Shop medical alert systems at MobileHelp.com

My family is rather complicated and unique.  My son has Intellectual Disabilities, my husband has Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and is in a wheelchair full-time and my mom lives with us.  For all three of them there’s always the potential that an emergency will arise while they’re out in the community.  As their caregiver I always worry about the “what if’s” and if I’ll receive a call someday that something’s happened.  I use an app that allows me to track where they all are but it’s not going to tell me if my husband’s fallen transferring from the wheelchair or my mom has had a stroke or if my son has gotten into a dangerous situation.

I was so happy to just find a new product – MobileHelp Smart.  It’s a Smart Watch that’s a medical alert system, fitness tracker and health system all in one.  It looks like a regular watch which is great for my son since he’s only 20 and wouldn’t want something that doesn’t look cool, it’s “gadgety” enough for my hubby and it’s easy enough to use for my mom.

Powered by Samsung and available through AT & T, it has a built-in microphone and speaker to speak directly to Emergency Operators, activity tracking, vital sign sensors and health-focused applications that uses one of the nation’s largest 4G cellular networks and GPS location tracking to provide premier protection. If there’s an emergency, all the person needs to do is press the Help button and they’ll immediately be connected with an Operator that he or she can speak with to describe the emergency.  As soon as the alert is sent the watch will automatically answer the call from the Emergency Response Center in handsfree mode. If the person is unable to speak to the Operator, then emergency responders will immediately be contacted.  With military-grade durability, MobileHelp Smart resists water, dust and extreme temperatures. It features a Corning® Gorilla® Glass SR+ watch face to help protect against scratches and a battery that lasts up to 2 days on a single charge.

On top of this, it’s also a fitness tracker which I love. Samsung Health helps you manage your wellness and fitness activities, set fitness goals and check your progress. It monitors heart rate, steps taken, stairs climbed, and calories burned and stores records of recent activity, calorie, water and caffeine consumption.   It will even tell you the weather.

1 Month FREE Service On Annual Plans at MobileHelp.com, no code needed. My concern with products such as this is whether the company will be around in the next year or so to support the product.  Fortunately Mobile Health is a major player in the market and has been around for years. The MobileHealth Smart sells for $349.95 and the monthly monitoring costs $24.95.  If you sign up for an annual plan, you can get one free month of service.

 

 

Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

I’m often asked by people in my social media community what are the most overlooked baby safety issues in a home and hands down one of the top is accidental strangulation due to corded blinds.  Unfortunately, in many older homes every window has corded blinds, a strangulation hazard to young children that was not recognized as a danger years ago.  I moved into my home two years ago and even though my kids are older I’m replacing all of the window coverings with new cordless blinds so it’s safe when friends with little ones come over.

October is National Window Covering Safety Month and the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) is urging parents and caregivers to go “Cordless For Kids” and to check their window coverings for exposed or dangling cords which can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children.

To maximize window cord safety when young children are present, consumers are urged to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Install only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords in homes with young children.  Replace window blinds and corded shades with products that are cordless or have inaccessible cords marked with the Best for Kids™ certification label.  The label enables you to easily identify products best suited for homes with young children.

  • Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferably to another wall.

  • When window cords are present, ensure that all window cords are out of sight and reach, by shortening or moving them up and away, so that they are inaccessible to young children. You can purchase cord blind cleats at your local hardware store and install them to wrap up the cords.

You also want to be sure that your windows are secure.  Most children five years old and younger can fit through a 6-inch window opening. Window screens will not prevent falls so there are a few things you can do:

  • Install a stop that prevents windows from opening any further than four inches.

  • Install window guards that cover the lower part of the window.

  • Install wedges to stop a window from opening too far

  • Installs child proof locks to the windows that will prevent them from opening at all.

  • Installs guards on casement windows which is a better idea than removing the crank.

Window safety is important throughout your home but especially in a nursery or toddler’s room.  To learn more about other baby proofing issues you can visit my blog at www.safetymom.com.

 

 

 

Scary costumes?  Check
Bags of candy?  Check
Halloween decorations?  Check

The countdown to Halloween is well underway but here are a few considerations for your checklist before you send your little ghosts and goblins out for the evening:

How safe is the costume? Many boys love dressing up as the Grim Reaper or some ghoul but be sure if their costume is all black that you put a few pieces of light-reflective tape on the front and back of their costume.  (To make it “cool” you can design it as some symbol or wording) You can also purchase some glow bracelets or necklaces.  Most schools won’t allow them to bring any weapon, spear or walking stick to school so find out first what’s permissible.

Try to use make-up rather than a mask for your kids.  A mask can slip making it hard for them to see as their walking and also the rubber inside the mask can make it hard for them to breathe.

Be sure that if the costume is to the floor that’s it’s not too long and can cause them to trip.  Check for loose cords or strings around their neck that could get caught on something as they’re walking.

Are they ready to go it alone? At some point it just won’t be cool to be out trick-or-treating with mom or dad.  So how do you know if they’re ready to go out on their own?  A lot depends on where they are going.  An apartment building or housing community located on a cul-de-sac is much safer than a busy road or remote area where there’s little lighting and the homes are spread out.  Perhaps drive them to a housing complex where you wait at the end of the street while they go trick-or-treating.  Be sure you know their route, who they are going out with (always go in a group) and they have a cell phone in case of an emergency. Establish a curfew and a few times that they must check in with you.

Host a party – Rather than having them go out trick-or-treating, consider hosting a party.  You’ll know where they are, who they’re with and can control the time.

Check the loot  –  Kids should be reminded to only eat candy that’s unopened and in its original wrapper.  Children under five years of age should not be allowed to eat hard candy, caramels, popcorn or items with nuts as these are all choking hazards.

Most importantly, remind your child never to get into a car with someone they don’t know.  If someone approaches them, and they feel at all uncomfortable, explain to them that they should go to the nearest lit home and ring the door.

Disclaimer  – This post is brought to you by The Motherhood and Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone I have a material and/or financial connection because I received compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Photo Courtesy of Juliana Thomas Photography.

This summer a friend’s daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  She’s spent the past several months in a hospital being treated and she’s been an incredible trooper.  I can’t begin to imagine how hard this has been on the entire family.  After all, my friend needs to continue working and there are her other kids to be considered who also want her attention.  The emotional and physical toll a child’s hospitalization takes on a family are tremendous.  There’s nothing we wouldn’t do to make our child healthy and will search for the best treatments and doctors we can find.

Deciding upon a children’s hospital requires more thought and research than when selecting a hospital for ourselves or another adult.  It’s not enough that the treatment he or she receives be state-of-the-art, but the environment needs to be warm and inviting.  Kids aren’t just patients, they’re still kids and want to have an opportunity to play in an environment that isn’t sterile and cold.  There also needs to be a collaborative relationship with the parents.

The new Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital—34th Street checks off all of these boxes.  A part of NYU Langone Health and the flagship pediatric inpatient care center, the 160,000 square foot facility is the first children’s hospital built in New York City in nearly 15 years.

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Goldberg.

At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital kids can be kids and parents feel supported.

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital—34th Street was designed with input from the Youth Advisory Council and Family Advisory Council, made up of children who have undergone treatment at NYU Langone and their family members, and facilitated by the Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care, a unique partnership between children, families, and health professionals that is focused on advancing the practice of family-centered care at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital.

It is the city’s only inpatient facility with exclusively single-patient rooms, lowering risk of infection, adding patient privacy, and providing sleeping space for one parent.

From the New York City-themed artwork, including a replica of Lady Liberty made entirely of LEGO® bricks and an Empire State Building children can climb in, to playrooms for children of all ages and a broadcast studio, a visit to Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital is unlike a typical inpatient stay.  Enhancing the patient experience is the Children’s Hall, a generous space offering activities including dance and theater performances, fitness classes, family nights, cooking programs, yoga and other fitness classes, religious services, and prom and graduation events.

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Goldberg.

The Children’s Terrace, with a roof garden overlooking the Empire State Building, offers parents sunlight and fresh air during stays with their children. The Family Resource Lounge features laundry facilities, showers, a lactation and massage therapy room, a family lounge, snack center, and computer work stations.

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Goldberg.

Regardless a hospital stay for a child can be quite scary.  For this reason, child life specialists are employed to help children relax and feel less overwhelmed by being in the hospital.

At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital technology has improved the patient experience and treatment.

Knowing that the hospital you choose for your child’s care is state-of-the-art and utilizes the latest technology to ensure the best outcome is important.  NYU Langone has given much consideration to the technologies they use to ensure a seamless workflow, increase staff efficiency, improve patient safety, and maximize awareness of patients’ needs. They’ve invested over $400 million into a variety of IT initiatives to improve patient care and experience over the last 7 years.

  • Each of its 68 patient rooms features MyWall, customized by and for NYU Langone. This is a 75-inch, high-resolution electronic display screen with a touch screen tablet at the bedside. Children and their parents can use MyWall to order meals, watch TV and movies, play video games, use the internet, call or Skype with loved ones or teachers for schoolwork, and adjust room temperature, lighting, and window shades.

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Goldberg.

  • A fleet of robots transport meals, linens, supplies, and medication and remove hazardous waste throughout Kimmel, freeing up staff to focus on caring for patients.
  • The first of their kind in the nation, Digital Medication Drawers are located outside each patient room and synced to a patient’s electronic health record to ensure they are receiving a personalized inventory of medications. This improves the efficiency and safety of medication management and administration, which data from health systems nationwide shows is one of the most difficult processes to manage.
  • Buzz OR/AV Management is a high-resolution display that integrates several information systems to allow surgeons and other members of the care team in our state-of-the-art operating rooms to visualize a case in real-time, and even interact with pathologists in the lab.
  • Clinical Mobile Companions are a suite of unique applications installed on 2,600 mobile devices—designed for convenient use by nurses, doctors and other care team members to provide better quality patient care and improve productivity and communication among the clinical staff. Clinical Mobile Companions were designed by and for NYU Langone.
  • Staff Terminal—Nurse Call System is an intelligent call system that allows nurses to stay in contact with patients and the broader care team, improving the flow of communications and decreasing response time while also minimizing errors and other tasks that might draw nurses away from patient care.

Choosing the best hospital to treat your child is one of the most important decisions you can make.  If you live in the New York metropolitan area Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital can offer high quality care in a warm, friendly environment for your child.

To learn more about Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital or search for one of its more than 400 doctors in more than 35 specialties, visit: nyulangone.org/hassenfeldchildrenshospital.

This week I’ve seen so many pictures online from my friends posting their child’s last first day of school.  It’s a bittersweet time as they move into the next chapter of their lives.

Today is the last first day for my son Spencer and the only emotion that I have is pure fear.  Spencer has intellectual disabilities and he’s 20 years old.  Because of his issues he has been able to remain in school until he turns 21.  If I had my way he’d remain in school – a safe and caring place – for the rest of his life.

At school people “get” Spencer.  There are caring teachers and administrators.  Yes, I do know that’s not always the case for many kids but we’ve been incredibly blessed.  He’s also surrounded by his peers.  For many kids outplacement isn’t the answer and inclusion is better but for Spencer that didn’t work.

In the world of disabilities, parents talk about the day their child leaves school as falling off the cliff.  That’s when all services for our kids stop and we enter the maze of government bureaucracy trying to piece together a semblance of a future.  New phrases such as “day programs” and “LON” and “residential services” become our new normal that we must navigate.

Our greatest fears are that our children will never find gainful employment, that they will be sitting home all day with nothing to do and that they won’t have a social life.  Many of us are faced with a difficult decision – how do we care for our children and create a meaningful life while we have to be at work all day long to earn money to care for them – for the rest of their lives?

I look at my daughter who will be a junior in high school this year and am excited about planning college visits and dreaming about the exciting adventures her future holds.  I look at my son and want to hold him tight and protect him from a world that can often be cruel to people who have intellectual disabilities.

And so, here’s Spencer’s last first day of school picture.  I’m so proud of how far you’ve come and I will be there with you every step of the way to make your future exciting, safe and happy.

 

Disclosure: The links below are Amazon affiliate links.  At no additional cost to you, Safety Mom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

In a few weeks my step-daughter will be heading off for her first year in college.  It’s a big step and yes, we’re a bit nervous.  As a family safety expert, there are a few things that I think about that her mom and dad aren’t necessarily considering.

Here are a few items you might not have considered sending your son or daughter off to college with:

SABRE Red Campus Safety Pepper Gel – Pepper Spray for College Students – Key Case with Quick Release

[amazon_link asins=’B008WGB6EI’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’safet053-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3cbb9ce4-892a-11e8-8029-2f743ba9ba4f’]Unfortunately, assault is a serious issue on many college campuses today.  Whether it’s walking to her dorm at night or off campus to a bar or movie, be sure your daughter can protect herself.  Hopefully she’ll never have to use it but simply having The SABRE Red Campus Safety Pepper Gil will give you and your daughter a little peace of mind.  The pepper gel formula decreases wind blowback, can be used indoors and provides greater containment of spray making it perfect for college campuses.

Tower Power Strip with USB

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There are a lot of products to charge and overloading an extension cord is a serious fire hazard.  In fact, overloaded extension cords are one of the leading causes of fires in college housing.  Overloaded extension cords, power cords and outlets can overheat and when cords overheat, they can also deteriorate quickly and cause a potential shock/fire hazard.

I love this Tower Power Strip as it has 6 adapter-friendly outlets and 4 USB ports and is designed to handle larger adapters without the cords getting tangled.

The built-in Smart IC automatically detects and delivers the optimal charging current for all connected devices and charges at full speed.

Most importantly the on/off light switches with an integrated circuit breaker for overload and overcurrent protection.

First Alert Fire Extinguisher Aerosol Spray

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Along with overloaded power cords, candles left burning and smoking are the other most common causes of fires in dorms.  A traditional fire extinguisher is intimidating to most people and they’re unsure who they are supposed to use it.  Fortunately, there are small, easy-to-use fire extinguisher aerosol sprays that can be kept in a dorm room.

Tile

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If you have a child who tends to be disorganized and is constantly misplacing things it’s a good idea to send her off to school with some Tiles. Tile is a tracking gadget that uses Bluetooth technology to help you keep track of everything from keys to your phone. Simply tag the items you want to track, and you’ll never frantically search for a lost item again. You can ring your missing items if they’re in a 100-foot radius or use GPS to find out where you last had the item.

Yak About It Locking Safe Trunk

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Theft happens more often than colleges would like to admit.  From small items to laptops, cameras or money make sure your child has some place to lock up valuables while she’s away from her room.  This trunk offers lots of space for a laptop, books and other larger items and small shelves for a passport, money or medication.  It’s easy to put together and doesn’t take up a lot of room but will keep everything safe.

Sending your child off to school with a few safety items might not be top on your priority list but it can certainly help give you a bit more peace-of-mind

Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Last week I was invited to a Febreze Safety Immersion to learn more about what Procter & Gamble is doing to ensure consumers feel safe using Febreze products. I’ll admit, before going I didn’t use Febreze products as my first thought was “chemicals.” Well, I was wrong and what I learned about Febreze, both during the presentation by scientists and the cool lab tour, is that reading the label doesn’t tell the entire story.

The morning started with a presentation by one of Febreze’s principal scientists. Science has never been my thing so I was sure this would be way over my head but it wasn’t – the scientist did a great job of breaking it down and explaining how Febreze’s OdorClear technology works to neutralize odor rather than simply mask it. There’s no way I could accurately describe this to you, but the below video can and it illustrates how molecules in Febreze actually capture “bad odor” molecules to eliminate them.

The best part of the day was our tour of the lab where we did real “stink experiments” – and I do mean STINK! Who knew you could create body odor in a lab and package it, but yup – it smelled like some of the worst body odor I’ve ever smelled. It literally made my eyes water! The scientist then sprayed Febreze Fabric Refresher Free, which has no perfume in it, on one of the body odor towels and a competitive brand on the other. The “BO towel” with the competitive brand smelled like…well…floral scented body odor – it was pretty gross. The towel with the Febreze had absolutely no smell whatsoever. You can also learn about the three other types of odor cleaning technologies and how and why Febreze cleans away stink here.

So great – Febreze works, but the big question for me was whether Febreze is safe or toxic. What’s really in the product and, more importantly, what’s not? Febreze products don’t have phthalates, formaldehyde or flammable propellants. All P&G products including Febreze ingredients are listed on SmartLabel (if you don’t have this app you need it!) and by the end of 2019 P&G will share online all fragrance ingredients down to 0.01 percent for all their products, which includes more than 2000 fragranced products.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation and assumptions online about air fresheners that aren’t based on science or research. To address this, the Febreze team recently participated in the inaugural Household & Commercial Products Association Air Care Summit to share and assess the science behind air fresheners. The summit included academic and medical experts in toxicology, inhalation science, pediatrics and pulmonology medicine. The goal of the group is to help consumers make informed decisions about the Air Care products they use and provide accurate information.

I was amazed at how much I learned at this summit and have been talking Febreze OdorClear technology with my family ever since! Stay tuned as I’ll be posting some real-world experiments with Febreze of my own.

We’ve all been in there – you’re on a plane and realize it’s going to be a looonnnnnggg flight because there’s a screaming kid on board.  If you’re a mom you most likely understand how hard it is and have sympathy.  Maybe.  But for those of us who have kids with special needs our child who is “acting up” might not be a toddler – he  might be a 12 year-old or even a 20 year-old.  I’ve been there to a degree.  My son is super anxious about flying and he CAN’T…SIT…STILL.  And he talks to himself – loudly.  And, by the way, he’s 6’4”.  Nope, not easy.

Recently a friend of mine whose daughter has special needs bravely ventured to Disney. All of us prayed that she’d have an enjoyable trip and were so happy when she posted how well the trip was going.

And then she flew home.

The following is her Facebook post that she gave me permission to re-print.  Please read and understand parents try their best…

I have debated whether or not to share this on fb because tbh it’s not that easy too. But after giving it much thought I figured I share so much of the good that it’s only fair to share the less than ideal moments too. I also want to share because I think/need/want people to be aware of this issue.  We have all seen viral you tube videos about it, we have seen situations like this covered in papers like the New York post, we have seen them flood our Facebook newsfeeds…yesterday you could have seen me there. You could have read about how a special needs mom and her daughter caused a raucous on flight #1494. It would have been so easy for someone to video my inability to control my daughters outbursts that went on for the duration of the flight. You easily could have read the litany of comments beneath the post how the mother did nothing to stop it. That she allowed this child to scream, cry, throw things, hit her, and demand food from the flight attendants. Most likely a specialist would chime In somewhere lecturing how parents need to be more prepared for situations like this. They need to come on board with snacks, activities, and social stories. They should prep their special needs child for airplane travel and explain to them the proper behavior for it.  I guess I feel a responsibility to explain the other side. So much of the time the special needs parents side of the story is unheard and misunderstood.

Yesterday’s plane ride was a disaster for numerous reasons but none of those reasons were due to lack of airplane prep, insufficient activities, and inadequate snack selections. Much of the failure of that plane ride had to do with issues that were simply beyond my control…X was exhausted, the flight was delayed, she was extremely anxious, she was overly excited, and she was unable to manage any of it.

If I could have I would have cancelled my flight and flown when X was in a better frame of mind but air travel is just not set up that way. What I hope/want/need people to understand is that certain aspects of special needs are unpredictable, uncontrollable, and unmanageable. What I wish people understood is that this is a very frightening thing for a caregiver and that it can render them helpless. Yesterday I simply got lucky that the flight staff was understanding and tolerant and that the passengers around me were empathetic. I did the best I could to control an uncontrollable situation and we somehow managed to survive.

While the scars from it will likely take quite sometime to heal, the memories from #Disney2018 will last a lifetime????