Got Boo Boos? Topricin Junior is a Medicine Cabinet Staple

On any given summer day, like many families, we can be found outside running around, riding bikes, playing pirates or whatever the kid’s imagination may conjure up.  The occasional injury is all a part of growing up, and with all of this summer fun, bumps, bruises, bug bites and boo boos are often the residual effects.

When I was a kid, if it wasn’t my older brother breaking bones, it was clumsy me falling off my bike and getting bloody knees or black eyes.  It wasn’t the injury itself that was painful, but the aftercare that subjected the trauma and excruciating pain.  I have no idea if my mom used salt spray laced with battery acid to clean our wounds, but whatever it was, it hurt like crazy.

As a family that leans toward more homeopathic remedies, I was so glad to be introduced to Topricin Junior.  A Healthy Child Healthy World parent ambassador and a green mama, in general, I do my best to steer clear of harsh chemicals in the conventional medical aisle. (Tea tree oil is my go-to antiseptic) Even if products are geared to kids, I can’t help but question, are they really safe?

Topricin Junior from Topical Biomedics is a pain relief and healing cream that’s intended for injuries such as bumps, bruises, bug, bites and burns.  It is said to relieve muscle spasms, leg cramps, sprains and strains—minor injuries that are sustained from horseplay or sports activities.  Aside from the pain relief it provides to the younger set, Topricin Junior seems to do it without the use of harsh chemicals.

Topricin Junior is fragrance and paraben free, contains no mineral oil, lanolin, menthol, petroleum or other chemicals that may be too overpowering for our little daredevils’ skin.

And like most preschoolers in that “I Can Do it Myself” phase, my kid, of course, wanted to apply the cream himself.  Because of the safe composition of Topricin Junior, I had no worries about the chemicals, or that it would be harmful if he applied it himself.

Now, after the spill he took on his scooter the other day, I didn’t use the cream on the open wound.  I did, however, use the cream after his wound closed up a bit.  From what he described, the cream wasn’t painful when he applied it, and from what I saw, it seemed to do the trick.

I love that Topricin Jr. is fragrance free and doesn’t leave stains.  The cream uses some ingredients that are plant and vegetable derived, unlike most products that line the first aid aisles.  Topricin Jr. is easy to use, seemed to help with the healing process and most importantly, doesn’t contain all the harsh chemicals that, in my opinion, hurt a little more before and after they actually help.  Not only do I give Topricin Jr. a seal of approval, but so does Healthy Child Healthy World and PTPA.

While nothing can heal as “effectively” than mama’s kiss, a safer pain relief cream such as Topricin Jr. is a staple in our medicine cabinet.  Now, if only this cream could curb any unnecessary stunts or spills that make my heart beat out of my chest!

Find it

Topical Biomedics also offers Topricin and Topricin Foot Therapy Cream.  The creams can be found at many health and organic stores, as well as online.  Additionally, Topricin products are now available at Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, Whole Foods, and Wegman’s.

Full disclosure: I received product samples to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Best of Sunscreen for 2011: Tips, Ingredients and Tried and True Brands

It’s finally the unofficial kick off to summer, and I hope everyone has exciting things planned for the weekend!  Just in time for more sunny days, endless amount of outdoor play and loads of BBQs, the Environmental Working Group has released their comprehensive list of Best Sunscreens for 2011.  The list was analyzed in-house, with their findings based on health hazard, protection and overall stability of the product. Find out if your sunscreen made the cut.

Sunscreen

NKT Faves

Many of my favorite sunscreens made the list once again, and there are also several products that I’m glad to see have new formulas, resulting in better scores.

Blue Lizard
Blue Lizard is what our family uses on a day-to-day basis around here.  With its thick consistency and trusted effectiveness, it’s no surprise the Baby Australian and Sensitive formulas made EWG’s Best of Beach and Sport Sunscreens.

TruKid
TruKid is a longtime favorite for our family.  Because of its portable, gluestick size, the Sunny Days Stick is a mainstay in my bag and perfect for sending with the kid to daycare.

Kiss My Face Sun Sticks
I love most of Kiss My Face’s products, so I’m excited to see they have a kids’ stick, too.  Remember Zinc from back in the day?  Apparently, the Kiss My Face kids’ mineral sunblock stick leaves shades of blue, pink or white on easily burned spots like, ears, lips, nose and cheeks.  How 80s!

California Baby
Another parent fave, California Baby, puts out a great range of products that are often top-rated.  California Baby No Fragrance Sunscreen Lotion made the list, alongside of several other CF Baby sunscreens.  Even though I personally haven’t used this sunscreen, several of my friends swear by it, so it’s certainly on my list once we deplete our current stash.  Even better about California Baby?  This brand can be found in the baby aisle of most Targets.

Realistically, not everyone has easy access to these safer brands.  In fact, you’ll probably be hard-pressed to find many of the brands listed in EWG’s Top Beach and Sport Sunscreens at your local drugstore.  Don’t have time to order online at Diapers.com or run to a natural food store to pick up one of the safer sunscreens?  Here are a few brands that can be found at most grocery or drugstores and received moderate scores:
Aveeno Active Naturals Natural Protection Mineral Block Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

What Does Practically Green recommend?

At the recent Mommybites Summit that I attended last week, I sat in on a wonderful discussion led by green expert, Susan Hunt Stevens of Practically Green.  She mentioned that California Baby and Badger are two popular, safer sunscreen picks for kids.  Both brands are well-rated on EWG’s sunscreen list as well.  Hunt Stevens also pointed out that she has yet to find a safer aerosol spray sunscreen, so in general, she advised to stick to the old school lotions. Trust me, I love the convenience of those sprays, but if there’s an option that contains less chemicals, (the same chemicals which are often linked to health issues and hormone disruptors) why not opt for the safer option versus the convenient option?

Safer ingredients

For safer sunscreens, EWG recommends to look for products that include these ingredients:
Zinc
Titanium dioxide
Avobenzone or Mexoryl SX

and avoid these ingredients:
Oxybenzone
Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)
Added insect repellent

Check out EWG’s sunscreens to avoid.

Tips for Sunscreen

Obviously we all know “how” to use sunscreen, but do you really know how to use it effectively?  Growing up in a beach town, I literally spent my summer days—from dusk to dawn on the beach or at the pool—but, I barely ever used sunscreen.  I have to admit, when I became a parent, proper sunscreen usage was an anomaly, so I had to learn how to use sunscreen for the sake of my fair-skinned babe.  Goodness knows, my husband needed some tips himself!  So, here are just a few pointers courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatolgy and EWG.

  • Sunscreens expire.  Be sure to check your expiration dates when dusting off last year’s stash. You can use the sunscreen that you bought last Beach Umbrellasummer, but keep in mind that if you are using the appropriate amount, a bottle of sunscreen should not last very long.
  • Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. When using sunscreen, be sure to apply it to all exposed areas and pay particular attention to the face, ears, hands, and arms.
  • One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. Don’t forget that lips get sunburned, too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Sunscreens should be reapplied approximately every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called “water-resistant” sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the water. Sunscreens rub off as well as wash off, so if you’ve towel-dried, reapply sunscreen for continued protection.
  • There are a number of combination cosmetic products, such as moisturizers that contain sunscreen, but it is important to remember that these products also need to be reapplied to achieve continued UV protection.
  • Pick the SPF appropriate for your skin type and solar exposure. But remember that UVA protection in U.S. sunscreens maxes out at about 15, so higher SPF products will not fully protect your skin from sun damage. The American Cancer Society recommends that people use a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15, the American Academy of Dermatology opts for 30.

Have a safe weekend, everyone!

Photo credits: Fullofgrace and Paddyduke

Cooking Connections: Placating Picky Eaters

“Mama, is broccoli a treat? Because I love it.”

“Sure, honey. Broccoli can be considered a treat if you like it.”

“How about carrots?”

“Yup. Carrots can be treats, too.”

Last week, one of our dinnertime chats went a little something like that.  At three years old, the kid questions whether or not veggies are, indeed, treats. And for as long as it lasts, I’ll to continue to advocate that veggies are treats, while simultaneously singing “There’s a Party in My Tummy,” the Yo Gabba Gabba eating anthem for preschoolers and parents alike.

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Having grown up with the crowned prince of picky eaters, I’m well versed in the picky eating realm.  Public breakdowns and refusals to eat unless we had what he wanted, my older brother’s precarious eating habits never made life easy for myIMG_1383 parents. I was known to eat not only my dinners, but also my brother’s—perhaps to pacify his pickyness and to (ahem) feed my own love for food at an early age.

Whatever the case was, once I became a mom, I made it my personal crusade to try and avert the picky eating habits while refining my own eating habits.  It makes me smile when my guy reaches for broccoli in the app tray at parties before he heads to the dessert table. Now, if only every day was a broccoli-loving day…

Kids are relentless when it comes to eating, but I don’t think it should always be a battle. Tactics like involving kids in the kitchen, helping with grocery shopping, and something as simple, yet significant, as eating the same meal together as a family can help with picky eaters. My motto is, I’m not an app cook, so we all eat the same thing for every meal.  Special meals should be reserved for special days, preferably the days where someone is serving me too!

I know, I know…it’s easier said than done.

Let’s Connect with Cooking Connections

I’ve devoted a a lot of coverage lately to kid-centric food and healthier habits, but by no means does that make me an expert in this parenting arena.  I am, however, quite excited to be a co-host in tomorrow’s installment of Cooking Connections, where picky eaters will be the topic at hand. Our fabulous hosts will lead a discussion on TheMotherhood.com, and I’d love it if you could join us!  The deets are below:

When: Wednesday, March 2, at 1 p.m. ET

Where: TheMotherhood – here is the link to the page where the class will be held: http://www.themotherhood.com/talk/show/id/62135

And here is the registration page for all Cooking Connections classes: http://www.themotherhood.com/cookingconnections

What: The class I am co-hosting is called “Expanding Your Family’s Palate by Placating Picky Eaters,” and it is hosted by Jennifer Leal (Savor the Thyme), Kimberly Coleman (Mom in the City) and Kelsey Banfield (The Naptime Chef).  We will be talking about how to make meals work for all members of the family, healthy and interesting foods that kids AND adults love, and strategies for getting picky eaters to try new things.  Join us, and feel free to ask questions, share recipes or chime in with your own suggestions!

The class is sponsored by ConAgra and hosted by TheMotherhood.

My other fabulous co-hosts are:

Marla Meridith, Family Fresh Cooking
Kristy Bernardo, The Wicked Noodle
Jo-Lynne Shane, Musings of a Housewife
Dara Michalski, Cookin’ Canuck
Brooke McLay, Cheeky Kitchen
Shaina Olmanson, Food for My Family
Carol Cain, NY City Mama
Shari Simpson-Cabelin, Earth Mother just means I’m dusty
Amy Johnson, She Wears Many Hats
Stacie Billis, One Hungry Mama

I personally can wait to hear everyone’s ideas and recipes aimed to placate picky eaters.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! See you then!

Off Your Desk: New Service Helps Families Save Time and Money

From babies to big kids, for most of us, it seems one thing’s certain: at one point or another, we’ll end up at the doctor’s office with our kids. Kids get sick, adults get sick—we all get sick. And if you don’t? Well, lucky you :)

Insurance and health care is a hot button topic these days, but beyond the political firestorm, there’s a service that can help us navigate through the insurance paperwork that doctor visits often bring with them.

Did you know that 40 percent of health claims are mishandled or not fully reimbursed to the extent they should be by insurance companies? Also, consumers are paying out-of-pocket for an increasing proportion of their health care expenses. Off Your Desk is a new service helps individuals submit their insurance claims and makes sure that they get paid to the full extent that they deserve.

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Holly Robinson Peete to Host Webinar on Food Allergies

Because allergies run rampant in our family, this topic has been on my radar well before I became a parent.  Once I became a mom, introducing food to the kid with the possibility of food allergies became an even bigger reality.  Aside from real-life experience by helping my younger brother cope with being “allergic to the world,” my husband and I researched to educate ourselves for the uncertainty of having a child with food sensitivities.

Amidst all the gatherings this time of year, it’s the parties and family events that can be a cause of concern for allergic reactions.  After being so cautious with anything new that the three year old has eaten, over Christmas, he had an allergic reaction after having some cashews.  Of course, the reaction happened the evening of the post-Christmas blizzard and weather conditions would have complicated everything.  Thankfully, the kid is at an age where he can verbally communicate with us now, and immediately told us that his tongue was itchy—a telltale sign of an allergic reaction, and something that I always remember my brother describing after eating various things he was allergic to, when we were kids.

Always reluctant to let the kid have nuts in anything, for some reason, I thought he would have been ok trying cashews for the first time that night.  I thought he was in the clear with any nut allergies, but I was wrong.

The kid’s hives, swollen lips and an itchy tongue was enough to remind us that not all foods are safe for our allergy-prone kid.  Thankfully, we had Children’s Benadryl onhand to remedy the situation and that it didn’t require a trip to the ER.  We learned from this terrifying situation and are grateful it didn’t transpire differently.

Because of our family’s allergies and my interest in sharing this sort of information to other parents, I will be logging into a video webinar on the topic tomorrow.

Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day of the year after Thanksgiving. Since severe allergic reactions to food send 90,000 people to the emergency room annually, TV personality Holly Robinson Peete of CBS’s The Talk (who is married to former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete) will be hosting an online video webinar about handling food allergy dangers at gatherings like Super Bowl parties. Nine out of 10 people say they will be attending one this year, according to a recent Nielsen survey.  Since Holly’s four children all have some kind of food allergy, she has plenty of expertise in this topic.

After the webinar, I’ll be one of a few bloggers who will ask Holly questions pertaining to allergies and her experience.  It’s always interesting to hear other parents shed light on issues that hit so close to home.  I’ll of course share Holly’s insight after the interview, but I’d also like to invite you to watch the online webinar.

Allergy Friendly Superbowl Webinar with Holly Robinson Peete

When: Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT)

Where: Click this link
to get to the webinar, where you will be able to watch Holly via live video feed: http://agencyroad.na4.acrobat.com/allergyfriendlysuperbowl/

Full disclosure: I am being compensated for my participation in this webinar and Q&A via TheMotherhood. The webinar is being sponsored by Dey Pharma L.P.  As always all opinions on NKT are my own.

KidFresh Frozen Meals: Convenient Deliciousness

An advocate for helping kids make healthier choices, as you know, I’m always on the hunt for good eats.  I’m not the biggest fan of “sneaking” veggies, making exclusive meals for kids, nor am I really a fan of overly processed food for kids.  But in reality, if it works, it works—especially if you’ve got a picky eater.

Time is of the essence for all families, which is why it’s always great to have easy meal options or frozen food onhand.  When you’re not feeling well, running late for that playdate or just don’t have the inspiration to cook, it’s nice to simplify life with a meal that takes little or no brainwork.  The problem with many of those frozen foods, however, are the sodium and preservative levels.

And then, there’s KidFresh.

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Tips on Avoiding Pesticides in Fruits and Veggies

On Monday, CNN via Health.com reported that a new study revealed what many of us already speculated about pesticides being linked to ADHD in children.

photo credit: maistora

 

 

The article said :

Children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than children with less exposure, a nationwide study suggests.

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McNeil Recalls OTC Children’s Products; Helpful Links

If you keep up with the news, then I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the McNeil Recalls involving OTC children’s medication such as Tylenol and Motrin.  There’s no need for me to rehash what’s been already said, but as a quick synopsis:

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the makers of OTC medication such as Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and Zyrtec, have issued a voluntary recall on a number of products because they fail to reach quality standards.

Don’t want to wade through the long list of recalled products?  Head over to Tylenol’s site and enter your bottle’s product numbers here.

WAIT! Before you throw out your bottles of Tylenol and Motrin that are included in the recall, save them so you can get a refund and/or coupon.  According to the NY Times Bucks Blog, you have to call or email the company to get your coupon for new product.  It’s advised it might be best to reach a representative directly 1-888-222-6036.

Honestly, at this point, with various recalls lingering, I’m leaning toward the generic route if I need to administer any meds for the kid, which is truly, really rare.  (Note: I have no idea who makes it, but I like Target’s generic products) And back to McNeil, I’m one to try and push to get my money back in lieu of a coupon.  If you do get through to the company, let me know how it goes!

US News and World Report listed some helpful suggestions for alternatives to medicine for kids.

Humidity. Humidifying the air is useful for cold symptoms because it helps the cilia, tiny hairs in the lining of the nose and sinuses, move mucus out of the nose.

Nasal irrigation and saline sprays or drops. Both saline sprays and nasal irrigation work by the same premise—decreasing the amount of mucus and crusting in the nose, which reduces congestion and obstruction. Nasal irrigation kits, including the neti pot and squeeze bottles, are sold over the counter along with packets of ingredients that can be mixed with water to create a saltwater solution to flush out the nose. Saline sprays and drops are also sold over the counter and can be sprayed into the nose safely, without irritating the nasal passages in children, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Nasal suctioning. Using a bulb syringe to suck secretions out of the nose can help clear nasal passages in babies, Tunkel says. Parents should gently push the bulb into the nose no more than a half-inch deep. For best results, put several drops of saline solution into the nose before suctioning, the Mayo Clinic suggests.