Drowning Prevention – Keep Your Little Ones Safe This Summer

mother and child swimmingPlanning on going on holiday this summer? If so, remember that despite the temptation to completely switch off, it’s not all about sun, sea and relaxation. New research has revealed that during peak holiday season, millions of children are in danger due to lack of water safety awareness and poor swimming skills.

With drowning the third highest cause of accidental death in children (we were shocked by this!) and in light of Drowning Prevention Week (21 – 29 June), Water Babies commissioned a study of 2,000 families’ swimming habits to help encourage water safety while on holiday.

father and baby swimmingThe research revealed that more than half of parents say they are worried their children would be unable to save themselves if they were to run into trouble in the water. And 44% say they don’t believe that they could save their child due to their own lack of swimming skills.

If you’ve ever experienced the moment of terror when you realise your child is nowhere to be seen, you are not alone! In fact, half of parents surveyed admit they have lost sight of their child for long enough during a holiday to cause panic. The first and the last hour at a resort is when the majority of holiday accidents occur as parents are most likely to be distracted, so be sure to stay alert at all times.

baby in swimming poolPaul Thompson, Water Babies co-founder, says: “It’s vital to encourage children to respect water from as early an age as possible. Our research showed that the average age children start swimming lessons is four years old and yet 40% of children haven’t had a lesson by the age of 12. But swimming lessons can actually take place from birth, in fact our youngest pupil was only two days old!

“We believe that by introducing children to the water as early as possible, they are less likely to experience fear if they fall into water. With progressive training, mother and baby in swimming poolbabies can be taught lifesaving skills and over the last few years a dozen of our pupils have saved themselves from drowning, some of whom were just two years old.”

To download the host of Drowning Prevention Week resources produced by the RLSS, visit www.drowningpreventionweek.org.uk.

Drowning Prevention

parent child swimming

Actively supervise young children around water

Be safety conscious at the poolside

Flotation devices are not life preservers

Do not swim at beaches with large waves, a powerful undertow or no lifeguards

Stay sober



Never swim alone

Never push or jump either in or around water – it might result in injury

Never dive into water unless an adult has already tested the depth and checked for underwater hazards

Before you swim, always ask what to do in an emergency and where to get help

Always wait an hour after a meal before swimming

A Balancing Act: Should You Limit Your Child’s Computer Time?

It’s virtually impossible to avoid having technology in your life today, and that carries over to your kids as well. Between mobile phones, the next-generation gaming systems, tablets like iPads, and laptops, you can hardly avoid technology, whether it’s for work, play, education, or all three.

Limit your child's computer timeWhile you were probably taught how to navigate the world using old fashioned paper maps, kids in today’s world may depend on a map app on their phone. While video games used to largely be the domain of arcades – and these were a place you visited only occasionally – today’s kids often have full scale next-generation gaming systems in their homes, ready to play around the clock. The library was once the place to go for students seeking information. Today, the World Wide Web is so easy to access that few kids even visit libraries regularly.

While there is no doubt that technology can have some tremendous benefits for our kids, it can also become overwhelming and prevent “real world” interaction if not managed. This will lead you to wonder if limiting your child’s screen time is wise.

Today’s Technology for Kids: Pros and Cons

Pros: Many school children today use tablets or laptops in class or for homework, and research on the Internet is often highly encouraged. After all, the Web is essentially the library of the world today, so it has the decided “pro” of being an amazing and virtually all-encompassing information resource.

Technology is also very easy to access, requires no trips to a book store or library to get information. Students can even save money by not purchasing textbooks or research books in some cases.

Cons: A recent Kaiser Foundation showed that children of elementary school age are currently engaging in about 7.5 hours of tech entertainment today. This seems to indicate that there is a decided “con” inherent in technology use today: There is a transition from school technology (the educational type) to entertainment technology (streaming movies, social media, music) with no interruption in technology exposure – which means too much technology.

The same Kaiser study even showed that more than half of all homes in North America, for example, leave televisions running continually. While the education technology can be an enormously helpful educational tool, the problem seems to come in when the student transitions right into entertainment tech with no break.

Kids who use a lot of technology are usually also those who lead more sedentary lives, which could lead to excess weight and lack of proper physical conditioning.

Limit Your Child’s Computer Time

It is probably not realistic to completely limit or stop a child’s screen time, at least not whilst they are regularly going to use technology at school. However, there is nothing wrong with limiting the entertainment screen time.

Kids today need to learn some basic skills that technology might cause them to miss out on. Taking the phone or tablet out of your kid’s hands and forcing more interaction with others and with their environment might even help them beat some technology over-use maladies like obesity and ADHD.Kid's Tech Time

Encouraging Tech-Free Time

Children need to learn in several ways, and while electronic screen time can teach a lot (better reaction times and reflexes, for example) it can’t teach the following things. Consider giving your child more tech-free time with these activities.

-Tactile Toys:  Pre-school educational resources that encourage touch and creative thinking are excellent anti-technology tools according to Junior Scholars. They are a great way to stimulate the mind and actually keep kids engaged at the same time.

-Physical Play Outdoors: Physical play, like that you might remember as a child, is all too often lost for today’s kids. Bike riding, camping, football, and all those other fun activities are still great for kids, and they should be encouraged to do so. While there might be some initial reluctance, children will usually discover very quickly that there is really life beyond a tablet screen.

-Time With Other Kids: Spending some time with other children, and other adults, can really help ramp up those social skills that are not developed behind a computer screen. Even if it’s just a play date with another neighbourhood child, that’s a great start.

by Rob from Junior Scholars (Educational Toys and Games specialist)

Disneyland Paris Presents The Imagination Castle

Back in February this year, Disneyland Paris launched a competition inviting children age 3 to 8 to design their own Sleeping Beauty Castle or   “The Imagination Castle” as they prefer to call it.

Children entered in their droves – drawing, painting and in some cases actually creating their own imagination castle. The 16 winners from The UK, Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands won a fantastic full board trip to Disneyland Paris with the chance to see the Imagination Castle itself brought to life in front of them. Watch the video below! How proud do those little faces look! It really is lovely too to see that the children’s work was taken at face value and the Disney team didn’t try to change their ideas.

Right from the start Walt Disney wanted children to be able to live their dreams and make them a reality – and the Imagination Castle shows that Disney are continuing to follow that maxim.

The amazing Imagination Castle based on the winning childrens’ ideas was displayed in the Jardin des Tuileries, smack bang in the centre of Paris. An incredible achievement for 16 very young budding architects, to say the least.


The Benefits of Perinatal Yoga

Yoga Stretching WomanIt doesn’t matter whether you’re completely new to yoga or have been practicing for years, pregnancy is the perfect time to start.

Earlier this month academics from Newcastle and Manchester Universities found that pregnant women who attended a yoga class every week for eight weeks experienced less anxiety compared to those who received normal antenatal treatment, with a single yoga class during pregnancy having the potential to cut anxiety to mothers-to-be by a third! Perinatal yoga carries so many health benefits for both you and your child. It is so much more than your usual gym class… it’s a training in deep relaxation and preparation for birth and motherhood. Founder of YogaBellies, Cheryl MacDonald, tell us about the benefits of perinatal yoga.

Perinatal Yoga

– Yoga plays an important role in the actual birth of your child. After practicing for up to eight weeks your body is stronger and has more flexibility which helps you adapt to various positions when in labour. You will find that your ligaments are more elastic which can reduce labour pains.

Woman Yoga-When we practice yoga, the love hormone, Oxytocin is released. Oxytocin’s main functions include preparing the female body for childbirth, stimulating milk production so that the baby can nurse, and encouraging the bond between the mum and her new-born baby. Deep breathing and stretching warms the body and allows us to release further oxytocin. By taking the body through the practice of yoga, we warm the muscles and joints, making the physical body more comfortable and relaxed. By continuing the practice with savasana (deep relaxation) and meditation, we encourage the production of oxytocin even further.

-Yoga asana (stretching exercises) relieves aches and pains which are common in pregnancy as well as promoting the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body to relax the mother’s body and mind. Posture can be a problem during pregnancy as your pelvis shifts forward as a response to the increased weight of the growing bump but yoga postures will help your abdominal muscles strengthen and make you stand tall!

-Pregnancy and birth also shifts the position of the internal and digestive organs, causing problems with digestion such as indigestion, trapped wind and flatulence. Yoga can help to restore healthy digestion and ease any discomfort.

Yoga Bellies logo- The pelvic floor muscles are there to support your baby during pregnancy and the vital reproductive organs. Practising yoga in pregnancy or at any other time can strengthen the pelvic muscles and help with supporting this extra weight. Even more important is continuing yoga after childbirth to help rebuild the pelvic floor and prevent from further health problems such as lower back pain or incontinence.

–  Breathing is not something we tend to think about day to day, it’s a natural function of the body. But during yoga it’s beneficial to focus on every single breath. By practicing deep breaths you learn to breathe to your belly, which effectively means you are using the abdominals to breathe and using your diaphragm and ribs to breathe. Learning to breathe properly and make effective use of breathing techniques can calm the mind, body and soul, even in frightening or high-stress situations such as childbirth.

by Cheryl MacDonald, who specialises in perinatal yoga and natural birth preparation classes with Yoga Bellies

Vitamin D For Starters and Sunshine For Main Course?

Vitamin D-inerA pop-up diner has just launched to help parents top-up their children’s vitamin D intake! A retro American-style dining experience for under-fives, with a serious message at its core, has opened for a limited 3 day period at a London shopping centre (23rd – 25th April).

Designed with children in mind, the Vitamin D-iner (Ha ha!) offers a range of tasty meals rich in the D-licious ‘sunshine vitamin’ to make sure little ones are getting all the ‘sunshine vitamin’ they need.

Summertime may have started, but even when the sun does come out to play it can be difficult to ensure our children are getting enough vitamin D. Therefore, it’s important children get a dietary source all year through.

The Vitamin D Mission

The event follows recent research by the Vitamin D Mission, which highlighted Vitamin D-iner 2UK parents remain unaware of the importance of the vitamin and its sources and as a result, the average toddler is only getting 27% of the vitamin D intake they need[1] to support their healthy growth and development.

Brought to you by the Vitamin D Mission, which aims to eradicate vitamin D deficiency in under-5s; the pop-up restaurant offers a range of delectable dishes including egg-rich ham and cheese quiche, wild salmon fish cakes and strawberries coated in Rice Krispies and chocolate for dessert. As children top-up their diets, parents are served up a smorgasbord of information to help educate them on the importance of dietary vitamin D.

Inspired by a 1950s-style diner, the diner is hosted from a classic Airstream trailer and is kitted out with chequered floors and a vintage jukebox, providing a truly retro feel. Little guests will be kept entertained with colouring-in pages while waiting for their complementary meals.

Vitamin D-iner 3Dr Ellie Cannon, family GP says:

“Vitamin D plays a crucial role, particularly in the early years, to ensure healthy growth and development of children’s bones and teeth. Living in the UK, it can be difficult to get all your vitamin D needs from the sun, and worryingly,  lots of parents are unaware of the other ways to provide their child with this essential vitamin.

“Few natural foods contain vitamin D, so parents need to be educated on the types of foods rich in the vitamin. It’s also worthwhile knowing that everyday foods, like some breakfast cereals, growing up milks and yoghurts are fortified. As a mum myself, I understand children can be fussy, which is why knowing ways to prepare vitamin D rich foods in a tasty way for their little one can be helpful. Parents should also offer daily supplementation from six months to five years, as recommended by the Department of Health.”

Whether you’re after brunch, lunch or dinner, the Vitamin D-iner offers six Vitamin-D-iner-3sittings a day from 23rd – 25th April!

For more information and to take the online test to estimate how much vitamin D your child is getting visit VitaminDMission.co.uk.

The Vitamin D Mission is a public health awareness campaign, which aims to eradicate vitamin D deficiency in the UK’s under-5s.

Reasons Under-5s are at Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency

1) The Sun In the UK, our skin isn’t able to make vitamin D from winter sunlight  (November to March) as the sunlight hasn’t got enough UVB (ultraviolet B) radiation.Modern internal lifestyles mean children spend a lot of time indoors during the summer months and when they are playing outdoors many parents are concerned about sun safety, therefore putting lots of sunscreen on them, which makes it even harder to synthesise vitamin D. Just ten to fifteen minutes without sunscreen from 11am to 3pm during the summer months (April to October) can help provide a child with the vitamin D they need.
2) Food Not all children receive a varied diet and foods rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish.Many parents are unaware of the foods that are rich in vitamin D. Natural sources of vitamin D include oily fish, eggs and liver. There are also foods that are fortified in vitamin D, including some breakfast cereals and yoghurts and growing up milks.
3) Supplementation Low uptake of vitamin D supplementation is also a factor. In fact, a report from the Vitamin D Mission reveals fewer than one in five (16%) parents provide their child with a daily vitamin D supplement.A range of supplements are available for children, including easy to use oral sprays and droppers. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin; use an oil-based form where possible.


Children’s Bedrooms

child dressing upChildren’s bedrooms aren’t just a place for them to go to sleep and for their clothes to be stored in – they’re so much more than that.  A child’s bedroom is usually a place to play favourite games, to read books and in a way it’s also their own private kingdom; where they can let their imaginations run away with them and have fun. For many older kids, their bedroom is also where they’ll do their homework, so it helps if you can provide them with the right combination of furniture to fulfil all these different functions.

It’s not always easy to make a multi-purpose room that looks great too. But with so many great kids’ furniture ranges available today, and great storage solutions too, it needn’t take too much effort to create a great bedroom for your child.

You have to start with the essentials, of course, and it depends on the age of your child how you might want to furnish their room. If you have a baby GLTCwho is about to go into a toddler bed, you might want to think further ahead and buy a single bed instead, which could last them all the way through their childhood. However, if they’re going to have a younger sister or brother following them, you could always pass on the toddler bed to the next child and then buy a single bed or bunk bed for the older child when they’re ready.

Depending on the size of the room, you may decide that you’d rather get them a mid or high level sleeper rather than a normal bed so that the space underneath it could be used as a desk or a space to play or store their clothes. There are so many different options when it comes to choosing children’s beds today.

There are some fantastic space-saving ideas for kids’ bedrooms now. For example, take a look at the underbed play table and drawers that you’ll find on http://www.gltc.co.uk/single-beds/dept/fcp-category/list. It’s a great desk tablesolution for a bedroom that is short on floor space, and can also be a great way to give a messy room a quick tidy-up!

Your child may have their own views on how their room should look, and it’s up to you to decide whether they should make those choices or you should do it for them. Sometimes a good compromise is for you to choose the furniture that is neutral and will fit with any colour scheme and then leave the choice of accessories such as the soft furnishings and bed linen to your child. That way, when their tastes change and they want something different, it won’t cost you a small fortune to replace everything! A great example is those storage units with canvas drawers. The drawers come in a range of colours and designs and just changing these can give a bedroom a totally new look.

Taking a bit of time to think about the space available in your child’s room and how to maximise it will result in you giving them a great bedroom – a space they can have fun in and be proud of, too.

You may also want to read ‘Moving Baby into Own Room.’

Win a Luxury Break in Edinburgh For You and Your Mum

Mum and BabyMums are pretty amazing people and your hard work should be acknowledged and celebrated every day, not just one day per year!

But, with Mother’s Day coming up this weekend,  Gala Bingo has come up with a ‘Most Amazing Mums’ Bingo card and is also giving away a great Mother’s Day experience for two, worth £200 in partnership with AOL.  To join in with the celebrations, we thought we’d look in to some of the most amazing mums of last year.

Every year Readers of Tesco Magazine are asked to nominate women, who they know, for the awards below in order to honour women who go ‘above and beyond the call of duty’. 2014 is the tenth year of the award ceremony and is a wonderful way to recognise ordinary mothers (and one celebrity) for the extraordinary things that they do.

  • Supportive Mum of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Community Mum of the Year
  • Charitable Mum of the Year
  • Campaigning Mum of the Year
  • Achieving Mum of the Year

Here are some of the mums’ stories:

Supportive Mum of the Year – Diana Golding

Diana Golding has been recognised for her support of her two daughters who wanted to play football. In doing so, she eventually became chairwoman of the Bury Ladies and Girls Football Club, giving thousands of girls – in addition to her own two – the benefit of what is now twelve years’ experience and an incredible level of support.

Lifetime Achievement Award winner – Pam Clarke

At 86, Pam has recovered from cancer twice – in the form of stomach cancer and throat cancer – and has shown tireless dedication to her community, and to fundraising for charity despite her illness. The judges referred to Pam as a ‘selfless lady with boundless energy’ and her story is indeed inspirational.

Celebrity Mum of the Year – Dame Sarah Storey

Sarah has an achieved an awful lot in her time, having won four gold medals as a cyclist in the London Paralympics in 2012, she gave birth to her daughter in 2013 and six weeks later was back training, as well as fulfilling her charity commitments. Sarah and her husband founded the charity Boot Out Breast Cancer in 2010 and has raised £400,000 for the charity since its launch.

The nicest thing about Mother’s Day is showing your mum a little appreciation, and whilst nationwide recognition for these mums has been fantastic, it coMum Spa Dayuld be as simple as just giving your mum some time and attention this year. Why not treat her to something special – you could even enter the giveaway with Gala Bingo and AOL above to be in with a chance to take your mum away for a luxury break!

Read: Stay At Home Mums Are The Happiest

Win a Keep Calm and Press Delete Mug

Keep Calm and Press Delete MugHere’s a quickie Rafflecopter Competition to Win a Keep Calm and Press Delete Mug!

What’s to say though? It’s cool. It’s purple! You can drink tea, coffee and numerous other drinks from it.

It’s a mug and it’s a great mug!

So, to Win this pretty amazing, mugalicious ‘Keep Calm and Press Delete Mug’, go to the Rafflecopter form below…… We need you to follow @TheBabyWebsite on Twitter and all the usual things. We’ll also love you to bits if you can find a bit of time to comment and tell us your ‘keep calm’ strategies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
There are plenty More Competitions here for you to enter! The Winner’s name will be posted here … Twitter 2014 Winners

5 Things To Do With The Kids In Birmingham

Gas Street Basin, Birmingham

No matter what time of year you visit Birmingham, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

It’s particularly good for the kids, with a huge variety of attractions that are sure to keep them happy.  Even without leaving the city there’s a whole hub of activity around the canal basins, which is where the city grew up.

  1. The Sea Life Centre is a fantastic day out for children of all ages, with plenty to see, including the scary shark tunnel as well as lots of other ‘hands-on’ stuff.
    National Sea Life Centre

    Sea Life Centre

    It’s right there in the middle of town, right next to the canal, so is dead easy to get to.

  2. No short break to Birmingham would be complete without a visit to Cadbury World.  A short rail journey from Birmingham’s New Street Station gets you to the epicentre of the chocolate industry in Britain for over a century.  The visit takes you through the history of chocolate right through to the present day, with loads of samples dished out at various points along the way.  The cute little bubble buggies driving around add to the fun and there’s lots of outdoor space to sit out on a sunny day to enjoy a picnic on the grass

    Cadbury World

    Cadbury World

  3. Millennium Point houses the ThinkTank Science Museum, with its working models and multitude of hands-on exhibits and the fabulous ‘Giant Screen’ iMax cinema.  There’s also the Digital Planetarium, with its 360 degree dome.  These are great places to consider on a rainy day, with so much under one roof you could make a full day of it.
  4. The Gas Street Basin not only has some lovely walks around the canals and basin, but there are loads of great restaurants, coffee shops and bars to explore.  Or why not take one of the many canal narrow boat trips that are available and see the city from a completely different perspective?

    Millennium Point

    Millennium Point

  5. The newly opened Library of Birmingham isn’t just a place to read books.  With daily activities and exhibitions, there’ll be something of interest for everyone and whatsmore, it’s only a short walk from all of the city centre goings-on.

Don’t think of Britain’s second city as just a big urban sprawl.  Birmingham has some of the most interesting and enjoyable things to do that can be found anywhere in Britain.  Whatever the weather, you’re bound to find something that’s great for parents and kids alike and with a fantastic selection of affordable hotels from Hotel Direct located really close to all the attractions mentioned above it is the perfect place to visit if you want everything centrally located and easy to get to.

Have You Been Distracted When Driving?

baby in car seatA new survey has revealed, not unsurprisingly, that, almost without exception, parents get distracted by their children whilst at the wheel!

A staggering 96% said they had been distracted when driving because their kids were being too noisy or arguing with their siblings. Over 50% of parents answered that they had been distracted by having to deal with the after-effects of children spilling something or vomiting. Two in every ten parents questioned said they had even had to deal with the kids throwing things around the vehicle whilst they were driving.

Distracted When Driving

Parents all over are quite literally being Driven to Distraction and it’s not just being distracted that’s a problem either as a huge number of mums and dads have had to intervene to stop their kids from doing something decidedly dangerous. 83% of parents have had to stop their children from opening car doors whilst on the move, and little ones leaning out of the car windows and trying to get out of their seats is also an issue. Over 50% of parents say they have caught their child unfastening their seatbelt or safety harness.

crying childHere are the best methods parents have found to pacify their little passengers from tantrums in the car. The leading choice is the use of music or videos with 80% of parents saying it made a difference. Tablet computers and games systems pacified the children in the car of 60% of parents, whilst 40% went for the fail-safe sugary staple – a bag of sweets. Suffering through a game of I-Spy was still favoured by 35% of parents.

On longer car journeys 70% maintain that taking a break within two hours of beginning your trip to stretch the legs, have something to eat or drink, look around the shops or go to the loo is a tried and tested way to prevent the kids from getting bored and causing mayhem

One piece of good news to come out of the survey is that it seems that most parents get to choose the music in the car, with only 20% letting their children take control of the playlist.