The following post was written by Dr. Robert Weiss MD and Director, CT ENT

Connecticut Center for Advanced ENT Care’s Dr. Robert Weiss, treats all aspects of Ear Nose and Throat problems in children. He has distinguished his practice utilizing the latest technology for better outcomes and safety.

Ear Tube Photo

Each year, over 700,000 children have ear tubes placed according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Still, many parents hesitate to get tubes for their child due to a variety of reasons including concerns regarding anesthesia. Dr. Weiss offers information below to help parents through the decision making process.

What does the tube do?

The tube creates an artificial opening into the ear space. Fluid is able to drain and the child’s hearing is restored and future ear infections are prevented.  Tubes generally stay in place 6-12 months and fall out on their own.

Usually, by this time, the child’s own ear drainage system (eustachian tube) is mature enough to work on its own.

Who should consider tubes?

Consider tubes if fluid in the ear has persisted for more than three months and does not respond to medication. Also, children that have multiple or back-to-back ear infections may be candidates for tubes.  Hearing loss may also be a symptom of chronic fluid in the ear, which can be alleviated by tubes.

Does the anesthesia needed for the surgery put my child in danger?

This is an extremely safe and highly effective procedure. The reason most parents vacillate is the fact that the child has to undergo anesthesia. The type of anesthesia used is one of the safest there is. There are no breathing tubes or IVs needed. The child breathes the anesthesia in through a mask. The procedure takes 5 to 10 minutes and kids do not typically experience side effects.

Can issues with fluid in the ear cause hearing loss?

Ear infections that go untreated, or that don’t respond to antibiotics can damage the ear causing hearing loss and permanent damage. The age range for tubes is generally anywhere from 6 months to 5 years old. During this time, children are at a critical stage for language development. If they aren’t hearing well due to fluid, they may be missing out on crucial learning.

Will my child have to wear ear plugs in the water if they get tubes?

In the past, earplugs were recommended for patients with tubes during water activities. New studies show that children do not need to wear earplugs for swimming, bath or shower time.

Will antibiotics take care of an ear infection or fluid?

There is a movement to keep antibiotics out of kids’ bodies. The Scandinavian style of treating ear infections is to not prescribe antibiotics. In fact, 6 out of 8 infections are resolved without the use of antibiotics. Tubes are another way of accomplishing that.

kateIntroducing our new intern, Kate! I’m convinced that it’s impossible for adults to understand what really goes on in the minds of teens.  Yet they desperately want to be understood.  So, I’m so excited to announce the addition of our intern Kate to the Safety Mom team!  Kate is a junior in high school and loves writing.  Her dream is to work with the FBI as a criminal profiler someday.  Kate will be blogging for us and giving the teen perspective on everything from bullying to academic pressure and everything in between. At school, at work, sometimes even at home. Thousands of people a day get bullied for how they look, how they talk, the way they walk, the beliefs they have and any other things that a bully can think of. Bullies are everywhere and unfortunately we can never completely get away from them and ignoring what they say is a lot harder than parents think. Most teens don’t like to talk about bullying with their parents. They think their parents will be embarrassed because bullying, to a teen, is like saying, “Hey Mom and Dad, I’m not perfect.” Every child wants to make his or her parents proud more than anything and when they are being bullied, when people are making fun of their qualities, it makes them feel like a disappointment. Teens also don’t tell their parents if they are getting bullied because they don’t want to run to anyone, especially their parents, for help.  They no longer consider themselves children and want to handle things on their own. Another big reason teens don’t confide in their parents is that they don’t want them to hover.  When a mom hears that her teen is being bullied, it’s a natural inclination to check in every day to make sure her daughter isn’t considering or already harming herself. Asking her about the bullying every single day when she gets home, making her share her social media website, constantly checking up on her and never leaving her alone for fear she might harm herself are all the things a teen does not want her parents doing! Even though parents believe they are helping by watching their child’s every move, it actually makes a teen feel more vulnerable and worsens the situation. Teens desperately want to work it out on their own. Here’s what a parent can do to help their teen who is being bullied:

  • Simply talk to your teen. Ask her, the first time you hear about the bullying, what you can do to help or whether she even wants your help. Maybe all she wants is to talk to someone who won’t answer with the frustrating words, “Ignore it.”
  • Remind her that all bullies are the same. They are all bitter, insecure people that don’t have anyone to talk to so they take their anger out on other people. The same names they call the boy/girl they are bullying, they have probably been called by someone else.
  • Reassure her that there will always be someone to talk to like a family member, school counselor or close friend.
  • Let her know that she can’t always be strong and shake it off but that’s okay, she isn’t made of tin, she has a heart. Remind her to do what makes her happy because in the end, that’s what matters.

No matter what, things will always turn around and nothing bad lasts forever. Ten years from now, the bullies won’t matter.

The following is a guest post from Sarah Welch, Chief Dreamer at Buttoned Up, Inc.

Goal setting can be a confusing little minx, and it’s the easiest part of the chaos triangle (clutter, calendar, big picture) to screw up.


According to Douglas Vermeeren, a best-selling author on goal setting and human performance, approximately 80 percent of people never set goals, although they believe that goal setting is important to attain better results in life.

You might think it couldn’t get any more discouraging.

But it does…

Of the 20 percent of people who do set goals, 70 percentfail to meet the goals they have set.

Why is this?

You can’t make a person achieve something they don’t desperately want.

You can’t.

You can’t, you can’t, you can’t.


To illustrate this, please take a look at this list below of common New Years resolutions in the U.S. and 47 other countries. Most all people who make these have abandoned them by the third week in January:

… Earn more money
… Lose Weight
… Get organized
… Manage time better
… Spend more quality time with family
… Reduce debt
… Help others
… Find soul mate or work on marriage
… Find a better job
… Quit Smoking

Chances are, at some point in your life you were hunting down one of those trophy goals like it was 75% off deal on designer shoes.

So now think of what got in the way of?

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

You can cultivate and nurture the existing seeds of desire – even if they’re tiny – but you cannot grow a tree that has not yet been planted.

So let’s talk about 3 things you can do to organize your priorities so you can finally start checking things off your bucket list.


At Dominican University, the very smart people who have run the most exhaustive studies on goal achievement to date have found…

1.People who sent weekly progress reports to a friend accomplished significantly more than those who had unwritten goals, wrote their goals, formulated action commitments or sent those action commitments to a friend.

2. People who sent their commitments to a friend accomplished significantly more than those who just wrote action commitments or did not write their goals.

3. Those who at least wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals.

So where do you start?

Writing your goals down is the tiny seed.

Next, plant it on your calendar and share with a friend.

Then nurture your daily action steps with accountability.


If you would like a chance to win a free KICK START YOUR YEAR Boot Camp, with free access to the most popular option, the PERSONALIZED ACCOUNTABILITY level (a $67 value), be sure to like the Safety Mom Fan Page and/or Follow Us on Twitter.  Then leave a comment below letting us know!   We will randomly pick one lucky winner from all entries received by January 30th 5:00 PM EST.





The following is a guest blog posting by Dr. Lyndsay Elliott.

1) Encourage movement. Get moving with your kids. Walk to/from school and places nearby home, encourage them to participate in organized sports for team building, self-esteem increase, challenge their own physical abilities. Set limits on “indoor” time and encourage them to get out of the house to play with friends. Find a physical activity that the whole family can enjoy (i.e. hiking, soccer game, beach volleyball, etc.)

2) Make available, encourage and model eating balanced and healthy foods (i.e. low sugar policies in schools, balanced eating at home: 4 fruits/vegetables to “earn” desserts). Variety of foods/snacks to choose from. Food as fuel, daily self-care (just like teeth brushing).

3) Eat with your children as a family at the dinner table on a consistent basis; without tv; encourage actual mealtimes rather than grazing on the run or in car after going thru drive thru. Discuss the day’s events without bringing up emotionally charged topics where emotional eating may occur.

4) Focus on good health rather than weight loss as the goal. Weight loss is inevitable with dedication to balanced health. People generally feel better when they are eating healthy, living foods, and can savor treats as just that, treats.

5) “Talk less and do more” — i.e. stop nagging kids to change their habits, which isn’t effective, and start shopping and cooking differently, going for walks with them etc. Model good behavior and eliminate the word “diet” from your vocabulary. Be brave enough to remove the scale from your home and maintain weight based on how you feel in your clothes.

6) Be aware of the potential affects of being overweight (being teased, bullied at school, low self-esteem, etc.) These are far longer lasting and more detrimental to emotional health, and a main reason for people developing eating disorders.

7) Encourage tolerance of body diversity. Do not make comments about other people’s external appearances, and focus on your child’s internal self-worth. Promote self-esteem and body satisfaction.

8) Limit television watching regardless of your child’s size.

9) Do not give food as rewards for good behavior, focus on internal qualities reward for effort and completion with verbal compliments to build self-confidence.

10) Teach children of all sizes to value themselves and their health.


Dr. Lyndsay Elliott is one of Southern California’s most prominent Psychologists in her field of expertise. Dr. Lyndsay (as her patients call her) maintains her clinical practice in Newport Beach, California. As a food and body image expert for the last 15 years, Dr. Lyndsay is known for her break-through work with children, teens and young adults. She particularly enjoys consulting with parents to help develop a healthy self-image for their children. Dr. Lyndsay empowers individuals with her ease, strength, and experience, ultimately propelling her patients into a new arena of growth, control and balanced living. Check out Dr. Lyndsay’s daily tips and blog at, on twitter @DrLyndsay and Facebook at Dr. Lyndsay Elliott, Inc.

By now, I’m sure you have heard of the tragic fire that occurred on Christmas Day 2011 in Stamford, Connecticut claiming the lives of two adults and three small children.   A fireplace ember is what is said to have started the blaze and everyone knows that accidents can happen.  I am haunted however by a quote I read in the LA Times

“Although a modern safety and fire-detecting system was being installed, officials said, there was no evidence that it was in use. The fire trapped the children and their grandparents on the upper floors.”

This is a tragedy that occurs all too often.   According to a NFPA 2008 telephone study, ninety-six percent of all homes have at least one smoke alarm.  That is a significant number, yet we still have so many tragedies.  Why?

Well, as it turns out, this tragedy is like so many others.  Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms

Do you have smoke detectors in your home?  Are they functioning properly?  Do they have an alternate power source in case you lose power?  Have you changed the batteries recently?  Are they interconnected so that they all sound together? 

Answering yes to all these questions is certainly a step in the right direction, but is it enough?  

It is a fact that working smoke alarms save lives.  They provide the early warning necessary that is often the difference between life and death.  However, smoke detectors do nothing to prevent fires.  Only a proactive step by you can do that.  Make sure that you are doing everything you can to protect your family, your home and yourself from fire hazards.    

Did you know that according to the US Fire Administration in 2010 statistically there was a residential fire every 87 seconds in the United States?  Excluding cooking fires, almost one-third of all these fires were electrical in nature!  Basic safety measures like having smoke detectors can greatly reduce your risk of death from a devastating home fire.  But what about the fire hazards that lurk behind your walls?  Over 80% of residential electrical fires occur because of wiring that is behind your walls, the things you can’t see! 

Do you use extension cords for permanent wiring?  Do you have a circuit breaker that keeps tripping?  Do your lights sometimes dim unexpectedly?  This is not normal!  How can you tell if these annoying electrical problems are a fire hazard?  Only a trained technician, using sophisticated tools intended to detect heat and loose connections behind the walls, can assess whether or not your electric system is functioning safely.  Just because you plug it in and it works doesn’t mean it is safe.  We often take electricity for granted and are not alerted to a problem until it is too late.  Do not make this mistake with your family or your home.  

Stephen Bender is President of Bana Electric Corp., providing CurrentSAFE ( , servicing the greater New York and Connecticut area.  Stephen holds an Electrical Engineering degree from RPI and has been a Master Electrician for over 18 years. 

Guest Blog Post by Rebecca Fisher

Every day I wondered if I would have enough money for gas or groceries. Every month I worried I might not be able to pay the utilities, car payment or the credit card that helped us get by when there just wasn’t enough money to go around. And every year, around the middle of November, the slow churn of anxiety began over the obligatory Christmas gifts. I knew I wouldn’t be able to give my daughter everything she hoped for, which wasn’t much when she was younger, but our holiday culture demands every last penny be spent on gifts, and when our pennies run out, there’s the plastic card that makes it all possible.

Like most parents, I cherished Christmas mornings, when my daughter would spring from her bed, waking me with the sky still dark, and behold the wonder of Santa Claus. I wanted it to be perfect, which seemed impossible on my bare budget.

To combat the anxiety and guilt over the impossible, I focused on what I could control. The following are ideas and suggestions made to me by other mothers that helped make Christmas our favorite holiday of the year without the anxiety, guilt and insurmountable debt.

1. Keep Christmas.  The best antidote to the consumerism Christmas we’re all bombarded with is Christmas itself.  Every year my family celebrates the greatest gift of all, Jesus – a gift of selfless sacrifice full of love and hope.  We read, sing and watch His story together.  The only literal gifts involved come from the magi, who offer all they have in thanksgiving and praise. When filled by that story, an iPod seems pretty petty.

But, alas, we are human, and part of our Christmas culture is the gifts. So unless I was going to cut that out entirely, I had to get creative. And I did, by sharing.

2. Share the list. I am blessed to have a large family and wonderful friends who love my daughter and help me raise her up.  They are my village and they often ask what my daughter wants for Christmas.  This is when I pull out the list and tell them exactly what she wants.  Her grandparents often ask to buy the more expensive items.  Of course, I agree.  I have no interest in taking all of the credit.  Most of it goes to Santa anyway.

3. Communicate with the other parent. While some ex-spouses are still busy trying to throw a wrench into every wheel of your life, some are more cooperative. With the latter, discuss what gifts your child wants, who will buy them and how they will be presented to your child. Why buy two of the same thing? Your child doesn’t need it and no one can really afford it. Work together.  It will make for a much merrier Christmas.

4. Be honest.  The older my daughter gets the more honest and realistic I can be with her when it comes to money.  While we don’t need to burden them with all of our financial woes, it’s important to teach them the limits of money. We came up with a budget and she would prioritize. Did she want one large gift or multiple small ones? She gets to decide what she really, really wants and I get to give it to her, though she still thanks Santa…out loud, sitting right next to me with a big smile.

The older my daughter gets, the more she focuses on giving gifts rather than receiving them. I watch her experience the joy of giving and making someone’s day a little brighter.  It’s a beautiful thing. Christmas became an opportunity to show her what’s really important about the day and to focus more on it myself.

Rebecca Fisher graduated with a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Education, and teaches high school English. Her own experiences living in a mortuary in Northern California and raising her daughter on her own serve as the inspiration for the many macabre and eccentric encounters in her novel. She lives in California with her husband and two daughters.

All the Wrong Places is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and the Rebecca’s website ( in both paperback and e-book format.

Guest Blog Post by Mary Jo Rapini, LPC

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and you are probably already making plans to visit friends and family. The kids are off from school, and you are looking forward to not having routines and school activities. Even though you sense peacefulness at this time without the hubbub, your child may not. Your child did not leave their “world” behind at school. Their world is increasingly the life they have online. It is the texts, the emails, the Face Book, and the MySpace. You can be a great parent in all aspects; however, if you don’t understand who your child is talking to online, what they are experiencing or who is coming into your home over the phone or computer, you are missing an important aspect of your child’s life.

Facebook, Time Warner and Cartoon Network recently announced the launch of an anti-bullying campaign to help change lives and make children safe from bullying. The national exposure of this campaign is exactly what this severe issue needs – public awareness and request for action. Parents are always more powerful in their children’s life if they form a united front. Below are tips for parents who have children using the Internet, social media networks and cell phones. 

Discussion, discussion, and more discussion.  Parents must have a basic knowledge about what’s going on in their kid’s online worlds from a verbal and physical standpoint. Since social networking has become a daily routine for kids, it needs to be part of the daily conversation. The more open you are with your kids and facilitate a safe and non-judgmental environment for conversation, the more likely they are to tell you if they come across an issue.

In addition to talking to kids about cyber bullying, parents should spread the word to other parents and act as a true advocate for the issue. The more you talk about it, the more useful information you can share. Comment on blogs, forward news stories, “re-share” on Face Book, stand up at the PTO meeting – use any communications necessary to get your voice heard.

Take the time.  The good news is that with a national campaign, there will be information, discussions, surveys, resources and solutions everywhere. Take the extra time to read and comprehend the information to make yourself knowledgeable on the issues and to act as a resource to other parents and kids.

Learn the warning signs.  As mentioned, information will be more available from a reference perspective so take advantage of it. Learn about the warning signs of bullying so that you can recognize it in your own child or any child. Remember that a sudden, drastic change in your child’s behavior might mean something is going on. Below are just a few signs of bullying, but don’t forget to trust your instincts:

  • Torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
  • Fear of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part with peers in organized activities
  • No interest in school or their grades
  • Weepy, sad, moody, or depressed after school behaviors
  • Complaints of headaches, stomachaches or other physical ailments
  • Loss of appetite or weight gain
  • Anxiousness or low-self-esteem

Teach children exactly what to do if they get an offensive or threatening post or comment. Take every opportunity to teach them how to manage themselves in confusing situations and when to bring the issues to you; when they do, believe them and show your support.

The Golden Rule does apply to online interactions. It may be the first rule taught to kids, “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” You set the expectations for manners and appropriate behavior. Coach them to behave online as you have taught them in real life.  Digital manners need to be reinforced just as regular manners do.

While you are taking the necessary measures to stop bullying and get more involved in what is going on online, there are a few other items that parents should pay attention to while monitoring social networking sites for cyber bullying.

  • “Friends” and connections – Make sure you know them all. Kids are likely to accept requests from almost anyone. Discuss with them as to why they should only be connected to people they know and only connected to adults who are family members. There is no good reason why adults and kids should be connected online.
  • Posted Photos – Take a close look at the types of photos your kids post and make sure you are comfortable with the content. Remember that the interpretation of the photo lies in the eyes of the beholder, meaning a simple photo in a bathing suit on a family vacation could mean different things to its viewers.  Also, take a look at photos posted of your child by others. What may be appropriate to one may not be appropriate to all. Additionally, with geo-tagging, photos show the location of the poster. Scary? 
  • Time spent online and where – Keep tabs on many hours per day your child is online, what sites they are on and where they are accessing these sites from.  

Parents can also help by simply monitoring their children’s social media accounts using services such as, an internet-based service that may provide an early warning of potentially concerning or dangerous online behavior. Each parent knows their child best, as well as their own work schedule. If you cannot monitor your child’s online posts, this type of service sends automatic email alerts concerning activity related to “friends,” photos or posts within their child’s social networking accounts like Face Book, Twitter, My Space and more.  The service helps parents protect their children 24/7 – no matter where children access their social network accounts. Our children are growing up in a virtual world. Their ability to understand how it works is much better than their ability to understand the consequences of what they’re exposing for millions to see. It is our job as their parents to secure their safety until they are mature enough to understand the permanence of their random, fleeting, and immature thoughts. – Mary Jo Rapini

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