Safe At Home: More Than Babyproofing

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As an impressionable third grader, I developed an acute fear of fire after a less than sensitive conversation with the visiting firemen.

 Fireman: “And how would you tell the firemen how to get to your house?”

 3rd grade Me: “Well, you would turn down X road, and our house is the one with a lot of shrubs.”

Fireman: “That isn’t a good enough description. We might not be able to find your house and your family could burn up in your house.”

 Okay, I admit, that probably isn’t exactly what he said, but that is what I remember. And ever since then, I have been very concerned about home safety.

 With lots of time to think about the future while lounging on the couch, heavily pregnant with twins, I began making lists…oh, did I make lists! And one of the lists I made, was in regard to home safety. Here are some steps we took to prepare our home for a family.

1. Bought and instaledl a smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector on EVERY floor. A local fire chief told me that the best kind to buy are the ones that plug in to an outlet…you never have to worry about batteries.

2. Have a fully charged fire extinguisher on each floor. I have one near the kitchen, and outside of the kids rooms. They do loose their potency, so check them every few months.

3. Swivel Outlet Covers: When preparing the kid’s room, my husband had the foresight to install swivel outlet covers. The way these work is simple…if the item plugged in is removed from the outlet, the outlet holes are immediately covered. Absolutely nothing can be shoved into the holes. We have the regular plastic covers in the rest of the house, but I feel better knowing that I can leave the kids in their room while I dry my hair, with one less hazard to worry about.

 4. I highly recommend furniture tethers. They are inexpensive, but very useful. My kiddos love to practice standing using their dresser handles, and mob me when I am putting away their clothes. They love to take the clean and folded clothes out of their drawers. Knowing that the dresser is secured to the wall allows them to play without Mama having to redirect them constantly.

5. Gates at the top of the stairs are a good idea! Yep, one of our kiddo’s recently took a header, and we learned the hard way, that we should have a gate at the top of the stairs, even if we have a gate in the nursery.

And althought this doesn’t fit under the heading of “safety,” I highly recommend purchasing a small fire-proof lock box. Unless you have a safety deposit box, you will want someplace safe to store the birth certificates and social security cards of your new babies when they arrive in the mail.

 It is never too late to take steps toward home safety. Stores like Lowes, Home Depot and Babies ‘R Us carry a variety of babyproofing items (cabinet locks, toilet locks, etc) that you may want to consider purchasing. Obviously, as parents we can’t protect our kids from all pain or accidents, but we can take some practical steps toward making our homes a safer environment. Now, if only I knew how to keep them from going in two different directions outside of the house!

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Product Review: GoGo Kidz Travelmate

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My favorite product for traveling with young twins is the GoGo Kidz Travelmate. This attachment straps onto a car seat essentially turning the car seat into a wheelie bag. Instead of lugging a double stroller, two car seats, and two kids through the airport, you can wheel each kid. Prepare to be stopped when you travel with these because people want to know what they are and where you bought it.

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Using Travelmates made our trip logistics easier. At the curb, my husband Jon put the Travelmates on the car seats while I entertained the kids in the car. I wheeled the kids into the terminal while Jon parked the car. We each wheeled one child through security. We quickly strapped the kids in before moving away from security.

As for getting on and off the plane, there is no easy way to do this with young twins. If you do not buy seats for your kids, you can gate-check the car seat/Travelmate combo. We bought seats for our boys so it was a little more complicated.

We took the Travelmate off the car seat before getting on the plane. We put each child in a car seat and carried the car seat with a child in it. We asked the flight attendants to stow the Travelmates for us as soon as we got on board. Upon arrival, we carried the boys into the terminal in the car seats before attaching the Travelmate.

Without Travelmates, I found the idea of air travel with twin toddlers daunting. With Travelmates, I can’t say air travel with toddlers is easy, but it is certainly much, much easier and means one less thing to worry over. And if you ever need to RUN from one terminal to another terminal at O’Hare Airport because you have only 10 minutes to make a connection and they are not holding the plane for you, you will want to kiss your Travelmates. Trust me on this one.

Read all about the GoGo Kidz Travelmate at their website www.GoGoBabyz.com.

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Product Review: 5 Products You Can Live Without

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I surveyed the moms behind the scenes about their least favorite baby items. Tested and tried by a variety of twin moms, none of these products made the grade.  

1. Wipe warmer. Every mom thought this was a waste. First there’s the issue that you constantly need to restock it. You go through a LOT of wipes with multiple babies. And most multiple parents have multiple changing stations, particularly those of us with two-story homes. Wipe warmers are known to brown wipes, dry out wipes, and spill water. And really, most newborns don’t like diaper changes regardless of whether the wipes are warm or not.

 2. Peepee teepee. Seriously? A teepee to catch urine? Here’s how to handle sprayers (boys and girls) without porting around peepee teepees. Open diaper to expose cold air to sensitive area. Before spraying commences, press diaper back onto area until spraying is done. Then remove diaper and replace with new diaper. Voila. I just saved you $10.

3. Baby oil. This has one use in my house – removing MY mascara. We didn’t even use it for Alex’s cradle cap because olive oil worked better. American Wife has a great write-up on this.

4. Ear thermometer. We recommend a fast rectal thermometer instead. You can use the rectal thermometer under the arm or rectally. Definitely get two rectal thermometers and label them with the child’s name or initial… for obvious reasons.

5. Bottle sterilizer. Medela makes great sterilizer bags that are much easier to use. You can also put bottles and parts in the dishwasher to sterilize them. Make sure you read the instructions to determine what can and can not be put in the dishwasher.

Honorable mention: Dry-clean only newborn clothes. They do exist… why, I don’t know.

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Product Review: Top 5 Baby Products You Need to Have for Multiples

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Let’s face it – having twins is expensive. I polled the contributors of this blog to share their top 5 must-have products. The lists varied widely but there were some common favorites.

1. The double snap n go. You may think it is a waste of money buying something you will only use for a few months, but it may be the best money you ever spend. This item was the top reason I was able to make it out of the house on solo trips. You don’t have to take the babies out of their infant seats. I can not stress how critical this is when you have two babies. While it does attract attention when you’re out in public, you can easily shield both babies to keep nosey strangers and supergerms away.

Although this costs $100, you can usually find used ones through your local twins group. I bought mine second-hand for $50 and sold it third-hand for $25.

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2. Two boppies. You are not going to be able to use a boppy for tandem breastfeeding twins. The boppies are for everything except breastfeeding – bottle feeding, tummy time, sitting time, just hanging out. You will use the boppies every day and they will make an appearance in many photos, so make sure you get covers you like.

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And if you ever wondered how to bottle-feed two babies at the same time….. two boppys!

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3. Two pack and plays (PNP). My boys are 21 months old and we still have a PNP set up.

* At first, you can use the bassinett attachment so they can sleep in your room.
* You can move them to the big part for naps in places other than their cribs. This is particularly helpful if you have a two-story house.
* Use the PNPs to give your multiples space to play away from each other.
* A PNP is a great place for new crawlers to be contained when you want to take a shower or need them to be in a safe place.
* Fill a PNP with toys to entertain one baby while you bathe the other.
* PNPs are perfect for stopping walkers from destroying a room while you are attending to the other child.
* PNPs are easily transportable for travel.

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4. The Skip Hop Duo Double diaper bag. This is the first diaper bag designed for a side-by-side double stroller. Between the size and the pockets, this is universally one of the favorite diaper bags in the multiples community. While on the pricier end, you will be using a diaper bag daily for years. It is worth it to invest in something functional that you love.

See pictures and get more information here.

5. Some type of baby carrier. While opinions are mixed on the Baby Bjorn, Moby Wrap, Maya Wrap, and other baby carriers, a baby carrier is a must-have item in a multiple household. You will not believe the things you can get done while carrying a baby on you. While carrying one twin in a Bjorn, I was able to change the other twin’s diaper, make telephone calls, surf the internet, brush my teeth, wash dishes, do laundry, eat a meal, watch TV, and use the bathroom. Some days I put one child in an infant seat and one child in a carrier to go grocery shopping.

Since these are major purchases, I recommend you try to borrow one of these from a friend before investing. I loved my Moby Wrap for the newborn stage when I had a helper around, but I loved my Bjorn for solo time because it was so fast to get on and off. We ended up with two Bjorns so my husband and I could each carry a baby while getting some much-needed fresh air.

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Next week – Bottom 5 Baby Products You Can Live Without!

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