Tip of the Week
From a car seat and crib to diapers and daycare, little ones come with big expenses. In fact, American parents spend an average of $14,000 on their baby’s first year. But you can buy the best for your baby without spending a bundle. Use this go-to guide to gear up for less.
Smart savings strategies. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the baby superstore and fill up your cart with products you may not need or use. Instead, think “less is more.” These money-saving tips from Sandra Gordon, author of “Consumer Reports Best Baby Products,” “Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear” and the forthcoming “Save Dollars on Diapers,” can help you stretch your new-baby budget and buy right.
- Shop store brands. While breast milk is best, store-brand infant formula is a great option for moms who want to formula feed or supplement breast milk with formula. Infant formula is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consequently, store-brand formulas are nutritionally comparable to name-brand formulas, yet cost up to 50 percent less. Store-brand formula saves parents up to $600 a year.
- Think neutral. If you’re planning on having more children, register or buy gender-neutral-colored products so you’ll feel comfortable using that product again for your next baby. This year, purple is the new pink or blue. You can never go wrong with lime green, red, orange, yellow, silver, black or green.
- Try reusable diapers. Today’s cloth diapers are almost as easy to use as disposables. They’re better for your budget - and not to mention the environment - saving you loads of cash by the time your baby is potty trained.
- Buy multitasking products. It pays to buy gear that does more than one thing or that can be repurposed later. Opt for a diaper pail that can be converted to a trash can, a plastic “grass” baby bottle drying rack that can also dry your delicate wine glasses, a baby blanket that’s also a nursing cover and a play mat, and a play yard that functions as a mobile changing table and a travel crib. These days, you can even use your cell phone as a baby monitor. The list goes on.
- Get a free breast pump. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, as many as 80 percent of health insurance companies are now covering the cost of a double electric breast pump. Insurance companies don’t have to provide a premium model for free, but they know it gives moms the best shot at breast feeding success.
Family Movie Night
“Million Dollar Arm”
Length: 124 minutes
Synopsis: A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Indian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.
Violence/scary rating: 2
Sexual-content rating: 2
Profanity rating: 2
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2
Family Time rating: 2. A good film for the whole family.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“A Child’s Introduction to Art: The World’s Greatest Paintings and Sculptures,” by Meredith Hamilton and Heather Alexander
Synopsis: “A Child’s Introduction to Art” introduces kids ages 9 through 12 to the art world’s most famous painters, styles and periods, all brought to life through full-color photographs of 40 masterpieces, as well as charming original illustrations. The book highlights Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Diego Velasquez, Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Mary Cassatt and Andy Warhol, providing information on their life, inspirations, influences, technique and a full-color photo of one of their signature works of art. It also includes an overview of various styles and periods (Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism, etc.), instruction on how to view and appreciate art, and information on the color wheel and other tools artists employ. Fun art projects throughout, such as Can You Find It?, Q-tip pointillism, making a stained-glass window with tissue paper, and Spatter Paint like Pollock, allow kids to learn about painting techniques and explore their own artistic abilities. Also includes five masterpiece paintings to color. - Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Safety tips for toddlers
Because your child is moving around more, he will come across more dangers as well. Dangerous situations can happen quickly, so keep a close eye on your child. Here are a few tips to help keep your growing toddler safe:
- Do NOT leave your toddler near or around water (for example, bathtubs, pools, ponds, lakes, whirlpools, or the ocean) without someone watching her. Fence off backyard pools. Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death among this age group.
- Block off stairs with a small gate or fence. Lock doors to dangerous places such as the garage or basement.
- Ensure that your home is toddler-proof by placing plug covers on all unused electrical outlets.
- Keep kitchen appliances, irons and heaters out of reach of your toddler. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
- Keep sharp objects such as scissors, knives and pens in a safe place.
- Lock up medicines, household cleaners and poisons.
- Do NOT leave your toddler alone in any vehicle (that means a car, truck, or van) even for a few moments.
- Store any guns in a safe place out of his reach.
- Keep your child’s car seat rear-facing as long as possible. Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Tip of the Week