December 16, 2011

December 10, 2011

Tips for Infant Skin Care during Winter

Winter can be harsh on an infant’s skin.  Frigid air outside can chap and burn an infant’s sensitive skin within a few minutes of exposure while the heat used inside can cause extreme dryness.  In order to balance the scales of healthy skin, there are things that caregivers can do.   Prevention and management are the two main goals when dealing with infant skin care issues.

The best policy for infant skin care in the winter is to be proactive.  Using preventative measures will help ward off any unwanted irritations for an infant.  Preparing a baby’s skin before a problem arises will save an enormous amount of worry and frustration.   Here are a few tips to prevent winter skin problems.

*When taking your infant out into the elements, be sure that every inch of skin is well covered.  Use mittens, hats and scarves to cover areas that regular clothing do not cover.

*DO NOT put anything over the nose or mouth of an infant.  This can restrict air flow and cause suffocation. To protect an infant’s face outside, simply cover the infant’s head loosely with a small blanket and shield them from the blowing wind.

*Use non-allergenic baby products for bathing and diapering.  These products are specially designed without the use of perfumes or dyes.  For an infant’s delicate skin these products work best in preventing unnecessary flare ups of irritation.  If babies’ skin is irritated, choose a warm wash cloth during diaper changes instead of store-bought wipes.

*Use a humidifier in the infant’s room.  Humidifiers add moisture to the air and help to keep skin hydrated.

If an infant’s skin begins to show signs of distress due to cold and heat, there are several over the counter medications that are effective in relieving dry, itchy skin.  Oftentimes, these medications can also be used for treatment of minor windburn and chapping.  Most minor irritations will disappear within a day after application of medication.

If over the counter medications fail to diminish the irritation, there could be a more serious issue.  Some infants have extremely sensitive skin that can become injured or inflamed more often and in more severity.  It is important to discuss with your pediatrician any skin changes your infant experiences for longer than 3 days.  It may even be more prudent to contact your physician within the first day if the rash or irritation seems abnormal.  Dry skin can be confused with mild dermatitis or even psoriasis.

It is always a best practice to seek professional council when the safety and well being of your infant is at stake.  While personal research and do-it-yourself treatments can be useful at times, they should not replace your care provider.


December 8, 2011

Kushies Zolo Toys

Kushies Zolo toys are made from luxurious fabrics and brilliant colours that inspire imagination and development.

Kushies’ Zolo toys have won many prestigious awards including Fat brain Toy Award, Baby Talk Magazine’s Best Toy of the Year Award, Babyzone Amazing Toy of the Year Award, Parents Magazine Toy of the Year Award, Parents Choice Award, Oppenheim Best Toy Award and NY Gift Show’s Best New Product.

Our beautiful toys are sold at independent boutiques and upscale retailers such as Barney’s New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art Stores,  FAO, Giggle, and Gift Hero Boutique at Citibabes.

December 8, 2011

A GREEN Christmas…

Wondering how to create a green holiday season that’s easier on wildlands — and easier on your own soul as well?  Here’s our list of green holiday ideas for turning frenzied and consumer-focused into simple and green — and best of all, kind to wildlands.

1. Green your holiday feasts: Green your holiday meals by buying organic (fewer chemicals, pesticides, and often fewer food miles) or using more vegetarian or vegan recipes (animal agriculture is a major contributor or greenhouse gas, plus plants require less land for production). Buying local is also great choice because it reduces carbon emissions produced in the transportation of food across country.

2. Create cherished holiday rituals in nature: This year resolve to steal some of your regular gift shopping time and replace it with just one special green holiday family tradition in nature. Special time with you is a genuine gift to your loved ones. The memories of snow-shoeing in wilderness or sledding at a nearby hill will be cherished long after boxed gizmos are gone.

Ideas: Stargaze with a hot drink and a warm blanket in the backyard; go ice skating at a local (approved for ice-skating) pond or outdoor rink; go on a winter scavenger hunt (tip #3), hold an ornament collecting party (tip #4).

3. Hold a winter scavenger Hunt: Take the kids in your life on a winter scavenger hunt at your favorite wild place. Write out a list of things to find, such as pinecones, different types of rocks, animal tracks, bird species, bird nests, mountain peaks, tree species, squirrels or chipmunks. Pack up a thermos of hot chocolate to reward the team after the hunt is done. And don’t forget to teach kids about leaving behind the things they find.

4. Ornament collecting party: Rather than buying more plastic ornaments transported from across the ocean, have an ornament party in your own backyard. Collect pinecones, pebbles, leafs or any other items that can be made into tree ornaments using eco-friendly glue and craft products.

5. Trim a tree — outside: Have children decorate yard trees with suet pine cones, popcorn strings, and corn cobs (for squirrels), then watch to see what visitors show up.

6. Send holiday images not paper:  Take digital photos of the wintery journeys mentioned above, then make your own digital green holiday cards.

7. Green holiday wrapping: Put a dent in holiday waste by using recycled or repurposed material — newspaper comics, old calendar photos, unwanted maps, scarves or reusable gift bags — are great materials. If you can’t break away from standard wrapping, at least avoid foil paper as it generally cannot be recycled, then resolve to wrap a percentage of gifts in recyled material. Make it more fun by having a green-gift-wrapping night with children, using crayons to decorate used paper or newspapers.

8. Green up your trees: Shop from sellers that offer native, local trees. Buying local saves fuel and carbon emissions since many trees are shipped from across the country or even Canada. Other options: buy a potted tree or one with its root bulb intact. After Christmas, plant the tree in the yard for years of enjoyment.

December 8, 2011

The Healthiest Foods for Toddlers…

The food pyramid divides foods into five distinct group and sets serving sizes for each food group. But it doesn’t list the very best foods from each of those groups. Below is a short list of some of foods that provide optimum nutrition per calorie.


  • Quinoa: Very high in protein. Cooks up light and fluffy and is a perfect grain for children.
  • Brown Rice: Minimal processing means it contains more naturally occurring B vitamins and fiber than white rice.
  • Whole Wheat: Whole wheat flour and products made with whole wheat are in fiber, magnesium and B vitamins. Use whole wheat bread for sandwiches and whole-wheat pasta when serving spaghetti, etc.The food pyramid does recommend consuming mostly whole grains. That’s because the whole grain contains more fiber and naturally occurring nutrients that promote good health.


  • Bell Peppers: An excellent source of vitamins C and A. Serve with a low fat ranch dip.
  • Winter Squash: Cooks up a smooth and sweet. Rich in beta-carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant, high in vitamin C, fiber, and multiple B vitamins.
  • Spinach: Spinach provides more nutrients than just about any other food. It is loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, folate, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Lower in calories than white potatoes, naturally sweet and loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and fiber.


  • Oranges: One of the fruits highest in vitamin C, rich in foliates, and helps prevent heart disease and birth defects.
  • Blueberries: Very high in nutrition and very low in calories. Highest of all the fruits in it’s anti-oxidant capability.
  • Kiwis: Loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Beautiful green color and sweet tart flavor are perfect for kids.
  • Strawberries: Not only do strawberries contain a lot of vitamin C and 12 other vitamins and minerals, and phyto-nutrients known as phenols, which are potent antioxidants.


  • Low Fat Plain Yogurt: High in calcium, digestive-friendly bacteria, smooth to eat, and a good source of protein.
  • Skim Milk: The most calcium for your calorie. Also a great source of vitamin D, necessary for depositing the calcium into bones and teeth.

Meats and Beans

  • Soybeans and Soy Products: Tofu, soy beans and other soy products are loaded with nutritional benefits including excellent protein, high levels of essential fatty acids, numerous vitamins, minerals, isoflavones, and fiber.
  • Lentils: These little beans are big on nutrition. They contain 5 important minerals, 2 B-vitamins, and protein–all with virtually no fat.
  • Lean, Organic Beef: Excellent source of high quality protein and one of the best sources of iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B-12, zinc and selenium.
  • Salmon: One of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s an excellent source of protein, vitamin D, niacin, selenium, and vitamin B6.


December 8, 2011

How Can I Keep My Toddler from Getting Sick this Winter?

Many common winter viruses are airborne, so if your toddler takes a breath within, say, 4 to 6 feet of someone who’s sick, he can easily catch the bug himself.

What’s more, most people stricken by winter viruses are contagious before they develop symptoms. So pulling your child away from a sniffling, coughing, or sneezing pal doesn’t guarantee that he won’t come down with similar symptoms himself.

Still, don’t give up without a fight. There are several simple steps you can take to help fend off germs and keep your toddler as healthy as possible this winter.

So what should I do?

While it’s practically inevitable that your toddler will get a few colds this winter no matter what you do, it won’t hurt to try these germ-fighting strategies:

Make sure your child washes his hands:

Regular hand washing is the simplest, most effective way to get rid of cold and flu bugs. So help your child wash his hands with soap and warm water after he uses the toilet, before meals and snacks, and as soon as he comes home from daycare, the playground, or a friend’s house.

You wash up, too, especially before preparing food and after you change a diaper or wipe a runny nose. No need to pay extra for fancy antibacterial soaps — any soap will remove germs from the skin’s surface.

Make sure your child’s caregivers are vigilant about hand washing, too. If your toddler’s in daycare, ask what the official hand-washing policy is. If it’s less than satisfactory, don’t be shy about requesting a change and reminding caregivers that this protects their health as well.

Teach your child not to touch his eyes or nose:

At any given moment, the unwashed human hand is covered with thousands of germs. When a child rubs his eyes or nose, he’s depositing those germs directly onto his mucous membranes, where they’re rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

So in addition to having your toddler wash his hands frequently, remind him not to touch his eyes or rub his nose. Instead, begin teaching him to use a tissue — or at least a clean sleeve — to dab at teary eyes or an itchy nose.

While you’re at it, you can start teaching him to use tissues when he sneezes or coughs — or to “catch” his coughs and sneezes in the crook of his arm. This won’t prevent him from getting a virus, but it will help keep him from giving one. Of course, he’s only a toddler, so expect this process to take a while.

If your child’s in daycare, check the “sick-kid” policy:

Make sure your child’s daycare center has a reasonable policy on keeping sick kids away from healthy ones. Many facilities require a child with a fever, the flu, vomiting, diarrhea, or an eye infection to stay home until these symptoms subside.

If you notice obviously sick kids at your child’s daycare on a regular basis, it’s probably time to chat with the caregiver or director about enforcing the rules on sick kids more stringently. (Of course, these kids were contagious before their symptoms showed up, but you still don’t want them sneezing or coughing around your toddler.)

Do what you can to boost your toddler’s immunity naturally:

Offer your child a variety of healthy foods so he gets the nutrients he needs. Make sure he gets plenty of sleep each night as well as lots of physical activity every day.

Since children average eight to ten colds a year, it’s a good bet that your toddler will bring home a few bugs this winter — no matter how hard you try to prevent it. When that happens, the best you can do is make him comfortable until the virus works its way out of his system. A few tips:

Try saline nose drops:
You might get some complaints about this one, but saline drops help to thin and clear nasal mucus and relieve congestion.

For best results, try using a bulb syringe: If your toddler will let you, tilt his head back slightly, then gently squeeze the bulb to deposit the saline drops in his nose. Next, use the bulb to remove the mucus. Repeat this process several times a day.

Make sure your child gets enough rest:
While this may be easier said than done, the more rest your child gets, the sooner he’ll feel better. Even if he no longer naps regularly, encourage a siesta or two each day.

When your child’s not resting in his crib or bed, find some quiet activities to share — read to him, watch a video with him, or play with puppets together.

Hook up the humidifier:
This is especially important at night and during naps, when a persistent cough or difficulty breathing can prevent your child from getting the rest he needs. The moist air from a humidifier or vaporizer will thin your toddler’s mucous secretions, helping to calm his cough and relieve congestion.

Urge your child to drink up:
Children lose body fluids quickly when they’re sick — especially if they’re running a fever or have diarrhea. To replenish these fluids, encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids, such as water, juice, an electrolyte solution, or milk. (There’s no scientific proof that dairy products make congestion worse.)

If your child balks at slugging down a tall drink, try offering extra-juicy fruit (such as watermelon or oranges) or even a frozen juice pop. One old wives’ tale that is worth taking to heart: Warm chicken soup helps relieve cold symptoms by soothing a sore throat and thinning nasal secretions.

Know when to call the doctor:
While most winter viruses clear up on their own within several days, some can turn into more serious conditions that require prompt treatment.

Call the doctor if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • Ear or face pain, which can signal an ear infection
  • A very sore throat that interferes with drinking enough fluids
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing (a possible sign of a bronchial infection or pneumonia)
  • Diarrhea or vomiting, which can lead to dangerous dehydration
  • A fever of 103 degrees or higher, or a milder fever that lasts for more than three days

Make time to snuggle:
When kids are feeling under the weather, they need a little extra TLC. So in addition to cooking chicken soup, running for the tissue box, and keeping a constant watch on your toddler’s temperature, make time to simply snuggle with him.

Give him plenty of hugs and time on your lap during the day, and if you normally have a “no kids in the big bed” rule at night, think about temporarily relaxing the policy. (Of course, you may soon be sniffling yourself, but such is the price of parenthood.)

Keep it all in perspective:
When you’re taking care of a sick, miserable toddler, try to remember that most winter illnesses pass in a week or so — and all of them will ultimately help strengthen your child’s immune system.

As your toddler gets older and builds up immunity to viruses, including many of the 200 that cause the common cold, he’ll log fewer and fewer sick days. In the meantime, keep up the hand washing — and stock up on tissues.


December 8, 2011

Holiday Crafts for Toddlers

With limited attention spans and less manual dexterity than older children, toddlers often quickly lose patience with crafts. Here are some simple and quick holiday craft ideas for small children. It’s a good idea to have craft supplies laid out and prepared before little ones sit down to work.

Cookie Cutter Stencils

Like using stencils or sponge painting, a cookie cutter can help your toddler create something he recognizes when he doesn’t know how to draw the object. It’s also a good starting point for the toddler who is reluctant to participate because he doesn’t want to get messy or doesn’t like the way tactile activities like finger painting feel.


  • For a young toddler, put the paint and cutters inside a newspaper-lined pan. This will keep him from making too big a mess as he scoots the cutters around while loading them with paint.
  • Older toddlers with a bit more practice can just use a paper plate. Both clean up easy.
  • All ages should wear a smock or old T-shirt

If you don’t have cookie cutters to go with every season (and who does?) then use what you have around the house. You can easily cut shapes into a potato leaving behind a surface that will hold paint and leave a uniquely patterned print behind. To make this activity toddler friendly, you can stick a craft stick or a fork into the potato so it’s easy to handle. After you get the leaves printed, your toddler can dip his fingertip in red paint and add the berries. If you have large enough paper you can even make a wreath

Cotton Ball Snowman

Cut 2 large circles out of white paper, making one a bit larger than the other.  Dip cotton balls into glue and glue on the circles.  Have toddlers decorate the snowman with shapes from construction paper to make eyes, nose, mouth, a hat, mittens, scarf and boots.

Frost Scenes

Toddlers will enjoy making winter scenes on paper. Using a mixture of half Epsom salts and half water, use paint brushes to cover the paper with the salt mix.  As the salt mix dries, shiny crystals will appear on the papers making frosty scenes.

Decorating Cookies and Gingerbread Houses

Making cookies and decorating gingerbread men/houses are always a holiday favorite of young children and those young at heart.  If you are baking cookies or gingerbread yourself try having all ingredients set out and  measured before you include your toddler.

Store bought cookies and gingerbread houses are a fun family activity and children can participate as long as their interest level permits.  If you choose not to purchase a gingerbread house one can always be made with graham crackers or plain tea biscuits, icing and treats (see photo above).

Holiday Placemats

Your toddler will love to set the dinner table with these festive place mats. With each family      member’s picture adorning a mat, he will be able to easily identify to whom each mat belongs. Toddlers also love to have personalized items-these placemats sporting their picture will delight them all through the holiday season.

Sheets of red, green, or white construction paper (one for each family member)
Coordinating construction paper
Small holiday stencils (optional)
Glue stick

Individual pictures of child and family members

To prepare for this craft, use stencils to trace small holiday shapes (trees, snowmen, snowflakes, stockings, etc.) on coordinating construction paper, or freehand draw the shapes. Cut out enough shapes to decorate all placemats.
Have toddler use glue stick on the holiday shapes and affix them as they like on placemats. When he finishes, attach the each picture to a different placemat and write the family member’s name below their picture.

For more durable placemats, take these to a printer to have them laminated.

The holiday season is everywhere you look starting as far back as October, so take this opportunity to teach your child about the things you see. Since this time also marks the early winter in most areas, taking a walk around the neighborhood or to a park will likely yield plenty to talk about. Walk around churches to inspect the nativity scenes. Take a walk in the snow and build a snowman (top him off with a Santa hat.) Take a drive to look at all the festive lights. Pick a different thing to talk about during each shopping trip, focusing on the things that interest your child or that are a part of your own family’s celebration. This is also a great time to reinforce colors since there is such an abundance of green, red, silver and gold.

Toddlers love to have creative outlets, and they love spending time with their parents. Start building warm holiday memories for your child by completing these simple holiday crafts with her this season.

Happy Holidays!

December 1, 2011


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