Be prepared at home or out and about

By Katherine Whitby 24th May 2017

 

Whether you need to blow the dust off an First Aid kit you have had a while, fancy buying one ready to go or are starting from scratch check out my latest video for all the essentials for children.  As we enjoy the warmer weather it is worth considering what you might need when you are out as well as ensuring you are all set at home, maybe giving a kit to family and having one for the car.  

Let me know if you think of anything else!

 

Take Care and enjoy the sunshine

Katherine x

The checklist continues!

By Katherine Whitby 28th April 2017

So first up was putting all the hazardous products, medications and batteries well out of reach.  Then perhaps a toy clear out last bank holiday weekend.  Now we have another lovely long bank holiday weekend is ahead of us.  Whilst you may have plans and save these ideas for another day, extra time at home might be the perfect time to make sure extra safety checks are in place.

This time we are looking further at safe proofing our homes particularly to reduce the risk of head injuries.

  • Change your baby’s nappy on the floor. Babies can roll and wriggle off beds or changing tables in seconds – even very young ones.
  • Don’t put your bouncer chair or baby car seat on tables or work surfaces. A baby will subtly rock and can come off the raised surface.
  • Hold onto the hand rail when carrying a baby or small child down stairs. Don’t be tempted to carry extra things and keep stairs clear of clutter.
  • Watch out for signs that a baby is starting to crawl. Fit safety gates to stop them climbing stairs or falling down them. Remember to close them.  Take time to find the right one to fit the width of your staircase.  Those that drill into the wall rather than screw against them are safest (sorry!) as they like to stand and rattle them like they do their cot sides and they can become loose.
  • Teach young children how to use stairs safely and supervise them while they learn. Also teach them never to play on stairs.
  • Ensure they wear a helmet on bikes and scooters.
  • Fit window locks or safety catches to stop windows opening more than 6.5cm (2.5 ins). But make sure family members know where keys are kept in case of fire.
  • Baby walkers are dangerous as babies can gain high speed and are associated with a high incidence of accidents. They also do not promote walking as babies are not taking their own weight.
  • As babies learn to walk they are very unsteady. So fit soft corners on low tables and padding around edges such as a hearth. Use fireguards to stop babies falling into fireplaces.  These cushion corners are widely available online at Clippasafe or on Amazon.
  • Use a five point harness to stop a baby falling from a highchair or pushchair.

Are you all set or is there something you haven’t thought of yet? Do get in touch about any experience or ideas that you have had, would love to hear from you.

As ever make sure you have done a First aid course so you are confident managing emergencies big and small – including a head injury. Don’t delay and arrange a Baby Steps course for friends and family at home or come along to a local venue.

Enjoy the long weekend, b

Take Care

Katherine x

The Big Toy Clearout

By Katherine Whitby 14th April 2017

The long Bank Holiday is finally here.  Are you away somewhere nice for the Easter break?  Or having a 'Staycation'.  If so you may be planning a bit of DIY or having a clear out - are either possible with kids?!!  Doesn't seem 'taking it easy' is an option either!  We've had fun today making Easter nests - William's face was covered in chocolate!  Isabella had a lovely time decorating them.  We also made some healthy snacks which I will share with you soon.  

Easter Cake Treats
Easter Cake Treats

 

We’ve been having a big toy clear out which has been really satisfying. Have you got toys your kids no longer really play with? We’ve passed things on to friends and also made a bit of pocket money selling things on Facebook. Sad to see things go but great to get organised and have a bit more space……ready for the next things!

Are you toys stored so no one can trip over them? More accidents happen with people tripping over toys than because of the actual toys! Are any at a height where they might be tempted to try and reach for them?

My son used the bottom drawer of his chest of drawers as a step to reach things on the top (yes just like the viral clip of the twins and it was the same IKEA set of drawers!!). Absolutely heart stopping – do you have any furniture or a flat screen TV which would benefit from furniture straps

It might be time to look at clever, effective and safe storage solutions. Under bed boxes are brilliant as children can pull them out by themselves as they are usually on wheels and such great use of the space.

Good luck with the toy clearout! Do get in touch about any experience or ideas that you have had, would love to hear from you.

Whether a toy clearout is on your agenda or not this Bank Holiday weekend enjoy the Easter Egg Hunts and some family time,

Happy Easter, 

Katherine x

 

Time to make sure your home is as safe as possible

By Katherine Whitby 6th April 2017

 After some gorgeous sunny days Spring has really sprung! With the lighter evenings and with the long Bank Holiday weekend approaching, it is time for many of us to have a spring clean.

 

Out of reach – hazardous substances

First up are those risky things, which may be all too easy for your little one to get hold of. Is it time to clear out things you don’t use or need and most importantly rearrange where you keep them? They need to be at a height so you may need to swop some cupboards around. This will reduce the risk of any accidents and also reduce your stress level as you cannot be watching your children all the time!

  • Move bleach away from the loo - 20% of children under 5 can open child ‘resistant’ lids. They are not child proof!
  • Ensure cleaning products under the kitchen sink are moved to a cupboard out of reach as cupboard locks could break or become loose.
  • Whilst attractive to children dishwasher tablets are corrosive and will burn the inside of the mouth and washing capsules can burst and squirt in the eye.
  • Beware of Mummy’s handbag – pain killers, medication, car key fobs, perfumes.
  • Beware of button batteries they are very dangerous
  • Keep out of reach/ locked away:
    • Medication
    • Garden chemicals – weed killer, slug pellets !
    • Alcohol
    • Cosmetics and Essential oils

Watch about the risk of ingestion :

Watch about first aid response for ingestions :

 

Look out for the Bitrex logo, a bittering agent which deters children from ingesting harmful substance. Also both the Child Accident Prevention Trust and the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents provide brilliant info about these home safety hazards.

Bitrex logo Home Safety

 

As parents we often do not get a second to think about these points so I am trying to be one step ahead for you! With the Easter weekend coming up it’s a good chance to rearrange or secure a few things…………next time there will be more things for the Spring Cleaning checklist!

Have you got all these things out of reach? Do get in touch about any experience or ideas that you have had, would love to hear from you.

As ever make sure you have done a First aid course so you are confident managing emergencies big and small – including if they have ingested something they shouldn’t. Don’t delay and arrange a Baby Steps course for friends and family at home or come along to a local venue.

Take Care,

Katherine x

Make sure you know the latest advice on 'Safer Sleep'

By Katherine Whitby 22nd February 2017

 

Hot from my annual update and Regional Meeting in London with the Lullaby Trust I wanted to share with you their latest advice and findings in their work to reduce Sudden Infant Death (SIDS); the sudden and unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found.

 

Car Seats

Initially Charlotte Daman Willems, Consultant Paediatrician, discussed the latest research about infant car seats. Overall any possible risks to babies travelling in car seats, is overwhelmingly overridden by the safety they provide and reducing injuries.   Since 2006 they have reduced the risk of infant deaths in cars by 70%.

There was discussion about the length of time a baby might spend in a car seat when it is part of a travel system, so becoming the child’s buggy too or parents may leave a baby to sleep in the seat once they come home. It is not advisable to have the baby in the car seat for any prolonged period. A pilot study has suggested the upright position; particularly with simulated motion (in a vehicle) can potentially have adverse cardiorespiratory effects as their airway is not in the same position as when lying flat. Dr Willems advised car manufacturers had been to the Lullaby Trust to discuss designs of car seats which could have new-borns in a flatter position. I would like to highlight this was a small study and other risks included babies being fed whilst in the car seat, therefore presenting a choking hazard, or when the seat was used as a cot. The key safety factor remains having a baby in a car seat to reduce the risk of injury.  Make sure you understand the latest rules on baby car seats

baby car seat rules 2017

Safer Sleep Week 2017 and Latest Advice

The Regional Manager Cheryl Pearce discussed the upcoming Safer Sleep Week 13th – 19th March 2017. 25 years since the ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign was headed by TV Presenter Anne Diamond who sadly lost her son to Sudden Infant Death, The Lullaby Trust have decided to go ‘Back to Basics’ and remind parents of the simple messages about safer sleep. The 1992 campaign reduced Sudden Infant Death by 75% making it the most successful health campaign of all time. Whilst the latest figures show Sudden Infant Death has decreased again, a recent study showed a decline in those aware the safest position is on the back (rather than the side or front), until babies are able to roll.

So here is the latest advice to reduce the risk of SIDS which will be highlighted during Safer Sleep Week:

 

Things you can do:

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
  • Breastfeed your baby (if you can)
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition

 

Things to avoid: 

  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby (this increases the risk 50 times)

  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, have drink alcohol, have taken drugs or medication or are extremely tired, or if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight

  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot (16-20C is the recommended room temperature)

  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head whilst sleeping or use loose bedding (the Lullaby Trust recommends grobags/ sleeping bags as long as they are the correct size for your baby’s weight)

 

To avoid accidents remove all pillows, soft bedding, cot bumpers and soft toys from the cot.

The Lullaby Trust is still trying to understand the mechanisms that cause unexplained deaths in infancy; therefore it is not possible for any manufacturer to say that a particular product will prevent SIDS. It is possible, however, to significantly lower the chances of it happening by following this safer sleep guidance.  This advice is based on strong scientific evidence where, unlike many products, safety has been proven. You should try to follow the advice for all sleep periods where possible, not just at night. Dr Willems highlighted how important it is for parents not to rely on monitors but to observe their babies and follow their instincts.

 

Fact sheets

All of this advice is available on the Lullaby Trust website along with brilliant factsheets including ones about ‘Sleeping Products’ (bumpers, supports and pillows) and mattresses and bedding, swaddling, dummies, room temperature bed sharing . It is very confusing for parents with all the products out there but sticking to the advice offered by the Trust will ensure you are keeping your baby as safe as possible.

 

Snow Suits

In the cold weather be wary of babies becoming too hot in snowsuits. Think how hot you can feel coming in from the cold outside into a warm place and want to take layers off. So don’t be tempted to leave them done up if they are sleeping, they could overheat – I know how you don’t want to disturb them! They also should not be wearing snowsuits in a car seat due to getting too hot but also they cause a dangerous gap between the child and the straps.

baby snowsuit 2017

Baby Check App

The Lullaby Trust also has a fantastic app called Baby Check App which asks you a series of questions about your baby’s health and gives you a score at the end which indicates if you need to see a doctor.

For more information visit the Lullaby Trust or contact them on 0808 802 6869 where they can offer practical, reassuring advice or do get in touch with me to share your thoughts and tips,

Take Care,

Katherine x

 

Here are some ideas and tips for a Happy, magical and safe Christmas!

By Katherine Whitby - 10th December 2016

 

After a rather strange 2016 filled with some wonderful memories but also far too much bad news, I have welcomed the festive season with open arms embracing every spec of sparkle!

My children, now 7 and 4 years old are relishing every moment and so am I. We had a magical time seeing Father Christmas. We went to the Wetlands Centre in Barnes and although a long wait, I cannot recommend it enough – I really did believe! We’ve had fun Christmas parties, Christmas shows, and we still have the big day to come. A gorgeous Elf from the North Pole called Elvis has come to join our family (Elf on the Shelf!) and I have been amazed at how the children have completely been swept up by the excitement of seeing where he is each day.

 

Christmas magic

There’s no doubt sharing Christmas with young children adds an extra large sprinkle of magic, as you enjoy it through their eyes. Christmas can also bring a whole host of stress and evoke emotions from past or present creating a very difficult time too. However you spend your Christmas I hope you enjoy some time with those you hold close and feel a warm contented glow.

 

elvis_the_elf.png

 

So here are my Baby Steps top tips for Christmas… 

Take a few minutes to jot down some memories of your little one’s Christmas to mark the stage they are at now.  Things they have loved, or said, or funny things they have done and record it somewhere that in a few years time you can look back on.  You will be so glad you did as things change so quickly.  Even send a quick email to yourself or write them a Christmas card to keep.

I really recommend the NSPCC’s letters to Santa. I do them each year. They are a lovely idea, which the children love and supports an important cause.

As well as the merriment make sure you have some nice quiet time too; a Christmas movie, time for the children to enjoy their new toys and just be at home as it can be overwhelming and exhausting for them as well as us! I can’t wait to have some cosy family days at home in the holidays.

I would love to hear your Christmas family traditions, and tips and ideas you would like to share. 

 

Wishing you a safe and healthy Christmas

As far as safety goes remember if you are staying with relatives who either don’t have children or have children of different ages to do a sweep for any hazards. For example long blind cords, medications in bedside cabinets, bleach by the loo, coffee tables with sharp corners.  Likewise if they are coming to stay with you be wary of hot drinks that they aren’t used to putting out of reach.

Make sure you know where to get help should you need it when you are away e.g. nearest Paediatric A&E, Pharmacy.  If you know you are very unlikely to ever need them!  NHS 111 for emergencies that do not need 999 remains the same.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents advises these 12 safety tips to help prevent your festivities being cut short by a trip to casualty:

  • Make sure you buy children's gifts for the correct age group and from reputable sources that comply with standards (e.g. The Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011)

  • Remember to buy batteries for toys that need them - that way you won't be tempted to remove batteries from smoke alarms

  • Look out for small items that could pose a choking hazard to young children, including parts that have fallen off toys or from Christmas trees, button batteries and burst balloons

  • Don't leave burning candles unattended, make sure you put them out before going to bed and do not put candles on Christmas trees

  • If you have old Christmas lights, seriously consider buying new ones, which will meet much higher safety standards, keep the lights switched off until the Christmas tree is decorated, don't let children play with lights (some have swallowed the bulbs), and remember to switch off the lights when going out of the house or going to bed

  • Remember, Christmas novelties are not toys, even if they resemble them, and they do not have to comply with toy safety regulations. Give careful thought to where you display them, for example, place them high up on Christmas trees where they are out of the reach of young hands

  • *Give yourself enough time to prepare and cook Christmas dinner to avoid hot fat, boiling water and sharp knife accidents that come from rushing, and keep anyone not helping with dinner out of the kitchen. Wipe up any spills quickly

  • Have scissors handy to open packaging, so you're not tempted to use a knife, and have screwdrivers at the ready to assemble toys

  • Beware of trailing cables and wires in the rush to connect new gadgets and appliances, and always read instructions

  • Falls are the most common accidents so try to keep clutter to a minimum. Make sure stairs are well-lit and free from obstacles, especially if you have guests

  • Plan New Year fireworks parties well in advance and follow the Firework Safety Code

  • Do not drink and drive, and plan long journeys so you won't be driving tired

RoSPA www.rospa.com Also see the Child Accident Prevention Trust www.capt.org.uk

I have celebrated 10 years of Baby Steps this year and started a new chapter with both my children now in school.  It has exceeded all my expectations.  It has been incredibly rewarding and enjoyable to meet lovely families and see how both the First Aid and Weaning advice brings so much reassurance and confidence to parents = happy babies!

Thank you for all your support.  Here is to a healthy and happy New Year.

Katherine x

If you need any extra support over Christmas remember this is available to you online via the Young Minds parents guide.

 

Top Tips for Managing Coughs and Colds - survive the snotty season!

By Katherine Whitby - 12th November 2016


After a glorious Autumn, Winter seems to be upon us. There’s nothing like being prepared, so here are some top tips and a few essentials to have at the ready for managing the all too common, ‘common cold’. Before I had children of my own, as a Paediatric Nurse I thought a cold was as ‘minor’ illness as a child could get. However when my daughter seemed to be going from one cold to the next and we were having disturbed sleep it didn’t feel so minor!

As we know babies and young children are building their immunity when they come into contact with new viruses for the first time. Hence why a common cold is so called, as it is exactly that – common! A baby can catch between eight and ten colds before they reach the age of two! (Patient.co.uk 2013)

Don’t despair! How many colds each little one catches will vary but here are a few vital tips to help get you through the snotty season, via Patient.co.uk (2013) Common Cold.

 

Colds in kids

 

 

What Can you Do to Help?

Raise the head of the cot or bed - this will help to drain mucus, relieve congestion and coughing. For under 1s put something under the mattress such as a rolled up towel, blanket, or use magazines under the legs of the cot. For children over 1 use pillows to help.

A Humidifier can moisten the air and help relieve a dry throat and nose. I have found this particularly effective, worthwhile investment. Otherwise putting a wet towel or flannel on a heated radiator can have a similar effect.

 

Products

There are many products to ease nasal congestion available at your local pharmacy, which can be used for children and babies over 3 months.  Take a look at this video for a few of the most popular products.

Always check you are using the children’s’ version not adult as they will be too strong. 

Nasal Saline Drops for babies - this will help to loosen and drain the mucus. This is particularly effective before a feed. Keep them upright for a while after using them.

Vapour Rubs - These can be applied directly onto the skin but if you prefer rub onto vest, baby-gro or pyjamas. Beware not to put anywhere that they might rub it into their eyes. Some people swear by putting onto the soles of the feet and then put socks on……give it a go and let me know!

Vapour Drops and Capsules – these have a multitude of uses! Drops can be put into the bath which can work amazingly with steam, on bedding, on tissues to have beside them, anywhere you can think of! Again be wary of them rubbing any into the eyes.

Plug In Decongestants – these are brilliant and work all night!

Nasal Aspirators – differing preferences on these, some parents really recommend them, others don’t fancy the idea.  Use saline drops initially to loosen the mucous and then use with caution to prevent further distress.

Cough Linctus - is available to soothe a tickily throat and help everyone sleep! Use with caution long term, as they are suppressing the cough which is actually the body’s way of removing unwanted mucous from the chest.

For more information visit the NHS Choices website.

If you have any concerns about your baby, or your child has had a temperature for more than 3 days please do not hesitate to seek advice from your GP or phone the NHS on 111.

A problem shared is a problem halved – what are your top tips for managing a cold?!

Take Care,

Katherine x

 

Please note:

The information provided above is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice given by a doctor, health visitor, or any other health professional. Baby Steps is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken by a user based on this information.

 

The ‘Top 5’ Options for Where to Get Help

By Katherine Whitby – 29th October 2016

 

One of the most common questions parents understandably have is when to get help, which we cover in relation to many scenarios in the Baby Steps First Aid course. However, key to this is to know what help is available to you.

 

baby-steps-call-111-image

 

Have your pen at the ready!

Here are the ‘Top 5’...

Stick them up on your notice board and on speed dial on your phone! Also make sure Grandparents, Nannies and Babysitters are aware of them all.

These are the options available to you starting with the less urgent:

  • NHS 111 is a 24 hour NHS non-emergency number. Call 111 free when you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency. This is a very useful service especially in the middle of the night. They will sign post you to the Pharmacy, out of hours GP appointment or to A&E

  • The Pharmacy is a great resource and nowadays they are open longer hours. They have a wealth of knowledge of the huge range of products, which are available for children. Some are a ‘Minor Aliments Centre’ which can diagnose and treat, saving you waiting for a GP appointment

  • Your GP or Paediatrician – who to see if your child is unwell and requires medical attention

  • Walk in and Urgent Care Centres for minor illness and minor injuries

  • Your local Paediatric Accident and Emergency – as the name says for Emergencies. You can go yourself or call 999 for an ambulance. Consider if your child is well enough to be in a car seat and if you can safely drive and park in making your decision as to how to get there. Make sure you know where you nearest Paediatric A&E is to access children’s services.

 

 

If you are going away in the UK or abroad make sure you know where to seek help, should you need it:

  • Emergency numbers - UK 999/ Europe 112/ USA 911, if you are staying outside of Europe make sure you know the emergency number. Not something we necessarily routinely had on our holiday list before having children!

  • Local medical facilities to where you are staying – what is nearby for both general medical advice and emergency services?

  • Make sure you take up to date First Aid and Medical Kit

  • Take your ‘Red book’ with you as this will provide useful information to the health professionals as well as spellings of names and addresses!

Were you aware of all these services? What have your experiences been of using them? I would love to hear from you.
Next time I will be sharing tips on how to manage the often all too common ‘common cold’!

Take Care,
Katherine x

 

Please note:

The information provided above is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice given by a doctor, health visitor, or any other health professional. Baby Steps is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken by a user based on this information.

 

My first ever blog… How exciting!

By Katherine Whitby – 12th September 2016

 

This summer I celebrated a milestone Birthday (FYI 40 rocks!), it is 10 years since I started Baby Steps and now I have waved my youngest off to school. And so a new chapter begins.

As Baby Steps celebrates 10 years it is a good chance to reflect on the journey that I have travelled professionally and personally in that time.

 

Baby Steps Celebrates 10 years

 

In 2006 when I founded Baby Steps, I was busy working as a Health Visitor and planning our Wedding. Then I was an expectant Mum juggling Baby Steps and maternity leave from the NHS. As a new mother, I was trying to find my feet in the wonder and bewilderment of parenthood. Then I was a Mummy of a toddler, who was fascinated with the world. Next a Mummy of two, enjoying each magical stage, while trying to find the holy grail of a work life balance. And now in 2016 to a Mother of school children working part time in the NHS, and re-launching Baby Steps.

Wow! How did that happen? What a rollercoaster!

We all have our own paths to navigate balancing our needs and wishes as a parent and for many with work. People say time goes fast and it does. Believe me being a health professional doesn’t make those moments when I’ve been so tired and the biggest chocolate bar doesn’t hit the spot, any easier! But the lovely cuddles and the gorgeous things they say make it worthwhile and now I can’t believe they are both now at school.

I am lucky through Baby Steps that I meet amazing families and share in their journeys too. I beam seeing the reassurance the courses bring and absolutely love my work which captures my experience as a Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor and Mummy.

So here’s to the next 10 years… School concerts, holidays, proud Mummy moments and all the excitement ahead with Baby Steps with our shiny newly updated First Aid and Weaning courses.

 

Katherine from Baby Steps First Aid, London

 

I am passionate about Baby Steps and through my blog I look forward to discussing topics and sharing tips about children’s health, parenting, home safety and nutrition, often ably assisted by my children Isabella and William! Please get in touch with any ideas or anything you would like to know more about.

Have you recently started a new chapter of your own? I would love to hear from you.

Next time I will be discussing the different options of help available to you when you are when your little ones are unwell or injured.

Take Care, Katherine x

 

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