Category Archives: Parenting

8 Practical Beach Must Haves For Mom, Dad, and Kids

8 Beach Must Haves

If you’re heading to the beach this summer with the family, keep everyone safe and protected so you can enjoy the day. Summertime means trips to the beach and pool where the whole family can relax and soak up the sun. It’s also important to be aware of the dangers that are associated with trips to the beach and staying outdoors all day. There are several products you can pack with you that are practical for the beach and will become your go-to items for family outings this summer. Denise Whitney, mom inventor of the Parking Pal magnet, shares her favorite beach must haves for the whole family.

1. Noblo

The Noblo Umbrella Buddy is a practical, problem-solving product that anchors umbrellas for safety and sun protection. Invented by two moms to stop fly away beach umbrellas (and the injuries that can result from this), Noblo is a simple to use beach umbrella anchor. Three easy steps: 1) Fill Noblo with sand, 2) velcro to beach umbrella, and 3) relax at the beach. Noblo will take care of your beach umbrella.



2. Parking Pal

Parking lots are dangerous and it only takes a few seconds for a tragedy to occur; keep your kids safe with the Parking Pal. The Parking Pal is designed to be placed on the side of your vehicle, where it will remain safely attached at all times. While in a parking lot, children place one hand on their Parking Pal creating a safe spot. It was specifically created with bright colors, playful illustrations, and a small palm children love to place their hands on. After a couple learning sessions, your child will discover that the Parking Pal is their safe spot, and they will know where to go the second they are outside the car. It also helps teach them that parking lots are no place to play.


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3. Simple Sarongs

A Simple Sarong is a swimsuit cover-up for women of all ages looking for a practical cover-up that makes them feel gorgeous. A Simple Sarong is made from a custom-woven beach towel that is lightweight and quick drying, yet luxuriously soft. With clever placement of buttons and buttonholes along one length of the towel, it easily adjusts and buttons to flatter women of all sizes. This versatile and absorbent cover-up can be worn around the hips, waist or chest. Colorful print designs on both sides give women a beach towel and cover-up combo that gets noticed.


simple sarongs

4. Refresh-a-Baby

A beach bag necessity! Refresh-a-Baby turns ordinary water bottles into baby bottles keeping baby happy anywhere, anytime making feeding time easy for moms and dads! Simply pop the leak free Refresh-a-Baby on a water bottle of your choice, just add baby formula, and baby is ready to be hydrated.


refresh a baby

5. SwimZip

SwimZip swimwear is the brand parents trust for stylish kid swimsuits with fantastic UPF 50+ sun protection. SwimZip UV swimwear makes award winning baby swimsuits, toddler bathing suits, and child swimwear. Parents love SwimZip’s signature full length zipper on its rash guard swim shirts, which make them incredibly easy to put-on and take-off. Whether it is ruffles, bows, flowers, polka dots, or adorable patterns, award winning SwimZip swimwear has the look that toddlers and parents love. Seen on the children of celebrities, on Shark Tank, and sold around the world, SwimZip makes stylish UV sun protection swimwear a zip!


wimZip 2013

6. Eyes Cream Shades

Eyes Cream Shades is a leader in providing quality sunwear for kids ages six months and above. As everyone knows, sunglasses are not “toys” or novelty items, but serve an important health function: protecting precious eyes. All Eyes Cream frames are fashion forward, comfortable, as well as durable; and all lenses are polycarbonate and provide 100% UVA & UVB protection. Many celebrity moms and dads sport their little ones in the Eyes Cream Shades brand.


sun glasses

7. Sand Gone

Sand Gone is a dry powder that when applied to sandy parts of your body removes the sand leaving your skin soft and smooth. Sand Gone is made with all natural ingredients with a coconut fragrance. It works on both wet and dry sand; a must-have for beach goers or after playing in the sand.


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8. Swimlids

Swimlids will change the way you think about a sun hat. The fabric is constructed of UPF 50+ fabric (wet or dry) and the hat will not come off during any summer activity. Swimlids will stay on your head while you cannonball into the pool. If you are an active person and you care about sun protection, Swimlids is the best sun protection hat out there. Swimlids are mom invented and patent pending. Swim. Splash. Play. Protect.


swim lids

ChildProof Your Car With These 5 Tips- Making Summer Travel Safe

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The summer season is the time when families like to pack up the car and head off on a road trip for their summer vacation. These trips in the car can be fun and entertaining for all, but when your kids are cooped up in the car for too long they end up getting cranky and bored. One solution is to make several sightseeing stops along the way so everyone gets a chance to stretch out their legs. However, it’s important to keep a close eye on your children when they’re out of the car and in a busy parking lot. During your family travels this summer, keep your kids safe with these five ways for childproofing your car.

1. Parking Pal Magnet

Parking lots are dangerous and it only takes a few seconds for a tragedy to occur, keep your kids safe with the Parking Pal. The Parking Pal is designed to be placed on the side of your vehicle, where it will remain safely attached at all times. While in a parking lot, children place one hand on their Parking Pal creating a safe spot. It was specifically created with bright colors, playful illustrations, and a small palm children love to place their hands on. After a couple learning sessions, your child will discover that the Parking Pal is their safe spot, and they will know where to go the second they are outside the car. It also helps teach them that parking lots are no place to play.
Available for $8.99 at

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2. Buckle Up

It’s crucial that you make sure your kids are buckled up at all time. Teach your children to always buckle up as soon as they get in the car. You must also lead by example because your kids will not be willing to listen if they see that you are not abiding by the same rule. It’s required by law for kids to wear a seat belt and for adults too in most states. Different booster seats and car seats also have various buckles so read the manual to see if you are correctly buckling in your kids.

3. Car Reverse Alert Beeper by Dreambaby®

The Dreambaby® Car Reverse Alert Beeper will alert anyone behind your vehicle that you are backing up. Simply stick the beeper over your reversing lights and it will emit a high-pitched noise when the vehicle is put into reverse. Little ones are often hard to detect through mirrors and windows so this will be an extra precaution to help prevent accidents when backing up your car. Available for $9.99 at

dream baby

4. Trunk Safety

These days all cars are required to feature a glow-in-the-dark interior release handle inside the trunk of the car so anyone can get out of a locked trunk. Still, older car models do not include this feature. When children are playing and parents aren’t around, the trunk of the car may seem like a good hiding spot. Kids do not know any better and this can pose a serious danger. Make sure your children cannot access the car unsupervised. If you have an older car, a retrofit Quick-Out Emergency Trunk Release kit is available for $9.99 at

5. Childproof the Interior

Don’t forget about the interior of your car when getting ready to child-proof. When driving with your kids, enable the childproof locks if you can to prevent kids from opening the door while the car is in motion. If you have any dangerous items in the backseat like an ice scraper, wiper fluid, or car cleaner, take them out and keep them in the trunk of the car away from the kids. The foldable back seats of your car should always be kept locked in an upright position to prevent kids from getting into the trunk.

For more car safety tips visit Make your summer vacation fun and safe with these childproofing tips.

6 Tips for Dealing With Picky Eaters

How to Deal With a Picky Eater

Having a picky eater is a challenge at any age.  It usually happens in toddlers and preschoolers as they’re still getting used to new tastes and textures.  Below are 6 tips to handle your picky eater and make sure she still gets plenty of good nutrition. Plus, I have included one of my favorite products to encourage healthy eating.  The “Today I Ate a Rainbow Chart.”  It’s a fun way for kids to keep track of the healthy foods they eat.



Here are some other tips to dealing with picky eaters.

Think of your job as offering, not forcing

If your child is hungry, he’ll eat!  Therefore, don’t think of your job as a force feeder or monitor of how much he did or didn’t eat, instead focus on offing good choices at every meal, and allow him to make the right choices.

Set a schedule

Be sure that you’re having set meal and snack times.  This will mean that your child has less opportunity to fill up on snacks before meal time.  If they are in the habit of asking for a snack a half hour before dinner and you’re in the habit of giving them a pack of fruit gummies so you can get back to cooking dinner, of course they aren’t going to eat your dinner!

Don’t bribe her with sweets

Don’t get in the habit of forcing your child to eat “just one more bite” before she gets her dessert.  This does nothing more than feed her appetite for sugary treats!

Hide the good stuff

Try to find some ways to hide vegetables in things that your kid loves! With one quick online search you can learn how to put sweet potatoes in chocolate chip cookies, make cauliflower tots that look exactly like chicken nuggets and how to make a sauce for pasta made from carrots and cauliflower.

Get them involved with preparation

Getting a young one involved in some aspect of preparing the food is one of the best ways to get them involved. If you have a garden, they’ll love every step from planting to watering to harvesting.  If you don’t garden, you can let them choose a fruit or veggie every week at the store. Once they’re old enough they can help stir and pour ingredients (avoid letting the touch anything that could be dangerous, of course).  By involving them in the preparation in some way, they take a sense of pride in the food and are more likely to eat it!

Never fight

Fighting, arguing, coaxing and bribing just don’t work!  In fact, they usually increase mealtime anxiety, so just let it go and trust that you’re doing your best by offering good choices and your child will eat when he’s hungry.



12 Unique and Helpful Products for Children With Autism

12 unique products for children with autism

Parking Pal was excited to be included in an article about products that are useful for children with autism.  Leave a comment below if you know of other products that would be useful.


Food Fights on Thanksgiving

Guest Blog Post:

If you’re anticipating Thanksgiving with a bit of anticipation, it may be because of the shopping, the

lengthy preparation, or the guests. But if you’re a parent, it could be the fact that your child likely won’t eat anything on the table! Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole-really all kid repellent!

Many parents know that their children are likely to fill up on cheese and crackers from the appetizer table, and not touch a piece of a turkey. Children are not at all tricked by the term sweet potato. To them it doesn’t taste sweet like a donut; it’s still a potato! And roasted vegetables? Where’s the ranch dressing to dip them in.

After years of struggling with my children, I figured out-they aren’t likely to eat much of anything on the table, and especially crazy Aunt Judy’s cucumber Jell-O salad. I am not offended that my children won’t chow down on food they aren’t familiar with, but the relatives who broiled, baked and sautéed for days on end, they may be offended. They don’t understand that for a four year old, dressing is a pretty foreign concept. And a turkey thigh is very far removed from a chicken nugget.

The best advice for any holiday meal is to give you children a myriad of choices on their plate. Try to give them a bit of everything, and set them down at the kids table with an encouraging “please try a bite of everything, you never know what you will like!” Your child may not try everything, heck, they may not try anything! But you put the effort in to introduce them to the feast.

Many times this is the best we can ask for. Children need to see and eat something dozens of times before it’s comfortable for them. For this reason, toddlers and preschoolers are unlikely to eat much of what is presented to them at Thanksgiving. Tell great Aunt Judy, it’s not personal, it’s developmental. And then make up for your thanksgiving clip art kid not eating the scary Jell-O salad and have a second helping. Remember, it’s just one meal. So relax and try not to stress out about it.

Share with us your tips and trick to get your picky eater to try new food at Thanksgiving.

Help, My Mommy Is Lost

By Kim Estes- Guest Blogger
I remember when I was a kid, my friend had this story in her family that even to this day, is a centerpiece of her families “funny stories”. The kids all remember shopping with Mom, when the manager’s voice came over the store intercom. “Will the parents of a girl named “Jeff”, please come claim your child”. What can I say, it was the 70’s and “Jeff” did indeed look like a girl with his long mop of hair. Over the years, the focus has been on the humor in the gender mix up. As a parent, I now listen to the story and think, “wow, I think that is amazing that Jeff knew what to do when he got lost”.

When we are separated from a loved one in a public place, the reactions can vary. If you are at help, my mommy is lostHome Depot, intently discussing your opinions on faucets, only to turn around and realize your partner is gone and you are babbling to yourself, can be at a minimum, embarrassing. When a parent and child are separated, you go from fear to panic in 60 seconds. For the parent of a child who is a known “sprinter” it seems you always live a constant state of anxiety every time you leave the house.

In this day and age, kids are strapped in with the security of Fort Knox in everything from the grocery cart to the stroller to their Burly. Eventually, they get their wobbly sea legs under them, they move on fast forward. So how does a parent go about talking to their kids about what to do if and when they ever get lost? Well, here are some age appropriate tips on how to talk to your kids without scaring them but empowering them to know what to do if the situation ever arises.

9 months – 2 years: At this age, you can start to introduce the concept of a “Safe mom/Dad with kids”.
You can ask them to point out “the moms with a stroller” in the store. Make a game of it! This will help them with the next level of discussion later.

2-4 years- One thing that you never want to do when teaching your children personal safety is to scare them. With some kids, even the concept or thought of being lost, even for a nano second, is very scary. The word lost can seem very permanent to a child. As an alternate to using the word “lost” you can insert the word “directions” and use role play examples that involve moms or dads and not the child. Here is an example: If you are in the store with you child, you can say to them “OK, if Daddy was waaaay over in the broccoli section and you and I are waaaay over here in the bread section (or maybe the wine section, depending on how your week is going) who could Daddy ask directions from if he needed to find us? Do you see a mom with kids? This is the simplest introduction of “what to do” in a very non threatening way. You can explain to your child that sometimes we get lost or maybe we just need directions on how to get back to each other in the store.

5 – 8: At this age, most kids are in school and are getting used to spending some time away from Mom & Dad. They have gotten used to asking adults for help. At this age, you can talk to your child more about what to do if they get lost and add an option to go find a “cash register” person if they need to locate you.

Another option for your child (and a personal favorite of my kids) is the “freeze and freak out”. It is exactly like it sounds. Freeze in your tracks and yell MOM! I have told my kids that when a mom hears a kids distress call, every mom in the store will come to help. We train our kids to use “indoor voices” so this is concept that may seem really strange to the kids. They may not think they can yell for help in a store. Make sure to let them know that they can yell and they can do so LOUDLY!

Here are the “DON’TS: DON’T instruct your child to only find a policeman or security officer. Kids can often mistake any person in a suit or uniform as a policeman. Plus, when is the last time you saw a uniformed officer patrolling Safeway or Nordstrom?

Last but not least talk early and often with your kids about personal safety. At every age and stage, make sure that your kids know to never, ever, ever leave the store without the grown up they came in with. If you come in with the nanny, grandma, grandpa, mommy or daddy, you leave with them. My kids think it is a funny notion that I would never leave a store until I found them. I would stay in the store looking for them, even if I had to spend the night in the store, live of frozen pizza and pop-tarts and sleep on the marshmallow bags until I found them. And of course, I would.

savvy parents logoAbout the Author: Kim Estes is the owner of Savvy Parents Safe Kids and has worked with parents for over 15 years, educating them on various parenting topics. Kim is a certified prevention educator through the National Security Alliance, the Kid Safe Network and is a Darkness 2 Light facilitator. As a Child Safety Expert, Kim has appeared on local and national TV and Radio shows, helping to raise awareness on the importance of prevention education. For more information about her work or to schedule a workshops go to:

Somebody call 911

These are words no one ever wants to say or hear. The fact remains, that you may. I know this for 911 safety tipstwo reasons – I have had to call 911 (several times) and I used to be a 911 dispatcher (ambulance only). There are more than a few things I learned about calling 911 while working for them that I otherwise would not have ever known, and I am going to pass that knowledge on to you, dear reader.  Most are common sense. So….onto the Safety Saturday Tips!!!

– Learn and teach nine-one-one, not 911. Silly for me to say, I know, but in a true crisis, people say some really strange things, and sometimes logic goes right out the window. It is nine-one-one. Not nine-eleven. There is no nine-eleven on the phone.

– Remain calm. It is hard. I KNOW it is hard. You (possibly) will want to cry, scream and will someone to get to you faster. I assure you, they are on the way before you even know it.  If you are calm, the dispatcher can help you help the person in need. Being calm will also help you to…..

– State your address and phone number clearly. Usually your address will show up because it is linked to your phone number and you may only need to verify it. Unless technology has changed, this only holds true for a land line. If you call 911 on your cell phone, no address comes through.

– Answer the questions asked of you, no matter how dumb they may seem. Yes, the dispatcher heard you say that someone has sliced their leg open something horrible and can even hear them screaming in the background. So when you are asked if they are conscious, answer the question. When they ask if they are breathing, answer the question. When they ask if they have a pulse, answer the question (I will explain more about this later).

– Follow the directions the dispatcher gives you. And please, no matter what…..

– DO NOT HANG UP! Please. Unless the dispatcher tells you to.

A couple of other things that can be helpful –

– Make sure your street address is clear on your home or property or both.

– For each person in the home have a list of medications and any allergies written down and keep it  in an easily accessible  place. The paramedics will want this.

– If able, open the door to help identify the home.

– If there is more than one person besides the person in need, send them outside (if there is someone there who is in a panic, they are a good person to send outside to wait for help).

– Assure the person in need that help is on the way.

While the tips above are specific to medical assistance, I am pretty sure they would translate over to police and fire.

Some tips just for kids.

– Teach them nine-one-one, your address and phone number. ParkingPal’s Emergency phone list can be a good tool to keep handy.

– If someone in the home has a medical condition, teach them that as well.

– Set up a 911 drill at home (without actually calling). The main reason to make sure they know the address.

– Check if your city has any kind of Safety Day. If they do, take your kids and let them meet your city’s police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and EMT’s. Let them get to know them as real people and not just cool cars with the lights and sirens. Because Emergency Vehicles are cool, until one gets behind you with the lights going because you were driving just a little too fast on the highway, not that I know that from experience.


Please keep in mind that different counties probably have different 911 systems, and what I say may not be correct for your county – I am only familiar with one type. The system I used had computer generated questions based on the initial complaint. The system would not let us go onto the next question without an answer. The first questions being breathing, pulse and consciousness. Because these are the MOST IMPORTANT ONES (for a medical emergency) Again, I do not know if all emergency systems work this same way.

I’m a Big Kid Now- Car Seat Safety


Another school year has begun. They’re another year older and one step closer toMC900436925 being a grown up in every sense of the word. Especially in their minds. They’re back at school, making new friends, and ever eager to impress and fit in. They have a built in desire to be independent, and graduating out of their car seat is no different.

You’ve heard it all before right? I’m a big kid. I’m not a baby anymore. I don’t need a baby seat. None of my friends have to sit in baby seats. It’s not cool! So what are you to do? What’s the truth? Is it just as safe in a regular seat belt? Do they really need to be in a booster seat? What’s the difference? How do we keep them safe and avoid the battle of our common sense versus their witty excuses?

The truth is that letting them sit in a big boy or girl seat with a seat-belt designed to protect a fully grown adult ISN’T just as safe. It’s not the same. Their bodies are NOT just smaller versions of our. Their bone structure is less mature. They ARE smaller but that means the same energy from hitting that tree had a lot more room to spread out on me and you than it did on them. Reality is that being in a booster seat is SAFER. It correctly positions the seat-belt over their bones and not their neck and belly. This helps to stop the movement during an accident. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration NHTSA generally recommends booster seats for kids 4 to 8 years old, less than 40 pounds, and under 4 feet 9 inches, although it’s a really good idea to check with authorities regarding your local laws.

The solution? Make their booster seat fun. Dress it up. Let them put their favorite stickers on it. Personalize it! Talk about it. Refrain from using phrases like “baby seat” and replace them instead with chants like “belts over bones”. It’s not about being grown up. It’s about their safety. Let them know that this seat is specially designed to protect them. Most importantly, set a great example. Always buckle up, and ALWAYS use the booster seat for your child.

For more information regarding the use of booster seats please visit

To find a local car seat inspection check

This blog post was written by :
Jeremy B. Richter
Critical Care Paramedic
Child Safety Advocate
Founder of SAFE DAWG

SAFE DAWG is a child injury prevention program that teaches safety to kids K-8. A big part of their program includes Free car seat checks. Jeremy is a National Child Passenger Safety Technician. Stay tuned for more safety post from Jeremy.