Seat Belt Safety for Tweens

You are the #1 influence:

Make Sure Your Tween is Properly Buckled Up the Whole Ride, Every Time

Seat Belt Safety Starts With Good Role Models

Seat Belt Safety Starts With Good Role Models

Learning the importance of wearing a seat belt starts with a good role model—and that’s you. As a parent or caregiver, you are the number one influence on your child’s seat belt safety. Research shows that children whose parents buckle up are much more likely to buckle up themselves.

Consistency is Key

Consistently remind your child to buckle up properly the whole ride, and never assume they’re buckled up! Learn age-appropriate messages to motivate your tweens to buckle up, and make it a rule in your family that everyone follows the same practices as you: Always buckle up before moving the car, no matter how short or routine the drive, and make sure all children are buckled up properly.

The Proper Seat Belt Fit for Your Child

The risk of injury among child passengers is significantly higher when their seat belts are loose and/or improperly positioned. Learn about the proper seat belt fit for your child and why your children may not be wearing their seat belts correctly.

Front or Back—When is the Front Seat Safe for My Child?

All children under age 13 should ride in the back seat for maximum safety. The back seat is the safest place for your children because most crashes occur in the front of the car and the back seat is farthest from this impact.

Why Parents and Caregivers Forget About or Forego Seat Belt Safety

We know life as a parent is full of distractions and often hectic, making it easy to forget about or forego buckling up altogether. See if any of these excuses for not buckling up sound familiar, then do whatever it takes to buckle up and make sure your kids do the same. >> See Excuses

  1. Rushed and chaotic pre-travel routines
  2. Distractions
  3. Need to minimize conflict or keep the peace
  4. Seat belt discomfort or perceived nuisance when in a hurry
  5. Shorter distances, slower speeds and familiar roads falsely associated with lower risk
  6. Kids persistently asking to ride in the front seat
From 2009 to 2013, nearly half of tweens who died traveling in passenger vehicles were not wearing seat belts.

The Bottom Line on Child Seat Belt Safety

In addition to the rush and distractions of life, kids will often challenge the rules, putting up a fight when it comes to wearing a seat belt properly or sitting in the back seat. Parenting requires a lot of compromise, but seat belt safety isn’t up for negotiation. Follow these recommendations, and learn about the child passenger safety laws in your State, which may include back seat requirements. Remember: Never give up until they buckle up!


Helping Your Child Deal with a Breakup

By Michelle DeRamus, Ph.D.

Breaking off a romantic relationship is difficult at any age… Parents, here are some ideas about helping your child deal with a break up!

Breaking up is hard to do. Helping your child deal with a break-up is hard in a very different way. As parents, we want to protect our children and make their pain go away. Unfortunately, the older and more independent they get, the harder it can be to give that protection and remove that pain. Most parents want their children to eventually find happy, healthy relationships, but to reach that goal, almost all people go through a break-up (or two, or three…). While we cannot prevent this painful experience, as parents we must remember to LOVE our children through it:

Break Up 1

Listen attentively

Offer support

Veer away from minimizing the pain

Equip your child with coping skills by modeling them yourself

Read the whole article on Phenix City Children’s website

 Dr. DeRamus is a child psychologist with Preferred Medical Group and works at the Phenix City Children’s clinic. 

Counting Down to Summer Break

countdown calendar

Counting Down to Summer Break

I don’t know about your kids, but my boys are ready for summer vacation. Spring break gave them a taste of the upcoming lazy days of summer. And now vacation is all they can talk about.

To make the last weeks of school fun and enjoyable for your kids and (hopefully) to avoid the endless question of “how many more days until school is out”, here are two DYI countdown calendars you can easily create.

Refrigerator Countdown Calendar

The best place to shop for this craft is at your local school supply store. I spent a lovely morning perusing the various bulletin board sets and indulging my inner teacher. Our store had several cute ones to chose from, including a Dr Seuss set and a Pete the Cat Set. I picked one that didn’t look to “girly”. It set me back a cool $13, but I should be able to reuse the different pieces for other craft projects.

bulletin board calendar set

Assembly was a cinch. Simply pop out the shapes out and use tape or magnets to adhere the numbers to the calendar. Yes, son, the numbers are backwards. No, dear, the calendar is not upside down! I used two heavy duty magnets to mount the finished calendar to my refrigerator.  Once the countdown starts, remove a number each night until there are none left.

countdown calendar


Countdown Paper Chain

This calendar was supper easy and cost me absolutely nothing, since I already had the construction paper and sparkly letters on hand.

calendar DYI supplies

Assembly took longer — mainly because I had to cut the construction paper into strips and staple them together to form the chain. Next I had to peel the backings from the sparkly letters and stick them to the cloud. Finally, I stapled the chain to the cloud and punched a small hole in the top to hang it on the wall.

countdown calendar chain


I’m rather pleased with the results. Once the countdown starts, you can will remove a link from the bottom of the chain each day, until none are left.

How will you countdown the final days of school with your kids?

Now Available: New Review of Autism Interventions

autism interventions

New Review of Autism Interventions

Over the past decade many theories about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have fallen to the wayside. Fortunately, there has been and continues to be much progress in treatments.

The fact remains — with the right intervention, almost all children diagnosed with autism improve.  Even if your child is very young and has mild symptoms, and you’re not sure if she has autism, you need to deal with those mild symptoms she’s displaying. It’s important to dive into action immediately!

But which interventions are the best and most reliable? Which interventions are evidence-based? Which ones are most effective in a real-world setting?

On World Autism Awareness Day — April 2, 2015 — the National Autism Center (NAC) released results of the largest systematic review to date of interventions for autism. Findings identify “Established Interventions” known to be effective for children, adolescents, and adults.

This report is designed to give educators, parents, and practitioners the information you need to make informed choices.

Visit for more info or a free download of this important report!


Sniffles, Sneezes, and Spring Allergies in Kids

Spring Allergies

Sniffles, Sneezes, and Spring Allergies in Kids

Does your child have a stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes? Is she sneezing a lot?

Spring is in the air, and so are billions of tiny pollens that trigger allergy symptoms in many people. Children with allergies and asthma often suffer much more than just physical symptoms like sneezing or shortness of breath. Kids with allergies can experience emotional stress, sleeping difficulties, academic troubles and peer conflicts.

If this sounds like your child, now is the time to schedule a visit with your child’s pediatrician or an allergist. Here are five things you should know about spring allergies. Click here to read more.

1. Know the symptoms.

Is that “achoo” seasonal allergies or a cold? Sneezing, nose and throat itchiness, and eye itchiness plus redness usually signal allergies. Like a cold, allergies produce nasal drainage, but it looks clear and watery. With a cold, mucus drainage is thicker and yellow or green. Keep in mind that the symptoms varies from child to child — one may have more sneezing, another more of a runny nose, another more of the “itchies.”

2. It matters when you medicate!

Pollen season can start as early as February here in the Deep South. If your child suffers spring allergies, ACAAI recommends starting her medication two weeks before her symptoms typically begin. While no “cure” exists for spring allergies — nasal sprays, inhalants and oral OTC antihistamines can help manage her symptoms.

3. Allergies can trigger or worsen asthma.

Allergies and asthma often go hand in hand. While the triggers vary from person to person, pollen is one of the most common substance that causes allergic asthma.  Other triggers include dust mites, molds, pet dander, and even (yuck!) cockroach droppings. If your child is coughing, wheezing, or having trouble breathing, carefully monitor her symptoms and talk to your child’s pediatrician.

4. Pollen Avoidance

To reduce your child’s exposure to the things that trigger her allergy symptoms, do the following:

  • Keep your child indoors on dry, windy days — the best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Keep your house and car windows closed to keep pollen out. Create a pollen-free zone in your child’s bedroom.
  • Consider a HEPA filter on central air conditioner units or a personal air filter to cut indoor pollen.
  • Shower and wash your child’s hair before going to bed after outdoor play.
  • Grass and weed pollen tend to peak in the morning, so plan outdoor play toward evening when possible.

5. When in doubt, get checked out.

If avoidance and medications don’t adequately manage your child’s symptoms, talk to your child’s pediatrician or an allergist about allergy immunotherapy. Find out exactly what your child is allergic to, and develop a plan.

 Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI)