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Coping with Kids: Blanket designed to protect mom-to-be against computer radiation

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Belly Armor
Belly Armor blankets have their signature Radiashield Technology, which aims to protect women and their unborn children from radiation emitted by computers, cellphones and iPads.
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Metro
Marbles

Belly Armor is a snuggly winter blanket designed for the mother-to-be, who can use the blanket on the couch along with her laptop.

Belly Armor blankets have Radiashield Technology, which is designed to protect women and their unborn children from radiation emitted by computers, cellphones and iPads. The Belly Armor blanket comes in three styles and costs $69.

Details: www.bellyarmor.com

Parents can learn about social-media behavior

Shady Side Academy is hosting a free parent-education program about social media and online behavior led by Dr. Leonard Sax. a nationally known child-development expert.

The program, “Instagram Ate My Daughter … and My Son Won’t Stop Playing Grand Theft Auto,” will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Hillman Center for Performing Arts on the Shady Side Academy Senior School campus, 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel.

Parents of elementary, middle and high-school students are invited to the free program.

What do parents need to know about Twitter, Instagram and other social-media tools their kids are using? What are kids really doing online and on their smartphones? How can parents effectively monitor this technology? Which video games are OK and which are not? How much time playing video games is too much?

Sax will answer these questions and more, and empower parents with effective strategies for addressing these topics at home. A question and answer period will follow.

Download the program flyer at www.shadysideacademy.org/leonardsax.

Reducing bottle use doesn’t prevent toddler weight gain

Toddlers who continue to use bottles beyond 12 months to 15 months of age tend to be overweight, a study reported by Reuters Health said. But simply switching them to sippy cups may not prevent extra weight gain, a new study finds. Doctors recommend introducing sippy cups at 6 months and weaning toddlers off bottles completely by the time they’re 15 months old.

Be alert to safety hazards of toys

As the holiday season rolls in, kids will be getting new toys, and parents need to consider safety issues. Dr. Young-Jin Sue, attending physician at the Pediatric Emergency Department of The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, N.Y., offers the following tips:

• Children younger than 3 face the biggest risk for choking. Avoid toys that are small enough to hide inside a cardboard toilet-paper roll. Choose larger toys with few detachable parks. Kids can ingest things like buttons, pull-ties and snaps.

• Choose sturdy toys with quality construction and durability, and examine them for wear and tear throughout the year.

• Toy packaging with elements like small clips and ties, plastic bags and long cords can pose hazards. Promptly discard all packaging.

Read the labels regarding safety-testing standards. Battery compartments should be difficult for a child to open, and some paints and glazes on toys contain lead and other harmful chemicals.

• If you buy toys considered more dangerous — like toys with sharp edges or toys that explode — insist that your child use safety equipment like helmets and goggles.

Help kids cope with upsetting events

In an age when school shootings and other upsetting incidents regularly appear on the news, parents may wonder what to say to their kids to help them cope. Dr. Prakash Masand, a psychiatrist and president of Global Medical Education, suggests asking questions about how your kids are feeling, being supportive, encouraging them to express their feelings and never ridiculing them.

Other suggestions include:

• Be honest with your kids and explain that, although these events are rare, they do happen sometimes. Emphasize that school is generally a safe place.

• Remain calm. Your kids will absorb your mood when you react to stress.

• Maintain the child’s normal daily routine. This can be comforting.

• Spend extra time with your child to reinforce a sense of security.

• Watch for warning signs of severe reactions, like nightmares, exaggerated startle response.

Mixing caffeine, alcohol common for underage drinkers

College-age drinkers who mix caffeine and alcohol are more likely to make risky decisions and require medical care, research has shown. A new study suggests younger drinkers often combine caffeine and alcohol as well. “Although there have been several articles about alcohol and caffeine use among college students, little was known about this phenomenon among younger adolescents,” Dr. Michael Siegel told Reuters Health in an email.

Send parenting news to Coping With Kids in care of Rebecca Killian, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212, or e-mail rkillian@tribweb.com.

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