Reach for the stars…

kids, Reviews, safety, travel
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Ah yes. The first sniff of fine weather (a bit of sneezing and runny eyes…), and any responsible parent is reaching for the sun cream. You know how it goes – caught unawares, you root around the back of a cupboard for last years left overs and stumble upon a bingo callers collection of different factor sun cream bottles, none of which are completely empty. You kept them, thinking that they could be used next summer. Then sorting through the odds and ends you look at them and decide there’s not enough to last for a 2 week holiday and buy some more. etc. etc.

My solution? You don’t need to spend a fortune on sun cream. Just check the UVA star rating on the back. I found some 5 star- ultra (top rating) Tesco value suncream at £1.97 a bottle. It has quite a pleasant smell, and whilst the packaging won’t win any design awards, it’s definitely a winner for your bank balance. And as sun cream is alleged to lose it’s protection over time, you won’t be weeping at the end of the year when you throw the dregs away 🙂

Keep your children on a leash

kids, safety, Thrifty
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We’re big into Bob the Builder. You know the score – reduce, reuse, recycle. So when I was just about to ditch the toddler wrist strap that was languishing in the back of the cupboard, I’m glad I didn’t!

No. 1 son was becoming a keen cyclist, to the point of wanting to cycle everywhere. Now I’ve got no problem with a bit of exercise, but the downhill run into town from home was a bit tricky with one hand on a bike and the other on the pushchair. So I turned to the wrist strap and figured I could use it to strap one end to the bike and the other to me (steering the pushchair more confidently with 2 hands!). You do have to be careful where you fix it to the bike in order not to interfere with the brake cable or the handlebars (on the main upright just below the handlebar junction seems to work best).

It’s great for controlling downhill speeds, and slightly less great (depending on whose viewpoint you look at it from!) for towing them back up the hill :s

Indecent exposure

kids, safety, travel
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Not the title of a new Hollywood blockbuster, rather an observation in relation to sun exposure for children.

Having just returned from a sunnier climate, I was wondering if I am just super-paranoid about my boys getting sunburnt. There’s much more information these days about the risks of sun bathing, and being a wrinkly old bag myself as a result of sun worshipping in my younger days, I’m adamant that my children shouldn’t have skin the texture of sundried crocodiles before puberty.

So we traipse down to the beach with a minimum of:-

  • factor 30
  • legionnaire’s hat (for neck coverage)
  • sun protection shirt
  • long-ish shorts

and yet time and time again I see children in just swim bottoms and nowt else. Am I being overly cautious or are their parents being carelessly reckless?

Only time will tell.

Being safe doesn’t need to cost a fortune

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Not another article verbalising about the sheer recklessness of the McCann family. Nope, this one is about kiddy-proofing your home for a lot less than you might think.

There are some things in life that you know are going to cost an arm and a leg – such as anything to do with the ‘W’ word (wedding) and next in line if you follow the traditional route, the ‘B’ word (babies). It’s the latter one I’m concerned with here. How many times have you seen some gadget or other in an irresistible baby catalogue and thought ‘blimey – how much?? How do they sell enough of those at that price to keep trading?’ (or words to that effect) Yet there’s an increasing proliferation of things you never thought you needed but can’t possibly live without. It’s the guilt thing.

Well, I have a handy tip for even the tightest budget to help childproof your home. Rather than spending £20+ on tailor made hearth edging, take a trip down to the local DIY store and buy some foam pipe lagging. Then cut a wedge out down the length so that the remainder fits against the edge of the hearth and mitre the corners. A smidgeon of double-sided tape helps it stick in place – all for a fraction of the cost.

The same pipe lagging is also a handy double for door closer safety guards. By that, I mean if you live in a house that has door closers fitted for fire safety (often new 3 storey houses have these as standard), you’ve probably already had a few close scrapes where your little one has tried to stick a finger or two between the door frame and the edge of the door nearest the hinges. It’s the same kind of solution – simply buy lagging a bit bigger, cut out the same wedge, and stick the lagging to the door and the door frame so fingers can no longer find their way into crevices and cracks.

 Job’s a good ‘un!