error I turned to my old friend Trader Joe.  The Trader Joe’s Multigrain Pancake Mix is so tasty, but if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, any multigrain pancake mix will do.  Here is what you will need:

  • 2.5 cups of Multigrain Pancake Mix
  • 1.5 cups of Skim Milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1 cup baby leaf spinach
  • *Optional: ¼ tsp cinnamon

Steam sweet potato and spinach until soft and tender.  I use an electric steamer and it takes approximately 15 minutes.  Puree steamed mixture until smooth or leave a little chunky if you wish.  Mix puree with all other ingredients.  Pour batter out onto greased skillet on medium heat.  Pancake will be ready to flip when it is bubbling throughout (approximately 2 minutes per side).  Makes about 16-20 pancakes.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Great Grains

Quinoa is not a grass, but its seeds have been...Image via Wikipedia
The more moms I talk to, the more I realize that the most common first food is rice cereal.  Dylan's first taste of "solid" food was Gerber Brand baby rice cereal.  To be honest, at the time, I never even realized that making rice cereal was an option, I just assumed that it had to come from a box!  The more I read, and the more I studied natural solutions for baby food, I quickly learned that baby grains didn't have to come from a box and it was just as easy as making yourself a bowl of whole oats.

Instant baby cereals are processed, precooked and then dehydrated.  They are often made from grain that has been processed and then milled into a flour.  Although commercial baby cereal is definitely more convenient then making it from scratch, the cooking and processing leaches the nutritional value from the grains. 

You can make your own single gain cereals.  Try 1 cup brown rice, oatmeal, or barley pulverized in the food processor or coffee grinder.  When preparing oatmeal do not use instant or quick oats.  Add one cup boiling water and stir continuously for 5-10 minutes.  Add breast milk or formula until you reach the consistency you like.  Never boil breast milk or heat breast milk in the microwave.  Boiling or microwaving will damage the valuable vitamins, minerals, and antibodies in the milk.

Great 1st Grains:
  • Brown Rice 
  • Barley
  • Wheat
  • Oats
Now that Dylan's eating finger foods, I have also introduced Quinoa (pronounced /ˈkiːnoʊ.ə/ or /kwɨˈnoʊ.ə/).
Quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture, and has a mild, nutty flavor.

Preparation: You will need to rinse and soak the Quinoa grains.  I soak them overnight.  I cook it in the rice cooker, but you can cook it on the stove.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add one cup of Quinoa, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes.  I have also substituted water for vegetable it extra flavor! add cheese, veggies, and/or seasoning and you have a great option for lunch or dinner!

Baby rice cereal doesn't have to be baby's first food.  Read the link below:

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Must Read for Mommies-to-Be!

We have all heard of the Do's and Don'ts of know, no deli meats, unpasteurized milk, soft cheese, raw fish...but did you know that there are all sort of environmental toxins that are lurking in things you eat and use every day!

1.) Aluminum Compounds in Deodorant and Antiperspirant
The problem with deodorants and antiperspirants is not only the aluminum, but how it works to reduce sweat and smelly odors. Aluminum compounds or aluminum salts, such as aluminum oxide (Al2O3), are key ingredients in almost every antiperspirant. They are powerful astringents that close pores, stopping sweat and odor from escaping the body. Antiperspirants may leave the outside of the body smelling fresh and clean – but inside, the toxins that would have escaped the body in the sweat have nowhere to go. For this reason, antiperspirants have been linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around the underarms. What's more, "antiperspirants are designed to be absorbed"; the aluminum and many other chemicals are taken into the body and may affect the endocrine and lymphatic systems, as well as being a potential risk factor in breast cancer. Source:

I used Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant (Aluminum Free) Unscented while I was pregnant and breastfeeding. I also used Trader Joe's Brand Aluminum and Paraben Free Cotton Scented Deodorant. They work just as well as the leading brands of deodorant and are about the same price!

2.) Lead in Your Lipstick
Top brands L'Oreal, Cover Girl and Christian Dior test positive for lead, as Campaign for Safe Cosmetics find lead in lipsticks.  Toys made in China aren't the only products laced with dangerous heavy metals: lipstick manufactured in the United States and used daily by millions of American women also contains surprisingly high levels of lead, according to new product tests released today by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The lead tests were conducted by an independent laboratory over the month of September on red lipsticks bought in Boston, Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis. Top findings include: More than half of 33 brand-name lipsticks tested (61 percent) contained detectable levels of lead, with levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). None of these lipsticks listed lead as an ingredient.  One-third of the tested lipsticks exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy - a standard established to protect children from directly ingesting lead. Lipstick products, like candy, are directly ingested into the body. Nevertheless, the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick, which fits with the disturbing absence of FDA regulatory oversight and enforcement capacity for the $50 billion personal care products industry. Source:

Click here for a full list of Lipstick Brands and their Lead Content:

3.) Red Dye No. 40 and Other Chemical Food Dyes
So there are not many clear cut recommendations regarding food dyes and pregnancy. My OBGYN was pretty liberal and said "everything in moderation," but I took it upon my self to eliminate foods with food dyes (particularly Red Dye No. 40) from my diet during pregnancy. You would be surprised at the laundry list of foods that contain chemical dyes...everything from Gatorade to Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars.
For a full list of products containing Red Dye No. 40 click the link below.

Children are most often the ones who have sensitivity to red 40. Reactions include temper tantrums, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, uncontrollable crying and screaming, kicking, nervousness, dizziness, inability to concentrate and sit still among other findings. Physically children and adults may experience frequent headaches or migraines, upset stomach and feel ill after ingesting this additive. Often when Red 40 is eliminated from the child's diet a remarkable change is noticed immediately. There is little known about the effects on the unborn child, but given the above side effects, I chose not to take a chance.

4.) What artificial sweeteners are questionable or NOT safe to use during pregnancy?
Saccharin: (Sweet 'N Low) Although it is not used as much today as in the past, it still appears in many foods, beverages and other substances. The FDA does consider saccharin to be safe to use for the general public. Former studies that had linked saccharin to an increased risk of developing bladder cancer have been dismissed by the National Toxicology program. But studies do show that saccharin crosses the placenta and may remain in fetal tissue, so its use for pregnant women still remains in question.

Cyclamate: This sweetener has been linked to cancer and is currently banned in the United States. Cyclamate is not considered safe for anyone including pregnant women. If you use artificial sweeteners and are pregnant, it is always best to talk with your care provider on which sweetener you are using and how much you are consuming.

Although, many artificial sweeteners are considered "safe" during pregnancy I still tried to avoid them altogether. I don't feel like I am an extremist when it comes to environmental stuff, but when I was pregnant and breastfeeding I always tried to error on the side of caution. Hope this info was helpful!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Decoding the Stages of Baby Food

We have all heard about Stage 1, 2, and 3 baby food...but what does that mean really?  It seems like when you go to the grocery store all the baby food brands label each stage of food differently.  Some don't even use stages, they just have pictures of a baby in various positions (sitting, crawling, walking, etc...)  When you are making your own baby food it is good to know what these stages are, so that you can replicate the texture and consistency, especially when you are just introducing a new stage to your baby.  Here is a brief description of each stage and an example of each.

Stage 1 (4-6 months):  The current recommendation from the AAP is to introduce solids starting at 6 months, but many parents choose to starts solids as early as 4 months.  This stage of food consists of cooked single ingredient grains, fruits, and veggies which are pureed to a thin, smooth consistency.  You want to select foods that are the least allergenic and easiest on baby's tummy.  Some examples include: Rice Cereal, Beans Carrots, Peas, Sweet Potato, Squash, Apples, Bananas, Avocados, Pears, and Plums.  Always observe the 4 day wait rule when introducing a new food at this stage.

Stage 1 (6-8 months): At this age the consistency should be as described above, however you may combine ingredients that you have already introduced individually.  Some examples include: Avocado Banana Puree, Sweet Potato Carrot Puree, Apple Pear Sauce, Apricot Mango Puree.  Always observe the 4 day wait rule when introducing a new food at this stage.

Stage 2 (8-10 months): This stage of food consists of cooked multi-ingredient food consisting of grains, dairy, meats, fruits and veggies.  The food is mashed or blended but the texture is generally thicker and chunkier then stage 1.  At this point spices may be introduced.  The ingredients selected should still hold the least allergenic risk.  Continue to observe the 4 day wait rule with any new ingredients.  Some examples include: yogurt, cottage cheese, boiled or slow cooked and pureed chicken/beef, poached and pureed salmon, beets, spinach, blueberries, and melon.

Stage 3 (8-12 months): "Finger Foods" should be soft and easy to mash with baby's gums.  Babies do not need teeth to be able to eat finger foods.  Try steaming veggies or baking fruit to make it soft enough for baby to eat as a finger food.  Slow cooking meats make them extra tender and easy for little ones to "chew."  Break or cut into small pieces.  Ripe pears, banana, or avocado may make a perfect first finger food. 
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